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Bertram Hay Fidler

Pre-war studio portrait of Bertram Hay Fidler. A YMCA Secretary with the New Zealand branch of the organisation. Image kindly provided by Australian War Memorial, P10770.001

Pre-war studio portrait of Bertram Hay Fidler. A YMCA Secretary with the New Zealand branch of the o …

No Known Copyright Restrictions AWMM


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Bertram Hay AWMM
  • Surname
    Fidler AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    WWI 1604 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    6 March 1877 AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    • WW1 Laura, South Australia AWMM
    • WW1 Hotel Grand Central Wellington AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    WW1 Mrs M. Fidler (mother), Mt Baker, South Australia AWMM
  • Relationship status


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
    • 1915-1916 Gallipoli AWMM
    • 1914-1916 Egypt AWMM
  • Armed force / branch
  • Service number
    WWI 1604 AWMM
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
    WW1 6 January 1915 AWMM Farmer/Civilian AWMM
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment


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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    • 30 July 1915 AWMMHospital Diseases , Wounds, WWI AWMM
      Gunshot Wound Head, loss of right eye AWMM
    • Hospital Diseases , Wounds, WWI AWMM
      Dystentry AWMM
    • 27 June 1918 AWMMDied of Sickness, Cause of Death AWMM
      Dystentry AWMM

Last known rank

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  • Last rank
    WW1 28 April 1916 AWMM Private AWMM

Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • From Australian War Memorial,

    A farmer of Mount Barker, SA, Bertram originally enlisted with the AIF on 6 January 1915. 1604 Private Fidler was assigned to the 3rd Reinforcements, 10th Battalion. Pte Fidler was wounded on 30 July 1915 when a bomb [hand grenade] struck his bayonet and exploded, embedding shrapnel in his right eye and forehead. He was evacuated to No 3 Australian General Hospital at Lemnos, Greece, then sent on to Malta in August 1915 for further treatment. On 3 October 1915 surgeons attempted to remove the metal pieces from the eye using an electro-magnet; this was unsuccessful and so they removed the right eye. Pte Fidler embarked on the HS Kanowna for Australia on the 20th October 1915. Bertram Fidler was medically discharged from the AIF on the 28th April 1916 as "Permanently Unfit" but did try to enlist subsequently. These attempts were unsuccessful and in 1917 he arrived in Wellington, New Zealand on 21 February 1917. He applied to join the New Zealand Expeditionary Force on 22 February. He was accepted as being "fit for home service" but did not actually decide to join up. Bertram moved to Blenheim, Marlborough, in the South Island of New Zealand where he became a member of the Marlborough Patriotic Society. He was appointed as the organiser of the Land Committee of the Marlborough Patriotic Society early in July 1917 for the repatriation of Marlborough soldiers. Bertram is recognised as having introduced to New Zealand the idea of grants of land for returning soldiers after having experienced this scheme in Australia. He did not claim originality for this idea and noted that its main features had been in operation in Australia for over 18 months and was proving successful. This came to be called "The Fidler Scheme (or System)" in newspaper articles in Marlborough and was still being reported in 1919 over 12 months after his death. At the monthly meeting of the Marlborough Patriotic Society on 5 April 1918 a letter was tabled from Mr. Varney, National Secretary of the YMCA, who wrote asking the Society to liberate its secretary (Mr. B. H. Fidler) to enable him to take up a position as YMCA field secretary attached to the New Zealand Army. He remarked that the YMCA would be pleased to regard Mr Fidler as a representative of the Marlborough district among the soldiers at the front. Mr Fidler said that he had assured Mr Varney of his willingness to take up the appointment of field secretary. He understood that he would be given a month's notice of his despatch to the front, and that he would probably be required to go forward within the next three months. It was resolved that Mr. Fidler be granted leave of absence at the pleasure of the Town Committee, and that applications be invited for the position of secretary at a salary of £250 per annum."

    On the 23rd April 1918 Bertram left Wellington, New Zealand on board HMNZT No I02 "Willochra" for Suez, Egypt as "Y.M.C.A. (NZ) Secretary". He was classed as a civilian attached to the NZEF. He died of illness (dysentary) at Suez, Egypt on 27 June 1918. In July 1918 all YMCA secretaries were attested into the NZEF. AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    27 June 1918 AWMM
    SuezEgypt AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Suez War Memorial Cemetery Egypt AWMM B. 7. AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

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DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
24 September 2020GordonNew ZealandOther relative

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