Alfred Frederick Bolton

SERVICE NUMBER 682

Link to Service Record: http://discoveringanzacs.naa.gov.au/browse/records/95616/1

Alfred Frederick Bolton was born circa 1889 in Windsor, NSW.

Alfred (also known as Frederick) had a tough start in life, and could have been an orphan.  In 1903, when aged about 12, he was sent to the nautical school ship Sobraon, a reformatory for wayward boys. He had been caught after stealing three shillings and was said to have been “wandering about the streets”. At age 14 he absconded from his apprenticeship with Dr. Doak in Mosman, was caught by the Riverstone police and returned to the Sobraon. Attached to the Sobraon was the steam and sailing schooner ‘Dart’ where boys were taught seamanship.

 

Tingira at her moorings in Berry’s Bay, probably in the 1930s. Tingira was the former Nautical School Ship ‘Sobraon’.

 

At the time of his enlistment at Randwick, NSW, 27/8/1914, Alfred was working as a labourer. In the 1911 census labourers were one of the biggest groups of employment. He was 5 foot 4 ½ inches, 10st 7lb, chest 34 – 35¾ inches, complexion fair, eyes grey, hair brown and religion C of E. It was noted that he had a scar down the outside of his upper arm.

He listed his aunt Mrs. White, c/o Forester Post Office, via Windsor, NSW as his next of kin.

Alfred joined up very early, within 3 weeks of Britain declaring war on Germany and embarked on the 18th of October 1914 at Sydney on the HMAT Afric (A19).

He made the 1st Battalion – the first infantry unit recruited for the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) in NSW.

The battalion was raised within a fortnight of the declaration of war in August 1914 and embarked just two months later. After a brief stop in Albany, Western Australia, the battalion proceeded to Egypt, arriving on 2 December. The battalion took part in the ANZAC landing on 25 April 1915 as part of the second and third waves, and served there until the evacuation in December. Its most notable engagement at Gallipoli was the battle of Lone Pine in August. 

(source:  https://www.awm.gov.au/unit/U51441)

Like his ancestor Yarramundi (see Historical Overview), Bolton too was a survivor.

He served initially in Egypt. He then served in the Dardanelles, Turkey, where he was wounded in action on 29th of April 1915, four days after the landing at Gallipoli. He suffered a bayonet wound to his left knee and was admitted to the No.1 Australian General Hospital in Heliopolis, Cairo.

At the Somme, France, he was severely wounded in both head and hand on the 22nd of July 1916. He recuperated in hospital in England for some time and returned to France 24th of August, 1917, rejoining his battalion on the 6th of September to take part in the Flanders offensive (Belgium).

In late December 1917 he was temporarily attached to the 1st Salvage Section, engaged in recovery of equipment from Western Front battlefields.

By mid 1918 the strain of four years of war had taken its toll on his health and he suffered from Shellshock (See ‘Additional Material’). He returned to Australia on the Boonah, disembarking on the 20th of September 1918.

Alfred was given a medical discharge 12th December 1918.

There is a possible marriage in 1919 and he possibly divorced in 1920. He may have died in Queensland in 1939. Unfortunately none of this could be verified.

 

Naval cadets doing physical training on the N.S.S. Sobraon

(© State of New South Wales through the State Records Authority of NSW 2016)