The grave of an unknown New Zealand Military officer buried in Belgium has lastly been solved after 103 years.
The grave, quantity I.E.20 on the Dochy Farm New British Cemetery, has now been confirmed as the ultimate resting place of Captain Ernest Charles Parry of the primary Battalion Auckland Infantry Regiment.
He was killed on 6 October, 1917 on the Battle of Passchendaele.
Captain Parry, who was from Paeroa, is commemorated on the New Zealand Tyne Cot Memorial to the lacking however till now had no identified grave.
He’ll now lastly get a gravestone however his identify will stay on the Tyne Cot memorial as it’s the coverage of the Commonwealth Struggle Graves Fee that names not be eliminated as soon as they’ve been engraved into the memorial.
Captain Parry’s grave was confirmed by a painstaking overview of historic materials by New Zealand Defence Pressure historians after an preliminary case put ahead by abroad researchers.
NZDF historian Matthew Buck mentioned the identification was primarily based on two key sources.
“We had some pages added to the warfare diary of his battalion and a letter from one in every of his comrades printed within the Ohinemuri Gazette in 1917.”
He mentioned it was unlikely both would have been discovered if it was not for the digitalisation programmes carried out just lately by Archives New Zealand and the Nationwide Library.
The NZDF crew discovered proof that the our bodies of Captain Parry and Sergeant Donald McLean had been discovered mendacity shut collectively on the battlefield by different members of their battalion.
It mentioned it appeared the our bodies had been buried collectively on the battlefield and after they had been recovered for reburial at Dochy Farm Cemetery, the graves focus unit was solely capable of establish Sergeant McLean and an unknown New Zealand Captain.
Buck mentioned earlier than it might be confirmed as Parry’s grave, they needed to get rid of it was not the grave of 4 different New Zealand Infantry captains killed in the identical space who had no identified resting place.
The Commonwealth Struggle Graves Fee mentioned Captain Parry was the primary profitable identification case for a New Zealand casualty it was conscious of.
There are 6290 New Zealanders who served throughout World Struggle I who haven’t any identified grave.
Captain Parry had two younger sons. Each served within the Royal New Zealand Airforce throughout World Struggle II.
One in every of them, Flight Sergeant Joseph Parry, was killed on lively obligation flying with the RAF’s 99 squadron on 29 September 1941. He has no identified grave.
Buck believes different graves of unknown New Zealand troopers killed within the First World Struggle might ultimately be recognized.
He mentioned their descendants typically have the lacking clues.
“Letters and issues like that which had been despatched from the entrance to households from comrades of males who had been killed which frequently the truth is find yourself holding the very important clues, and as they emerge over time. There’s affordable optimism that this may not be a singular case.”
Buck mentioned affirmation of the grave got here after 5 years of painstaking analysis by many individuals.
“If we get it flawed then one other household goes to lose out and on prime of that we’re additionally conscious from doing this work that the affect of those tragedies on households was very nice certainly and will have cascading results the truth is, so these are all of the issues we keep in mind once we are instances like this.”