ANZAC 2010 – Mapping our ANZACS

It seems appropriate this ANZAC Day to share a good online resource.

Thus I commend to people the Australian National Archives site called Mapping our ANZACS.

It provides a way to browse 375,971 records of service in the Australian Army during World War I according to the person’s place of birth or enlistment.

Using this site I was able to find out about one of the missing uncles from my paternal grandmother’s side of the family. It was strange that in her family stories there was this uncle who was just a name. Nobody talked about him apart from the occasional mention of his name.

He was one of the many uncles around the world who fought and died during World War One. I suspect that the pain of their loss had not diminished, even after all that time.

Rupert Alexander was 31 years old when he was killed in action on 26 September 1917. The records note merely that Rupert fell “in France or Belgium”.

He had never married and had no children. He’d worked as a plate layer in a sawmill prior to enlisting. My grandmother once mentioned that Rupert had the family look about him, standing about 5′ 9″ tall with blue eyes and brown hair.

His widowed mother received two pictures of his grave near Ypres in Belgium and a ‘victory medal’ from the authorities. Apparently she rarely spoke of him afterwards.

When I travel to Europe later this year I will visit Ypres and tour about the area where Rupert fought and fell. I might even try to track down his grave using the information located via Mapping our ANZACS. [Update: I did find his grave, it is pictured below.]

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Binyon: For the Fallen


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