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Frederick William Booty


Serial No:
Serial No. 5333

2nd Battalion, 54th Battalion, 14th Machine Gun Company & 14th Brigade Headquarters


Frederick William Booty - Information

When the war commenced, Frederick was living in Wagga Wagga with his family. Frederick was born in Camden to Enoch and Charlotte Booty. He eventually acquired gainful employment as a Bank Manager within the Bank of NSW in Wagga Wagga. At the age of 27, Frederick decided to enlist in the AIF at Cootamundra on the 25th of November 1915. During training, he was assigned to the 17th Reinforcements, 2nd Battalion as a Private. He boarded the HMAT Ceramic on the 14th of April which set forth from Sydney Harbour across the seas.

Frederick landed in Suez, Egypt in mid May, and was then transferred to the 54th Battalion at Tel-el-Kebir on the 24th of May. The following month, he was shipped to the Western Front in France. Frederick and his unit were thrust into action, going over the top at Fromelles on the 19th of July. It was a miserable failure; more than half the 5th Division became casualties. At Etaples Base, he was made Acting Corporal on the 3rd of October. However, he reverted back to Private, before being sent to the Machine Gun Depot in Camiers. Here, he was designated to the 14th Machine Gun Company on the 25th of November. He was then attached for clerical duties with the 14th Field Infantry Brigade Headquarters in January 1917. Here, he helped the Brigade participate in operations on the Western Front, organising logistics and communications. The following year, he was permanently assigned to Headquarters and promoted to Corporal on the 15th of February 1918. On the 8th of May, Frederick was wounded when his position was fired upon with mustard gas shells. He was unprepared for the attack, unable to get to a mask, he was severely poisoned. He was rushed to hospital by the 14th Field Ambulance. Mustard gas is corrosive to flesh, it damaged his eyes and he could not see. Treated with sodium bicarbonate eye drops, his eyes were kept bandaged. He was then evacuated to England on the 16th of May, admitted to War Hospital in Exeter. By now, he was also suffering from a rapid pulse and had lost his voice (aphonia). Frederick had taken in a large dose of mustard gas, and it took six weeks for his voice to return. In August, Frederick left hospital and was stationed to Tidworth Camp. He was then granted a furlough, but unluckily was rushed back to hospital when he contracted influenza. Frederick was very ill; the acuteness of the infection arose from his gas-damaged lung tissue. In mid November, he returned to the 14th Infantry Brigade Headquarters. However, the effects of the gas and influenza had taken its toll, with continued poor health. Consequently, he was invalided back to Australia with debility on the 18th of December 1918.