Monday 5 August 2013 by Stuart Baines. 3 comments
Education at the Memorial, Personal Stories

As part of our ongoing blog with which we hope to connect with the needs and interests of teachers and students, last week we introduced the first of our What is it? objects from the Memorial’s collection. /blog/2013/07/30/education-memorial-collection-detection/

Thank you for everyone who liked, and commented on our Facebook post. It was a great response and only makes us more excited for the next Collection Detection. So the answer....


It’s a Turkish soldier’s identity disc, impressed with Arabic numbers which translate to 77/1/3/824 on the front surface.

In comparison, here is the identity disc of Australian Private John Lauder, service number 545, of the 1 Light Horse Regiment (1ALHR). This is an early version of the identity discs worn by Australians in the AIF, which underwent several changes during the war. The ‘C’ indicates his squadron group of the 1ALHR, and ‘P’ that his religious denomination was Presbyterian



Who was John Lauder?

Born in Rupanyup in Victoria on 25 July 1882, Lauder enlisted for service soon after the Great War was declared, in September 1914. He was 31 years old and had been working as a farmer in Guyra, NSW for some time. Lauder and his partner Emma Jane Dean had a son, Ronald Gordon Dean, born in January 1915, but they had never married.

Lauder embarked from Sydney with 1ALHR on 20 October 1914, arriving in Egypt in early December. Initially considered unsuitable for the Gallipoli campaign, the men of 1ALHR were soon deployed without their horses to reinforce the infantry, arriving on the peninsula on 12 May 1915. They were part of a concerted attack on a Turkish position as part of the August offensive on 7 August. 200 men were involved, with 147 becoming casualties. John Lauder was killed in the action on 7 August at Pope’s Hill.

This identity disc was the only personal effect returned to Lauder’s mother Isabella back in Guyra, NSW, whom he listed as his next-of-kin.

Lauder’s service medals were later divided between his mother and Miss Emma Dean who requested that something of Lauder’s war service be given to her in custody for baby Ronald. She received his 1914/1915 Star, Victory Medal, and Memorial Scroll, as well as a pension of £13 per annum. Mrs Lauder received her son’s British War Medal with clasps, the Memorial Plaque, and “Where Australians Rest”.

Private John Lauder was initially buried at Pope’s Hill Cemetery, but after the war in 1923, the cemetery was moved, and Lauder’s remains were reinterred in the Pope’s Hill plot at Quinn’s Post Cemetery, Gallipoli.

Men of the 1ALHR on Walker’s Ridge, Gallipoli in 1915. Men of the 1ALHR on Walker’s Ridge, Gallipoli in 1915. C02727

Pope’s Hill Cemetery, 1919. Pope’s Hill Cemetery, 1919. G01852


Graeme Hosken

I believe the 'P' on the identity disc is more likely to stand for Presbyterian than Protestant. A check of his attestation papers would clarify.

Jack Hamilton

According to John Lauder's Army file his religion is stated as Presbyterian. The "P" on John Lauder's identity disc could stand for "Presbyterian" rather than "Protestant".

Stuart Baines says:

You're quite right gentlemen, nice pick up.