This photo is of Thomas Rutherford.
My pop never new his father (Thomas Rutherford) and the family never knew what had happened to Thomas. They knew Thomas served in World War One and had his serial number - 5207. A couple of years ago I was asked to see what I could find about Thomas' World War One service (as I am the family historian).
I discovered that Thomas served in the 1st Battalion, A.I.F and was a private. I also discovered that he was killed on the evening/morning of November 5th 1916 along with quite a few other Australian soldiers near Gueudecourt, France.
Thomas died near the trees in the middle of the photo. This photo is taken from the A.I.F Cemetery. Gueudecourt is to the right of this photo.
On November 5th 2006 my father and I stood near Gueudecourt looking at the location where my Great-Grandfather was killed exactly 90 years early (to the date, but not the time). We had gone to France to be the first in our family to remember this man none of us knew. Up to this point I had discovered Thomas' personnel file, Red Cross file (as he was reported missing in the war), embarkation roll and honour roll. I also discussed that he was now just a name on the wall at Villers-Bretonneux, France and at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
just a name on the wall. I had a little tiny light of hope in that in his Red Cross file (which only contained 5 pages) included a page stating that Thomas was buried near Gueudecourt and the location of his burial. (You can see this page above)
I decided when I got back from France I would try to confirm this location and hopefully get a memorial of some sort erected for Thomas. My following entries will follow my research and show the information I uncover. To start with I will be placing the research I have already undertaken.
One of the main things I realised when undertaking the search is that Thomas died with quite a few other Australian soliders. Also that I am not just looking for Thomas about 40 to 50 Australian soldiers all together. (I will explain in another blog what I mean by this last sentence)