Those left behind
During the war, the AIF practised a degree of flexibility and compassion for its volunteers that was unusual in other military environments. Consideration extended to the welfare of absent servicemen's wives and children in the event of ill-health or bereavement. Many responded to the Armistice not with elation but with grief as Australia’s losses were confirmed. Bodies were not returned home, and so the government’s scope extended to memorialisation in an attempt to ease the grief of the bereaved. Relatives desperately sought the comfort of tangible objects retrieved from the dead. Later, a direct connection to the faraway cemeteries was administered by the Imperial War Graves Commission. It is now maintained by the Office of Australian War Graves (Department of Veterans' Affairs).