First World War in the News is an edited review of hand-picked World War I (1914-1918) articles - covering everything from the soldiers and generals to the trenches and militaria.

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Latest hand-picked First World War news.

French built replica Paris after first world war to fool German bombers
A second Paris complete with a replica Champs-Elysees was built at the end of WWI to fool German bombers. Details of the incredible creation emerged as the French capital prepares to commemorate the 93rd anniversary of the Armistice. According to archives, military planners believed German pilots could be fooled into destroying the dummy city rather than the real one. It was situated on the northern outskirts of Paris and featured sham streets lined with electric lights and replica buildings. But, despite such details, the replica Paris was not quite finished before the last German air raid in Paris, in September 1918, meaning it was never tested.
(dailymail.co.uk)

Twenty-one German soldiers found in World War I tunnel in Alsace
Under the rich Alsatian soil lies a labyrinth of passageways buried into the Lerchenberg hills. Built 100 years ago, they were used by WWI soldiers to shelter from shelling. The 21 soldiers were found in passageway known as Kilianstollen, inside their almost untouched living quarters. In October 2010, construction near the town of Altkirch was disrupted by the 125-metre tunnel, which combat engineers had built 7 metres under the surface. After a skeletal foot and a camp bed were unearthed during digging, work on the road was stopped and archaeologists called in. Kilianstollen was located 150 metres behind the German front line. At 1.8 metres high and 1.1 metres wide, the tunnel was thought to be bomb proof and could offer up to 500 soldiers a break from the trenches.
(thelocal.de)

WW1 U.S. Army Private Henry A. Weikel finally buried with full military honors
Remains of Henry A. Weikel - an American First World War soldier who had been MIA for 92 years - were discovered in 2006 and recently buried with full military honors, says the Department of Defense's POW/Missing Personnel Office.
(cnn.com)

Skeleton of WWI soldier - in astonishing condition - found buried in glacier on Italy
An amateur historian has discovered the body of a WWI soldier frozen into an Italian glacier. Dino De Bernardin, who is a collector of WWI militaria, made the find as he hiked in mountains, which saw bitter fighting between Italian and Austro-Hungarian troops 1915-1917. At an altitude of 2,800 metres, his noticed a "bundle of rags" emerging from the melting ice. He was amazed to find the soldier's skeleton complete with rotting boots. Authorities were called to the scene just below a cable car station at Serauta close to Canazei in the Marmolada mountain range of the Dolomites in north-east Italy.
(dailymail.co.uk)

Unknown WW1 soldier buried as Fromelles mass graves give up secrets
An unknown First World War soldier was laid to rest in Fromelles, France - the first of 250 bodies dug up from a string of mass graves dating back to a bloody and pointless battle that claimed thousands of lives in a single night. A century later, the battle of Fromelles remains the deadliest 24-hour period in Australian military history. So many perished that night that the British and Australians were unable to recover all their dead. German soldiers buried hundreds in mass graves. The graves were discovered in 2008, and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission took the lead on a project to recover and id (with DNA samples) as many remains as possible.
(cnn.com)

WWI relics - like coins, uniforms, helmets - help id soldiers buried in Fromelles
Experts trying to id hundreds of Australian and British First World War soldiers buried in mass graves are revealing what they do and how. In a field next to Pheasant Wood at Fromelles in France they retrieve and examine the remains and prepare them for a respectful reburial. Several temporary buildings are being used as an on-site lab where the remains are put through a process which includes being X-rayed, cleaned and photographed. Items unearthed from the battlefield include coins, military uniforms, helmets and even a heart-shaped leather pouch hand-stitched by a loved one and containing a lock of hair.
(couriermail)

400 WW1 soldiers to be exhumed from French battlefield and individually buried
Remains of 400 British and Australian soldiers from the Great War are to be dug up and individually buried. The excavation of 6 mass graves in Fromelles will begin in May 2009. The bodies will each be buried with full military honours at a new cemetery nearby. Thousands of troops perished in the 1916 battle of Fromelles, which began soon after the Somme campaign was launched. A lack of records has made it hard to id the bodies. The British regiments involved were the Gloucestershire Regiment, the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, the Worcestershire Regiment and the Machine Gun Corps.
(dailymail.co.uk)

