Press Release - 24 April 2014

Findmypast.com.au releases thousands of World War 1 records to mark Anzac Day

Sydney, Australia, 24th April, 2014 – This Anzac Day, as Australians and New Zealanders prepare to reflect on the heroism of their ancestors, leading family history site findmypast.com.au announces the addition of thousands of new military records to its online archives. The records form part of findmypast's 100in100 promise to launch 100 record sets in 100 days.

In the 100th year since the outbreak of World War 1, the new records have a special focus on those who fought and gave their lives during that conflict. One such individual is 22-year-old Frederick Heasman, who moved to Australia from Sussex in England in 1913, following his brothers Albert and Gilbert. He enlisted at Perth, Western Australia on 1st March 1915 joining the 28th Battalion, AIF, and was given the service number 291. He embarked for the Mediterranean, and was stationed in Egypt until his battalion set out to Gallipoli.

Frederick fell ill with enteric fever on 19th October 1915, and was shipped to a hospital in Malta, before being shipped back to Australia on the 21st December. On the 15th June, he was declared fit for duty. He joined 13th Australian Machine Gun Company on the 6th May, 1916. He joined this unit in the Field three days later.

On 13th September, Frederick wrote his last will and testament, leaving all his personal estate to his mother, Mrs Annie Heasman of Markstakes Farm, South Common, Chailey. Thirteen days later he was killed in action at Passchendaele at what would subsequently become known as the Battle of the Menin Road.

A memorial plaque, memorial scroll and pamphlet entitled “Where The Australians Rest” was sent to Frederick’s father in England. Frederick’s brothers Albert and Gilbert, and his brother-in-law Henry Downing, also served in World War 1. All three survived.

Paul Nixon, military expert from findmypast.com.au, comments: “The addition of over 650,000 fully indexed First World War records in our newly-released Australian Imperial Force embarkation and nominal rolls make it easier than ever not only to find your AIF ancestor but also, in many cases, to uncover next-of-kin details as well. The collection just keeps on getting better and better.”

The new collections contain nearly 700,000 detailed records of soldiers who served as part of the Australian Imperial Forces between 1914 and 1918. The updated archives will allow Australians and New Zealanders to learn more about their relatives’ achievements and efforts during the greatest international crisis of their time.

The new records available on findmypast.com.au include:

Australian Embarkation Roll 1914-1918

- Transcripts contain details of approximately 330,000 AIF personnel, recorded as they embarked from Australia for overseas service during the First World War.
- They include full names, rank, age, trade, marital status, address at date of enrolment, next of kin details, religion, date of joining, unit embarked with, and further remarks.
- Many of the next of kin addresses recorded are in the UK.

Australian Nominal Roll 1914-1918

- This list contains details of approximately 324,000 AIF personnel who served overseas during World War 1. It was recorded to assist with their repatriation to Australia from overseas service.
- The transcripts include the soldier number, full name, final rank, awards, date embarked, and the date returned to Australia, killed in action, or died of wounds.
- The records also include the soldier’s unit of service at the time of death or at the end of the war, and non-effective entries – how that person became no longer effective (for example, if they were returned to Australia).

In addition to the updated records, findmypast.com.au is proud to showcase the Anzac Memory Bank, available exclusively on findmypast.com.au. The Anzac Memory Bank is brimming with personal stories, including photos, diary entries, poems and words of appreciation for those who fought in World War 1. It also includes a wealth of expert information about Australian and New Zealand involvement in all wars and conflicts around the world, making it a font of valuable knowledge at this poignant time.

To learn more about the records, visit http://www.findmypast.com.au/articles/anzac-day-stories