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Frederick George Pitty BARBOUR

Rank Reg/Ser No DOB Enlisted Discharge/Death Board
CQM Sergeant 3273A 20y4m 03 Aug 1915 25 Feb 1917 - DW 2 & 7

Frederick (Fred) George Pitty Barbour (1895-1917) 


Family Background and Early Life

Frederick Barbour was born on the 23 March 1895 in Summer Hill, New South Wales, the second son of George Pitty Barbour and Isabella Frederica (nee Hibberd) Barbour.  George Barbour was a respected scholar and sportsman, who, after a distinguished career at the University of Sydney and Sydney High School, became classics and sport master at Sydney Grammar School and remained there for 22 years until 1910 when he became Headmaster of Toowoomba Grammar School, a position he held until 1935 when he retired. Under his leadership, the school expanded greatly and he was loved and respected by his pupils.

George's sons were educated at this school. All of them were fine scholars and keen sportsmen, following their father who played tennis, cricket, football and golf, but especially cricket – George Barbour was at one time chairman of the Australian Cricket Board of Control.

Frederick passed the Sydney University Junior Examination in 1911 (at that time, before the University of Queensland was established, Queensland scholars sat the examinations set by Sydney University) with 4 A’s, 3 B’s and 1 C (Geometry, how well I can understand that) and went on to become Head Boy of the school and captain of the cricket team. He won a scholarship to Queensland University in 1915 on the results of his Senior Examination, with passes in Ancient History, English, German, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry and Geology, and Merits in French and Latin and was enrolled in the Faculty of Arts. He boarded at Emmanuel College, a residential Presbyterian College which was founded in 1911, largely due to the efforts of the Rev Ernest Merrington and was situated at that time on Wickham Terrace; close to Saint Andrew’s.

Ernest Merrington no doubt kept a fatherly eye on the students. This may be the reason Fred Barbour's name appears on our Honour Board as there is no evidence that he attended Saint Andrew’s and in fact he gave his religion as ‘Baptist’ on his enlistment in the army. Perhaps his name appears on a memorial at the Baptist Tabernacle!

Enlistment & Service in World War 1

His enlistment details are:-

• Age:  20 years
• Height:  5 feet 6 inches (168cm)
• Weight: 131 pounds (59kg)
• Chest: 33/37 inches (84-94cm)
• Eyes:   brown
• Hair:   dark brown
• Religion:  Baptist

Frederick embarked from Brisbane for active service on the 30 December 1915 in the ship Itonus for France and service with the 9th Battalion A.I.F.  His army number was 3273A, he was promoted Corporal on 12 September 1916 and Company Quarter-Master Sergeant on 16 October 1916.

He died of wounds on 25 February 1917. His elder brother, Eric Pitty Barbour, also serving in the Australian Army in France as a Medical Officer, made strenuous efforts to find out how he died.

The Red Cross who handled such enquiries, sent him a copy of a letter from J. T. Laddock who was there at the time:-

“re C.Q.M. Sgt Barbour’s death, I am only too pleased to give you all the information I can, as Barbour was a particular friend of mine. On the evening of the 25th Feb all the Coy Q. M. Sgts of this Bat’n were at a spot called Turk’s Dump about a mile west of the village of Flers. We were getting rations ready for a party to take to the front line.

Unfortunately a high explosive shell from the enemy burst right in the centre of the party, killing 11 and wounding 16.  Poor Fred Barbour was wounded badly in the head and stomach. He was taken to a dressing station called “Edward’s Port” and died shortly after.

Although I was not hit still I had a touch of shell shock and was not much good for several hours. I did not see Barbour after he was hit but saw where he was buried. The spot is near the junction of two roads and near some other graves. A cross would have been erected by us if we had been moved back next day and have not been in the same sector since (sic).

It is almost certain that the grave has been registered and if we get back that way a cross will be erected. He was buried on the north side of what was called Hexham Road, near where the light railway crossed it.”

Final Resting Place

Fred’s permanent resting place is in the A.I.F burial ground at Fleurs on the Somme.

His name is remembered not only on the Honour Board at Saint Andrew’s, but on the “Roll of Honour and Service” of Queensland University, along with 32 other names of Members, Officials and unmatriculated students who died serving overseas. The motto on the board is “For King and Country” and “Pro Patria Ceciderunt” which means “They have fallen for their country”.

His name also appears on the Honour Board of Toowoomba Grammar School which contains 406 names of those who served, and on a smaller tablet given by Mr and Mrs Barbour, which names 56 Old Boys who were killed.

Select Bibliography
• Australian Birth Index 1788 – 1922
• Australian War Memorial (Photograph 1915 and Roll of Honour)
• Australian Dictionary of Biography 
• Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Bureau Files 1914 – 18 War
• Brisbane Courier Monday 19 March 1917
• University of Queensland Roll of Honour 1914 – 19 
• Toowoomba Grammar School Archives (on line)
• Photographs from 'The Sydneian' magazine of the Sydney Grammar School. Vol 199, March 1909, p20;  Vol 203, March 1910, p12; Vol 204, May 1910; Vol 205, September 1910, p2, p10,
• Discovering Anzacs, National Archives of Australia and New Zealand.
• State Library of Queensland, images of Toowoomba Grammar School and the Toomoomba Grammar School 1st XI Cricket team 1915.
• Photographs from Fleurs, France - Ian Withnall

Compiled by Greta Jarvis, June 2014.  Updated images 2022 and edits by Miriam King, 2023. ©



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