A few weeks ago I realized I had some pretty glaring holes in one branch of my great-grandmother's family tree. The lack of research I had done on this family was especially apparent when I looked at her mother's family. I hadn't really traced her collateral line, sister Elizabeth Tizzard's family, either. So, I spent an afternoon researching what I could. The same old brick-walls came up but I had better luck researching Elizabeth and her family. I was especially amazed at what I found when researching Elizabeth's grandson, Robert Courtney Green.
The Battle of Fromelles has been called one of the darkest events in Australian history. In July of 1916, German forces (reportedly including a young Adolf Hitler) met British and Australian troops in Fromelles, a community in northern France near the Belgium border. The Allies suffered heavy losses, especially the Australians who lost over 5,500 men. Most of the dead ended up in mass, unmarked graves.
In 2009, over ninety years later, 250 British and Australian soldiers were found in one of the largest war graves discovered in recent years. Among those discovered were the remains of Robert Courtney Green, who was British born but had moved to Australia and was in Fromelles as part of the AIF (Australian Imperial Force). He was identified thanks to DNA testing and put to rest in a new Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in July of last year.
Robert Courtney Green had left England to find a life free from the British class system in Australia and settled near Perth. He enlisted in the 32nd Battalion and went to Egypt to train. Not long after arriving in France, he was killed after being shot in battle and died a few days before his thirty-first birthday. His identity tags were sent back to his family, confirming his death.
Among the pieces of information I found on Robert Courtney Green is this video, produced by St. Mary's Cathedral College:
Robert Courtney Green from St Mary's Cathedral College on Vimeo.
Partial Family Tree:
1. William Tizzard and Harriet Gibbons
2. Susanna Tizzard (Croad) 2. Elizabeth Tizzard (Courtney) --- sisters
3. Frederick Rendle Croad 3. Jane Courtney (Green) ------ first cousins
4. Daisy Mae Croad (Allen) 4. Robert Courtney Green ------ second cousins
(Daisy Mae Croad was my great-grandmother)