Frederick Walter Boon
NX19668 W.O 2
Fred was born the eldest of three children on 24 July,1912. During his childhood he lived at Gladesville, NSW, where he attended the public school, along with his younger brother Norman. (NX149437, who also served his country during WW2). During his adolescence he attended Sydney Technical High School.
After completing his schooling, and during the Great Depression he travelled around the country, working at various occupations. He spent some time working on the Sydney Harbour ferries prior to his training as a psychiatric nurse. He found a position at Peat and Milson Island Mental Hospital ( as it was then known) and it was presumably from his experience here that he was seconded and attached to the newly formed 2/5 Australian General Hospital.
Fred enlisted in the AIF at Paddington on the 3 June 1940, and was dispatched to the Army Camp at Greta in the Hunter Valley, for his initial training and other special activities such as blood typing and identification and also vaccinations and general nursing assistance. Prior to embarkation the Unit returned to Sydney to check and collate the stores required for medical emergencies. On the 19 October 1940 the main body of the 2/5 AGH, Fred included, on board H.M.T Queen Mary sailed out of Sydney Harbour bound for overseas duty. Arriving in Palestine Fred was stationed at Rehovot, and assisted in setting up the hospital to receive wounded personnel
From Rehovot the Hospital was sent to Greece and set up at Ekali, a 1200 bed hospital all under 'canvas', this was no mean feat. The hospital was overrun by the advancing German Troops, but fortunately Fred was evacuated prior to the German takeover. He was evacuated on the HMS Phoebe to Crete, and from there aboard the S.S Lossiebank to Port Said. Fred served in Eritrea and Ethiopia before returning to Australia. He was given leave and then with the 2/5 AGH was deployed to New Guinea, where the hospital was established at Bootless Bay. It was here he met and cared for his wounded future brother-in-law who was serving with the 2/13 Battalion.
Fred also saw service with the 2/5 AGH on Morotai Island, and on returning to Australia was discharged on 5 November 1945 with the rank of W.O.2.
In a letter received after Fred 's death on 13 January 1971, David Ling, who was taken prisoner by the German troops in 1941, wrote these words, "A person as good and kind as he was leaves a lasting impression on all who knew him."