Roy Alexander Fregon

June 23, 2015

FREGON, Roy Alexander- – – – SPC 1909-1911

DoB:– – 1895, Bruthen, VIC

Father:– – John James Francis Fregon

Mother:- – Augustina, nee Hoppner

Roy Alexander Fregon attended St Patrick’s College with his younger brother John -‘Jack’ (SPC 1909-1911). Roy was in the Commercial Class in 1911, where he came second in the exams, excelling at Arithmetic and British History. His -‘special subject’ was Christian Doctrine. He was also good at handball and athletics.

Service No:- 2410

Rank:– – Private

Unit:- – 57th Battalion

Roy Fregon enlisted on 27 June 1916, a single man aged 21 years. He was a Farmer/Grazier, was five feet seven and a half inches tall with a fresh complexion, blue eyes and black hair. At the time of his enlistment he was serving in the 71A Senior Cadets.

Roy embarked from Melbourne aboard the Shropshire on 25 September 1916. As he was leaving, he gave his younger brother Jack (SPC 1909-1911) the end of a ball of string, and said to him that as long as he held the string they would always be tied to one another. Jack kept that piece of string with him until he died, and it is held now by Jack’s son.

Roy disembarked at Plymouth on 10 November 1916 and marched in to the 15th Training Battalion at Woolwich the following day. He wrote home to his father describing his arrival, the tone of his letter revealing his excitement and eagerness:

-‘-¦ We were very lucky to get here as safe as we did. Submarines have been very busy about these parts, and it appears they were out to catch us. A ship was sunk within half an hour of where we were once, and ten more sunk on our course -¦ We got into port, but worst luck it was dark. This is the main English naval base, so things are very busy here -¦ After a good deal of bustle, orders came out that we were not disembarking that night. We slept in our clothes for the night -“ a common occurrence in the army. Next morning, all excitement. We were up and doing long before light. It was a great sight. As the darkness cleared we would see the outlines of boats all around us.

-¦ After disembarking we had a long train ride till late that night -¦ at Exeter we were given light refreshments by the Mayoress. Well no doubt it is a bonzer, pretty, old-fashioned place, the counties we come through -“ Devon, Somerset and Dorset -¦ It seems a great country. We were a happy mob in those trains that afternoon -¦’

In January 1917, Roy proceeded overseas to Etaples, France and on 20 January was attached to the 57th Battalion.

He suffered a gunshot wound to his hand on 13 May 1917 and was admitted to the 32nd Stationary Hospital at Wimereux for a few days, then was transferred on 18 May to the Convalescent Hospital at Boulogne where he remained until early July. On 3 July 1917 he rejoined his unit in the field.

Not long afterwards, Roy received word that his uncle, Frank Fregon had been killed. The letter he wrote to his grandmother, Frank’s mother, reveals a much sadder, more jaded young man:

-‘-¦ It is with my deepest sympathy for you all that I write these few lines -¦ I had just written to you, and was letting you know all about poor old Frank getting wounded -¦ when the clerk met me with word that Frank had died. I never got such a surprise. To think that I had just mentioned in my letter that he was not seriously wounded, and then to get such news. To tell you the truth, I scarcely find words -¦ Up till last Saturday night Frank, Ned and myself had all been together in the same platoon -¦

-¦ After dressing Frank’s wound -“ a small hole as big as a shilling in his left shoulder -“ I, with the stretcher bearers, carried him back to the dressing station. Naturally he was in some pain, but he was conscious and speaking to me all the time -¦ I left him at the dressing station -¦ he seemed well then, but poison must have set in later -¦ Up to date we had been a lucky trio, in some tight corners at times, but always got out safely.’

On 25 September 1917 Private Fregon was killed in action in Belgium. He was 22 years old. He is remembered at the Tyne Cot Military Cemetery, Passchendaele, West-Vlaanderen, Flanders, Belgium.

-‘Belgium, 5/10/17,

Mr and Mrs Fregon and Family -“

It is with the deepest regret that we write to tell you of your dear son Roy being killed in action on the 26th inst, while doing his duty in the last great British victory, and on behalf of his platoon and the whole of the battalion we express our deepest sympathy to you all in this, your hour of great sorrow. We have lived always together since first joining the colours and through his genuine and endearing disposition he was absolutely one of the very best comrades that one could ever wish to know, and often we talked of spending holidays together after the war in peace, but such was not to be. Always happy and full of fun, he made friends wherever he went, and in battle always ready to do his bit bravely and without fear. In this game one more than ever believes in the faith that whatever happens it is all for the best, and though it is very hard when we see such fine lads as Roy passing away so early in life, yet it is a noble sacrifice for a sacred cause and meets its reward in eternal life.

-Greater love had no man than this,

That he lay down his life for his friend-

If there is anything we can do for you as regards Roy we will be pleased to do so, and believe us,

Roy’s loving pals’.