Pheasant Wood, Fromelles.

Discussion in 'Prewar' started by Capt.Sensible, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. Nicola_G

    Nicola_G Senior Member

    I heard something on the radio today about remains from the Battle of Fremell (sp) in WW1 being reburied in the Fremell Commonwealth grave with military honours. Have I understood this correctly and can someone tell me a bit more about it please as I came in at the end of the report.

    Thanks
     
  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    I heard something on the radio today about remains from the Battle of Fremell (sp) in WW1 being reburied in the Fremell Commonwealth grave with military honours. Have I understood this correctly and can someone tell me a bit more about it please as I came in at the end of the report.

    Thanks

    Nicola I've merged your post with an old thread and here's a couple of links to recent bbc news items

    BBC News - Prince Charles attends last Fromelles soldier reburial
    BBC News - Fromelles dead offer reminder of 'preciousness of life'
     
  3. Nicola_G

    Nicola_G Senior Member

    Great, thanks!!
     
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    A bit of info on CWGC's latest/newest War Cemetery.

    In the early evening of 19 July 1916, near the village of Fromelles, in northern France, two infantry divisions newly arrived on the Western Front, the 5th Australian and British 61st (South Midland) attacked a 4,000 yard section of the German frontline centred on a notorious strongpoint called the "Sugar Loaf". Advancing over unfavourable ground, in clear view of resolute and expectant defenders, the attackers suffered terrible casualties in a matter of minutes. The action turned into a bloody catastrophe - the Australians had over 5,500 killed, wounded and missing; 61st Division reported over 1,500 killed, wounded and missing. No tactical advantages resulted from the action and it remains the worst day in Australian military history. For a more in-depth account of the 1916 Battle of Fromelles visit www.cwgc.org/fromelles. Due for completion in July 2010, Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery is the first new war cemetery to be built by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in fifty years. The cemetery contains 250 Australian and British soldiers, whose remains were recovered in 2009 from a number of mass graves located behind nearby Pheasant Wood, where they had been buried by the Germans following the disastrous battle of Fromelles on 19 and 20 July 1916. The cemetery will be officially dedicated on 19 July 2010 and was designed by Barry Edwards.

    CWGC :: Cemetery Details

    I noticed they have not attached an image of the cemetery yet.
     
  5. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

  7. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    What a great and touching program.

    Bamboo.
     
  8. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    The closing moments of this documentary could not fail to leave you with a tear in your eye.
     
  9. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    One of Channel 4's best. I wonder why the Aussie bodies were identified but no British so far?

    Mike
     
  10. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

    One of Channel 4's best. I wonder why the Aussie bodies were identified but no British so far?

    Mike

    My thoughts exactly, they did say their having trouble with relatives coming forward for DNA and they do have another 4 years to go.
    Exellent building of the cemetary.
    Rob
     
  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I was intrigued by the ground in the cemetery the film footage was quick but it appeared as though they laid different layers of material under the grass before buring the men.

    Anyone know what they did to the ground before the burials took place? It looked like a layer of gravel and another of sand was put down before the turf?
     
  12. Vitesse

    Vitesse Senior Member

    One of Channel 4's best. I wonder why the Aussie bodies were identified but no British so far?

    Mike
    Agreed. A very well done programme. I suspect the lack of British identifications is down to the way it's been reported here: in everything I've seen most of the emphasis has seemed to be on the ANZACs. Perhaps this will help.
     
  13. Cobber

    Cobber Senior Member

    One of many reports in Aussie media today.

    Article from
    news .com.au/
    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/national/buried-with-dignity-last-lost-australian-soldier-laid-to-rest-with-honours/story-e6freooo-122589433173


    Diggers' words echo across former Fromelles battlefield, as soldiers are laid to rest



    [​IMG]
    The ceremonial re-burial of Australian and British soldiers recovered from mass graves near the site of 1916 battle of Fromelles in France. Picture: Getty Source: Getty Images



    AS the French sun beat down on the former battlefield of Fromelles, relatives of Diggers who died there listened to the words of loved ones.

