Seven Australian soldiers who fought and died in the attack at Fromelles in France during World War One have been formally identified by the 2019 Fromelles Identification Board.
Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester made the announcement today saying new headstones would soon be installed at the soldiers’ final resting place to recognise their correct identities.
“These soldiers were recovered in 2009 and were among 250 Australian soldiers buried as ‘unknown soldiers’ in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Cemetery,” Mr Chester said.
”This is the tenth year the Fromelles Identification Board has met to consider evidence, including new DNA donors, to try to determine the identity of soldiers yet to be named.
“The board examines artefacts and historical records, as well as evidence gathered by anthropologists, archaeologists and DNA specialists to make its decision.
“Over this period, the Fromelles Project has successfully identified 166 Australian soldiers, while 84 soldiers’ identities still remain undetermined.”
Mr Chester said the soldiers’ identification would be acknowledged during the annual commemoration ceremony at Fromelles in July 2019.
“This outcome represents the culmination of a powerful collaboration between Defence, other agencies, contracted specialists, volunteer researchers and, most importantly, families of the missing who have recently supplied DNA for comparison to the soldiers.
“I’m proud of the efforts of the Australian Army and all those involved in researching, finding and identifying these Australians. I hope that the remaining 84 soldiers can also be identified in the near future.”
The soldiers have been identified as:
- 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
Defence encourages members of the public to register with the Australian Army’s Unrecovered War Casualties team if they have relatives who fought at Fromelles, have a date of death between 19 to 21 July 1916 and have no known grave.
An online registration form can be completed at: https://army.govcms.gov.au/forms/uwc-a-online-registration-form
For more information about the identified soldiers, please refer to their service records available at: www.naa.gov.au
Images (where available) of soldiers are available at:
Private Hope: https://penrithhistory.com/memories-of-war/penrith-district-roll-of-honor-1914-1919/edward-james-hope/
Lance Corporal Johnson: https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1063204
Lance Corporal Crawford: https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1257186