15 May 2010 Dedication of CWGC Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery
Forensic tests conducted by LGC Logistics have led to additional identifications at Fromelles, with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission lately announcing a new UK publication relating to the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Cemetery Project and the continuance of the work of the Joint Identification Board until 2014. The dedication of the cemetery will take place on Monday 19 July 2010, but there still appears to be a desire to control access and attendance at the ceremony, as the CWGC is promoting a ticketing system for the event. Relatives interested in attending are now being requested to order free tickets from Britain's Service Personnel and Veteran's Agency, even if they have already registered elsewhere. Email address for applications is: SPVA-Events@MOD.UK.
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MISSING OF FROMELLES DISCUSSION GROUP
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In Memory of the Fallen: A German Death Card from WWI - Typical of cards printed to honour those who served their country and died.
Fromelles will either define Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister of Australia and ensure his place in this country's military history, or it will imperil the vision of the Federal Labor Party which he leads, and show him to be just as conservative as his predecessor, particularly in the area of veterans' affairs and defence policy and how it relates to the recovery of missing armed forces personnel.
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In attempting to lobby for greater transparency and public debate we mean no disrespect to the dead or their relatives, who still strive to honour the extraordinary feats of courage performed on such battlefields and to keep the memory of their bravery alive to engender respect from succeeding generations.
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Since the authorities seem so reluctant to give full effect to the Charter of the CWGC and the treaties negotiated to protect Australia's war dead and have actually worked to emasculate that organization, perhaps the British and Australian governments should now support the reinstatement of the corporations full powers or establish a new body to undertake investigation and recovery operations. Jointly funded, such a body could examine reports of war graves from past conflicts (particularly as there are suggestions that other Great War mass graves remain undiscovered on the Western Front), and search for the remains of the fallen as well as focus on their recovery, identification and reinterment.
Learn about the American JOINT POW-MIA ACCOUNTING COMMAND (JPAC) dedicated to the recovery and identification of the missing from past U.S. conflicts. Find JPAC.s Home Page at www.jpac.pacom.mil.
Mark Knight is a multiple Walkley award-winning cartoonist with the Herald Sun. Herald Sun cartoons and caricatures can be purchased through the Herald Sun Shop.
Extracted from Volume III—The Australian Imperial Force in France, 1916 with permission of the Australian War Memorial which has digitized the 12-volume series titled The Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-1918 edited by official historian, C. E. W. Bean.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Campaign map posted on rememberingIfromelles, a new website designed by the CWGC to provide regular updates on the progress of the Fromelles cemetery and to enable the Fromelles Media Centre to enhance the corporation’s public profile with respect to the dig at Pheasant Wood. http://www.cwgc.org/fromelles/?page=english/battle-history/campaign_map
Campaigners for War Grave Commemorations
Dedicated to the identification and commemoration of those missing from Commonwealth War Graves Commission registers and the correction of erroneous service details. http://www.cwgc.co.uk/
THE MISSING SOLDIERS OF FROMELLES DISCUSSION GROUP Dedicated to remembering and understanding the sacrifice of Australia's war dead during the Battle of Fromelles. We believe that when found the soldiers who vanished without trace after the ill-planned diversion at Fromelles, should be wrested from the ground and as a result, we intend to continue to lobby the Australian Government to achieve this goal. We recommend the Commonwealth War Graves Commission individually recover, identify where possible and rebury, the remains of these casualties, however lengthy and inconclusive the process. The Charter of the CWGC and the treaties it negotiated with affiliate nations since the end of the Great War, dictate this be done respectfully and earnestly and with the greatest reverence and dignity. We reserve the right to edit posts and contributions for content and length and request that all emailed comments are fairly presented and balanced. To further these goals and to help lobby for the application of world's best practice in forensic archaeology at Pheasant Wood, members offer the following contact details: Email info@FromellesDiscussionGroup.com, http://www.FromellesDiscussionGroup.com.
Media contact is welcome at media@FromellesDiscussionGroup.com, as is communication from relatives and descendants who might want to impart or exchange information, photographs and news.
28 November 2009 Bavarian World War I records examined
First World War historian and co-secretary of the British All-Party Parliamentary War Graves & Battlefields Heritage Group, Peter Barton has located evidence in Munich’s Bavarian archives of a further 35 mass graves. During a video interview with Europe correspondent Paola Totaro, Barton refers to his examination of the German World War I records, although his findings come as no surprise to Fromelles Discussion Group which continues to campaign for the Australian Government to establish a permanent accounting command. Titled The History Detectives, the film of Barton is posted on the War Graves & Battlefields Heritage website, as is other material relating to the International Committee of the Red Cross including a copy of Barton’s 48 page report on Geneva and various other items of interest, that can be sourced through http://www.wargravesheritage.org.uk/.
10 August 2009 Viable DNA samples found at Fromelles
The Australian and British governments have announced that a full DNA testing programme will be undertaken on remains being exhumed at Pheasant Wood after examination of a cross section of Fromelles soldiers confirmed viable DNA samples could be collected from the fallen. Greg Combet, Australia’s current Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science has suggested the full analysis and matching of DNA will proceed and that descendants registered with the Australian Army who are considered to be the best chance of supporting identification will be contacted shortly. Further information relating to the DNA testing is expected to be released, as is the report containing the results of the pilot study and background on the other anthropological, archaeological, historical and scientific techniques being used during the excavation.
