15 unmarked graves of WWI veterans have been marked in Glen Innes thanks to the Forgotten Diggers Organisation

Forgotten Diggers Organisation founder John Thomas
Forgotten Diggers Organisation founder John Thomas

World War I veterans in unmarked graves at Glen Innes cemetery have now been recognised thanks to the Forgotten Diggers Organisation.

Seeking recognition for forgotten fallen soldiers the Forgotten Diggers organisation has helped recognise 15 WWI veterans who lie in unmarked graves at the local cemetery.

On September 30, the organisation's founder John Thomas visited Glen Innes to remember those fallen soldiers by providing crosses to acknowledge their service.

The Fallen Diggers organisation aim to give the fallen soldiers who fought for our country the recognition they deserve.

After the war, many soldiers were honoured for their service with a grave and headstone provided by the government.

Many however, were not so fortunate, with a significant number buried in unmarked, long forgotten graves around the country.


The forgotten Diggers organisation have been carrying out the project for more than 12 months and have marked the graves of numerous fallen soldiers.

"Through posting to facebook we have gained a broader reach, from the 60 we have advertised we have managed to find families for about 30 of the fallen soldiers," organisation founder John Thomas said.

The organisation is seeking funding to help assist in the task of providing the soldiers with marked graves and headstones slabs

"There is a special program for the unmarked graves that ends at the end of the year which I have currently submitted 60 applications," Mr Thomas said.

He said fortunately the Glen Innes Severn Council will be looking to help with the concrete slabs for the headstones that will later be marked with bronze plaques.

"If they can help us that will be great," he said.

The timber from the crosses were donated to the organisation and later constructed into crosses and painted by the local Men's Shed in Sydney and the signage was done by a fellow Sydney company where Mr Thomas is from.

"Once people know what we are doing it is surprising how willing they are to help," he said.

After the funding is received Mr Thomas is hopeful that in six to 12 months they will have the permanent plaques and headstones installed to take the place of the temporary wooden crosses.

The Forgotten Diggers Organisation will continue to do their work all across the state.

"It's a worthwhile task that we think is very important to remember those who gave their lives for our country," he said.

The 15 soldiers who now reside in marked graves in Glen Innes Cemetery and await the headstones thanks to the work of the Forgotten Diggers:

  • Arthur Knauf
  • William Henry Ernest Skinner
  • Hercules Albert Blanch
  • James Brown
  • John Joseph Bryne
  • Thomas William Shiner
  • Patrick Coyle
  • Edward Arthur Donnelly
  • Charles James McCarthy
  • Arthur Samuel Watts
  • Ernest J Blyton
  • Edward James Clibborn
  • Donald Cameron
  • James Campbell
  • Hilton Andrew Currie Sweeney