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Uncle George

Anzac skull

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Simon_Fielding
1 hour ago, John_Hartley said:

Not only that but there's a rather odd letter to the mother dated 21/7/1920 which suggests they don't know a place of burial. Now, that's odd for a hospital death and it may well be just a clerical error caused by the possible mis-spellings of the name.  Now I'm not one normally to rush off to conspiracy theories but......

 

John

 

I think that refers to his brother John who looks like a Fromelles casualty July 1916 

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Simon_Fielding
7 minutes ago, voltaire60 said:

  Given the fall of the calendar, then let us hope that there will be some sort of announcement by Mutter/ CWGC/ Oz Govt. on or by 3rd October-the centenary of this man's death.  I, for one, will be somewhat troubled by the thought between now (Wed. 27th) and then that this poor man suffered so terribly across a period of 5 -7 days and that-as with literally millions of others, no amount of information, historical research, etc can give one iota's worth of sense as to the tragedy that the war was.

 

       A degree of sensible publicity about his injuries, his life and the ways in which we commemorate may all be suitable items for reflection by all of us for the next few days. Let's hope-personal view here-that an announcement of repatriation of remains might give some benign end to this distressing story.

Well said: his mother writes -

6283316545454080.png?k=uCOe3IGz0pqNpKgt2rhvSuQsONE

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Uncle George
4 minutes ago, Simon_Fielding said:

Well said: his mother writes -

6283316545454080.png?k=uCOe3IGz0pqNpKgt2rhvSuQsONE

 

Heartbreaking.

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voltaire60

   And just to add something that might-just- put a small ray of sunshine into this horror- The brother of Thomas Hurdis was killed at Fromelles, 19th-20th July 1916. It would be good if modern DNA testing was done on his skull-in the hope that it might-just might-help identify one of the remaining unknowns from the Fromelles excavations of recent years.

Edited by voltaire60

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Auimfo

Simon, you were correct that he was a bit of a tearaway as a youngster.  There's no doubt that record is about him (his mothers maiden name was Claridge) and I also found a record of him being on the Sobraon which was a reformatory training ship in Sydney.

 

Cheers,

Tim L.

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voltaire60
1 hour ago, Auimfo said:

Simon, you were correct that he was a bit of a tearaway as a youngster.  There's no doubt that record is about him (his mothers maiden name was Claridge) and I also found a record of him being on the Sobraon which was a reformatory training ship in Sydney.

 

Cheers,

Tim L.

 

   Tearaway or no, the words of Ross from Macbeth, are the ones for the moment:

 

 

ROSS
Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier’s debt.
He only lived but till he was a man,
The which no sooner had his prowess confirmed
In the unshrinking station where he fought,
But like a man he died.
Edited by voltaire60
Macbeth modern text by mistake

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Simon_Fielding

Wonderful I was just reading this as you posted: 

 

For the whole earth is the tomb of famous men; not only are they commemorated by columns and inscriptions in their own country, but in foreign lands there dwells also an unwritten memorial of them, graven not on stone but in the hearts of men.

 

Pericles

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helpjpl
3 hours ago, Auimfo said:

Simon, you were correct that he was a bit of a tearaway as a youngster.  There's no doubt that record is about him (his mothers maiden name was Claridge) and I also found a record of him being on the Sobraon which was a reformatory training ship in Sydney.

 

Cheers,

Tim L.

 

Thomas and his brother John appear in the Entrance Books for the Vernon and Sobraon:

 

John Jonathan Hurdis, DOB 02 March 1896, appeared before the Children's Court on 22 February 1911 for stealing a quantity of fruit from a church. He said - I ran away from Mrs B__  …. that's the woman I was boarded out to. I stole some fruit out of a church. There was a harvest festival on. I have never been before the court before. 

John enlisted on 23 June 1915 and was promoted to Lance Corporal 01 March 1916.

 

Thomas Hurdis, DOB 01 June 1890,  appeared before the Glebe on 30 April 1901 for stealing 4 bags of value of 1/-. He said - I did steal the bags. I was hungry and I wanted to buy some bread and jam. Father John Hurdis in South Africa but police did not know if he was a soldier there.

Thomas enlisted on 12 September 1916 and made a  Will, lodged with solicitors Stephen, Jaques & Stephen, on 21 October 1916: -

(Sister) Mary Hurdis, Teacher (£30)

Alfred George Tindall, Executor, (£10)

Rest and Residue of R&P Estate to Trustee upon Trust for Mother Harriet Hurdis.

 

In 1920, Harriet wrote this about her husband John - whether dead or alive is not known as it is now about 14 years since I have seen or heard of him. She died on 11 August 1925.

 

JP

Edited by helpjpl

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alastaircox

His brother was not identified at Fromelles.

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Auimfo

A little more information about Thomas Hurdis from the 'Inverell Remembers' website.  It appears he was living in this district when he enlisted.

 

HURDIS, Thomas

Thomas was the son of John and Harriet Hurdis of Sydney.  His birth was registered in 1890 at Newtown NSW.  He attended Leichhardt Public School and became a member of the junior cadets.

Thomas was living in the Yetman district, north of Inverell when he went to Sydney to enlist in September 1916.  His decision to enlist might have been because his nineteen year old brother had been killed in action at Fromelles two months earlier.