Outrage: French dig up British war graves to make way for new canal
The graves of hundreds of British war heroes are to be excavated to make a new canal in France. The desecration has caused distress to the troops' surviving relatives. Half-a-dozen war cemeteries on the Somme face being bulldozed to make way for the Seine-Nord canal. The cemeteries are between the ancient towns of Compiegne and Cambrai, the scenes of fierce fighting during the Great War. Several groups have called for a halt to the plans. Among those killed in the Battle of Canal du Nord in 1918, was Lance Corporal Thomas Jackson who was granted the Victoria Cross medal and is laid to rest at Sanders Keep cemetery - on the route of the proposed canal.
(express.co.uk)

First World War diggers to get new French cemetery
French authorities have donated an unused block of land to set up a new cemetery for 400 Australian and British soldiers discovered in a mass grave in 2008. The field is within a few hundred metres of where the bodies of the soldiers were excavated in pits on the outskirts of Fromelles. The cemetery, the first of its kind in France for 62 years, will feature individual burial plots for each of the soldiers, whose remains will be exhumed from the pits where they lie. About 170 Australian and 300 British troops were laid to rest by German troops in a wood on Fromelles' outskirts after a fierce battle there in July 1916.
(theage.com.au)

Student finds World War I soldier's skeleton dressed in full kit
A Bradford University student has excavated the body of an Australian WWI soldier. Graham Arkley discovered the skeleton (in full kit) while excavating the German trenches near St Yves in Belgium. The area was attacked by the Australian 3rd Division on June 7 1917, as part of the Battle of Messines. Arkley, who is part-way through his BSc Archaeology degree, made the find while working with a project set up to examine the training of the Australian 3rd Division during the First World War. Objects found with the unidentified body included a German pickelhaube (a spiked helmet worn by German soldiers) - thought to have been taken as a trophy.
(sky.com)

Australian soldier, still holding his rifle, uncovered in Belgium
During World War I an Australian soldier die on a battlefield and unnoticed by his mates, was buried, perhaps by a shell blast. Recently he was found, amazingly still holding his rifle and carrying every other item of equipment with which he marched into battle. Battlefield historian Mat McLachlan said that made him very unusual indeed: "This is an interesting discovery and a lot more important for us because he was dressed in full kit. We definitely know he wasn't buried by his mates... He was still holding his rifle when they uncovered him. He had his backpack on. He had hand grenades in his pockets and he had all his ammunition and his helmet."
(smh.com.au)

British and Australian troops who died in the Battle of Fromelles to be reburied
The remains of British and Australian First World War soldiers killed in the Battle of Fromelles in July 1916 will be unearthed from a mass grave and reburied in individual plots at a new cemetery - as close as possible to where they were found. The mass grave (up to 400 bodies) by Pheasant Wood on the edge of Fromelles in France was discovered in May 2008 by an amateur historian and later confirmed by a team of archaeologists. The exhumation and reinterment will be carried out under the protection of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission - and the men will be given full military honours to commemorate their courage.
(bbc.co.uk)

First World War grave at Fromelles unearths political minefield
The digging up of WWI remains in the German-dug mass grave may ease the grief of some families, but it has created a headache for the Australian and British armies. With 400 Australian and British soldiers buried together, how will we reconcile the different expectations of the find? Both countries are party to a postwar agreement, that they won't launch specific searches; that their war dead remain where they fell, but it is different when "compelling" evidence is found to justify individual probes. In the past decade, expectations of postwar recovery of casualties have changed dramatically.
(theage)

Search begins for Australian First World War diggers
92 years ago, Australia staggered as news came through from the WWI battlefields of France that 5533 diggers had been either killed, wounded or taken prisoner in one night. Of the 1,719 Australians who perished during the Battle of Fromelles in July 1916, the bodies of 170 were never found. However, they have never been forgotten. On Monday, a team is due to start a project to try and find their remains on the outskirts of Fromelles. The much-anticipated dig is based on research that after winning the battle, German troops buried the remains of Australian and British soldiers in at least 5 mass graves.
(theage)

