• Frederick John Jenkins

Army / Flying Corps
  • 23rd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • 6th Brigade
  • Lieutenant

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  • 1914–1915 Star
  • Military Medal (MM)
  • Mentioned in Despatches (MID)
  • British War Medal
  • Victory Medal
  • Military Cross (MC)
  • Enlistment - WW1

    Beaufort, VIC, Australia

  • Birth

    Bendigo, Victoria, Australia

Stories and comments
    • Letter from Cpl Fred Jenkins re the Southland saga
    • Posted by FrevFord, Thursday, 25 September 2014

    Bendigo Advertiser Tue 23rd Nov 1915: CORPORAL F. JENKINS. In a letter to his mother, Mrs Jenkins, Corporal Fred Jenkins, of Kangaroo Gully, states:- “We all in B Company, as well as another battalion, have had a rather thrilling experience to start with. When only a few hours from our destination, and just when we thought we were out of the danger zone, our boat was torpedoed by what we reckoned a Turkish or an Austrian submarine. The boys on guard saw the torpedo as it shot through the water to the ship, and the man on the gun had a shot at the submarine when her conning tower showed above the water, but unfortunately he missed, and she got safely away. You can just imagine what a scatter there was as our ship trembled with the terrific explosion on the port side, and when five successive blasts on the siren told all hands to man the boats. There was much confusion during the lowering of the boats. Some tipped up as they were lowered from the davits; men splashed about in the water, some floating with the aid of life-belts, others making their last efforts to get a final breath. “I had a very tough go, and had I not been well able to swim and also given a little more confidence in myself in the shape of half a lifebelt, well, I’m sure that I would have been drowned at least half a dozen times. I was first in a mishap in the lower of our boat. We pulled some 50 or more yards from the ship and found that the boat, now tossing in the billows and almost full of water, was very heavily overtaxed and endangering the lives of all in it. Volunteers were called for to leave this one, and to swim some distance for another, which was almost about half full. So leaving comparative safety and diving overboard, seven others followed me, only to find that the boat we were making for rowed away, leaving us to the mercy of the waves. At last I saw at some considerable distance an upturned boat, and men swarmed on top of it, others clinging on to the edges. It took me quite a long time before I got there, but was glad to cling on to something. We were now wondering what was to be our next move, when all of a sudden a huge wave washed everybody off the boat, and tipped her clean over. I was now right under her, with dozens of half drowned, struggling fellows grappling out for someone to catch hold of. All seemed up the pole. “I was beginning to feel I was drowning, but on coming to the surface here was our boat right side up again, but almost full of water. A couple of chaps jumped in, and bailed enough water out to enable the survivors to get in too. This we gladly did, and after rowing against the wind and billows for a couple of hours towards an island which we could see in the distance, a boat was seen coming to our assistance. At last there were about half a dozen boats in sight, and our craft was picked up by a British battleship, and brought to the island here. Quite a lot of men were killed in the explosion of the torpedo, and lots of others were drowned, but taking all into consideration, the casualty list was small. “All the chaps proceeded to the front a few days later with those on the other transports, but a few of us, with minor injuries, have been in hospital tents for a week. I was right at the gun when our man fired at the submarine, and what with a couple of hours in the water, I got a good shaking up. An abscess formed inside my right ear, and I am practically deaf in it now. The doctors thought they would have to operate, but after several days it all discharged through my ear, and since then I’m just about right. We will be re-equipped again in a few days, and it’s only four hours run across from here. You can hear the guns booming at night. Don’t worry. I’m perfectly well, and feel fit to come safely through anything after our last little dip.”

    • Biography Frederick John Jenkins
    • Posted by kellierdadds1978, Monday, 18 November 2019

    Frederick John Jenkins (1892-1983), soldier and farmer, was born on 17 June 1892 at Kangaroo Flat, Bendigo, Victoria, seventh child of Morgan Jenkins, a miner from Wales, and his locally born wife Fanny, née Oldfield. Educated at the Bendigo Continuation School, he began teaching in the Victorian Education Department in 1909. He gained his trained teacher’s certificate in 1913 and was at Chute State School, near Beaufort, when he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 23 February 1915. He was posted to the 23rd Battalion. Fred’s younger brothers Jenkin Edward (Ted) and Alfred Morgan Jenkins were students of Big Hill State School in 1907. Alfred was later appointed as Chairman of the Big Hill Residents’ Committee and moved a motion on 5th April 1919 that a piano be purchased and that “such a piano to be a memorial to the Big Hill Boys who fought in the Great War of 1914 – 1918”. The piano remains in the school today. In May Jenkins sailed for Egypt. His troopship, the Southland, was torpedoed en route to Gallipoli on 2nd September 1915 and he was admitted to hospital at Mudros suffering from deafness. Joining his unit on the peninsula early in October, he served there until December 1915. In March 1916 he went with his battalion to France as a substantive sergeant. He was awarded a Military Medal for his actions on 28 July at Pozières, where, with two other soldiers, he destroyed an enemy machine-gun while under heavy fire; he was wounded in the right hand. Jenkins was commissioned in August 1917. For his conduct during the third battle of Ypres, Belgium, in September-October, in which he `set a splendid example to his men’, he was awarded the Military Cross. He had been mentioned in despatches. In November he was promoted to lieutenant. On 23 April 1918 he was again wounded, in his right arm and face. After recovering, he returned to his unit in July and was awarded a Bar to his MC for his actions as company commander in the capture of Mont St Quentin, France, on 1 September. The citation read: `by his splendid leadership, courage and initiative he was able to advance 600 yards [549 m] in the face of fierce machine-gun fire, capturing eighty prisoners and causing heavy enemy casualties. Later he made a daring reconnaissance over very exposed ground’. After his AIF appointment terminated in Melbourne on 15 July 191, Jenkins went back to school teaching for a short time, but resigned to take up a soldier-settlement block at Red Cliffs on the Murray River