The AIF Project

Robert Frederick FENTON

Regimental number2759
Place of birthSydney New South Wales
ReligionChurch of England
AddressPrince Alfred Street, Long Bay, Sydney, New South Wales
Marital statusMarried
Age at embarkation23
Next of kinWife, Mrs Reta Dorothy Fenton, Prince Edward Street, Long Bay, Sydney, New South Wales
Enlistment date13 September 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll30 August 1915
Rank on enlistmentSapper
Unit name7th Field Company Engineers
AWM Embarkation Roll number14/26/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A23 Suffolk on 30 November 1915
Rank from Nominal RollSapper
Unit from Nominal Roll7th Field Company Engineers
FateReturned to Australia 8 April 1919

Military Medal

'For most conspicuous gallantry and devotion to Duty. On the evening of the 30th August 1918 Sapper FENTON accompanied a party on reconnaissance for bridges across the SOMME near HALLE. The whole area about bridge-heads was being heavily shelled by all calibres. When the officer in charge of the party required to reconnoitre bridges and roads on the farther side of the canal Sapper FENTON accompanied him despite that he knew the farther bank of the canal had not yet been patrolled by our infantry, and bursts of machine gun fire were coming from somewhere near on that side. Sapper FENTON assisted materially in securing information as to the condition of the bridge over the SOMME River. Returning to the destroyed traffic bridge across the canal, he, with one other rank, was instructed to remain there, make good the crossing for footway, and prepare the site for a pontoon bridge. Despite excessively heavy shelling with all calibres and repeated bursts of indirect machine gun fire he stuck to the job. Having finally completed the work required, he reported to the officer in charge and was further instructed to stand by at the bridge to meet an infantry patrol and until a section of sappers arrived to proceed with the pontooning. The bridge site at which Sapper FENTON was ordered to remain continued to be shelled all night but he reconnoitred approaches for pontoon wagons and finally went back along the route, arranged for the approach of the pontoon, to inform them of the heavy fire. Not meeting the pontoons, Sapper FENTON returned to his post and remained there until he received orders to return, at dawn next morning. These orders were sent in the evening but on account of darkness and other circumstances failed to reach Sapper FENTON until after daylight. The initiative, gallantry and devotion shown by this sapper were very conspicuous.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 115
Date: 10 October 1919

Other details

War service: Western Front

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
Date of death18 October 1961
Place of burialEastern Suburbs Memorial Park Cemetery

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