22nd July 2022:
This week saw the launch of Fromelles: Naming the Dead, the Scientists’ Story, published by Big Sky Publishing. The book tells the story of the excavation and identification of Australian soldiers who were killed in the First World War during the Battle of Fromelles in northern France in 1916.
In 2009, a team of archaeologists and forensic anthropologists led by Oxford Archaeology excavated six mass graves adjacent to Pheasant Wood near the village of Fromelles. A total of 250 soldiers were recovered and, using a combination of anthropological and DNA evidence, 166 soldiers were identified. All the soldiers were reburied in a new Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in the village.
Fromelles: Naming the Dead has been written by the principal scientists involved in the project, Margaret Cox, Peter Jones, and OA’s Louise Loe. In addition to telling the story of the excavation and identification of the soldiers, the book explores the lives of some of the identified soldiers and the wider context of their families. The book follows the technical report, ‘Remember Me to All’, which was published by Oxford Archaeology in 2014.
On the 106th anniversary of the battle, the authors returned to the site for a launch event hosted by the Museum of the Battle of Fromelles to talk about the excavation and subsequent analysis and identification work, and to sign copies of the book.
(l to r) Lambis Englezos, who led the campaign to investigate and excavate the graves, with book authors Peter Jones, Margaret Cox and Louise Loe