Added 28 February
Pete Richardson, Secretary of the Royal British Legion Rheindahlen Branch in Germany and a new FFFAIF member has provided a Report on Our Second Trip to the Burial Services at Fromelles France and a Visit to Tyne Cot and Ypres that extends his previous report on the Reburial service of 30 January 2010 and his participation as a RBL Standard Bearer. Follow the links to see some very evocative photos of the re-burials in the snow and the young soldiers, Chaplains and RBL Standard Bearers who braved these conditions to honour the fallen of Fromelles.
Updated Monday 22 February 2010
Major General Mike O’Brien has indicated that the first group of Australian soldiers killed in the Battle of Fromelles and buried by the Germans at Pheasant Wood will be identified by Anzac Day. Click here to read: Fromelles dead to be revealed by Anzac Day.
The re-burial of 17 soldiers occurred on Friday 19 February 2010. This means that the remains of 249 of the 250 soldiers recovered from the burial pits at Pheasant Wood have been re-buried with military honours. The final re-burial will occur at the dedication of the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery on 19 July.
Photo: Arrival of hearse for the re-burial service
30 January 2010 [Johan Durnez]
The Families and Friends of the First AIF, on behalf the familes and friends of the soldiers who served in The Great War, wish to thank those who have contributed to the dignified re-burial of these soldiers.
Photo: Bearer Party [Mike Rimmer]
In particular, FFFAIF would like to thank the members of the Australian Federation Guard, the 1st Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusilliers, the 4th Battalion The Rifles, the Chaplains and Commonwealth War Graves Commission staff and Royal British Legion members who, with care and dignity, formed the Bearer Parties, the Firing Party and assisted in the re-burials in cold and difficult conditions.
Photo: Firing Party and Chaplains [CWGC]
Photo: Firing Party and Musicians [Ann Vanhaverbeke]
Photo: Royal British Legion Standard Bearers [Johan Durnez]
Thanks also go to the the Australian and British military personnel, the many support staff and dignitaries who have assisted in or facilitated the re-burial services.
Photo: Dignitaries at Re-burial Service 30 January 2010 [CWGC]
In addition, a special thank you to the residents of Fromelles, led by Mayor Hubert Huchette, for their committment to assisting in locating the “missing” soldiers, the recovery of their remains, the construction of the new Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery and the re-burial services and who have offerred to be the protectors of the burial pits at Pheasant Wood and the new Cemetery.
Photo: Mayor Hubert Huchette accompanies Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce, AC Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, Colonel Skowronski, Australian Military Attaché, His Excellency David Ritchie, Australian Ambassador and dignitaries November 2008 [Hubert Huchette]
Photo: Martial Delebarre (President Association Fromelles-Weppes-Terre de Memoire 14-18 (F.W.T.M. 14-18), Hubert Huchette (Mayor of Fromelles) and Francis Delattre (President de Union des Anciens Combattants – de l’UNC) [Carole Laignel]
Thanks also to the Association pour le Souvenir de la Bataille de Fromelles en 1916 / F.W.T.M., Fromelles Weppes Terre de Mémoire 1914-1918 who operate the Fromelles Museum and welcome visitors and explain the history of the Battle of Fromelles to them.
Photo: David Marshall, Jean Marie Bailleul, Vice Président de FWTM 14-18 and Martial Delbarre AM with the Australian flag presented to the Fromelles Museum by Mike Rimmer [Mike Rimmer]
Thanks also to the French Government and Officials and military, as well as to the French veterans of the l’Union Nationale des Combattants for their support.
Photo: l’Union Nationale des Combattants Standard Bearers
Photo: French soldiers’ honour guard for the Bearer Party with coffin [Mike Rimmer]
Finally, thanks are due to those who undertook the research, considered the evidence, participated in the archaeologcial digs, undertook the scientific analysis and the families who have enabled the soldiers to be recovered, re-buried with dignity with individual headstones and have provided the basis for returning the soldiers’ identity to them.
Photo: Lambis Englezos with Tim Whitford and Ward Selby
at Pheasant Wood [Lambis Englezos ]
Photo: Lambis Englezos with John Fielding at Pheasant Wood
[John Fielding ]
Photo: FFFAIF researchers Bruce Scates, Lambis Englezos, Sandra Playle, Tim Lycett, Tim Whitford, Jim Munro [Jim Munro]
Photo: Dr Tony Pollard with Roger Lee,
Major General Mike O’Brien, Dr Denise Donlon, Peter Barton,
Major General Paul Stevens (Rtd) [CWGC]
Photo: Tim Whitford examining Uncle Harry’s medallion with Frank Fremaux, Vice Président de FWTM14-18, Lambis Englezos and
Col. Peter Singh, June 2008 [CWGC]
Photo: Professor Richard Wright and Ambika Flavel as part of the Oxford Archaeology Team [Chris Munro]
Keep The Memory Alive – Lest We Forget.
