AUSTRALIA AND THE WAR


NO VOICE
SAVE AN ECHO REPEATING
HE COMETH NOT BACK AGAIN
L. GORDON

LIEUTENANT HENRY ERIC HAMMEL


Henry Hammel's mother quotes from a rather beautiful poem by a British born, Australian poet, Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833-1870). In the poem, Thora's Song, two lovers part before the autumn ploughing, a whole a year passes and the harvest is ready to be gathered in, but the lover does not return. The inscription comes from the last verse:

Waiting and watching ever,
Longing and lingering yet,
Leaves rustle and corn stalks quiver,
Winds murmur and waters fret;
No answer they bring, no greeting,
No speech save that sad refrain,
Nor voice, save an echo repeating -
He cometh not back again.

An assayer and metallurgist in civilian life, Hammel was wounded in action at Borre in May 1918. A letter to the Secretary of the Information Bureau, Australian Red Cross Society, from No. 14 General Hospital in Wimereaux gives the details of his death.

"Lieut H.E. Hammel 2 Field Co Australian Engs: was admitted to this hospital on the 7th May 1918, suffering from shell wounds in legs and chest (severe). He was placed on dangerously ill list on 15/5/18 and death took place on the 22nd May at 7.20 pm. He was buried in the Boulogne Cemetery on 24th May and his grave is no. 6777."


MY FIRST PRIDE
MY FIRST JOY
MY BRAVE SOLDIER BOY

PRIVATE HEREWARD WILLIAM RAY


Hereward Ray was his mother's eldest child - 'her first pride, her first joy'. He was also 'her brave soldier boy'. I can't help hearing the words of a popular, American anti-war song, written in 1915, in her description of her son. And if this echo is intentional then she's rebuking the song-writers, not agreeing with them. This is the chorus of the song:

I didn't raise my boy to be a soldier,
I brought him up to be my pride and joy.
Who dares to place a musket on his shoulder,
To shoot some other mother's darling boy?
Let nations arbitrate their future troubles,
It's time to lay the sword and gun away.
There'd be no war today,
If mothers all would say,
"I didn't raise my boy to be a soldier."

To his mother, Hereward Ray was not only her pride and joy but a brave soldier too. The Ray family was committed to the war. There was no conscription in Australia but Hereward Ray's stepfather and brother both served in it, as did his mother's brother, Hector Archibald Maclean, who was killed in action aged 47, and two of his cousins. One cousin was killed and the other, invalided home, died of his wounds in Australia.

Hereward Ray enlisted in March 1915 and served with the 22nd Australian Infantry, which embarked from Australia in May. It went to Gallipoli where it remained until the evacuation that December. Then it moved to France and took part in the Battle of the Somme at Pozieres. Early in 1917 it went to Flanders. Ray was killed in the trenches on 18 September 1917. A witness related how he and Sergeant Kelly had both died of head injuries having been hit by a shell at Jabber Trench, Westhoek".


SONG SINKS INTO SILENCE
THE STORY IS TOLD

SAPPER HAROLD MILNE


The book is completed,
And closed, like the day;
And the hand that has written it
Lays it away.
Dim grows its fancies;
Forgotten they lie;
Like coals in the ashes,
They darken and die.
Song sinks into silence,
The story is told,
The windows are darkened,
The hearth-stone is cold.
Darker and darker
The black shadows fall;
Sleep and oblivion
Reign over all.

Harold Milne's inscription comes from this, the second verse of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem 'Curfew'. His mother signed the form confirming the choice.
Milne, born in Galashiels in Scotland, emigrated to Australia in 1907 when he was 24. He enlisted in September 1915 and served with the 14th Field Company Australian Engineers. He was killed in action on 25 October. The Company's war diary for October 1917 gives precise details of all the work the Company carried out on its sector of the line: from the Leinster Road to the Hanebeek River. But it doesn't mention any casualties until the end of the month when it lists the fact that, between 16 September and 31 October, 18 members of the Company were killed, 2 died of wounds, 31 were wounded and 1 gassed.


GREEN SOD ABOVE
BLOW LIGHT, BLOW LIGHT
GOOD NIGHT DEAR, GOOD NIGHT

PRIVATE SIDNEY ROLAND JENKINS


Mark Twain used a similar inscription to this on his daughter's headstone, which led people to assume that he had written it. He hadn't, but he had adapted it from 'Annette', a poem by Robert Richardson. Richardson's 'Annette' concludes:

Warm summer sun, shine friendly here.
Warm western wind, blow kindly here;
Green sod above, rest light, rest light,
Good-night, Annette!
Sweetheart, good-night!

The inscription on Twains daughter's headstone reads:

Warm summer sun, shine kindly here,
Warm southern wind blow softly here,
Green sod above lie light, lie light -
Good night, dear heart,
Good night, good night.

Private Jenkins' father adapted it differently and referred to the wind rather than to the sun:

Green sod above
Blow light, blow light
Good night dear, good night

Jenkins, in civilian life a railway porter from Gulargambone, N.S.W., enlisted on 16 October 1915 and embarked from Sydney on 5 June 1916 with the 13th reinforcements for the 18th Battalion Australian Infantry. Wounded on 15 April 1917, he was back in action by 28 August. He then died of wounds at No. 10 Casualty Clearing Station on 22 September 1917.
The Battalion War Dairy records that on the 20 September it attacked at Bellewaarde Ridge with 200 casualties among the soldiers. After heavy shelling on the 21st, it was relieved the next day; the Diary commentating: "Casualties during the relief were slight. Casualties Lieut W.S. Moors (wounded) O. Ranks estimated around 60".
A report in the Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau Files states baldly: "Private Jenkins died 22.9.17 from G.S.W. (gun shot wound) compound fracture R.Leg and Wd R. Hand. He was buried at Lijssenthoek Cemetery Plot 22. No. H 14B."


"I'M ALL RIGHT MOTHER
CHEERIO"

LIEUTENANT HAROLD ROWLAND HILL


What would you say to your mother as you signed off the letter you were writing to her just before you went up into the front line? You'd tell her that you were OK. The inscription is in quotation marks, surely the words are therefore Hill's, and given the fact that they have been used for his inscription, they must be something like the last words he wrote to her.
On the night of the 1st/2nd October the Battalion arrived at Esplanade Saps, Zonneke. Its effective strength was was 35 officers and 989 other ranks. They spent the 3rd, 'In Front Line' and then on the night of the 3rd/4th the War Dairy records:

"Jumping off tape was laid by midnight along frontage and along Coy. flanks. The Battalion was on same by 4.30am on 4th. At zero the Bn. closed up to within 50 yards of barrage and fought its way to the objective where it consolidated."

On the 7th October the battalion moved back into the support lines. Their casualties for this period were two officers and 38 other ranks killed, 10 officers and 185 other ranks wounded and 16 other ranks missing.

Witnesses recorded in the Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau files inform us of Hill's fate:

"Lieutenant Hill was killed before the hopover just behind Zonnebeke, near Zonnebeke Church. He was with Brigade Sig. at the time in charge of 25th Hd. Qrts. Sig."

"He led the 7th Bde. Signallers advance party over the top, near Zonnebeke about 6.30 am on Oct. 4/17. I was quite close to him when he was severely wounded during the heavy barrage, and was taken by S/Bs to the Menin Road Hospital near the Comforts Fund."

"I helped to bandage Lt. Hill. He was so badly wounded in the head and hit almost allover his body too, that he could not have lived more than an hour if that. Afterwards I heard that he had lived nearly two hours."

"Mr Hill went over the morning of the 4th October with a party of Bde. Sigs and we, the Battn Sigs were not with him at the time he was hit. But from particulars I gathered from one of our A.M.C. men I think he passed through the battalion Dressing Station unconscious but still alive, and died on the stretcher on the way to the A.D.S."




I COULD NOT SPEAK
THAT LAST GOOD-BYE
BUT KISSED HIM O'ER AND O'ER

PRIVATE WILLIAM THORN CARR


William Carr's father describes the scene so vividly that it is really quite affecting. It's a scene that must have been repeated in households all over the world - the saying good-bye to your son who was going off to fight. And Carr was an Australian, which meant that he would never be able to come home on leave
William Carr enlisted on 25 January 1916 and sailed for Europe from Brisbane on 16 August the same year. He served with the 52nd Battalion Australian Infantry made up of veterans from Gallipoli and new recruits, like Carr, fresh from Australia. The autumn and winter of 1916 were spent on the Somme and then early in 1917 the battalion transferred to the Ypres sector. Involved in the the battles of Messines Ridge, Polygon Wood and 1st Passchendaele, Carr was killed as the battalion transferred out of the line to a rest area at Ottawa Camp. The 15th to the 19th October had been spent in the trenches at Broodseinde Ridge, on 20th the Battalion was resting and 'cleaning up' in Ypres and then on 21st it moved out of the town:

52nd Battalion Australian Infantry War Diary 21st October:
"Moved from Infantry Barracks, Ypres to Ouderdum Area - route march - vide Operation Order in appendix. (Casualties - 6 other ranks killed, 32 other ranks wounded, 1 other rank previously reported Missing - reported Killed in addition to those shown on 19th inst.) Lieut A.M. Playfair wounded. Casualties occurred through shell fire as Battalion was leaving Ypres (1 p.m.) 7 other ranks killed, 3 other ranks wounded, on 21st October."

The soldiers might have been out of the direct front line but Ypres was not far from it and the German guns pounded the town incessantly. They knew where the roads were and had their range, which made the whole environs very dangerous.


NO BURDENS YONDER
ALL SORROW PAST
NO BURDENS YONDER
HOME AT LAST

SAPPER CECIL JOHN OSBORN


Sapper Osborn's inscription comes from a hymn written by Ada Habershon at the beginning of the twentieth century. The hymn itself is based on verse 4 of the Book of Revelations Chapter 21:

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

The hymn itself welcomes the fact that at death everyone will lay down their burdens, there will be no testing, no toiling, no weariness, no disappointments, no distress, no partings, no pain, no sickness and no weeping. Osborn's inscription forms the chorus.
Osborn, a carpenter, enlisted on 14 February 1916. He arrived in France on 27 January 1917 and was killed on 19 October 1917. His mother, filling in the circular for the Roll of Honour of Australia, tells us what happened. He was "wounded in the right knee going from the line to his dugout with piece of shell and died the same day". The records of No. 3 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station describe it as a gunshot wound, but whichever it was it caused his death.


HE WAS OUR DEAREST TREASURE
OUR DARLING ONLY SON
OUR BRAVE LADDIE

DRIVER HENRY GEORGE PAM


According to one witness in Pam's Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau file:

"Pam was a driver in the 4th Battery and was on the same team with me when he was hit on the 29th Sept at Ypres on the Menin Road. We were on an ammunition wagon. He was hit in the leg, foot and head, and taken to the D/S (Dressing Station)."

From the Dressing Station he was taken to No. 17 Casualty Clearing Station and it was from here that the Officer in Command wrote on 28 November 1917:

"He was admitted to this hospital in a critical condition, having been severely wounded by shell in leg and abdomen. His condition did not improve at all and he died as a result of these wounds at 2pm on 1.10.17. He was buried on 3.10.17 in the Soldier's Cemetery near to this hospital, his grave being duly marked and registered."

A boot maker in civilian life, Pam enlisted on 21 August 1914 and served in Gallipoli throughout the campaign before arriving in France in March 1916. His mother, Caroline Pam, chose his inscription.


BREAK, BREAK, BREAK
ON THY COLD GREY STONE
O SEA

SECOND LIEUTENANT JOSEPH IRVINE


Joseph Irvine's epitaph comes from one of Alfred, Lord Tennyson's best known short poems. In fact it was so well known that Irvine's widow, who chose it, would automatically have assumed that everyone would have known where the opening and closing verses of the poem were leading:

Break, break, break,
On thy cold grey stones, O sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter
The thoughts that arise in me.

Break, break, break
At the foot of thy crags, O sea!
But the tender grace of a day that is dead
Will never come back to me.

In the two sentences, 'I would that my tongue could utter the thoughts that arise in me', and 'the tender grace of a day that is dead will never come back to me', Tennyson perfectly expresses the inarticulate grief of the bereaved and their desperate longing for a past that will never return.

Joseph Irvine was killed on the opening day of the Battle of Broodseinde on 4 October 1916. There are several rather strange things about this man. The War Graves Commission has his name as Joseph Irvine and his wife as Agnes J Doak, formerly Irvine, indicating that she had married again. But she hadn't because Joseph Irvine was in actual fact Joseph Doak. He first enlisted in February 1915 as Joseph Doak, and then enlisted again in September 1915 as Joseph Irvine. In September 1917 he was court martialled after apparently threatening a soldier and shaking another one. He was severely reprimanded. Early the following month he was killed in action.
His brother, Christopher Charles Doak, serving with the South African Veterinary Corps, died in South Africa on 16 April 1916. In fact, to be brutally frank, he committed suicide. As the letter from the Department of Defence in Pretoria to the Secretary for Defence in Melbourne, Australia, says, "his death was the result of an overdose of morphia administered by Doak himself and was in no way connected with active service".


A WILLING SACRIFICE
FOR THE WORLD'S PEACE

SECOND LIEUTENANT WILLIAM KEITH SEABROOK


This inscription - "A willing sacrifice for the world's peace" - is a phenomenally magnanimous comment from the mother who had three sons killed on two consecutive days in September 1917: George Ross Seabrook and Theo Leslie Seabrook on 20 September and William Keith Seabrook on the 21st. But to whom does the word sacrifice refer? I think it has to be her son, William Keith Seabrook - and by implication her other sons - since they were the ones who volunteered to go and fight, who offered themselves willingly. There was no conscription in Australia so they were definitely volunteers.
An Australian Red Cross and Wounded Enquiry Bureau search was instituted within weeks of the brothers' deaths but it was never easy to find out exactly what happened to any one person in the heat of a battle, let alone three. Some reports say that all three brothers were killed by a single shell but others give more convincing accounts, like Private Cooper:

"T.L. Seabrook was killed by the same shell that wounded me, in fact I fell across him when I was hit. He was killed instantaneously. We were in a trench just this side of Polygon Wood, it was about 9 am."

Private Arnold gives slightly more gruesome details:

"Hit by shell head and stomach and legs. Died very soon after. He was badly hit. I saw him hit. Don't know whether he was buried. He was a friend of mine."

And Private Marshall gives a sequence to the deaths since it was whilst he was talking to George Seabrook that George:

"pointed out his brother Theo Leslie Seabrook's body lying on the ground. He had been killed by a shell. Informant states that another brother, Second Lieutenant William Keith Seabrook had been killed still earlier in the day, and that the Lieutenant had been his officer."

Neither George Ross nor Theo Leslie have graves and both are commemorated on the Menin Gate. William Keith, who had been wounded but not killed on the 20th, was taken to No. 10 Casualty Clearing Station in Lijssenthoek where he died the next day. All three brothers had been involved in the opening day of the Battle of Menin Road, the Australian Infantry Divisions' first action in the Third Ypres campaign.
Look up images of the Seabrook brothers on the Internet and you will find one of all three of them in uniform, presumably on the eve of their departure from Australia since they all left Australia on board HMAT Ascanius on 25 October 1916. And there is another photograph too, this one was found on William Keith's body, it is a photograph of his gentle-looking mother which has a bullet hole through the bottom left-hand corner


HAPPY WARRIOR

PRIVATE HARRY NOEL LEA


I have a friend whose father was killed in the Second World War and this is the inscription his mother put on her husband's grave. My friend has always hated it, feeling that his mother had insulted father's memory by describing him as a gung-ho, trigger-happy soldier. He had no idea that the term 'happy warrior' derived from a poem by William Wordsworth and that it described a soldier of quite different qualities.
Wordsworth asks the question, in his 1807 poem, "Who is the happy warrior? Who is he, that every man in arms would wish to be?". He then gives the answer: a man who is brave, modest, faithful, resolute, diligent and magnanimous, an honourable man, a man of high endeavour guided by reason and duty, a home loving man and thus "more brave for this, that he hath much to love".
The term gained in stature throughout the nineteenth century, enhanced by G.F. Watts painting titled 'The Happy Warrior', which shows a young knight on the point of death being embraced/greeted by an ethereal figure, presumably welcoming him to heaven. By the beginning of the twentieth century the phrase had become a universal term of approval for someone who had led a good, productive life serving the state.
Having told him all this, my friend realised that he had done his mother - and his father - a disservice.
Harry Noel Lea, a bank clerk from Sydney, enlisted on 15 January 1917, served with the 17th Australian Infantry, part of the 2nd Australian Division, and died of wounds received on 9 October when the Division were in action at Poelcapelle.


