Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Lost Diggers: a book review

Many serious genealogists would by now have heard about the discovery of the World War 1 collection of photographs of Australian soldiers found in France last year by Channel 7’s Sunday Night program and its journalist Ross Coulthart.
Now a magnificent book has been produced which has documented both the story of the discovery of the hundreds of glass plates amazingly preserved for almost one hundred years, the photographers themselves and the stories of some of the soldiers themselves who have been identified – through a precise procedure itself to ensure no mistakes.
The physicality of the book itself immediately has an impact when you see the book for the first time and I suspect that it is a good emotion to have when you read the amazing story of the “discovery” and the attempts in the past that were ignored to have the collection recognised and brought to light sooner that it was.
The book is of course illustrated throughout with many photos from the collection – there are informal shots of young men, many in the prime of their lives with war in their eyes and mud on their boots.  The author also recounts stories of some of the soldiers who have been researched - and even some who have not.  The book includes a name index only.
To learn more about the discovery now, view Ross Coulthart talking at a recent literary lunch at YouTube
I recommend this book to anyone with the remotest interest in the First World War.   The experience of reading and looking at the photos will stay with you long after you put it down.
The photographs can also be viewed at and on the Lost Diggers site on Facebook at and on the Australian War Memorial website
Many are still unidentified, and many of these young men never made it back home – perhaps you can help.

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