Corporal Fred Kilpatrick

The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra

 
 

Fred Kilpatrick was a schoolteacher. He taught at Leichhardt Public School and at Carlingford.

He was also a Lancer. He took part in the great adventure to train in England, then serve in South Africa. He became the first Lancer to die in action. According to the official report on Kilpatrick’s death, written by Major (later Major General) Lee (OC Lancer Squadron South Africa), the action was as follows:

"Slingersfontein, 17-1-1900. In reference to the patrol of New South Wales and First Australian Horse that left camp at 3 a.m. yesterday under Lieutenant W.V. Dowling, of the First Australian Horse, the following is notified for record: The patrol after leaving camp was attended by Major Lee as far as Pleese's farm. After short halt Lieutenant Dowling moved on with patrol. At 3.30 p.m. Warrant Officer Duncan reported his return to camp, also that he had been with Lieutenant Dowling's patrol up till 1 p.m. The patrol had reconnoitred according to instructions, and was about returning to camp when Warrant Officer Duncan with two men, was detached to examine Mr. Foster's farm. After doing so, he went in search of Lieutenants Dowling's part, and failing to find them concluded they had returned to camp. At 4.30 p.m. Major Lee received a message from Colonel Porter to see him at once in reference to the patrol, and rode around immediately with Warrant Officer Duncan and Private Buchholtz, and was informed that a New South Wales Lancer patrol had been cut up. Colonel Porter proceeded to the top of the adjacent hill, where Warrant Office Duncan and Private Buchholtz explained all particulars. The Colonel considered the unfortunate occurrence could not be classed otherwise than as an accident, and that no one was to blame. It was decided after hearing the verbal evidence of the Rimington Scouts (Bennet and two others) that we would wait developments and see if any came in after dark. At 11.30 p.m,. Private Artlett, Parramatta Half-squadron, returned to camp in an exhausted condition. The position of the occurrence was located by the Lancer scouts, some distance away on our left front. Upon examination it was found the T.S.M. Griffin, No. 367, First Australian Horse, had been killed from bullet wounds, one being through the head. Corporal F. Kilpatrick, No. 755, New South Wales Lancers, was found severely wounded - one bullet wound through the lungs, and the lower jaw smashed as if by an explosive bullet. Owing to the Boers appearing on our left flank in strength I withdrew all combatants from the front, and sent on the ambulance. On return the medical officer reported that he had buried T.S.M. Griffin on the spot where he had fallen, and that Corporal Kilpatrick was in the ambulance expiring. Corporal Kilpatrick died, at 5.10 p.m. was buried next to the two New Zealanders on the slope above Slingersfontein Farm."

There are memorials to Corporal Kilpatrick at Carlingford and Leichhardt schools. The memorial at Leichhardt is illustrated below (photo courtesy David Brown):

The inscription states: 

‘In Memory of , Corporal Frederick Isaac Kilpatrick of the N.S.W. Lancers,
For many years a scholar and teacher of this school
He was killed at Rensburg, South Africa, on the 16 January 1900
At the age of 26, and was one of the first of the NSW volunteers
To fall in the defence of the empire
This tablet was erected by the teachers, scholars, residents of Leichhardt
and friends of the deceased’.

The memorial to Fred Kilpatrick at Carlingford Public School is inside and harder to find. Our thanks to Chris Gardiner for the photo.

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