Friday, November 11, 2011

Red Cross records tell the story of two cousins who died on the battlefields of France

It's Remembrance Day, so I 'm penning this story about two of my NAPPER relations.

Frederick Roy NAPPER (known as Roy) was born in Sydney in 1897.  In 1915 he enlisted in the13th Battalion Australian Infantry and was sent to the Middle East and France. Meanwhile, his second cousin, Alfred NAPPER (Alf), who was born in Sale, Victoria in 1887 enlisted in the 2nd Battalion Australian Machine Gun Corps. Roy had probably lived all his life in Sydney and Alf in Sale. They had possibly not met until in 1916 they found themselves at the British Expeditionary Force's depot and transit camp at Etaples in France. The two cousins spent the evening together before moving on.

On the night of August 29, Roy and his comrades left their trenches to charge the nearby German trenches near Mouquet Farm in the Somme. The attack was unsuccessful - the Germans shot and bombed the attackers. Roy was killed near the German trenches.

Two years later, on 6 October 1918, Alf was wounded near St Quentin, eight kilometers east of the main Hindenberg Line. He died of his wounds .

The two cousins are now at rest in France. Alf is buried at the Tincourt New British Cemetery and Roy at the Ovillers Military Cemetery.

The Australian Red Cross Society Wounded and Missing  Enquiry and Bureau Files for the First World War provided much information about the two Napper cousins and many other Australian personnel. They are available from the Australian War Memorial website.

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