In 2008, a mass grave site was unearthed near Fromelles in northern France. This site contained the remains of 250 troops from the 5th Australian Division and British 61st Division who fought at the Battle of Fromelles. Through the use of DNA typing as well as archaeological, anthropological and historical evidence, scientists were able to assign names to many of the soldiers killed during that battle in which 1,780 members of the 5th Australian Division and 503 from the 61st British Division were lost between 6:00pm on July 19 and 8:00am on July 20, 1916.
On July 19, on the 94th anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles, a dedication ceremony is taking place at the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery in northern France. During this dedication, the last of the 250 Australian and British soldiers found at the Pheasant Wood site is being laid to rest with full military honors. This is a fitting day to present an update on the progress made since I first wrote of the identification efforts in May of 2009, shortly after excavation began. Continue reading “Dedication of the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery: Burial of the Last Unknown Soldier”