Name: Matthew Michael Fitzpatrick

 

Birth Date: 1890 Where: Western Australia
Died: 23 April, 1965 Where: Fremantle, WA
Place of Enlistment: Southern Cross, Western Australia Age: 25
Serial Number:623 Battalion: 28th
Rank on Enlistment: Private Rank on Discharge/Death: Corporal

Awards: 1914 - 15 Star, British War Medal 1914 - 1920, Victory Medal, Military Medal

 

Photograph Fitzpatrick

 Service Details:

 

 

9 March, 1915

1915                      Enlisted Southern Cross, WA

9 June

1915                      Embarked from Fremantle

20 August

1915                      Embarked Egypt

10 Sept. – 12 Dec.

1915                      Gallipoli

21 March

1916                      France

6/7 June

1916                      Trench Raid

29 July – 27 Aug.

1916                      Pozieres (Sausage Valley)

4 August

1916                      Pozieres

6 September

1916                      Belgium

October

1916                      Ypres and Dernacourt

3 November

1916                      Battle of Ancres Heights & Fricourt

20 November

1916                      Promoted Sergeant

February

1917                      Warlencourt

March

1917                      Attack on Malt Trench

28 April

1917                      To Hospital

28 September

1917                      Rejoined Unit

October

1917                      Broodseine & Passchendale

7 October

1917                      Wounded

31 October

1917                      Awarded Military Medal

21 July

1918                      Returned to Australia

8 August

1918                      Medical Discharge

11 November

1918                      Armistice

 

 

 

Biographical Details:

Matthew Michael Fitzpatrick was born in 1890 to Catherine and Joseph Fitzpatrick. His birth records list him as Michael Matthew Fitzpatrick but Matthew Michael appears to have been his preferred forenames. These were used on his enlistment papers and throughout the remainder of his life, including his Death Certificate. He was the oldest of five children (three boys and two girls). His grandfather, Matthew Goodbody, was one of the Enrolled Pensioner Force of Western Australia.
Matthew enlisted in the 28th Battalion in Southern Cross in March, 1915. There is no record of him having lived there and his service records show his profession as a Ship’s Fireman (Stoker). He claimed six months service as a stoker in the navy but there are no other official records to support that claim. At 5’ 2” Fitzpatrick just qualified for the AIF’s minimum height and was the shortest of the raiders. After training at Blackboy Hill and Egypt the 28th Battalion was sent to Gallipoli. Collett36 wrote that Fitzpatrick was one of the 17 volunteers from 28th Battalion for the C3 party - a group of men who were to cover the ANZACs’ withdrawal from Gallipoli and who were credited with being the last to leave. Following his experiences there he transferred to the Machine Gun Company. It was as a machine gunner that he was part of the raiding party. Later, in May 1916, when Fitzpatrick volunteered for the June Trench Raid he became the only Australian to volunteer and be accepted for both the C3 party and the AIFs first trench raid. Matthew is No. 33 in the Black ANZACs’ group photograph. Over the five months following the raid Fitzpatrick was promoted to Sergeant. His ability as a soldier was not only recognized by promotion but also, in February 1917, he was recommended for a Bronze Medal for Military Valour – an Italian Award. There is no record of it having been awarded. In October that year he was wounded in action and subsequently recommended for the Military Medal which was awarded in May 1918. For conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty during the operation in the vicinity of Zonnebeke between the 4 th & 11 th Oct. 1917…

When five of his men were buried in a dugout went to their rescue, and although wounded he gave no thought to himself until they were liberated. He further continued in action until the company was relieved on 11th inst. On reporting his wound later he was evacuated. The Gun Shot Wound (GSW) to his Fitzpatrick’s thigh saw him transferred to England. During furlough there he contracted syphilis. On 28th May 1918 he was court-martialled for being AWL for three days. He was sentenced to be reduced to the ranks (from Sgt) but this was later mitigated to that of Corporal with forfeiture of 13 days pay. As a result of continuing problems with his left hip, and a permanent limp for which he was awarded a military pension, Matthew was returned to Australia and discharged on 9/8/18. Not much is known of Matthew Fitzpatrick after he returned to Australia, until 1932 when he was charged with being on premises used for gambling. In 1933 he was reported missing but turned up a week later. Although on a small war pension then Matthew claimed additional support from the Repatriation Department because of a head injury he claimed to have received on the June 6th/7th trench raid and for which he received treatment. Matthew’s father and doctor suggested that this injury probably contributed to Matthew’s changed behaviour. James Hawkins and Hubert Tozer who were also on that raid wrote letters supporting Matthew’s claim. No official record of Matthew’s injury was found and eventually his application and a subsequent appeal were refused. In 1935 Matthew was sentenced to six months goal for assaulting a woman in Chidlow. He blamed a nervous disorder and a recently completed, 3000 mile walk to the Northern Territory and back. Again, in 1936, he was sentenced to twelve months jail for assaulting two young girls.
In 1941 Fitzpatrick was found living in a make-shift, hessian tent at Rocky Bay. He was charged with being a Rogue and a Vagabond for which he was cautioned and fined. In 1961 Matthew was admitted to Claremont Mental Hospital where he was diagnosed as suffering from Senile Psychosis. Matthew Michael Fitzpatrick died at the age of 75 in 1965, apparently unmissed because his body was discovered in a vacant block where it could have lain for five days.