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Frost, Frederick Charlesworth (1891–1971)

by J. G. Williams

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 8, (MUP), 1981

Frederick Charlesworth Frost (1891-1971), soldier and plasterer, was born on 11 April 1891 at Redfern, Sydney, son of Thomas Frost, sawyer and later machinist, and his wife Rosette, née Charlesworth, both from Leicestershire, England. He spent his childhood in the Redfern area and on leaving school worked as a plasterer for the firm of Bowering & Pratt of Marrickville. On 18 May 1912 he married Adelaide Jane Wickham at St Thomas Anglican Church, Balmain.

On 15 November 1915 Frost enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force and embarked for France in April 1916 with the 11th reinforcements for the 20th Battalion. In October he joined the battalion in the Ypres salient and soon after went into billets for a rest period at Steenvoorde. Transferring to the 61st Battalion in March 1917, he was promoted lance corporal in August. On 24 October he returned to his old battalion, then in billets at La Temple near Steenvoorde; he was promoted corporal in July 1918.

During the attack on Mont St Quentin on 31 August 1918 he won his first Distinguished Conduct Medal. Early in the day he and four men brought in twelve prisoners and two machine-guns. After the battalion had secured its objective by clearing the village of Feuillaucourt there was a withdrawal and it was then that Frost, normally in charge of a Lewis-gun section, remained behind alone and protected the movement of his company. Although the enemy were close at one stage he withdrew slowly, yard by yard, and killed four Germans who called on him to surrender. On 3 October, in operations against the Hindenburg line at Beaurevoir, he received a Bar to his Distinguished Conduct Medal for a single-handed daring attack against a heavily protected enemy machine-gun. Next day he was promoted lance sergeant.

Frost returned to Australia on 26 June 1919 and was discharged on 10 August. He resumed his former occupation and lived at Croydon Park, Sydney. He was retrenched during the Depression and worked at various jobs, including one with the water board. During World War II he and his wife worked at the Email munitions factory at Waterloo. After a second period of employment at Pratt's he became a maintenance officer with the Hospitals Contribution Fund and remained working until he was into his seventies.

He died at Newtown on 7 October 1971, survived by his wife and two daughters; one daughter had predeceased him. He was cremated with Anglican rites. Frost was typical of the many for whom the war was a great adventure in an otherwise routine life.

Select Bibliography

  • C. E. W. Bean, The Australian Imperial Force in France, 1918 (Syd, 1942)
  • London Gazette, 18 Feb, 12 Mar 1919
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 9 Oct 1971
  • war diary, 20th Battalion, AIF (Australian War Memorial)
  • records (Australian War Memorial)
  • private information.

Citation details

J. G. Williams, 'Frost, Frederick Charlesworth (1891–1971)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1981, accessed online 21 March 2019.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 8, (MUP), 1981

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