Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Coming to terms with loss

The wills available online have helped me to identify a soldier whose name appeared on the Town of Coburg Honour Board as W.A. Brown.
I now know that W.A. Brown was William Alder Brown, a 27 year old builder who lived in Hatter St., West Coburg. He’d been born in London but brought up in Hobart where he had served his apprenticeship. At the time of his enlistment his father William George Brown was the Council Clerk in Hamilton, Tasmania so William junior was already away from home when he enlisted.
683 Private William Alder Brown, 14th Battalion, enlisted at Brunswick on 1 December 1914. He only saw one day of action, the day he was killed, 2 May 1915. He was buried at No. 3 Courtney’s Post. In a terrible twist of fate, his younger brother Harold, who served as a Tasmanian, was killed on the same day, on his first day of action.
Not only did their parents lose their only sons on the same day, but they had to grapple with the fact that Harold’s body was never found.

In the following letters from their father found in their service records we can see how their parents struggled to come to terms with their loss. It shows the extra burden of placed on families whose mourning was done from a great distance with little likelihood of visiting the graves of their children, if there were graves to be visited. 

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