Frederick Allen Sheedy was born on the 2nd of October 1897 at Adamstown, near Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. He was the third son of James and Annie Jane Sheedy (née Cameron). Frederick’s father James passed away in August 1908 when he was only 40 years old, leaving Annie Jane with five young boys to raise on her own. She lost her son Charles in 1910 at the age of 16.
Frederick signed up with the Royal Australian Navy in January 1913 when he was 15 years of age. His first ship was the H.M.A.S. Tingira where he started out as Boy 2nd Class, promoted to boy 1st Class in October the same year. Tingira was a Training Ship for the Royal Australian Navy permanently moored at Rose Bay, Sydney, NSW.
Frederick was transferred to H.M.A.S. Sydney on the 15th of October 1913 and was rated Ordinary Seaman 2nd Class on the 2nd of October 1914. During the early stages of World War 1 Sydney was involved in supporting the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force and escorting the first ANZAC convoy. On the 9th of November 1914 the cruiser defeated the German cruiser S.M.S. Emden at the Battle of Cocos. Frederick signed on for another 7 years with the Royal Australian Navy on the 2nd of October 1915 while still with H.M.A.S. Sydney. During 1915 and 1916, Sydney operated on the North America and West Indies Stations, before joining the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron at Greenock, Scotland in November 1916.
Frederick wasn’t the only member of his family to be sacrificed to the war effort. His elder brother James Sheedy, 12th Field Ambulance, Australian Army Medical Corps, , died in France in September 1916 as a result of wounds received in action.
Frederick was posted to London Depot from the 24th of October 1916. He was a passenger on the Laurentic, on the way from gunnery school back to his ship H.M.A.S. Sydney, when he lost his life. It’s hard to imagine how Annie coped with the loss of her husband and three of her children in less than a decade.
Frederick’s body was recovered and was buried in St. Mura’s Church of Ireland Churchyard, Upper Fahan, Donegal, Ireland. He is remembered on the Fallen Sailors and Soldiers Memorial, Monument Hill Memorial Reserve, High & Swanbourne Streets, Fremantle, Western Australia.
A number of newspaper notices were posted in Australian newspapers at the time of his death:-
SHEEDY – On January 25 1917, at sea, on the s.s. Laurentic, on the North Irish coast, Frederick Allen, dearly loved third son of the late James and Nurse Annie J. Sheedy, of 130 Hampton-road, Fremantle; beloved brother of James, who died of wounds in France; Arthur Frances of Henderson Naval Base; and Robert Michael, of Christian Brothers’ School, Fremantle; also cousin of Mrs Rose, Arthur and Marie Williamson, of 42 Malcolm-street, Fremantle.
For us the chocking blinding tears;
For them a glorious name
Western Mail, Perth, Western Australia – 9 February, 1917
SHEEDY – A tribute to the memory of my dear friend Frederick A. Sheedy, who was killed on January 26, 1917, on board the s.s. Laurentic, which struck a mine.
Until the day breaks and shadows flee away.
Inserted by his sincere friend Frank Wilkinson (on active service).
The West Australian, Perth, Western Australia – 17 February, 1917
SHEEDY – In proud remembrance of my brave young Australia kinsman, Frederick Allen Sheedy, who perished of our coast on January 25, 1917, and interred at Fahan Cemetery, County Donegal, Ireland.
Inserted by his loving aunt Mary Shannon, Lisnarick, Ireland.
With thanks to Beth Page for her thorough research on Frederick Allen Sheedy included in her website ww1austburialsuk.weebly.com