The discovery of photographic images, long hidden in the small French village of Vignacourt was amazing. However, even more amazing is the fact that one family has discovered their grandfather’s image amongst the many photographs. In doing so, they have provided one name to the long list of unidentified soldiers.
For much of the First World War, Vignacourt was a staging point, casualty clearing station and recreation area for troops of all nationalities behind the front lines. A private photographer and his wife, Louis and Antoinette Thuillier set up their own business and captured on glass negatives, the images of many soldiers from the Allied force. Most of these subjects were unidentified. The negatives remained hidden for over ninety years until discovered in an old French building. More than 800 of these glass-plate negatives featuring Australians were generously donated to the Australian War Memorial by Mr Kerry Stokes AC in August 2012. This collection features in the Australian War Memorial’s exhibition; “Remember Me – The Lost Diggers of Vignacourt”.
IMAGE RIGHT: Photograph of 3687 Sydney Ernest YARROLL (standing on left) and three unidentified diggers in the Australian War Memorial’s exhibition titled Remember Me – The Lost Diggers of Vignacourt. The clarity of the image clearly shows the three service stripes sewn to the right sleeve of his tunic, denoting three years of overseas service. Sydney’s war service medals are missing. Can you help his family to locate them?
One can only imagine the surprise when one family identified their ancestor! And Sydney Ernest YARROLL was named in a photograph of four diggers, who served in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) during the Great War of 1914-1918.
Sydney Ernest YARROLL joined the Australian Imperial Force during 1915 and was allocated the Service Number 3687. According to the First World War Embarkation Roll, Sydney boarded HMAT Aeneas (A60) from the port of Sydney on 20 December, 1915 as a member of the 18 Infantry Battalion. He did not arrive in Egypt in time for service at Gallipoli, but deployed with the 18th Battalion to France. As such, his medal entitlement consists of the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
His war service medals are missing and are desperately being sought by his descendants. Any assistance in helping my family to locate these missing war medals would be appreciated. With the centenary of the First World War fast approaching, perhaps you hold the key to the mystery of the missing war medals which were awarded to Sydney Ernest YARROLL.