The unquiet grave: exhuming and reburying the dead of Fromelles

Bruce Charles Scates

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    On 19 July 2010, a party of soldiers lifted a coffin onto what served as a symbolic gun carriage and began a slow journey to a cemetery less than a kilometre away. The remains were the last to be removed from a mass grave entombing 250 soldiers of the Great War. As the tarnished buttons and bronze shoulder straps told us, most were Australian. But archaeologists also wrested shreds of British uniform from dark earth shadowed by a stretch of woodland. It had taken 17 weeks to carefully excavate all the bodies, many months more to catalogue thousands of relics and belongings and over a year to identify some of these men’s descendants. This last coffin, like all that preceded it, would be buried in a cemetery bearing the name of the place where these men were first buried – Pheasant Wood.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationBattlefield Events
    Subtitle of host publicationLandscapes, Commemoration and Heritage
    EditorsKeir Reeves, Geoffrey R Bird, Laura James, Birger Stichelbaut, Jean Bourgeois
    Place of PublicationAbingdon Oxon UK
    Number of pages15
    ISBN (Print)9781138900592
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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