Calliope's unknown soldier

ROBYN Marshall recognised every name the Calliope State School students read out from the town's cenotaph, except one.

"R. Dudley" is etched into the white stone, alongside the names of diggers who enlisted in the area.

But unlike the other men who Ms Marshall, Calliope RSL's historian, has researched R Dudley remains a mystery. There are no official records of his existence as a serviceman.

And that's not the only anomaly she's discovered.

"Before it was built in 1921 they put a call to the community to offer names of fallen soldiers," Ms Marshall explained.

"Tolstoi (listed on the cenotaph) was a Russian and as far as I can tell Payne H.V. doesn't exist."

Each year at the Anzac Day ceremony Ms Marshall tells the story of one of the men listed on the cenotaph.

She says holding a service to honour those fallen soldiers doesn't mean much if the community doesn't know who they were.

This year Ms Marshall told the story of Private David Heckscher Lewis, the son of a copper and gold miner living at Many Peaks, who enlisted when he was 21.

In September 1915 Pte Lewis had made his way to Rockhampton to follow in his older brother's footsteps and fight for his country in 'The Great War'.

He sailed out of Brisbane aboard the HMAT Kyarra on January 3, 1916, and after a short stint in Alexandria Egypt, boarded his next ship to Marseille in France.

Pte Lewis had no idea he would soon be headed into what has become known as the bloodiest battle in history with 23,000 casualties.

The Battle of the Somme raged between July 23 and August 5, 1916 and included the capture of a ridge by the village Pozières - a tactical position the allies could use to mount an attack against the Germans.

Pte Lewis and the 26th Battalion successfully attacked under the cover of darkness, and although green flares were let off exposing their position they made it as far as entanglements, only to find the wires impassable and were forced to pull back.

It was during the second attack that Pte Lewis went missing and was later reported dead by a fellow soldier who confirmed Pte David Lewis was killed on August 5, 1916.

Pte Lewis was one of 6,800 who fell on that ridge by Pozières.

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