Their bodies are buried in peace; but their names liveth for evermore.
Their Duty Done
A tribute to the men and women of the East Gippsland Region who Died as a result of their participation in World War One : 1914 -1919
2105 Private Frederick George Faithfull - Omeo  Killed in Action 29 October 1917
Frederick George Faithfull was the eighth child born to Henry Pitt Faithfull from Goulburn and Alice Georgina Faithfull from Wangaratta. He was born at Omeo in 1874. His parents were teenagers when they married in 1857 at Beechworth. Henry was just shy of nineteen and Alice had just turned sixteen. Their first child William was born at Wangaratta in 1859, followed by Emily, Florence, Lily, Frank and Ada who were all born at either Wangaratta or Oxley. Sometime between the birth of Ada in 1869 and Rose who was born in 1871 at Cobungra, the family moved to the Omeo district. Frederick was the last of the children to be born who survived. In 1882 Alice gave birth to a baby girl named Alice but unfortunately both mother and daughter did not survive. Frederick was eight years old when his mother died and was brought up by a single father and his older siblings. Once Fred left school he was working as a labourer. In August, 1893, when Fred was nineteen years old, he won the mail contract to and from Omeo and Benambra, via Hinnomunjie, six days a week for £76 per annum. Between his labouring work and the mail contract Fred would have spent long hours in the saddle. His father, Henry, dies three years later. Just a month after the outbreak of the war, a lease for an allotment of 320 acres in the parish of Bingo Munjie North was granted to F.G. Faithfull, in August 1914. Fred is now 39 years and sets about establishing a farming property at Bingo Munjie North. The war is a long way from life in the mountains of Omeo but it doesn’t stay that way for long.  Eighteen months later, on 29 February 1916, Frederick at the age of 41 years and 8 months presented for a preliminary medical evaluation at Omeo. He was sent to Sale and enlisted on 7 March 1916. As both of his parents were deceased he named his eldest brother, William, as his next of kin. It is not hard to imagine how his fellow recruits would have regarded him. In most cases he would have been old enough to be their father and at over 6 foot tall, no doubt, after an initial ribbing, would have been looked up to and well regarded by “the boys.” He embarked from Melbourne aboard the Wandilla on 6 June 1916 and arrived at Plymouth, England on 26 July 1916 where he joined the Pioneer Training Battalion for additional training. During the voyage the Wandilla docked at Cape Town in South Africa and the opportunity to explore must have been too much for Fred. He was admonished by his commanding officer and forfeited one day’s pay for being absent without leave for six hours. On 3 November he left Folkestone, England aboard the Henrietta for Etaples in France and ten days later marched out to the field with the 2 nd  Pioneer Battalion. On 24 May 1917 he received gunshot wounds and was admitted to the Field Ambulance for three days before rejoining his unit. In June he attended the 8 th  Army Musketry school at Warloy for ten days before returning to his unit and then being admitted to the 8 th  Stationary Hospital at Wimereaux on 7 September with shell shock. His unit at Rouen were set to evacuate, however his records show that by 16 October he was back in the field with the 2 nd   Pioneer Battalion with a notation never evacuated. Before the end of the month, Fred Faithfull, would be killed in action on 29 October 1917. Fred’s next of kin, his brother William, was informed of Fred’s death and just a week later he received word that his son and Fred’s nephew, George, had been wounded. A family notice in the Argus at the end of November read that he was killed in action “somewhere in France.” Fred was buried at Ramparts Cemetery, Lille Gate, Ypres, Belgium and is remembered on honour rolls at Omeo. His brother William received Fred’s war medals and his personal effects including wallet, silver watch and leather case, silver watch chain, wallet, tobacco pouch, metal brooch, photos, notebook and letters. His eldest sister, Mrs Emily Greenwood, was awarded his war gratuity. The then Shire of Omeo presented the family with a memorial certificate that was illuminated with an image of George in uniform. His five nephews: brothers Frank, George and Frederick Gordon Faithfull, William Greenwood and Frank Hodgson all returned to Australia and their families. On 30 November 1918 the lease that Fred had on the 319 acres at Bingo Munjie was declared void – his association with Omeo severed.
….. old enough to be their father