An ex pupil at war

Francis John Herbert (Bert) Fear 1885-1916

When the war started Bert was in Canada where he was learning more about cheese-making. He went to London quickly afterwards and joined the New Zealand forces there.

He went to Gallipoli in April 1915. Bert was fighting in one of the most dangerous places in Gallipoli called Quinn’s Post. On the night of the 9th of June, Bert and another man attached explosives to long pieces of wood and crawled with them towards where the Turkish soldiers were. They had to be very quiet so they wouldn’t get caught. They blew up a Turkish block house. Bert and the other man got the DCM. A DCM award is a Distinguished Conduct Medal for bravery.

Bert remained in Gallipoli until he was wounded, he had six wounds in his leg. In April 1916 he was sent to the Western Front in northern France and Belgium. He spent a lot of time in the mud and rain building trenches. He got bronchitis and so he spent some time in hospital.

Near the village of Flers he was working on a trench in the dark on the night of 20 September 1916 when he was killed. Bert was buried that night by his brother Claude and other New Zealand soldiers. They put a wooden cross on his grave. His parents visited his grave in 1924.

Finding out about Bert’s life was sad, thinking about all those soldiers who died.