‘Known unto God’ – The Headstone of the Unknown Soldier Part Five

Row upon row of unidentified Australian soldiers, seemingly still on parade after all these years.

‘An Australian Soldier of the Great War’

In this post we shall look at some of the different headstones belonging to unknown men of the major Commonwealth nations that you might find buried in the British military cemeteries of Flanders & France, beginning with these unidentified Australians,…

…and these variations on the basic theme, from left, an Australian private, an unknown soldier of an Australian regiment, and the grave of two unknown Australian soldiers.

Two unidentified Australians, these men both casualties of the Battle of Fromelles, the forgotten catastrophe, their dates of death known to be some time on 19th or 20th July 1916.

Unknown Australian captain and an unknown Australian officer, the headstone in the centre marking the grave of two completely unidentified men.

Australian mass grave.

‘A New Zealand Soldier of the Great War’

Unknown New Zealand soldier, rifleman, an unknown man of a New Zealand regiment,…

…and two unidentified New Zealand Rifle Brigade casualties.

‘A Canadian Soldier of the Great War’.

Variations on the theme, with a headstone dated 23rd August 1916 and two unknown Canadian soldiers flanking the basic design.

As the Canadian Expeditionary Force raised some 260 numbered infantry battalions during the Great War (admittedly, many never reached France), here’s just a few examples of individual battalions, unidentified men of 16th & 72nd Bn. pictured above,…

…and here 38th & 47th Bn. men, the headstone on the left a new, Botticino marble, replacement, that on the right made of the more usual Portland Stone.

And talking of replacement headstones, alongside two unknown men of an unknown Canadian regiment on the left, here’s an example, on the right, of a headstone that has been removed for renovation, the temporary marker informing us that the soldier buried beneath is, in this case, ‘A Canadian Soldier of the Great War’.

Royal Highlanders of Canada (the title should really be preceded by 13th Bn.) casualty on the left, 85th Bn. casualty on the right.

Row of unknown Canadians, including three soldiers of ‘A Canadian Regiment’, another 16th Bn. casualty, and two men of the British Columbia Regiment,…

…with another on the left here, and an unidentified man of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry on the right.

From left, unknown Canadian artilleryman, unknown 43rd Bn. casualty, unknown Canadian machine gunner,…

…and an unknown Canadian serjeant, with an unidentified man of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment on the right,…

…and here, buried beneath the headstone on the left, two unknown casualties, both identified as Newfoundlanders, and I wouldn’t mind betting that the four completely unidentified soldiers alongside are missing Royal Newfoundland men too.

‘A South African Soldier of the Great War’

Two unknown men of a South African regiment, with an unidentified South African artilleryman in the centre.

Unidentified 4th Regt. South African Infantry casualty, unknown South African private, and (below) an unknown man of the 2nd Regt. South African Infantry.

‘Known unto God’

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4 Responses to ‘Known unto God’ – The Headstone of the Unknown Soldier Part Five

  1. Steven says:

    Do you know how many known unto gods there are ww1 in france

    • Magicfingers says:

      187,861 in total, according to the CWGC via the Long Long Trail. By far the majority would be on the Western Front, but some would be elsewhere (Italy, Gallipoli etc).

  2. Daisy in Indonesia says:

    Hi Magicfingers,

    Interesting set of posts with many variations of headstones…
    I’m assuming the Australians are in Fromelles cemetery?

    Love your work.

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