Unknown Australian Army Captain identified

Release details

Release type

Related ministers and contacts

The Hon Darren Chester MP

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Minister for Defence Personnel

Media contacts

Cedric Szigeti: (02) 6277 7820
Defence Media: (02) 6127 1999

Release content

24 April 2020


In the lead-up to Anzac Day this year, the Australian Army has identified a previously unknown First World War Australian Officer as Captain Arthur Harold Appleby, providing his family with confirmation of his final resting place.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Darren Chester said for more than 100 years Captain Appleby’s family searched for his final resting place and that he was honoured to confirm that it is in the Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, France.

“From Hobart, Tasmania, Captain Appleby enlisted in May 1915 joining the 12th Battalion and first saw service at Gallipoli before serving on the Western Front in France,” Mr Chester said.

“During the 2nd Battle of Bullecourt, Captain Appleby was killed by shellfire while in the frontline trenches. Some 10,000 Australians were killed or wounded or taken prisoner of war during the two battles against enemy defences at Bullecourt.”

“It is fitting that ahead of Anzac Day this year, Captain Appleby’s family can reflect on his service and sacrifice with knowledge his final resting place will now be marked with his name, Australian Imperial Force details and the iconic Rising Sun Badge.”

Finding Captain Appleby’s final resting place would not have been possible without the combined effort of his family, private researchers, Australian Army’s Unrecovered War Casualties team and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Mr Chester thanked all those involved in identifying Captain Appleby’s grave, in particular, Captain Appleby’s grandniece, Mrs Andrea Gerrard OAM and private researchers, Mr Len Kelly and Mr Noel Forde.

“Mrs Gerrard has campaigned for a considerable time to find the final resting place of her great uncle and this announcement will bring great pride to her and her family,” Mr Chester said

“I would also like to acknowledge the work Mrs Gerrard has done over many years through the Headstone Project, which seeks to properly honour veterans who were buried in unmarked graves.

In consultation with Captain Appleby’s descendants, the Australian Army and Commonwealth War Graves Commission will make arrangements to replace the previously unmarked headstone.

Captain Appleby’s service records are available at:  https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.asp…

Further information on Unrecovered War Casualties is available on the Army's website: www.army.gov.au/our-work/unrecovered-war-casualties/


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