Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Remembering Roy

Take a few moments to have a good look at the photo below.  

What are your thoughts?  How do you feel?  What do you see?

Source:  www.awm.gov.au
Taken by Unknown Australian Official Photographer 28th September 1917.  Belgium: Flanders, West-Vlannderen, Ypres
Stretcher bearers of the 57th Battalion, at Polygon Wood in the Ypres Sector.  This area was subject to almost continual shellfire, the front line, then about 300 yards away, having been established only the morning before, following the attack on this vicinity by 4th and 5th Division
This is likely the final resting place of my first cousin (twice removed), who died at Polygon Wood three days before this photo was taken.  He was only 20 years of age.   The photo above shows other members of his Battalion, scouring the battlefields, searching for survivors.

Source: www.awm.gov.au
Private Roy Weir was never located and his memory is now preserved on panel 164 at the Australian War Memorial and also on Panel 29 at Menin Gate, being the memorial for soldiers whose graves are unknown.

Roy Weir in 1906
A book was also amongst his
 final possessions
Richard Royal James Weir
1897 - 1917
Richard Royal James Weir (aka Roy) was born at the small farming community of Kinimakatka, in Western Victoria, Australia on the 21st August 1897.  He was the third of the four children of James Weir and Catherine "Amy" Page Pilgrim.

Roy would have been the "man of the house" from a young age as he was only six years old when his father died.  He became a plumber prior to his enlistment.
Although he listed his age as 18 years and 11 months when he enlisted for duty in 1915, he was actually a year younger but he had the written approval of his mother to join up.1

Roy was a small man, standing at 164cm (5ft 4in) and weighing about 56.4 kg (8st 12lb) with blue eyes like his mother, brown hair and a ruddy complexion.1

Nhill Free Press (Vic. : 1914 - 1918),
Friday 4 October 1918, page 2
The same page also included memorials
 to two cousins

After his death the local paper reported "He was very popular amongst the young folk of Nhill, who deeply regret the passing of a sterling young comrade.........The flags in Nhill were flying at half mast on Tuesday as a tribute of respect for the gallant young soldier, who made the supreme sacrifice while fighting for his king, country, and those who stayed at home" 2

I cannot begin to imagine how his mother felt, when nearly 12 months later, she received a package containing her late son's belongings; 2 torches, a razor, brush, 2 maps, a book and a belt.1

Amy Weir remembering her son, Roy.
The brooch is his image.

Today, on this ANZAC Day3, nearly 100 years since the death of Roy Weir,  I remember my cousin, who would have seen unimaginable horrors at such a young age and who did not get the opportunity to have children or to live a full life.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

1 www.recordsearch.naa.gov.au - Series Number B2455 and Item Barcode Number 8380249
 www.trove.nla.gov.au - Nhill Free Press (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), Friday 26 October 1917, page 2 
3 ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.  Australian and New Zealand soldiers became know as ANZACs during the war.  ANZAC day is the 25th April every year.  It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by the ANZACs in World War 1.


  1. A scene of such unimaginable horror of the mind....the devastation, the loss. The photo and the memorial notice give us a tiny glimpse of the loss.

    1. Thank you Pauleen. And three cousins were also killed.

  2. A wonderfully written memorial of your cousin.

  3. Wonderful tribute. I have no connection (that I know of) to Australia and News Zealand so this was informative. Thank you for the history lesson, Sharon.

    1. Thank you for making me aware of the need to explain the term ANZAC for non Australians.

  4. I am going to provide a link to this post for my letter Y on Saturday for the A to Z Challenge. It just so happens that my choice is Ypres.

    1. Thank you so much Denise. I really appreciate it! Thanks again! (P.S. Ypres is on my 'bucket list' to visit)

  5. I have included your blog in INTERESTING BLOGS in FRIDAY FOSSICKING at


    Thank you, Chris