Mystery over Digger photos
Laurie Allen and Ian Esmond with the photos. Picture: Ben Crabtree/The West Australian

They wear their uniforms proudly and look out clearly and confidently at the camera.

In all likelihood they have special stories to tell about their lives and the times in which they served.

But who are they? And what became of them?

The photos of the World War I soldiers have been donated to the State Library for its heritage collection and the library would love to know who they are.

The quest started many years earlier when Father Ian Esmond, of Wongan Hills, responded to a notice in the Can You Help? section of _The West Australian, _which led to him receiving photographs of his grandfather, Cecil Esmond.

Father Esmond also received the photos of the mystery soldiers, but without any information, except the back of the photo of the standing soldier says it was taken at Dease Studio, Barrack Street.

Father Esmond has passed them on to the library.

"I researched my own family history so I knew somebody somewhere would be interested in them," he said.

"They become real people when you can find out the stories behind them."

Laurie Allen, from the State Library's collection liaison team, said the library was all about telling the State's stories but it was important that the names of those involved were known.

The library, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary, has estimated that it has more than 1600 items in its collection relating to WWI, including at least 1000 photographs, as well as battalion histories, biographies, diaries and letters.

Mrs Allen said the library would gratefully receive items of West Australian historical significance to add to its heritage collection, where they could be conserved, safeguarded and made available to the public.

"Sometimes people don't realise they have significant things, but to us they could be really significant and valuable, and help round out our collections," she said.

Anybody with information about the WWI soldiers is asked to email collection.liaison @slwa.wa.gov.au or call 94273116.

Readers who may have items to donate are urged to contact the library.

The West Australian

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