Entertainment People An unknown Digger’s remains have a name at last

An unknown Digger’s remains have a name at last

The enlistment papers Private Leslie Styles signed before sailing off to war. Photo: National Archives
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The final resting place of a previously missing World War I soldier has been identified in France.

Private Leslie Styles, of the 40th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, came from Ringarooma in northeast Tasmania.

He enlisted on March 4, 1916 and during the Battle of Amiens on August 12, 1918, was killed mere months before the war ended in action shortly after he and three other soldiers successfully took two German machine gun posts.

Veterans Affairs Minister Darren Chester said Private Styles was initially buried near the place of his death but his body could not be identified when later recovered and re-buried as an Unknown Soldier of the 40th Battalion.

“Thanks to detailed research in recent years from Fallen Diggers Incorporated, Australian Army’s Unrecovered War Casualties team and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, it was established that Private Styles is the only missing soldier from the battalion in proximity to the recovery.”

The family he left behind

The gravesite is in Heath cemetery, Harbonnieres.

The soldier’s great-grand-niece Sandra Barreau said Leslie was from a large family of six brothers and five sisters.

She said it was heartening news.

“He went to war leaving his new baby daughter, Hazel, and wife Ella never to return,” Ms Barreau said.

“Leslie has always been commemorated as a hard-working young man from Ringarooma, Tasmania, who had much strength and courage.

“On Anzac Day we always pay homage to our fallen Diggers but this year will be different, we shall raise our glasses knowing he has been found and can now rest in peace.”

Arrangements are being made to replace the previously unmarked headstones with versions bearing his name and an epitaph to be selected by his family.

The research group has so far identified 33 previously unrecovered WWI soldiers.