The Sacred Memory of a Dudley Soldier

It took a long silence to create a search that revealed the untold story of a brave great uncle whom we never had the opportunity to meet.

Heads will be bowed in thought during the 2017 Anzac Day service at Dudley War memorial. Embossed on its polished, granite face is a laurel wreath with the inscription: “They gave their all”. One name on this imperishable face is Pte A S Haddon.

For the past fifty-eight years, all we ever knew was that my wife’s great-uncle was killed in the First World War. Following his embarkation there would have been years of waiting, by his mother and family, with fear and apprehension. For them to be notified that he had been killed in a faraway battleground, and to experience loss without a body to bring home, would have also been extremely painful.

How little we were told. The subject was not discussed, even by his aged sister (my wife’s grandmother) who lived for periods of time in her daughter’s family home. It was an unspoken subject and we never knew the great-uncle’s given names, nor where he was killed or laid to rest.

It was precisely ninety eight years to the day that Pte Haddon was killed in action before we learned his given names. This information came to us at a federally-supported Century of Anzac 1915-1918 initiative by Lake Macquarie City Council, held at Speers Point Park to commemorate our Anzacs and pay tribute to over1000 enlisted, Lake Macquarie soldiers, who served. And so we began a deeper search to reconstruct Aaron Smith Haddon’s life….

Story John E Le Messurier