11th April 2013:

The Australian memorial at Fromelles

A further five Australian soldiers, who were killed at the Battle of Fromelles in northern France during the First World War, were named at the annual Joint Identification Board meeting in London. This brings the number of Australian soldiers identified by name to 124, almost half the number of individuals recovered. In addition, 89 soldiers have been identified as Australian, two have been identified as British, while 35 individuals have been buried as soldiers 'Known unto God'.

The soldiers’ remains were recovered during the excavation of mass graves at Pheasant Wood by a multi-disciplinary team of experts led by OA South. The identifications were made possible through a range of historical, artefactual and anthropological evidence collected during the excavation, as well as comparison of DNA extracted from the soldiers’ remains with that of their living descendants.

Warren Snowdon MP, Australian Minister for Veterans Affairs, announced that headstones engraved with the names of the identified soldiers will be erected by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission at the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) military cemetery ahead of the annual commemoration of the Battle of Fromelles on 19th July.

Efforts to identify more of the soldiers continue, with the last joint identification board meeting planned for next year.