From Deserter to Hero Commemoration A 100 Years Later – The Edward Attfield Story

Private Edward Attfield fought at Gallipoli but was suddenly missing from the army. Word spread that the private was a deserter of the Australian military, which did not bode well with everyone. However, a researcher from Victoria was able to dig deeper into his life, and his work identified his grave and informed the family. The family was then able to erect a headstone in Egypt where the Private was buried to honor him and the service that he put in for God and country. Aptly, the family chose the epitaph of ‘I Was Once Lost but Now Am Found’ to go on the gravestone. How accurate the verse that describes merely his life story? However, what the verse does not say, is how hard and passionately the private fought.

To be regarded s a deserter in a family or to the country is not anything to brag about. Therefore, for over 100 years, a true hero was run to the ground with his reputation, and his story was best forgotten. A 100 years later to get called by the army to be handed medals of honor for the accomplishment of your forefather is unforgettable though. The new story now goes down in history. The real honor for Edward Attfield began a few years ago when the body of a dead soldier was found in Egypt. They recognized that the soldier was one who fought from Australia but any other details about him were unknown. The remains were then buried, and the grave was marked as being the resting place of an unknown soldier.

The Work of Martin Elliget

The Victorian researcher Martin Elliget requested that the inquiries be made on behalf of the remains of the unknown soldier buried in Egypt. The Australian Army quickly got to work and identified that it was indeed the remains of Private Edward Attfield who was thought to be a deserter, when in fact he wasn’t. The Private fought hard for the country and queen with the 5th battalion when his whereabouts were lost. It was in the same area that the battle occurred that the remains of the private were found. The Australian government immediately rectified the mistake of dishonoring the Private and honored him by a declaration made by the Veterans Affairs Minister.

The information since gathered had suggested that the Private was extremely keen on joining the Australian Army and he was denied entry eight times before he finally got in. At the age of 24, Private Edward Attfield’s dream of joining the army came true, and he was enlisted. Further, records were uncovered that showed that he had written to his mother in January 1916. In the year 2018, finally, after 102 years since his last contact, Private Edward was honored for his service and dedication as being a true hero. The take away from his story has warmed the hearts of millions of Australians. Even though generations may come and go, the good and righteous will always prevail indeed.