SAPPER, FREDERICK AUSTIN REYNOLDS, K.I.A.

1894 - 1915

1st Australian Field Company, Engineer

Reg. No. 191

 

One of the first to fall 25 April, 1915, Anzac Cove, Gallipoli

Frederick Austin Reynolds was born in 1894 to Australian parents Arthur Philip Reynolds and Agnes Ada Reynolds (nee Austin) while they were in New Zealand. They already had 5 children born mostly in or around Sydney and later had two more.

The family settled in Manly living at Greybells” Queenscliff.   Here Fred spent his formative years.  He joined the Manly Seagulls Surf & Life Saving Club at South Steyne, formed in August 1911 and was credited with saving several lives as a lifesaver.  The Seagulls were eventually absorbed by the Manly Life Saving Club.     http://www.surfresearch.com.au/1911_Aust_Country_Life_Dec15.html

Although he was bought up as an Anglican, along with many other young men from the Manly/Freshwater area who served overseas in WW1, he was a member of the Presbyterian Church in Freshwater.

Fred was an electrical engineer by trade having completed a 3-year apprenticeship with Moody and Company, an electrical supply company specialising in power and lighting plants.  In 1912, their office was situated at 343 Kent Street Sydney.

After 3 years he joined the Royal Australian Engineers stationed at the Submarine Mining Station, Chowder Bay, working there for 14 months, until joining the AIF on the 31 August 1914 as an Electrical Engineer with the 1st Field Company, Australian Engineers.  One month after World War 1 broke out.    He was a fit, fair-haired, blue-eyed fellow, 5ft. 7 ½ ins. and his stated religion was Presbyterian.

L- On the 18th October 1914, Fred embarked on the troopship HMAT A19 Afric, from Sydney Harbour carrying the 1st Field Artillery Battery (New South Wales) 1st Field Artillery Brigade (Formed New South Wales August 1914 from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Royal Australian Field Artillery Batteries of the regular army and assigned to 1st Field Artillery Brigade), 2nd Field Artillery Battery (New South Wales) 1st Field Artillery Brigade, 3rd Field Artillery Battery (New South Wales) 1st Field Artillery Brigade, 1st Field Company (New South Wales and Queensland) First Division, 1st Infantry Battalion (New South Wales) 1st voyage Infantry Brigade, 2nd Army Service Corps Company 1st Division.

We don’t have a diary recording Fred’s experiences after he left Sydney, however, we do have descriptions of his journey from several other sources. 

A fellow soldier on the “Afric”, (Archie Barwick) has left a description of the journey to Egypt and landing at Gallipoli:  http://www.nationalanzaccentre.com.au/story/archie-barwick 

“Departed Sydney in heavy rain aboard HMAT Afric on 18 October 1914. As the ship passed down the harbour, we could hear the crowds cheering and boat sirens blaring to farewell us. Six days later, we arrived in King George Sound, Albany.

The Afric departed for Egypt in the First Convoy on 1 November 1914. We watched the Australian coastline fade away into darkness; the next morning, it was gone.

The heat was very intense in the tropics – the [deck] pitch used to be nearly melting in the daytime. At night everyone slept on deck.

Disembarked at Alexandria, Egypt, on 9 December, 1914 then entrained to Cairo, and marched to trams that transferred us to Mena Camp. On the first night there, we slept in our overcoats and groundsheets.

 We spent the next day exploring the pyramids, before settling into daily marches and training, which continued until we departed Mena Camp on 4 April.

The night we left Mena bonfires were burning and concerts were in full swing all over the place. We marched to Cairo a distance of 10 miles. The boys sang all the way down, and as we were going through the streets of Cairo early in the morning people waved and cheered us on our way to the Dardanelles for service on Gallipoli.”

They slept in tents, settled into daily marches and practised building bridges. (Photos courtesy of the Australian Army Museum of Military Engineering, Australian Army History Unit, Holsworthy NSW)

On March 4, 1915, about 3200 Australian soldiers landed on Lemnos.

By April 21, about 200 ships had gathered at Mudros Harbour, the main port, leaving the island on the evening of April 24 for the dawn Gallipoli landings.

While waiting, Fred penned his last letter to his parents, he was on the lead ship “The Queen Elizabeth”

 

“Dear Dad and Mother, - Just a hurried line to let you know where I am.  We are on the flagship.

There are 24 of us attached to the 8th Battalion as a demolition party.  I will be on the first boat to go ashore.  Quite an honour.  You will know by the time this letter reaches you whether I’ve been unlucky or not.  Of course, we know we will not all come back, but what of that?  We are soldiers, and British, and quite prepared to take our chances…”

One can only imagine how those troops felt as their ships left Lemnos for that fateful voyage to Gallipoli:

 

The War Diary of the 1st Field Company Engineers reads:

25 April 1915    Arrived at rendezvous off Gallipoli Peninsular about 2 am, transferred to ships boats and taken in tow by pinnaces (a boatload of 60 men) proceeded to land (see below). The landing was hotly opposed; the enemy well posted used machine guns and rifle fire. Without hesitation, all ranks pushed forward and as day broke the heights adjacent to the landing-place were in our possession. The first shots noted were fired at 4.27 am and 4.30 about the landing had begun.

