Thursday, November 12, 2009

Australian Fromelles Project Group

The Australian Army has a unit called The Australian Fromelles Project Group which is engaged in trying to identify the exhumed remains of WW1 Australian soldiers buried along with British soldiers in a mass grave in Pheasant Wood, Fromelles, France. The dead were buried by German troops. Recently the discovery of German Red Cross records show that 163 men and probably 16 missing Western Australians were buried there.

The Army's Fromelles Project Group recently contacted the families of the missing soldiers and have asked for DNA from families in the hope of identifying the remains and eventually giving them a proper burial. Our friend Wendy has been asked for a DNA sample and the group is forwarding a DNA kit to her. It seems that female DNA is more viable in such cases.

DNA is not going to be conclusive in many cases and the group is also relying on discovered artifacts. One piece of clothing contained a rail ticket for the Perth-Fremantle line.

Wendy's Uncle, Adolf Knable was a 22 year old teacher when he volunteered for service in WW1. He was killed in what has been called 'the most costly and futile conflict ever involving Australian troops'.

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