When I was a young boy I spent several summers learning to swim in the small country town of Quorn. To the north of the central part of Quorn and next to the playground is the war memorial. Every small and large Australian town has one of these where the names are recorded of the sons (and daughters) of the early 20th century who died in that grim first war. Sometimes these monuments have additional wars added to them with additional casualties. It is rare for the later wars to list as many names as that first world war. On the Quorn monument are listed 40 men who never came back, indeed some came to disappear from the face of the earth totally.
About 10 years ago I was able to get paper copies of the records of my great uncle, one of the names on that monument. At the time I wondered about getting a record for each of those Quorn men to discover what became of them.
Due to great foresight by the historian of the first war (Charles Bean) there is a record held of every Australian soldier who served in that conflict. These records, almost 380 000 of them, are now kept in the National Archives in Canberra and are available electronically making research like this much more practical.
Over the next few months I hope to put a record of each individual on this blog. Their names as inscribed on the monument are:
The grave shown above is one I fortuitously took a photo of in the West Terrace Cemetery (Adelaide) and belongs to James Harden. He does not appear on the Quorn monument despite being born in that town. James served in the Dardanelles and was horrifically wounded before being sent home and discharged from the army. I have no further record of him but he died not long after this time. James will be the first I cover in greater detail.