Friday, June 6, 2008

Relocating the lost cobbers

I've just had a surreal telephone conversation, looking for my Great Uncle Roy.

At age 19 years and 1 month he heard the bugle call his name to enlist with his brothers.
He got through the landing of Gallipoli, he survived numerous hospital admissions - including the one in May 1915 when he was suffering "Gun shot wounds to right and left arms. Severe" but they got their cannon fodder up and about and discharged him back to duty 22 days later.
He was transferred to many different battalions as the wounded and dead outnumbered the living and the army generals had to re-form new battalions out of the scraps of humanity left behind.
Great Uncle Roy was reported missing 19th July 1916 "in the vicinity of Fromelles" and the army, in it's wisdom, declared him officially dead when it held a Court of Inquiry into his disappearance in August 1917.
No one saw him hit by any bullets, no one saw him fall, no one witnessed his lifeless body on the battlefield.
He just wasn't there after 19th July 1916.
The Court of Inquiry had several witness statements to say that Roy disappeared during the battle that day.
As did untold numerous others.
Now they've found the mass grave at Fromelles, where the British and Aussie boys have been sleeping for 92 years.
Great Uncle Roy might have been found.

For information and inquiries click HERE.
For more details on the archaeology and exhumations click HERE and HERE.


  1. It must be so hard for a family to lose someone without any form of closure.

    There must be so many families in that situation currently hoping for that closure.

  2. On the other hand he might just have thought 'Bugger this for a game of soldiers' (I know I would have by that point) and emigrated post haste. Who knows...I might even be one of his descendants. That'd mean we were related...what a disturbing thought.

  3. The sad thing is, Jeanie, is that there are currently over 1,800 still "missing" but only approx. 180 Aussies in the war grave.
    The others were blown to bits and buried as unknown soldiers.
    We'll know, one way or another, finally.

    Brian I'd hope more of them had done a bunk!
    It was a disgusting waste of a whole world-wide generation of human life.
    LOL now you're scaring me :P