The Nameless Names
Recovering the Missing Anzacs
By Scott Bennett
Published by Scribe
RRP $49.99 in hardback • ISBN 9781925713558
First, some sobering statistics. Of the 62,000 Anzac soldiers who died in the Great War, over one-third are still listed as ‘missing’, with no marked graves, the only reminders of their sacrifice the many names inscribed on ageing war memorials, many of which are found in small towns and hamlets throughout Australia. I often look at these when I’m travelling and reflect on the sacrifice of local families.
Bennett has used the personal experiences of three sets of brothers — the Reids, Pflaums, and Allens. He traces the brothers’ paths from small, peaceful towns to three devastating battlefields of the Great War: Gallipoli, Fromelles, and Ypres. He reveals the carnage that led to their disappearance, and their family’s subsequent grief and endless search for elusive facts.
When the war ended, there were attempts to recover the Australian dead.
One confronting photograph shows the bodies of Australian soldiers laid out in rows, awaiting reburial at a cemetery near Villers-Bretonneux.
Fast forward to 2009, retired schoolteacher Bryan Pflaum receives a request from the Fromelles Project Team for family details and a DNA sample, which ultimately solves the mystery of his uncle Ray Pflaum’s death.
This book is a sobering reminder of the price we pay for war.