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Remembering Fromelles: uncovering the soldiers' stories

Faye Stevenson

A small new exhibition at the Imperial War Museum tells the story of 250 First World War soldiers who were recovered from a mass grave in Fromelles, northern France.

Remembering Fromelles: uncovering the soldiers' stories
The recovery process took two years
Remembering Fromelles: uncovering the soldiers' stories
Headstones and Cross of Sacrifice in the new cemetery which will be officially opened this month

The exhibition was opened by the Duke of Kent on Wednesday evening.

The Duke is president of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission which organised the exhibition.

It took two years for a team of archaeologists and forensics to excavate the site at Pheasant Wood, Fromelles.

The exhibition covers every stage of the process from the recovery to the construction of the new cemetery which is the first to be built in 50 years.

It opens a few weeks before the official opening of the cemetery at Fromelles.

The attack at Fromelles was costly for both the British and Australian forces with 2,200 dead and many others wounded and missing.

Many of those killed could not be accounted for at the time. Research by an Australian amateur historian led to the discovery of the mass graves.

Relatives of the soldiers found in the mass grave were relieved that the bodies had been found and are delighted they now get a proper burial.

The exhibition is accompanied by a book providing more information about the men, the recovery of their bodies and the new cemetery they will be buried in.

• Remembering Fromelles is at the Imperial War Museum until January 2011.

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