Badge Number: 84003

PRENTICE, Frederick

Service Number: 2597
Enlisted: 7 May 1915, Keswick, South Australia
Last Rank: Corporal
Last Unit: 1st Pioneer Battalion
Born: Powell's Creek, Northern Territory, 18 January 1894
Home Town: Yunta, South Australia
Schooling: Kyre College
Occupation: Station hand
Died: Natural causes (heart failure), Katherine, Northern Territory, 22 November 1957, aged 63 years
Cemetery: Katherine Memorial Cemetery, N.T.
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World War 1 Service

7 May 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 2597, Keswick, South Australia
26 Aug 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 2597, 12th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
26 Aug 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 2597, 12th Infantry Battalion, RMS Morea, Adelaide
13 Mar 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 1st Pioneer Battalion
19 Jul 1916: Honoured Military Medal, Fromelles (Fleurbaix)
1 Aug 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 1st Pioneer Battalion
31 Jan 1918: Promoted AIF WW1, Corporal, 1st Pioneer Battalion
5 Jul 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Corporal, 2597, 1st Pioneer Battalion

Help us honour Frederick Prentice's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Sarah Muller

Private Frederick Prentice was born in Powell Creek in 1894 in Australia. His exact date of birth is currently not known or recorded. Prentice had an Indigenous Australian background heritage and he was enlisted for the First World War on the 7th of May in 1915. His age of enlistment was 21 years old. The place he enlisted for the war was in Adelaide and his service number for the military was 2597.

 Private Frederick Prentice appearance was often described by people as ‘dark’. Frederick Prentice was the son of the Justice of the Peace at Powell Creek, Alfred Leslie Prentice. However, Frederick Prentice never really lived with his father because he was adopted by Walter James “Dan” Kell and his wife, Isabel Jane Kell nee Birkett, whose profession was a nurse at the Palmerston hospital. Walter worked on a station. In 1905 they moved from Powell Creek to Adelaide where Frederick Prentice received an education at Kyre College, Unley, South Australia. Prior to enlistment, Prentice was working as a station hand. A station hand is a profession in which you are working with cattle on farms.

After enlistment, Frederick Prentice was placed into the 12th Battalion, 8th Reinforcement. This unit left from Adelaide on board HMAT ‘Morea’ on the 26th of August in 1915. On the 13th of March 1916, Prentice transferred to the 1st Pioneer Battalion and was later on the 1st of August he was appointed to Lance Corporal in France. He demonstrated great courage and skill at Mouquet farm in Poziers by bringing machine guns and ammunition through the enemy barrage across broken ground in the dark. This was the reason that he had received a military medal in the First World War. He was awarded his Military Medal on 6 March 1920 by General Birdwood (UK) in Adelaide.

After receiving this medal Prentice sent it overseas back to Australia to be picked up by his sister, but, unfortunately it was lost when the SS Mongolia was sunk by enemy forces.

Later on, by his own wish, Prentice went back to a private rank on the 12th of December in 1916. He further took training with the 21st Machine Gun Company from August the 16th in 1917. He was again promoted to Lance Corporal on the 2nd of October 1917. Afterwards he was promoted up to a corporal ranking on the 31st of January 1918. He returned back to Australia on the ship known as the ‘City of Poona’ and he arrived on the 28th of March in 1919.

After World War One Frederick Prentice settled down and lived out the rest of his life before his death in 1957. It was reported that he had a heart attack while sitting alone around a camp fire and had rolled approximately half of his body into the still burning campfire. Frederick Prentice is currently buried underneath an unmarked gravestone in Katherine. His precise date of death was the 22nd of November in 1957.

His brave and fearless actions that were demonstrated and honored in the war were helpful actions and contributed to helping France in the First World War. Rest in Peace, Frederick Prentice.



"FINDING FREDERICK PRENTICE." Indigenous Histories. September 05, 2014. Accessed December 17, 2017. 


"Lance Corporal Frederick Prentice." The Australian War Memorial. Accessed December 17, 2017.


Prentice, Frederick. "Frederick Prentice." Territory Stories: Home. November 22, 1957. Accessed December 17, 2017.

“Contributed by Sarah Muller as part of the 2018 Northern Territory Chief Minister’s Anzac Spirit Study Tour.”