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Fromelles fallen find - further Australia and France links


In March 2010, the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs announced the results of the first Joint Identification Board held to identify the remains of 250 Australian and British soldiers killed during the battle of Fromelles on the night of 19/20 July 1916.

The remains were recovered from a recently discovered mass grave at Pheasant Wood where 203 were identified as Australians, and through DNA testing, 75 were identified by name.

Escavation work began in May 2009 and the remains will be reinterred in individual graves at the new Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery, to be known as the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery. This will be the first such cemetery to be constructed in 50 years.

A final burial will take place during a ceremony to mark the 94th anniversary of the battle on 19 July 2010. The first of soldiers who died during the Battle of Fromelles in 1916, whose remains were recovered from a mass grave was reburied on 30 January 2010 during a military ceremony.

The Australian War Memorial describes the Battle of Fromelles as the 'worst 24 hours in Australia's entire history'.

This is just another of the continuing links between France and Australia related to WW1. When the French village of Villers-Bretonneux was almost destroyed by the Germans during the war, Victorian school children donated money to rebuild its school. 

When the children of Villers-Bretonneux heard about the Black Saturday bushfires that devasted Victoria in February 2009, the village raised $21,000 to donate to the bushfire appeal.

See also facts about Australians in France during WW1 and information about the Somme/Fromelles as well as a later update on more graves found.

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