AMONG the thousands paying tribute to the Anzacs at this morning’s dawn service at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra will be the descendants of Frederick William Davey, of Albury.
Mr Davey fought in two world wars and suffered a gunshot wound to the thigh at Gallipoli among the wave of soldiers who attempted to take the peninsula from the Turks a century ago today.
His grandson Bill Davey, of Jindera, says the family are incredibly proud of their ancestor but they would love to have more information about his service, particularly during World War I.
Part of the family’s visit to Canberra this week has involved further research at the Australian War Memorial in an attempt to fill in a few more of the gaps.
What the Daveys do know is that Private Frederick Davey, who was born on April 19, 1891, had just turned 24 when he was among soldiers from the 3rd Battalion who landed at Gallipoli on April 25, 1915.
Mr Davey, a linesman, had enlisted on August 21, 1914, in Sydney, listing his next of kin as his wife Kate at the Australian Hotel in Albury, one of three hotels owned by his father William, after whom Davey Road, north of Albury, is named.
Kate Davey was advised by telegram on May 6 that her husband had been injured but no further details were included.
She wrote to the Secretary for Defence from the Australian Hotel, requesting “the full particulars if possible as I am very anxious to hear about him”.
Mrs Davey was later advised, in a letter dated May 17, that her husband was not seriously injured and was among wounded soldiers who had been evacuated to Egypt and were “progressing satisfactorily”.
Frederick Davey returned to Australia after convalescing in Egypt and England and was discharged from the Army on October 21, 1915, at his wife’s request.
In Howard Jones’ March of the Veterans, Mr Davey was described as having “returned to his wife in Albury with strong views”.
At one anti-conscription meeting, Mr Davey, who was among those who formed a branch of the Returned Services Association in Albury and who supported its move to introduce conscription, had “interrupted speakers, causing pandemonium and his wife to faint!”
The Daveys would go on to have seven children, including Bill Davey’s father Jack and Tommy, father to Marian Van Dorssen (nee Davey).
Frederick Davey re-enlisted in the army on July 31, 1941, serving in Australia with the 23 Garrison Battalion before his discharge on July 4, 1949.
Only a year later he was killed when the vehicle in which he was a passenger was involved in a road accident at Albury.
Bill Davey, who was just 18 months old, said his grandfather was then 50.
“To have survived two world wars and then die in a car accident is pretty sad,” he said.
“He was pretty passionate about his service, with his involvement in setting up the association.
“In the second World War Kate Davey had two sons, her husband and a son-in-law enlist.”
Frederick Davey’s great-grandson, Justin Davey, said his service was important to every generation that had followed.
He said that included his own children, aged 9 and 10, who had visited the Australian War Memorial to learn more about Australia’s Anzac commitment.
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