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Frederick William DROVER

Rank Reg/Ser No DOB Enlisted Discharge/Death Board
Pte 5544A 24y 20/12/14 12/04/1916 1

Frederick William Harvey Drover  (1890-1966) 


Family background and early life

Frederick William Harvey Drover was born on 15 October 1890 in Edinburgh, Scotland to William Steedman Drover, a music teacher, and his wife Charlotte Forsyth nee Sutherland. He was ten years old when they arrived in Australia. The family settled in Brisbane and attended Saint Andrew’s Church in the city.

Enlistment and service

Frederick was a mechanic, 167cm tall, weight 55.3kg, with brown hair, blue eyes and a dark complexion and residing in Kelvin Grove, when he enlisted in Brisbane on 20 December 1914. He was placed with the 8th Company of the Australian Army Service Corps (AASC) in Sydney. The core role for such AASC companies was to maintain supplies and transport them to Divisions.

Some 8th Company personnel – specifically the supply and ammunition sections – were part of the build-up of Anzac personnel in Egypt between November 1914 and early 1915.  Frederick was among reinforcements who arrived in Egypt in the middle of March 1915 on the Runic, having embarked in Sydney on 12 February 1915. Over the next two months Frederick was engaged in the work of supplying the troops in the camps at Mena and Maadi.


The area held by the Anzacs at Gallipoli after the landing on 25 April 1915 was a narrow strip of beach a little over two kilometres long, and behind that, steep rough country extending inland less than one kilometre at even its deepest point. In this environment the AASC role was supply rather than transport – the Navy shipped the stores to the beach and generally the Indian Army Mule Cart Corps and fatigue parties from the infantry brigades moved supplies issued from depots on the beach up to the fighting units.

By May there were two main depots on the beach, although much of the beach and shingle immediately above were covered with rations, forage, ammunition, fuel and other items - the aim at that stage being to have seven days’ supply available onshore. The physical work was arduous and the beach far from a safe location – indeed, it could be one of the riskiest. All positions held by the Anzacs were within range of enemy fire, including the bursting of shrapnel shells above the beach.

Frederick embarked from Alexandria in Egypt on the Franconia on 14 May 1915 and landed at Gallipoli, where he was most probably employed at the beach depots. However, illness and physical limitations meant his active service was relatively short.

Illness and return to Australia

On 22 May Frederick was evacuated off Gallipoli and spent three and a half months in hospitals at Malta and in England. He was invalided to Australia on the Suevic, arriving on 20 November 1915.

Frederick was discharged from army service on 12 April 1916. Rheumatic fever had not left any lasting cardiac damage but rheumatism – present in a minor way prior to enlistment and with episodic pains starting in Egypt - was accepted as having been exacerbated by his service. He was granted a temporary war pension for partial incapacity that continued until January 1917.


In late 1916 Frederick married Nellie Looker Bigg from Wilston in Brisbane. They had one daughter and three sons. The family lived in Eagle Junction before moving to Mt Isa, where Frederick worked as a mechanic for Mt Isa Mines for a number of years.


Frederick Drover died in Brisbane on 29 July 1966 and his ashes were interred, with Church of England rites, at the Albany Creek Crematorium.


Select bibliography
• National Archives of Australia, military records.
• Australian War Memorial.
• Scottish and Queensland Registries of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
• Queensland electoral rolls.
• Bean, C.E.W. Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-18 , vols i and ii, Sydney, 1921-1942.
• Lindsay, Neville Equal to the Task: The Royal Australian Army Service Corps, Brisbane 1992.
• Tyquin, Michael Gallipoli: The Medical War, Sydney, 1993.

Compiled by Ian Carnell February 2016



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