Wednesday, May 6, 2009

DNA to Help Identify Remains of WWI Soldiers

On 19 July 1916, more than 5,500 Australian and at least 1,500 British troops were massacred at a battle at Fromelles in Northern France as they attacked heavily fortified German positions in broad daylight. More casualties were suffered there in a 24-hour period than at any other time in their history, even more than at the Battle of Gallipoli a year earlier. Although the German commander offered a truce so that the bodies of the fallen soldiers could be recovered, the Allied commanders had refused. The Germans from the Bavarian regiment hastily dug mass graves and buried the bodies near the village where the assault was launched. At the end of the war hundreds were exhumed but could not be identified.
Now the discovery of unmarked mass graves in a field near the village of Fromelles where the bloody battle was fought has prompted an operation to recover and identify the remains of about 400 British and Australian soldiers buried there in WWI.
The British and Australian authorities have a list of names of the soldiers they expect to find and have asked relatives for DNA to help identify the soldiers, who will be re-buried in a new military cemetery.

(source: BBCA News)

1 comment:

CMPointer said...

I have nominated you for the "One Lovely Blog Award"! See my latest post to receive it.

Caroline