1914

WW1

Private Adolphus Frederick (Fred) Gallagher
1918

Private Adolphus Frederick (Fred) Gallagher

1897–1981

Black and white photo of young man in uniform.
Private Adolphus Frederick (Fred) Gallagher, 1915. His attestation papers describe him as being 5 feet 4 inches (164 cm) tall with brown hair and brown eyes and weighing just 123 pounds (56 kg). Susannah Place Museum Collection, Sydney Living Museums
Fred, the youngest of the Gallagher brothers, was 18 years old and working as a carter when he enlisted in April 1915 as a private in 19th Battalion, 1st Reinforcements, with the written permission of his parents.

He left Australia a month later, trained in Egypt with his battalion from late July until mid-August, and on 21 August landed at Anzac Cove.

Fred’s battalion participated in the last big action on Gallipoli, ‘the attack on Hill 60’. He was wounded in action on 28 August and admitted three days later to 1st Australian General Hospital in Heliopolis, Cairo, with a bullet wound to his arm. His mother, Ada, received the notification of his admission by telegram on 11 September and immediately wrote for further details. Fred’s wound was not thought particularly serious, but his service records suggest that his recovery was delayed due to ‘haemo-filia’, and in December 1915 he was sent home. He was officially discharged as medically unfit in August 1916.

However, keen to return to the front, Fred presented himself to a medical board and persuaded the board that he was fit for service. He re-enlisted on 13 November 1916 and embarked from Sydney 12 days later. Unfortunately for Fred, by the time his troopship reached Western Australia he was suffering from influenza, and he spent over a month recovering in Fremantle Hospital before re-embarking for England at the end of January 1917.

Once arrived he was sent for training to Rollestone Camp on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. In a postcard dated 21 April 1917, Fred described to his mother the conditions at the camp and a ‘big review’ of Australian troops by King George:

… we have had some nice weather last week it is just the thing to get some sunshine after having snow and rain there was a big review of all the Australians [sic] troops at Bulford last tuesday and we was inspected by King George if you buy the daily mirror dated Friday april 20 you can get the photo of the review you can get the paper in sydney …

In July 1917 Fred was sent to France with the 28th Battalion, 19th Reinforcements, and two months later he was once again wounded in action. He rejoined his battalion in late November 1917 and served out the rest of the war fighting on the Western Front, with a couple of weeks of English leave in September–October 1918. In July 1919 he sailed from England on the HMAT Chemnitz, a captured German ship used to transport soldiers home, reaching Sydney on 8 September 1919 along with over 400 other men from NSW.