7 July 2009 Fromelles DIG in doubt
London-based correspondent Poala Totaro has raised serious concerns about the Fromelles dig, claiming the recovery project is in crisis. Rudd and the new Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiél and Science Greg Combet, have denied suggestions that archaeologists were cutting corners and defended Oxford Archaeology, but preceding the latest revelations the public had already been warned the head of Adelaide University’s Centre for Ancient DNA was concerned the prospects of DNA identification might be compromised if inappropriate forensic techniques are employed. The problems reported by Totaro included the jettisoning of hand sieving, heavy rain, silting and the lack of a contingency plan for drainage and toxic groundwater dispersal—all of which obviously affect the extraction process and the quality of results that might be obtained from old, degraded DNA.
3 April 2009 191 Great War Diggers named
On 2 April 2009, Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, the Hon Warren Snowdon MP, released a list of First AIF soldiers believed to be buried at Pheasant Wood. Compiled by Professor Peter Dennis, the list is not considered to be definitive and may in fact need to be amended as further information comes to light. This is not the first occasion the number of Australians involved in the group burial at Fromelles has been revised and consequently it is imperative the Commonwealth Government moves to support the Red Cross digitization project and establishes a permanent JPAC style operation to assist with recovery and identification on an ongoing basis. Following is a link to the LIST OF SOLDIERS on the website of the Defence Department, http://www.defence.gov.au/fromelles/files/buried.pdf.
VC Corner is unique as it is the only all-Australian cemetery on the Western Front. Located in the village of Fromelles 16 kilometres west of Lillie, the cemetery contains nearly 400 unidentified bodies from the Battle of Fromelles which occurred on the 19th and 20th of July, 1916. Panels commemorating the missing are inscribed with the names of those soldiers who died during this misguided attack.
The Menin Gate Memorial in Flanders and the Thiepval Memorial on the Somme are the two main monuments commemorating the missing of the British Empire during the Great War. Situated close to the Thiepval Memorial is a cemetery with its Cross of Sacrifice dedicated to the memory of the dead, their common sacrifice and eternal comradeship.
(Click to enlarge) PHOTOGRAPH: 3331 Sgt. E. A. Jentsch, 53rd Battalion, 14th Brigade, KIA-One of the missing from the Battle of Fromelles on 19th July 1916, believed to be buried at Pheasant Wood. [The Fromelles Discussion Group acknowledges the support of the AWM in providing this image for use on its website and requests items from this source not be reproduced as the material is reserved].
(Click to enlarge) PHOTOGRAPH: Ashfield Bowling Club Roll of Honour-Located in Ashfield, NSW, this memorial names the sons of members who served during WWI. Included among the names is a number whom are listed as having died or been killed in action, including Sgt. E. A. Jentsch, KIA during the Battle of Fromelles, which took such a heavy toll of the 5th Division. [Image courtesy of the AWM which reserves the rights to this donated print].
Lest we forget Australia's missing
Reviewed by The Border Mail on Friday, August 29, 2008, "Forging the ANZAC Tradition-The Untold Story" depicts Australia's involvement in the Great War with an historical accuracy attained by few films. Produced by award-winning filmmaker, World War 2 ANZAC and Korean War veteran Alan Young, the film is instructive, wide-ranging, thorough and compendious, and is a must see for every student of Australian history.
Reproduced with permission of The Border Mail's deputy editor, Di Thomas, with acknowledgment to journalist, Kylie Dulhunty and Monica Butt.. - See full article.
London-based Europe correspondent Paola Totaro reported on Pheasant Wood on 31 May, 2008. Circulated widely, 'Grave at Fromelles unearths political minefield' tells of a previously undisclosed postwar agreement, which precluded specific searches for the remains of missing Great War soldiers. Something which explains why successive Commonwealth governments have been so unwilling to consider recovery.
Published in The Age and reproduced with Author's permission. - See full article.
In May 2008 The Senior published a reflection on the discovery of HMAS Sydney by Lee Opitz and an article on the mystery surrounding Australia's worst maritime disaster, the sinking of the Montevideo Maru. Published on Page 14, the article 'Montevideo Maru fate remains another mystery' is available on site by using the function key provided.
Story credit: by Lee Opitz, courtesy The Senior - Victoria. - See full article.
The Higher Education Supplement of The Australian on Wednesday, April 23, 2008 carried a story by Leigh Dayton, rebuking the Australian Government over its handling of Fromelles. Dayton refers to the lack of resolution and openness with respect to the trial dig and insinuates the wrong technology was used during the recent excavation.
Approval for this posting was obtained from Leigh Dayton, Science Writer, The Australian, June 2, 2008. - See full article or article without side image.
Published in the December 1998 Edition of MUFTI, the article titled 'Australian Private finally laid to rest' better than most portrays the tragic loss of life during the Great War and the hypocrisy of current policy with respect to recovering human remains. The story of Private Bosisto should now in retrospect, be starkly contrasted with the knowledge that affiliate nations do not fund the CWGC to search for remains and where ever possible actually try to deter such activities by private individuals, corporations and groups.
Courtesy of Jude Beshears, Victorian Branch RSL - MUFTI Magazine, December, 1998. - See full article.
POST CARD: The Horse Guards, London - Printed in Germany, this historic image is believed to have been taken by Francis Frith & Company, which became the UK market leader in this kind of publishing after postcards were legalized in 1910. [Horse Guards was an area in Whitehall, central London, previously the home of the Household Cavalry which was first formed in 1661. Now a living museum it consists of two senior regiments of the British Army and fulfilled an important role during WWI].