A PRAISE FOR THOSE
WHO FOUGHT AND FELL
TO SAVE THE EMPIRE'S NAME

PRIVATE JOHN ERNEST ORR


There's an Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau file for 'Jack' Orr, which gives us a wonderfully vivid description of him.

"Orr was a short, nuggety, red faced man, who had been a butcher before joining the army."
"Height about 5 ft 7 and a half inches, dark complexion and heavy dark moustache, sturdily built."

Reports about his death vary but these two seems to add up:

"On Nov. 1 when we were on reserves at Passchendaele, Orr was killed by a gas shell which burst right on the Bivy. I did not see him, but Pte. E. Calder B Co. was with Orr when he was killed and can give the details."
G. Taylor, 6650, D Co. 28 Bn A.I.F.

"I know that Private J.E. Orr died from the effects of gas on November 1st. 1917, and that he was buried in the field. Whether his grave was ever registered I could not say."
E. Calder, 6556, B Co. 28 Bn A.I.F.

The grave was not registered but in August 1919 Orr's body was discovered at map reference J.3.c.3.4 in an unmarked grave.

Robert Orr, Jack's elder brother, confirmed his inscription: "a praise for those who fought and fell to save the Empire's name". Included with those who 'fell' was was not only 'Jack', but another brother, George Wood Orr, who was killed on the Somme on 10 October 1916, and a brother-in-law, Albert Nordstrom, killed on 31 August 1916, also on the Somme.


NEVER MIND ME BOYS
SAVE SERJEANT BEATON

TROOPER GEORGE RICHARD SOMERVILLE JOHNSTON


Serjeant Beaton survived and returned to Australia at the end of the war. Trooper Johnston died of his wounds and was buried at Embarkation Pier Cemetery, Gallipoli. After the evacuation his grave was lost so that now he has a Special Memorial, a normal headstone but with the addition of the words 'Believed to be buried in this cemetery'.
Johnstone's stoicism must have been reported to his parents for his father to have been able to quote them in his inscription. It's the same stoicism as Private Ernest Proven's "Go on, I'll manage", which Ernest's father chose for his inscription. Simple, powerful words, which do more than words like, honour, glory, duty, sacrifice to illustrate the qualities of the soldiers of a century ago.


AFTER TWO WEARY YEARS
GOD TOOK HIM
TO HIS TWIN BROTHER
MY HAWTON

CORPORAL MATTHEW HAWTON MITCHELL


Corporal Mitchell's twin brother, Frederick, died of wounds on 1 July 1916. Hawton followed him two years later. The Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau found witnesses who could tell his mother what had happened:

"I knew casualty. He was a well built man, 5 ft. 5 ins. dark complexion, about 19 years of age. Casualty was in advance at Peronne Road. He was leading his machine gun team in attack when an H.E. shell exploded a piece entering his leg. I was 20 yds. away at the time. He was carried to hospital."
Pte. A.G. Thornton
16.5.19

The Registrar of No. 1 South African General Hospital finishes the story:

"This man was admitted to this hospital from No. 53 Casualty Clearing Station on the 24th August, 1918. He was suffering from a severe wound on the thigh with fracture of the femur. He had two attacks of secondary heamorrhage, the second of which rendered amputation of the limb necessary. The operation took place on the 1st September 1918. He recovered slightly on returning to his ward but collapsed later and died at 6.30 pm on the 1st September, 1918."


MY DEAR SON FRED
OH! THE PAIN
WHAT JOY WHEN WE MEET
AT JESUS' FEET

PRIVATE FREDERICK SUMMERSGILL MITCHELL


For Private Mitchell's mother the pain was doubled when Frederick's twin brother died of wounds in September 1918. The brothers have consecutive service numbers - 3541 and 3542 - even though from the embarkation rolls it looks as though Frederick joined up on 21 July 1915 and his brother, Matthew Hawton Mitchell, on 1 December 1915. They left Australia together on 5 January 1916.
By the time Mrs Mitchell chose her sons' inscriptions she was a widow. Like many, many relations her consolation in her grief came from the belief that they will all meet again in the afterlife. Her reference to Jesus' feet comes from the chorus of the hymn God be with you till we meet again.

Till we meet, till we meet,
Till we meet at Jesus' feet,
God be with you till we meet again.


GOODBYE AND GOD BLESS YOU
DEAR ERN AND SID
TILL WE ALL MEET AGAIN

PRIVATE ERNEST PALK


"Palk was a Signaller in C Coy. 9th Battn., tall, stoutly built, fresh complexion, rather large head, wore glasses, a proper cockney, not long joined up. They were in a dug out in a trench on telephone duty. I was close by in a small dug-out. I went to do my shift on phone and found the phone dugout had been blown up by a shell. Palk's body was lying on top of the wreckage, hit all over. I got a shovel and started digging to see if anyone else was underneath, and found Marsden's body also badly smashed."
Witness L/Cpl G.A. Simpson 7057
Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau Report

Born in Fulham, London, in the 1901 census Ernest Palk was 8 and his mother was dead. His brother Sidney was 5. In the 1911 census Ernest looks to have been a waiter at a London Club in Pall Mall. At some point he emigrated to Australia, joined up in 1917 and embarked for Europe in June 1917.
His inscription was chosen for him by his sister Rose. She makes reference to her other brother "Sid". Despite the fact that Palk is an unusual name it has not been easy to identify Sid but I think he has to be Lance Corporal S Palk, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, killed in action on 31 July 1917 and buried at New Irish Farm Cemetery, Belgium. My reasoning is that there are only two S. Palk's in the War Graves Commission's records and the other one, buried at Lijssenthoek, was called Stanley. However, the records make no mention of any family and he has no inscription.


DIED AS HE LIVED
A PATRIOT AND A MAN

PRIVATE NORMAN MARSHALL RAMAGE


You can sense a father's pride in this inscription: his twenty-four-year-old son had died 'a patriot and a man'. In fact, Private Ramage's father elaborated on this when he filled in the circular for the Roll of Honour of Australia. In answer to the question as to whether there were any biographical details that might be of interest to the historian of the AIF Mr Ramage wrote:

Who answered the call of duty and died as he lived a patriot and a man.

Ramage enlisted - 'answered the call of duty' - on 2 August, two months before Australia held a referendum on whether or not to introduce conscription. The answer was 'no'. He went missing on 25 October 1917 and his body was not recovered until the war was over. Enquiries by the Red Cross failed to find any witnesses but a letter from Sergeant Short in May 1918 related how Norman:

... was going along the communication trench at Passchendaele on Oct. 25th when a shell got him and killed him instantly. He was very badly knocked about. He was buried in the communication trench near where knocked. I did not see it happen and the person who was with Ramage at the time and saw it has since been killed. He told me about it.


READER PREPARE
TO MEET THY GOD

SAPPER ARTHUR OLIVER ELLIS


Reader, prepare to meet thy God.
Death is at no great distance; thou hast but a short time to do good. Acquire a heavenly disposition while here; for there will be no change after this life. ... In whatever disposition or state of soul thou diest, in that thou wilt be found in the eternal world. Death refines nothing, purifies nothing, kills no sin, helps to no glory. Let thy continual bent and inclination be to God, to holiness, to charity, to mercy, and to heaven: then, fall when thou mayest, thou wilt fall well.

This passage, from the writings of the Methodist biblical scholar and theologian Adam Clarke (c1760-1832), offers a stern warning: we know not the day nor the hour when death will take us so we must live our lives in readiness. After we are dead it will be too late to change our ways and win our place in 'the eternal world'.
It really is a very stern warning, which Ellis's step-mother chose. Other inscriptions convey the certainty that if a man dies fighting for his country he will earn his place in heaven: 'Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life' (Revelation 2:10).
Sapper Ellis was a eucalyptus distiller from Macedon just north west of Melbourne in Australia. He was killed in the fighting around the Menin Road. A fellow sapper told the Red Cross Enquiry Bureau that they were going forward:

in extended order as shelling was heavy. Casualty was in front of me and I saw an H.E. shell land alongside and he went down. I went to his assistance. Death was due to concussion. He was buried where he fell.




COULD WE HAVE STOOD
BESIDE YOUR GRAVE
AND SEEN YOU LAID TO REST

PRIVATE THOMAS FRANCIS MARNEY


Not to be there when your nineteen-year-old son dies, not to see him dead, not to be at his burial must have been a cause of so much extra grief. And for Mr and Mrs Marney, ten thousand miles away in Ararat, Australia, they must have known that they would never be able to visit their son's grave. So, Mrs Marney will have spoken for many mothers when she composed his headstone inscription. Could they have stood beside his grave and seen him laid to rest it would have given them some sort of comfort, gained them some sort of closure.
Thomas Francis Marney was a farm labourer: his father described him as a drover on the circular for the Roll of Honour of Australia. He joined up in July 1916 when he was eighteen and was killed in action in Belgium fifteen months later.


OUR HERO AT REST
A BONZER BOY

PRIVATE ERNEST ROY STONE


This is such a wonderfully Australian, inscription. 'Bonzer', a splendid word but what exactly does it mean? Well it appears to be a term used to express admiration for just about anything, and when used about a person to mean excellent, remarkable, outstanding, or in today's vernacular - a great guy, a cool man. And at the time Tyne Cot Cemetery was constructed in the early 1920s, it was a very new word too, making one of its earliest appearances in the Australian magazine 'Bulletin' in 1904.
Ernest Stone's parents must have been pleased to have 'found' him. He went missing on 20 September 1917 during an attack on the Menin Road, but it was October 1920 before his body was discovered on the old battlefield. Luckily his identity disc was still on his body. Witnesses had told the Red Cross Enquiry Bureau that he must have been killed, even though no one had seen his body and no one had buried him. And they had also said that for various reasons he couldn't have been taken prisoner. But Stone's parents still hoped. As late as August 1919 Mrs Stone had sent the Red Cross a photograph of her son saying that although they had been advised that he was missing, and later that he was reported killed: "We think perhaps that he may not be killed but suffering from loss of memory".
The discovery of his body would have put an end to all this hope and this anxiety - their 'hero', their 'bonzer boy' was dead.


DEARLY LOVED HUSBAND
OF EFFIE
& LOVED DADDY
OF LITTLE MARJORIE

CAPTAIN THOMAS HENRY BONE


Thomas Bone was a school teacher from Subiaco, Western Australia who enlisted in January 1916, almost six months after his younger brother. He served with the 44th Battalion Australian Infantry, which arrived in the trenches in December 1916. The battalion saw extensive service in the Ypres sector where it's reported that only 158 men out of the whole battalion were unwounded by the time it went into rest on 21 October. Bone had been killed on the 4th. (NB The War Graves Commission gives the date of death as 5 October but all the witnesses say it was the 4th.)
As usual the Red Cross reports vary but it seems that during the battle of Broodseinde his spine was pierced by a very small piece of shrapnel that otherwise scarcely damaged him. He died almost instantly and was buried the next day.
Bone's brother, Cecil, died on 25 April 1918 of cerebro-spinal meningitis "due to exposure while on military duty". And what happened to Effie and little Marjorie? History does not relate.


WHEN DAYS ARE DARK
AND FRIENDS ARE FEW
MY DARLING SON
I LONG FOR YOU

PRIVATE ANDREW MCARTHUR


This may be a very conventional memorial inscription, and it is, but it can still jolt the heart. Andrew McArthur emigrated to Australia when he was 18 leaving his widowed mother in Scotland. The very next year war broke out and he volunteered virtually immediately, a fact that is recorded in his service number - 39. It was 24 August 1914. He joined the 8th Battalion Australian Infantry and embarked with it from Australia on 19 October to serve in Egypt, defending the Suez Canal from the Turks.
On 25 April 1915 the 8th Battalion landed on Gallipoli, at Anzac Cove. It remained on Gallipoli until the evacuation in December when it returned to Egypt. Here the Battalion was divided to provide battle hardened soldiers for the newly formed 60th Battalion along with fresh recruits from Australia. McArthur joined the 60th.
In March the Battalion was sent to France and on 19 July went into its first action at Fromelles with disastrous consequences - 780 casualties out of a battalion of 887 men. McArthur must have been one of the survivors - because he was killed fifteen days later.


FAREWELL MY DARLING SON
MY BEST BELOVED FAREWELL

PRIVATE ARNOLD ERNEST JONES


It was ten years before Arnold Jones' body was discovered and identified. Although he was known to have been killed between the 22nd and the 23rd September 1917, his grave was lost until it was discovered along with those of four other Australian soldiers on 24 February 1927.
His mother had instituted a Red Cross search and the files reveal that he was killed by a shell, wrapped in a ground sheet and buried on the spot. Although the grave was marked with a wooden cross, which had a tin can nailed to it with his name written inside the can, the grave was lost in the subsequent fighting.
Arnold Jones served under an alias: he called himself Arnold Ernest St Leon. The name St Leon was attached to one of Australia's famous circus families whose founder was John Jones. Arnold himself had been a tailor before he enlisted but I have a feeling that he could have been a member of the St Leon / Jones circus family.


MY BELOVED HUSBAND
OUR DEAR SON
CHERISHED IN OUR HEARTS FOR EVER

LIEUTENANT ALEXANDER HENDERSON MILLER


I love the way that Lieutenant Miller's parents and his wife, Belle, have shared this inscription - my husband, our son. I've often wondered how it must have been for parents who had to yield their status as next-of-kin to a wife. And sometimes it will have been to a wife of only a few weeks standing. That's why I liked this inscription, which Alexander Miller's wife confirmed.
Alexander Henderson Miller was born in Keiss, Caithness, Scotland where his father, John, was a police constable. At some point after January 1911 the family emigrated to Australia. By the time he enlisted on 7 July 1915, Miller was a school teacher in Beechworth, Victoria.
He left Australia for France a year later, on 8 July 1916 and was killed in action at Polygon Wood on 25 September 1917. A single letter in the Australian Red Cross Wounded and missing files states what happened to him:

"I saw him cut in half by a big shell at Hooge Crater, Ypres on the 25th Sept. He died instantaneously, - no agony whatsoever. He just cried out a couple of times and finished"
Pte W.H. Barkiville 2866
57th Australians, C Co. 12th Pltn


"SPES TUTISSIMA CAELIS"

GUNNER MAURICE DUNCAN BENJAMIN


The word is spelt 'caelis' in the War Grave Commission's records whereas some people would spell it 'coelis' but the meaning is the same - heaven - the surest hope is in heaven. I can't work out the significance of the quotation marks though. The phrase is the motto of some armigerous British families, but I haven't been able to discover a link between the Benjamins and these families.
Maurice Benjamin was killed at Passchendaele on 26 August 1917. In 1921 the bodies of five unidentified soldiers wearing Australian uniforms and boots were discovered at map reference 28.I.29.b.20.25. The Commission's records note:

"These five Australian soldiers' remains were properly buried in blankets and the graves equally spaced and probably all Artillery men as all were dressed like cavalry men."

It's the first time I've noticed this comment, that the bodies were "properly buried", and that this meant wrapped in blankets and equally spaced out. And it turns out that they were all Artillery men, all Gunners from the same Battery and in all probability from the same gun. All killed together and buried together by people who did it properly - even though the graves were not initially found and recorded by a Graves Registration Unit - and all subsequently identified.
Despite the fact that all five men were missing presumed killed in action none of their families instituted a Red Cross Enquiry. In fact, there is a Red Cross file in Maurice Benjamin's name in which there is a copy of a letter dated "September 17th 1917", to "The Manager, Bank of Queensland, 4 Queen Victoria Street, E.C", following up "our telephone conversation this morning", which says:

"We understand that you do not wish us to make inquiries for details of his death and burial."

