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More Evidence Of A Mass Grave At Fromelles

Minister for Defence Media Mail List

THE HON. WARREN SNOWDON MP
Minister for Defence Science and Personnel

Friday, 30 May 2008
065/2008

More Evidence Of A Mass Grave Uncovered At Fromelles

The Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, the Hon. Warren Snowdon MP, confirmed today that human remains have now been uncovered in three of the five suspected World War I mass grave sites at Pheasant Wood in Northern France.

The initial announcement was made onsite by Senior Australian Army Representative, Major General Mike O’Brien, who is overseeing the limited excavation of what is believed to be a WWI burial ground of up to 400 Australian and British soldiers.

“I have been informed more remains have been discovered on part of the Fromelles site designated as Pit 1,” Mr Snowdon said.

“The skeletal find was at a similar depth to the first discovery of human remains, which lay in Pit 5.

“Also, closer to the surface in Pit 1, the team uncovered remnants of a Commonwealth pattern brass strap end and stud which may indicate Australian or British identity.

“As the day progressed, the team continued to widen the excavation trench in Pit 5, and more human bones were discovered along with fragments of material which could indicate clothing.

“At around 5pm (CET) the team also discovered the first remains located in Pit 2, and are now confident of finding human remains in all of the five suspected mass graves,” Mr Snowdon said.

During the unearthing of the skeletal remains, and at a slightly higher level, fist-sized lumps of lime, which was commonly used in burials during WWI, were encountered and recovered.

With cooperation from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and French and British authorities, the limited excavation proceeds with the overall intent to confirm the presence or otherwise, quantity and condition of remains across the entire site.

Public Inquiries: 1800 019 090 or at the Defence Fromelles website http://www.defence.gov.au/fromelles


ENDS

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