PRIVATE ALEXANDER GEORGE WHITE
10TH AUGUST 1918 AGE 28
BURIED: HEATH CEMETERY, HARBONNIERES, FRANCE
These simple words, chosen by Private White's mother, carry a deep resonance. 'Thy will be done', from the Lord's Prayer, is a much used inscription, the words a bleak acceptance of God's will. The previous inscription, Private Thomas Stapleton's makes it clear that what was God's will wasn't the family's - "Not my will but thine O Lord". Private White's shows with searing clarity how hard it was to accept God's will when it meant that you had to accept the death of your son. And the words "my son, my son" are not simply a mother's lament for her dearly loved son but they are the deeply anguished words uttered by King David when he learnt of the death of his rebel son, Absalom, his favourite child:
And the king was much moved, and went up to the Chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!"
[2 Samuel 18:33]
Alexander White served with the 11th Battalion Australian Infantry, which took part in the opening of the Battle of Amiens on 8 August 1918, the Black Day of the German Army, when the Australians were part of the greatest single advance made by the Allies in a single day. White was killed two days later, on the 10 August, in the Allied attack on the German-held town of Lihons.