The AIF Project


Regimental number1659
Place of birthAbbotsford, Victoria
SchoolKensington State School, Victoria
Other trainingWorking Men's College
Address81 Gower Street, Kensington, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation21
Height5' 3.75"
Weight117 lbs
Next of kinFather, Andrew R. Fiddes, 81 Gower Street, Kensington, Victoria
Previous military serviceServed for 1 year in the Senior Cadets (1911-12); 4 years in the 64th Bn, Citizen Military Forces (1912-16).
Enlistment date19 February 1916
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll22 February 1916
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name60th Battalion, 2nd Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/77/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A17 Port Lincoln on 4 May 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll58th Battalion
FateDied of wounds 21 October 1917
Place of death or woundingYpres, Belgium
Age at death23
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 29), Belgium

The Menin Gate Memorial (so named because the road led to the town of Menin) was constructed on the site of a gateway in the eastern walls of the old Flemish town of Ypres, Belgium, where hundreds of thousands of allied troops passed on their way to the front, the Ypres salient, the site from April 1915 to the end of the war of some of the fiercest fighting of the war.

The Memorial was conceived as a monument to the 350,000 men of the British Empire who fought in the campaign. Inside the arch, on tablets of Portland stone, are inscribed the names of 56,000 men, including 6,178 Australians, who served in the Ypres campaign and who have no known grave.

The opening of the Menin Gate Memorial on 24 July 1927 so moved the Australian artist Will Longstaff that he painted 'The Menin Gate at Midnight', which portrays a ghostly army of the dead marching past the Menin Gate. The painting now hangs in the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, at the entrance of which are two medieval stone lions presented to the Memorial by the City of Ypres in 1936.

Since the 1930s, with the brief interval of the German occupation in the Second World War, the City of Ypres has conducted a ceremony at the Memorial at dusk each evening to commemorate those who died in the Ypres campaign.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Commemorated on Kensington Methodist (now Uniting) Church Roll of Honour ('A Loving tribute to the Memory of Our Brave Men'), McCracken Street, Kensington, Victoria. Parents: Andrew Ramsay and Edith FIDDES, 81 Gower Street, Kensington, Victoria. Native of Melbourne
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Embarked from Melbourne, 1 May 1916; disembarked Suez, 10 June 1916.

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 2 August 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 8 August 1916.

Proceeded to England; marched in to 15th Training Bn, 21 August 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 6 December 1916; taken on strength, 58th Bn, 14 February 1917.

Admitted to hospital, 29 March 1917; admitted to 6th Field Ambulance, 30 March 1917 (scabies); transferred to 3rd Canadian General Hospital, Boulogne, 4 April 1917 (trench feet); transferred to England, 8 April 1917, and admitted to Passmore Edwards Hospital; discharged on furlough, 9 May 1917, to report to No 4 Command Depot, Wareham, 24 May 1917.

Proceeded overseas to France, 5 July 1917; rejoined unit, 11 August 1917.

Wounded in action, 21 October 1917; died of multiple wounds, 12th Australian Field Ambulance, 21 October 1917.

Handwritten notation on Form B103: 'Buried'. Grave subsequently lost.

Statement, Red Cross File No 1050908N, 2859 Pte H.S.W. SCHUTT, 58th Bn (patient, No 3 Canadian General Hospital, Boulogne), 10 January 1918: 'I knew a man called Fiddes in A. Co. I did not know his platoon, number or initial nor did I know anything of him before the war. He was about 5ft 5 or 6, rather dark and rather stout, clean shaven and about 22. I don't know if he was married. I was with Fiddes and a man called Langworthy in a party of ten going over a ridge on the 21st Oct on the Ypres sector when a shell fell close to us and after the explosion I saw Fiddes and Langworthy lying across the duckboards both very badly wounded. I went to the officer for help and he sent Sgt Mauser (sic) who took charge of them and took them to the D/S. Sgt Mauser told me that Fiddes was carried to the D/S and afterwards to some other place. It was officially reported later that Fiddes had D/W.'

Second statement, 2471 Sergeant G. MOUSER, 58th Bn, 11 February 1918: 'I can give very little information regarding 1659, Pte. D. Fiddes, who died of wounds on 21.10.17. I was in charge of a fatigue party of this unit, the 58th Battn, when Fiddes was wounded. He was wounded rather severely about the legs. We did our best for him. I personally helped to carry him to the nearest dressing station. From there he was taken from us, and taken on by A.A.M.C. to a dressing station further to the rear. He was reported later to have died the next day. I cannot state definiely where he was buried but I can state definitely that he was not buried on the field but his grave is in one of the cemeteries in the region of Ypres. It should be properly registered.'

Third statement, 2716 Pte A.G. ROBERTS, A Company, 58th Bn, 3 (?) May 1918: 'He was wounded by a shell when on fatigue, carrying sand and cement, behind the lines and the same shell got Lieut. Woods A II 58th Battn., I saw the S/Bs carrying Fiddes away and they told me both his legs were badly smashed. It was near Passchendaele Ridge - I heard he died at [the] Dressing Station but I do not know anything about his burial ... Fiddes was A II and so was I - little chap about 22. He had bad feet always and was [a] bad marcher.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

In 1920, his father requested that his headstone be inscribed with the Star of David. Base Records advised, 27 October 1920, that 'the Star of David is the emblem of the Jewish Faith whereas the Cross is symbolical of Christianity and not any particular denomination.' Mr Andrew Fiddes replied, 31 October 1920, 'you may put the Cross on the Headstone in place of the Star of David. It was only that his name was David. We never troubled what it was the Emblem of. Thanking you for putting us right.'
SourcesNAA: B2455, FIDDES David
Red Cross File No 1050908N

Print format