Maurice Benjamin worked as a teller for the Bank of Queensland in Sydney before he joined up in October 1916. He left Australia in February 1917. It was 1930 before his mother filled in the circular for the Roll of Honour of Australia and this is something else I've never noticed before,the stamp on the front of the document, which indicates the length of time that it took for these records to be compiled. In Gunner Benjamin's case:

Next-of-kin communicated with for records and relics
Letter no. 12/11 3890
Date 6 Aug 1930


NOTHING IN MY HAND I BRING
SIMPLY TO THE CROSS I CLING

PRIVATE FRANK CULLEN


Yesterday's inscription quoted from the first line of the first verse of the hymn 'Rock of Ages', today's quotes the first two lines of the second verse:

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Saviour, or I die!

Twenty-one-year-old Frank Cullen was a butcher from Mallala a small community 58 kilometres north of Adelaide where the war memorial commemorates ten men "who died in defence of home and liberty". Cullen enlisted on 9 September 1916, embarked from Australia on 6 November 1916 and was killed in action on Christmas Day 1917.


ROCK OF AGES CLEFT FOR ME

PRIVATE JOSEPH PERCY COOPER


Of all the hymns quoted in inscriptions this is one of the most popular:

Rock of ages cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy riven side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Cleanse me from its guilt and power.

It was a favourite nineteenth century hymn appearing in virtually every Protestant hymnal - of which there were fifty-two. And it was a favourite funeral hymn, Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's husband even asked for it to be played to him as he lay on his deathbed. Christ is the Rock of Ages, from whose side the water and blood flowed at his crucifixion, the event which guaranteed man's salvation.

Private Cooper was initially listed as missing. His parents instituted an Australian Red Cross Enquiry from which it was possible to piece together what happened to him:

"Informant states that the 26th A.I.F. were going into the line at Zonnebeke at about 8 pm on Oct/4th/17 when Cooper was struck by a shell and killed instantly a piece of shell went right through his lungs."
Private V.H. Lusk
"I saw him killed on the tape just as we left the duck boards to go over at Zonnebeke on the 4th October about 4.30 am. A whizz-bang killed him and Whipler and wounded several."
Private J.S. Locke
"I saw him killed at Ypres. He was caught by a shell fragment in the chest and killed instantly."
T.S. Burns
"I buried my comrade 400 yards from Zonnebeke Church as near as possible. ... The said soldier was a dear friend of mine and ... I would like his parents to know his comrades buried him decently."
Private G. Graham


IN MEMORY
OF THE DEARLY LOVED SON
OF J.H. PHILLIPS OF BRISBANE

PRIVATE ROBERT SIDNEY PHILLIPS


Soren Hawkes drew my attention to Private Phillips on her Twitter account, @sorenstudio. She published this document from Phillips' Australian Red Cross and Wounded Enquiry Bureau file:

Phillips R.S. 3098
Killed Sep. 25th 1917
Was in C. Coy., Lewis Machine Gunner. He was badly wounded in the legs and body during the hop over at Ypres. I saw him immediately after he was hit, his right leg was practically off. He later drew his revolver and blew his brains out. I did not see this happen. I don't know where he was buried.
Witness: - Sgt. W.S. Ward 1884, 49th Battn

Yet again I wonder how much information discovered by the Red Cross was passed on to the next-of-kin. Six months later another witness reported that he too had been told that Phillips had shot himself and the following month, April 1918 another witness gave a more graphic description:

I saw him after he was killed on September 25th at Passchendaele; he had been blown out of a shell hole and twisted like a cork screw. He crawled back into a shell hole and blew his head off with a rifle.

Rifle is probably more likely than revolver as only officers carried revolvers but whatever the weapon it appears that Phillips did kill himself. I wonder if his father knew. I rather hope not as Robert Phillips was a Roman Catholic, he said so on his attestation form, and to a Roman Catholic suicide is a mortal sin.


SHOULD I FALL, GRIEVE NOT
I SHALL BE ONE WITH THE SUN
WIND AND FLOWERS

HENRY JAMES BEZER


This poetic inscription was written by Leslie Coulson in one of his last letters to his parents before he was killed in action on 8 October 1916:

"If I should fall, do not grieve for me. I shall be one with the wind and the sun and the flowers."

The letter is quoted in the introduction to the book of Coulson's poetry that his father published in 1917, 'From an Outpost and Other Poems'. The book sold very well, which must be how Henry Bezer's father came across the words. It's interesting that Coulson's father didn't use it as his son's inscription, or in fact any of his son's poetry, but instead chose to quote from the opening lines of John Milton's 'Samson Agonistes'.
Henry Bezer was killed by shell-fire on 22 August 1918 as the Australians slowly but surely advanced into previously German-held territory. A fellow soldier told the Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau what happened:

"Informant states that they both belonged to the 107th Howitzer Battery. On 22/8/18 the Battery was in action at a place called by the boys 'Happy Valley' not far away from Bray. About half past 4 or 5 am just after the action started Bezer was killed outright by a shell, while he and Informant were working the gun to which they both belonged. Informant was right alongside him at the time and yet was not touched."

These photographs, from the Australian War Memorial Collection, show the 7th Brigade Australian Field Artillery in action on the day Bezer was killed.


HERE IS ONE AT REST
WHO LOVED HIS HOME WORLD BEST

CHARLES EDWARD BLACKBOURN


There is no recorded next-of-kin for Private Blackbourn in the War Graves Register but his father filled in the circular for the Roll of Honour of Australia so perhaps he chose his inscription too. Interestingly, the inscription doesn't say that Charles Blackbourn sacrificed himself for love of his 'home world' but that 'he loved his home world best' - better than what?
Blackbourn was a volunteer not an unwilling recruit. There was no conscription in Australia. In October 1916, as the tide of willing volunteers dried up, the Government held a referendum to find out whether the public would support its proposals for conscription. The public's answer was 'no'. And it was a bigger 'no' when the Government held a second referendum on the issue in December 1917.
But Blackbourn had volunteered long before this, despite the fact that he 'loved his home world best'. Perhaps his family wanted to emphasise on his headstone that here was no gung-ho soldier but a home-loving boy who did what he saw was his duty and as a consequence died of wounds at a field ambulance dressing station far away in Brandhoek, Belgium.


OUR SON

CORPORAL GEORGE SCOTT BLACK


This is such a wonderful inscription, so anonymous and yet so possessive - "Our son". Mr and Mrs William Black make no attempt to identify themselves on the headstone, they just wanted the world to know that George Scott Black was "our son".
Braidwood, New South Wales, has put together a folder on Corporal Scott as part of its centenary commemorations. Among the documents is his attestation form - he attested on 2 March 1915 - his active service record, with its record of his hospital admissions for diarrhoea and dysentery, and the 56 days Field Punishment No. 2 he received on 4 April 1916 for using insubordinate language to his superior officer.
There is also a letter from Mrs Black to Base Records telling them that she had taken out insurance on her son's life and now wanted to claim against it but that the insurance company had told her that the telegram from the army was not sufficient proof of her son's death. The company required a medical certificate, could they advise her as to how she might go about getting this extra proof.


WE ALWAYS THINK
OF YOU DEAR SAM
AND SHALL UNTIL WE DIE

SERGEANT SAMUEL GEORGE JUBILEE BEAUCHAMP


Sam Beauchamp died of gas poisoning in a Casualty Clearing Station near Poperinge on 15 October 1917. Whilst there is no specific information about when exactly he was gassed, the Germans had launched a mustard gas attack on the British trenches in the region on the night of 11/12 October 1917 so it could have been then.
I like this inscription. So many families used deeply conventional, poetic phraseology when they picked an inscription that this is refreshingly simple.
Beauchamp's father chose it, his mother having died in 1912. So who were the "we" who would always think of him? The answer is Amelia, Frederick, George, Victor, Gladys, Eric, Florence, John and Sydney, his nine brothers and sisters, the last of whom died in the 1980s.


A WHITE MAN
AND TRUE FRIEND
SADLY MISSED

SAPPER VINCENT O'SULLIVAN


There's something rather moving about this inscription. Vincent O'Sullivan had no family; the best the War Graves Commission could come up with was that he was a 'native of Ireland'. And no family included no wife.
So where did the inscription come from? It was written by Mr S.J. Millane, Brown Hill, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. And who was he? We only know who he was because it was Millane who filled in O'Sullivan's form for the Roll of Honour of Australia and in the section that asks for the form-fillers relationship to the soldier he has written, "friend and partner". In this context he would have meant partner in business, and what was the business - prospecting. Otherwise all Millane knew about his friend was that he was "about 40 years" and that he had served in the Boer War having enlisted in Ireland.
It's what Millane says that is so touching; this burly prospector - I am imaging things here - refers to O'Sullivan as his sadly missed true friend and describes him as 'a white man'. By this he does not mean a man with a white skin but a man who was good company, decent and trustworthy - a good bloke.
Vincent O'Sullivan, who described himself on enlistment as a miner, served as many miners did in the Australian Tunnelling Corps. Here they laid cables and dug saps, trenches, dug-outs and mines. There is no record of what happened on 11 August 1918 but three miners from the 3rd Australian Tunnellers died that day and were buried in Hersin Communal Cemetery Extension.


"THE FIRST BORN IS MINE"
SAITH THE LORD

PRIVATE JOHN BEDE CARROLL


John Bede Carroll was indeed his parents' first born child but the inscription they chose for him is chilling - their God is a savage God. The text comes from Numbers 3:13

"Because all the first born are mine; for on the day that I smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I hallowed unto me all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast: mine shall they be: I am the Lord."

John Carroll was 16 when he enlisted on 23 May 1915, giving his age as 18. He served in Gallipoli from September 1915 until the evacuation in December. In March 1916 he transferred to the Western Front with the rest of the Australian contingent. According to his father, writing on the form for the Roll of Honour of Australia, John Carroll served as a stretcher bearer throughout the Battle of Pozieres, July-August 1916, and was fatally wounded at Factory Corner, Flers. He does not give a date for this but in November 1916 Australian medical units were posted to caves in this area. Conditions in the region were by now truly appalling, the rain having reduced the terrain to thick, deep, viscous mud, making fighting or the carrying of either casualties or supplies virtually impossible.


WHEN THE FIELDS
ARE WHITE WITH DAISIES
I'LL RETURN
IN LOVING MEMORY

PRIVATE GEORGE EDWARD BEAVIS


George Beavis' inscription comes from a popular Irish song written some time around the end of the nineteenth century. The words of the song originally referred to a sailor:

"I once stood in a harbour, as a ship was going out,
On a voyage unto a port beyond the sea.
I watched the blue-clad sailor, as he bade his last farewell
To the lassie who he loved most tenderly.
I heard the sailor promise to the lassie now in tears,
"When the fields are white with daisies I'll return."

During the war, Bamforth produced one of their three-card picture postcard series featuring this song. The card with the first verse shows a sailor but the card with the words of the chorus shows a khaki-clad soldier.
What is a bit strange about this inscription is that it was chosen by his mother, Mrs Sarah Jane Beavis, not by a wife or sweetheart. However, it must be for the words of the second verse that she chose it. The sweetheart learns that the ship has sunk and as she stands there weeping she hears a voice reassuring her that they will meet again:

"God has spared me for your keeping, and the promise once I made,
When the fields are white with daisies I'll return."

George Beavis died of wounds in a casualty clearing station in Dickebusch. According to a letter from the Officer in Charge of the 1st Field Ambulance, written on 1 February 1918 to the Australian Red Cross Society Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau:

" ... he was admitted to the Dressing Station of this Ambulance on the night of 20.9.17 with shell wound of right leg, the wounds being so extensive as to necessitate amputation of the leg. He was suffering a good deal from shock, and died next morning. The burial took place at Military Huts Cemetery Dickebusch."


CHARLEY, YOUR PLACE IS VACANT
IN OUR HOME
WHICH CAN NEVER BE FILLED

PRIVATE CHARLES JOHN MANN


The vacant place or vacant chair was once a common euphemism for death. The idea probably predates the American Civil War but a song from that era, recorded in 1915 by John McCormack, spread its popularity beyond the shores of America. It was originally written to mourn and honour a dead Union soldier:

At our fireside, sad and lonely, often will the bosom swell,
At remembrance of the story how our noble Willie fell;
How he strove to bear our banner though the thickest of the fight,
And uphold our country's honour in the strength of manhood's might.

And it kept that association into the First World War. The original song referred to the family gathering for Thanksgiving but is relevant to all family occasions. These are the words of the chorus:

We shall meet but we shall miss him
There will be one vacant chair.
We shall linger to caress him
While we breathe our evening prayer.

Charles Mann was killed in action in January 1917. Buried close to the front line, his body was exhumed in August 1920 and reinterred in Lesboeufs. 'Charley's' father confirmed his inscription - giving it added poignancy by addressing his son rather than the reader.


R.I.P.
HIS SLEEPING EYES
HOLD VISIONS
OF AUSTRALIAN SKIES

SECOND LIEUTENANT JACQUES MONTAGUE D'ALPUGET


Jacques Montague D'Alpuget was killed in action in France on 17 July 1916. His sister, Blanche, chose his inscription. It comes from a poem by Nina Murdoch called 'Jacques', published in the University of Sidney magazine, 'Hermes', in August 1918, "In memory of Lieut. Jacques M. d'Alpuget (54th Battn. A.I.F.), Athlete and Soldier, killed in action in France. He lies buried in an old orchard, three miles behind the firing line".
Nina Murdoch, who became a well-known Australian traveller, journalist, author and broadcaster, was a friend of Jacques d'Alpuget's sister, Blanche. History does not relate what she was to Jacques.
The poem begins:

The calmness of the orchard's breast
Was broken for a little season,
When he that loved all clean things best -
Rigour of sport, the warrior's zest
And kindliness and gentle reason -
Was carried there to take his rest.

The writer takes comfort from the apple blossom spilling on his grave, the song-bird's trill and the sunbeams keeping "laughing watch" - "Where in this, is cause to weep?" The inscription comes from verse 4.

Now when summer swoons and sighs
Memory on him lays her finger.
Shut behind his quiet eyes
Are visions of Australian skies,
And when Spring days about him linger,
Boronia fragrance to him flies.


HE DIED
FOR THE GREATEST CAUSE
IN HISTORY
EVER REMEMBERED

MAJOR BENJAMIN BENNETT LEANE


This is horrible - you've read of men being blown to pieces by a shell but people don't usually give the details. Major Leane's wife must have instituted a Red Cross enquiry - I hope they didn't tell her everything. I have pieced together the evidence of a number of witnesses:

"I saw Major Leane blown to pieces. I saw his head and pieces of his shoulder." "A shell took him square and blew him to pieces." "A whizz-bang hit him and blew him to pieces. The only thing we could find was his head and a leg." "I searched for his body and eventually found his head and face almost uninjured." "His brother, Colonel Leane, went out and collected the remains." "His brother picked up his head and what was left of him and buried it somewhere I think behind the line." "His brother recognised his head and buried him himself."

The death of Major Benjamin Bennett Leane who died "for the greatest cause in history".


BELOVED SON OF A. & M. ROSS
OUR BOY
LIFE'S HIGHEST MISSION
FULFILLED

PRIVATE WALLACE ROSS


Wallace Ross was admitted to hospital in Rouen on 11 November, dangerously ill with a gun shot wound to his head. He died six days later - 'Life's highest mission fulfilled': to die for your country.
It was his sister, Catherine MacDonald, who filled in the form for the Roll of Honour of Australia and confirmed Wallace's headstone inscription, their parents would appear to have been dead.
Wallace Ross, a rubber worker from Northcote, Australia, enlisted in July 1915 and embarked from Australia on 23 November as part of the reinforcements for the 5th Battalion Australian Infantry. Withdrawn from Gallipoli in mid-December, the battalion served briefly in Egypt before being transferred to the Western Front where it was heavily involved in the Somme campaign at Pozieres. Ross was wounded on 26 July with a slight gun shot wound to the head. He was back in action after two months. And then two months later he was dead.
Three years after the death of her brother, Catherine MacDonald gave birth to a son whom she named Douglas Wallace Ross MacDonald.



