Lost Diggers

Lost Diggers

Book - 2012
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'It's a treasure trove. It's previously unknown, candid images of our troops just out of the line. Men with the fear and experiences of battle written on their faces.' General Peter Cosgrove A must-have for fans of Australian World War I history. Ross Coulthart of 7s 'Sunday Night' brings together never-before-seen images of Western Front diggers and the amazing stories behind them in a beautiful collection that's part thriller, part family history and part national archive. The Lost Diggers is the riveting detective story of the hunt across northern France to Vignacourt for a rumoured treasure trove of antique glass photographic plates that led investigative journalist Ross Coulthart to an ancient metal chest in a dusty attic in a small farmhouse. The nearly 4000 glass plates taken by Louis and Antoinette Thuillier that he and his team discovered are being hailed by experts as one of the most important First World War discoveries ever made. But that was just the beginning. With meticulous research and the help of descendants, Coulthart has been able to discover the stories behind many of the photos, of which more than 330 appear in the book.The book's release coincided with an exhibition of the photos at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
Publisher: Sydney South, N.S.W. : 2012
ISBN: 9780732294618
Branch Call Number: ANF 778.9935500994 COUL
Characteristics: 399 p. : ill. ; 31 cm


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Many serious genealogists would by now have heard about the discovery of the World War 1 collection of photographs of Australian soldiers found in France last year by Channel 7’s Sunday Night program and its journalist Ross Coulthart.
Now a magnificent book has been produced which has documented both the story of the discovery of the hundreds of glass plates amazingly preserved for almost one hundred years, the photographers themselves and the stories of some of the soldiers themselves who have been identified – through a precise procedure itself to ensure no mistakes.
The physicality of the book itself immediately has an impact when you see the book for the first time and I suspect that it is a good emotion to have when you read the amazing story of the “discovery” and the attempts in the past that were ignored to have the collection recognised and brought to light sooner that it was.
The book is of course illustrated throughout with many photos from the collection – there are informal shots of young men, many in the prime of their lives with war in their eyes and mud on their boots.
I recommend this book to anyone with the remotest interest in the First World War. The experience of reading and looking at the photos will stay with you long after you put it down.
The photographs can also be viewed at
www.sundaynight.com.au and on the Lost Diggers site on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lostdiggers
Many are still unidentified, and many of these young men never made it back home – perhaps you can help.

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