Frederick John DUDLEY (1881-1934)

9th Infantry Brigade AIF

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Frederick Dudley

35th BATTALION 9th LIGHT TRENCH MORTOR BATTERY A.I.F.

Private: 1640 Frederick John DUDLEY. "Fred"


Born: 19th February 1881. Fern Bay via Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. Birth Cert:23224/1881.

Married: 1901. New South Wales, Australia. Marriage Cert:7121/1901.

Wife: Mary Dudley. nee: Peters.

Died: 3rd May 1934. Windy Woppa via Raymond Terrace, New South Wales, Australia. Death Cert:10403/1934.


Father: Thomas Joseph Masters Dudley.

Mother: Mary Ann Duddley. nee: Nichols. (18..-1904) died Stockton, N.S.W. Death Cert:3281/1904.


INFORMATION

On 14 January 1916, Frederick John “Fred” Dudley enlisted with “D” Company, 35th Battalion, “Newcastle’s Own Regiment”, Australian Imperial Force (AIF). He was thirty-four-year-old, the father of six children and the last of three brothers to enlist for active service abroad.The 35th Battalion left Sydney per HMAT A24 Benalla on 12 May 1916. Arriving in England in early July, the battalion spent the next four months training at Lark Hill where Private Dudley was transferred to the 9th Light Trench Mortar Battery (9th LTMBty). The 9th LTMBty was assigned to 9th Infantry Brigade and supported the 33rd, 34th, 35th, 36th Battalions as well as the 9th Machine Gun Company. The 9th LTMBty constituted 4 Officers and 44 Other Ranks and were equipped with 8 x 3 inch Stokes mortars. The 9th Infantry Brigade, with the exception of the 36th Battalion embarked from Southampton for Le Havre, France on 21 November 1916, and moved into the trenches of the Western Front for the first time five days later. The Brigade’s arrival coincided with the onset of the terrible winter of 1916-17. The 9th LTMBty were billeted at Outtersteene along with the 9th Machine Gun Company and 34th Battalion. The 35th Battalion, meanwhile, was at Merris and the 36th Battalion at Steenwerk. On 27 November the 9th LTMBty relieved the 103rd TMBty in the Right-Battalion sub-sector of the trench at Armentières.

At 3 p.m. on 29 November 1916 the 9th Infantry Brigade’s artillery and trench mortars assisted in the bombardment of enemy lines with ‘good results’. These ‘good results’ included destroying the enemy wire and damaging the parapet. The strength of the 9th LTMBty at this time was 4 officers and 46 other ranks. For the next few months the 9th LTMBty held a position at Armentières where they spent most their time firing projectiles, 12 shots at a time, on enemy working parties while avoiding return mortar fire from the German line. Two days before Christmas a bombardment of minenwerfer (mortars) fell on the one of the 9th Infantry Brigade’s trench mortars, destroying it and 400 rounds of ammunition as well as killing Lieutenant John Edward Steele Walsh and Privates William Percy Geraty and George William Willans. The 36th Battalion embarked from Southampton for Havre on 22 November 1916. In its first month on the Western Front the 9th Infantry Brigade’s casualties were:

Officers 1 killed 1 wounded, Other Ranks 25 killed 48 wounded, 2 missing 8 died of wounds,5 shell shock.

(Ryan Dudley. 2013)

On 17 January 1917 the 9th Infantry Brigade was back in the front lines at Armentières. The Brigade’s diary shows the following actions:

21 January 1917 12 noon.

Medium and Light Trench Mortars cooperated with the artillery in a shoot on enemy wire which resulted in a slight retaliation.

22 January 1917

8.10 a.m. 9.45 a.m.

Fired on a working party opposite Locality 8. Fired on another working party opposite Locality 9 causing them to disperse.

23 January 1917

11.10 a.m.

Dispersed enemy working party opposite Locality 8.

24 January 1917 2 p.m.-2.20 p.m.

Fired in accordance with B.M. 51/19. Wire appeared to be cut. Two Trench Mortars met with mechanism trouble and fired 14 and 11 rounds respectively. Large number of rounds of shrapnel fired on right of trees C.17.b.

25 January 1917

2.30 p.m.

Artillery co-operated with Light Trench Mortars in a successful wire-cutting shoot, as per B.M. 51/20.

27 January 1917

9.30 a.m.

Light Trench Mortar shoot was successful, doing a great deal of damage to enemy’s trenches.

