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Fritz Newton Basedow MC – 28 November 1893 – 25 April 1918

Today we remember all who have served in wars and conflicts around the world, and those who sadly did not return. One such story is that of Fritz Newton Basedow MC.

Fritz Newton Basedow was born in Caltowie in the mid north of South Australia on the 28 November 1893. He attended Caltowie Public School, then later moved to Adelaide and attended St Peter’s College. After graduating, Fritz got a job as a clerk at the Bank of Adelaide. He enlisted at Keswick on the 21 July 1915, just three months after the first ANZACS landed on the shores of Gallipoli.

He was posted to A Company, 32nd Battalion at the Mitcham Camp as a machine gunner and sailed from Adelaide to the Middle East with the rest of his unit aboard HMAT Geelong on 18 November reaching the Suez Canal on 18 December 1915.

He was appointed Second Lieutenant in the 32nd Battalion on 1 June and sailed for France a fortnight later. He was promoted to Lieutenant on 1 November however he fell ill with severe bronchitis and influenza and was granted leave to England to recover. On the 11 January he was later discharged and returned to his unit in the field on 16 January 1917.

Later that year during conflict surrounding Polygon Wood, Lieut. Basedow was awarded a Military Cross for his efforts under heavy enemy shell fire.

Sir William Birdwood, later wrote to Fritz.
“I know exactly how you controlled your battery of eight machine guns in the attack, and when two officers of the battery on your right were wounded, you supervised the firing of that battery as well as your own, thus enabling the former to respond to the ‘SOS’ on every occasion. Thank you very much for your good service.”

On 17 April 1918, Basedow found himself fighting in the horrid conditions at Villers-Bretonneux on the Western Front. During this conflict, Fritz was gassed and evacuated from the front and later admitted to the 8th General Hospital in Rouen, France.

Lieutenant Basedow MC later died on 25 April 1918, 100 years ago today.

He was 24 years old.

Fritz Newton Basedow’s name is located on panel 118 in the Commemorative Area at the Australia War Memorial in Canberra, and on Friday 11 May 2018 at 9.22pm, his name will be projected on the Hall of Memory.

Fritz is also remembered on the Honour Wall in Memorial Hall, St Peter’s College, Adelaide and today his name appears on a cross of remembrance on the lawns in front of Memorial Hall, 100 years after his death.

Lest we forget.