The Lost Diggers of Fromelles

A Project by St Mary's Cathedral College

William Wass MM and Richard Alfred Yardy

Hi everyone,

I am wanting to say that I am so pleased to have found this site. The battle of Fromelles was particularly poignant for my family on both sides. We lost two boys, William WASS "54th Battalion" and Richard Yardy "53rd Battalion" during this operation.

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From what I understand William Wass was an Englishman, a veteran of both the Boer War and Boxer Rebellion. William was a relative of my Great Grandfather and came to Australia following the Boer War with the knowledge that he had family in Australia. He worked around the Orange/Cowra area where my mother's family (Wass) reside. He enlisted originally in Sydney and landed at Gallipoli on the 25th of April 1915. Due to his prior military experience he was quickly recognized for his ability and promoted to Corporal. As a signaler William was decorated with the Military Medal for his actions at Lone Pine. He was shot in the head during this engagement only to fight on for a further four days before he sought medical assistance. Upon doing so he was found to have a fractured skull and was evacuated.

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After recovery, William was promoted to Sergeant and was transferred to the newly formed 54th Battalion. This battalion was put into the hottest fighting around the Sugar Loaf salient during the battle of Fromelles. Unfortunately William was killed. His identity discs were returned via the Red Cross from the Germans. I believe that William is one of the Lost Diggers of Fromelles and has no known grave. William was also Mentioned in Dispatches. My Grandmother spoke of William prior to her death in 2008, however this is all I know. 

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On my Dad's side we lost Richard Yardy. Richard was a reinforcement and did not fight at Gallipoli, although is two older brothers did. There is conflicting information on Richard's, death however it has been told through the family that he was killed by a shell as his Battalion "hopped the bags" at 6pm on the 19th of July 1916. Richard is buried in a known grave and I plan to visit in the near future. I know nothing more of Richard Yardy.

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I am pleased that this website is dedicated to these brave men.

LEST WE FORGET 

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