Frederick Leslie BIDDLE DSO, MID

BIDDLE, Frederick Leslie

Service Numbers: Not yet discovered
Enlisted: 18 August 1914
Last Rank: Major
Last Unit: 2nd Field Artillery Brigade
Born: 27 October 1885, place not yet discovered
Home Town: East Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria
Schooling: Hawthorn College, and Melbourne University, Victoria, Australia
Occupation: Soldier
Died: SW to head, 32nd Casualty Clearing Station, Belgium, 17 August 1917, aged 31 years
Cemetery: Brandhoek New Military Cemetery No.3
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World War 1 Service

18 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Captain, 2nd Field Artillery Brigade
20 Oct 1914: Involvement Captain, 2nd Field Artillery Brigade , Third Ypres
20 Oct 1914: Embarked Captain, 2nd Field Artillery Brigade , HMAT Shropshire, Melbourne
12 Mar 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Major, 2nd Field Artillery Brigade
26 Jul 1916: Wounded AIF WW1, Major, 2nd Field Artillery Brigade , Battle for Pozières , GSW to forehead - slight, shell shock
19 Apr 1917: Honoured Companion of the Distinguished Service Order, Battle for Pozières , 22-24th July 1916 in the Chalk Pit Valley, Pozieres. 'For conspicuous gallantry during three days of operations. As liaison officr he did fine work, and when his telephone lines were repeatedly cut, passed through the barrage to telephone stations of other units in order to get his information through. He was himself wounded on the last day.' Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 62 Date: 19 April 1917
29 Jun 1917: Honoured Mention in Dispatches, Battle for Pozières , Awarded a Mention in Despatches (on the basis of which recommendation is not clear), and promulgated: Commonwealth Gazette' No. 103, 29 June 1917.
16 Aug 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Major, 2nd Field Artillery Brigade , SW to head
17 Aug 1917: Involvement Major, 2nd Field Artillery Brigade , Third Ypres

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

Biography contributed by Geoffrey Gillon

Major Fred Leslie Biddle D.S.O., Australian Field Artillery, had served on Gallipoli and, from March 1916, on the Western Front.  He received the D.S.O. for distinguished gallantry over three days in July 1916 during the Battle of Pozières during which time he was wounded, returned to temporarily command 2nd Australian Field Artillery Brigade in September 1916, was Mentioned in Despatches for distinguished and gallant services and devotion to duty in November 1916, and wounded a second time on 16th August 1917, dying of his injuries the following day at No. 32 Casualty Clearing Station.  He was 31 and the son of James and Helena Isabel Biddle, of 92, Vale St., East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From Thierry Grier, Footsteps 1914-1918

Major Frederick Leslie BIDDLE-2nd Field Artillery Brigade AIF-Bandhoek New Mlitary Cemetery n°3-Belgium.  Died of wounds 16th August 1917, Passchendaele side of Ypres, Belgium

Frederick Leslie Biddle was educated at Hawthorn College. He had matriculated twice at the University of Melbourne. He lived with his Mother and Father in Vale Street for many years though his address when he made his final will before embarking for Egypt was Powlett Street. He was a Mason in the Brittania Lodge.

His father was involved in construction work at the MCG and Melbourne Hospital . His uncle, Job Smith was also a builder married to his aunt Fannie. They and two cousins , Fred and Clara, and lived at a substantial house called 'Berrington' at 29 Sackville Street, Kew.
While living and working as a storeman in Flinders Street, Fred Biddle spent 10 years with the Citizen Military Forces as a gunner in the Australian Field Artillery and involved with the St Kilda Battery. He was commissioned on 20 October 1910 rising to the rank of Captain in 1913 and Officer in Charge of 25th Battery, Australian Field Artillery on 1 July 1914.

He enlisted on 18 August 1914 and was assigned to 2nd Field Artillery with the rank of Captain and departed Melbourne aboard HMAT Shropshire on 20 October 1914.

Throughout the War, Frederick maintained a loving correspondence with his East Melbourne family, always more concerned about their health and welfare than his own. His letters are amongst the original documents held in the War Memorial's archive.

Part of Biddle's historical legacy are 75 letters and a series of telegrams to his family home in Vale Street.

In an early letter dated 13 November 1914 he writes of the fleet leaving Albany.
'Just imagine a long procession of 40 ships steaming out in line and turning steadily to the right one after the other and disappearing over the horizon. When we all cleared King George's Sound we formed in columns three abreast and have kept that formation all the way. The ships follow at 600 yds dintance behind the one in frony. We are followed by the Africa and she tries to come aboard us about twice a day. She has several times been close enough to throw a stone aboard her. However there is no dange. The Officers know their ships, and the chasing up is caused by checks at the head, and it is not easy to get 'way' off a big ship. We ourselves have been pretty close once or twice.For some days it was fascinating to watch the big procession of ships, but of course the novelty wears off. At night it was very pretty, but for days now we have only showed a shaded stern light at night for teering purposes and there is simply nothing to be seen.The war ships are on all sides of us and we wake in the mornings to find the same procession and the ships still opposite that were there yesterday. We never seem to be able to climb over the hill in front, called the horizon, and have a look at what's on the other side, but this letter is written in the expectation of of seeing something shortly.'

'We are fully occupied with the horses, drill, and tactical schemes and lectures (

His unit was withdrawn to Egypt in December 1915 and subsequently relocated to the Western Front, France, in March 1916. He was promoted to Major on 12th March 1916.

He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order on 4th October 1916 for conspicuous gallantry over a three day period in July 1916 at the Battle for Pozieres during which he was wounded for the first time. Maj Biddle was repatriated to England for treatment and rehabilitation before rejoining the 2 FAB as temporary commanding officer on 25th September 1916.

He was Mentioned in Despatches for distinguished and gallant services and devotion to duty in the field during November 1916. Maj Biddle was wounded a second time on 16th August 1917 and died of these wounds.

Short AWM Biography

Frederick Leslie Biddle was born on 27 October 1885 and educated at Hawthorne College. He had also matriculated twice at the University of Melbourne and had spent 10 years with the Citizen Militia Force as a gunner. He was promoted to Captain with the CMF on 1 September 1913.

At the time of enlistment on 18 August 1914, he was 28 years old and was working as a warehouseman in East Melbourne. He was assigned to 2nd Field Artillery with the rank of captain and departed Melbourne aboard HMAT Shropshire on 20 October 1914. Biddle served in Egypt and France before being killed in action on 17 August 1917. Frederick Biddle is buried at Brandhoek New Military Cemetery, Belgium.