3859 Private Frederick Leslie Cocks
48th Infantry Battalion, 12th Brigade, 4thDivision
1st Australian Imperial Force 1914-1919

This file last updated 9 November, 2018 13:02

Introduction

The following information and chronological table are a summary of the entries from the World War One service record of Frederick Leslie Cocks whose photograph is one of four used by the Seachange ANZAC Day Service Committee (ADSC) to represent those who served in WW1. The photographs are taken from a project of the then Attorney General's Department of South Australia, to provide studio portraits of South Australian soldiers of the 32nd Battalion.

This photograph has the Serial Number 528, which is not Frederick Cocks' Serial Number. In researching the background I found that a Frederick Leslie Martin Cock (not Cocks) was born in 1900 to Josiah Cock and Catherine Mantile Cock, nee Ewen.

I believe that Frederick Cock enlisted without the permission of his parents and forged their signatures where required. He was a signwriter, after all, and the signatures similar either lack or have an oddly appended 's' to the surname.

To compound the issue, Frederick's military record is missing almost all of his enlistment information although the chronological record is quite thorough.

Some of the service record pages may be duplicated. This generally occurs when the unit and Army records are amalgamated on discharge or death in Service.

Service numbers were allocated by the original unit, and are not unique to the individual. Where an individual is transferred into another unit, duplicating an existing number, the transferee is given an alphabetic suffix, eg 1234A. Officers did not have Army numbers, and if commissioned from the ranks, relinquished their number on commissioning.

This biography was prepared by Clive Mitchell-Taylor, 6 November 2018.

Cocks was an unmarried signwriter aged 18 and three months on enlistment in 1917.

View Frederick Cocks's Service record , Nominal Roll or Embarkation Roll entries.


Enlistment Details

Service Number

3859

Name

Frederick Leslie Cocks [SA BDM gives name as Frederick Leslie Martin Cock, b 1900}


[B]

Born at

Victor Harbor SA, [SA BDM give birth place as District of Encounter Bay]

Age

18 years 3 months [Birth dates were not recorded until late in the war]

Trade or Calling

Signwriter

Marital Status

Single

Next of Kin

Missing from record. Consent signed by
Mother - Mrs C(atharine) Cocks
Father - Mr J(osiah) Cocks

Previous Military Service

No

Attested at

Port Pirie, SA

Date of Enlistment

12 Nov 1917

Height

Missing from record

Weight

Missing from record

Chest

Missing from record

Complexion

Missing from record

Eyes

Missing from record

Hair

Missing from record

Religious Denomination

Roman Catholic

Units

48th Battalion, 14th Brigade, 4th Division.


Chronological Events

Rank

Description

Date

Remarks

Private

Enlisted

12 Nov 1917

Private

Training

12 Nov 17-
22 Mar 1918

No record of training, which would have been with the 1st or 2nd Depot Battalion, South Australia

Private

Embarked for overseas from Sydney aboard His Majesty's Australian Transport (HMAT) "RUNIC" (A54).

22 Mar 1918

Private

To hospital aboard ship,

19 May 1918

Private

Disembarked United Kingdom

24 May 1918

Transferred to hospital

Private

Transferred and admitted to Fort Pitt Military Hospital, Chatham, with Influenza

28 May 1918

Private

Discharged from Hospital and report to No 1 Convalescent Depot, Sutton Very

30 May 1918

Private

Marched in to No 1 Convalescent Depot, Sutton Very

1 Jun 1918

Private

March out to 3rd training Brigade, Codford

4 Jun 1918

Private

Marched in to 12th Training Battalion, Codford from 1 CD

5 Jun 1918

Private

Reported sick to Brigade Hospital, Influenza

30 Jun 1918

Private

Marched in to 12th Training Battalion from Brigade Hospital

3 Jul 1918

Private

Proceeded overseas to France from Folkstone

8 Aug 1918

Private

Marched in to Australian Infantry Base Depot (AIBD)

10 Aug 1918

Private

Marched out to unit (48th Battalion)

12 Aug 1918

Private

Taken on strength of unit

16 Aug 1918

Private

Returned from Absence without leave (AWL)

