The final resting place of the recently identified member of the ‘Zonnebeke Five’, Private Storey, was re-dedicated yesterday with the unveiling of a new headstone.
The discovery of the identity of Private Storey was featured in August RECENT NEWS item, 3 out of 5 @ Zonnebeke .
Photo: ‘Zonnebeke 5′ graves, Buttes New British Cemetery, Belgium – May 2008
The Australian Government’s Department of Defence Media release gives these details of the service:
RE-DEDICATION OF HEADSTONE FOR AUSTRALIAN WWI SOLDIER BURIED IN BELGIUM: PRIVATE STOREY IDENTITY CONFIRMED
WHO: Relatives of the late Private George Storey, including his two nephews Geoffrey and David Storey; Australian Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, the Hon Warren Snowdon MP; Senior Army Representative, Major General Mike O’Brien.
WHAT: Re-dedication of Private Storey’s headstone, which currently reads ‘Known unto God’.
WHERE: Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood, Belgium
WHEN: 2.45pm for 3pm start, Tuesday 30 September 2008
In October 2007, the remains of five Australian soldiers who fell during the Battle of Polygon Wood in 1917 were re-interred in a moving ceremony with full-military honours at the Buttes New British Cemetery, Belgium. The remains of these soldiers were discovered in 2006 during excavation works near the village of Westhoek.
Prior to burial, DNA matching was able to confirm the identity of two of those soldiers; Private John Hunter and Sergeant George Calder. The remaining three soldiers were interred under individual headstones marked ‘Known unto God’. However, their DNA profiles were retained in the hope that a future match may provide the necessary evidence to confirm their identities.
Advances in DNA technology resulted last month in the confirmation of the identity of Private George Richard Storey. He was killed in action on 30 September 1917, and 91 years later members of Private Storey’s family, along with the Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, will witness the re-dedication of his headstone in a short graveside ceremony.