LONG LOST, NOW FOUND: Jacob Klaus shares a beer with his great great-uncle Vince Passlow at Vince’s grave. Jacob was the first relative to visit his grave since Vince was killed on April 30, 1917. INSET: The photo that is sitting at the grave in Ploegsteert, Belgium. Vince is on the left with one of his brothers, Glynn Passlow.
LONG LOST, NOW FOUND: Jacob Klaus shares a beer with his great great-uncle Vince Passlow at Vince’s grave. Jacob was the first relative to visit his grave since Vince was killed on April 30, 1917. INSET: The photo that is sitting at the grave in Ploegsteert, Belgium. Vince is on the left with one of his brothers, Glynn Passlow. Photos Contributed

Family finds lost Digger

ON JANUARY 26, 1916, Vince Passlow enlisted to go to the Great War at 22 years of age.

He never returned to Australia.

Last Friday and almost a century later, his great great-nephew Jacob Klaus of Goonellabah found his grave at a cemetery in Ploegsteert, Belgium, and enjoyed a celebratory beer with his long-lost relative.

The small but significant ceremony ended three dec- ades of hard work by his family to find Vince.

Jacob's father, Peter Klaus, also of Goonellabah, linked his son's phone call from Belgium just after midnight to his mother, Rita, connecting the four generations of their family.

"I asked my son Jacob to go find his great-great-uncle Vince on his trip to Europe this year.

"I gave him a couple of bottles of Reschs pilsener, the only one still brewed that was available in Australia in 1916, so Vince would have known it," said Peter Klaus.

Jacob poured one bottle on top of Vince's grave, marked, V Passlow, 36th Battalion Australian Infantry, killed April 30, 1917.

According to the research done by Peter Klaus over 30 years, Vince Passlow was killed instantly by a concussion after being hit by a "whizz-bang", a German shell.

His demise came at a trench in Ploegsteert, Belgium, a hundred metres from his current resting place, very close to the Belgium-French border.

Vince's brothers Stanley and Glynn enlisted shortly after he did in 1916 and they returned to their family and their farm in Bellingen, 35km south of Coffs Harbour.

"Jacob will be back in some weeks and we will have a big family celebration," said Mr Klaus.

"It was an amazing day for our whole family; my mother was very happy that we found Vince. My son was very excited and for me it was the end of a very long journey," said Peter Klaus.



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