(Service number 6/4037)
|First Rank||Private||Last Rank||Private|
|Date||2 August 1882||Place of Birth||Awamoko, near Oamaru|
|Date||17 November 1915||Age||32 years 2 months|
|Address at Enlistment||Russell Square, Timaru|
|Previous Military Experience||Duntroon Rifles|
|Next of Kin||George FRIDD (brother), Pareora, Canterbury|
|Medical Information||Height 6 feet 0 inches. Weight 154 lbs. Chest measurement 34-37 inches. Complexion fair. Eyes blue. Hair light brown. Sight - both eyes 6/6. Hearing good. Colour vision correct. Limbs well formed. Full and perfect movement of all joints. Chest well formed. Heart and lungs normal. Teeth bad. No illnesses. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. No vaccination mark. Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects. No fits. No sign of vaccination. November and December 1915 inncoulated against typhoid. No distinctive marks or marks indicating congenital pecularities or previous disease.|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||New Zealand Expeditionary Force|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||10th Reinforcements Canterbury Infantry Battalion, C Company|
|Date||4 March 1916|
|Transport||Willochra or Tofua|
|Embarked From||Wellington, NZ||Destination||Suez, Egypt|
|Other Units Served With||2nd Battalion, Canterbury Regiment|
|Last Unit Served With||Canterbury Infantry Regiment|
|Campaigns||Western Front (Somme)|
|Service Medals||British War Medal; Victory Medal|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
|Date||21 September 1916||Age||34 years|
|Place of Death||Somme, France|
|Cause||Killed in action|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval, Somme, France|
|Memorial Reference||XVIII. G. 10.|
|New Zealand Memorials||Timaru War Memorial Wall; Kingsdown District War Memorial; Awamoko War Memorial|
Peter Fridd was born on 2 August 1882 at Awamoko near Oamaru, the eighth of eleven children of George and Mary Ann (née Jackson) Fridd, who had come to New Zealand from England in the early 1870s. Peter was educated at the local Awamoko School, moving to Borton’s in 1895.
Peter and his sisters were contestants at the Awamiko residents’ annual picnic events in December 1893, Peter being placed third in the Boys’ Vaulting under 15 years. At the December 1894 picnic he managed second place in the Boys’ Race (under 12) and second equal place in the Boy’s Three-legged Race.
On Canterbury Anniversary Day, December 1905, Peter and his brother George competed in the High Jump Handicap event at the Waihao District sports held at Steward Park, Morven.
When a Post Office opened at Borton’s, North Otago (27 August 1906), both Peter and his brother John arranged for correspondence to be addressed there. On leaving school Peter worked as a farm labourer in the Georgetown/Awamoko district of North Otago.
Of a musical family, he joined the Oamaru Garrison band, when the family moved to Oamaru. He also contributed musically in other spheres – playing the violin for the evening’s amusement following a wedding at Duntroon in January 1908, and supplying music at a farewell to a family at Awamoko in April 1909.
By 1914 Peter was residing at Kingsdown. There he was a member of the Kingsdown Mutual Improvement Society, at which he and his nephew, Albert Fridd, contributed musical items. For a fund-raising concert Peter gave a cornet solo. And in September 1914, Peter was one of those elected to a newly formed committee to make arrangements for a social to assist the British and Belgium Relief Fund. He also made his effort with a cash donation to the Kingsdown Red Cross Society. Early in September 1915 he participated for Pareora Club in a draughts match against Timaru, his score unfortunately not helping Pareora’s cause.
Before long Peter Fridd had been recruited for the Tenth Reinforcements and left for camp at Trentham in November 1915. He enlisted on 17 November 1915, at which time he was living in Timaru and working as a labourer at Kingsdown. He gave as his next-of-kin his brother George.
Peter and his brother Albert were named at the Kingsdown School's picnic and prize day in December 1915, since they had enlisted from Kingsdown. Mr Craigie, M.P. referred to the Great War as "the most momentous war of all history" and noted that Kingsdown, in proportion to its population, had nobly done its share in sending men.
On 20 January 1916 at his parents’ home in Timaru, Peter was the guest at a farewell and presentation to mark his pending departure for the front. Following songs and recitations, he was the recipient of a wristlet watch and a sovereign belt from his many friends. By this time his nephew (brother) Albert had already left with the Eighth Reinforcements.
A few days later another social was given at the Kingsdown School. Mr Anstey, in the absence of Mr James Craigie, M.P., addressed the gathering. He hoped that these young men (3) would be in it at the finish of the war, and that before long they [those present] would have the pleasure of giving them a hearty reception on their return. Sadly for one – Peter Fridd – that would not happen. Private Fridd was presented with a Kodak. In return he thanked those present for their kindness. Peter’s nephew, Private W. Grey, a returned soldier, was also present.
Peter Fridd, a well built, healthy young man, standing 6 feet tall and weighing 154 pounds, though with bad teeth, embarked with the Canterbury Infantry Battalion on 4 March 1916 for Egypt. From there he went to France in April and joined the 2nd Battalion in the field in May.
