Anthony Staunton, on 24 October 2010 - 11:00 PM, said:
Welcome to the forum.
I applaud Lambis for the work he has done particularly for locating the grave of Indian Mutiny veteran Sergeant Major Charles Pye VC who died at Kirkstall, Victoria in 1876. In Australia, the Office of Australian War Graves commemorates all VC recipients who died in Australia and now maintains the grave of Charles Pye VC.
The then Imperial War Graves Commission went to great efforts to locate and identify the graves of war dead. In the 1920s every soldier who was killed was commemorated either by a grave or a memorial. There are 12,000 Australians commemorated on three memorials in France. They have not been forgotten, they have been recognized and they should be allowed to rest in peace.
You mention Major Percy Black whose death was a great loss to Australia. He was one of just eight Australians awarded both the DSO and DCM, was Mentioned in Despatches three times and awarded a foreign award. He is one of over 200,000 British and Commonwealth troops whose bodies were not recovered or if recovered not identified but he is commemorated on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial. He has not been forgotten.
If good evidence, as in the case of Fromelles, which is probably the most written about battle in Australian history with three chapters in the official history and a brilliant modern work by Robin Corfield, then the Australian Government will get interested.
My personal view is that all Australian war dead have been commemorated and digging up old battlefields 90 years later is not respectful.
Hi Anthony, thank you for the response.
You are totally correct that our glorious dead have been recognised and honoured by us on the three great memorials, but I, like many others, believe that if we can find the missing, we should honour them appropriately by both laying then to REST and giving them a named resting place.
Aside from the debt of honour we owe them, we must ensure that our troops currently fighting overseas know that we treat their forebears the same way we treat them, and that we will not ever set a precedent of denying any soldier,airman or sailor a proper grave.
Whether in France, Afghanistan or anywhere else.
Lambis is a great Australian whose work, although recognised, deserves much more public accolade and support in his honourable endeavours, and if this Nation was to ever restore its Knighthoods, his name should be one of the first ever nominated.
Frommelles has only become one of the most written about battles because of the efforts of "Team Lambis", prior to 10 years ago it was almost unknown and discussed.
If you recall, our Goverment did not move on the Fromelles issue until Lambis had discovered the German Commanding General's order to dig burial pits for 400 Allied dead.
There exists in Germany in depth documentation about the fateful battle of 1st Bullecourt, that has never EVER, been examined by Australian historians, and only briefly by German ones.
As an example, I know from the keeper of these records, that there is no evidence that our eminent historian C.W.Bean visited or examined them, and
our War Memorial's records state,
"Although Bean focussed his writing on the experiences of front line soldiers, the following table shows that he covered the operations of 1917 less fully than those of any other part of the war"
None of the twelve volumes of the Official Histories, however, treat so much so briefly as that for 1917.
Even among the six volumes dealing with the Australian infantry, 1917, is relatively neglected.
Although Bean focussed his writing on the experiences of front line soldiers, the following table shows that he covered the operations of 1917 less fully than those of any other part of the war:
No of volumes Period covered Approximate period in front line (months)
2 August 1914 – December 1915 8
1 January – December 1916 7
1 January – November 1917 11
1 December 1917 – May 1918 3
1 May – November 1918 5
Yet in 1917 the AIF suffered its worst defeat, lost most prisoners, lost most casualties in a single battle, and probably suffered more casualties than in any other year of the war.
1917 was also significant in the development of the AIF front line experience: it provided the first clear evidence of that professionalism which was to flower so brilliantly in Australian operations in 1918.
Finally 1917 was important to Bean: he tells us (p. xxxii) that the compilation of this volume, more than any other, proved the necessity of investigating front line experience in order to discover what actually happened in war, and in 1917 he found at Hermies in April, the first occasion in Australian experience in which a major operation went according to plan.
So 1917 was significant for the AIF, and for what Bean wanted to say about the conduct of war and about writing military history. Why did he treat it relatively lightly?
The 1917 volume was written during the Depression, between 1929 and 1932, which may have restricted Bean’s ability to gather material, but by 1929 he had assembled most of his evidence, and the events of 1917 had been limited to one volume at least by March 1919. It is just possible that Bean was not allowed to write two 1917 volumes at the expense of combining Volumes VIII, IX and X, as would have more proportionately reflected the Australian war effort, but so far as is known he had a free hand in planning his history. There are, however, signs that Bean found 1917 difficult to write about."
Below is the link,
With the information that is currently known about, a search is definately justified, and if it was made public, I am certain you and many others would be writing to Air Marshall Houston respectfully requesting he allocate the funds for a small non intrusive search,
If, the German records are as indicative of Lambis' Fromelles ones, I believe that EVERYONE especially the families of the 46th,47th,48th 13th 14th 15th and Major Black's 16th Battalions would be respectfully DEMANDING one.
I look forward to your reply.