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New Fromelles cemetery begins to take shape

Fromelles-cemetary

Computer visualisation of how the cemetery will look once completed later this year
WORK has started on the new cemetery at Fromelles, in northern France, which will provide a final resting place for around 400 British and Australian soldiers.

The troops died during the Battle of Fromelles in July 1916, with the bodies buried in a number of pits by the German army in the hours after the battle.

A team of archaeologists are currently extracting the bodies and countless items of clothing and equipment and it is hoped that DNA techniques will enable as many of the soldiers as possible to be named and given an individual headstone.

The removal of remains is intricate work that involves very small archaeological tools and hand held metal detectors.

As they are recovered, the soldiers' remains are X-rayed and taken through an on-site temporary mortuary for scientific analysis and cataloguing.

Numerous artefacts have been found in association with the remains.

The majority of these are buckles, buttons, press studs and fragments of fabric from the 1908 pattern webbing equipment that both Australian and British soldiers wore at the Battle of Fromelles.

Families who believe their relatives may have lost their lives at Fromelles are urged to check the lists of casualties at www.fromelles.org.

The new cemetery at Fromelles is the first one in fifty years to be built by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and will be completed by December 2009.

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