How to trace a war grave - the best places to start
If you're trying to trace the grave of a relative who died on active service, these are your first contacts: The Commonwealth War Graves Commission maintains 2,500 war cemeteries in 150 countries. The Debt of Honour Register on its site is a database listing the men and women from Commonwealth forces who died during the two world wars. --- National Archives houses Army Lists, usually organised by regiment, and the Medal Roll Index, listing servicemen`s medal entitlement, rank and unit and possibly their postings. The Archives also has battalion war diaries and census records.
(timesonline.co.uk)

Skeleton Of Bulgarian World War I Soldier Found In Macedonia
Archaeologically excavations of necropolis of the ancient city of Heraclea Lyncestis near Bitola, Macedonia, uncovered the skeleton of a Bulgarian World War I soldier. "We found a large quantity of partial skeletons of Bulgarian soldiers, parts of coats, buttons and coins." The most interesting find was the well-preserved skeleton of a young Bulgarian soldier with coins of that period in his pocket. "What shocked us was that he was still holding a pencil stump in his right hand." During WWI the front line ran across the area of Bitola, where a cemetery of Bulgarian soldiers and officers was discovered.
(sofiaecho)

Photographic Exhibition Honours War Dead - 27 pictures
A photo exhibition celebrates the 90th anniversary of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission with 27 images of war graves and memorials throughout the world in the Hall of Memories, the National War Memorial in Wellingtonon. The pictures are taken from the book "Remembered: The History of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission" by Brian Harris. The Commission, a non-profit organisation based in UK, takes care of the 1.7 million graves of the Commonwealth forces who died during the two World Wars. A selection of high resolution images is available for press purposes at: http://www.nationalwarmemorial.govt.nz/cwgc-exhibition.html
(scoop)

Lost for 90 years, Passchendaele diggers identified by DNA
They were lost for 90 years, killed in the Passchendaele battlefields of 1917. Now DNA technology has identified the remains of two Australian World War 1 diggers unearthed last year in the Belgian hamlet of Westhoek, east of Ypres. Sergeant George Calder and Private John Hunter will be overlooked no more. The remains matched with DNA taken from living descendants of the two soldier. They will be buried with full military honours at Belgium's Buttes Cemetery on October 4. The remains of 6 Anzac bodies were unusually well preserved when uncovered, buried in blankets tied up with signal wire, dirt-smudged rising sun badges pinned to the uniforms.
(theage)

Mystery of Great War's lost army uncovered
They made the ultimate sacrifice, hurling themselves from the trenches before vanishing in a hail of German bullets. Now, more than 90 years after hundreds of British and Commonwealth soldiers died in World War I killing fields, historians believe they have found several mass graves containing the remains of the "lost army". The find is the biggest of its kind since the end of the Great War and may lead to the uncovering of 399 soldiers who were killed but whose bodies were never found and the building of the first new British war cemetery since the 1960s. 239 are probably from the British 61st Division and 160 from the Australian 5th Division.
(telegraph)

13-year old girl buys gravestones for the First World War soldiers   (Article no longer available from the original source)
They will be remembered. 6 world war one veterans buried at Mountainview Cemetary now have proper headstones thanks to a 13-year old girl. Their graves went unmarked for decades but now they have been given granite gravemarkers and honoured by a veterans colour guard. Amanda Neil raised over $1300 through bottle collecting and donations. Even more impressive: she closed the ceremony by presenting another cheque to buy one more headstone. Mountainview Cemetary is the resting place of over 12000 veterans - and over 900 don't have markers.
(cknw)

First World War Lancashire Fusiliers finally buried in Flanders fields
90 years after being killed in battle, 4 Lancashire Fusiliers, 3 of whom are unknown soldiers, were laid to rest in Flanders fields. Full military honours were accorded to Private Richard Lancaster and 3 other soldiers a week before the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele. Soldiers from the First Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers formed a guard of honour as Last Post was sounded at ceremonies at Prowse Point and the Tyne Cot British war cemetery.
(telegraph)

