WAR GRAFFITI: Names engraved on the walls of a former chalk quarry, at the Cite Souterraine, Underground City, in Naours, northern France by 9th Battalion Australians, G Fitzhenry of Paddington, Sydney from 1916 July and Alistair Ross, of Lismore. The names are just some of nearly 2000 First World War inscriptions at the site.
WAR GRAFFITI: Names engraved on the walls of a former chalk quarry, at the Cite Souterraine, Underground City, in Naours, northern France by 9th Battalion Australians, G Fitzhenry of Paddington, Sydney from 1916 July and Alistair Ross, of Lismore. The names are just some of nearly 2000 First World War inscriptions at the site. Jeffrey Gusky

Lismore WW1 soldier remembered after quarry discovery

THE names of almost 2000 First World War soldiers have been discovered graffitied on the walls of a chalk quarry in France.

Among them is the name of Lismore soldier Alistair Ross from the 9th Battalion.

On October 5, 1916, The Northern Star reported that Donald Ross, the uncle of Alistair John Ross, had received news that his nephew had died from wounds.

Shortly after his arrival on the Northern Rivers from Scotland, in April 1913, Corporal Ross joined the North Coast Co-operative Company's staff at their factory at The Channon until he was called for duty in January 1915.

He left Enoggera three months later for active service at Gallipoli where he spent five months in the trenches before being sent to a hospital in Gibraltar with serious illness.

Later, he re-joined his regiment in Egypt before leaving with the first troops for France.

As a 22-year-old, Alistair Ross was well known around Dunoon and The Channon as a great athlete and a promising singer and was one of four brothers on active service.

It's been reported the writing and engravings in France date back to the First World War and are located in an underground former chalk quarry in Naours, about two hours drive north of Paris.

The quarry is close to the Somme battlefields where millions of soldiers died and were wounded.

The discovery, believed to be one of the largest collections, comes just weeks before the Anzac Day centenary.

Lismore RSL sub branch president Cecil Harris said it was good to have these things preserved as Australia was only a young nation and a lot of our troops never returned home.

"It's something for the families at home because they suffered just as much as the soldiers overseas," he said.

"If a soldier got shot overseas that was it, his life was over but, at home, the families had to go on with life. They still suffered the hardships."

 


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