Six more Fromelles soldiers identified

The Australian Army has confirmed the identification of a further six Australians from the 250 Australian and British World War One soldiers recovered from a mass burial site at Pheasant Wood in France in 2009.

Newly identified soldiers are Second Lieutenant James Benson, Private Justin Hercules Breguet, Private Clifton Sydney Brindal, Private Sidney Broom, Private William Burke and Private Robert Thomas Maudsley.

Identification was facilitated by the Australian Army’s Unrecovered War Casualties Fromelles project team and brings the total number of named Australians to 150.

It contributes another important piece to the history of the Army in the Great War.

Deputy Chief of Army Major General Rick Burr said the identification honoured the service and memory of our soldiers.

“The Battle of Fromelles is an important part of our Army’s history and our Nation’s history, and it is a story that we want to complete,” Major General Burr said.

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“We have been fortunate to have the interest and cooperation of the Australian community to connect 150 of the soldiers lost at Fromelles with their descendants.

“Together with the relatives of those who fought at Fromelles, we hope to collect more information to identify the 100 soldiers who remain unknown.

“The assistance of the community helps us to commemorate our soldiers in the most respectful way, while also connecting current generations of Australians with their military heritage.”

The Battle of Fromelles was the first major battle fought by the Australian Imperial Force in France and is recognised as one of the worst periods in Australia’s military history as the 5th Australian Division suffered more than 5500 casualties (killed and wounded).

The identification of soldiers killed has been made possible by the Fromelles Project team establishing a register of more than 3000 relatives and descendants of Australian soldiers killed at Fromelles.

 

 

Second Lieutenant James Benson

Second Lieutenant James BensonJames Benson was born in Bundaberg, Queensland. He was married, employed as a lineman, and living in Cheltenham, South Australia. Private Benson enlisted in the Australian Army on 5 July 1915 and was attached to the 32nd Battalion, A Company.

On 18 November 1915, Second Lieutenant James Benson, aged 36 at the time, embarked from Adelaide, South Australia, on board HMAT A2 Geelong.

Second Lieutenant Benson served in Eqypt and the Western Front before he was killed in action during the Battle of Fromelles at Fleurbaix, France, on 20 July 1916.

Second Lieutenant Benson was one of 250 Australian and British World War One soldiers recovered from a mass burial site at Pheasant Wood in France in 2009 and reburied in the Fromelles Military Cemetery in 2010.

Private Justin Hercules Breguet

Private Justin Hercules BreguetJustin Hercules Breguet was born in Geelong, Victoria in 1897. He was single, employed as a bread carter, and living in Geelong West. Private Breguet enlisted in the Australian Army on 16 July 1915 and was attached to the 29th Battalion, 3rd Reinforcement.

On 18 February 1916, Private Breguet, aged 18 at the time, embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A70 Ballarat.

Private Breguet served in Eqypt and the Western Front before he was killed in action during the Battle of Fromelles at Fleurbaix, France, on 19 July 1916.

Private Breguet was one of 250 Australian and British World War One soldiers recovered from a mass burial site at Pheasant Wood in France in 2009 and reburied in the Fromelles Military Cemetery in 2010.

Private Clifton Sydney Brindal

Clifton Sydney Brindal was born in Sydney, New South Wales. He was single, employed as a barman, and living in East Perth, Western Australia. Private Brindal enlisted in the Australian Army on 28 October 1915 and was attached to the 20th Battalion, 8th Reinforcement.

On 20 December 1915, Private Brindal, aged 22 at the time, embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A60 Aeneas.

Private Brindal served in Eqypt and the Western Front before he was killed in action during the Battle of Fromelles at Fleurbaix, France, on 19/20 July 1916.

Private Brindal was one of 250 Australian and British World War One soldiers recovered from a mass burial site at Pheasant Wood in France in 2009 and reburied in the Fromelles Military Cemetery in 2010.

Private Sidney Broom

Private Sidney BroomSidney Broom was born in Norfolk, England. He was single and employed as a miner, and living in Mount Morgan, Queensland. Private Broom enlisted in the Australian Army on 21 July 1915 and was attached to the 31st Battalion, 1st Reinforcement.

On 5 November 1916, Private Bloom, aged 25 at the time, embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A41 Bakara.

Private Broom served in Eqypt and the Western Front before he was killed in action during the Battle of Fromelles at Fleurbaix, France, on 19 July 1916.

