Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Frederick Bayles

Bayles Railway Station, 1924.
Photograph from the Bayles Fauna Park collection.

The area where the town of Bayles is now located was originally known as Yallock, however when the Strzelecki Railway line went through in 1922, the station for the Yallock settlement was called Bayles, after Frederick Bayles. All I knew about Bayles was that he was the first member of the Railway Construction Branch to be killed in World War One (WW1), so I thought I would do some research, through freely available resources, and see what I could find out about him.

Because we know he was killed in WW1 the first place to start was the Australian War Memorial (A.W.M.) in Canberra. Their website,
www.awm.gov.au, has digitised copies of the WW1 Embarkation Rolls which are details of approximately 330,000 AIF personnel, recorded as they embarked from Australia for overseas .The Embarkation rolls tell us that Frederick enlisted on August 20th 1914. He was 30 years old, of the Church of England religion and his occupation was listed as a Clerk in Government Service. His address on enlistment was 64 Hoddle Street in Abbotsford. His next of kin was his brother George Bayles of 6 Watery Lane, Merton Park in London. The War Memorial also has digitised copies of the Nominal rolls, which are details of approximately 324,000 AIF personnel, recorded to assist with their repatriation to Australia from overseas service. The Nominal Rolls tell us that Frederick was a Private in the 7th Battalion and he was killed in action May 8th 1915.

H.M.A.T Honorata - Frederick embarked on this ship on October 19th, 1914.

We can access Frederick’s entire Military records through the National Archives of Australia site www.naa.gov.au All the Military records from WW1 have been digitised and can be printed off or saved (the first page of Frederick's record can be seen below). His Military Records give us some personal details about Frederick, such as his height (5 feet, seven inches) and his weight (11 stone 4 pounds). He had a ‘fresh’ complexion and blue eyes and fair hair. The Examining Medical Officer found that he was fit for active service. We also find that Frederick embarked on H.M.A.T Honorata from Melbourne on October 19th 1914. He was a bugler, in ‘A’ Company of the 7th Battalion. Frederick was killed in Action at Gallipoli, less than two weeks after the ANZACs landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula, on April 25th -26th.

Frederick’s brother, George, was listed as his next of kin on his enrolment form. Frederick’s Military Record has copies of various letters sent between the Army and George. George enquired about his brother’s personal effects and any wages that Frederick might be owed. There is no information as to whether George received any of Frederick’s personal effects. George was, however, sent a memorial plaque, a memorial scroll and some war medals.

From the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website at www.cwgc.org we can discover that Frederick has his name on the Helles Memorial in Turkey which serves a memorial to the Commonwealth service men who died on the Gallipoli Peninsula and have no known grave or were buried at sea. This site lists Frederick’s parents as John and Louisa Bayles of Battersea in London.

The Helles Memorial, in Turkey, where Frederick has his name listed.

Frederick was listed as single on his enlistment form but I wanted to find out some details of his family. The Ancestry Family History database has copies of the English Census data. You can access Ancestry free at any of the Casey Cardinia libraries. As we know his parents names, it wasn’t that hard to locate the family. It seems that Fred was the youngest child of John and Louisa. He is listed as being born in Battersea in London. Their first child was Louisa (b.1869), Annie (1871) Eleanor (1873), Arthur (1875), Alice (1877), George (1882) and then Fred (1884). John, their father, was a stonemason. In the 1901 Census, the final census currently open to the public, there were just three children still living at home - Alice, 24, a tailoress ; George 19 a farmer and Fred, who was listed as a clerk. Their address was 59 Tyneham Road, Wandsworth, London, the same address where they were living in the 1891 census. This was just around the corner from where the family were living in the 1881 Census, at Ashbury Road

When did Frederick arrive in Australia? There is a record of a Frederick Bayles, aged 29, arriving in Melbourne on the Norseman in August 1913, so this most likely our Frederick. This was from the Index to Unassisted Inward Passenger Lists to Victoria 1852-1923, available on the Public Records Office of Victoria website, www.prov.vic.gov.au

We now know that Frederick arrived here in August 1913, and was employed with the Victorian Railways as a clerk. Then a year after he arrived, he enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force and by the following May, he was dead. You would have to surmise that he had made a big impact on his fellow workers because seven years later, they honoured him by naming the Bayles Railway Station after him. According to the Cranbourne Shire Rate Books (available at our Libraries) by 1923-1924, the name had spread to the small settlement surrounding the Station, so the town is memorial to Frederick and, in a sense, his fellow soldiers who were killed during the First World War.

The first page of Frederick's Military Record from the National Archives of Australia website. It contains his signature, the only physical link we have to Frederick.

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