Frederick W. Benbow

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Frederick William Benbow was born and raised in Creswick, Victoria. He was single, and living in Boulder City [aka Kalgoorlie], Western Australia at the outbreak of World War One.[1] F.W. Benbow stated his age upon enlistment was 31 years and 4 months, he was a 'miner',[2] and the nominated next of kin was his mother Susan, who was living at 96 Wilkins Street, Newport, Victoria.

Soon after Benbow's enlistment this announcement appeared in the Kalgoorlie Miner on Thursday, November 25, 1915:

Forty-four miners have been accepted for the above corps and by Friday all will have left Kalgoorlie. Following is a list of those :who have been accepted:-
F.M. Robertson, T.F. O’Dea, J.G. Pettigrew, H.G. Smith, W. Ritchie, R. Connell, E.W. Stephens, J. Richards, W.C. Kemp, H. :Henriksen, J.D. Waddington, H. Lehman, J. Dixon, J.D. Munro, W. Sandercott, H. Porter, H. Jones, E. Cunningham, A. Crotty, G. :Boyland, W. Kelly, W.J. Rogers, J.W. Campbell, W. Mahoney, J. Eddison, W.F. Horton, J.H. Harvey, A. McCormac, T. Bone, F. Copelin, :M. O’Connor, F. Benbow, W. Williams, W.J. Lavers, W.J. Hall, C.C. Grieves, P. McDonald, W. Corcoran, J. Geddes, J. Long, J.K. :Macbeth, A. Irving, J. Baxter, J. Fullwood.
Those miners who wish to join later on can enlist in the ordinary way, and if the West Australian quota is not complete they can be :taken on at Blackboy Hill.

Correspondence contained in Benbow's service record indicates he was resident at 18 Ballarat Street, Yarraville, Victoria in April 1935. Fred Benbow died on 18 June 1950. [3] His death notice appeared in the Argus on Tuesday, 20 June 1950:18a and it read:

BENBOW. - On June 18, at Heidelberg Military Hospital,
Fred Benbow of 11 Schild Street, Yarraville,
the dearly beloved husband of Mary -
late 3rd Tunnelling Co 1st A.I.F., aged 65 years.
-Peacefully sleeping

Benbow died on 18 June 1950 aged 66, and is buried at Footscray General Cemetery.

Military Experience

Sapper Fred Benbow (920) joined the Mining Corps on 27 November 1915, and was later transferred to the 3rd Tunnelling Company on 18 February 1916 immediately before he embarked for France on board the HMAT Ulysses on 20 February 1916: he disembarked at Marseilles on 05 May 1916. Three days later he entrained for Hazebrouck.[4] On 18 June Sapper Benbow was admitted to hospital suffering from influenza: he rejoined his unit on 29 June 1916.

Sapper Benbow was wounded in action in France on 06 May 1917: on 10 May he was sent on from AGH Wimereux to the 3rd London General Hospital at Wandsworth in England, suffering from a gun shot wound to the head and left shoulder. He rejoined his unit in France on 14 September 1917.[5]

On 14 March 1918, Sapper Benbow was admitted to hospital ('sick'), and was subsequently transferred to the General Hospital, France on 04 April 1918. On 11 April he was transferred to the Manor House Hospital in Folkestone, England, suffering from chronic bronchitis. Four weeks later he was moved to the 3rd Auxiliary Hospital where he remained until his discharge on 13 May 1918.[6]

On 23 August 1918 he marched out to Ronelles where he rejoined the 3rd Tunnelling Company. Some time before 31 October 1918, Sapper Benbow was gassed for the second time which necessitated his admission to the 2nd AGH Boulogne, from where he was transferred to the Lines of Communication Hospital on 9 November 1918 suffering from Mustard Bronchitis. He left England barely two months later - on 02 January 1919 - on the H.T. Karmala for return to Australia. He reached Fremantle, Western Australia on 08 February 1919 and his illness was specified as Gas Poisoning.

Frederick William Benbow was discharged from service on 3 April 1919 after being declared Medically Unfit.[7]

On 19 February 1919, Fred Benbow sent a letter to the Base Records Office from the home of Mr J. Toms in Boulder City, Western Australia:-

Dear Sir,
Would you kindly forward to me at the earliest opportunity the records of my time in hospital on the occasions that I was wounded and sick and gassed as I want to hand same into my Lodge for the purpose of drawing my sick pay.
and by doing so you will oblige
No. 920 Spr F.W. Benbow
3rd Australian Tunnl Coy
C/O Mr J. Toms
91a Dwyer Street, Boulder City, Western Australia.

Frederick Benbow also served with his half brother Richard Toms who was five years his senior. Toms was born in Morwell and served with the 2nd Tunnelling Company.[8]

Benbow's half brother is Richard Toms who is also a Tunneller.

See also

3rd Tunnelling Company


  1. Email communication from Andrew Mann (great nephew of Frederick Benbow)to Victorian Interpretive Projects Inc. dated 06 August 2014.
  2. Enlistment papers.
  3. NAA: B2455, Benbow F W
  4. NAA: B2455, Benbow F W
  5. Enlistment papers.
  6. NAA: B2455, Benbow F W
  7. NAA: B2455, Benbow F W
  8. Email communication from Andrew Mann (great nephew of Frederick Benbow) to Victorian Interpretive Projects, 06 August 2014.

Other links,%20VIC,%20Australia

--Cgervasoni (talk) 09:37, 6 August 2014 (EST); --Di Campbell (talk) 17:58, 6 August 2014 (EST)

Can you assist this project by supplying photos or more information on Frederick Benbow? We are looking for copies of photographs and memorabilia relating to tunnellers from the Ballarat Electorate. If you can help, please drop us a line: