Brief Tales – Fred A Reynolds

Fred A Reynolds    Service number 191.

Reynolds was a local boy who love to surf at Freshie and South Steyne.

He was a member of the Manly Seagulls Club at South Steyne in 1914 and was credited with saving a number of swimmers lives before he was 20.

Fred trained as an Electrical Engineer in Sydney.

He lived in a house called “GreyBells” in Queenscliff with mum and dad and attended Presbyterian Church (now the Uniting Church), Freshwater where his name is listed on the WW1 Honour Board.

Fred joined the Australian Army at age 20 and served with the Royal Australian Engineers 1st Field Company.

Fred A Reynolds - Dress Uniform 1914
Fred A Reynolds – Dress Uniform 1914

Fred was only 21 when he found himself in one of the first boats to land at Gallipoli Turkey on 25 April 1915 … Anzac Day.

Engineers landed first in many cases, to clear the beach for the infantry to follow.

The leading boat had scarcely touched the beach when three of Fred’s mates next and in front of him were wounded. He helped all off the boat one by one … Fred was killed after getting the last wounded man off the boat and safely on to the beach.

His body was still laying on the beach (at waters edge between the two boats) when an official army photo was taken of the landing a few hours later … that photo is on the “Gateway Plinth” with the original with the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

Fred Reynolds body Anzac Cove 1915
Fred Reynolds body Anzac Cove 1915

The Royal Australian Army Corp of Engineers believe he was if not the first Australia solider to be killed at Gallipoli to be one of the first … We strongly believe Fred was the first Northern Beaches solider to give his life at that first landing .

The Royal Australian Engineers hold a dinner in Fred’s honour every year to raise funds for charity.

Fred’s old plaque was attached to the gutter at the lower end of Soldiers Ave Freshwater and near the new “Gateway Plinth” for over 30 years. We do not know who put it there and we are unsure if a tree was planted in his honour back in 1920’s as no record has been found … at the re-enactment of the 1922 service held on the 18th April 2015, local and great supporter of Soldiers Ave refurbishment project, Premier of NSW Hon Mike Baird planted a “Lone Pine” tree to remember Fred.

In preparation for the Anzac Day service in 1916, a tree guard was built around Fred’s tree and painted in his regimental colours.

The researchers of “soldiers histories” of this historic Ave of Honour, believe that this street is indeed a living memorial to our Freshwater fallen.

Fred Reynolds Lone Pine tree planted Premier Baird 2015
Fred Reynolds Lone Pine tree planted by  Premier Baird 2015

At the Anzac service in 2016 the Mayor of Warringah, Cllr Michael Regan officially unveil Fred’s Memorial Footpath Plaque now installed alongside Fred’s “Lone Pine” tree. .

“Lest we forget”

Researched by Sean Rout Roy Buirchell and Wendy Machon.

The full story of Fred’s very short life and his family history will be posted later in 2016 … researched by our genealogist Wendy Machon.