The couple in this photo had just faced an unimaginable loss. Do you know who they are?

In 1922, long after the muddy, bloody battlefields of the Somme had dried out, King George V toured the area, visiting the graves of fallen Commonwealth soldiers.

A little north of the village of Amiens, ​at Crouy-sur-Somme, he came across two people doing the same. A husband and wife, grieving parents who had made the long journey from Australia to France where their son lay buried; one of more than 60,000 Australian men killed fighting in World War I.

A photographer captured the encounter; a mother and father in mourning, and a monarch in whose name their boy had fought and died.

As reported by News Corp Australia, the image was published by Australian media at the time, but with no name. The couple’s identity and that of their son remains unknown. And on Remembrance Day, which this year marks a century since the end of the Great War, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission is appealing for help to change that


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“Unfortunately we do not have the names of the couple, that’s been lost to time but the looks on their faces talking to the king about their son, it’s quite a powerful image,” AWGC spokesperson Chris Anderson told News Corp.

The photograph is part of a stunning online exhibition launched by the CWGC, capturing how the organisation helped acknowledge “the shared grief of an empire”. Titled ‘Shaping Our Sorrow‘, it features several images of King George V’s week-long tour of war graves in France and Belgium, known as ‘The King’s Pilgrimage’.

It was, according to legendary Australian war correspondent Sir Frank Fox, the “King’s wish that he should go as a private pilgrim, with no trappings of state nor pomp of ceremony.”

On the tour, another war-bereaved father – poet Rudyard Kipling, then a literary advisor to the War Graves Commission, wrote:

“And there was grass and the living trees,
And the flowers of the spring,
And there lay gentlemen from out of all the seas
That ever called him King.
‘Twixt Nieuport sands and the eastward lands where the Four Red Rivers spring,
Five hundred thousand gentlemen of those that served their King.”

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