BROTHER TO A.H. HODGES
13TH BTN. KILLED AT GALLIPOLI

PRIVATE CHARLES FREDERICK HODGES


It was nine months before Charles Hodges' parents discovered his fate, nine months in which the
Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau had tried to find witnesses who had seen what had happened to him. Eventually they tracked down Corporal L O'Neill who told them definitively:

"On 14th November at 5 am we were attacking; we failed in our objective and retired to our front line which we held. I saw Hodges after we had got back to our lines about 9 am go outside our trench; there were wounded men inside the trench and he had to go outside to get passed them. A sniper hit him in the head and he died about two minutes after. I was right alongside of him."

Mr and Mrs Hodges therefore did eventually find out what had happened to this son, but they never found out about his elder brother, Albert Henry. He went missing in Gallipoli on 22 August 1915 in the unsuccessful Australian assault on Hill 60. His body was never found and curiously there is no record of his parents instituting a Red Cross search for him. Albert Hodges is commemorated on the Lone Pine memorial in Gallipoli and on his brother's grave in France.


BIRTHLESS
DEATHLESS AND CHANGELESS
REMAINETH THE SPIRIT
FOR EVER

PRIVATE ERNEST GEORGE DORNBUSCH


This is an unusual inscription from an unusual source, the Bhagavad-Gita a Hindu scripture. It's an interesting inscription too, especially for a machine gunner. Krishna argues:

"Thou grievest where no grief should be! thou speak'st words lacking wisdom! for the wise in heart mourn not for those that live, nor those that die. ... He who shall say, "Lo! I have slain a man!" He who shall think, "Lo! I am slain!" those both know naught! Life cannot slay. Life is not slain! Never the spirit was born; the spirit shall cease to be never; never was time it was not; end and beginning are dreams! Birthless and deathless and changeless remaineth the spirit for ever; death hath not touched it at all, dead though the house of it seems!"
The Bhagavad-Gita Book 2

There's another interesting aspect to this inscription. There were only three Dornbusches killed in the First World War and buried in War Grave Commission cemeteries and the other two are German soldiers: Kanonier Hermann Dornbusch and Obermatrose Karl Johann Dornbusch. Is this why the Australian National War Memorial records his name as Ernest George Dornbush, without the telltale 'c'? This is the way he spelt his name when he enlisted, and the way his mother spelt her name when she signed the form for the Roll of Honour of Australia, although someone has written on the outside of this form, "correct name Dornbusch".
George Ernest Dornbusch was born in London. His parents emigrated to Australia when he was five months old and settled in Sydney where he attended Sydney Grammar School. On enlistment, Dornbusch described himself as an engineer. His mother on the Roll of Honour goes further and describes him as a "sheep shearing machinery expert". He enlisted in April 1915, served in Gallipoli and France and was killed on 14 November 1916.
A Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau search revealed that he had been killed by a shell.

"I was in company with this man in an attack near Fleurs. I was injured by the shell that killed Durnbush. ... I knew him well, we were in the same gun coy. ... This man was killed instantly but I can give you no details re his burial. I saw him lying dead before I was my self removed to the clearing hospital."
C. Mallard
Dartford Hospital
8.3.17

Durnbusch was buried in a shell hole and after the war his body was reinterred in Warlencourt British Cemetery.


A SOLDIER OF RABAUL
GALLIPOLI & FRANCE
HIS DUTY DONE

PRIVATE JAMES FREDERICK BUCKLAND


Private Buckland's inscription is a reminder of a forgotten episode from the earliest days of the war. In September 1914, at Britain's request, the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force invaded the island of New Britain, part of German New Guinea, in order to take out a strategically important wireless station at Rabaul, which would otherwise have been of great value to the German East Asiatic Squadron. The successful struggle, known as the Battle of Bita Paka, was the Australian's first military engagement of the war. According to his inscription, Private Buckland was part of this Force.
As a member of the 19th Battalion Australian Infantry, many of whose members had also been part of this Force, Buckland served in Gallipoli from 21 August to 19 December 1915 and then in France until his death in November 1916 during the battle of Flers. Conditions by now on the Somme battlefields were truly appalling and it was the attackers who had the worst of it. Any gains the Australians made was into a devastated landscape whereas the defenders were withdrawing into relatively untouched territory. After this, 'Almost as bad as Flers' became the yardstick against which the Australians would measure conditions.
It was in these conditions that Private Buckland went missing on 14 November. An Australian Red Cross file records his family's attempt to find out what had happened to him - and the difficulties of doing so.
"He is in hospital in England. I am certain of this. Men in the Bn. have heard from him."
Private Cox 26.2.17
"Private Griggs ... told me in Nov. last that he had seen Buckland killed. He was blown up in a trench at Flers.".
Private Williamson 8.6.17
"I saw Buckland at Weymouth about six weeks ago, in the Westham camp. He had an arm off ..." Cooper E. 10.9.17
However, six months earlier, on 3 March 1917, the Australians had captured a frontline German trench and removed a wallet from the body of an otherwise unidentifiable Australian soldier. The wallet belonged to James Buckland and a week later was handed to his brother, Private CM Buckland. The body was buried as James Frederick Buckland but as late as October 1919 there's a letter in the Red Cross file showing that they were still checking: "No trace in Germany".


A MOTHER'S LOVE LIES HERE

PRIVATE WILLAIM OGSTON CRAIB


The report of William Craib's death in the Aberdeen Evening Express refes to both his parents so it's interesting that the inscription only refers to his mother. However, the privileging of mothers' grief is something that is noticeable in a number of personal inscriptions.
In a sense, Mrs Mary Craib had already lost her son once. Born in Aberdeen, William Craib left school, worked in the docks and then went to Canada, to work on the Grand Trunk Railway. In 1913 he went to Australia and when he enlisted in April 1915 he was working at the Brisbane gasworks. Craib sailed for Egypt in May, served in Gallipoli from September to December and was then transferred with the 26th Battalion to the Western Front, arriving in France in March 1916. Between 28 July to 7 August the 26th Battalion took part in the battle of Pozieres; Craib died of wounds in a Casualty Clearing Station in Puchevillers on the 6th.
Three months earlier the Craigs had finally learnt that their eldest son, George, missing in action since the 25 September, was dead, killed at the battle of Loos. George's body was never found so he has neither grave nor inscription.


LIFE IS SERVICE

SECOND LIEUTENANT MAURICE EDWARD KOZMINSKY


'Life is service' comes from a very famous quotation but whether it was Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931) or Rabindrath Tagore (1861-1941) who wrote it the Internet can't decide. It could of course be neither. However, this is the full quote:

I slept and dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and saw that life is all service. I served and saw that service is joy.

Maurice Kozminsky enlisted in May 1915, received a commission in July, was promoted Lieutenant in January 1916, and sailed from Australia in March. After a spell in Egypt, he joined the 7th Battalion in France and on 22 July 1916 went into action with them at Pozieres.
The Australian success at Pozeires on the 23rd came at a huge price and had costly consequences too. Since their's had been the only success, the Germans subjected the area to their greatest artillery barrage yet, a frenzy of savagely remorseless bombardment. By the 29 July the 7th Battalion's losses were so great that they had to be withdrawn. However, they were in action again on 15 August. Kozminsky was killed on the 19th.
In June 1917, Kozminsky's family asked if the Australian Red Cross could find out what had happened to him. The reports do not make for pleasant reading: "he was hit by machine gun fire in left side thigh and stomach and later on got one arm blown off by shell". "I saw him on the stretcher with one arm off and shot through the abdomen". "He left no message, being too weak to speak". Kozminsky was described by one witness as "the whitest man that ever went into action", and by another as "a Russian, and a favourite with the boys and a game sort of fellow".
In fact, the Kozminsky family were not Russian. Abraham Kosminsky, Maurice's father, was 14 when he arrived in Australia from Poland. He built up his business interests there until by 1912 he was Chairman of Austral Hat Mills Ltd, where Maurice was a director and a prominent members of Melbourne's Jewish community.


FORTH FROM THE CONFLICT
UNASHAMED HE PASSED
VICTORIOUS ON HIS WAY

CAPTAIN THOMAS CHARLES RICHMOND BAKER, DFC, MM AND BAR


Before the war, Captain Baker DFC, MM and Bar was a clerk with the Bank of New South Wales. Enlisting in July 1915, he served originally with the 6th Australian Field Brigade. He won his first Military Medal in December 1916 and the Bar in June 1917. That September he applied to join the Australian Flying Corps as a mechanic and was accepted instead for flying training. He began active duty in June 1918 and was credited with seven aircraft and one balloon destroyed, and four planes brought down. Then on 4 November, when returning from a bombing raid, his plane was brought down behind enemy lines. His body was not recovered.
There is an extensive Australian Red Cross file on the incident, which is well worth reading. Extraordinarily it contains a request to the "Commanding General of the Flying Corps" from the Commander of Flying Squadron 5 for an acknowledgement of "the 26th air victory of the Airshipdriver Lieut. von Hantelman", who says:

"At 11.35 noon I attacked near Le Chesne a single-seated flying machine and shot it down. The adversary was smashed to pieces in falling down. von Hantelmann."

Why is the document in English, who is writing to who? The document is stamped Australian Red Cross Society, Prisoner of War Mission, Berlin W.8, Wilhelmstrasse, 70. Is it a translation of the German documents concerning the incident, translated so as to help the Red Cross locate Baker's body?
In September 1920 an unknown British Flying Officer's body was exhumed and reburied in Escanaffles Communal Cemetery. The exhumation report stated that the body was too broken and decayed for there to be any indication as to its hair colour or height, the clothing had rotted away and there was no identity disc, in fact there was nothing to identify the body other than the date of death, 6.11.18 - which wasn't of course the date Baker was shot down.
The bottom of the report has a pencil note - "Copy to Dame Livingstone". Dame Adelaide Livingstone was a remarkable American woman who, at the end of the war, "was appointed the Army Council head of the War Office mission to trace British soldiers reported as ‘missing’ in France and Flanders. In this capacity she travelled widely in Europe, managing a staff of officials from both Germany and England. Between 1920 and April 1922 she was assistant director of Graves Registration and Enquiries in central Europe, with headquarters in Berlin and with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. For her wartime services she was among the first women to be created DBE in 1918." [Oxford Dictionary of National Biography]
Thomas Baker's body was eventually identified and his mother was given the opportunity to chose an inscription. This comes from verse 6 of a poem written by Harold Begbie in 1905 called 'Trafalgar Day - the Good End':

Dishonour tarnished not his flag, no stain upon his battles lay,
Forth from the conflict, unashamed, he passed victorious on his way;
Forth from the conflict, unashamed, with thanks to God, without a sigh.
So died for England's sake, this man, and whispered it was sweet to die.
Draw near and mark with reverent mind
How die the Captains of Mankind.


BROTHER BILL A SNIPING FELL
WE MISS HIM STILL
WE EVER WILL

TROOPER WILLIAM ALBERT BAKER


The end of November 1915 saw the Gallipoli peninsular in the grip of a huge storm and on the 28th the first snow fell. The conditions were absolutely terrible, men literally froze to death and certainly couldn't function properly. In addition, when the snow stopped falling it had transformed the landscape, highlighting the khaki-clad soldiers against the white background. Is this how sniper William Baker was spotted and killed?


REACHED THE FARTHEST
OBJECTIVE TILL THE DAWN BREAK
AND SHADOWS FLEE

SERGEANT EDRIC DOYLE KIDSON


It's not immediately obvious what Sergeant Kidson's inscription, or rather the first four words of it, means, even though his mother intended it to be very specific. However, there are a number of clues: first the date of his death - 25 April 1915, the first day of the Gallipoli landings - second the cemetery, Baby 700, one of the first objectives on the first day, and third Edric Doyle's battalion, the 12th Australian Infantry, the covering force for the landings. The 12th landed at 4.30 am and within hours small parties had reached the peak of Baby 700. But by the evening they were unable to hold the position and were forced to withdraw. Allied forces never reached this position again during the whole Gallipoli campaign - and nor was Edric Kidson ever seen again after this action.
Enquiries by the Australian Red Cross elicited confused reports - Kidson was a prisoner in Constantinople; he had returned to Australia having been wounded; he was alive and well on the peninsular in October 1915. But Corporal Reddrop reported that "he accompanied informant right out to Gaba Tepe, when acting as a covering line. He (Kidson) was not with the company when they were ordered to retire."
Once the war was over, Kidson's body was discovered, identified and buried near where he had been killed. And after all the confusion, his mother was determined that people should know exactly what had happened. She filled in the circular for the Roll of Honour for Australia with more than usually precise details.

Date of death: 25th April 1915 (before noon)
Age at time of death: 22 years and 3 months
Any other biographical details likely to be of interest to the Historian of the A.I.F., or his Regiment: He as acting Platoon Commander did reach on the extreme heights of Gallipoli an objective never afterwards obtained and that a few hours after the landing at dawn.

This is why Edric Doyle Kidson's inscription reads: "Reached the farthest objective". The second part of the inscription is a popular choice based on the Old Testament Song of Solomon: Until the day break and the shadows flee away.


MY LIFE I GAVE
FOR MY COUNTRY'S GOOD
& THEY TOOK IT FROM ME
WHERE I STOOD

PRIVATE HARRY WILFRED PAYNE


This inscription, which appears in Trefor Jones' On Fame's Eternal Hunting Ground, has a ring of Kipling's famous epitaph:

I could not look on death, which being known,
Men led me to him, blindfold and alone.

Harry Payne was a volunteer - My life I gave for my country's good - but who were the "they" who took his life from him "where I stood?" Was he bound to a post and executed? As it happens, the Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau has the answer. Payne's family wrote to enquire about the circumstances of his death and the Bureau learnt from a witness, Private A Wolland, that:

"There was a lull in our fighting at the time and Payne was looking over the parapet pointing out something in the German lines to a comrade. While his head was exposed he was struck by a rifle bullet from a German sniper. He was wearing a steel helmet but the bullet went right through ... he was removed to a dressing station in the rear of our lines, but died on the way there."

Few families knew the exact circumstances of their relation's death but the Payne's did and reflected it in their son's inscription.


A GOOD SON
A GOOD CITIZEN
A BRAVE MAN

PRIVATE REGINALD HASTINGS COOK


A lovely tribute from a father to his son - what more could a father want his son to be, except alive of course.
Reginald Hastings Cook enlisted on 25 May 1915, sailed for Gallipoli on 14 July and was killed on 25 November.

"He was killed a half past six on the 25th November, a Friday at Larges Post. Detailed with three others for patrol duty and whilst climbing out over the trench was shot right through the head by a Turkish sniper about fifteen yards off, who must have gained the knowledge in some way that the patrol was to start from this point and lay in waiting. Death was instantaneous. Buried the following morning at eleven o' clock in a cemetery close to Shrapnel Green. The memorial service was held over the grave at two thirty. Cook was very great friend of informant. The above facts were taken from informant's diary."
Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau files


SOLDAT SANS PEUR
ET SANS REPROCHE
TOMBE SUR LE CHAMP D'HONNEUR

CAPTAIN HAROLD BURKE MC


On his inscription, Captain Burke's family associate his name with two of France's most respected soldiers.
The "soldat sans peur et sans reproche" - soldier without fear and beyond reproach, or the fearless and faultless knight - was the description given by contemporary chroniclers to Pierre du Terrail (1476-1524), the Chevalier Bayard. As he lay dying, mortally wounded in battle, his one time friend and now enemy, Charles duc de Bourbon, expressed his sorrow but was told by Terrail:
"Sir, there is no need to pity me. I die as a man of honour ought, doing my duty; but I pity you, because you are fighting against your king, your country, and your oath."
The second soldier is Theophile Malo (1743-1800) who served with the 46th Regiment and for his renowned bravery and modesty - he refused the promotion to high rank that he deserved - was named by Napoleon the "first grenadier of France". Killed in action at Neuburg, when the roll was called after the battle another grenadier stepped forward and said, "Tombe sur le champs d'honneur", fallen on the field of battle. On Napoleon's orders, his name continued to be called with the same response, a custom that was observed for at least 100 years after his death - and is still observed whenever the 46th's colour is paraded.
During the First World War the phrase was used for French soldiers killed in battle.
Harold Burke enlisted as a private in August 1914. He served throughout the Gallipoli campaign rising rapidly through the ranks until he was commissioned Second Lieutenant in September 1915. Promoted captain in August 1916, he won the Military Cross for his "sound judgment and good leadership" at Ypres on 20 September 1917. On 23 August 1918, just before the Australians were withdrawn from the front, he was killed outright when a shell fired by his own side landed short and exploded beside him.


