ANZAC 2022 Tributes- Captain Frederick Coldwell-Smith

This post is a tribute to one of the fifteen men who I discovered were listed on the club’s original honour board but are not currently included. I hope to have these names added to the board so that their story can be told. I discovered recently, while researching further into the stories of members who served in World War 1, a newspaper article describing the dedication of the first honour board in 1919. It listed all the names that were on that original board that was destroyed in the 1950 boatshed fire. When writing the history of the club in the early 2000’s I applied for a grant to replace them in 2003. The list of names on the boards was taken from the Victorian Oarsman, which for some reason had omitted these fifteen men. The first profile is that of Captain Frederick Lawrence Coldwell-Smith, MC who rowed at the club as a schoolboy from the Agricultural High School in 1912.

Captain Frederick Lawrence Coldwell-Smith

Frederick Lawrence Coldwell-Smith was born in Ballarat on the 10th of June 1895. His parents were Frederick and Sophie Coldwell-Smith and they lived in Dana Street, Ballarat. He attended Pleasant Street Primary School where he won the Education Department’s art scholarship and the Hagelthorn Agricultural Scholarship which allowed him the opportunity to continue his art and agricultural studies at Ballarat Agricultural High School. While there he was one of a group of 16 students of Ballarat Agricultural schoolboys who began rowing at Ballarat City Rowing Club in 1912. He then qualified for entry to the new Duntroon Military College in 1913 and was probably at Duntroon with several other High School recruits in 1914 including George Greenshields.

He graduated from Duntroon on 28 June 1915 and was appointed as a Lieutenant on 1 July 1915, sailing for Egypt on the HMAT Ascanius in November 1915 with the 29th Battalion B Company. He was just 20 years old and single, with his mother Sophia Coldwell-Smith listed as his next of kin. He was appointed as a Captain in February 1916 and spent from March to June in Eygpt and was commended for his work as Intelligence Officer there. He arrived in Sailly, France in July 1916. He was slightly wounded in August 1916. He continued his work there up until September 1916, as Company Officer and Intelligence Officer and it was for this he was recommended for and awarded the Military Cross. It was promulgated on the first of January, 1917, and was for distinguished service in the field.

After being hospitalized in England with severe bronchitis, Coldwell-Smith returned to France and was attached to the 15th Brigade Headquarters. At the end of 1917 he undertook training as a Staff Officer and was then detached to the War Records Section in London. In October 1918 he was transferred to the 32nd Battalion and on the day the war ended Coldwell-Smith was admitted to Bulford Hospital. He rejoined the War Records Section the following year and returned to Australia in December 1919. He remained in the army after the war but health problems prevented his active service in World War 2 and he retired on 2 November 1940. Frederick Coldwell-Smith died in Sydney on 23 November 1967.

His brother Charles Edmond Coldwell-Smith also served in World War 1 . He was born in Ballarat and a Telegraph Operator by occupation. Charles Edmond Coldwell-Smith was 19 years and single when enlisted on the 30th of July 1915 in the Field Ambulance 10, Australian Imperial Force, with the rank of Corporal, Number 12263.

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