flanders_poppyEarlier this month saw the commencement of DNA testing on the remains of hundreds of Australian and British WW1 Soldiers whose remains were discovered last year in mass graves at Fromells.

The testing program sets out to identify the individuals that have been killed in combat and will be the largest undertaking of this kind to date.

From the press release:

The group burial in Fromelles was confirmed during a limited excavation in May 2008 and it is thought that between 250 and 300 Australian and British soldiers were buried there by German forces after the Battle of Fromelles, which took place in 1916.

The decision to start full-scale DNA testing has been made after a successful pilot study which tested a cross-section of the Fromelles remains. Samples were taken from the teeth and bones of remains found in different parts of the burial sites to assess the overall quality and quantity of DNA that could be expected to be obtained.

A full archaeological excavation of the site is expected to be completed by the end of September and an identification board will convene in March 2010 to consider the available evidence that may lead to the identification of individual soldiers.

As well as the remains of bodies, the archaeological excavation has already resulted in the discovery of several items, including uniform adornments, such as belt hooks and vegetable ivory buttons, which are particular to certain uniforms and will assist in identifying whether individuals are of British or Australian nationality.

Following the formal identifications the soldiers will be laid to rest with the due dignity they deserve.

8 Comments CherryPie on Aug 26th 2009

8 Responses to “More on Fromelles”

  1. mutley says:

    Thanks to you for caring…

  2. Phidelm says:

    Thank you for this information, Cherie.

  3. jameshigham says:

    Whatever outsiders might think, closure is a very important thing and so it’s good that this be done.

  4. Spent some time on the links you provided – a fascinating read. To think after all these years peace and respect at last for these precious souls…