Frederick (Fredrick) John COCKREM

Year of Birth:  1900

Place of Birth:  Charters Towers, Queensland

Date of Enlistment:  8 May 1917

Date and Place of Embarkation:  31 October 1917, Sydney, New South Wales

Ship:  HMAT Euripides A14

Rank:  Private

Unit(s):  52nd Australian Infantry Battalion – 10 Reinforcements

Regimental Number:  3616

Died:  24 April 1918

 

Pte. F J Cockrem – photo courtesy Discovering Anzacs

 

Fredrick John Cockrem was born in 1900 to parents Frederick Cockrem and Rhoda Rhodes.  Frederick had a brother Alfred George (1901) a half sister, Cecilia Mary (1890) and two half brothers, Thomas Victor (1903) and Alfred Charles Henry (1907).

On his enlistment in Cairns he was aged 18 years 5 months, his occupation a Carpenter and next of kin his father, Mr Fredrick Cockrem, Taylor Street, Cairns who also gave the written permission for Fredrick to join the army.  It was noted on the permission form that his mother was deceased.  He was described as 5 feet 8 inches in height, weighed 127 pounds with a fair complexion, brown eyes and brown hair.  He was Presbyterian.  Frederick also spent 4 years in the Citizen Forces.

He embarked from Sydney on 31 October 1917 on the HMAT Euripides. While on the voyage to England Private Cockrem was admitted to hospital sick for 5 days then disembarked in England on 26 December 1917.  He had several more admissions to hospital while in England before shipping out to Calais, France on 16 April 1918.

Fredrick John Cockrem was killed in action, by machine gun fire,  only 8 days later at the retaking of Villers Bretonneux.  He is buried at Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, Picardie, France.

Nearly a year later his sister, on behalf of their father, contacted the authorities enquiring as to the whereabouts of his personal effects.  They were subsequently advised that they had been lost when the ship returning them to Australia, the transport ship SS Barunga was sunk by a German submarine on 15 July 1918, 150 miles south west of the Scilly Isles. The ship was carrying 855 Australian soldiers, mainly invalids, home to Australia. The survivors were transferred to escorting destroyers and taken to Plymouth. The SS Barunga had been the German ship Sumatra captured in Sydney at the outbreak of war.

 

HMAT Euripides A14 – photo courtesy Australian War Memorial

 

Red Cross Wounded & Missing, AWM

 

NAA B2455 – Letter from Fredrick’s sister

 

NAA B2455 – reply

 

Cairns Post 29 May 1918 p4

 

Online Resources

Queensland Birth Death & Marriage Index

NAA:  B2455 Cockrem, F J, National Archives Australia

Australian War Memorial

Photograph of HMAT Euripides A14, Australian War Memorial

Photograph of Frederick John Cockrem – Discovering Anzacs

Information about S.S. ‘Barunga’

Trove Digitised Newspapers, National Library of Australia

 

If you have a photograph or further information about this soldier you would like to share and add to his biography, please contact the Society projects@cdfhs.org

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