Snow in Polygon Wood

Johan Vandewalle, who operates the ANZAC Rest (de Dreve) cafe at Polygon Wood and was a key person in the recovery of the 5 Australian soldiers at Zonnebecke and the subsequent identification of 3 of them, has sent the following photographs of Buttes New British Cemetery, Belgium. Johan is a civil engineer by profession who has developed his expertise in tunnelling and is a co-author of the authoritative book Beneath Flanders Fields: The Tunnellers’ War 1914-1918 along with British Historian Peter Barton and Professor Peter Doyle, Visiting Professor in Geosciences at University College London.

Photo: Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood, Belgium,
22 December 2009 [Johan Vandewalle] 

Photo: Snow-covered graves at Buttes New British Cemetery
[Johan Vandewalle] 

Photo: Snow-covered graves at Buttes New British Cemetery and snow on the Butte and surrounding the 5th Aust Div Memorial, Polygon Wood [Johan Vandewalle] 

Photo: Headstones of the Zonnebeke 5 with two unidentified Australians, Pte George Storey, Pte John Hunter and Sgt George Calder, Buttes New British Cemetery [Johan Vandewalle] 

Photo: Not identified but not forgotten: Headstone of one of the two unidentified Australians of the Zonnebeke 5 [Johan Vandewalle] 

Photo: Commrades committed to a common cause: graves of two unidentified soldiers, a Canadian soldier and a New Zealand soldier at Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood [Johan Vandewalle]


The Families and Friends of the First AIF applauds the joint Australian–UK decision, announced by The Hon Greg Combet AM MP and the Hon Kevan Jones MP, to conduct a full DNA testing program on the remains of Australian and British soldiers found in mass graves at Pheasant Wood (Fromelles), and for their continuing commitment to identify as many of the fallen as is possible. We also thank the Australian, UK and French governments for affording dignified individual reburials for these soldiers, buried by German soldiers following the Battle of Fromelles on 19/20 July 1916, in the new Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery presently under construction at Fromelles.

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