Red Cross Information Bureau – February 1916
The Red Cross Information Bureau opened in January 1916, and immediately began its work, helping the people of South Australia to find information about loved ones missing overseas.
In February 1916, they opened a file relating to Sergeant LR Alderson, which includes copies of previous correspondence between Sgt Alderson’s father of Solomontown (near Port Pirie) and the Ministry of Defence. Sgt Alderson had left with the 16th Battalion on 10 April, 1915, and in June his father had received a cablegram informing him that his son had been ‘wounded, not reported serious’. In August, Mr Alderson was advised by Base Records that ‘…it is regretted that the hospital in which he is located is not as present known…’ Further correspondence in December 1915 also failed to provide any information.
Mr Alderson visited the Bureau on North Tce on 29 February 1916, and spoke with one of the volunteer solicitors.
We pick up the story from the official file:
2 letters returned through dead letter office marked ‘wounded’ which is scored through in pencil and the word ‘killed’ written
Letters from Base Records as per correspondence herewith
Reports received from returned soldiers that Sergeant Alderson was placed on board a hospital ship; after that all trace of him was lost.
Cablegram from Red Cross Adelaide to Red Cross Cairo:
ELEVENONENINE ALDERSON IBDOT MISSING. TRACE WHEREABOUTS REPLYRTP REDCIB ADELAIDE