The Fradd Brothers


For King and Empire

Author: Port Pirie Memorials

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Walter Phillip Fradd was born on the 17th February 1890 in Burra, South Australia whilst Melville Wesley Fradd was born on the 6th May 1894 in Minburra, South Australia; they were two of four sons to William Phillip and Hannah Tasker Fradd (nee Warner).

The Fradd family were pioneers to Beetaloo Valley, South Australia and arrived about 1898. Both sons were working on the family farm at Beetaloo when they enlisted together into the Australian Infantry Force (A.I.F.) on the 23rd May 1916 in Adelaide.

They were to suffer two completely different fates.

About 2 weeks after enlisting, Melville died on the 25th June 1916 from measles and bronchial pneumonia. Two other recruits died of meningitis on the same day. Private Melville Fradd, Regimental number S5595 was buried in the general section of at West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide.

Private Walter Fradd, Regimental number 6251 embarked from Adelaide on the 28th August 1916 with the 20th Reinforcements 10th Infantry Battalion aboard HMAT Anchises. Walter transferred to the 27th Battalion on the 17th December 1916 and was on the front line from the 1st February 1917 until he was wounded in action during an assault on Malt Trench, Warlencourt, Northern France on the 2nd March 1917.

Walter was severely wounded with a gunshot wound/s to the abdomen; his record mentions that he also received wounds to the mouth and shoulder at the same time. Walter lay out in the battlefield for a long time and apparently there were badly wounded people all around him, many of whom were screaming from pain. He found the noise almost unbearable and when the stretcher bearers came, he urged them to take those people first just so the noise would stop.

When Walter was finally taken back to the first aid post someone moved down the ranks of the wounded assessing their condition and attaching some sort of marker (I’m not sure what - a piece of paper or coloured cloth perhaps) which gave guidance as to their chances of survival. Walter was apparently "tagged" as "won't live until morning" and as a result wasn't given any treatment.

A mate Ernie Wallis, Regimental number 6172, went to a clearing station to check up on Walter and found him lying on one stretcher with his intestines lying on another. Walter was evacuated to England aboard the hospital ship HMHS Gloucester Castle and returned to Australia on the 25th August 1917.  Years after the war, Walter went to the dentist for a problem and the dentist found a piece of shrapnel embedded in his jaw. He spent time down at the Daws Road Repatriation Hospital after he'd had another piece of shrapnel removed from his stomach.

Walter married Laura Agnes Borrett on the 7th of September 1923 in Laura, South Australia. Walter and Laura had one child, a son, Melville Borrett Fradd.

Walter Phillip Fradd died on the 29th of April in 1964; he was in his 75th year. Lest We Forget.


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