The Lost Diggers of Fromelles

A Joint Project by St Clare's College and St Mary's Cathedral College

I am a nephew of Raymond Holstein Pflaum. My Mother was the youngest of the family of 14 children. Three of her brothers went to the war, Theodor, Raymond and Elliott (Tab) and only Tab returned home. Raymond was killed on the 19th July 1916 at Fromelles at age 19 and Theo was killed in the Somme in 1917 age 22. My Mother was ony 11 years old when Ray died.

My Grandfather and Grandmother and family were advised by the Army that Ray had been taken as P.O.W. and died on 24 November 1916. Throughout the family lives, they did not believe he was taken as P.O.W. and always believed he died 19 July 1916. It was very gratifying to learn on 16th March 2010 that Ray's remains had been identified and the place where he died.

Theo's war diary which is in the Australian War Memorial has a vivid description of seeing Ray being wounded and giving him a flask of whisky as he was in so much pain.

It was very fitting the Pflaum family held a re-union at Birdwood (S.A.) on 10th April 2010 where 140 descendants attended, coming from all parts of the world, for a family book launch and to pay homage to Ray.

After 93 years, the inscription on his grave stone reads:

"I once was lost but now am found"

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Comment by Michael Burden on July 12, 2010 at 12:21
Hi Geoffrey, thanks so much for your post. It was only by chance that we found the story of the three brothers. Have you seen the video the boys produced? It is in the Video section of this site. Merryn Cullen provided Chloe from the Defence Dept. with the resources and pointed us to the ABC interview which we have incorporated into Ray's tribute. I hope you like it. It is a very inspiring yet painful story to tell. I cannot imagine what your mum and her parents went through. Thanks so much. Mick

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