The leading boat had scarcely touched the beach and while landing Sapper Fred Reynolds of 1 FD COY, three times went to the assistance of men who were in difficulty or wounded when getting out of the boats.

Sapper Reynolds was fatally shot in the head in assisting the third man ashore where his body lay on the beach for some time and was photographed at 8am by Sergeant Arthur Robert Henry Joyner of the 1st Divisional Signal Company.  As an original 'first day lander' at Anzac, Joyner took this photo which has proved to be one of the most recognised photographs of the AIF landing.  Joyner was later killed in action in France on 4 December 1916. Australian War Memorial

(Caption) Part of the 4th Battalion and the mules for the 26th (Jacob's) Indian Mountain Battery landing at 8 am.  At the water's edge lies an Australian engineer, 191 Sapper Fred Reynolds, 1st Field Company Engineers one of the first to fall on the Gallipoli Peninsula..

 It is believed that Fred Reynolds was the first to die at the Gallipoli landing on the 25th April, 1915.

Fred was buried that day and along with Frank Wells and later 12 other fallen engineers.

A simple wooden memorial cross was erected in honour of these 14 young Engineers at the Shrapnel Valley Cemetery, Gallipoli.

All those honoured on this cross are from the 1st Field Coy of New South Wales Engineers:

 

Cpl Alexander J MacDonald 132 DoW 25 April 1915.
Cpl Hugh Colquhoun 239 DoW 19 June 1915.
2Cpl John J Gough 122 KIA 9 July 1915.
Spr Henry H Fairnham 54 KIA 26 April 1915.
Spr Walter Fairbairn 55 KIA 25 April 1915.
Spr Cecil WR Howlett 60 KIA 2 May 1915

Spr William Moore 716 KIA 25 April 1915.
Spr Cleveland E Page 70 KIA 25 April 1915.
Spr James R Pantlin 74 KIA 5 May 1915.
Spr Fred Reynolds 191 KIA 25 April 1915.
Spr Francis L Wells 112 KIA 12 July 1915
2Cpl George H Bird 15 DoW 9 August 1915.
 Spr Charles C Fowle 212 DoW 13 July 1915.

Spr Edward Moore Carter 344 DoW 23 July 1915

http://originalgravesatgallipoli.blogspot.com.au/2007_07_01_archive.html 18

The Royal Australian Engineers Foundation hold an official dinner called the “Reynolds Dinner” in honour of one of their own, Frederick Austin Reynolds, in memory as the first fallen at Gallipoli.26

L - Fred Reynolds lies at rest in Plot 1, Row C, Grave 17

Shrapnel Valley Cemetery, 2015 is the second-largest Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery in the former Anzac sector of the Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey, after Lone Pine Cemetery. Shrapnel_Valley_Commonwealth_War_Graves_Commission_Cemetery#/media/File:Shrapnel_Valley_

Commonwealth_War_Graves_Commission_Cemetery.

For his sacrifice, Fred A. Reynolds received a special mention in dispatches to Sir Ian Hamilton for acts of conspicuous gallantry and valuable service. 

Honours

Fred’s memory is perpetuated on the Great War Rolls of Honour in the

Uniting Church in Marmora Street, Freshwater and the Manly War Memorial.

Fred’s family also received the following honours and medals,

                                           

The 1915/15 Star,

British War Medal,

The Memorial Plaque

Memorial Scroll.  

Victory Medal with Oak Leaf issued to those soldiers mentioned in despatches  

            http://www3.hants.gov.uk/1914/1914-features

Any memorial tree originally planted in Fred’s memory back in the 1920’S had not survived.  All that remained was a fragile name plate, “F. Reynolds”, placed on the inside of the gutter which had been there for decades - almost invisible.  

This was rectified on Saturday 18th April 2016 when a “Lone Pine Tree” was planted by the then Premier of NSW The Hon. Mike Baird, at number 11 Soldiers Ave. Freshwater, next to Fred’s plaque.     The Hon. Mr. Baird was formerly the local member for Manly and a great supporter of the Soldiers Ave. refurbishment project.

The story of the Lone Pine.  On 6August, the 1st A.I.F. Div. launched a major offensive at Plateau 400 on Gallipoli.  The ridges, once covered with the Aleppo pine, had been cleared to provide cover for the Turkish trenches, leaving just one solitary pine.  The area became known as Lone Pine Ridge.  After 3 days of brutal fighting, the Anzacs succeeded in capturing the enemy trenches, but this bloody action cost the Australians 2,000 men.  The Turks’ losses were estimated at 7,000. After the battle, Lance Corp. Benjamin Charles Smith, 3rd Bat.AIF, collected several pine cones from the branches used to cover the Turkish trenches.  He sent to the cones home to his mother, Jane McMullin, in remembrance of his brother Mark who had died in the fighting on 6 Aug.  From one of these cones Mrs. McMullin sowed several seeds and successfully raised two seedlings.  One was planted in Inverell where both her sons had enlisted.  The other was presented to the Australian War Memorial, to be planted in the grounds in honour of all the sons who fell at Lone Pine. https://www.awm.gov.au/shop/lone-pine-seedlings/

In preparation for the Anzac Day service in 2016, a tree guard was built around Fred’s tree and painted in his regimental colours.   Co-incidentally, while the guard was being built, a neighbour came out of a nearby unit block and approached Mr. Buirchell who was erecting the guard saying “I found this in the gutter; it must have fallen off just in the last few days”.  It was Fred’s old nameplate. Yes, Fred, we know you are keeping an eye on all this!  Later a new name plaque for Fred was attached to the tree guard and on the 100th Anniversary of Soldiers Avenue 2019, a story plaque was placed next to his tree, telling of Fred’s last journey.

