Today 25th April in Australia it is is Anzac Day, set aside to honour the men and women who served in the Australian and New Zealand armies in World War I and II and other conflicts, especially in remembrance of those who were killed and never saw their country again.

My husband’s first cousin twice removed was William Stanley Plowright (1893-1917). He was born in 1893 in St Kilda, a suburb of Melbourne, the seventh of the eleven children of William John Plowright (1859-1914), a policeman, and Harriet Jane Plowright nee Hosking (1861-1946).

William enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in 1915 and fought at Gallipoli, where he was wounded. He was killed in the Battle of Lagnicourt in March 1917. William’s body was not found and he has no grave. The only local memorial of his death is his name listed on the war memorial at Villers-Bretonneux. This memorial was erected ‘to commemorate all Australian soldiers who fought in France and Belgium during the First World War, to their dead, and especially to name those of the dead whose graves are not known’. I wrote about him in two previous A to Z series:

I have also written about a friend of his, ‘comrade of the late William Stanley Plowright’, named Johnna Bell, remembered by William’s family.



Australian War memorial photograph image id C00470. Photographer Ernest Charles Barnes, April 1917. Description: Two unidentified soldiers stand amid the shattered buildings in the French village of Lagnicourt, which was captured by the Australians in late March 1917 as the Germans withdrew towards the Hindenburg Line. The Germans heavily shelled the village as they retreated.


William is one of many in our family who died serving their country. This short list is of only our closest relatives:

World War 1

World War 2

  • Frank Robert Sewell 1905 – 1943
    • died 22 February 1943 in Queensland of illness and wounds having served in New Guinea

Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. Photograph by Gerard4170 and published on