Fromelles Cemetery France BY BRIAN HARRIS © 2009

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) have set up a new website that explains a current project, which sets out to move the remains of more than 600 casualties from Pheasant Wood to new military cemetery at Fromelles for their reburial.

In May 2008, after several years of painstaking research and investigation, five burial pits dating from the First World War were identified at Pheasant Wood, near Fromelles in northern France.  The pits, which have lain undisturbed for more than 90 years, are believed to contain the remains of between 250 and 400 British and Australian soldiers, buried behind German lines after the Battle of Fromelles in July 1916.

The British and Australian governments have asked the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to oversee the operation to recover the remains and to create a new military cemetery at Fromelles for their reburial.  The work began in May 2009 and will be completed by July 2010.

The website explains that the attack at Fromelles took place during the night of 19th July 1916 and that by the time the action was called off in the morning, 5,533 Australians had either lost their lives or were wounded and missing.  The casualties amongst the British who fought alongside them were 1,547.

I think this is worthy project and a fitting way to commemorate those who suffered to make the world a better place.

9 Comments CherryPie on Jun 5th 2009

9 Responses to “Remembering Fromelles”

  1. A very worthy project indeed. How very sad it all is and how terrible for the families of those poor men.

  2. I agre it is a very worthy project. It will be good for them to have a dignified resting place

  3. jameshigham says:

    The way the commonwealth forces were utilized by the Brass was appalling. Hamilton was one of the worst culprits.

  4. —Archaeological investigations at Fromelles being unnecessarily compromised—

    The tragedy of Fromelles is being compounded because Great Britain and Australia are not prepared to keep faith with our Great War dead. Many unknowns from the battle are still being neglected and only a limited number of the missing from the actual battle are being unearthed, processed and identified. Relatives of the missing have also criticized the way the project is progressing and are becoming concerned there is a likelihood that inappropriate DNA techniques will be applied during the recovery operation.

    The contract for DNA testing has now been awarded and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission organized to oversee the full archaeological investigation, but the United Kingdom and Australian Government still ignore the plea of Fromelles Discussion Group to include all the aggregated remains of the 5th Division AIF from this particular attack in the project. Besides the 191 Australian Great War Diggers officially listed as being in the mass grave at Fromelles, there are supposed to be 1,131 unidentified bodies from this skirmish at VC Corner Military Cemetery as well as other cemeteries in the neighbouring district.

    Out of the 1,294 recorded on the VC Corner Australian Cemetery Memorial still said to be missing and unidentified, there are 410 at VC Corner Cemetery itself, 266 at Rue David Military Cemetery, 142 Ration Farm Military Cemetery, 120 at Auber’s Ridge British Cemetery, 72 “Y” Farm Military Cemetery, 52 Le Trou Aid Post Cemetery, 27 Rue du Bois Military Cemetery, 22 Rue-Petillon Military Cemetery, 10 Anzac Cemetery at Sailly-sur-la-Lys and 10 Sailly-sur-la-Lys Canadian Cemetery.

    The only way to recognize Australia’s debt to these gallant soldiers is to include them all in the project to ensure they are properly honoured and memorialized.