Frederick Harrison CALDWELL

CALDWELL, Frederick Harrison

Service Number: 851
Enlisted: 22 August 1914
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 7th Infantry Battalion
Born: Eaglehawk, Victoria, Australia, 8 August 1896
Home Town: Eaglehawk, Greater Bendigo, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Foundry hand
Died: 26 February 1977, aged 80 years, cause of death not yet discovered, place of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
Memorials: Bendigo Great War Roll of Honor, Eaglehawk Presbyterian Sunday School Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

22 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 851, 7th Infantry Battalion
19 Oct 1914: Involvement Private, 851, 7th Infantry Battalion, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '9' embarkation_place: Melbourne embarkation_ship: HMAT Hororata embarkation_ship_number: A20 public_note: ''
19 Oct 1914: Embarked Private, 851, 7th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Hororata, Melbourne
26 Apr 1916: Discharged AIF WW1, Private, 851, 7th Infantry Battalion, Left Egypt with MEF however did not participate in the Gallipoli landings as he developed rheumatic fever and was transferred to England, then to Australia for discharge.

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Biography contributed by Larna Malone

Frederick Harrison Caldwell was born in Eaglehawk, Vic., the son of George & Henrietta Caldwell, of Back Rd., Jobs Gully.   He was 19 years & 3 months old, had previous military experience in Senior Cadets & CMF, and was employed  as a Foundry hand at Horsfield’s Foundry.    He Enlisted in the Expeditionary Force on 22/8/14 and arrived at Broadmeadows Camp on 24/8/14.    He was allotted Service no. 851  and appointed to ‘G’ Company, 7th Battalion.     Prior to embarkation he was presented with a memento by the Borough of Eaglehawk (either a Pocket wallet, wristlet watch, or shaving outfit).

The 7th Battalion left Broadmeadows Camp on 18 October, 1914, and embarked for service overseas on board HMAT ‘Hororata’.   Arriving in Egypt the battalion moved into camp at Mena, at the foot of the pyramids.   (6/12/14)     

 In January, 1915, the Australian force was re-organized.   In the 7th Battalion ‘G’ and ‘H’ Companies joined to form the new ‘D’ Company.      This meant that all the men from Northern Victoria were together in one Company.   

On February 3rd, the 7th Battalion left for Ismailia on the Suez Canal.   This move was in response to a Turkish attack on the Suez Canal.     The battalion was in support of the British.   

In a letter home, Caldwell wrote: “We had to sleep in the open all the time we were there, and we were wet through with dew every night.   We were camped just a quarter of a mile from Lake Timsah – that is where the shells from the Turks’ 12 in gun were dropping, and when one struck the British Warship it killed two men and injured 11, and we could hear the report like a big explosion just near us. .. . We did not do any drill at Ismailia the whole week we were there, as we had to be ready to go at a quarter of an hour’s notice.   We could hear the shooting quite plain from the camp.”   [Bendigo Advertiser.    March 20, 1915.   

The battalion returned to Mena Camp on 12th February.   Training continued and steps were taken to find out the most expert marksmen and give them special positions.   During Shooting Practice on 27th February Frederick Harrison Caldwell was selected as a Sniper.   

The 7th Battalion left Mena Camp on 4th April for Alexandria, where they boarded S.S. Galeka for Mudros Harbour on Lemnos Island.    Arriving at Lemnos on 11th April they waited for further orders.   On April 24th the orders were received for the Landing at Anzac Cove.     Frederick Harrison Caldwell had obviously managed to disguise the fact that he was not well.   His condition was only discovered after the Galeka left Mudros, at which time he was admitted to the ship’s hospital, suffering from Rheumatic fever.     He RTA M.U. on 8/10/15   


“The First Lot.   7th Battalion.   The first men of the Bendigo district to volunteer for service in the First World War.”: Larna Malone