A GOOD LIFE
HATH BUT A FEW DAYS
BUT A GOOD NAME
ENDURETH FOR EVER

CAPTAIN WILLIAM HAROLD NICHOLLS


Captain Nicolls' inscription was chosen by his wife. It comes from Ecclesiasticus in the Book of the Apocrypha.

Have regard to thy name; for that shall continue with thee above a thousand great treasures of gold.
A good life hath but a few days: but a good name endureth for ever.
Ecclesiasticus 41:12-13

'Name' was a great preoccupation after the first world war. The names of the dead were recorded on memorials all over the Empire, great effort being exerted to ensure that no name was excluded. The statement "Their name liveth for evermore", the words from Ecclesiasticus 44:14, were carved onto Lutyen's Stone of Remembrance in all but the smallest war cemeteries, and was often the dedication on memorials in churches, villages, schools etc, all over the world. A similar sentiment was expressed on the the next-of-kin memorial scroll, "let those who come after see to it that his name be not forgotten", although here the responsibility for the names living for evermore lies with the generations who come afterwards. Name, or as in the case of this inscription, a good name, also has to do with renown, something that is above 'great treasures of gold' and which will endure for ever.

Billie Nicholls had emigrated to Australia and was working in the crockery department of Messrs Cribb and Foote, Ipswich, Queensland, when war broke out. He enlisted in the Australian Infantry and served throughout the Gallipoli campaign, earning a commission. The newspaper report of his death tells that he was so popular with his fellow soldiers that they all clubbed together to buy him a complete officer's kit.
Nicholls was born in Wales and his parents still lived there. In September 1916 he married Lily May Fuell in Holy Trinity, Llandbradach, South Wales. Returning to the front after a short holiday, he was killed on 26 January 1917. A shell dropped on the dugout where he had just gone for a rest and he was killed by concussion. This was the general conclusion of an Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau search, most of the witnesses assuring his wife that his body appeared untouched.


LET THOSE WHO COME AFTER
SEE TO IT THAT HIS NAME
BE NOT FORGOTTEN

CAPTAIN WILLIAM CALHOUN


Private Calhoun's inscription comes from the last lines of the memorial scroll sent to the next-of-kin of every man killed in the war. Written on high quality paper in calligraphic script, the scroll outlines the qualities of the dead man and of the sacrifice he had made.

"He whom this scroll commemorates was numbered among those who, at the call of King and Country, left all that was dear to them, endured hardness, faced danger, and finally passed out of the sight of men by the path of duty and self-sacrifice, giving up their own lives that others might live in freedom.
Let those who come after see to it that his name be not forgotten."

The final decision on the wording was made by Dr Montague Rhodes James, the author M.R. James, Provost first of King's College, Cambridge and then of Eton. The scroll acknowledges the fortitude and endurance of the men and asks the future to ensure that their names are not forgotten . There is no expression of gratitude, this had come in the letter of condolence from King George V that followed receipt of the news of the casualty's death:

"The Queen and I offer you our heartfelt sympathy in your great sorrow.
We pray that your country's gratitude for a life so nobly given in its service may bring you some measure of consolation.
George R.I."

And with a note from the King accompanying the memorial plaque all next-of-kin received once the war was over.

"I join with my grateful people in sending you this memorial of a brave life given for others in the Great War.
George R.I."


REST IN THE LORD
LOVING MEMORY
FROM NELL AND CHARLES

DRIVER EDWARD ALBERT FOLLINGTON


Edward Albert Follington was one of David and Jane Follington's seven children. The family came from Augathella, a small settlement based round a watering hole in Queensland, where Edward worked as a labourer.
The inscription was chosen by one of Edward's brothers, Charles, but I can't work out who Nell was. Charles and Albert's two sisters were called Florence May and Mary Jane, and Charles' wife was called Mary. Perhaps Nell was a 'special friend'.
The family instituted an Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau search, which revealed that Edward and two other drivers had been killed by a shell, which burst beside them on the road where they were loading ammunition for the guns. The three of them were hastily buried close by, but after the war their bodies were exhumed and re-buried in the Guards' Cemetery, Lesboeufs.

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him
Psalm 37:7


DEAR FRANCIS
LOVE TILL WE MEET AGAIN
UNCLE, AUNTIE
WILLIE, ELEANOR

SERJEANT FRANCIS WILFRED HOLT DYSON


The Eleanor on this inscription was Francis Dyson's only child and his next-of-kin, a fourteen-year-old daughter who by her father's death became an orphan. Willie was his brother, an officer in the East Yorkshire Regiment, and Uncle and Auntie were Walter and Marion Rowley of Alder Hill, Meanwood, Yorkshire, who brought the brothers up after both their parents died.
Francis, who was born in Riga then in Russia, was educated at St Edward's, Oxford. He emigrated to South Africa, where he worked as a mining engineer, married, had a child, was widowed, and served in the Boer War. However, by the time war broke out in 1914 Francis Dyson was farming in Australia. He enlisted within days of the outbreak and sailed for Egypt on 20 October. He served in Gallipoli throughout the campaign and after further service in Egypt was posted to Europe in June 1916. Having spent three years almost constantly in action, he was killed by a shell at Villers Bretonneux on 24 April 1918. A shell exploded yards from him whilst he was taking an ammunition column up to the batteries. He was hit in the chest, fell from his horse and "died one minute later".
After the war, in memory of their nephew, Walter and Marion Rowley paid for a memorial shrine to the forty-eight men of Meanwood who'd lost their lives in the war. Eleanor continued to live with the Rowleys. She married in 1927 and died at the age of 30 in 1935.
We have very little personal information about Francis Dyson but it's worth noting that his daughter's full names were Emma Winifred Eleanor, Emma having been the name of his mother who died when he was born. And, the name of his farm in Konagaderra, Victoria, was Alder Hill, the name of his uncle and aunt's house in Yorkshire. So this rolling stone, whose life took him from Riga to England, South Africa, Australia, Egypt, Gallipoli and France, remained sentimentally attached to his mother and to the home of his youth.


LOVED HUSBAND OF EMOND
AND DEAR DADDY OF ROLLO

PRIVATE TASMAN FOSTER BARKER


Emond, Tasman Foster Barker's young widow, made sure that even in far-off France people should know that he was her "loved husband" and the "dear daddy of Rollo". Emond and Tasman married in 1916 and James Rollo was born the same year. And in November that same year, Tasman, a coach builder from Colac, Victoria, enlisted. He left Australia on board HMS Ballarat on 19 February 1917. Two months later, on 25 April 1917, Ballarat was torpedoed by a German U-boat off the coast of Cornwall, sinking the next day. However, all 1,752 passengers and crew survived.
Tasman died on 21 April 1918 of wounds received in the first battle of Villers Bretonneux. His brother Rollo, a Second Lieutenant in the Australian Heavy Artillery had been killed two months earlier in a motorbike accident in France.


PERSTA ATQUE OBDURA

SECOND LIEUTENANT FRANK COLLETT REEVE BEECHEY


Persta atque obdura, be steadfast and endure - if ever there was an appropriate inscription for a family this is it. Mrs Amy Beechey, the widow of a Church of England clergyman and Frank Beechey's mother, lost five of her eight sons in the war, and of the three who returned one was crippled for life.
Frank Beechey was injured by a shell that blew his legs off. A witness described how he lay out in No-Man's-Land from "dawn to dusk" until a doctor was able to crawl out and administer morphine. Frank was 30 and was the second of the brothers to die.
His older brother, Barnard who was 38, had been killed a year earlier, on the first day of the Battle of Loos, 25 September 1915. Barnard had gone to France in July, reporting to his mother that he had been sick three times during the Channel crossing. On 5 September he told his mother: "I really am all right and don't mind the life only we all wish the thing was over, and those who have been out the longest wish so most of all." Three weeks later "the thing was over" for Barnard, killed in a charge at the German trenches. His body was never found and he is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial.
Harold Beechey was the third brother to die. He had emigrated to Australia in 1913 and was serving with the 48th Battalion Australian Infantry when he was killed at Bullecourt on 10 April 1917. Enquiries from the Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau elicited the information from a witness that,

"We were digging a dug-out on the night of April 1917 on the railway line between Lagnicourt and Bullecourt when the Germans sent a couple of shells over and he was severely wounded about the body and legs. He died two hours afterwards and was unconscious most of the time".

The eldest of the brothers, Charles, was the next to die. Aged 36 in 1914, he was initially too old for military service and joined up later than his brothers. He was serving in East Africa with the Royal Fusiliers when he died of wounds caused by machine gun fire on 20 October 1917. He was 39. He is buried in Dar-es-Salaam War Cemetery where his inscription reads: Requiescat in pace.
Two months later, on 29 December 1917, Leonard died of wounds in hospital in Rouen having been gassed and wounded at Bourlon Wood. His last letter to his mother, from his hospital bed, concluded with the words: "My darling mother, don't feel like doing much yet. Lots of love, Len".
In April 1918, Mrs Beechey was invited to be presented to King George V and Queen Mary when they visited Lincoln Guildhall. When thanked for her sacrifice she is reputed to have told the Queen, "It was no sacrifice, Ma'am, I did not give them willingly". However, Michael Walsh, whose book on the brothers, Brothers in War reports the meeting with the King and Queen only has this to say: "if she felt anger she did not show it when their Majesties thanked her for her sacrifice". And in fact, Lady Cecilia Roberts, the local MP's wife who Amy Beechey had thanked for helping her secure a pension, replied, "you are very brave and very gracious over all that concerns you - you set a great example to us all".
Michael Walsh describes 'persta atque obdura' as the Beechey family motto, a fact confirmed by the Reverend Canon St Vincent Beechey, founder of Rossall School in Fleetwood, in his book 'Rossall School its Rise and Progress', 1894. The quotation comes from the Satires of Horace Book II, Satire V, line 39.


HE DIED FOR ITS COLOURS
AND SHED HIS HEART'S BLOOD FOR THE FLAG

PRIVATE LAURENCE RALPH STONE


Private Stone's inscription illustrates the impact of patriotic propaganda. Recruiting posters encouraged men to rally round the flag, whilst poetry from the South African War still cast its spell. Poems and Songs on the South African War (1901), featured an anonymous verse, The Union Jack, with the lines:

It's only a small piece of bunting,
It's only an old coloured rag,
Yet thousands have died for its honour,
And shed their best blood for the flag.

All this sentiment played into Private Stone's inscription but whereas for a soldier, 'the colours' usually mean the regimental flag, here it's the red, white and blue of the union flag around which, "Britons conquer, or die, but ne'er yield".

And how did Private Stone "shed his heart's blood"? A friend, reported:
"I saw him killed on the 30.12.17 at Warneton. He was caught by a shell and killed instantly. We were in the line at the time. I knew him very well, I went to school with him at Callie, W.A. His people are box manufacturers there. He was buried on New Year's morning at a little cemetery at Red Lodge near Warneton, I saw his grave, which was marked with a cross bearing his number, name and unit.
Pte. H Campbell 6423"
Report Australian Red Cross Society Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau files


WHAT IS TO BE WILL BE
DEARLY LOVED SON OF
MARGARET AND SAMUEL HOGAN

PRIVATE GEORGE HENRY HOGAN


It was one of Abraham Lincoln's maxims that, "What is to be, will be, and no prayers of ours can arrest the decree". And what was 'to be' for Margaret and Samuel Hogan? Their son, George, wounded on 11 April 1918 by a bomb from an aeroplane, died of his wounds in a Casualty Clearing Station the next day. The details are given in the Australian Red Cross Society Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau Files, "bomb wounds buttock punctuating abdomen arm right".


HE BORE HIS PAIN
HOW HE SUFFERED
NONE CAN TELL
PEACEFULLY AT REST

GUNNER JOHN WILLIAM CHARLES MCGREGOR


From his epitaph, I thought Gunner McGregor must have died of terrible wounds nineteen days after the end of the war so I was a bit surprised to discover that he'd died of broncho-pneumonia, probably brought on by influenza as was the case with so many casualties of the Spanish Flu epidemic. However, it certainly made me think of what it must have been like to die of pneumonia in the days when there was little that medicine could do to help.
McGregor was admitted to 41st Stationary Hospital on 30 November and died the same day. Unfortunately, the clerk who typed up the report incorrectly read died as disch. (discharged) so no notification was sent to his next-of-kin. The mistake wasn't realised until the end of January 1919 when a telegram arrived at the London office of the Australian Red Cross asking for information with the comment that, "he is said to be wounded and in hospital in London". Unfortunately, he wasn't.
John McGregor's elder brother, Osswild Daniel, had been killed in action on the 5 November 1916.


AN AUSTRALIAN HERO

PRIVATE HAROLD ROY BENZLEY


This Australian hero, a clerk from Sunbury, Victoria, enlisted on 12 May 1915 and embarked from Melbourne for Egypt on 16 July 1915. He was on board the Southland when it was torpedoed in the Aegean by UB-14 whilst en route to Gallipoli from Egypt on 2 September 1915.
He eventually landed on Gallipoli and his war record reads:

"admitted to 6th Australian Field Ambulance, Anzac, 31 October 1915 (influenza); transferred to 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station, Anzac, 3 November 1915 (enteric); evacuated and disembarked Alexandria, 9 November 1915; admitted to No 15 General Hospital, Alexandria, 9 November 1915; proceeded to England, 16 November 1915; admitted to County of London War Hospital, Epsom, England, 27 November 1915. Proceeded overseas to France, 7 June 1916; marched into 2nd Australian Division Base Depot, Etaples, France, 8 June 1916."

Two months later he was "admitted at this station (3rd Casualty Clearing Station) 6th August 1916 suffering from gun shot wounds head, with compound fracture of skull. He died the same day".

A hero may be defined as someone who is admired for their courage and their brave deeds, but never forget R.C. Sherriff's definition in Journey's End. The main character, Captain Stanhope, is perceived to be a hero but as he openly confesses to Hibbert, "Sometimes I feel I could just lie down on this bed and pretend I was paralysed or something - and couldn't move - and just lie there till I died - or was dragged away." But others are sticking it so we have to too. "Don't you think it worth standing in with men like that? - when you know they all feel like you do - in their hearts - and just go on sticking it because they know it's - it's the only thing a decent man can do."

Brave deeds or sticking it - either way, those who fought deserve the appellation 'hero'.


GOOD OLD FRANK
AU REVOIR FROM ALL AT HOME

PRIVATE FRANK STRANGER


Private Stranger was admitted to hospital on 15 March 1918 suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the head, legs and right forearm. He died of wounds eight days later. He was one of three brothers originally from Guernsey who were all killed within two months of each other: Frank on 23 March, George on 11 April and Harry on 11 May.


DEAR OSCAR
ALWAYS REMEMBERED

PRIVATE OSCAR GRIMES


Oscar Grimes was reported wounded, missing in action on 5 November 1916 during the Battle of Flers. A month later his mother, Martha Grimes, instituted a Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau search. Confirmation of Oscar's death didn't come until August 1917 but by this time Martha Grimes was dead having died two weeks after instituting the search. Since Oscar's father was already dead it was his brother who chose his inscription, "Dear Oscar always remembered".


OUR IDEAL SON
A GENTLE, TENDER, BROTHER
A STEADFAST FRIEND

PRIVATE HAROLD MARCUS SARGANT


According to Harold Sargant's father, who completed the form for the Roll of Honour of Australia, his son "volunteered to restore the line of communication in the big push under very heavy shell fire and his officer said he just completed it when a shell burst and killed him."
Sargant, whose qualities are beautifully described on his headstone, was a farmer before he enlisted in 1916. He embarked from Australia on 9 November that year and was "21 years all but 12 days" when killed in action on 4 April 1918.


