Private Wilfred Victor Rendall
Pakenham State School Roll of Honour
Born: 1897 - Port Melbourne, Victoria
Enlisted: 12 June 1916 aged 18
Unit: 3rd Division Signal Company, 4th Reinforcement (SERN: 15542)
Served: Western Front
Died: 1953 - Fitzroy, Victoria
Wilfred was the son of David Rendall and his first wife Margaret who died when Wilfred was a young boy. In around 1909, the Rendalls moved to Pakenham, where Wilfred’s father became a farmer (1) and built a new house for the family (2). While attending Pakenham State School, Wilfred wrote a letter to the children’s column of the Leader newspaper in Melbourne describing Pakenham and his school: “I will describe our little town called ‘Pakenham’. It is only a small town, but has a great many inhabitants. It has two storekeepers, two blacksmiths and one butcher. The main industry is farming and fruit growing. Mr Grant has an orchard of two hundred (200) acres which is the largest in Australia. Mr Hatfield has thirty-five (35) acres. Mr Grant is very kind to us. He sent a case of apples to the school to be distributed amongst us. We have a nice three-roomed school which is taught by three teachers. The names of them are: - Miss F. Hagens, the school mistress; Miss S. Hagens [sic], and Miss E. Cook. We are holding a concert on 4th June in aid of the school library .... I remain your sincere friend, Wilfred Rendall Age 12 years” (3).
Later, Wilfred became a carpenter, completing a three year apprenticeship with Duff Brothers in West Melbourne (4). When Wilfred enlisted on 12 June 1916, he was living in Frankston, while his father had moved to Dandenong. Since Wilfred was only 18, he needed parental permission to enlist. Wilfred was assigned as a private to the 3rd Division Signal Company 4th Reinforcement. After nearly 3 months at Signal School, Wilfred embarked from Melbourne on 21 October 1916, but had to be disembarked at Fremantle having contracted measles. He returned to duty in January 1917 and resumed the journey to England, where he arrived in late March 1917. Wilfred was taken on strength in France with the 51st Battalion on 21 July 1917. The 51st Battalion’s battle honours in 1917 included Messines, Ypres, Menin Road and Passchendaele. In October 1917 though, Wilfred developed “trench foot” and was invalided to hospital in England and did not rejoin his unit again until February 1918 (5). During 1918, the 51st Battalion was in the thick of the Allied effort to halt the German “Spring Offensive”, including at Dernacourt and Villers-Bretonneux. Later, the 51st participated in the attack at Hamel in July 1918 and the assault on the infamous Hindenburg Line at Epehy in September 1918. Wilfred was in England on leave when the Armistice was signed on 11 November 1918. He returned to his unit in France later that month (6). In February 1919, Wilfred was sent back to England for duty with AIF Administrative Headquarters (Central Registry). Shortly after arriving in England, he was admitted to hospital suffering influenza, with symptoms including fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit), shivering and coughing. Later, Wilfred was given leave for non-military employment before being returned to Australia. He was discharged from the Army on 1 March 1920 (7). When he claimed his Victory Medal in 1923, Rendall was living in West Brunswick (8). That year, Wilfred also married Rose Elizabeth Richardson (9). He later worked as a carpenter. He was not yet 60 when he died.
(1) Ancestry.com.au - Electoral Roll - Flinders - Pakenham 1909 p. 14.
(2) The Standard 26/2/1910, p. 3
(3) Leader 10 July 1909, p. 50.
(4) (5) (6) (7) & (8) NAA B2455 RENDALL WILFRED VICTOR
(9) Births, Deaths & Marriages Victoria - www.bdm.vic.gov.au