    “We left trench at 2am. I had a good sleep after the bombardment, but I was terribly nervous,” wrote Private Henry Alfred Cressy in his diary on July 18, 1916.
    “We got into our billets about 5.30am. My brother and John Brown and I went for breakfast which we had, composed of eggs and cakes. I got three little pieces of shell out of my head.”
    Letters and diaries written by some of the Australian and British soldiers who fought and died in one of World War I's bloodiest and briefest battles were read aloud as 250 of them were laid to rest in the new Fromelles Military Cemetery.
    The Battle of Fromelles, in northern France, represents the worst 24 hours in Australian military history, with 5533 diggers killed, wounded or captured.
    Last night the final 250 soldiers whose bodies were discovered in a mass grave in 2007 received a ceremonial reburial.
    Ninety-six of the soldiers - all Australian - have been identified through DNA testing, and have been given tombstones inscribed with their names. A further 109 soldiers have been confirmed as having served in the Australian army and three were British soldiers.
    The remaining 42 have been classified as unknown and their headstones read: “A soldier of the Great War. Known unto God.”
    Their bravery and optimism of those who fought at Fromelles can be heard in their words, read to dignitaries and family members who had travelled to France.
    “In a couple of days we are taking part in a great offensive,” said Lieutenant Eric Harding Chinner in a letter to his brother.
    “We are the first to go over the parapet. I'm not afraid. Of course I'm a bit shaky, but not very scared.”
    Their letters, such as this one Corporal Frank Steed wrote to his wife Alice and their daughter Jean, were often the last their families ever heard from them.
    “Dear wife and girlie, you are both very much in my thoughts lately, perhaps this will be the last chance for a while I will have of writing to you, so I'd like to say a few things in case I get put out of action for a while,” he wrote.
    “I know what the cost is to you, and how deeply you will feel, but remember we are not and never will be separated. We may be perhaps out of sight of one another but our spirits will always be together. And I want you to always think that, and bring up our darling to think the same.
    “I don't want you to point me out to her as an angel without wings. You know me better than that. But try to point out to her that I was only one of thousands who were prepared to do their duty at all costs.
    “And if I have had to pay the great sacrifice while my heart aches for you both, I will have done so willingly, knowing that it is only for a while and that the night will end.”
    On July 19, 1916 they went over the top. The German machine guns decimated their ranks.
    “At noon there was a rollcall,” wrote an Australian private.
    “We went into action two score hours previously, a virgin regiment at full strength. 97 answered their names - 97 out of a thousand - and all practically within half an hour.
    “Our neighbouring regiment, the 60th, fared even worse. Less than 80 answering their names out of 1000.”
    Many of their bodies were never recovered, and families at home were left waiting and wondering.
    That is, until a mass grave was discovered near Fromelles in 2007.
    It contained the bodies of 250 allied soldiers who have now been reinterred in the new cemetery, and in some cases given their identity back.
    The Australian and British governments are encouraging more families who think their relatives might have been among the soldiers found at Fromelles to come forward.
    As Governor-General Quentin Bryce said in her speech to the relatives at the burial of the last of the 250 soldiers on Monday: “We are here to observe the end of a long silence”.
    AAP
     
    CL1 likes this.
  14. Cobber

    Cobber Senior Member

    Taken from news.com.au/
    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/national/buried-with-dignity-last-lost-australian-soldier-laid-tp-rest-with-honours/story-e6freooo-122589433173

    A second news report I offer, at the botttom of this report is a story of another Aussie from a different battle who also has been identified and buried recently.


    Buried with dignity - Last lost Australian soldier laid to rest with honours

    [​IMG]
    Australia's Governor General Quentin Bryce and Prince Charles follow the coffin of the unknown Australian soldier / AP Source: AP

    [​IMG]
    Soldiers lead the procession carrying the unknown soldier to his final resting place. Picture: Penny Bradfield. Source: The Daily Telegraph

    [​IMG]
    The Duchess of Cornwall and Michael Bryce also pay their respects. Picture: Jayne Russell Source: The Daily Telegraph






    [​IMG]
    Prince Charles, pictured with Quentin Bryce, said he was humbled to be at the service / AP Source: AP




    NO ONE knows how bravely he faced certain death on the body-strewn battlefield, or how his family waited in vain for his return.

