9th & 49th Battalion, AIF
Date/Place of Birth: 1897, Mulgoa, NSW
Date/Place of Death: 27 September 1917, Polygon Wood Belgium
Biographical Details: John Killian Fletcher Dredge was born in Mulgoa near Penrith in 1897, the son of John William and Sarah Ann Dredge. After attending public school, Dredge worked as a stockman and at the time of enlistment, was living at Mount Magnet, Queensland.
Service Details: Dredge enlisted on 12 February 1916 and served with the 11th Depot Battalion from 19 February 1916 until 5 April 1916. Dredge was allocated to the 19th Reinforcements, 9th Battalion and on 8 August 1916, embarked in Brisbane aboard A50 HMAT Itonus. During a stop over in Fremantle, Dredge left the ship without permission and was awarded 8 days detention by the Commanding Officer Troops. Dredge disembarked at Plymouth on 18 October 1916. On 10 December 1916, Dredge marched into No 3 Training Battalion at Durrington Camp. During his time in England, Dredge was hospitalised on a number of occasions due to illness. On 26 December 1916, Dredge was admitted to the Fargo Military Hospital and discharged to duty at No 3 Training Battalion Durrington on 18 January 1917. On 31 January 1917, he was admitted to the Fargo Military Hospital with bronchitis and later transferred to Sutton Veny Hospital before being discharged to No 3 Training Depot, Durrington Camp 3 on 20 February 1917. Dredge was admitted to the Fargo Military Hospital on 7 April 1917 and was listed as being seriously ill with pneumonia. He was discharged to duty at No 3 Training Battalion Durrington on 15 May 1917. Dredge was sent to the Western Front on 14 June 1917 and marched into the 1st Australian Divisional Base Depot at Havre the following day.
Although Dredge had been allocated to the 9th Battalion, on 30 June 1917 he transferred to the 49th Battalion and was taken on strength the following day. The 49th Battalion had just participated in the Battle of Messines in the Ypres region. The battalion’s next action was at Polygon Wood, the name given to a young plantation forest that lay along the Allied axis of advance. The advance began on 26 September 1917 and Dredge was killed the following day. It is not known how Dredge was killed. On 3 October 1917, Private E J Mann, serving with the 5th Battalion AIF, handed Dredge’s identity disk into the Battalion Headquarters and stated that he had removed the disc from the pocket of a dead soldier.
Memorial Details: Dredge is commemorated on Memorial Panel 148, 29 Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Ypres, Belgium.