3 Oct 1918

Private

OFFENCE: Absent without leave from 7pm 18 Sep 1918 to 1115am 21 Sep 1918 AWARD: 28 Days Field Punishment No 1, forfeit 31 days pay

8 Oct 1918

Private

To 12 Australian Field Ambulance (12 AFA), sick, admitted with Orchitis

2 Jan 1919

Orchitis is inflammation of one or both testicles

Private

Transferred to 5 Casualty clearing Station (5 CCS)

3 Jan 1919

Private

Transferred to 3rd Canadian General Hospital

3 Jan 1919

Private

Transferred to England on Hospital Ship (HS) "CAMBRIA"

9 Jan 1919 1919

Private

Admitted to Graylingwell War Hospital, Chichester

9 Jan 1919

Private

Transferred to 3rd Aumilliary Hospital

21 Jan 1919

Private

Granted furlough, to report to No 1 Convalescent Depot 7 Feb 1919

24 Jan 1919

Private

Army Headquarters reports soldier as Absent Without Leave

8 Feb 119

Private

OFFENCE: Absent without leave from 10am 8 Feb 1919 to 10am 13 Feb 1919 AWARD: Forfeit 10 days pay, total forfeiture 15 days

Sent to No 1 Convalescent Depot

14 Feb 1919 1919

Pay was forfeit both as a penalty and for those days absent without leave.

Private

Marched in to No 1 Convalesent Depot, Sutton Very

15 Feb 1919

Private

Embarked His Majesty's Transport HMT "PLASSEY" for return to Australia

17 Mar 1919

Private

Disembarked HMT "PLASSEY"[Melbourne?]

28 Apr 1919

Private

Discharged

13 May 1919


Medals and Dress Embellishments

British War Medal 1914-1920, not entitled to 1914-15 Star, but entitled to Victory Medal.

Not entitled to wear the ANZAC 'A'.

No Wound Stripes.

One Long Service Stripes and two Overseas Service Chevrons.

Use the hyperlinks or scroll down to see further information on the badges.


Background - Infantry Battalions

[Based on information in Redcoats to Cams, Ian Kuring.]

In December 1914, battalions of about 1000 men were organised into eight companies each divided into half of 60 men and then into two sections of around 30 men. Command was highly centralised with companies commanded by a Captain, half-companies by Lieutentants and sections by a Sergeant.

In early 1915 Australia reduced the number of Companies to four, but doubled their size to more than 220 men. Each rifle company had a headquarters and four platoons. Each platoon had a headquarters and four rifle sections of 10 men commanded by corporals.

From early 1916 light machineguns replaced medium machine guns and were eventually issued to each rifle platoon.

During 1917 rifle platoons were reorganised to have a light machine gun section, a rifle grenade section, a hand grenade/bombing section and a rifle assault section.

By mid 1918, the number of officers had increased to 38 but the number of other ranks had declined to 900. At the same time, the firepower of the battalion was greatly augmented with hand and rifle grenades and Lewis Guns, of which there was 34 per battalion.

Rifle, Short Magazine Lee-Enfield .303in, Mark III
Rifle, Small Magazine Lee-Enfield .303in, Mark III with sword bayonet

48th Battalion, 12th Brigade, 4th Divison

[Information from http://awm.gov.au and vwma.org.au]
Unit Shoulder Patch 48th Infantry Battalion

Not entitled to wear ANZAC 'A'

The 48th Battalion was raised in Egypt 1916 as part of the process that was known as "doubling the AIF" to create the 4th and 5th Divisions. Following the evacuation from ANZAC and with recruits arriving from Australia in large numbers, it was decided to split the 1st Divison (1st, 2nd and 3rd Brigades) and the 4th Brigade in two to create sixteen new or so-called "Pup" Battalions. The 4th Brigade was split to create the 12th Brigade which included the 45th (NSW), 46th (Vic) 47th (Qld & Tas) and the 48th (WA & SA) Battalions. Together with the 13th Brigade, the 4th and 12th comprised the new 4th Division.

