4807 David George Irvin was a member of the 54th Battalion AIF. The AWM entry says the following about the action this battalion was involved in on 19-20 July 1916:
Moving to France in June 1916, the 54th fought its first major battle on the Western Front at Fromelles, on 19 July. It was a disaster. The 54th was part of the initial assault and suffered casualties equivalent to 65 per cent of its fighting strength. Casualty rates among the rest of the 5th Division were similarly high, but despite these losses it continued to man the front in the Fromelles sector for a further two months.
This battalion has probably become better know today after the discover of a mass unmarked grave at Fromelles. This website provides more details. The Australian Army has gone to great lengths to identify the soldiers buried in the grave and re-inter the remains of these soldiers in a proper war graves cemetery. My friends Tim L and Sandra P are also heavily involved in this project, this is their website.
Irvin is one of the soldiers whose remains have been identified through DNA testing. This link provides the details of the soldiers who have been identified. This link is to the ABC story about the identification of Irvin and this link has a picture and more details about Irvin.
So how did Lost Medals Australia get involved?
The memorial plaque presented to the family of Irvin after WWI recently came up for sale on ebay. A very vigilant Canberra local and now Lost Medals Australia researcher, Tim D, realised who Irvin was and the significance of the plaque. He won the auction and has asked Lost Medals Australia to coordinate the return to Irvin's family who we have also been in touch with.
It is early days yet but I'm hopeful we can arrange for this plaque to be represented to the Irvin family at the upcoming Chief of Army's History Conference.
Well done to Tim for his wonderful gesture to an Australian soldier.
These pictures are of David Irvin and the plaque.
The returned tally is now 968.