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Patrick Francis Fitzgerald

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Patrick Francis Fitzgerald
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Personal Information
Date of Birth 28 Feb 1866
Place of Birth Mitchellstown, Limerick, Ireland
Death 1 May 1954
Place of Death Leederville, aged 87
Age at Enlistment 43 years, 3 months (see notes)
Description 5'3" (1.60m) tall ; 131 lbs
59.421 kg
; fresh complexion ; blue eyes ; dark brown hair
Occupation Brickmaker
Religion Roman Catholic
Address Armadale, Western Australia
Next of Kin Son , Mr Daniel Fitzgerald
Military Information
Reg Number 2661
Date of Enlistment 10 Jun 1916
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 48th Battalion, 6th Reinforcements transferred to 32nd Battalion / 8th Brigade, 5th Division
Date of Embarkation 30 Oct 1916 ‒ 28 Dec 1916
Ship Embarked On HMAT A16 Port Melbourne
Date of Return 1 Jun 1919 ‒ 8 Jul 1919
Ship Returned On SS Somali
Fate Wounded in Action 24 Apr 1918 at Ancre
Returned to Australia
Monument Armadale War Memorial (Beenup panel)
Armadale and Districts Roll of Honour
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal



Pre War

Patrick was a widower. In 1890 he had married Mary Maud Costigan in Victoria. Daughter Margaret Mary born 9 Aug 1891. Wife Mary died in Darebin on 5 Jun 1894 aged 21, and daughter Mary died in East Perth on 1 Dec 1925.

Electoral Roll entry - 1910 a mill hand at Wellington Mills

War Service

Prior to embarking for overseas, Patrick was a member of many drafts at Blackboy Hill. Six weeks after enlisting he was allocated to the 23rd reinforcement draft for the 11th Battalion, but 3 days later was switched to the 22nd reinforcement draft for the 16th Battalion, and then on 5 Sep 1916, transferred to the 6th draft for the 48th Battalion.

On arrival in England he joined the 12th Training Battalion at Codford before proceeding overseas to France on 15 Feb 1917 aboard the HMT Princess Victoria from Folkestone to join the 4th Australian Division Base Depot.

On 21 Mar 1917 he was taken on strength by the 32nd Battalion along with 28 other reinforcements. The battalion was at that time engaged on road repair duty in the Somme Valley near Gueudecourt. On 2 Jul 1917 a charge of drunkenness was proven against him, costing him £3/10/-, and 14 days Field Punishment No.2 (see notes). In Feb 1918 Patrick was granted two weeks leave in England.

On 24 Apr 1918 the Germans heavily shelled the 32nd Battalion who were in the reserve line west of Vaux sur Somme as part of the German attack on Villers-Bretonneux.

"At Corbie in Reserve Line west of Vaux sur Somme. Strength 41 Officers and 783 men - Enemy artillery very active on whole sector in sympathy with his attack on Villers-Bretonneux; Battalion area heavily shelled with mustard gas and H.E. Conduct of men while under gas shelling was very good."[1]

Casualties for 24th and 25th August were 4 Killed, 24 wounded; 13 gassed. Patrick received a severe shell wound to his right thigh, and was treated at 11th Australian Field Ambulance and the 10th General Hospital in Rouen before being evacuated to England on 28 Apr 1918 aboard HMHS Panama.

In England he was admitted to 5th Southern General Hospital in Portsmouth the next day. When Patrick recovered he was posted on 10 Aug 1918 to the staff of the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital in Dartford which serviced those with war-related nerves and neurosis, and on 5 Sep 1918 was formally transferred from the 32nd Battalion to the Australian Army Medical Corps.

In 1918 he confessed to being aged 52, so he was 50 at time of enlistment, i.e. born c1866. He returned to Australia as a member of hospital staff on duty on the SS Somali leaving England on 1 Jun 1919.

Discharged by the 5th Military District on 15 Aug 1919.


Post War

Married Elizabeth Alice Blackmore in 1922.

Electoral Roll entries - 1925 a brickmaker in Cardup with Elizabeth Alice; 1931 - 1949 brickmaker in Clifton road, Byford; 1954 a pensioner.

Notes

Field punishment could be awarded by a court martial or a commanding officer for any offence committed on active service. There were two categories of field punishment. Field punishment No. 2 consisted of heavy labouring duties, and several hours a day shackled . All offenders awarded field punishment would march with their unit, carry their arms and accoutrements, perform all their military duties as well as extra fatigue duties, and be treated as defaulters.

  1. The 32nd Battalion's War Diary notes for 24 Aug 1918

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