ROLL OF HONOUR: Graeme Rodgers holds his great uncle Thomas Wintle's First World War medal. Thomas Wintle's name has been added to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail
ROLL OF HONOUR: Graeme Rodgers holds his great uncle Thomas Wintle's First World War medal. Thomas Wintle's name has been added to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail Mike Knott

A battle with history

A BUNDABERG man's struggle to get his great uncle's name recorded on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial has been successful.

In 2009 Graeme Rodgers wrote to the Australian War Memorial pointing out that his great uncle, Private Thomas Wintle, had never been recognised as having been killed in the First World War.

His name was not on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, or any other similar historical records of Australia's war dead.

Mr Rodgers said after he wrote to the Australian War Memorial his great uncle was assigned a case officer, Wendy Gadd, to investigate his case.

He said according to his research Private Thomas Wintle enlisted with the Australian Infantry Forces on January 4, 1915 and embarked from Melbourne on April 13, 1915.

He saw action at Gallipoli, where he suffered a slight gunshot wound to his chest, and was transported to England to recover from his injury.

"On March 16, 1916, he transferred to the 1st Pioneer Battalion and was sent to the Somme in France," Mr Rodgers said.

On July 27, 1916 at Pozieres he was wounded several times in the arm and shoulder as well as his lower back.

The back wound paralysed him and left him with other complications involving his urinary system.

He was transferred back to Australia on the ship Kanowna.

"In March of 2009 I came across some newspaper articles which first appeared in the Argus newspaper on Saturday, June 15, 1918," Mr Rodgers said.

"These were mainly in the form of family notices and they identified that Thomas had died at the Caulfield Military Hospital, Melbourne, on June 12, 1918 'after long and painful suffering'."

In 2009 Mr Rodgers asked the Australian War Memorial what protocol was used to determine when an individual soldier was identified as having been killed in the First World War.

"It was my view that Thomas had died as a result of the wounds he received in France and that his death occurred while the war was still in progress," he said.

Mr Rodgers said he was also advised to make representations to the Office of Australian War Graves for Pte Wintle's possible inclusion in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database.

Mr Rodgers said he was told on May 13, 2010, that Pte Wintle had been approved to be commemorated on the Roll of Honour.

"His name has since been cast on a bronze panel in the Commemorative area of the Memorial in Canberra," he said.

He has also now been recognised by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as an Australian War Dead and his burial site, at the Brighton Cemetery, Melbourne, is now identified accordingly," he said.

Mr Rodgers said it was later discovered Pte Wintle had an unclaimed war medal, and Anzac Commemorative Medallion, which was issued in 1967 to the families of all soldiers who fought at Gallipoli.

He said the medal was released to him.