Frederick Walter Wilkinson
Serial No. 14976
9th Field Company Engineers & 4th Field Company Engineers
Frederick Walter Wilkinson - Information
The Wilkinsons were a family of plumbers who worked out of a shop on Queen St in Campbelltown. Frederick's father, William Walter Wilkinson, was born in India before immigrating to Australia with his family. William then became a tinsmith and plumber, before marrying Esther Amelia Oldham. William and Amelia lived in the Sydney suburbs, where he worked on the copper sheet roof of the Sydney Art Gallery. They soon began their family, which included Frederick, who was born in Surrey Hills in 1888. In 1889, William bought a 12 acre farm on Eagleview Rd in Minto and relocated the family. Frederick then trained as a plumber under his father and older brother William Charles. From 1912, Frederick worked out of his father's shop on Queen St. After the war started, Frederick travelled into Sydney to join the AIF. He enlisted at Rosebery Park on the 29th of February 1916, aged 27.
In late March, Frederick was naturally made a Sapper with the 9th Field Company Engineers at the Engineers Depot in Moore Park. He then embarked Sydney Harbour onboard the HMAT Aeneas on the 30th September 1916. He stepped off the ship in Plymouth in mid November, and was marched out to No. 3 Camp at Parkhouse. While Frederick was training in England, he was graciously accepted into the home of Marj Fuller who lived in Kent. Marj Fuller was the sister-in-law of Campbelltown local Louisa Longhurst, a family friend. Many Campbelltown boys stayed at Aunt Marj's, enjoying a little bit of luxury away from the trenches and Army Camps. In March 1917, Frederick was sent to the Western Front and taken on strength to the 4th Field Company Engineers. Frederick used his plumbing and handyman skills whilst working in the lines. Engineers set up and maintained electrical cables, waterways, dugouts, billets, and worked on anything mechanical, and in some cases joined in on the fighting. In March 1918, Frederick was detached for duty with the Australian Corps School. However in May, he was admitted to hospital with enteritis, and was later invalided to England to the Middlesex War Hospital. Frederick went before a medical review board, and was given a medical discharge for cellulitis. He was sent home onboard the Medic and arrived in Australia in October. Frederick returned to his family in Campbelltown, and took over running his father's plumbing business. He then married Rita Longhurst, one of Louisa and William Longhurst's daughters.