Postcard with image of the grave of Private William Nairn, who was killed in France on 4 July 1918, during World War I. A sketch of William's grave was also donated with the collection (HT 42547). It provides a clearer indication of the inscriptions on his cross: '59th Btn 3217 Pte. W. J. Nairn 4/7/18 Killed in Action A.I.F.'

William's place of death is variously recorded as Hamel (Roll of Honour), Villers-Bretonneux and Ville or Villiers sur Ancre (fellow soldiers). His date of death coincides with the Battle of Hamel, which was commanded and led by John Monash and included William's 59th Battalion. William was buried by Rev. L.S. Couston at Vignacourt Military Cemetery, France.

Individual photographs of graves - often described as 'sacred' places - were sought by countless relatives as a way of connecting them with loved ones who had died in battle. They were provided by visitors or, more often, the Directorate of Graves Registration and Enquiries. Soon after World War I ended an Australian photographic section was established to undertake the task in a systematic manner. These early photographs typically depicted temporary wooden crosses erected over graves. In the 1920s the Imperial (later Commonwealth) War Graves Commission undertook the enormous task of re-burials into defined and ordered cemeteries, using standard headstones. William Nairn's burial site was changed to Mericourt L'Abbe Military Cemetery.

Description of Content

Cross in graveyard. The cross appears to be made from brown wood, with interconnecting diagonals, similar to those seen in the background. Some other graves visible are painted white, with circular form around the cross. The main cross has words painted upon it: '3217 PTE W. J. NAIRN.' (remainder illegible) The ground of the graveyard has long, uncut grass, although a depression for the grave can still be seen, suggesting it is relatively recent.

Physical Description

Black and white photograph on postcard proforma.

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