Courtesy of Alan Baldry
Gunner Frederick Charles Baldry
Pakenham & District War Memorial
Born: 30 April 1896 - Notting Hill, London England
Enlisted: 7 July 1915 aged 19
Unit: 6th Battalion, 9th Reinforcement (SERN: 2931)
Served: Egypt & Western Front
Died: 14 January 1987 - Sydney, NSW
Also known as “Fred”, Frederick was born in England, the son William Henry Baldry and Sarah Jane Russell. According to the 1901 census, young Fred was living in Paddington, London with his mother and siblings (1). As a teenager in 1911, Fred was already working as an office boy at the National Penny Bank (2). He subsequently migrated to Australia in July 1914 when he was just 18 years old (3). For the twelve months prior to emigrating, Fred served with the Territorial Forces (army reserve) back in England (4). Fred was already in Pakenham by October 1914 when he gave money to the local patriotic fund (5). Fred was working as a farm labourer in Pakenham South when he enlisted on 7 July 1915 (6). Fred was assigned to the 6th Battalion 9th Reinforcement at Seymour Army Camp. In September 1915 he left Australia for Egypt. There, Fred was taken on strength, first with the 6th Battalion and then the 58th Battalion. In March 1916 he was assigned to the 54th Battery, 14th Field Artillery Brigade and later transferred to the Western Front (7). James Blackwood, who was also from Pakenham South, later served in the same battery. The 54th Battery saw action at the Battle of Fromelles in July 1916, and later on the Somme. In September 1916, Fred was hospitalised with measles (8).
Fred returned to Australia in April 1919 and was discharged in Melbourne in July (9). In November 1919, he was honoured at a special welcome home social for returned soldiers held at Pakenham South. At this event, Fred received a special medallion from the local community (10). In 1920, his name was included in the list of Pakenham South Diggers to be inscribed on the Pakenham & District War Memorial (11). In 1924, Fred married Hannah (“Annie”) Florence Day at Yarraville. They eventually had eight children (12). Fred applied for a War Service Home Grant in 1924 when he was living at Williamstown (13). In the late 1920s, though, he was working as a millhand at Powelltown State Sawmill near Drouin (14). Fred later became a milkman, living in Oakleigh and then Carnegie. Two of Fred’s sons went on to serve with the RAAF during WWII (15). Fred died in Sydney in 1987 while living with one of his sons. He was buried at Springvale Cemetery (16).
The assistance of Fred’s grandson Alan Baldry is gratefully acknowledged.
(1) Ancestry.com.au - 1901 Census of England and Wales
(2) Ancestry.com.au - 1911 Census of England and Wales
(3) (14) (15) & (16) Information provided by Alan Baldry
(4) (7) (8) (9) & (13) NAA NAA B2455, BALDRY F C
(5) South Bourke & Mornington Journal 29/10/1914 p. 3
(6) NAA B2455, BALDRY F C and Pakenham Gazette 21/11/1919 for Fred’s connection with Pakenham South.
(10) Pakenham Gazette 21/11/1919 p. 2
(11) Pakenham Gazette 29/10/1920 p. 3
(12) Baldry Family History - http://www.art-science.com/Baldry/g92_Oz.html