Update: Memorials to the Missing of Fromelles

By office volunteer, Annette Gaykema.

Further to Frances Casey’s blog post of July 2009, records held at the Australian War Memorial and the National Archives of Australia can shed further light on Sidney Frank William Harold Green.

Like all First World War Australian service records, his file has been digitised by the National Archives. In this file there is no notification of a promotion to the rank of Sergeant, so it appears that his last rank was Corporal, as is consistent with information from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. This differs to the rank he is given in the Peterborough Book of Remembrance, and it suggests that an error may have been made when the Book was compiled. 

Front page of Cpl. Green's service record

Front page of Cpl. Green's service record

He was officially reported as Killed In Action in October of 1916. His widow, Irene, remarried in 1921 and sent her new address details to the Base Records Office. She moved again later in 1925. Perhaps this new life away from Parkville with her new family meant that, when the request was issued in the local community for names for the Parkville memorial, she was out of touch.

The Australian War Memorial has digitised all of the Red Cross Wounded and Missing files that they hold in their collection. A file for Cpl. Green was opened when his brother, Albert Green made an enquiry into the circumstances of his death. Albert Green’s address is listed as Old Queen Street in Westminster, England, and so he may not have been in regular contact with Cpl. Green’s wife in Australia. While the witness accounts in the Red Cross Wounded and Missing files can often be contradictory, the statements in this particular file seem fairly consistent: Cpl. Green died in No Man’s Land and was buried a few days later. His personal effects were removed from his body and sent back to his family.

We now know a bit more about the circumstances surrounding Cpl. Sidney Green’s death. While he may not have an inscription on a war memorial in Melbourne, he is commemorated, as are all Australian war dead, on the National War Memorial.

  1. Re inconsistency with Australian entry in CWGC graves database, it is not necessarily the local Book of Remembrance is wrong. Depends surely on when it was created and if they had access to the CWGC data at that time. Posthumous promotion shows in such as John McCrae poet/doctor/soldier
    d 1918, inspirion off the Poppy as symbol for the fallen.
    – Just came upon a WWI Canadian CWGC entry (begun in 2000) where a Genweb Images of their Canadian gravestones – family as well as standard CWGC one – give different information. This is backed up by checking the Canadian CEF Attestation document online at Archives. The
    Australian person also interested queried the CWGC and got
    an apology for the electronic mixup.

  2. ukniwm1 said:

    Re: the Book of Remembrance, details of those to be commemorated by the memorial were compiled locally as there was no central office for lists of casualty details that communities could write off for. CWGC data would not have been available to people in the way that it is now as CWGC were still compiling their records and writing off to those relatives they could trace to find out more information about them like family and address details to add to the CWGC record.

    As a result, the names information was collected locally in a variety of ways and this did lead to errors depending upon the way in which information was collected. For example, if people were filling out forms or sending letters their handwriting could be hard to read; if the information was being taken verbaitim the transcriber might have written the details down wrong. Also, families didn’t necessarily have up to date information about the service of their relative so would just have reported what they knew at the time.

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