During the First World War, 250 soldiers were buried behind enemy lines in unmarked mass graves on the outskirts of the village of Fromelles, Northern France. They were among several thousand Australian and British soldiers who were killed in the Battle of Fromelles on the 19th and 20th July 1916, the first action on the Western Front to involve the Australian Imperial Force.
'Remember me to all': The archaeological recovery and identification of soldiers who fought and died in the Battle of Fromelles, 1916, by Louise Loe, Caroline Barker, Kate Brady, Margaret Cox and Helen Webb, describes Oxford Archaeology's contribution to a joint Australian and British government mission, under the management of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, to recover the soldiers and re-bury them with full military honours in a new Commonwealth War Graves cemetery in Fromelles.
Bringing together an international team of forensic and investigative professionals, Oxford Archaeology excavated and scientifically examined the remains of the soldiers and items – remnants of uniforms, insignia, and poignant mementoes of home, among them a return rail ticket and a heart-shaped leather pouch – buried with them. With the full support and cooperation of the soldiers' families, this evidence was employed alongside DNA and historical sources in an attempt to identify the soldiers by name for their commemoration on headstones.
The book, priced at £25, can be purchased from Oxbow Books.