The year before, on 25th April 1915, on the 100th anniversary of Fred’s death, Mr. Baird addressed an Anzac Day service at the Harbord Diggers Club, Freshwater.  Earlier he had also addressed the Dawn Service in Martin Place, telling the story of Fred.

"He was a 20-year-old, who loved his surf, loved his mates, and loved his country, it could've been any one of us," said Mr Baird. As an engineer, Fred Reynolds was one of the first to land at Gallipoli 100 years ago. Early on the morning that he died; Mr Reynolds wrote to his family that he knew "not all of us will come back.”

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/freshwater-marks-anzac-day-with-fighter-jets-songs-and-stories-of-freshie-men-and-women-20150425-1mszo9.html

Fred’s courageous story was also told that day by the then Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. Tony Abbott in his Anzac Day address, as well as the Governor of NSW, His Excellency General, The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC, formerly the Chief of the Defence Force.

At the Anzac Service in 2016, the former Mayor of Warringah, Cllr. Michael Regan officially unveiled Fred’s Memorial Footpath Plaque (below) now installed alongside Fred’s “Lone Pine” tree.

On 10 November 2019, the Freshwater community celebrated the Centenary of the establishment of the Soldiers Avenue of Honour, a remarkable longevity. It was marked by an Armistice Day Ceremony in Jacka Park; the installation of Footpath Memorial Plaques in a newly established footpath along the northern side of the Avenue, and the ceremonial planting of a Queensland Brush Box tree by Her Excellency, the Governor of New South Wales, the Honourable Margaret Beazley, AM QC. Descendants of families, including Fred Reynolds family, for which the Avenue was originally designated, were in attendance as part of a large Community Gathering.

The memory of Fred Austin Reynolds is kept alive at the Australian Army Museum of Military Engineering, Australian Army History Unit, Holsworthy who provided many of the photographs in this story of the 1st Field Coy of New South Wales Engineers in Egypt, Lemnos and Gallipoli.

 

Today, Fred is also lovingly remembered by his proud Family.

Her Excellency, The Honourable Margaret Beazley , A.O.Q.C. at Fred Reynolds Tree. Armistice Day 2019.

Source

  1. Photo of Fred Reynolds and information from the Reynolds/Matzen family collection. Photos of Mike Baird, Fred Reynolds tree in Soldiers Avenue, footpath plaque, the Hon. Margaret Beazley, Governor of NSW, the Roll of Honour in Freshwater and War Memorial Corso Manly from private collections.

  2. WW1 Attestation papers from Australian War Memorial

  3. Photos from War Memorial as marked

  4. Photos of the Afric, Lemnos and Middle East from the 1st Field Company Engineers Museum collection and http://www.flotilla-australia.com/hmat.htm#A19

  5. Picture of cemetery on Gallipoli: Shrapnel_Valley_Commonwealth_War_Graves_Commission_Cemetery#/media/File:Shrapnel_Valley_Commonwealth_War_Graves_Commission_Cemetery.jpg

  6. The story of the Lone Pine.  On 6August, the 1st A.I.F. Div. launched a major offensive at Plateau 400 on Gallipoli.  The ridges, once covered with the Aleppo pine, had been cleared to provide cover for the Turkish trenches, leaving just one solitary pine.  The area became known as Lone Pine Ridge.  After 3 days of brutal fighting, the Anzacs succeeded in capturing the enemy trenches, but this bloody action cost the Australians 2,000 men.  The Turks’ losses were estimated at 7,000. After the battle, Lance Corp. Benjamin Charles Smith, 3rd Bat.AIF, collected several pine cones from the branches used to cover the Turkish trenches.  He sent to the cones home to his mother, Jane McMullin, in remembrance of his brother Mark who had died in the fighting on 6 Aug.  From one of these cones Mrs. McMullin sowed several seeds and successfully raised two seedlings.  One was planted in Inverell where both her sons had enlisted.  The other was presented to the Australian War Memorial, to be planted in the grounds in honour of all the sons who fell at Lone Pine. https://www.awm.gov.au/shop/lone-pine-seedlings/

 

 

Written and researched by Wendy Mazoudier Machon for the Soldiers Avenue of Honour Stakeholders Group with assistance from Sean Rout and Roy Buirchell.

Tel: (02) 9938 1444

Email: HarbordSB@rslnsw.org.au

88 Evans St,

Freshwater NSW 2096

© 2020 Harbord Diggers RSL Sub Branch

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