Who Are These People?

Two years ago, I decided that in order to preserve my Nana’s WWI collections of her Uncle Norman’s letters, diaries & notebook, I should transcribe them to ensure minimal handling occurred of the original items. This project has taken that long to complete, a thoroughly immersive experience which has lead me to look at the other items within the collection a bit differently also. If you’ve read a couple of my previous posts over the last two years, you will have noticed the wallet & images from WWI were also a part of this collection. In fact, there are a total of 24 photos included within Uncle Norman’s wallet and upon checking with my grandparents it has been concluded that out of those 24 photos, we know less than half the people portrayed in them.


*This has got me wondering!*


You see, not only have I been busily transcribing, I have expanded my project to include genealogy. These days genealogy is a rather accessible hobby, thanks to the Internet! Thanks to the wonders of the Web (and Ancestry!) I connected late last year with a distant relative, who also happens to be a direct descendant of Uncle Norman’s best friend & cousin, Harold. Harold served in WWI alongside Norman. This direct descendant passed along photos of Uncle Norman that the family have never seen, along with a first hand account of how Norman was killed on the battlefields of France. How interesting it was to hear about my ancestor from another perspective! To have gained those images and information was invaluable.


I have decided I’d like to know who the unknown people are in the photos we have. These are stunning portraits (and a couple of fantastic snapshots) and being a photographer I place so much value in the possession of photos. These photos I’m sure would be important to any descendants of the subjects in question. There is a dual motive here, as I would also love to know if there is any further information to be learned of my Uncle Norman from these descendants. Who knows, perhaps we are related in some way.


This type of situation occurred only days ago, having gone to ask my grandparents about the photos, one photo of which my Nana pointed out, saying “That’s Uncle Errol!”. Lucky for us, his full name was printed on the back as well. Later that night, whilst absentmindedly scrolling through Facebook, I noticed a friend of mine had tagged a girl (we’ll call her *Anna) with the exact surname of this ‘Uncle Errol’. Not a very common surname. Upon further investigation (Facebook stalking at it’s finest, we’re all guilty of this okay!?) it seemed that Anna lived in the same place that ‘Uncle Errol’ did. So I asked my friend about it, who in turn found out that this ‘Uncle Errol’ was in fact a relative of Anna! There it was, my first opportunity to share a never before seen image of one of her relatives!


Everyone, this is where you come in. Below you will see the images found inside Uncle Norman’s wallet, of people my family do not know. There are in some cases a couple of photos of the same person. I only ask that you share this post EVERYWHERE. Someone has to know who they are! Doesn’t matter where you live, share away and encourage your friends and family to do the same. Some photos have made it slightly easier for us, providing names on the back, however some remain unlabelled. If anyone knows someone in the photos below, shoot me an email at emilycathrynphotography@gmail.com , as I’d love to send you a copy of the image in question, as well as ask a few questions of my own. Your help is much appreciated!


































5 Responses to “Who Are These People?”

  1. Bruce Cain

    Leslie Matthew KIRWAN #5722 – Killed in action 17 April 1918 in France.
    Joined 14 March 1916 – 1st Btn AIF.
    Born Narrandera
    Had a brother Martin Joseph KIRWAN #5723 who joined the same unit with him. Returned to Aust after severe wounding to left shoulder.
    The photo of 3 soldiers together is possibly the 2 x Kirwan bros.

  2. Mary Paschko

    English Sister Nellie is my grandmother – Eleanor Ruth Hayward. She was married just before the war ended and went to Canada with her husband – James Miller Cameron. Other members of her family came to Australia – where I know live. And she had an older brother George Hayward who fought for the Australian Army and was killed in action on 19 Aug 1916 at Pozieres.

    I have the 1918 photo but not the 1917 one – how lovely to see it – thank you so much for sharing. I would love it if you could email me a copy. Or if you have any other questions or information please get in touch.

    • admin

      Mary! I am so excited to hear from you! I would be happy to send you a copy of the 1917 portrait, your grandmother is beautiful. If you’d like, you can take a look at my family history blog as there are some things about the WWI collection I have: http://www.diaryofayounggenealogist.wordpress.com — you’ll be able to contact me directly from there.


  3. Nancy Brenton née Lee

    Hi Emily, I’m your Nannas first cousin Nancy Brenton née Lee. I was feeling all nostalgic today and started looking at all things ANZAC. Came across something your Nanna had posted and eventually got to this. Afraid I can’t add anything about the photos but have a few photos and his original medals as my Mum Norma Made Lee (White was named after Uncle Norman as she was born in March, 1919. I’m going to keep looking to see if you have other photos and info of Uncle Norman. Was he killed at or near Ameins? This all may be revealed as I search your blog further. Someone from Blast From the Past gave me a few references/sites to look up and saw where he’d been off duty the day before he was killed with scabies -,what rotten luck. Feel so blessed to have found this. Nancy Brenton (Lee)

    • admin

      Hi Nancy!

      I am making progress in identifying these people luckily, some of them at least! I have a tonne of information on Uncle Norman and would love to share it with you–I’ve spent the last two years nearly preserving the box of WWI items the family has kept over the years, and actually gave it all over to Nana and Pa today, complete with a book of transcriptions of Uncle Norman’s diaries and letters! I’ve actually begun a family history blog that you might be interested in, you can visit it here: http://www.diaryofayounggenealogist.wordpress.com — you can sign up to get email notifications when I post something new.


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