On Tuesday, 19 March 2019 we honoured Private Frederick William Thornton at a Last Post Ceremony.
Born in 1895 in Sydney, New South Wales, Frederick was a 21 year old butcher when he enlisted to the AIF – the Australian Imperial Forces – in Darwin in February 1916.
On the 18th of September 1916, Frederick left for war from Fremantle aboard the HMAT Clan McGillivray where he joined the 11th Australian Infantry Battalion.
The 11th Battalion was among the first infantry units raised for the AIF during the First World War. It was the first battalion recruited in Western Australia, and with the 9th, 10th and 12th Battalions it formed the 3rd Brigade.
After it’s time defending the front line of the ANZAC beachhead, in March 1916 the battalion sailed for France and the Western Front. From then until 1918, the battalion took part in bloody trench warfare. Its first major action in France was at Pozieres in the Somme valley in July. After Pozieres, the battalion manned trenches near Ypres in Flanders before returning to the Somme valley for winter.
On the 25th of February 1917 during his service in France, Frederick died of Cerebrospinal Meningitis. The family name will forever be remembered in Thornton Crescent, Moil.
His name is listed on the Cenotaph, amongst fellow Territorians who died while serving. His is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice to be told at the Cenotaph.