Peace Time: May 26, 2002


The remains of eight German soldiers killed during the First World War were found close to the Belgian town of Ypres on 18 May. The bodies were impossible to individually identify, but personal objects found near the remains had helped police identify them as Germans. The remains were moved to a military base where they will be examined and then buried in a German military cemetery. There was no word on whether a unit had been identified, or if the Germans had been found near the Boezinge trench site.

The last bodies discovered (probably a pair of Royal Welsh Fusiliers) was last Autumn, the 123rd and 124th bodies found by Belgian experts excavating the ground beneath a new industrial estate at Boezinge, north of the town of Ypres. In June 2001, 24 bodies from a Lincolnshire Battalion were discovered in a mass grave near that site. The developers had picked a spot right across the British and German front lines and the infamous "No Mans' Land". 

Ypres, in Belgium's northwest, was the site of the first major gas attack during the First World War and saw some of the bloodiest fighting of the war. Few intact skeletons are found at Ypres, since the majority of the dead on both sides were quite literally blown to pieces by artillery fire. 


Battlefield Tours of Ypres

Half a world away, on 24 May Australia will bury Alec Campbell, the 103-year-old World War I veteran who was the last known survivor of the disastrous 1915 Gallipoli campaign. Campbell, who was 16 when he enlisted, is to be given a state funeral with full military honors in Hobart. The last Turkish veteran, Adil Sahin, died in 1998. - Adam Geibel


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