Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Remembering a Veteran: Samuel Frickleton, VC, New Zealand Rifle Brigade

His brother William served at Gallipoli and in France, where he was wounded; he died in late 1916. James, Herbert, and Thomas Frickleton were all wounded in different battles. All four surviving Frickleton brothers were returned to New Zealand as medically unfit. Samuel was given a hero’s welcome on arrival in June 1918, with large civic receptions in the main cities and on the West Coast.

He was commissioned into the New Zealand Staff Corps in October 1919 and served on the West Coast and in Christchurch and Napier. He married Valeska Gembitsky in 1922, and they had one son. His health problems recurred, and he retired from the army medically unfit in 1927. Later he joined the territorial force, and was promoted to captain in 1934. When the Second World War broke out, he again volunteered for overseas service but was rejected because of his medical history.

After leaving the army, Samuel Frickleton worked as a clerk for the Colonial Motor Company, and spent some time farming at Waikanae. He was always interested in sport, especially golf in later years. Although lung problems (later diagnosed as chronic asthma) continued to trouble him, he lived until he was 80. He died in September 1971 and is buried in the Taita Servicemen’s Cemetery, New Zealand.

Sources:  Flanders Field in the Great War, New Zealand History

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