Dingle, Frederick

Dingle, Frederick William Olney (Private)

Olney as he was known, was born at Norwood on 23rd September 1896. He may never have known his father or mother as he was released into the care of a foster mother at the age of 5 weeks. This foster mother, Miss Melvina Wills of Nangkita was nominated by Olney as his Next of Kin. Melvina raised him as one of a number of Wards of the State she cared for. Olney’s father’s name does not appear on the birth register but his mother’s does: Lydia Dingle.

Olney enlisted on 23rd March 1916 at the age of 19. His service record lists him as an unmarried farmer who was 6’ 1’’ (1.84 metres) in height, weighing 74.8 kilograms and with “a fresh complexion, grey eyes & brown hair”. His religion was recorded as Methodist.

Private Olney Dingle left to serve in France and Belgium on 4th May 1916, where he served with the 8th Australian Machine Gun Company. It is reported that he was one of only eight men who were selected from 300, for this particular company.   

Olney sustained wounds from action in the field (a compound skull fracture from gunshot) on 11th October 1917 and died at the 11th Casualty Clearing Station, aged 21 years. He is buried at Godewaersvelde British Cemetery, France.

Melvina Wills, his foster mother, died on 15th October 1956, aged 83 years.

References: “A Guide Behind The Lines” by Richard Kleinig and trove.nla.gov.au & Mt Compass Archive records.