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This is the new blog of the Plugstreet Archaeological Project.

   A Great War themed project exploring sites around Comines-Warneton and Messines in Belgium.    The project is being led by members of No Man's Land - The European Group for Great War    Archaeology and the Comines-Warneton Historical Society.

DNA testing could reveal WWI Digger’s identit

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

DNA tests could reveal the identity of a World War I Digger whose complete remains have been unearthed by British archeologists at an old battlefield site in Belgium.
The remains of the Australian soldier, thought to have been serving with the 3rd Division, were discovered on the site of the Battle of Messines, fought in June 1917.
War historian Mat McLachlan said the discovery was unique because the soldier was wearing his full battle kit and appeared to have been buried as a result of an artillery shell exploding nearby.
“This is unusual and important because it gives us great insight into the articles actually carried by Australian soldiers into battle,” Mr McLachlan told The Australian yesterday.
Mr McLachlan, a member of the archeological group No Man’s Land, said the soldier was found with his hand still grasping his standard-issue Lee Enfield rifle, which had the bayonet attached.
“It really is a snapshot of an Aussie soldier because he was killed, fell to the ground and covered with dirt and that was the last anyone saw of him until 90 years later when these guys dug him up,” he said.
Defence Minister Warren Snowdon said the Digger’s remains were held by the Belgian army and it was hoped that DNA tests could reveal his identity. It is likely his remains will be interred at one of the Commonwealth War Graves cemeteries in Belgium later this year.
Mark Dodd
The Australian


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