Lecture – They buried him among the kings: the origin of the national tombs to the Unknown Warrior by Bob Railton

This presentation, in the year which marks the centenary of the end of WW1, will reveal the origin and development of the idea of a tomb to an unknown warrior. It was initiated in England, by a young front-line padre and then introduced into the social fabric of many countries throughout the world. It is remarkable in hindsight that it took so long for a person to propose such a memorial. Perhaps though, it is not so remarkable when considered within a culture where traditionally, families were resigned to the fact that they would never have a place to mourn their loved ones who had been killed on ancient and foreign battlefields throughout the centuries. The catalyst was the magnitude of losses and anonymity of fallen warriors; losses which had never before been experienced by any of the combatant countries. 

Robert was born and educated in Brisbane graduating with a First Class Honours degree in History from the University of Queensland. He also has a BA majoring in International Relations and History from the University of the Sunshine Coast. Following an Army career as an infantry officer, in 2002 Robert retired on the Sunshine Coast where he has owned a home since 1979. He and his wife Glenys have two daughters and a grand-daughter. Robert’s hobbies are traveling, genealogy and Colonial American history; he is also a volunteer teacher’s aide at the Nambour State College Intensive English Unit and an Adult Literacy and Numeracy tutor.