Century Search For apos;unknown apos; Tas Soldier
More than a century after he was felled on a French battlefield in WWI, the final resting place of a young soldier from Hobart has been revealed.
Captain Arthur Harold Appleby was just 25 when he was killed by shellfire during the second Battle of Bullecourt on the Western Front in May 1917.
He was buried nearby but the site was damaged, turning his grave into one of the countless unknown.
It stayed that way for 103 years until a team of private researchers, the Australian Army's Unrecovered War Casualties team, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and his grand niece Andrea Gerrard put the pieces of the puzzle together.
"For my sister and I it means a lot," Mrs Gerrard said, after receiving confirmation her great uncle was buried at Souchez's Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery.
"It was something my mother and I discussed many times in the later years of her life.
"She was quite convinced that we would be able to find him.
It took a long time but we did it."
Captain Appleby enlisted in May 1915, joining the 12th Battalion and first serving at Gallipoli before heading to France.
Some 10,000 Australians were killed, wounded or taken prisoner during the two battles against enemy defences at Bullecourt.
"You can call it closure," Mrs Gerrard, a social historian, said.
"It just means for me, the next time we go to France ...
I'll actually be able to go to a cemetery and lay flowers at his grave."
She plans to a install a new headstone, reading in part 'Separated by death. Much loved and remembered by his Tasmanian family'.
"It is fitting that ahead of Anzac Day this year, Captain Appleby's family can reflect on his service and sacrifice," Federal Minister for Veterans' Affairs Darren Chester said in a statement.
"His final resting place will now be marked with his name, https://lost.trade/index.php?title=User:Octavio9979 Australian Imperial Force details and the iconic Rising Sun Badge."
Mrs Gerrard, who was two years ago awarded an Medal of the Order of Australia for her work in the Headstone Project which seeks to properly honour veterans buried in unmarked graves, said she would take time at home to remember Captain Appleby on Saturday.