Missing Soldiers of Fromelles
Discussion Group

Discussion Papers


Home Page

About The Group

Discussion Papers
  ¤ Call For Government Action
  ¤ Putting To Rest The Missing
  ¤ Rights Of War Dead
  ¤ World's Best Practice
  ¤ Questions for CWGC
  ¤ Battlefield Archaeology
  ¤ Unending Vigil
  ¤ Open Letter to the PM
  ¤ Government Complicity
  ¤ Political Minefield
  ¤ Cobbers Remembered at Shrine
  ¤ Recovery, Identification
      & Disposal
  ¤ The Military, Media & Exploratory
  ¤ Red Cross Digitization Project
  ¤ Keeping Alive The Memory
  ¤ Dedication of New Fromelles Military Cemetery
  ¤ German Archives Shed New Light

Biographical Databases
  ¤ Australian Roll of Missing
  ¤ Roll of Missing (PDF)
  ¤ British List of Missing
  ¤ Register of War Dead Identified at
     Fromelles (PDF)
  ¤ Fromelles cemetery headstone

Internet Resources

Reading List


  ¤ Heroes by Joyce Sanders
  ¤ Fog of War by Ron Austin
  ¤ Death Of Sir James McCay


Media Contacts

Guest Book
  Sign the Guest Book

Other Resources
  ¤ Project Launch Document
  ¤ CWGC Charter
  ¤ Fromelles 1916
  ¤ Blunder at Fleurbaix
  ¤ Warriors Brave And True
  ¤ Australian Army War Diaries
  ¤ Data Structure Report
  ¤ Unearthing The Past
  ¤ Red Cross Museum
  ¤ Australian Fromelles Project Group
  ¤ 'In Flanders Fields'
  ¤ Silhouettes of War
  ¤ Photographs, Postcards &
  ¤ Notice Board

Contact Us

Expressions of Support
  ¤ Reginald George Bonney
  ¤ Jill Byrnes
  ¤ Geoff Tully
  ¤ Terry Erbs
  ¤ Maggie Schwann
  ¤ Barbara Abt


Map printed on Page 5 of the Mercury (Hobart, Tasmania) on Monday, 24 July 1916. Australian Newspaper beta citation: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1041253.


Translation (from Google)


The Somme Offensive
  ¤ 1916 Somme Map
  ¤ British Plan 1 July 1916
  ¤ Battle of the Somme (Wikipedia)
  ¤ What really happened at Fromelles
  ¤ Battle Lines Drawn


  ¤ Fromelles DiG - Apology
  ¤ SBS Television
  ¤ Darlow Smithson Productions
  ¤ Deutsches Generalkonsulat Melbourne
  ¤ State Library of Victoria
  ¤ The Australian Greens
  ¤ Liberal Party of Australia
  ¤ New Zealand Government
  ¤ British All-Party Parliamentary War Graves & Battlefields Heritage Group
  ¤ The West Australian
  ¤ Media@ FromellesDiscussionGroup.com
  ¤ Daily Liberal
  ¤ News Update - February 2010
  ¤ Bavarian Central State Archives
  ¤ Poster : AIF in the Great War (PDF)
  ¤ MIA recovery unit established by Army
  ¤ US links to the battle of Fleurbaix
  ¤ Request to post interview with Lambis Englezos

Our documents are posted in Acrobat PDF format. If you need the reader program, it is available for free at the Abobe Acrobat Reader Web Site.

The following Discussion Papers are available:

Call for government action on missing of Fromelles

Putting to rest the missing soldiers of Fromelles
At the conclusion of World War One Britain and her Dominion forces had suffered a staggering million dead. On the Western Front, France and Belgium had experienced heavy fighting and it was therefore not unexpected in 1918, to find the Allies wanting to honour those who had paid the ultimate sacrifice with the proposal and formation of the Imperial War Graves Commission, whose primary task was to recover, identify and bury the war dead in permanent cemeteries and to perpetuate in stone the names of those who were missing.

Rights of war dead enshrined in treaty
Incorporated by Royal Charter and established at an Imperial War Conference in 1917, the Imperial War Graves Commission as it was then known, was guided by fundamental principles developed by Fabian Ware who commanded a British Red Cross Unit and became concerned about the recovery and treatment of the dead as well as their commemoration. From the outset the Commission was beset with the difficulty of undertaking such an enormous task and when challenges arose with respect to whether or not remains would be repatriated as had occurred in the Treaty of Frankfurt on 10 May 1871 (which permitted the French and German governments to allow the military dead of either country to be returned to their national soil for burial), it was only natural many aspects of the work would be delegated.

Pheasant Wood requires world's best practice in forensic archaeology
The Battle of Fromelles was the first major action by Australian troops on the Western Front during World War One and by all accounts the attack was an unmitigated disaster. Fifth Division soldiers, together with the British 61st Division, both of whom were inexperienced formations, went over the parapet and met withering artillery and machine gun fire decimating their ranks to the tune of 6,559 men killed, wounded and missing, including 490 Diggers captured.

