Frank Percival Doust
Serial No. 2396
Frank Percival Doust - Information
Frank Percival, known as Percy, was a member of a large Camden family, who originally settled in Cawdor. Frank was the youngest son of David and Harriet Doust, born in Cawdor on the 24th of September 1888. He grew up in the Camden area, before the family moved to Long Corner Rd in Canowindra. Percy made a life for himself in Canowindra, working as a farmer and becoming a member of the Star of Canowindra Lodge. After the war commenced, he witnessed many of his friends leave for war service, his cousin, Albert Doust, shipped out in August 1915. Not wanting to be excluded from the grand adventure, Percy also decided to sign up. He enlisted in Sydney on the 3rd of March 1916, aged 27. Having completed his training, he set off from Sydney onboard the HMAT Aeneas on the 30th of September 1916, as a Private with the 5th Reinforcements, 56th Battalion.
Frank arrived in England for further training at the 14th Training Battalion. By the end of the year, he was transported to France and marched into Etaples Base. Percy joined the 56th Battalion in the field in early February 1917. Percy was introduced into trench warfare, as the Anzacs advanced the line, following the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line. Attacking their new trench system, they participated in the Second Battle of Bullecourt, which commenced on the 3rd of May. Percy was then wounded in action on the 16th of May, hit in his right shoulder with shell shrapnel. He was rushed by the 14th Field Ambulance to the 5th Dressing Station. It was a slight wound, and he was discharged to duty on the 21st of May, returning to his unit three days later. However, he was shortly readmitted to hospital with defective vision. He was released in early July, meeting the 56th Battalion as they were moved for operations for the Third Battle of Ypres in Belgium. Percy and his unit were put into position for attacks at Polygon Wood. Just before the attack commenced, Percy was wounded a second time, when he was knocked by a shell explosion on the 23rd of September. He received initial treatment at the 10th Casualty Clearing Station with contusions to his back and a bruised kidney. Admitted to the 2nd Australian General Hospital on the 24th, he was then invalided to the UK in early October. Here, he was admitted to the Boscombe Military Hospital with shell shock. At the end of November, he was moved to the 3rd Auxiliary Hospital in Dartford. Percy was suffering with severe internal trauma and anxiety. In 1918, he was stationed in Hurdcott, before leaving Southampton for the Western Front on the 2nd of April. Still a little shaken up, he returned to the bitter fighting around Villers-Bretonneux. Sadly, at this time, Percy’s mother passed away on the 22nd of April 1918 in Molong. This only compounded matters, as he was most likely suffering with shell shock. As a result, he was detached for duty with the 14th Field Company Engineers at Havre. However, on the 1st of June, Percy rejoined the 56th Battalion in the field. He was then wounded a third time on the 31st of August, when they were going over the top towards Clery, near Mt St Quentin, about 10am. His wounds were severe, shell fragments penetrated his face and skull, and were haemorrhaging heavily. A mate, Private Porrett, dressed his wounds, as Percy was complaining that he could not see as the fragments hit his eyes. He was rushed by stretcher bearers to the Dressing Station and later to the 53rd Casualty Clearing Station. Here, he died of his wounds later that day. He was buried at the Daours Communal Cemetery, Daours, France.
Back in Australia, David was grieving at the loss of his beautiful wife and beloved son. In the early 1920s, David returned to the Camden area, to be with his family, before passing away in 1926.