Soldiers receive burial in Ypres more than a century after they died

Soldiers receive burial in Ypres more than a century after they died

June 30, 2022

Coffins containing six fallen WW1 soldiers including unnamed Britons and a Canadian are buried with military honours in Ypres after their remains were found during a dig in Belgium

  • Seven soldiers received a full military burial more than a century after they died
  • Their remains were discovered during a gas pipeline construction near Ypres
  • Only the Canadian soldier could be identified because so many died in the war
  • The German soldier’s remains were buried side-by-side the British soldier

British and Canadian authorities have given seven soldiers a full military burial more than a century after they were killed in the First World War.

The six Commonwealth soldiers and a German soldier who all died in Belgium between 1914 and 1918 were buried early on Thursday.

Their remains were discovered during a gas pipeline construction near Ypres.

The soldiers were found in two separate burial sites near the Belgian town at the heart of Flanders Fields, where hundreds of thousands perished between 1914 to 1918.

The ceremony took place on Thursday at the New Irish Farm Commonwealth War Grave near Ypres.

In total, 63 sets of First World War soldiers’ remains were uncovered by archaeologists during the work between 2014 and 2016.

British and Canadian authorities have given seven soldiers a full military burial killed more than a century after they were killed in the First World War

British soldiers are shown laying to rest their fellow servicemen who laid down his life over a hundred years ago in the battle of Ypres during the First World War

Canadian soldiers are shown carrying the casket of Private John Lambert of the Newfoundland Regiment. Lambert, identified through DNA, died on August 16, 1917

The two soldiers were discovered during a gas pipeline construction near Ypres, Belgium in two separate burial sites at the heart of Flanders Fields

‘We remember, we reconnect with Private John Lambert. He was a mechanic making 40 cents a day… signed up to make one dollar a day and immediately gave 60 cents a day to his sister,’ said Reverend Gary Watt, referring to one of the soldiers, Canadian Private John Lambert of the Newfoundland Regiment.

Mr Lambert was identified through DNA. He died on August 16 1917.

‘He exaggerated his age in order to answer more willingly and more readily the call to serve freedom and democracy,’ Mr Watt continued. ‘Private John Lambert had common sense of the common good. He knew that complacency would not stop the robbing of freedom.’

The second set contained the remains of three casualties: an unknown Royal Fusilier, an unknown soldier of unknown regiment and an unknown German soldier. 

‘Unfortunately, it has not been possible to establish their date of death,’ said the UK’s Ministry of Defence.

The British soldiers and the German casualty have not been identified, although it has been established that the remains recovered are from the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and the Royal Hampshire Regiment.

‘Sadly, both the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and the Royal Hampshire Regiment have too many casualties killed on 16 August 1917 for the JCCC to be able to attempt identification,’ said the Ministry of Defence.

The modern-day equivalent of the British regiments – the First Fusiliers, the Royal Irish Regiment, Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment – put the long-unburied soldiers to rest.

‘The soldiers taking part in today’s service can see they walk in the footsteps of the giants who went before them,’ said Louise Dorr, Minister of Defence caseworker.

The German soldier’s remains were also buried side-by-side the British soldier.

High-ranking officers salute the fallen heroes, whose sacrifice for their country is remembered and honoured even after a century

Five of the remains were from unknown British soldiers, and one unknown German soldier was also reburied. Archaeologists have discovered artefacts that link the unknown soldiers to Britain and Germany.

The evolution of DNA technology has allowed for the identification of more and more unknown soldiers from the First World War.

Earlier this month, a great-great-nephew of English poet William Wordsworth – who was recently identified by DNA research – was given a funeral ceremony in France, 105 years after he died.

The British soldier lies side by side a German’s soldier’s headstone. Five of the remains were from unknown British soldiers, and one unknown German soldier was also reburied

The evolution of DNA technology has allowed for the identification of more and more unknown soldiers from the First World War

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