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Frederick Brooke DARLING
Captain Frederick Brooke Darling
8th Regiment, Australian Field Artillery
2nd Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Southall, Middlesex
Extracted from Darling’s service records (National Archives of Australia):
10/4/1918 Wounded in Action
11/4/1918 Adm. 10 Cas. Clear. Stn. Comp. Fract. Tibia fibula. R. Amp. Dang. Wd.
13/4/1918 Trans. 5 Bri. Red X Hosp. Wimesena
13/4/1918 Adm. L of C Hosp. Wnded
26/4/1918 Inv. to U.K. Wnded
26/4/1918 Adm. 3rd Lon. Gen. Hosp. (Amp. Rt Leg Sev.)
3/8/1918 Transferred to 6th Aux Hospital Amp R Leg
14/8/1918 Trans. to 2nd Aux. Hosp. Amp. R. Leg.
3/1/1919 Trans. to 6th Aux. Amp. R Leg (Sts Capt)
Military Cross: ‘For conspicuous gallantry during a severe bombardment and enemy counter-attack. By keeping his guns in action until his ammunition was exhausted, and assisting to serve them himself, he greatly aided in repelling the attack.’
Source: ‘Commonwealth Gazette’ No. 184 Date: 14 December 1916
Bar to Military Cross: ‘At Vortaverm, on 10th April 1918, after having to retire from his position, all his guns having
been buried by enemy shell, he, with three men, brought into action under exceptionally heavy fire a mortar belonging to another unit, and
fired several rounds into the enemy when practically surrounded by them. He was severely wounded, two of his three men were killed, while
the third managed to fight his way back to his battery. The conduct of Captain Darling was of a high order, showing great courage and
Source: ‘Commonwealth Gazette’ No. 119 Date: 17 October 1919.
Extracted from the records of the Z/1/A Medium Trench Mortar Bty.
(Australian War Memorial)
2/Lieut Frederick Brook DARLING.
On the morning of the 25th July  near POZIERES, during a very severe Artillery bombardment on our front line trenches on the right flank and during a determined counter attack by the Germans, showed most conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty, by keeping his guns in action for over an hour until his ammunition was exhausted himself assisting in the service of his mortar. By keeping his gun in action on the front line trenches (German), he forced them to leave trenches and take cover in the craters in rear and thus greatly assisting in repelling counter attack.
Recommended for M.C.
Unit War Diary: Artillery: Item Number 13/94/3: V/Australian Corps Heavy Trench Mortar Battery (Australian
10 April 1918
Enemy attacked approximately at 5AM this morning on a line from north of Wytschaete to South of Armentieres, all six guns of this battery were captured. A1 gun fired its SOS rounds, but the crew had to leave the gun hurriedly after fifth round because the enemy were then sniping at gun team from within 50 yds range. One man was killed, one badly wounded and the remaining three managed to escape, fetching wounded men with them. The Hun was behind gun line and within 30 yds of the new dugout when first seen by the crews of B1 and C1 guns. Three of these men did not get out in time and have been missing since this date. The remainder of the men escaped, only one man being wounded slightly. The remaining men of right section reported event to section HQ and then did very excellent work during the day about Pleogsteert Wood, some with No. 6 New Zealand field battery, and some collecting infantry stragglers and sending them back to the line, or else sending them to assist NZ battery with their guns and ammunition. One gun on left sector blown up, remaining guns of this sector were unapproachable owing to intensely heavy enemy bombardment about them. Capt FB Darling MC visited left sector and with three men namely Cpl Hughes WJM, Gnr Brown WP and Gnr Welch AA, worked a rearguard action with a 2 inch MTM gun in a position near Polka Estaminct, 0.22A. 8 rounds were fired and the enemy temporarily held up. Gnr Welch killed whilst returning along St Elor road in front of Oosllerverne Wood. Capt Darling was wounded. Whilst carrying him to a dressing station Cpl Hughes was killed. Gnr Brown took Capt Darling to the dressing station and leaving him there reported back to HQ. Capt Darling reported wounded and missing. This because the dressing station which he was at was practically surrounded by the enemy when Gnr Brown left Capt Darling. Casualties today were Capt FB Darling MC wounded and missing, Cpl Hughes, killed. Gnr Welch killed of left section. Gnr Furphey WA killed, Gnr Crapp JA missing believed killed. Gnr Cleland CS wounded, Gnr Higgins H missing, Gnr Scott JE missing, Gnr Young FD missing, Gnr Hughes H slightly wounded, A/Bdt Mulhearne JW slightly wounded.
