Ernest Hector Fred (Fred) DE BELIN

DE BELIN, Ernest Hector Fred

Service Number: 6730
Enlisted: 31 July 1916, Sydney, New South Wales
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 1st Infantry Battalion
Born: Glebe, New South Wales, 19 September 1895
Home Town: Balmain, Leichhardt, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Labourer (later Tram driver)
Died: Poisoning (self ingested on Armistice Day) , Ryde, New South Wales, 14 November 1971, aged 76 years
Cemetery: Northern Suburbs Memorial Gardens and Crematorium, NSW
Ashes in garden grounds under "Rose of Peace"
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World War 1 Service

31 Jul 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 6730, Sydney, New South Wales
8 Nov 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 6730, 1st Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
8 Nov 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 6730, 1st Infantry Battalion, SS Port Nicholson, Sydney
4 Oct 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 6730, 1st Infantry Battalion, Broodseinde Ridge, GSW (ankle)
20 Apr 1918: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 6730, 1st Infantry Battalion, German Spring Offensive 1918, 2nd occasion - Shell wound (right leg)
2 Jan 1920: Discharged AIF WW1, Private, SN 6730, 1st Infantry Battalion

Show Me The Way To Go Home

Private Ernest Hector Fred de BELIN - No. 6730 - 1st Infantry Battalion A.I.F.

16 Jul 1916 Application to Enlist - Victoria Barracks, Sydney

31 Jul 1916 Attestation of Enlistment - Showground, Moore Park, Sydney

13 Aug 1916 “C” Company, 1st Depot Battalion - Cootamundra, NSW

23 Aug 1916 “B” Company, 1st Battalion

28 Aug 1916 “A” Company, 1st Battalion

11 Sep 1916 “C” Company, 1st Battalion - Liverpool, NSW

8 Nov 1916 22nd Reinforcements, 1st Battalion**

8 Nov 1916 Embark SS “Port Nicholson” -Sydney

10 Jan 1917 Disembark - Davenport, England

28 Mar 1917 Embark - Folkestone, England

29 Mar 1917 Disembark - Etaples, France

14 Apr 1917 Proceed to join unit - Etaples, France

20 Apr 1917 Taken on strength, 1st Battalion in the field -Boursies, France

3 - 9 May 1917 Battle of Bullecourt - France

4 Oct 1917 Machine gun wound left ankle - Broodseinde Ridge, Belgium

5 Oct 1917 65th Field Ambulance - Belgium

6 Oct 1917 18th General Hospital - France

19 Oct 1917 Embark “Stad Antwerpen” - France

19 Oct 1917 Admitted, Mill Road Aux. Hospital -Liverpool, England

26 Nov 1917 Transferred, 3rd Australian Aux. Hospital -Dartford, England

28 Nov 1917 Furlo and Repatriation - Sutton Veny, London

4 Feb 1918 Re-classified - Sutton Veny, London

21 Feb 1918 Embark - South Hampton, England

22 Feb 1918 Disembark - Le Havre, France

26 Feb 1918 Rejoin 1st Battalion in the field- Meteren, France

20 Apr 1918 Shrapnel wound left leg and right upper thigh (severe) -
Moolenacker, France

21 Apr 1918 3rd Australian Field Ambulance - France

22 Apr 1918 14th Hospital - France

24 Apr 1918 Horton War Hospital - Epsom, England

5 Jun 1918 3rd Australian Hospital - Dartford, England

7 Jun 1918 Discharged from 3rd Australian Hospital - Dartford, England

8 Jun 1918 To No. 3 C.O. - Hurdcott, England

29 Jun 1918 From No. 3 C.O. to No. 4 C.O.- Hurdcott, England

30 Jun 1918 Weekly treatment to wound for six weeks - Hurdcott, England

12 Sep 1918 To Overseas Training Brigade - Deverill, England

9 Oct 1918 Embark - Longbridge, England

12 Oct 1918 Disembark - Le Havre, France

16 Oct 1918 Rejoin 1st Battalion - France

21 Nov 1918 Escort Duties -France

5 Dec 1918 Rejoin 1st Battalion - France

27 Jan 1919 To Corps Workshop - France

13 May 1919 Embark - France

14 May 1919 Disembark - England

23 Jul 1919 Embark HT “Main” - England

15 Oct 1919 Disembark - Sydney

19 Nov 1919 Medical Report - no disability - Sydney

2 Jan 1920 Discharged - Sydney

** Of 152 soldiers in Private de Belin’s 22nd Reinforcements who sailed from Sydney 8 November 1916, 26 were killed in action, 3 died of wounds, and 2 died of disease. 60 were wounded, 5 were gassed , 43 hospitalized with sickness, 12 were unscathed(?) , and 1 AWOL in England and never located.

Total Period of Service 1,251 days of which 1,072 days were outside Australia


British War Medal (No.61272)

Victory Medal (No.59318)


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Biography contributed by Les de Belin

Fred was born on 19 Sep 1895 in Glebe, NSW to an English father (Frederick) and Scotish mother (Laura). His Birth Certificate indicates his name as Fred Ernest Hector de Belin.

His mother and father died 1902 and 1903 respectively, which left him an orphan at the age of 8 years and his brother 9 years. They were placed under State Control with Fred later being fostered out to an orchard grower from Sydney's Northern Suburbs. In 1912 he was working for a boot maker in Windsor, NSW, and while there was saved from drowning in the Hawkesbury River (he was a non-swimmer). He later lived with an older sister and her husband in Alexandria NSW.

He enlisted in the AIF 31/7/1916 and was in the 1st Battalion, 22nd Reinforcements. His Army history is dealt with else where on this site, but briefly, he served in France and Belgium, his "Baptism of Fire" being the Battle of Bullecourt. Also, Third Battle of Ypres in 1917, where he was wounded in the leg by machine gun fire. He was treated in England, and returned to duty, this time being wounded by shrapnel fragments in 1918. He was discharged from the Army 2/1/1920.

Returning to Alexandria, Fred married his neighbour, and had 4 children, Fred, Bill, Jack and Dot. Sadly, this marriage ended in divorce, with the 3 eldest children sent to Burnside Childrens Home for 2 years, until he won custody of all 4 children. These children grew up in Balmain where Fred was a tram driver. The 4 four children were famous sportsman in the area, with Fred playing Rugby League 1st Grade for Balmain, and representing Australia, Bill undefeated Australian amatuer boxer, and later fighting Vic Patrick for Australian Welterweight title, Jack also a champion amatuer and professional boxer, and lastly Dot being a noted local swimmer.

In the 1950's Fred moved to Ryde, where he lived with his son Bill, (my father) and family. Fred was a keen gardener on this large block of land, with him also running a number of hens. 

As I was growing up Fred (or Pop as he was known to his grandchildren) never talked about his WW1 experiences, I remember him showing us his scars from the machine gun wounds. He never marched on ANZAC Day nor was he a member of the RSL. To all who knew him he was a most kind and generous man, and many people looked up to him.

Sadly, about 1969/1970, he suffered bouts of depression, and on 11/11/1971 (Armistice Day) he took poison, and died 3 days later. As earlier requested by him, his ashes were buried under a Rose of Peace.

His war photo was found in his garden shed in a poor condition, and had to be restored. His WW1 medals found in his sock drawer.

His favourite song was "Show Me the Way to Go Home", not because he had a little drink (he was a non drinker), but I feel just because hated the war and wanted to back in Australia.

(Les de Belin - grandson)