    But yesterday, in front of 6000 mourners, an unknown soldier killed in Australia's bloodiest 24-hours - and then abandoned for almost a century in a mass grave in northern France - was finally reburied with the respect his sacrifice deserved.
    His name is not known but he was the last of the 250 Australian and British WWI soldiers laid to rest since being recovered earlier this year from a mass grave in the village of Fromelles.
    The British Army Horse Guard that carried Princess Diana at her funeral delivered the remains of the last soldier to the Fromelles Cemetery.
    In an act of sombre respect, Australian Governor-General Quentin Bryce and the Prince of Wales walked behind the coffin as it travelled through the farming village.
    "I am profoundly humbled by the outstanding bravery of these men, who fought so valiantly," Prince Charles said.

    A grassy hillside with lavender and red roses planted between white headstones was the new home for the 250 soldiers who vanished on a horror night in 1916 and lay forgotten in a muddy field.
    Some have their identity. All now have their dignity.
    Among the mourners at the emotional ceremony was Caroline Woodward, 51, of Hamilton, western Victoria, the grandniece of famed Australian soldier Simon Fraser who sprinted into no man's land to rescue his injured mates at Fromelles.
    "This means even more to me as my son is in the army and is going to Afghanistan later this year," she said.
    The lost soldiers owe their discovery to the advocacy of amateur historian and Melbourne schoolteacher Lambis Englezos.
    "It is reassuring for us to know they are in the care of a village that will love and protect them. Our boys are in good hands," Mr Englezos said yesterday.
    The first 249 soldiers were buried at the new cemetery - which is located about ten miles west of the northern French city of Lille - in January and February.

    The burial of the 250th soldier was held back until the anniversary of the battle yesterday.
    As the last Aussie was laid to rest at Fromelles, preparations were under way in Belgium for another Australian soldier to be buried there, 90 years after he died in the trenches of WWI.
    Alan James Mather, 37, of Inverell, was identified by DNA last month after historians found his remains under the site of a German barrage in Ploegsteert, Belgium.
    The Australian Army will bury Private Mather with full military honours at the Prowse Point Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery in Ploegsteert, Belgium, on Thursday
     
  15. Cobber

    Cobber Senior Member

    See the Aussies are still using the L1A1 SLR as a weapon of choice for ceremonial duties. Good to see the Brits using the SA 80, yet something in me says I'd like to see Brit Ceremonial Guards to have a nice looking SMLE 303, maybe even a chromed barrel version.
     
  16. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    I was intrigued by the ground in the cemetery the film footage was quick but it appeared as though they laid different layers of material under the grass before buring the men.

    Anyone know what they did to the ground before the burials took place? It looked like a layer of gravel and another of sand was put down before the turf?

    The original Glasgow report said the ground where the mass graves were was impossible to plough, the machinery just got stuck.

    In constructing the cemetery, they had to sink piles up to 7 m deep, it was mentioned on one of the TV reports. There is something on this page:

    Wapedia - Wiki: Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery
     
  17. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    a nice looking SMLE 303,

    That would be good.

    maybe even a chromed barrel version.
    Ant that would look awful :huh:
     
  18. Cobber

    Cobber Senior Member

    That would be good.

    Ant that would look awful :huh:

    I agree; I forgot to edit it and by the time i remembered you had pointed it out.:D
     
  19. Capt.Sensible

    Capt.Sensible Well-Known Member

    I was intrigued by the ground in the cemetery the film footage was quick but it appeared as though they laid different layers of material under the grass before buring the men.

    Anyone know what they did to the ground before the burials took place? It looked like a layer of gravel and another of sand was put down before the turf?
    Hi Drew,

    The location for the cemetery was rather boggy and a fair amount of material was removed and replaced with various forms of aggregates and membranes.

    H
     
  20. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    Agreed. A very well done programme. I suspect the lack of British identifications is down to the way it's been reported here: in everything I've seen most of the emphasis has seemed to be on the ANZACs. Perhaps this will help.
    I think most of the fallen were Australian anyway. But I agree more effort could have been made over here, perhaps the program will go some way to correct that. There is already a comment on the Channel 4 website about someone who's relative died in the battle and is now asking who to contact. There was another suggestion they put a list on that website.
     

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