WWI grave revives forgotten battle of Fromelles - Army insignia found
Archaeologists say they have found the mass burial site of up to 400 soldiers British and Australian troops who were killed near the site of the Battle of Fromelles - daylight assault on heavily fortified positions, conceived to divert German attention away from the Somme in July 1916. A metal detector survey revealed a number of artefacts including objects with Australian Army insignia on them. It is believed Adolf Hitler, then a corporal in the Bavarian reserve infantry, ran messages behind the German lines during the battle. And the bunker Hitler visited in the 1940s is said to be just a few hundred yards from the burial site.
(bbc)

3 fallen Canadian soldiers found near historic Vimy battleground
The remains of three Canadian soldiers killed in World War 1 have been unearthed from an old battlefield near the French town of Hallu, not far from the site where thousands of Canadians are gathering to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the country's landmark 1917 victory at Vimy Ridge. News of the find also comes as officials and relatives of another WWI soldier Pte. Herbert Peterson prepare to bury his recently discovered remains during a ceremony at a French military cemetery.
(canada)

Australian Army Progress In Bid To Identify WW1 Remains
The Australian Army has made progress in its efforts to identify 6 World War I Australian soldiers whose remains were discovered in Belgium in 2006. The site where the remains were unearthed, on the Western Front near the hamlet Westhoeck, was a temporary burial ground for Australian soldiers killed in the Third Battle of Ypres. "In the immediate post-war period, teams of soldiers exhumed bodies from the temporary cemeteries and they were re-interred in the permanent war cemeteries which today dot the sites of the great Western Front battles. While the recovery operations were thorough and comprehensive, not all remains were recovered."
(scoop)

DND: Remains of First World War Soldier Identified
Almost 90 years after his death, Private Herbert Peterson will be laid to rest with his comrades in arms at La Chaudiere Military Cemetery in April 2007 to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. During a night raid on June 8th and 9th, 1917, 16 members of the 49th Battalion, Canadian Infantry, were reported missing on the German front near Vimy Ridge. In Oct 2003, two sets of human remains were found in the vicinity of Vimy Ridge. Due to their location, artifacts and uniform buttons and badges, they were believed to be members of that same battalion. The Directorate of History and Heritage has identified one of them as Peterson.
(ccnmatthews)

Minister snubs war graves experts - Fromelles battlefield
An offer from leading archeologists to investigate a WW1 grave - at no cost to taxpayers - has been rejected by Bruce Billson, who has opted to pay battlefield archeologist Tony Pollard $150,000. Billson asked Dr Pollard to conduct "non-invasive" geophysical analysis, something Dr Pollard is not experienced in. His expertise lies in "conflict archeology" - heritage management of battlefields. "It's just astonishing," said professor Richard Wright, who volunteered to lead the field probe. "Geophysics is not necessary to find the graves." They were visible in historical photographs and modern satellite imagery.
(theaustralian)

Expert enlisted to find remains of the battle of Fromelles diggers
The Australian Army has asked an expert in battlefield archaeology to locate the remains of 170 First World War diggers, killed in the first major assault by the Australian troops on the Western Front. 5,500 Australian soldiers were killed in the battle of Fromelles, designed to draw German troops away from the Somme offensive. The Fifth Australian Division took part in the full-scale assault in July 1916. War historians say the attack was doomed from the start. In less than 27 hours, 5,500 Australian soldiers were killed. The bodies of more than 170 soldiers were never recovered.
(abc)

U.S. war dead from foreign battlefields identified
For the first time, a Pentagon group charged with identifying U.S. war dead from foreign battlefields has identified the remains of a soldier killed in World War I. Army Pvt. Francis Lupo was killed on July 21, 1918, during an attack on German forces near Soissons, France. His remains were discovered in 2003 and identified by the Pentagon's Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Lab. Larry Greer, a spokesman on POW-MIA issues, said it was the first time the remains of a WW1 service member have been recovered and identified since the office was established in the 1960s.
(usatoday)

The ghosts of Ypres past return
Nearly 90 years after the guns fell silent, the mud of Flanders is still giving up its secrets. This week, in a farmer's field near Ypres, a group of amateur historians found the remains of three soldiers from the First World War. Two of the bodies bore no identification, although one still had half its uniform, as well as a spoon, fork and a bayonet. On the third, the historians found an identification tag.
(bbc)