Thomas joined the 59th Battalion, 7th Reinforcement and left Australia on HMAT A19 Afric in November 1916, arriving in England the following January.  After three months training he was sent to France at the end of March 1917.  At the end of September he was wounded in action and died of these wounds on 3 October 1917. His burial took place at Mont Huon Military Cemetery, Le Treport, France. His few remaining personal possessions were returned to his Mother and included a silver watch and strap, wallet, letters and unit colours.

Private Thomas Hurdis has his name recorded on the Yetman Honor Roll.

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Auimfo

For everyone's information, I've been speaking with the journalist Paul Daley today and he'll be preparing a follow-up piece about Hurdis.  He's dropped in and had a look at all the information here and is very grateful to everyone (the GWF will get a mention in the article).  I think I'm getting a look-in as well regarding the link between this and the missing brother at Fromelles.  What a unique story it would make if DNA from Thomas' skull happened to identify John's body from the Pheasant Wood graves.  Of course, there's no certainty of that but it's a fascinating thought.

 

Fingers crossed for a photo of him.  We have a lead but we'll have to wait until tomorrow to see if one exists.

 

 

Cheers,

Tim L.

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John_Hartley

Hi Tim

 

That's good news. The Guardian let me know that they had forwarded my email on to Paul but your direct contact does the trick. I'll take a back seat and let you crack on with things but if there's anything I can do to help, just shout.

 

No replies (other than system generated ones) as yet to my emails to OAWG, CWGC and the musuem.  I'll report if anything useful comes back.

 

John

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voltaire60

 

     Just a couple of stray thoughts regarding possible records for Thomas Hurdis:

 

1)  Perhaps the Mutter Museum has more info. re their collection. I suspect that it will be the subject of interest for some time, if many of it's 200+ item collection came from the American hospitals treating Allied soldiers in France. I suspect further that Mutter may announce what records and specimens they may hold  in more detail.

 

2)  There has been stuff on GWF about  surviving medical records of the Great War regarding British and Empire medical services in France.  Now-from complete ignorance- is there any hope that medical records of the US Army hospital where Thomas Hurdis was taken may have survived???   Is there an expert on US military medical records out there?  As these records might potentially add to our stock of knowledge  of  British and Empire soldiers of the war, then  even the briefest "steer" might help.

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spof

 

1 hour ago, voltaire60 said:

2)  There has been stuff on GWF about  surviving medical records of the Great War regarding British and Empire medical services in France.  Now-from complete ignorance- is there any hope that medical records of the US Army hospital where Thomas Hurdis was taken may have survived???   Is there an expert on US military medical records out there?  As these records might potentially add to our stock of knowledge  of  British and Empire soldiers of the war, then  even the briefest "steer" might help.

 

You'd be better off starting a new thread in hte Medical Services board to attract more eyeballs  who may not rad a thread on ANZACs

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voltaire60
10 minutes ago, spof said:

 

 

You'd be better off starting a new thread in hte Medical Services board to attract more eyeballs  who may not rad a thread on ANZACs

 

    Thanks- It's Catch 22-the current issue is Private Thomas Hurdis. I cannot track anything on Forum re. this US hospital, so a new thread will be started-though those following "Anzac Skull" may be alerted that there is a separate thread chasing further possible records.

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Simon_Fielding
5 hours ago, Auimfo said:

For everyone's information, I've been speaking with the journalist Paul Daley today and he'll be preparing a follow-up piece about Hurdis.  He's dropped in and had a look at all the information here and is very grateful to everyone (the GWF will get a mention in the article).  I think I'm getting a look-in as well regarding the link between this and the missing brother at Fromelles.  What a unique story it would make if DNA from Thomas' skull happened to identify John's body from the Pheasant Wood graves.  Of course, there's no certainty of that but it's a fascinating thought.

 

Great news Tim. Thanks for the update.

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helpjpl
2 minutes ago, Simon_Fielding said:

5775891157483520.jpg

 

See post #7.

JP

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Simon_Fielding

My bad!

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Uncle George
3 hours ago, helpjpl said:

 

A quote from this philly.com article:

 

Meanwhile, members of a World War I military history forum in Britain believe they have identified the Australian soldier whose skull is in the Mutter.

 

Based on when soldier was  shot and when he died as well as the nature of his wounds and location of Shoemaker at the time, they say they believe the skull was that of Australian Private Thomas Hurdis, 27, of New South Wales, whose grave is near where the hospital was located in France.

 

“It is clear to me that this is no longer just a skull of an unknown man but the remains of a known soldier who, we are confident, has descendants still living in Australia,” said John Hartley, a military historian and author who is a member of the forum. “As such, we would urge the museum to release the skull to the Australian authorities so that it can be buried with his other remains by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.”

 

 

A link in the article goes to this thread.

Edited by Uncle George

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John_Hartley

Yes, I made contact with Joe Gambardello earlier and gave him the quote he's published.

 

Hopefully, it will help to act as "pot stirrer" in the museum's city.

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Auimfo

It seems a few people have seen the Philly Inquirer's article and found the name.  One person has already done a google image search and found a supposed photo of Hurdis and posted it on Facebook.  Problem is that all he really found was the photo of the soldier in GWF member spof's avatar because he's commented on this thread.   I've left a message for the poster advising him of his error and asked that he remove it asap before the media locate it and incorrectly publish it all over the place.

 

Cheers,

Tim L.

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spof

LOL :D

 

That would be funny if it was not so wrong and does show the need to  be careful about internet sources.

 

That photo is of a great uncle who was in training at Codford at the time of Polygon Wood so definitely not the correct photo.

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