SEVEN First World War soldiers who died during the Battle of Fromelles in 1916, previously buried as unknown soldiers, have received new headstones following their formal identification by the 2019 Fromelles Identification Board.
The Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester said the headstone dedication ceremony at the Commonwealth War Graves Commonwealth Commission Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Cemetery was important to recognise the sacrifice of the seven men.
“These brave soldiers rest in peace, their graves now marked by a headstone with their name and service details,” Mr Chester said.
“Our commitment to our fallen is a deeply felt responsibility.
“The Battle of Fromelles was one of Australia’s costliest battles of the First World War and more than 100 years later it is important we continue to remember all those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service for our country.”
The seven soldiers commemorated were:
- 352 Private Arthur George BATT 32nd Bn. A.I.F. age 32 of Hilton, South Australia
- 4188 Private Edward James HOPE 54th Bn. A.I.F. age 28 of Penrith, New South Wales
- 641 Private Leslie Clark DUNN 31st Bn. A.I.F. age 28 of West Melbourne, Victoria
- 1291 Private George HONEY 32nd Bn. A.I.F. age 31 of West Guilford, Western Australia
- 715 Lance Corporal Ralph JOHNSON 31st Bn. A.I.F. age 19 of Middle Brighton, Victoria
- 77 Lance Corporal John Alexander CRAWFORD 32nd Bn. A.I.F. age 32 of Hindmarsh, South Australia
- 3433 Private Peter Paul SHANNON 53rd Bn. A.I.F. age 35 of Merriwa, New South Wales.
The seven men were among 250 soldiers who fought and died in the Battle of Fromelles, recovered in 2009 from a previously unmarked mass grave.
“After today’s ceremony, a total of 166 Australian soldiers have been recovered, identified and reburied from the mass grave,” Mr Chester said.
“All involved in the Fromelles Project should be commended for their work so far, which continues as they seek to identify the remaining 84 unknown soldiers.
“I encourage all members of the public with relatives who fought at Fromelles, who have a date of death of 19 to 21 July 1916 and have no known grave, to register with Army’s Unrecovered War Casualties team.”
An online registration form can be completed at: https://army.govcms.gov.au/forms/uwc-a-online-registration-form.