But, just four months later, he was provisionally reported missing. Within a matter of days it was confirmed that Private Peter Fridd had been killed in action - killed on 21 September 1916 at the Somme, France. He is buried in the Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval, Somme, France. The British War Medal and the Victory Medal were later sent to his father in Timaru, as were the plaque and scroll.
Two brothers also served in World War I, Albert returning early and John being wounded. As well his nephew, William Grey, served, and another nephew, Sidney Fridd, saw service in World War II. Brother George was turned down for active service and put on the Reserves list, since he was married with children. There was a reminder of Peter’s death when his brother John was preparing to leave for camp in June 1917, the third son to give his services for King and country.
In early September 1917 at the Awamoko Hall, photographs were unveiled of “four brave lads who have fallen on the battlefields of the present war.” Proceedings opened with the singing of “The Litany for Our Soldiers”, followed by musical items and addresses. Captain Carroll of the Salvation Army, Father O’Connell and the Rev. George W. Hunt all considered it a privilege and an honour to be present to pay tribute to the four young men from the district. They congratulated the relatives of the men who had paid the supreme penalty through fighting for their King and Country and they also conveyed their deepest sympathy. All stood for the unveiling of the photographs which would keep these men in their memories. Peter Fridd, Tenth Reinforcements, was one of the four. The ceremony concluded with the sounding of the Last Post and the singing of the National Anthem.
Peter’s family remembered him in an In Memoriam in 1917 – “We gaze at the picture that hangs on the wall, his smile and his welcome we often recall. We mourn our dear lad, yet our hearts swell with pride When we know that for Honour and Freedom he died.” And they remembered again in 1918 and 1919.
A big enthusiastic gathering at the Kingsdown School in January 1919 must have been reason for both pride and sorrow for Peter’s parents. A programme of musical items and a recitation had been arranged by the local Patriotic Society to welcome home four returned men and present them with suitably inscribed gold medals. A commemorative gold medal which had been prepared to honour the memory of Private Peter Fridd was presented to his parents, at one time residents of Kingsdown. Peter had volunteered from the district and had met a soldier’s death in France.
A touching memorial notice was published in the Timaru Herald on 21 September 1921-
FRIDD. — In loving memory of Private Peter Fridd, beloved son of George and Mary Ann Fridd, Russell Square, 10th Reinforcements, killed in action Somewhere in France, September 21, 1916; aged 32 years.
“Under the shade of the dear old flag,
Out in a strange lone land,
Lies one of the best and bravest of lads
Slain by the enemy’s hand.
We often think of days gone by
When we were all together,
A shadow on our life is cast,
A loved one gone forever.”
P. Fridd is honoured on the Timaru War Memorial Wall, the Kingsdown District War Memorial, and the Awamoko War Memorial. Just before Anzac Day 2012, Joyce Johnston of Oamaru, a daughter of John Fridd and niece of Peter, saw a memorial oak planted and a cross placed at Bortons on the Georgetown to Kurow road (a North Otago scheme). Joyce also has a photocopy of a photo of a heavy copper keepsake inscribed thus: “He died for Freedom and Honour” and with the name Peter Fridd, and a memorial card with this inscription –
Killed in action say the cables,
That is all the tale they tell
Of the brave young lad who loved us,
Of the lad we love so well.
How the life was sped we know not,
What the last word, look or thought;
Only that he did his duty,
Died as bravely as he fought.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [04 September 2013]; CWGC [04 September 2013]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5539 0042570) [05 September 2013]; North Otago Times, 28 December 1893, 24 December 1894. 28 November 1912, 28 October 1916, Oamaru Mail, 19 December 1905, 21 August 1906, 1 May 1909, 10 June 1912, 8 & 21 September 1917, Otago Witness, 22 January 1908, North Otago Times, 11 June 1912, 28 November 1912, Timaru Herald, 1 August 1914, 21 September 1914, 12 October 1914, 24 & 27 September 1915, 13 November 1915, 30 December 1915, 27 & 31 January 1916, 23 & 28 October 1916, 22 June 1917, 21 September 1917, 21 September 1918, 27 January 1919, 22 September 1919, 21 September 1921, Star, 21 & 27 October 1916, Otago Daily Times, 28 October 1916, Oamaru Mail, 8 & 21 September 1917 (Papers Past) [08 September 2013; 11 July 2014; 13 August 2015; 29 February 2016]; The New Zealand Herald, 24 April 2012 (nzherald.co.nz per Google search) [13 September 2013]; The Oamaru Mail, 24 April 2012 (J. Johnston/J. Holwell booklet); photocopy images of P. Fridd (J. Johnston/J. Holwell booklet); Printed booklet documenting P. Fridd's war service (recollections and records compiled by Joyce Johnston née Fridd, niece of Peter, and donated by Jean Holwell, great-niece) [25 September 2014]; School Admission record (Oamaru Branch NZSG) ; NZ Electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au) [29 February 2016]
Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
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