Bureaucratic red tape continues to impede the excavation of the bodies of WWI diggers buried at Pheasant Wood and fearing the integrity of the pits will be compromised archaeologically, the Fromelles Discusson Group requests the Commonwealth War Graves Commission act more decisively in this matter and avoid further procrastination. Every effort should be made to recover the 170 Australian 5th Division and 300 British 61st Division soldiers believed to be buried at the site to ensure their sacrifice is properly recognized and to allow for the timely re-interment of their remains.

Questions addressed to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Australian Government in relation to the burial pits at Fromelles
The Fromelles Discussion Group is concerned about government inaction over the recovery and identification of the remains of missing Australian and British soldiers who might be buried at Pheasant Wood and seeks to encourage the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to fulfil its statutory obligations with respect to the exhumation, transportation and reburial of those men left forgotten on the battlefield at the end of WWI. Since private exhumation and repatriation is not permitted because the CWGC is the only agency authorized to carry out these operations, the Discussion Group requests the organization intercede on behalf of the families and descendants of the fallen to ensure their is not further delay.

Battlefield archaeology comes of age
Burial pits such as those located at Pheasant Wood might prove to be repositories of a great amount of physical heritage and artefactual evidence dating from the First World War and therefore deserve preservation. Consequently the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the British and Australian authorities who are currently liaising with the French Government over the missing soldiers of Fromelles, should stop dragging their feet and move toward a full recovery operation to prevent further public criticism of the delay in exhuming, identifying and correctly commemorating any remains that might be found and to do this in such a way as to optimize the potential forensic and archaeological evidence which might be acquired.

Loyalty deserves our unending vigil
18,450 Australian Diggers from the Great War have no known grave, while a further 7,000 were recovered and buried in cemeteries on the Western Front before the official cut off date of the 31st of August 1921. Their headstones bear the inscription ‘Known Unto God’ and the sacrifice of these soldiers and the sacred duty performed is still for many in living memory, and that is why there is such a proliferation of memorials, cenotaphs and honour boards in cities and country towns throughout Australia.

Open Letter To The Prime Minister
Surprised by the amount of misleading, inaccurate and ambiguous information being circulated by officials at Pheasant Wood, the Fromelles Discussion Group has communicated its concerns to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd once again, to draw attention to problems associated with the trial dig. Questions have been raised about the lack of consultation and transparency, the inexperience of those conducting the limited excavation as well as the methods being utilized by the archaeologists present.

Postwar agreement exposes government complicity
With the trial dig at Pheasant Wood being imperiously stage-managed by the Army History Unit and Federal politicians in Australia scrambling to express great sympathy and condolences over the casualties of Fromelles, all members of the international community need to ask why the unearthing of human remains in this German-dug mass grave is still so controversial, particularly as it means the British and Australian governments will have to get their acts together and reconcile the differences in their approach to these long forgotten men. The difficulty of having the case for the existence of a mass grave at Fromelles substantiated, the need to present findings to a Panel of Investigation and years of lobbying by Lambis Englezos in order to convince indifferent bureaucrats of the existence of these mass graves, should now be analyzed in the context of news from Age correspondent Paola Totaro, that there has been an undisclosed postwar agreement not to launch specific searches for the missing. The refusal of the authorities to fulfill treaty obligations with respect to the exhumation, transportation and reburial of war dead, should also be reconsidered in this context.

Political Minefield Unearthed
Fromelles Discussion Group member Grant Triffett recently approached Miranda Ramsay, Communications Department @ theage.com.au and obtained a referral to Paola Totaro, author of the news report, 'Grave at Fromelles unearths political minefield', which disclosed the fact that a secret postwar agreement existed between Australia and Britain, not to go searching for missing casualties of the First World War, as a means of invalidating treaties which were designed to support the recovery of missing Empire soldiers and empower the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to act in French territory. Paola subsequently attributed the release of this information to army historian Roger Lee who has been heavily involved in the Fromelles dig and largely been responsible for managing the publicity surrounding the excavation, and asked whether the group might be interested in setting out a series of questions which might shed some light on the ADF's strategy at Pheasant Wood.

Cobbers Statue Unveiled at Shrine of Remembrance
Officiating at the unveiling of the ‘Cobbers’ Statue at the Shrine of Remembrance on 19 July 2008, chairman of trustees John Taylor introduced the Premier of Victoria, The Honourable John Brumby MLA who demonstrated not only a grasp of the history behind the infamous Battle of Fromelles, but enthusiastic support for commemorating our Great War dead. Cast from the original mould by Peter Corlett (who was present at the ceremony), the sculpture had a powerful effect on those who attended and was generally felt to be moving and inspirational.

Identifying and Memorializing Australia’s War Dead
Skeletal remains have been confirmed at Pheasant Wood and the House of Lords and the Commonwealth Government are now considering the most fitting way to commemorate the Great War soldiers recently discovered at Fromelles. Hundreds of Australian and British First World War dead are known to lie in what has been described as one of the largest mass burial sites uncovered in Western Europe and the controversy surrounding the limited archaeological dig and the processing of bodies, threatens to further embarrass the Federal Government which has thus far adopted a fairly paternalistic approach to the fallen.

Contacting Us

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