The 48th Battalion was raised in Egypt on 16 March 1916 as part of the "doubling" of the AIF. Roughly half of its new recruits were Gallipoli veterans from the 16th Battalion, and the other half, fresh reinforcements from Australia. Reflecting the composition of the 16th, the men of the new battalion hailed mainly from regional South Australia and Western Australia. The new battalion formed part of the 12th Brigade of the 4th Australian Division. It became known as the "Joan of Arc" (the Maid of Orleans) battalion because it was "made of all Leanes" - it was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Ray Leane, his brother was the adjutant, and several other relatives were scattered throughout the battalion.

The 48th's first major battle on the Western Front was Pozieres. Here, it was tasked with defending ground captured in earlier attacks by the 2nd Division and entered the firing line on two separate occasions - 5 to 7 and 12 to 15 August. During the former period the battalion endured what was said to be heaviest artillery barrage ever experienced by Australian troops and suffered 598 casualties. A diorama at the Australian War Memorial depicts the battalion's experience at Pozieres. Before it had recovered from the trials of Pozieres, the 48th was also required to defend ground captured during the battle of Mouquet Farm.

1917 was also a trying year for the 48th Battalion. In two of the major battles in which it fought - the first battle of Bullecourt, in France, and the battle of Passchendaele, in Belgium - it was forced to withdraw with heavy casualties as result of poor planning and inadequate support. On neither occasion did the battalion fail for want of courage or skill amongst its own troops.

Like most AIF battalions, the 48th rotated in and out of the front line through the winter of 1917-18. In the spring of 1918 it played a crucial role in blocking the main road into Amiens when the Germans launched their last great offensive. When it came time for the Allies to launch their own offensive, the 48th took part in the battle of Amiens between 8 and 10 August, and the battle to seize the Hindenburg "outpost line" between 18 and 20 September. This was the 48th's last battle of the war. It disbanded on 31 March 1919.


Battle Honours:

Albert 1918, Amiens, Ancre 1918, Bullecourt, Egypt 1916, Epéhy, France and Flanders 1916-18, Hamel, Hindenburg Line, Menin Road, Messines 1917, Passchendaele, Polygon Wood, Poziéres, Somme 1916-1918, Ypres 1917


1914-15 Star

[Extract from Ribbons and Medals: Naval, Military, Air Force and Civil, Captain H. Taprell Dorling, DSO RN,
George Philip & Son, 33 Fleet Street, London EC4, 1940]
1914-15 Star

The decoration consists of a four-pointed star in bright bronze as shown, with the date 1914-15 on the central scroll. The reverse is plain, and is stamped with the name and unit of the recipient. The ribbon is red, white and blue, shaded and watered, worn with the red nearest the centre of the breast. It is atached to the medal through a ring.

It is similar in shape and description to the 1914 Star, to which few, if any, Australians were entitled.

The decoration, sanctioned in 1918, was issued "to all officers, warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and men of the British, Dominion, Colonial and Indian Forces, including civilian medical practitioners, nursing sisters, nurses and others eployed with military hospitals, who actually served on the establishment of a unit in a theatre of war as defined in Appendix 'A'. Individuals in possession of the 1914 Star will not be eligible for the award of this decoration."

Appendix 'A' included the Western, Eastern, Egyptian, African, Asiatic and Australasian Theatres of war, with commencement dates individual to countries and campaigns.


British War Medal 1940-20

[Extract from Ribbons and Medals: Naval, Military, Air Force and Civil, Captain H. Taprell Dorling, DSO RN,
George Philip & Son, 33 Fleet Street, London EC4, 1940]
British War Medal

This medal was approved by King George V in 19 19 to record the bringing of the war to a successful conclusion and the arduous services rendered by His Majesty's Forces.

The medal, which is supended from its ribbon by means of a straight clasp, without swivel, bears on the obverse the effigy of His Majesty - exactly similar to that on a half-crown - with the legend 'Georgivus V : Omn : Rex et Ind : Imp'.

