ENGRAVED into Normandy grey marble in a field in northern France, the inscription 'ESAM H' is the only reminder of a young man who died serving his country close to a century ago.
The young Harold Esam, Warrnambool born and bred, was a tall man known for enjoying the company of his family.
Like nearly 60,000 of his generation, Harold enlisted in the Australian Imperial Forces, served, fought and died serving his country on foreign soil.
His body, along with so many others slain during a disastrous diversionary attack in July 1916 near the French town of Fromelles, lay forgotten, shoved into a mass grave with hundreds of others.
His relatives, including his distraught mother Catherine, pressed authorities to find out where the 22-year-old was buried.
But no one knew his final resting place. Until now.
Last year Private Esam's descendants Stan Griffin and Kathy McGillivray, along with other relatives, supplied their DNA to be matched with that taken from remains found in a mass grave near Fromelles.
This week, archaeologists, scientists and historians working at the site known as Pheasant Wood came back with a result.
They had found Harold Esam after 93 years.
The young Warrnambool labourer was among 75 Australians identified in the project to give the missing Diggers a proper burial.
Another south-west man, Yambuk-born Private John Howard, who enlisted under the alias of John Morley, was also identified.
Mr Griffin said his mother, Private Esam's sister, would have been overjoyed by the news of her brother's identification.
He said the family had always assumed that Private Esam was buried at nearby VC Corner, where his name had been engraved into a memorial to those who were never found or whose bodies could not be identified.
But this belief was never rock-solid and Mr Griffin thought it was prudent to further investigate the final resting place of his long-lost uncle.
"Our mother (May Griffin, nee Esam) was very proud of Harold," Mr Griffin said.
"She had his portrait hanging in her living room until she died (in November 1991, aged 92).
Mrs McGillivray, Mr Griffin's sister, said she understood her mother and her uncle were quite close before they parted when Private Esam was sent to Egypt for training.
Private Esam served only three weeks on the Western Front before being killed in the Australian's first significant engagement there.
"I think it was something which probably quite annoyed her, having her brother taken away from her when he still had so much life left," Mrs McGillivray said.
"It's such a short period of time before he was killed. He was only in France a couple of weeks but in some ways he has been there a long time too, given that he's buried there."
Mr Griffin and cousin Valerie Appleton have been looking into the final days of Private Esam since the discovery of the mass grave at Pheasant Wood two years ago.
Not only has Mr Griffin kept Private Esam's official army portrait but he has also inherited the "dead man's penny" that Private Esam's mother would have been given after her son's death - a metal plaque bearing Private Esam's name and inscribed with a British lion and the motto "for King and country".
Mrs Appleton, who lives in Port Fairy, has visited Fromelles and will return for the official unveiling of her ancestor's new burial site in July.
She said Harold was the ninth of 13 children born to Catherine and Samuel Shuttleworth Esam.
"Family legend has it that he was the tallest and most handsome of the family and that his favourite sibling was his younger sister 'Sis' whom he would playfully tease," Mrs Appleton said.
"Harold's older brother, my grandfather, always remarked on Harold's kindness and consideration of others."
Mrs Appleton said it was difficult to glean intimate information from government statistics listed on a soldier's war record.
"As I have no letters or memorabilia to add to his profile I can only rely on family verbal history," she said.
"However, one small detail on Harold's war record haunts me ? 'Scar on L knee'.
"I picture a young man perhaps playing cricket with his siblings in a Warrnambool laneway or perhaps tumbling over a high garden wall.
"The contrast of a young country lad innocent of the carnage and destruction ahead of him at the Battle of Fromelles (really) hits me."