65699 Private Frederick Patrick Stirling – 14th Company, 1st Battalion Otago Infantry

Frederick Patrick Stirling is the only son of Annie Isabella (nee Waterton) and Albert Frederick James Morrison Stirling[i].
The date of Frederick’s birth is difficult to confirm there is a 1917 registration that places his birth as 1st February 1899
but this conflicts with dates on his military papers.

Frederick, known as Fred, had one sister Annie (Queenie) Francis Agnes Stirling born on the 4th November 1899[ii].

The Stirling family lived on Thorndon Quay, Wellington but had a bungalow at Paremata and it is possible that as ‘weekenders’ Fred was enrolled at Plimmerton School in 1908.[iii]

Albert / Bertie / Burt was a keen sailor and was  instrumental in the setting up of the Paremata Sailing Club. The Stirling family moved out to live permanently in Paremata in the 1920’s[iv].

Fred as part of compulsory military training reported to have served with the 3rd Company, Army Service Corp[v] but was not keen on the service being arrested, with another youth, for obstructing a parade of the 32nd Thorndon Senior Cadets on 15th January 1915 for which he was fined 10s.[v]

Fred, on the 9th March 1917, with several other young men was charged with ‘failing to fulfil their obligations under the Defence Act. All were fined 5s and sentenced to three days military detention.[vi]

It is possible that the military detention changed Fred’s attitude as on the 3rd May 1917 he volunteered to serve in the
32nd Reinforcements. Fred’s military attestation papers note that he was a single man living with his parents at 227 Thorndon Quay. His date of birth is registered as 1st May 1897 and that he was working as a boiler maker for D Robinson
& Coy, Wellington [vii].

The enlistment was not completed possibly because of his previous record or his age. On the 11th September 1917 Fred entered camp with the 33rd Reinforcements. 65699 Private Frederick Patrick Stirling, D Company listed as living and working as a boiler man in Wairoa, Hawkes Bay and his date of birth as 18th August 1897.

Private Stirling remained in New Zealand doing basic training for three months leaving New Zealand on the 31st December 1917. The reinforcements arrived in Glasgow in February 1918 and were moved by train to Sling Camp for further training and allocation to their units. Private Stirling was transferred to the Otago Infantry. By the 28th May 1918 Private Stirling
was in France and moved up to the front.

In July 1918 the Otago Battalions were close to Hebuterne  in old German trenches between  Gommecourt Wood  and Pigeon Woods looking to attack Rossignol Wood but on the 20th July 1918 the wood was found to be evacuated and the
line advance through the wood to capture Hebuterne.

On the 20th July 1918, 65699 Private Stirling was wounded and evacuated from the battlefield to Rouen and then to the
No 1 NZ General Hospital at Brockenhurst, England with wounds to the hand and buttocks. Private Stirling remained in hospital until the 5th October 1918 when he was taken on the strength of Codford Military Camp.

There are no entries from 5th October 1918 until 8th August 1919
when 65699 Private Frederick Patrick Stirling was sentenced to
forfeit two days pay for deserting his sentry post[viii].

‘ was A S when acting as a sentry leaving his post before he was
regularly relieved.’

This charge would have resulted in a Court Martial and potentially
the Firing Squad if it had occurred during the war.

Codford Camp and Hospital c1918

Private Stirling eventually left England on SS Remuera leaving on the 12th September 1919 arriving in New Zealand on the 26th October 1918. Private Stirling was discharged on the 23rd November 1919    ‘on the termination of period of engagement.’

Fred married Daisy Constance Deadmarsh in 1930 but the couple were divorced in 1934.

Frederick Patrick Stirling died on the 30th May 1983, NZ Births, Deaths and Marriages indicate that his date of birth as 1st February 1899[ix].

Frederick Patrick Stirling may have been an underage soldier, only 18, based on the dates and on the language used in his court appearances.
The registration of his birth in 1917 may mean that he was adopted or possibly born out of wedlock.

Seventy Five Years 1904 – 1979 Plimmerton School and its environment
NZ BDM Online
Paperspast Online
Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 65699 Private Frederick Patrick Stirling

Codford Camp and Hospital c1918: Timeframes National Library
The runined village of Hebuterne 1918: Timeframes National Library 

[i]     NZ BDM
[ii]    NZ BDM
[iii]   Enrolled ex-pupils from 1904 – 1929; Seventy-Five Years
[iv]   Paramata, 22nd March 1922, Evening Post 
[v]    NZ News, 3rd March 1915, Christchurch Press.
[vi]   NZ News, 9th March 1917, Evening Post 
[vii]  Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files:  65699 Private Frederick Patrick Stirling
[viii] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 65699 Private Frederick Patrick Stirling 
[ix]   NZBDM
The ruined village of Hebuterne  1918