The reverse bears a design which represents St George on horseback, trampling underfoot the eagle shield of the central powers and a skull and crossbones, the emblems of death. Overhead is the risen sun of victory. The male figure, rather than a symbolical female one, was chosen because man had borne the brunt of the fighting. The figure was mounted on horseback as symbolical of man's mind controlling force (represented by the horse) of far greater strength than his own. The design is thus also symbolical of the mechanical and scientific appliances which helped so largely to win the war.

The ribbon has a orange watered centre with stripes of white and black at each side and with borders of royal blue. It is stated that the colours have no particular signification.


Victory Medal

[Extract from Ribbons and Medals: Naval, Military, Air Force and Civil, Captain H. Taprell Dorling, DSO RN,
George Philip & Son, 33 Fleet Street, London EC4, 1940]

This medal, of bronze, bears on the obverse a winged figure of Victory, full length in the middle of the medal and full face; the borders and the backgound plain, without either incription or date. On the reverse is an inscription. "The Great War for Civilization." and either the names of the different Allied and Associated Powers, or their coats of arms.

The rim is plain, and the medal hangs from a ring. The ribbon is red in the centre, with green and violet on either side shaded to form the colours of two rainbows.

It has also been approved that any officer or man who has been "mentioned in despatches" shall wear a small bronze oak leaf on the ribbon of this medal. Only one oak leaf is so worn, no matter how many "mentions" the wearer may have received.

The medal is designed to obviate the exchange of Allied Commemorative war medals, and is issued only to those who actually served on the establishment of a unit or ship in a theatre of war. [This is an important distinction, as those Australians who served only in Australia, or only in Australia and England, were not entitled to the award.]


The Rising Sun Badge

This version of the Rising Sun Badge was worn by soldiers of the 1st and 2nd Australian Imperial Forces, and the badge has become an integral part of the Digger tradition.

Worn on the the upturned brim of the slouch hat, it is readily identified with thespirit of ANZAC.

There are a number of versions of the genesis of the badge, the most widely acceptedbeing that it derived from a Trophy of Arms - various swords and bayonets mounted ona semi-circular display in Victoria Barracks, Melbourne.

The original version worn in South Africa was modified in 1904 and worn by Australian soldiers through two World Wars.

Later changes were made to the style of the crown and the wording on the scroll. The "King's Crown" is the one shown to the left, while arches of the "Queen's Crown" rise at the same angle as the base of the crown, curve at their highest point to a level mid-way on the orb below the cross and then down to below the orb.

In 1949 the scroll was changed to read "Australian Military Forces".

In 1969 the badge was modified to incorporate the 7-pointed Federation Star with a central Queen's crown over the Torse wreath (a twisted roll of fabric) from the original 1902 version, and the scroll wording changed to "Australia".

In the 75th anniversary year of the the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli, there was a drive to return to traditional accoutrements worn by Australian soldiers during the World Wars, which clearly identify the Australian Army. The Queen's crown returned to its central position and the scroll now reads "The Australian Army'.


The ANZAC 'A'

ANZAC 'A'

The brass letter 'A' to represent service related to Gallipoli (ANZAC) was authorised to be worn 'over unit colour patches on both sleeves of the service dress jacket and greatcoat" by Military Order 354 of 18 Aug 17 and AIF Order 937 of 6 Nov 17, as amended in terms of qualification by Military Order 20 of 19 Jan 18 and by AIF Order 1084 of 25 Jan 18.

The size of the letter 'A', introduced as one inch in height (AIF Order 994 of 30 Nov 17), was reduced to three-quarters of an inch by AIF Order 1012 of 11 Dec 17.

Provision for wearing the brass letter 'A' was also included in General Routine Order 0.815 of 17 Dec 43 and GRO 310 of 7 Dec 45.


Wound Stripe

Army Order No.204 Headquarters, 1st A.N.Z.A.C., 9th August, 1916. (slightly amended for layout)
DISTINCTIONS FOR OFFICERS AND SOLDIERS WHO HAVE BEEN WOUNDED

Wound Stripes

The following distinction in dress will be worn on the service dress jacket by all officers and soldiers who have been wounded in any of the campaigns since 4th August 1914 :

  • Stripes of gold Russia braid No.1, two inches [2.5cm] in length sewn perpendicularly on the left forearm sleeve of the jacket to mark each occasion on which wounded.