28 January 1917

Light Trench Mortars bombarded enemy trenches under cover of artillery fire... The first ten rounds fired by Light Trench Mortars were observed to fall on to the objective; observation then became difficult owing to enemy retaliation. By the end of January the 9th LTMBty numbered 4 Officers and 38 Other Rank present and 1 Other Rank temporarily sick. Private Dudley had been admitted to the 9th Field Ambulance with influenza on 24 January 1917. He was sent to Boulogne and then on to England for treatment at No.1 Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Harefield Park. For the next couple of months he suffered from pains and weakness in his legs and arms and pains in the small of his back (lumbago) and back of the head. Private Dudley was eventually cleared with no evidence of serious debility and sent back to the front line in July 1917. The 9th Infantry Brigade was now fighting at Messines having taken part in the major battle there on 7 June. On 29 July 1917 an order was sent to the 9th Infantry Brigade stating that they would be relieved by the 11th Infantry Brigade in the Messine Sector on the night of 29-30 July. The order did not include the Brigades Machine Gun Company or Light Trench Mortar Battery who were to remain in position to carry out minor offensive operations. When the 9th Infantry Brigade re-entered the front line at Ypres it became customary to allocate two light trench mortars to each attacking Battalion and reserve Battalion. The next major battle was around the rural Belgium village of Passchendaele on 12 October. Heavy rain had flooded the battlefield and the troops were expected to cross a shell torn, boggy and muddy terrain of 2,500 yards in order to reach their objective. The failure of the battle was due in part to the weather but also to the well positioned German machine guns that had failed to be neutralised before the troops advanced. By the end of the day 21 officers had been killed along with 102 other ranks. The 35th Battalion suffered the heaviest losses with 8 officers and 45 other ranks killed. No member of the 9th LTMBty was killed on 12 October.At the start of November the 9th Infantry Brigade adopted a new work policy that required the improvement of existing defences and the continued drainage of trenches, duckboarding and building of shelters. Everything was to be done to make the men as dry and comfortable during the winter as possible but it did not prevent illness completely.

First World War Diaries –AWM4, 23/9/3 – January 1917

On 9 November 1917 Private Dudley was admitted to hospital for a second time with bronchitis. He had been complaining of headaches, dizziness and a cough since early October and this eventually developed into aphonia and laryngitis. From the field hospital he was evacuated to Horton War Hospital in Epsom, England arriving 17 November. At Horton, doctors diagnosed his illness as rhonchi and dyspnoea due to exposure on active service. He was no longer what the army considered soldier material and on 10 February 1918 he boarded the Durham Castle bound for home.

(Ryan Dudley. 2013)

Teralba War Memorial

Teralba War Memorial

TERALBA WAR MEMORIAL

Fred initially found work at back at the Pacific Coal Company as a fireman but was fired for insobriety. In 1925 he was employed by the Hebburn Coal Company in its No. 2 Colliery as a labourer which he found difficult at times to maintain due to his health. When the mine shut down in 1931 he was left unemployed and began receiving dole rations of 9/5 per week. In 1933 he tried to obtain a war pension and some medical benefits from the Department of repatriation, making a trip to Sydney for the purpose of being medically examined. Despite his recorded ongoing illnesses the board rejected his claim on the grounds of there being no evidence to connect his present medical health with his war service. Frederick John Dudley died at Windy Woppa, New South Wales on 3 May 1934. The Medical Superintendent wrote: He seemed to me to be entirely dependent on the charity of his neighbors & was of so retiring a nature that he would not pursue his rights to a special Dole in our centre. It is unknown what relationship Fred Dudley had with his children towards the end of his life. He is buried in an unmarked grave in the Church of England Cemetery, Stockton, Newcastle; his elder brother Tom having arranged the funeral.

Family Information

Frederick John “Fred” Dudley was born on 19 February 1881 at Fern Bay, Newcastle, New South Wales. As the ninth of eleven children born to Thomas Joseph Masters Dudley, oysterman, and Mary Ann Nichols, he grew up on the Stockton Peninsula learning to fish, hunt and pinch oysters from the leases around the nearby islands. As a child he suffered terribly from inflammation of the lungs, a condition that would haunt him later while fighting in France.

A few months after his twentieth birthday, Fred Dudley married local Stockton girl Mary Peters, daughter of John Charles Frederick “Charley” Peters and Mary Jane Tonks. The newlyweds moved to the township of Teralba where Fred was employed as a miner by the Pacific Coal Company. Fred and Mary had seven children – Thelma Mary (1901), Amelia (1902), Edna Ivy (1903), Marion Mayfield (1906), Frederick John Jr (1907), Gladys Mary (1911) and Dorothy Eva Jean (1913).

101 Railway Street Teralba N.S.W.

Andrew Sneddon's house, 101 Railway Street, Teralba, Lake Macquarie NSW, 1995. He was mine owner of Northern Extended Colliery, Teralba. A.S. initials are in memory of Private: 2158 Andrew SNEDDON (jnr) Died of Wounds during World War 1. The house later owned by Tom and Frances Frith.

In 1904 Mary fell pregnant again but did not want the child. Times were difficult for the family and so Mary used ‘an instrument’ to procure a miscarriage. The killing of an unborn child was a crime in New South Wales and Mary was tried at Newcastle Quarter Sessions on 21 November 1904 and sentenced to twelve months’ imprisonment. This was later suspended to good behaviour for twelve months.

