Frederick John NELSON

Year of Birth:  1896

Place of Birth:  Townsville, Queensland

Date of Enlistment:  2 December 1915

Date and Place of Embarkation:  18 May 1916, Sydney, New South Wales

Ship:  HMAT Demosthenes A64

Rank:  Private

Unit(s):  41st Infantry Battalion

Regimental Number:  711

Died:  29 April 1917


Private Frederick John Nelson – photo courtesy NAA Discovering Anzacs


Frederick John Nelson was born 18 June 1896 to Frederick T Nelson, Annie O’Neill. The birth of one sister, Annie, born 15 March 1894 could be found but an In Memoriam notice for Frederick John indicates there was more than one sister a Mrs E. M. Douglas who’s address is given as Central Hotel, Cloncurry. Another sister was deceased when Frederick was killed in 1917. Unable to locate any other births for Frederick and Annie. Frederick John’s sister Annie died in 1976.

Frederick John’s mother, Annie Teresa died the day before him, on the 28 April 1917. The Nelson family lived at 24 Florence Street, Cairns.

At the time of his enlistment Frederick John was residing in Townsville and his occupation was an Assistant Engineer; his father gives his occupation as Fireman. He gave his age as 19 years 5 months. His height was 5 feet 9 inches, weighed 132 pounds with dark complexion, blue eyes and black hair. His religion was Roman Catholic. Frederick attended the Convent School in Cairns.

Frederick John Nelson was killed in action on the 29 April 1917 at Ploegsteert Wood during the lead up  operation to the main offensive against the Germans. The main battle at Ploegsteert Wood did not take place until 7 June. Frederick was buried just north of Ploegsteert, 3 miles north of Armentieres and reburied in the Strand Military Cemetery, Ploegsteert, Wallonie, Belgium.


HMAT Demosthenes A84 – photo courtesy of Australian War Memorial


NAA: B2455.  letter from his sister Annie


Roll of Honour Circular. Courtesy of Australian War Memorial.


Cairns Post, 26 April 1919, p4


Marriage certificate of Frederick’s parents, Frederick Nelson & Annie O’Neill. Courtesy of Lenore O’Neill.


Online Resources

Queensland Birth Death & Marriage Index

Photograph of the HMAT Demosthenes. Australian War Memorial

NAA: B2455, Nelson, Frederick John, National Archives of Australia

Photograph Frederick James Nelson

Trove Digitised Newspapers, National Library of Australia


If anyone has a photograph of or further information about this soldier they would like to share and add to his biography, please add a comment or contact the Society

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