Recommendations made for immediate award for gallantry in action are Capt FB Darling MC, Sgt VH Conkey, Cpl WJM Hughes, Gnr Welch AA, Gnr Brown WP, Cpl Danby J. A/Bch JW Mulhearne. Gnr H Hughes. Gnr Furphey WA. Battery HQ withdrew to Cyclists Camp M24 A.9.1 and the remaining personnel of battery reported here late in the evening.
11 April 1918
A search party went out to find Capt Darling and was unable to do so owing to the enemy being in the locality in which he was last seen. During the afternoon two officers and 30 OR proceeded to the line near Neuve Eglise armed with 1 Lewis M Gun (salvaged) and and seven rifles, also salved, another lewis gun in action was salved in Neuve Eglise, also a full complement of rifles and ammunition obtained….
News today from Capt Darling word from 10th CCS reported that he was wounded not missing.
16 Nov 1918 Queenscliff Sentinel, Drysdale, Portarlington, Sorrento Advertiser (Victoria)
"KING GEORGE ON AUSTRALIA. NEVER APPEALED TO IN VAIN. We cull the following from an English paper’s report of the opening of Australia House: ‘On the occasion of the laying of the foundation stone I expressed my conviction that, in any national emergency, Australia would be ready to play her part for the common cause, and that the loyalty of her sons would never be appealed to in vain; but none could have foreseen the noble, the overwhelming response made by the Commonwealth and by all my oversea Dominions in the hour of the Empire’s danger.’
This tribute to the Dominion forces was paid by the King in opening Australia House, Strand. ‘The Queen and I,’ he went on to say, ‘keenly follow whatever concerns the welfare and progress of the oversea Dominions, and we are proud to be associated with the peoples of the Commonwealth of Australia, not only in a ceremony of this nature, but in all their interests, efforts and aspirations. It has been my privilege from time to time to visit, both in this country and in France, the Australian troops, whose deeds of valour will live forever in the records of the war. I last saw them at the front a few months ago, and since then they have still further added to their laurels by their heroic resistance to the desperate offensive of the enemy. I have also had several opportunities of inspecting the battle cruiser which bears the name of and worthily represents the Commonwealth. The Australia and the other ships of the Australian Navy have shown their sterling worth in the different operations in which they have been engaged.’
THE KING AND QUEEN. The King and Queen were received by Mr W. M. Hughes, the Australian Prime Minister; Mr A. Fisher, High Commissioner for the Commonwealth in London; and Mr Joseph Cook, Minister for the Australian Navy. The High Commissioner read a brief address to the King assuring him of the loyalty of the great overseas Commonwealth. When the King finished his reply Mr Hugh’s presented to him a gold key of Australia House, the Queen receiving a replica of the key from Mr Cook. The King and Queen and Princess Mary then entered the building through the main doorway, and the King held an investiture, conferring decorations on six Australian officers, one of whom had lost a leg at Ypres, while others were still suffering from wounds. The D.S.O. was given to Major William Selvin King, and M.C. to Chaplain Alfred Avery Mills, Captain Frank E. Page, Captain Frederick Brooke Darling, Lieutenant Harry Welton Quinney, and Lieutenant John F. Wood. The royal party, having signed the visitors’ book, appeared for a few minutes on the east balcony over the entrance, and were cheered by the crowd outside the building.
A THOUSAND GUESTS. There were about a thousand guests present, including members of the Diplomatic Corps, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Mrs Davidson, the Lord Mayor and Lady Hanson, the Australian and Canadian High Comissioners, and representatives of the Colonial and Indian Offices, with many military and naval officers. Mr W. M. Hughes, at a luncheon to Australian soldiers in connection with the opening of this beautiful new structure, said ‘While you have fought the Hun abroad we have fought him at home. We have driven him out of every business; we have followed him down into all the numerous burrows which he had made in the foundations of our commercial house; we have thrown him off our share registers; we have put him behind barbed wires, and have prevented him, in short, from ever stabbing you in the back while you defended your homes and us. We hope and believe that throughout the length and breadth of the Empire this policy will be rigorously enforced. To fall short in this regard is to dishonour the glorious dead and make your sacrifices vain.’