Fred initially found work at back at the Pacific Coal Company as a fireman but was fired for insobriety. In 1925 he was employed by the Hebburn Coal Company in its No. 2 Colliery as a labourer which he found difficult at times to maintain due to his health. When the mine shut down in 1931 he was left unemployed and began receiving dole rations of 9/5 per week. In 1933 he tried to obtain a war pension and some medical benefits from the Department of repatriation, making a trip to Sydney for the purpose of being medically examined. Despite his recorded ongoing illnesses the board rejected his claim on the grounds of there being no evidence to connect his present medical health with his war service. Frederick John Dudley died at Windy Woppa, New South Wales on 3 May 1934. The Medical Superintendent wrote: He seemed to me to be entirely dependent on the charity of his neighbors & was of so retiring a nature that he would not pursue his rights to a special Dole in our centre. It is unknown what relationship Fred Dudley had with his children towards the end of his life. He is buried in an unmarked grave in the Church of England Cemetery, Stockton, Newcastle; his elder brother Tom having arranged the funeral.

John Charles Frederick “Charley” Peters was born Johann Carl Friedrich Peters on 8 June 1847 at Niedernstraße, Hamburg, Germany.

No one in Australia was prepared for the mental and physical state of the soldiers returning from the Western Front. Fred Dudley had left behind a wife and six children when he went to France but he was not the same man to return to them. He had become deeply depressed and began drinking more heavily than he had before the war. Eventually his marriage broke down and Fred became estranged from his wife and children altogether.

Newcastle. A commitment warrant for £20. 10s and 13s costs, in default to be imprisoned until the order is complied with, has been issued by the Newcastle Bench against JOHN DUDLEY, for disobeying a magisterial order for the support of his wife and four children. He is 41 years of age, 5 feet 8 or 9 inches high, medium build, dark complexion, dark hair turning grey, brown eyes, small scar on the right cheek; a colliery fireman or labourer. Identical with offender same name wanted on a commitment warrant foe a similar offence.(vide Police Gazette, 1922 page 422)

New South Wales Police Gazette, 26 July 1922

Newcastle. A Warrant has been issued by the Newcasrle Bench for the arrest of FREDERICK JOHN DUDLEY, charged with disobeying a magisterial order for the support of his wife (£75 and 8s due) He He is 41 years of age, 5 feet 8 or 9 inches high, thin build, dark complexion, brown hair turning grey, brown eyes, clean shaved, or may have a dark moustache, scar on the right cheek;

New South Wales Police Gazette, 24 October 1923

(Ryan Dudley. 2013)

Frederick Dudley was a married 34 year old Engine Driver from William Street, Teralba, N.S.W prior to enlistment. His parents Thomas and Mary Dudley were married in 1866 at Newcastle, N.S.W. Marriage Cert:2623/1866 and had at least 11 children. Charles H Dudley born 1866 at Newcastle, N.S.W. Birth Cert:11999/1866 and died in 1867 at Newcastle, N.S.W. Death Cert: 6651/1867. Twins Susan Dudley born 1868 at Raymond Terrace, N.S.W. Birth Cert:15689 and Annette Dudley Birth Cert: 15690. Andrew Dudley born 1870 at Raymond Terrace, N.S.W. Birth Cert:16304/1870 and died 1870 at Raymond Terrace, N.S.W. Death Cert:5642/1870. Frank Dudley born 1873 at Newcastle, N.S.W. Birth Cert:15817/1873. Lily L Dudley born 1878 at Newcastle, N.S.W. Birth Cert:18244/1878. Frederick John Dudley born 1881 Fern Bay via Newcastle, N.S.W. Birth Cert:23224/1881 and died 1934 at Raymond Terrace, N.S.W. Death Cert:10403/1934. Sarah Dudley born 1882 at Orange, N.S.W. Birth Cert:26277/1882. Albert E Dudley born 1885 at Newcastle, N.S.W Birth Cert:28528/1885. Edith M Dudley born 1887 at Newcastle, N.S.W. Birth Cert:30109/1887. William H Dudley (no birth record) died 1890 at Orange, N.S.W. Death Cert:9926/1890.

Frederick and Mary Dudley were married in 1901 at Newcastle, N.S.W. Marriage Cert;7121/1901 and had 7 children. Thelma /mary Dudley born 1901 at wallsend, N.S.W. Birth Cert:36816/1901. Amelia Dudley born 1902 at Stockton, N.S.W. Birth Cert:36145/1902 and died 1902 at Stockton, N.S.W. Death Cert:16026/1902. Edna Ivy 1903 at Wallsend, N.S.W. Birth Cert:7894/1904. Marion Mayfield Dudley born 1906 at Wallsend, N.S.W. Birth Cert:40081/1906. Frederick John Jr born 1907 at Wallsend, N.S.W. Birth Cert:41250/1907. Dorothy Eva Jean Dudley born 1913 at Wallsend, N.S.W. Birth Cert:....

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© Commonwealth of Australia (National Archives of Australia)

Under Construction; 11/07/2013-04/07/2016.

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