Private Broom was one of 250 Australian and British World War One soldiers recovered from a mass burial site at Pheasant Wood in France in 2009 and reburied in the Fromelles Military Cemetery in 2010.

Private William Burke

Private William BurkeWilliam Burke was born in Parkes, New South Wales. He was single, employed as a quarryman, and living in Sydney, New South Wales. Private Burke enlisted in the Australian Army on 4 July 1915 and was attached to the 30th Battalion, C Company.

On 9 November 1915, Private Burke, aged 23 at the time, embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A72 Beltana. 

Private Burke served in Egypt and the Western Front before he was killed in action during the Battle of Fromelles at Fleurbaix, France, on 20 July 1916.

Private Burke was one of 250 Australian and British World War One soldiers recovered from a mass burial site at Pheasant Wood in France in 2009 and reburied in the Fromelles Military Cemetery in 2010.

Private Robert Thomas Maudsley

Robert Thomas Maudsley was born in Lancashire, England, in 1889. He was single, a labourer, and living in Keswick, Adelaide. Private Maudsley enlisted in the Australian Army on 22 July 1915 and was attached to the 32nd Battalion, A Company.

On 18 November 1915, Private Maudsley, aged 26 at the time, embarked from Adelaide, South Australia, on board HMAT A2 Geelong.

Private Maudsley served in Eqypt and the Western Front before he was killed in action during the Battle of Fromelles at Fleurbaix, France, on 19 July 1916.

Private Maudsley was one of 250 Australian and British World War One soldiers recovered from a mass burial site at Pheasant Wood in France in 2009 and reburied in the Fromelles Military Cemetery in 2010.

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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

4 thoughts on “Six more Fromelles soldiers identified

  • 24/07/2016 at 9:53 am
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    Back in 2013 a relative (1st cousin twice removed) of mine was identified through DNA.
    William Ernest Barber, born in Birchip, Victoria, was killed at Fromelles and identified, along with a handful of others, in 2013.

    The work of our authorities in identifying and re-interring our lost diggers, has to be commended.

    I do hope to visit these memorials in France, in the future.

    Reply
  • 30/05/2016 at 9:10 am
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    I just finished reading about these men as I do for all our past living history, and I stop an think what life was like for them, All the things we take for granted ,they knew none of it, there life was hard but beautifully simple and structured .It is so sad yet somehow so compelling.I am so grateful for all involved in bringing to life these men and there history so we can remember them. Lest we Forget.
    Si

    Reply
  • 29/05/2016 at 1:54 pm
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    Reproduced from a direct email….
    “Identification of a further six Australians from the 250 Australian and British World War One soldiers recovered from the mass burial site at Pheasant Wood in France”, is a poignant reminder of Australia’s disastrous losses in the Great War, as well as a validation of the work done by Fromelles Discussion Group, which long appealed to the Commonwealth Government to investigate the mass grave at Pheasant Wood and also to ensure the application of stringent scientific standards to any recovery programme organised.

    Fromelles Discussion Group undertook community advocacy in this regard and has continued to educate the community with respect to the project. This includes the number of Australian Diggers that were actually registered as missing, the importance of having Australian professionals involved in excavating and analysing the site, and the need for this country on having an overview role in the area of DNA technology.

    Contact: Air, Land & Sea has honoured the Australian Army’s Unrecovered War Casualties unit by publishing ‘Six more Fromelles soldiers identified’. This will allow us to better commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the battle launched from Fleurbaix and prove the value of establishing a national body to find missing soldiers, from all theatres of wars Australia has participated in, wherever they lay.

    __________________________________

    Regards,
    Grant Triffett

    Reply
    • 23/07/2017 at 8:39 pm
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      Dear Grant ,
      First up I think I joined the Fromelles group years ago.
      Looking for my Gandmothers young brother
      Francis James Williams. He died at Pheasant Wood July 1916
      I have sent dna via the government, as has my brother Peter Charles
      Coxsedge. We heard back that no match was found at this time.
      They would keep our results on file and were still searching.
      I understand that there was a meeting of the Fromelles Group at ? Cessnock over this weekend.
      A distant cousin Joyce Patterson was attending.
      I also have Triffitt/Triffett family from Norfolk Island and New Norfolk
      Tasmania. Have been in touch with Nigel Triffett over a period of time.
      I am very happy to be part of the Fromelles group.
      Thank you for your time,
      Frances Margaret Gregory
      15 Eskdale Street,
      Holmview 4207
      Queensland
      email maevemaid@gmail.com

      Reply

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