Thomas James FRIZELL


FRIZELL, Thomas James

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 26 March 1915
Last Rank: Major
Last Unit: 1st Field Ambulance
Born: Roebourne, Western Australia, 22 March 1889
Home Town: Strathfield, Strathfield, New South Wales
Schooling: Sydney Grammar School; Sydney University
Occupation: Medical Practitioner
Died: Septicemia - Shrapnel wounds right leg, left arm and abdomen, Le Treport, France, 2 December 1917, aged 28 years
Cemetery: Mont Huon Military Cemetery, le Treport
Memorials: Sydney Grammar School WW1 Honour Board
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World War 2 Service

26 Mar 1915: Enlisted Australian Army (Post WW2), SN Officer

World War 1 Service

Date unknown: Involvement Major, SN Officer, 1st Field Ambulance

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Biography contributed by Michael Silver

The eldest son, of five boys, of Irish born surgeon Dr Thomas Frizell and his English wife Annie (nee Everett), Thomas James Frizell was born in the remote north west of Western Australia at Roebourne in 1889.

His parents had migrated to Australia shortly after their marriage in Singapore in 1887 with Dr Frizell taking up the post of medical practioner at Roebourne.

The family moved to Hobart, Tasmania in 1890, before settling in Strathfield, NSW in 1892. During this time brothers, Frederick and Malcolm were born. Both would later enlist for service in the Great War.

An adventurous lot, the three brothers, Fred (on Dick), Tom (on Queenie) and Malcolm (on Lily), according to family legend, rode their ponies from their home "Tyrone" in Strathfield to Kiama - a distance of 130 kilometres in 1902. 

Tom's infant brother William had died in 1898, but another brother Eric (who served in World War II) was born in 1904. Sadly his father passed away in 1909 when Tom was undertaking his medical degree at Sydney University. Graduating in 1911, with honours, he was the resident Medical Officer at the Coast Hospital (Prince Henry Hospital) and subsequently at Sydney Hospital before enlisting in 1915.

Captain Thomas Frizell embarked in the 'Suevic' on 8 June, 1915 from Sydney with the 5th Field Ambulance he served at Gallipoli before being transferred to France early in 1916. Promoted to Major, he was assigned to the staff of the 2nd Australian General Hospital at Boulogne at the end of 1916.

Disconsolate that he held a position without physical risk, whilst other served in the lines, he sought a transfer back to the Field Ambulance in early 1917. In April he was taken on strength of the 1st Field Ambulance.

Working at an advanced dressing station at Broodseinde, Westhoek on 8 October 1917 during the Battle of Broodseinde, Major Frizell was severely wounded at 6.00 am by enemy shell fire, suffering wounds to his right leg, left arm and abdomen. Immediately following his evacuation from the battle field, his collegue Major N. Kirkwood (who was also slightly wounded but remained on duty) advised the Commanding Officer, 1st Field Ambulance at 6.30 am that .... 'I consider we will have to cut this station out as he (enemy) is shelling it very accurately."

Taken to the Le Treport Military Hospital, Major Frizell was classified as dangerously ill. He appeared to rally over subsequent weeks and was listed as 'improving' during November.

On 1 November he wrote to his mother from his hospital bed stating, "I mean to make a good fight for it, but if anything should happen to me, I feel somehow as if I have done my duty and no man can say more." Major Thomas James Frizell succumbed to his wounds, dying from septicemia, on 2 December 1917.

At the time of his death his brother Corporal Frederick George Frizell was present at the hospital. He also attended  his funeral and interment conducted by Reverend CF Scarlett at Mount Huon Military Cemetery, Le Treport.