A CHEERFUL VOICE
A SMILING FACE
ALAS NO ONE
CAN FILL HIS PLACE

PRIVATE HORACE HOBAN SIMPSON


Horace Simpson was a 21-year-old Labourer from Prahran, Victoria who enlisted on 10 August 1915. He embarked from Australia on 15 September 1915 and served with the 5th Battalion Australian Infantry who were at that time on Gallipoli. Withdrawn from Gallipoli in December 1915 the battalion was sent to Egypt to defend the Suez Canal. In March 1916 it was transferred to the Western Front. Over the next two years the battalion saw action at Pozieres on the Somme, at Ypres both in the winter of 1916-17 and then later that spring and was involved in the German Spring Offensive of 1918. After three years of action Simpson was killed on the second day of the great Allied offensive launched near Amiens on 8 August 1918 that eventually brought the war to an end.


BRIGHT, INTELLIGENT LAD
WAS RESPECTED & LOVED BY
ALL HIS REGIMENT

LANCE CORPORAL SYDNEY JAMES ARMSTRONG SAWYERS


This inscription has the ring of a letter of condolence from Sawyers' senior officer. However, unlike many letters, this sounds as though the officer actually knew Sawyers and recognised him to be a "bright, intelligent lad".
Sawyers' mother filled in the form for the Roll of Honour of Australia and she described him as a photographer who had also worked in "postal services". Other sites describe him as a miner. He lived in Norseman Western Australia, a gold mining town, so Sawyers certainly could at one time have been involved in the gold industry. He enlisted on 5 July 1915, embarked for Europe on 1 October that year and died of wounds just under a year later on 7 September 1915 at No. 49 Casualty Clearing Station, Contay.


OUR LAD
RUDDY OF HAIR
AND STRONG OF LIMB

PRIVATE LEWIS NORMAN SHEPHERD


This is such a wonderful inscription: tender, proud and direct. It gives us a vivid image of this red-headed, well built, twenty-one-year-old butcher from Penguin in Tasmania who died of wounds at a Casualty Clearing Station in Puchevillers. Lewis Shepherd's brother, Ernest Victor Shepherd, was killed in action at Armentieres five months later on 2 January 1917.


DAD'S & MUM'S DARLING
AT REST

PRIVATE HORACE WILLIAM BROWN


In the space beside the question'What was his Calling?",on the circular for the Roll of Honour of Australia, Private Brown's father has written, 'State School Head Teacher'. Horace Brown was 23. It might seem unusual for someone to be a head teacher at so young an age but Brown had been teaching for eight years, as his father explains with I imagine no little pride:
"Obtained State School merit certificate at age of 13 years. Appointed junior teacher at age 15 years. Appointed Head Teacher at Baringhupp* East State School, Victoria at age of 20 years."
* It's difficult to read this word but I think it says Baringhup



A MOTHER'S SACRIFICE

FRANCIS JOHN COOMBES


Jack Coombes, a painter from Newtown, Sydney, New South Wales, was born in England in Luton, Bedfordshire. He emigrated to Australia with his parents in 1898 when he was 6. I can't tell whether his father was still alive at the time of his death, nor whether he had any brothers or sisters. It was his mother who was described as his next of kin, she also filled in the circular for the Roll of Honour of Australia and instituted a search via the Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau. While two witnesses say that he was sniped "through the forehead, death being instantaneous", another man, who looks as though his name was Company Sergeant Major H.S.A. Creehy, has another tale to tell; you can decide whose is the most likely.

"Informant states that on 31/9/18 the Battalion was holding the line in a trench at Villers Bretonneux. About mid-day when they were resting in a trench Coombes was hit by a shell and died about two minutes afterwards. Informant was with him when he died. He was conscious and asked informant to remember him to his mother. Informant saw him fall, being only about 4 yards away from him at the time and had been speaking to him just before. Informant added that Coombes was a fine fellow and was well liked by his men. If Coombes' mother cares to write to him he will go and see her if she lives in Sydney."

I have a feeling that the informant (Creehy?) was a very kind man and that he possibly knew there was a close relationship between mother and son. If so he hoped her son's 'last words' would bring her comfort.


THE SUPREME SACRIFICE

CORPORAL ROBERT JAMES ANDREW


Corporal Robert James Andrew was killed in action at the retaking of the summit of Mont St Quentin on 1 September 1918. The next day the Australian Infantry took Peronne. These were among the finest actions of the Australian forces during the whole war and their casualties were very high.
Corporal Andrew's wife instigated an Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau search for her husband. The results show how difficult it was to ever ascertain exactly what had happened to a soldier. Added to this was the fact that a Private GV Andrews, who also served with the 24th Infantry, in the same Company, was killed during the same battle on the same day. However, it seems as though witnesses were all speaking about the same man: "Andrew was from Victoria, tall, very thin, fair hair, about 26 years" [Sgt JH Bond 14.11.18.] but there is not much agreement about he died.
"I didn't see Andrew, who was a M/Gunner in my D.XV. killed instantly by a m.g.bullet through the head at Mont St Quentin about 4 pm."
"Andrews was in the trench waiting to go over when he was hit by a piece of shell and killed right out. I saw this."
"He was killed with four others by a shell in the dugout ... It happened about 4.10 pm before our hop over, and Fritz was busy strafing us at the time."
"I saw Morris D.Coy. S/B and Andrew D.XVI both killed instantly by the same shell alongside of me at Mont St Quentin about 6 pm in front line of trenches before the hop over."
"Casualty was advancing at Mont St Quentin when a machine gun bullet entered his side killing him instantly."

Corporal Andrew's wife, Rhoda, used the title of Sir John Arkwright's famous poem, 'The Supreme Sacrifice' for her husband's headstone inscription. The poem is much better known as the hymn 'O Valiant Hearts', which for many years was sung at Remembrance Services until its sentiments went out of fashion.


QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA
BEHOLD I COME QUICKLY

STAFF NURSE MYRTLE ELIZABETH WILSON


Myrtle Elizabeth Wilson was born in Australia in 1877 where her parents had been living for ten years. A trained nurse, she joined Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service early in 1915 and was sent to Europe in April. That winter she caught pneumonia. Her decline was noted in the official diary of the Matron-in-Chief of the British Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders, Maud McCarthy.
9 December:
Miss Lowndes dangerously ill. Miss Wilson and Miss Donaldson both very ill also.
19 December:
Miss Wilson, Australian, pneumonia, DI [dangerously ill] list - people in Australia, WO informed, and cousin in England.
23 December
Telephone message from 14 General Hospital saying Miss Wilson, Australian on Q Reserve, condition critical. Informed WO. Later (message) to say she had died 7.30 am.

Myrtle Wilson's funeral was held the next day, Christmas Eve. Maud McCarthy made sure that she attended and was furious to discover that no one had done anything about publicising the funeral so that there were very few nurses present. She felt very keenly that people should have had the opportunity "of paying a last respect to one who had come so far and who was among strangers."

Myrtle's inscription was confirmed by her sister May. The family's address was The Roses, Chelmer, Brisbane, Queensland, hence the first line. The second line, 'Behold I come quickly' is a line, repeated several times, from the New Testament Book of Revelation Chapter 22:
Behold I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.
verse 7
And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
verse 12
He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Maud McCarthy's Official Diary as the Matron-in-Chief of the British Expeditionary Force, [WO95/3989 The National Archives], has been transcribed by Sue Light @Scarletfinders. She has created the most wonderful resource for which I am very grateful.


KAERE SON VI MODES SNART

PRIVATE KRISTIAN VOGNSEN


Private Vognsen's inscription is in Danish but the database can't cope with the inclusion of the Danish accents on the words 'son' and 'modes'. The inscription was confirmed by his father, who still lived in Denmark, and it means, 'Dear son we will soon meet again'. Kristian Vognes, who descibed himself as a seaman on his attestation papers, emigrated to Australia when he was 18 and a half. He was just 21 and a half when he was killed at Gallipoli on 26 June 1915.
There had always been a small Danish presence in Australia: seamen, gold prospectors and former soldiers following the disbandment of the Danish army in Schleswig-Holstein after the war of 1849-51. Prussia's annexation of these two provinces after the war of 1864 further fuelled Danish emigration, as well as a dislike of Prussian aggression. This meant that in 1914 there was great support among the Danish community for Australian participation in the First World War.


BELOVED HUSBAND OF
M.E.VICARY
OF RICCARTON, NEW ZEALAND

PRIVATE HENRY WALTER VICARY


It is rare to see the words New Zealand in a personal inscription, not because few New Zealanders died in the war but because the New Zealand dead were not allowed headstone inscriptions. It was all a question of equality. The War Graves Commission made much of the fact that all the dead were to be treated equally whether they were generals or privates, princes or labourers. However, it then decided, primarily as a concession to the Roman Catholic community, that next-of-kin could be allowed to choose and pay for a brief personal inscription. The Canadian government felt that this was deeply divisive and made the decision that it would pay for all inscriptions. The New Zealand government also felt it was divisive and so made the decision that there would be no personal inscriptions on their graves.
Henry Vicary served in the Australian army. The family originally came from Ilfracombe in Devon but Henry was born "at sea to British parents". By 1914 Henry was a sailor, carpenter, labourer and engine driver living in Narradora, New South Wales. He was killed in action at the battle of Lone Pine sometime between 6th and 9th August 1915.
I don't know when he married, who he married or how the New Zealand connection comes about but by the time Henry Vicary's widow came to confirm his headstone inscription she was living at 9 Bowen St, Riccarton, New Zealand.
Henry's half brother, William Dallin Vicary, was killed in Mesoptamia on 8 March 1916 and is commemorated on the Basra Memorial.


TYDI GAN HYNNY
GODDEF GYSTUDD
MEGIS MILWR DA
I JESU GRIST

PRIVATE TOMMY THOMAS


Private Tommy Thomas was a carpenter from Mackay, Northern Queensland. He was born in Llanfyrnach, Pembrokeshire, Wales, where his parents lived until after the war. He enlisted in the Australian Infantry on 9 March 1915 and embarked for Europe on the 29 June that year. He died of wounds in hospital in Rouen on 15 September 1916.
His Welsh inscription comes from the English-Welsh Duoglott Bible, from the Second Epistle of Timothy, Chapter 2 verse 3:
Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.


LOVED BROTHER
OF PETER, FERG.
IG, DOT AND MOLLIE

LANCE CORPORAL WILLIAM JOHN SULLIVAN


As Trooper William John Sullivan's parents were dead his sister Margaret was his next of kin. She chose his inscription - naming his five siblings - and signed the form for the Roll of Honour of Australia. Sullivan had been a bank clerk in Coolac, NSW before he volunteered under the alias of William John Monoghan on 24 August 1914. He was killed on 29 June 1915 on what later became known as Pope's Hill.


HE GAVE UP ALL HE LOVED
TO FIGHT FOR
THE FREEDOM OF THE WORLD

SAPPER EDWIN ALLEN LE LEU


Edwin Le Leu was a boat builder from Semaphore, a seaside suburb of Adelaide, South Australia. His older brother Sapper Frank Le Leu was a motor mechanic from the same town. Frank Le Leu died on 31 May 1917 and is buried in Strand Military Cemetery, Hainaut, Belgium. He and his brother have identical headstone inscriptions:
He gave up all he loved
To fight for
The freedom of the world.


GAVE UP THE YEARS TO BE

SERJEANT NORMAN HAMILTON REED


Serjeant Reed's inscription comes from the first verse of Rupert Brooke's sonnet The Dead:

Blow out, you bugles, over the rich Dead!
There's none of these so lonely and poor of old,
But, dying, has made us rarer gifts than gold.
These laid the world away; poured out the red
Sweet wine of youth; gave up the years to be
Of work and joy, and that unhoped serene,
That men call age; and those who would have been,
Their sons, they gave, their immortality.

The 'Particulars required for the Roll of Honour of Australia in the Memorial War Museum' provide researchers with much valuable information on Australia's casualties. Serjeant Reed's father completed his form, combining the poignant detail that his son was 23 years (and 2 days) when he died with the biographical details that he:
"Enlisted Sept 1914. Embarked with No. 1 Stationary Hospital Unit from Melbourne 4th Dec 1914 was on Lemnos Island and at Gallipoli, and in England with the 1st Aust Gen Hospital at Dartford, England for a short time - afterwards went to France & joined the 1st Field Ambulance. Was an athlete, swimmer, cricketer,, Lacrosse & football. Had passed examinations (3) in the St John's Ambulance Assocn. hence being drafted to the AMC when he enlisted."
Although this form records that he died of wounds at Lijssenthoek it gives no details. These come from Lijssenthoek's own hospital records: "shrapnel wounds on abdomen and back at No. 2 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station".


THESE ARE DEEDS
WHICH SHOULD NOT PASS AWAY
NAMES THAT MUST NOT WITHER

PRIVATE STANLEY EDGAR STEPHEN RAVELL


Sidney Ravell was a labourer from Coogee, NSW. He enlisted in Holsworthy, now a suburb of Sydney, embarked for Europe on 20 December 1915 and died of wounds in hospital in Lijssenthoek on 29 October 1917.
His mother confirmed his inscription, which comes from Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage:

But these are deeds which should not pass away,
And names that must not wither, though the earth
Forgets her empires with a just decay,,
The enslavers and the enslaved, their death and birth;
The high, the mountain-majesty of worth
Should be, and shall, survivor of its woe,
And from its immortality look forth
In the sun's face, like yonder Alpine snow,
Imperishably pure beyond all things below.
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage
Canto the Third LXVII
Lord Byron

Sidney Ravell's foster-brother, Michael Noble Smith was killed in action on 19 July 1916. He is buried in Ration Farm Military Cemetery, La Chapelle-D'Armentieres and his headstone carries the same personal inscription as Sidney Ravell's.


MY HEART ALWAYS SAD
MY SORROW GREAT
MY LOSS HARD TO BEAR

PRIVATE ALFRED ERNEST ELDER


Private Elder's next of kin was his sister, Mary, and it was she who chose his inscription since it appears that both their parents were dead. It is not a quotation but a straightforward description of the sister's grief.


FOR DUTY
TO KING AND COUNTRY

TROOPER JAMES ANDREW BURROUGH


James Burrough died of para-typhoid fever in hospital in Mudros Bay on the island of Lemnos. Paratyphoid, previously known as enteric fever, was, until the invention of antibiotics, the great military killer caused by the bacterium Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi.
Burrough was an engine driver from Adelaide. Born and educated in South Africa, he served with the Uitenhage Volunteers on the side of the British during the Boer War. He arrived in Australia in 1908 aged 29. Four months after the outbreak of war, in December 1914, he volunteered although at 35 he was not expected to. He embarked from Australia on 12 February 1915, his eventual destination being Gallipoli.
At the time of his death Burrough was married with two small sons. His wife Laura chose his inscription, emphasising his continuing loyalty to King and Country. She gave her address as: Lemnos, Randolph Avenue, Fullarton, South Australia, Laura Burrough had named her house after the island where her husband was buried.


HIS LAST WORDS TO FRIENDS
I WILL DO MY BEST
WHEN I GET THERE

GUNNER GEORGE FREDERICK PATTEN


Charles and Mary Patten had three sons. They all served in the war, only one returned. George, a railway fireman, was killed in Flanders on 28 August 1918. His brother Trooper Charles Douglas Patten, Australian Light Horse, died as a prisoner of war in Turkey on 9 February 1917.
Their sister, Mrs W.E.Webb, instituted a Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau search for Charles. This revealed that he had been captured at Katia on 9 August 1916 and initially interned in Afion Kara Hissar. When he died six months later he was in Angora Paludean Cachexia. One of the witnesses informed the Red Cross "he was in & out of hospital every week at Angora, suffering from malaria - he was game to the last".
In answer to another query Trooper G.A. Roberts wrote: "We are not allowed to attend the burial of a fellow prisoner. When they die in hospital they are taken to a room in the hospital and washed and then conveyed on a stretcher to the hospital grave ward and buried by Turks (shrouds are unnecessary luxuries according to these people) there is no mark to show who is buried in certain places. We know they are English that is all."
After the war the bodies of all allied prisoners of war buried in Anatolia were exhumed and reinterred in Baghdad North Gate Cemetery. The graves are unidentified but the names of the dead are recorded at the cemetery. However, access to the cemetery is difficult at the present time and in acknowledgement of this the War Graves Commission have compiled a two-volume Roll of Honour of the casualties either buried or simply commemorated in Iraq, which can be inspected in the Commission's head office in Maidenhead.


