Ossory Arthur Fitzpatrick

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Fitzpatrick, Private Ossory Arthur Charles no.3833

1st Pioneer Battalion.


Born at North Sydney 1901, son of Ossory A.S. and Angela M. Fitzpatrick.

Enlisted at Dubbo 6/12/1916, [aged 15].

Next of kin, mother, Angela Fitzpatrick.

Farewells to soldiers: DT 26/1/1917.


Arthur Fitzpatrick, of the Pioneer Reinforcements, was entertained at the Kia- Ora Hall, Campsie, prior to his departure for the front. The bugler was the recipient of several presentations.

Returned to Australia 12/6/1919

Please add further information here.

The restored bass drum originally found by Footscray-Yarraville City Band in 2013. The theme for the drum insert design (covering the skin) this year marks the centenary of Australians lost in France in 1916 in battles at Fromelles, Pozieres, Mouquet Farm and Flers. On the reverse side of the drum the design marks 50 years since the battle of Long Tan in Vietnam. Image Courtesy Footscray-Yarraville City Band, 2013.
Bass drum found by Footscray-Yarraville City Band in 2013. WWI Servicemen's inscriptions are inside the drum. Image Courtesy Footscray-Yarraville City Band, 2016.
Inscription reads: "No 3833 A O Fitzpatrick 1st Pioneer T.B. Band AIF December 9 17 Campsie NSW". Image Courtesy Footscray-Yarraville City Band, 2013.

Born in North Sydney, Fitzpatrick lived in Troy Street, Campsie, and prior to enlisting, was active in both the Senior Cadets and the Home Service and also played the bugle. He embarked for England in January 1917 and was assigned to the Pioneer Training Battalion at Fovant near Salisbury Plain. While at Fovant, Fitzpatrick utilised his musical talents in the Training Brigade Band. Fitzpatrick was sent to France in May 1918 and survived the war, returning to Australia in July 1919.

Turn the clock forward almost 100 years to the current day Footscray Yarraville City Band from the Western Suburbs of Melbourne. In 2013, while cleaning out the band's storeroom, the band discovered an old and battered bass drum with a torn head. Ready to throw the old drum out, a closer look revealed a startling revelation. "Upon closer inspection we realised the significance of the drum" said Colin Harrison, a current member of the band. "On the inside of the drum we discovered the faint markings of soldiers who had served overseas with the AIF during the 1st World War". The soldiers have been identified as:

  • No 3833 Ossory Arthur Charles Fitzpatrick (born North Sydney, enlisted Dubbo)
  • No 2133 Alexander Lambert (born Wallsend, enlisted Newcastle), KIA 30/08/1917
  • No 2123 Edward Rees Harry (born near Broken Hill, enlisted Adelaide)
  • No 3715 Robert Lynch (born Glasgow, Scotland, enlisted Brisbane)
  • No 3068 Edward William Brown (born Condamine, enlisted Toowoomba)

A couple of the men's inscriptions in the drum give the place names Fovant and Sutton Veny. These inscriptions indicate the drum was used in bands in the training camps near Salisbury Plain, England, where men were trained before being sent to the front in France and Belgium.

"You can only imagine that these men wrote their name inside the bass drum knowing the dangers they faced and hoping that they would be remembered should they not return. To find the bass drum 100 years on and learn the stories of these men has been a real gift and we are honoured to be able to share this".

Many WWI bandsmen were killed or wounded in action carrying out their duties as stretcher bearers, ammunition carriers and other tasks. A battle like Pozieres sometimes made a clean sweep of the stretcher bearers. Fortunately Fitzpatrick survived the war and returned to Australia in 1919.

The Footscray-Yarraville City Band marched with this WWI bass drum at the 2016 ANZAC commemorations to honour the service and sacrifice of these men and of all our Australian service men and women. As part of the band's ANZAC Centenary Commemoration Project, the band is committed to the preservation and public display of this drum and researching the history of these men, lest we forget.

Special acknowledgement

The primary source of the information on this page is copied from the prize winning publication Canterbury's boys : World War I & Sydney's suburban fringe. This book is the culmination of 12 years (1988-2000) research by a team of volunteers from the Canterbury and District Historical Society led by Dr Lesley Muir. Without this team's effort and dedication and the Society's willingness and support, this information would not be available today.


An uneditable version of the book Canterbury's boys : World War I & Sydney's suburban fringe is in the eBook section of this wiki. In the main section, there is an alphabetical list of the 1,911 individuals recorded in the book - the list is titled Canterbury's Boys List. Every name is linked to an editable version of the individual’s biography copied from the Canterbury’s Boys book. These editable biographical files have been created to provide the space for descendants, historians, researchers, etc to add information, photographs, newspaper articles, memories, etc. they have discovered so it is available for this and future generations.


Canterbury's boys : World War I & Sydney's suburban fringe. Edited by Lesley Muir. Campsie, N.S.W. : Canterbury and District Historical Society, 2002

Press Release - 25 April 2016: Canterbury Soldier's Inscription Found in Bass Drum. Footscray-Yarraville City Band, 2016