Lieutenant Walter Frame from Oamaru, was working in Melbourne when war broke out in August 1914. He immediately joined the Australian Army and served at Gallipoli and in France in the Artillery. Walter was awarded the Military Medal and shortly after a bar to this award for gallantry under heavy shell and small arms fire in mid-1916. In 1917 he transferred to the Royal Naval Reserve and volunteered for Q-Ships (submarine decoy ships) and in HMS Dunraven was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
Walter Henry Frame was the son of Alexander and Mary Frame and was born in Oamaru on 3 April 1889. After completing school he went to sea in 1904, gaining his master’s certificate in 1913 and took up a position, initially as Mate and then Master on the Melbourne Harbour Board’s floating plant.
Following the outbreak of war, Walter enlisted in the Australian Army as a driver with the 2 Field Artillery Brigade Ammunition Column and departed on board the Australian troopship Shropshireon 20 October. After about five months service at Gallipoli he was invalided to England, returning as far as Lemnos when that campaign ended. He then went to France where he transferred to 23 Field Battery, being promoted to bombardier and then corporal in September 1916.
On 31 May 1916 Walter’s unit came under heavy artillery fire and the communication lines were continually broken. Disregarding the shell fire Walter continually repaired the lines and for his bravery was awarded the Military Medal.
On 31 May 1916 Walter’s unit came under heavy artillery fire and the communication lines were continually broken. Disregarding the shell fire Walter continually repaired the lines and for his bravery was awarded the Military Medal. Six weeks later, on 22/23 July heavy shell fire again continually severed the communication lines and Walter again continually repaired them and eventually had to resort to communicating by light, all the while under intense fire. His gallantry on this occasion saw him being awarded a bar to his Military Medal.
Walter was granted a commission as a Temporary Sub Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Reserve on 17 April 1917 and after initial training undertook a gunnery course at Devonport, gaining a second class certificate on 19 June. He joined the Q-Ship HMS Dunraven on 16 July, under the command of Captain Gordon Campbell VC, DSO. The concept of Q-Ships was that they were designed to look like merchant ships, but had concealed guns. When a submarine was sighted the crew would appear to panic and abandon ship, leaving a small party on board. Once the submarine was close enough, usually approaching while firing on the ship, the guns would be un-masked and they would sink the submarine.