Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Fromelles: The Final Chapter
By Tim Lycett & Sandra Playle

Summery courtesy of
In July 1916, thousands of young Australian soldiers were slaughtered in France at the Battle of Fromelles, known as our nation's worst 24 hours. For ninety years, the fate of those diggers was unknown. In 2008, the remains of 250 Australian soldiers were discovered in an unmarked mass grave at Pheasant Wood, a burial sight that had been missed in all post war recoveries. This is the story of a mission to restore the identities of the lost diggers, using fragments of information, military records, DNA, genealogy and persistence. Former crime scene police officer Tim Lycett and genealogist Sandra Playle were at the vanguard of the amateur network, working alongside bureaucracies across the world to link the dead with their families nearly a century after the event. Thanks to their diligent research, the missing soldiers emerge from the obscurity of dusty files and precious old letters to tell their version of what happened so long ago and so very far from home. The identification project is ongoing, all in the common cause of commemoration and remembrance.


As a Kiwi I was really interested in my Australian neighbors bravery on the battlefield of Fromelles during WW1. This is a heart-rending and inspiring,account of war, the consequences and its effect on the lives of the lost soldiers' descendants.
The Battle of Fromelles in France was one of the bloodiest battles during the First World War, 5,500 men were shot down amid the horror of that blundered attack.

The whereabouts of 399 of dead soldiers was unknown for almost a century until the discovery in 2008 of unmarked mass graves at Pheasant Wood. The remains of these 250 men sparked a mission to reclaim their identities.

Tim Lycett and Sandra Playle volunteered their time and together with enthusiasts and international experts, they were able to piece together fragments of information from relics, military records and family histories using genealogy data and DNA analysis.

This was a fascinating read that all ANZAC's and history enthusiasts will definitely enjoy.

4.5 Stars

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