Tuesday, April 25, 2006
This is a very early effort. I found my soldier in a farewell family group photo and wanted to preserve him. He hangs on my wall. Sadly I don't know who he was or whether he returned from WW1. But not for want of trying.
Through the publisher of the book it came from, I tracked the original photo to its owner. She only knew that the very young boy in the photo was her cousin. I tracked him down by ringing every Bryant in the Wellington phonebook. I found an elderly man who was almost blind. He was Frank Bryant and could identify two of the soldiers in the photo as his father and uncle but he had no idea who the third was. Which just happened to be the one I had been drawn to. Efforts to trace his battalion through assumptions based on what I knew, or find his image in other official photos all failed. But through my search I became immersed in the history, spending time at the Defence Library and Waiouru. He remains a mystery.
The happy upshot of it all was I put two cousins together who had been out of touch for many years, one believing the other had passed on. They were able to spend some time together before Frank died. And I am still in touch with his wife.