Next of Kin plaque : Private R H Pflaum, 32 Battalion, AIF

Unit 32nd Australian Infantry Battalion
Place Europe: France, Nord Pas de Calais, Nord, Lille, Fromelles
Accession Number REL22642.004
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Bronze
Maker Memorial Plaque Factory, Acton
Place made United Kingdom: England, Greater London, London
Date made c 1920
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Bronze next of kin plaque, showing on the obverse, Britannia holding a laurel wreath, the British lion, dolphins, a spray of oak leaves and the words 'HE DIED FOR FREEDOM AND HONOUR' around the edge. Beneath the main figures, the British lion defeats the German eagle. The initials 'ECP', for the designer Edward Carter Preston appear above the lion's right forepaw. A raised rectangle above the lion's head bears the name 'RAYMOND HOLSTEIN PFLAUM'. A checker's mark, '17', is impressed behind the lion's rear left paw. The back has been modified at a later date by the addition of two lengths of copper wire soldered across the plaque and bent over at each end.

History / Summary

Bronze next of kin plaque issued to the family of 161 Private Raymond 'Ray' Holstein Pflaum. The son of Theodore and Mary Pflaum, he was working as a shop assistant in his home town of Blumberg, South Australia when he enlisted in the AIF on 21 July 1915 at the age of 18.

Joining A company of the 32nd Battalion, he embarked on board HMT Geelong at Adelaide on 18 November 1915. He arrived in France with the battalion on 23 June 1916 after spending six months training in Egypt.

On 19 July 1916, during the Battle of Fromelles, the 32nd Battalion was involved in an attack on Fleurbaix. Pflaum was in the first wave of the attack when he was wounded by shrapnel to the stomach. He was moved into a nearby dugout and made as comfortable as possible. He was later found in the dugout by his brother, Theodor Milton Pflaum of the 25th Company, Australian Machine Gun Corps. Theodor had to find a position for his gun, and Ray could not be moved so he left Ray in the care of another 32 Battalion soldier. Due ot a German counter attack, Theodor was eventually ordered to retreat. Ray was left to be picked up by German stretcher bearers.

Raymond Pflaum died of his wounds that night. He was originally listed by the AIF as wounded in action and presumed to be a prisoner of war. Early information from Germany led the Army to list his date of death as 24 November 1916 but his family later received his identity disc and information from Germany that stated that he died on 19 July 1916.

Pflaum was buried in a mass grave at Pheasants Wood, this grave was discovered in 2009. His remains were successfully identified in 2010 and he was reburied at the Fromelles (Pheasant Woods) Military Cemetery.