AFTER LIFE'S FITFUL FEVER
HE SLEEPS WELL

PRIVATE JAMES WALTER COOPER


After life's fitful fever he sleeps well.
Treason has done his worst; nor steel nor poison
Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing
Can touch him further.
Macbeth Act 3 Sc. 2
William Shakespeare

James Cooper was a fireman from Southern Cross, Yilgarn, Western Australia who emigrated from England in 1912 when he was 32. He enlisted in 1916 and embarked for Europe on 23 November 1916. Born in Reigate, Surrey he served for 12 years in the Royal Field Artillery before moving to Australia.
His wife, Edith, chose his inscription. Macbeth is speaking to his wife telling her that Duncan the king is dead, he has killed him. However, one gets the sense that even in his, the murderer's mind, there is an element of envy for the freedom from fear and danger in which Duncan now rests.
At the time Mrs Cooper confirmed the inscription she was living in St George's Hostel in Katanning, Western Australia. This imposing building was built in 1913 to house itinerant workers drawn to the town by the booming agricultural prosperity of the area.


IN MEMORY OF THE DEAR SON
OF MR. AND MRS. HILLS
OF ALBANY, AUSTRALIA

PRIVATE CHARLES HILLS


Charles Hills was born in England, in Norwood, Surrey where his father was a carrier on a farm. The family emigrated to Australia in 1911 and settled in Albany. Charles enlisted on 4 March 1916 and sailed for England on 11 August that year. He took part in the battles of Pozieres and Bullecourt, where he was wounded on 11 April 1917 and spent three months in hospital in England. Returning he fought in the battle of Bapaume and was killed in action on 29 March 1918.


IN MEMORY OF DEAR BOB
SON OF MR. AND MRS. W.H. GOODWIN
COOMA, N.S.W.

SERJEANT ROBERT BOYD GOODWIN


Bob Goodwin was a draper from Cooma, the main town in the Monaro region of New South Wales. He was killed in action on 11 March 1917 and originally buried at map reference 57c.R.3.c.5.8 before being reinterred in Lesboeufs in July 1919.


27 YEARS
BELOVED SON OF
C. AND E. GREEN
BURRA, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

LANCE CORPORAL HAROLD TEMPERLEY GREEN


"Green was badly wounded - shot through the head and fell beside me. After being bandaged he was carried to the Dressing Station and on their return the bearers told me he was dead."
Private J. Davy to the Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau 14.10.1918
"I saw above named on a stretcher just after he had been wounded (about 9 pm) at Merris. I spoke to him, S/B Wright (No 452) of same Battalion) bandaged him up. The face (mouth portion) had been blown in."
L/Cpl J McFarlane to the Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau 21.10.1918
"I saw Pte. (sic) J Green fatally wounded by shell while holding the lines in front of Merris on the 30th July 1918 ... The ground was held."
L/Cpl W Bartch 14.10.1918
"3333 Pte. (sic) Green H.T. 10th Bn. died of wounds at our Dressing Station Borre at 5.45.a.m. on 30/7/18. Wound received was S.W.skull compound fracture. He was unconcious on admission and died soon after. Burial took place at Military Cemetery Borre same day."/ Signed by Major, Acting CO 1st Australian Field Ambulance, [signature unreadable]

Harold Green's elder brother Edward Owen Green "died of accidental injuries" near Tripoli in Syria, according to his father when he filled in the circular for the Roll of Honour of Australia. Edward Green is buried in Bierut War Cemetery in the Lebanese Republic. His inscription, which was signed for by his father rather than by his mother as Harold's was, reads:
Beloved son of
C. and E. Green
Of World's End
South Australia.


DEARLY BELOVED SON OF
MR AND MRS ROBERT ANDERSON
COOMINYA, QUEENSLAND

GUNNER JAMES ANDERSON


James Anderson was a farmer from the small community of Coominya in Queensland, which even today has scarcely more than 1,000 residents. He enlisted on 9 September 1915 and embarked for Europe on 11 May 1916. He died of shrapnel wounds to his left leg in No 10 Casualty Clearing Station, Lijssenthoek, Belgium.


BEHIND ALL SHADOWS
STANDETH GOD

LIEUTENANT COLONEL ROBERT GARTSIDE


Fifty-two-year-old Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Gartside was mortally wounded as he rose to lead an attack on the Turkish trenches during the Second Battle of Krithia. He is quoted as having just said, "Come on boys, I know it's deadly, but we must get on," when he was hit in the abdomen by machine gun bullets.
His inscription sounds as though it must be a quotation. It could be a reference to the hymn 'Once to Every Man and Nation'. The hymn's sentiment would have been seen to be appropriate:

Once to every man and nation
Comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth with falsehood,
for the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God's new Messiah,
Offering each the bloom or blight;
And the choice goes by for ever
'Twixt that darkness and that light.

With the last verse concluding:

Though the cause of evil prosper,
Yet 'tis truth alone is strong;
Though her portion be the scaffold,
And upon the throne be wrong,
Yet that scaffold sways the future,
And, behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow,
Keeping watch above his own.

This looked to me as though it was the closest we were going to get to the source of the epitaph. However, I put the phrase into Google in inverted commas and came up with a photograph taken by E.R.Pretyman, 1870-1930, held in the Archives Office of Tasmania, which shows a large mausoleum with the words 'Light evermore, behind all shadows standeth God' written in huge letters across the pediment. Could this be the source of the inscription and if so is there any connection between Robert Gartside and this mausoleum, which unfortunately isn't identified?


MY DARLING

PRIVATE DAVID HEATHCOTE MELROSE ROBERTSON


"My darling" not our darling, although David Robertson's father was still alive. It was David's mother, Mrs Emma Jane Roberston, who filled in the form confirming the inscription and she wrote "My darling". Father, Mr James Robertson, didn't die until 1950 and he's buried under a headstone which describes him as the beloved father of David, but nevertheless his son's headstone inscription only reads "My darling".
David Robertson was a motor mechanic from Ballarat, Victoria. He enlisted at the age of 18 in July 1915, and was sent to Gallipoli in August where he was wounded and spent some time in hospital on Malta. After the evacuation from Gallipoli in January 1916, the Battalion regrouped in Egypt and then were sent to France in March where they took part in the Somme campaign. In 1917 were sent to the Ypres front. David was killed in action at Zonnebeke during the Battle of Passchendale on 22/23 September. According to his mother, on the form for the Roll of Honour of Australia, he was "twenty and one week" when he died, so not 21 as it says on the War Graves' records. Initially buried without being identified, his body was later exhumed from map reference 28.J.@.d.7.2, identified by the clothing and correspondence on it, and reburied in Sanctuary Wood Cemetery.


NO REVEILLE
AND NO MORNING GUN
SHALL EVERMORE WAKEN HIM

CAPTAIN ANDREW GEORGE CHRISTIAN


This inscription, chosen by Captain Christian's wife, comes from a poem written at the time of the Boer War by William Alexander, the Protestant Primate of All Ireland. It's a long poem from which these are the relevant verses:

They who marched up the bluffs last stormy week,
Some of them, ere they reached the mountain's creek,
The wind of battle breathing on their cheek,
Suddenly laid them down.

Like sleepers - not like those whose race is run -
Fast, fast asleep amid the cannon's roar,
Them no reveille and no morning gun
Shall ever waken more.

The morning gun was fired at the same time as the first bugle note of reveille and summoned the soldier from sleep.


A POPULAR OFFICER
DEEPLY MOURNED

LIEUTENANT CLARENCE WILLIAM WOLFENDEN


Clarence Wolfenden was a consistent high achiever at every stage of his short career. An artillery officer, he was killed when the Turkish guns found the range of his guns on Plateau 400. His mother, a widow, chose his inscription.


MATE O' MINE

MAJOR JOHN EDWIN SERGEANT


Major Sergeant was killed by a shell high above Anzac Cove on the first day of the Gallipoli landings. The men of the 8th Battalion Australian Infantry, led by Colonel William Bolton, captured what became known as Bolton's Ridge on this first day. A photograph of Sergeant's grave at the top of a steep precipice with the sea far below illustrates the Australians' amazing achievement. The photograph was taken by Lieutenant Jack Duffy and can be seen on Trevor Henshaw's blog Original graves at Gallipoli. However, they never managed to make much further progress and during the entire nine months the Allies were on the peninsular this position always remained close to the Turkish front line.
Major Sergeant's wife chose his epitaph. It comes from the song Mate o' Mine: music written by the British composer, conductor and violinist, Percy Elliott, words by Leslie Cooke.

We set out together, mate o' mine,
When youth was in its prime,
Life - the path that lay before us,
Life - the hill we had to climb.

We neither of us knew the road,
How long the journey, great the load;
Nor I how deep the debt I owed
To God for mate o' mine!

We set out together, mate o'mine;
We've wended road and hill;
Now it's homeward through the valley
We must wander at God's will.

We neither of us fear the gloam,
Love still shall light the path we roam;
Should you be the last returning Home,
I'll greet thee, mate o' mine!

John Sergeant was 45, a grazier and vigneron who had served in the South African War. He re-enlisted as a Captain on 28 August 1914 and embarked for Egypt on 19 October. It was his wife, Annie, who in the words of the song became "the last returning Home". Her choice of inscription, and the song it came from, sadly encapsulating the unknown journey you set out on at the beginning of married life.


THE HOURS I'VE SPENT
WITH THEE DEAR HEART
ARE AS A STRING OF PEARLS
TO ME

PRIVATE FRED HAMPTON


This inscription comes from The Rosary, a hugely popular romantic song about loss and the acceptance of loss, written in America in 1898 by Ethelbert Nevin and Robert Cameron Rogers. It became one of the most popular songs of the early twentieth century, and was made even more popular by Florence L Barclay's deeply romantic novel of the same name in which the song plays a central part.
Barclay's book was published in 1909 and immediately became a best-seller on both sides of the Atlantic; by 1924 it had sold a million copies.

The hours I spent with thee, dear heart,
Are as a string of pearls to me.
I count them over every one apart,
My rosary.
Each hour a pearl, each pearl a prayer,
To still a heart in absence wrung.
I tell each bead unto the end - and there
A cross is hung.
Oh memories that bless - and burn!
Oh, barren gain - and bitter loss!
I kiss each bead, and strive at last to learn
To kiss the cross,
Sweetheart,
To kiss the cross.

Fred Hampton's widow, Eleanor, chose his inscription. Her husband had been killed during the night of 3 July whilst part of a working party repairing the wire out in no-man's-land. Initially no one knew what had happened to him and Eleanor initiated a search by the Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Bureau. One wonders how much of what the Red Cross found out was relayed to her. Witnesses describe how Fred Hampton was "struck by a shell which carried away the lower part of his face". The witnesses then disagree about whether "he lived only a few minutes" or was "taken to a dressing station where he died after about 30 minutes". The fact that he is buried in a battlefield cemetery not one associated with an aid post, Field Ambulance or Casualty Clearing Station, inclines me to think he only lived a few minutes.


IN MEMORY OF
MY DEARLY LOVED ONLY CHILD
MARYBOROUGH, VIC. A.

LANCE CORPORAL HARLEY BESWICK CROSS


"My dearly loved only child." Note that Lance Corporal Cross's father uses the word 'my' not 'our'. This is because Frederick Harley Cross was a widower and now his only child was dead.


BORN
IN BRIGHT SOUTH AUSTRALIA
DIED DOING HIS DUTY

PRIVATE WILLIAM CARL MEYER


I completely misread this inscription thinking that bright was an adjective describing South Australia. I rather liked the idea that William Meyer's parents wanted to contrast the sunny land of his birth with the rain and muddy fields of Flanders where he died. But I was completely wrong because Bright is a proper noun, the name of the town where he was born.
William Meyer's great-great niece has uploaded photographs and information about him to the RSL Virtual War Memorial, which tells us more about this farmer from the township of Hilltown, near Clare, who died in Belgium "doing his duty". However, it doesn't mention the fact that whilst he gave his religion on his enlistment papers as Methodist, his father, Johann Heinrich Friedrich Meyer, had him buried under one of the War Graves Commissions' Jewish headstones, which are clearly marked with the star of David. One has to assume from his names that Johann Meyer was of German or Austrian extraction. Is this why he emphasised his son's Australian birth and commitment to duty on his headstone?


HE WENT
KNOWING HE WOULD NOT RETURN

PRIVATE ARCHIBALD GRAY HOSKING


Archibald Hosking was a sheep grazier and wheelwright in Queensland. Despite believing that he would not return, Archibald Hosking was a volunteer, there was no conscription in Australia. He enlisted on 26 April 1916, embarked for France on 7 September 1916 and died of wounds in a base hospital in Rouen on 20 May 1917.


A PURE KNIGHT OF GOD

SECOND LIEUTENANT GEORGE GORDON WATTS


It was Sir Galahad who was the perfect knight, who in Tennyson's poem could boast:
My good blade carves the casques of men,
My tough lance thrusteth sure,
My strength is as the strength of ten,
Because my heart is pure.
It was because he was the perfect knight that he was permitted to achieve the grail quest. And it was as a pure knight that he died having achieved it.
Lieutenant Watts' father specifically uses the term 'knight' to describe his son, but the inscription definitely has resonances of Christ's teaching at the Sermon on the Mount:
Blest are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Matthew 5:8
George Watts is commemorated on his parents' headstone in Payneham Cemetery, Adelaide with the inscription: 'A true knight of God'.


A MOTHER'S DARLING

CORPORAL WILLIAM JOHN SAVAGE


William Savage was a 25 year old labourer from Port Adelaide, South Australia who enlisted when the 27th Battalion was formed there in March 1915. The Battalion went to Gallipoli in September 1915 and then to France early in 1916. Savage was killed in their final action of the war, the attempt to break the Beaurevoir Line, Germany's last line of defence, the last strand of the Hindenburg Line. The fighting was ferocious despite the fact, or maybe because of the fact, that the end for Germany was so near. Savage was killed on the 3rd and the line was finally broken late on the evening of the 5th. With the Hindenburg Line breached, the high ground behind it captured, the ground before the Allies now lay open before them.
The war was virtually over but Mrs Savage's 'darling' was dead. I love these simple, unsophisticated inscriptions, they are so eloquent. The War Grave Commission's records indicate that both William Savage's parents were still alive but it is as his mother's darling that he is commemorated.


GREAT GRAND NEPHEW
TO MICHAEL DWYER
THE FAMOUS WICKLOW CHIEFTAIN

PRIVATE GERALD PATRICK HEAVEY


One hundred and twelve years after Michael Dwyer arrived in Australia having been deported from Ireland by the British as a nationalist rebel, his seventeen-year-old, Australian, great-grand nephew, Gerald Heavey, was killed in France fighting for the British. A hundred and twelve years is time enough to forget old scores but his parents made a point of recording the connection on their son's headstone. Yet all the evidence points to their son being keen to fight. Australia did not have conscription so he was a volunteer. However, at the age of 17 he was too young to have joined up, too young to be serving in France let alone too young to die.


HERE LIES
THE NOBLEST WORK OF GOD

PRIVATE HARLEY RANDOLPH SLOGGETT


"An honest man's the noblest work of God" according to Alexander Pope (1688-1744) who wrote in Epistle IV of An Essay on Man:
A wit's a feather, and a chief a rod;
An honest man's the noblest work of God.
Fiftly years later, Robert Burns quoted Pope in his own poem, The Cotter's Saturday Night:
Princes and lords are but the breath of kings,
"An honest man's the noblest work of God;"
Private Sloggett, a draper and mercer from Manildra New South Wales, was killed by shellfire whilst making breakfast in his dugout:
"He was a signaller attached to A Co. at the time of his death. I was in the Intelligence Section. We were at Co. HQ at Broodseinde Ridge, in a dug out, on 21st Oct. when he was blown up by a shell and killed outright. I saw his body and buried it right there. I put a little cross on the grave".
Private Dabell to the Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau January 1918.
Both Sloggett's fate and the location of the grave were lost in the subsequent fighting, hence the Red Cross enquiry. However, it was redicovered in 1919 once the war was over and the task of recovering bodies from isolated and unidentified graves was begun. Sloggett was identified by his identity disc and reburied in Tyne Cot Cemetery.


