Second Lieutenant Frederick Birks

Service number 47
Ranks Held Lance Corporal, Private, Second Lieutenant
Birth Date 1894-08-16
Birth Place United Kingdom: Wales, Flintshire, Buckley
Death Date 1917-09-21
Death Place Belgium: Flanders, West-Vlaanderen, Glencorse Wood
Final Rank Second Lieutenant
Service Australian Imperial Force
  • 6th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • 2nd Australian Field Ambulance
Conflict/Operation First World War, 1914-1918
Gazettes Published in London Gazette in 1916-11-16
Published in London Gazette in 1917-11-08
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1918-07-25
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1917-04-19

Frederick Birks (1894-1917) was born in North Wales, and migrated to Australia in 1913. He held different jobs before enlisting in August 1914. He was posted to the medical corps and served as a stretcher-bearer on Gallipoli; he was wounded in June 1915. In France next year he was awarded the Military Medal for bravery.

Having been selected for officer-training, Birks was commissioned in the 6th Battalion, AIF, in May 1917. On 20 September, during the battle of Menin Road, Birks and a corporal attacked a German pillbox which was holding up the advance; the corporal was wounded but Birks went on, killing those in the pillbox and capturing a machine-gun. Later he led a small party against another strongpoint, capturing 16 men and killing or wounding nine others. The following day, while trying to rescue some of his men who had been buried by an explosion, the brave officer was killed by a shell. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross; the award was accepted by his brother, who was serving in the British army.

Birks received the Victoria Cross, a Military Medal, and service medals for the First World War.



Date of birth 16 August 1894
Other 1913 Migrated to Australia from the United Kingdom.
Date and unit at enlistment (ORs) 18 August 1914 2 Field Ambulance.
Date of enlistment 18 August 1914
Date of embarkation 19 October 1914 Sailed for Egypt.
Date wounded 20 June 1915 Wounded at Gallipoli.
Date promoted 1916-04 Promoted to Lance Corporal.
Date of recommendation honour or award 10 June 1916
Date of honour or award 1916-07 Awarded the Military Medal for consistant good service in the operation at Pozieres by General Birdwood.
Date promoted 1916-08 Promoted to Corporal.
Date of recommendation honour or award 09 September 1916
Date promoted 26 April 1917 Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and moved to the 6th Battalion.
Date of honour or award 20 September 1917 Awarded the Victoria Cross for action at Glencorse Wood, east of Ypres, Belgium whilst serving with 6 Battalion, 2 Brigade, 1 Division as a Second Lieutenant.
Date of death 21 September 1917
Date of recommendation honour or award 27 September 1917