  • In the case of officers, the lower end of the first strip of gold braid will be immediately above the upper point of the flap on the cuff.

  • Warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and men will wear the gold braid on the left forearm sleeve, the lower edge of the braid to be three inches from the bottom of the sleeve.

  • Subsequent occasions on which wounded, will be placed on either side of the original one at half inch interval.

  • Gold braid and sews will be obtained free on indent from the Army Ordnance Department; the sewing on will be carried out regimentally without expense to the public.


Long Service Badges

[Image from http://www.diggerhistory.info]
Long Service Badges
A.I.F. ORDER No.470, 24 January 1917 (slightly amended for layout)

The question of the issue of a badge to members of the AIF who have completed a certain period of service has received consideration, and approval has been given for the issue of a badge for long service combined with good conduct, subject to the following conditions.

  • The badge will consist of an inverted single chevron of service braid to be worn on the left forearm - the point of the chevron to be 3 inches [7.6cm] above the edge of the cuff.

  • Warrant and non-commissioned officers and men, will be eligible for the badge, which will not carry an increased pay or allowance.

  • One chevron will be worn for each complete year's service in the Australian Imperial Force from the date of embarkation in Australia.

  • No badge will be issued to any man who, during the 12 months, has incurred a regimental entry (i.e. an entry involving forfeiture of pay) in his sheet.

  • Time absent from the unit in hospital or elsewhere on account of wounds or sickness, not the result of misconduct, will count as service towards earning the badge.

  • A man in possession of a badge will forfeit same on being convicted of any offence involving a forfeiture of pay , but will be eligible to regain the badge after 6 months good conduct, from the date of forfeiture.

  • The illegal wearing of this badge will be a crime under A.A. Section 40.


Overseas Service Chevrons

[http://au.geocities.com/fortysecondbattalion/level2/reference/01nos-standards.htm]
[Image from http://www.diggerhistory.info]

Overseas Service Chevrons

Australian Imperial Force Order No.1053, January 1918 (Slightly amended for layout)

His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of chevrons to denote service overseas since the 4th August 1914.

  • Chevrons of two colours have been approved.

    • The first chevron if earned on or before 31st December 1914, will be red.

    • If earned on or after 1st January 1915, it will be blue.

    • All additional chevrons after the first will be blue.

  • The chevrons will be worsted embroidery, 1/4 inch [0.63cm] in width, the arms 4 inches [10.2cm] long. They will be worn inverted on the right forearm:

  • In the case of officers, the apex of the lowest chevron will be 1 inch [2.5cm] above the upper point of the flap on the cuff.

  • In the case of warrant-officers, non-commissioned officers and men, the apex of the lowest chevron will be midway between the seams and four inches [10.2cm] above the bottom edge of the sleeve.

  • The red chevron will be worn below the blue one. They will not be worn on greatcoats.

  • In the case of Australians, the first chevron was earned the date the individual left Australia. Additional chevrons were awarded for each successive aggregate period of 12 months service outside Australia.


Some Government Issued Badges

Nearest Female
Relative Badge

War Widows
Guild Brooch

Silver War Badge
 

Discharged Returned
Soldier Badge

Government issued badge in enamel
and sterling silver issued to the wife,
mother or nearest female relative of
a serving soldier. Additional bars
were suspended below for further
individuals.

Membership badge of a Kookaburra
in sterling silver, issued by the
Government to the widows of men
who lost their lives due to their
service. Numbered on the reverse.

Awarded to service personnel who
sustained a wound, or contracted
sickness of disability in the course
of the war as a result of which
they were invalided out, or to
soldiers who had retired during
the course of the war.

First issued in 1916. Slight variations are indicative of a number of makers. 267,300 were issued. Numbered on the reverse but the numbers have no link with length of service or Service Number.

[Badge information collated from Australian War Memorial, "Australians Awarded" by Clive Johnson and en.wikipedia.com]