AU REVOIR DARLING TOOTS
OUR LOVING
BRAVE TRUE HEARTED BOY
AN ANZAC

LIEUTENANT STEPHEN PHILIP BOULTON


"Died of wounds 3.10.18. 4 large splinters from gas shell (4.2) one splinter through right arm and 1 in groin. He never regained consciousness - buried by Chaplain Webb at Roisel near Peronne." This is the report given by Lieutenant Boulton's senior officer, Major Dodd, to the Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau. Others witnesses might have put it more delicately but they could not alter the facts.
Stephen Boulton was born in Australia in 1890. He enlisted in the ranks in January 1915 from his position as a clerk in the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. He served in Egypt and Gallipoli and in January 1918 received a commission. He was killed during a heavy bombardment of his artillery position.
In 1928 his mother donated his letters and postcards - all signed Toots - together with her official letters of condolence, and correspondence from the Imperial War Graves Commission, to the Australian War Memorial. This digitised correspondence can be read on-line providing a vivid record of one man's war. In the last line of his personal inscription, his mother describes him as an ANZAC, a member of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The term remains today, what it was then, a proud term for a superb body of soldiers.


A CROWDED HOUR
OF GLORIOUS LIFE
IS WORTH AN AGE
WITHOUT A NAME. MOTHER

PRIVATE HARRY STEANE


Sound, sound the clarion, fill the fife,
To all the sensual world proclaim
One crowded hour of glorious life
Is worth an age without a name.

This poem, The Call, written by Thomas Osbert Mordaunt (1730-1809) was at one time thought to have been written by Sir Walter Scott who used it as the motto to Chapter XIII in Volume II of An Old Mortality. W.E.Henley (1849-1903) certainly attributed it to Scott when he used it on the title page of Lyra Heroica, his collection of poetry for boys.
The phrase, which Harry Steane's mother has slightly misquoted, was frequently used as a shorthand to describe a certain type of person. Vera Britain used it to describe Roland Leighton:
"I know you're the kind of person who would risk your life recklessly; I was talking to someone a short time ago and I said I thought you were the kind who believes in the 'one glorious hour of crowded life' (sic) theory; is it true?" (Vera Brittain, Chronicle of Youth, 1981, page 139).

Harry Steane, who was born in Warrington, England, enlisted on 5 October 1914 in Australia. After his death his mother wrote, "But the best of all in my idea is he volunteered for his country at once and was in the first landing on Gallipoli and I think that is a very great honour".


TO LIVE IN HEARTS
WE LEAVE BEHIND
IS NOT TO DIE

PRIVATE RAYMOND EVERITT BAYLISS


Raymond Bayliss was a twenty-three-year-old farmer from Wangaratta, Victoria, Australia whose brother, Ernest Foord, was also killed. Raymond's inscription is a quote from Hallowed Ground by Thomas Campbell (1777-1844).
But strew his ashes to the wind
Whose sword or voice has served mankind,
And is he dead, whose glorious mind
Lifts thine on high?
To live in hearts we leave behind
Is not to die.




HIS LAST WORDS
"GOODBYE COBBER
GOD BLESS YOU"

TROOPER HAROLD RUSH


This is probably the most famous of all Australian inscriptions. They weren't Trooper Rush's dying words but they were spoken as he turned to a friend just before they charged the Turkish lines when he knew that death was virtually certain.
At dawn on 7 August 1915 the Australian Light Horse, dismounted and serving as infantry, were given instructions to charge The Nek, a promontory in Turkish hands. The plan was that there would be four waves, each of 150 men, who would 'hop the sacks', leave the trenches, at two-minute intervals. Waves one and two had been mown down almost to a man, Rush was in the third wave. The attack was called off before the fouth wave but not before well over 300 Australians, including Rush, had been killed or mortally wounded in less than eight minutes.
Harold Rush was an Englishman who had emigrated to Australia five years earlier when he was 18. Somehow his words must have been communicated to his parents back home in Bury St Edmunds, England, as it was his father who confirmed his inscription.


I COULD NOT LOVE YOU
DEAR SO WELL
LOVED I NOT HONOR MORE

SERJEANT HAROLD FULLER PARSONS


"I was with Parsons in a trench near Zonnebeke ... I had just moved away from him for a moment when some shrapnel burst over us, and I saw Parsons hit in the throat and killed immediately ... We lifted Parsons from the trench on to the parapet and covered him up with his groundsheet. He was buried at dusk just behind our trench. I don't know if a cross is put up to him." This eye-witness account was given to the Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau on 15 March 1918 by Private G Todd, in response to enquiries instigated by Sergeant Parson's wife.
It was Mrs Parsons who chose the inscription, the last two lines of 'To Lucasta, Going to the Wars' by Richard Lovelace 1618-1658.

Tell me not, sweet, I am unkind,
That from the nunnery
Of that chaste breast and quiet mind
To war and arms I fly.

True, a new mistress now I chase,
The first foe in the field;
And with a stronger faith embrace
A sword, a horse, a shield.

Yet this incontancy is such
As thou too shalt adore;
I could not love thee, Dear, so much,
Loved I not honour more.


BOYS, YE FOUGHT
AS HEROES FIGHT
AND DIED AS MEN

PRIVATE ARTHUR JEFFERSON LANE


Arthur Jefferson Lane was killed on 25 April 1918; his twenty-year-old brother, William Gladstone Lane, was killed two days later on the 27th. William's body was never found so he has no grave. His name is commemorated on the memorial to the missing at Villers-Bretonneux. It was their father who confirmed Arthur's inscription. Initially I thought that the reference to 'boys' was a reference to all the Australian soldiers in that battle. Now I feel sure that the father was directly addressing his two sons. But it's true, all the Australians fought "like heroes fight" at Villers-Bretonneux between the 24th and the 27th of April 1918.


IT IS SAD BUT TRUE
I WONDER WHY
THE GOOD ARE ALWAYS
FIRST TO DIE

PRIVATE JOSEPH HILL


Joseph Hill was a 35 year old labourer from Aramac, Queensland, Australia, who enlisted in December 1915 and embarked for Europe in May 1916. It was his sister Jeannie who confirmed his inscription. It's a popular piece of verse that often appeared in the 'In Memorium' columns of local newspapers.


ONLY SON
R.I.P.

PRIVATE MICHAEL THOMAS MAHER


According to a file in the Australian Red Cross Society Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau, Private Maher was a stretcher bearer killed during the German attack on Villers Bretonneux. Four witnesses recalled that, whilst engaged in carrying wounded from the fighting to the Regimental Aid Post, he was hit in the temple and chest by a shell and killed outright. One witness mentioned that 'Mick' was "a very obliging chap, well thought of by his mates". In civilian life Michael Thomas Maher was a farmer, grazier, from Bethundra in New South Wales who had enlisted on 1 February 1916.


MY BELOVED SON

CORPORAL JR BISHOP


Both Corporal Bishop's parents were alive so, from the use of the personal pronoun 'my' as opposed to 'our', I assume that the inscription they chose is a quotation from the New Testament, Mark 1:11, when, following Christ's baptism, a voice came from heaven saying, "This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased".
In the section that asks for further biographical details on the form for the Roll of Honour of Australia, Mr Bishop quotes from the letter of condolence he received from his son's Company Commander, Captain Adams: "I valued Corporal Bishop highly as one of the best men in the company as well as in the battalion - his men and his commander miss him - cheerful under the worst conditions - and a great help to the men who all deplore his death. I looked upon him as a personal friend and he was the most popular NCO in the platoon, probably in the whole company".


THE LORD GAVE AND
THE LORD HAS TAKEN AWAY
OUR DEAR NORMAN

PRIVATE NORMAN DONALD MCPHEE


Private McPhee's parents quote the Old Testament, Job 1 21-2. On receiving the news of the death of all his children and the loss of all his possessions, Job falls to his knees saying:
Naked I came out of my mother's womb, and naked shall return thither: the Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.
Three weeks after Norman's death, his brother William James McPhee was killed, the same day that another brother was wounded, the 19 July 1916. A fourth of the McPhee brothers was wounded on 7 June 1917.


A MOTHER'S HEART IS BURIED
WITH HER DEAR SOLDIER SON

PRIVATE THOMAS JOSEPH DAWES


Thomas Dawes mother both chose his inscription and filled in the circular for the Roll of Honour of Australia. On the latter, in the section which asks whether there's any other biographical information likely to be of interest to historians of the AIF, Mrs Dawes tells how her son was very ill on the journey out from Australia and, believing himself to be dying, wrote a letter to his mother, put it in a bottle and threw it overboard. Four months later the bottle came ashore on the west coast of Australia and the letter was posted on to his mother in Victoria.
Eleven days after her son's death, Mrs Dawes inserted a death anouncement in her local paper, the Bendigo Advertiser; it concludes with a long memorial verse which reveals her pain.
When the flags are o'er the roadways
And the troops come marching home,
And the sweethearts lean to bless them
And the mothers to caress them.
O God, have pity for the waiting ones
Whose boys can never come.


O SACRED HEART OF JESUS
HAVE MERCY ON HIS SOUL
RIP

CORPORAL JAMES SADDINGTON MM


James Saddington was a Roman Catholic and it was his mother who chose a classic Roman Catholic text for his inscription. The manner of his death, killed in action, would have deprived him of the last rites so the text was therefore a plea to Jesus to secure his path through purgatory.


FOR EVER ENGLAND

CORPORAL JAMES ANTHONY LINCEY


James Lincey had been in Tasmania for three years when he returned to Europe as a soldier in 1916. Born in Menstone-in-Wharfdale, England, he emigrated with his parents in 1913. His father died two years later. His mother therefore chose his inscription, "For ever England". The quotation is taken from the third line of Rupert Brooke's famous poem, The Soldier:
If I should die, think only this of me;
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England.


DARLING JACK
HOW I MISS YOU
NOBODY KNOWS BUT ME
MOTHER

PRIVATE JOHN FAGAN


A deeply personal inscription from a mother whose son is buried 10,000 miles away from his home in Geelong, Australia. She uses her son's headstone to send him a private message of grief and longing. 'Nobody knows but me Mother', even though the form confirming the inscription was signed by her husband, John's father.


OUR NOBLE HAROLD
DIED SAVING AN OFFICER
GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN

PRIVATE HAROLD EDWIN TREMBATH


"Killed Mont St Quentin, France whilst voluntarily carrying a wounded officer back to dressing station." This is what Private Trembath's father wrote in the the section 'Place where killed or wounded' on the form for the Roll of Honour of Australia. Further down the form he explains how, influenced by the Principal of Ballarat College, Major Garbutt, his son was very keen to get to the Front, writing in one of his last letters, "Father, I intend to Play the Game". From the form it's difficult to tell whether Mr Trembath blames Major Garbutt for his son's military enthusiasm, but seeing how he describes his son in the inscription, "Our noble Harold", I feel father saw it that way too.


AN ONLY SON
KILLED IN ACTION
ON HIS WAY TO
LEAVE AND WEDDING

LANCE CORPORAL HAROLD GILKES


The Australian Red Cross Society Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau would make extensive enquiries when it needed to find out exactly what had happened to a casualty. Their records, now digitised, reveal that Private Gilkes "was about 19, fair, medium height, and fresh complexion. A fine little soldier. His name was Harry" (Lieutenant Hindmarsh). Information pieced together from other witnesses describe what happened: they were holding an advanced position and had been bothered by a sniper, at about mid-day Gilkes crawled out into the long grass to try and get him. When he didn't return his mates went out to look for him and found him shot through the head, "the bullet entered the top of his head, coming out at the back above his neck", "I helped carry him from the front line to the support line where they placed him on a stretcher", "he was working for leave to go to England to meet his father. He expected to get married".


"I MUST GO!
I AM ASHAMED TO BE SEEN
WITHOUT A SOLDIER'S UNIFORM"

PRIVATE ALFRED KINGSNORTH MALLYON


This is a difficult inscription. It was chosen by Private Mallyon's father and as the words are in quotation marks they presumably belong to Private Mallyon himself. I used to think that he must have been admitting to having been constrained by public opinion into enlisting. However, I now don't think this can be the case. If it was, why did his father say on the form for the Roll of Honour of Australia that his son had been deeply impressed by the tombs of "England's noble sons" in St Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. Alfred had gone on to tell his father that, when you remember what they stood for, coupled with the high traditions of our country "one needs no further inspiration to fight for them, and if need be lay down one's life for them". Maybe the two sentiments - headstone inscription and Roll of Honour quote - are not incompatible, but if so the former is easily misunderstood without the latter.


QUI ANTE DIEM PERIIT
SED MILES, SED PRO PATRIA

LIEUTENANT JOHN RIGGALL BLAIR


These are the last lines of Henry Newbolt's poem 'Clifton Chapel'. They are not quoted from an ancient Latin author, Newbolt wrote them himself. The words translate as, 'Who died before his time - but a soldier, but for his country.' In the poem, published in 1898, a new boy at his father's old school is shown, by his father, the school chapel and encouraged to embrace the Christian and chivalric codes that constitute the public school ethos. Pointing out a brass memorial plaque on the Chapel wall, the father implies that there can be no purer following in life than to be a soldier who is prepared to die for his country. The last verse reads:
God send you fortune: yet be sure,
Among the lights that gleam and pass,
You'll live to follow none more pure
Than that which glows on yonder brass.
'Qui procul hinc', the legend's writ, -
The frontier grave is far away -
'Qui ante diem periit:
Sed miles, sed pro patria.


HE FOUGHT AND DIED
FOR HIS WIFE AND LITTLE SON
AND TO SAVE HIS COUNTRY

PRIVATE GEORGE HENRY DUNSTAN


In civilian life George Dunstan was a Methodist Home Missionary. As such he was exempt from military service but, according to his family, he preferred to help his country. When he signed his Attestation Paper on 24 September 1916 he was unmarried, giving his parents as his next of kin. By the time of his death his wife was next of kin. Her name was Ivy Doris but I have been unable to find any information about his little son who by my calculations could only have been months old when his father was killed.


HIS BRAVE YOUNG LIFE HE GAVE
THAT BRITONS STILL
MIGHT LIVE

DRIVER ERIC ROBERT LANGE


Driver Lange was "dangerously wounded" on 8 June and died five days later "of gunshot wounds". Australian born, his mother, who chose the inscription, stated that he died that Britons still might live, a huge, all-embracing cause. At that date, the word Britons referred to the people of the British Empire. It was a slightly archaic word; the term 'the British' or even 'the English' being more usual. The word does however have echoes of 'Rule Britannia' with its proud refrain - "Britons never shall be slaves".


HE GAVE HIS LIFE
FOR FRANCE AND LIBERTY

DRIVER CARLYLE EUGENE BLACKBURNE


In his last letter home Carl Blackburne wrote, "I have been in some terrible stunts but I trust in God, lead a clean life, and do my duty." Backburne was a thirty-seven-year old forest worker from Maryborough, Victoria, who saw it as his duty to fight and die for France and Liberty.


HE DIED FOR AUSTRALIA

PRIVATE WILLIAM GAR


For Private Gar's parents the cause was unequivocal, their son died for Australia not God, King or Empire as many other Australians did. William Gar was a Filipino, born Guillemo Gah on Thursday Island, Queensland, Northern Territory, which allowed him to answer 'Yes' to the question 'Are you a natural born British subject' on his Attestation Paper. Gar was apparently one of only eight Filipinos from the Northern Territory to enlist. For some reason I find Carlos and Mary (Gah) Gar's overt loyalty to Australia both significant and rather moving.


DUTY NOBLY DONE

LANCE CORPORAL WALTER MAGARRY


Taken from King George V's message to the Expeditionary Force, 12 August 1914: Duty is your watchword, and I know your duty will be nobly done.