Minister for Defence Personnel, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, said today the remains of an Australian soldier killed at the Battle of Fromelles 101 years ago had been identified and the man would be honoured at a ceremony this week.
Private Thullier Lake Cardew, born in 1891 in Woollahra, Sydney, was reported wounded and missing – presumed dead – during the Battle of Fromelles on 19 July 1916.
The Battle of Fromelles, west of Lille in France, lasted just 24 hours and was the first major engagement of Australian soldiers on the Western Front. In the battle, the Australian 5th Division suffered 5,533 casualties in just 24 hours — Australia’s bloodiest single day in military history.
The remains of Private Cardew were identified on 24 March 2017 by the Australian Fromelles Project.
Mr Tehan said on the 101st anniversary of Private Cardew’s death there would be a commemoration ceremony at Fromelles where a new headstone would be dedicated to Private Cardew.
“Almost 300,000 Australians served on the Western Front, where 45,000 lost their lives and more than one-third of those have no known grave,” Mr Tehan said.
“Private Thullier Lake Cardew was one of those young Australians who volunteered to fight for our freedoms and values in a country a long way from home.
“At the time, the best we could say was that Private Cardew was missing presumed dead; for his family and friends there was no closure and not even a grave to visit.
“One hundred and one years later, Australia has not forgotten the service and sacrifice of Private Cardew.
“Identifying Private Cardew and honouring him with a headstone that bears his name is one small way we honour every man and woman who serves in defence of our nation.”
Private Cardew, regimental number 2793, enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in June 1915. In September 1915, he deployed to the Western Front with the 54th Battalion, disembarking in Marseilles, France on 29 June 1916.
Less than three weeks later, Private Cardew was reported wounded and missing – presumed dead – during the Battle of Fromelles. He was 25.
In 2009, the skeletal remains were discovered of 250 soldiers who fought and died in the Battle of Fromelles and were buried in unmarked mass graves adjacent to Pheasant Wood.
The Fromelles Project team, which was funded by the Australian Department of Defence and UK Ministry of Defence and overseen by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, was established to identify the names of the soldiers.
The Fromelles Identification Board reviews evidence, including DNA, together with artefacts and historical records, to consider if there is sufficient evidence to confirm a soldier’s identity.
The identification of Australians has been made possible by the Fromelles Project team establishing a register of more than 3,000 relatives and descendants of soldiers killed at Fromelles.
The Australian Army’s Unrecovered War Casualties Unit are collecting information about First Australian Imperial Force soldiers who; fought in the Battle of Fromelles, whose date of death is listed between 19 to 20 July 1916, and whose grave is listed as unknown.
Members of the public who have a relative that fits this profile are invited to please register with the Australian Fromelles Project: army.uwc [at] defence.gov.au or telephone 1800 019 090.
For more information about Private Cardew, please refer to the following link: https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx...
Images of Private Cardew are available here: https://images.defence.gov.au/S20171332
Information about the Fromelles Project is available on the Army’s website: https://www.army.gov.au/our-work/unrecovered-war-casualties/fromelles/th...