Help identify nameless Diggers

MALCOLM QUEKETTBusselton Dunsborough Times
Help identify nameless Diggers
Camera IconHelp identify nameless Diggers Credit: Busselton Dunsborough Times

The photograph of Diggers taken not long before they headed for Gallipoli in World War I is one of the most iconic of Australia’s war images.

It is a portrait of original officers and men of the WA-raised 11th Battalion.

More than 700 soldiers are spread over many levels of the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops) near Mena camp, Egypt, on January 10, 1915.

A print of the photograph was given to the WA Genealogical Society by the late Allan Ellam, who in the 1980s, with his wife Raye, had started to put names to the men’s faces.

WAGS has continued the project, with the aim of naming as many of them as possible before the centenary of the photograph next year.

The Times has joined WAGS in that mission by being part of an appeal for the public to come forward to help.

WAGS webmaster Chris Loudon said the society thought the project was a good way to pay tribute to the men of the 11th Battalion.

He has divided a digital copy of the photograph into grids and numbered each man, enabling their features to be enlarged and their position in the image to be easily identified.

WAGS has identified 150 men on its website, of whom 58 have been verified and 92 are to be confirmed, with 44 known to have died as a result of their service, including 27 who died as a result of the Gallipoli campaign.

West Australians with photos of family members who were members of the 11th Battalion are urged to come forward so the image can be cross-checked against the men on the pyramid.

The WAGS website is also recording the individual stories of the men and is planning to hold a gathering of descendants on January 10 next year at Kings Park.

According to the Australian War Memorial, the 11th Battalion was among the first infantry units raised for the Australian Imperial Force during WWI and the first battalion recruited in WA, becoming part of the 3rd Brigade, which was the covering force for the Anzac landing at Gallipoli on April 25, 1915.

To formally identify WA’s nameless Diggers, contact the WA Genealogical Society through its 11th Battalion AIF — Cheops Pyramid website at

To see the image in closer detail, click here to visit's Anzac Centenary page

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