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Photograph of temporary grave of Lieutenant Vincent Burns in paper folder


Photograph of temporary grave of Lieutenant Vincent Burns in paper folder

Object information


This is a photograph of the temporary grave of Lieutenant Vincent Alexander Burns. It was issued to his mother, Edith Burns, as a memento.

Burns served with the 36th Battalion AIF during the First World War. He died on 11 June 1917 after sustaining severe injuries at the Battle of Messines.

After the war, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission disinterred and reburied remains in cemeteries established as close as possible to the temporary cemeteries that had been established during the war. The temporary crosses on graves like Burns' were removed and replaced with permanent headstones.

Physical description

A photograph of the grave of '..LIEUT V. A. BURNS...' encapsulated in a beige paper folder featuring the emblem of the 'AUSTRALIAN COMMONWEALTH / MILITARY FORCES' on the front cover, and details of the gravesite inside the front cover.

Statement of significance

This collection comprises objects related to the First World War service of Lieutenant Vincent Burns and his death at the Battle of Messines in June 1917. The collection includes a next-of-kin plaque, medals, an identity disc, a female relative badge, items related to the 36th Battalion, and photographs and documents related to Burns. Burns enlisted in the Australia Imperial Force in July 1915. He joined the 36th Battalion when it was raised in February 1916 and departed Sydney on 31 May 1916. The 36th Battalion's first major battle was at Messines in June 1917. On 9 June Burns sustained severe shrapnel injuries to his arm and abdomen. He died two days later as a result of his wounds.

Through its official and unofficial mementoes and memorials relating to Burns, this collection represents a personal connection to the way families dealt with the loss of loved ones. During the First World War around 420,000 Australians enlisted for service. Of that number around 60,000 service personnel died and 155,000 were wounded in action. The Australian population at that time numbered approximately 4.9 million, so the impact on society was immense. Battalion loyalties could be very strong and became, in many instances, a soldier's surrogate family. Recognising this, bereaved relatives often made contact with relatives of men from the same battalion or with returned men from the same unit. These friendships and connections often helped people through their grieving.

Object information

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