Updated 20 February: February Re-burial Program Completed
The re-burial of 17 soldiers occurred on Friday 19 February 2010 means that the remains of 249 of the 250 soldiers recovered from the burial pits at Pheasant Wood have been re-buried with military honours. The final re-burial will occur at the dedication of the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery on 19 July.
On Wednesday 17 February, 18 soldiers were re-buried with military honours.
The 4th Battalion The Rifles replaced the 1st Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusilliers and 26 soldiers were re-buried with military honours on Monday 15 February. The Rifles is a Regiment of the British Army formed in 1 February 2007 by the amalgamation of four Light Infantry and Rifle Regiments. The 4th Battalion is the redesignation of the 2nd Battalion Royal Green Jackets.
30 soldiers were re-buried with military honours on Friday 12 February, bringing to completion the duties of the 1st Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusilliers.
On Wednesday 10 February, 24 soldiers were re-buried with military honours in freezing cold and snow.
On a cold and drizzly Monday, 8 February, 35 soldiers were re-buried with military honours.
On Friday the re-burial of soldiers killed at the Battle of Fromelles whose remains were recovered from the burial pits at Pheasant Wood continued in showery and cold weather. See photos taken during the re-burial of soldiers on Friday 5 February in RECENT NEWS Item: Friday re-burials
See photos taken during the re-burial of 34 soldiers on Wednesday 3 February in RECENT NEWS Item: 34 soldiers re-buried
The Last Post is sounded on the cornet of the 31st Battalion AIF
The cornet presented to the 31st Battalion in August 1915 has been sounding the Last Post and the Rouse at the re-burial of soldiers killed at the Battle of Fromelles whose remains were recovered from the burial pits at Pheasant Wood. Read RECENT NEWS Item: Last Post on Cornet for the story behind how this came about.
See photos taken during the re-burial of 30 soldiers on Monday 1 February in RECENT NEWS Item: Burials continue …
The reinterment of the first of the Australian and British soldiers in the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery
on Saturday 30 January, 2010
FFFAIF Members Johan Durnez and Anny de Decker travelled from Belgium to Fromelles for the service on 30 January, 2010. Read Johan’s account of the service in RECENT NEWS Item: Fromelles burials begin.
FFFAIF member Carole Laignel, who is also Secretary, Fromelles Museum (Fromelles Weppes Terre de Mémoire 1914-1918), has sent a photo report of the service that may be seen in RECENT NEWS Item: Fromelles Service.
The Commonwealth War Graves Comission has released video footage of the re-burial service at the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Cemetery on 30 January 2010. To view the CWGC coverage of the service, follow the links in RECENT NEWS Item: Re-burial video.
The military funeral at the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery has had extensive coverage in the media. Follow the links in RECENT NEWS Items: Fromelles media reports and Fromelles Media #2 to see this coverage.
A number of videos have appeared on YouTube featuring the military funeral for the reinterment of the first of the 250 Australian and British soldiers in the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery on Saturday 30 January, 2010. View these in RECENT NEWS Item: Fromelles on YouTube.
A number of web-sites provide an overview of the Battle of Fromelles, the search for the “missing” soldiers, the archaeological digs and the recovery and re-burial services. Click on RECENT NEWS Item: Key Fromelles Websites for links to these web-sites.
The background to the Battle of Fromelles is covered in two RESEARCH postings:
Background to the Battle of Fromelles Part 1: 1915 and the Battle of Aubers Ridge
Background to the Battle of Fromelles Part 1: 1916 and the Battle of the Somme
The soldiers thought to be buried at Pheasant Wood were most likely killed in or behind the German front line and were buried by the Germans after they returned to their original front line on 20 July 1916. The identity tags and personal effects of the soldiers were removed by the Germans and returned to the families in Australia through the International Red Cross and Australian Red Cross in March 1917. For details of how to access the list of 191 names on the “working list”, follow the links in NEWS Item: *Fromelles Missing list.
The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, The Hon. Alan Griffin MP announced that viable DNA samples had been obtained from the remains of more than 90% of the soldiers recovered from Pheasant Wood. To find out more about DNA techniques, follow the links in NEWS Item: *DNA and Family Trees.
Johan Durnez took Ozzie the kangaroo to the Fromelles service as part of enabling Belgian school students to better appreciate the contribution Australians made in the Great War and to learn more about Australia through the Ozzie Wozzie Project. Ozzie appeared in some of her first photos and in the news reports on television. Johan now provides more details of Ozzie in RECENT NEWS Item: Ozzie’s Digger tribute.