089 – Grave Marker for Private Edwin (Ted) Allen Oxley

Private Edwin (Ted) Allen Oxley Died of wounds
2 October 1917

The Australian Graves Detachment which later became the Australian Graves Ser-vices used soldiers waiting to be returned to Australia for discharge to assist in find-ing and recovering the remains of our casualties. There were three units—one at Amiens, another at Villers-Bretonneux and the third at Poperinghe in Belgium.

Attached to each unit were a number of photographers whose job it was to photo-graph the grave markers for families back home. No experience with a camera was required as long as the could hold the camera and knew the basics. These images were much sought after by families, the vast majority of whom would never be able to afford to visit their loved ones grave. For some it became almost a shrine.

The film would be sent to Australia House, London where it was developed and sent to families. The quality of many of the images was poor as can be seen here with that of the marker for Ted Oxley and would need to be taken again. Three copies of those that were of a high enough quality as that of Russell Dawson were then sent to families. Extra copies could then be made by taking the image to a photographer who would then re-photograph it as is the case of the image of the grave marker for Private Ted Oxley. J. J N Barnett was asked to make more copies for distribution among family.