Two unknown Australian soldiers were buried on 6 November 2018 at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Tyne Cot Cemetery in Belgium alongside one British soldier.
CAPTION: The caskets of unknown First World War Australian and British soldiers lie next to their headstones, during a burial ceremony at Tyne Cot Cemetery, Belgium. Photo by Corporal Jake Sims.
The funeral followed a special commemorative ceremony on 5 November at the Menin Gate, Ieper, Belgium, where the soldiers were ceremonially present during the Last Post Ceremony.
Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester said he was honoured to attend the Last Post Ceremony and burial, and to pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of these soldiers.
“It is extremely special that the remains of these men could lie under the historic Menin Gate before their burial,” Mr Chester said.
In December 2015, the two soldiers were found near Passchendaele, Belgium, alongside the remains of a British soldier of the Lancashire Fusiliers.
In recognition that the soldiers were found together, they have now been buried in a joint Australian and UK interment service.
Despite extensive investigations by the Australian Unrecovered War Casualties – Army (UWC-A) team and the United Kingdom’s (UK) Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre, it has not been possible to identify the three men.
However, Mr Chester said attempts to identify the Australian soldiers would continue.
“It has been extremely challenging to find suitable family members to give comparison DNA to enable identification of the men,” Mr Chester said.
“The efforts of agencies and organisations in Australia and the UK to identify these soldiers is to be commended, and they will continue to work as new information comes to light.”
The UWC-A team are collecting information about World War I soldiers who died and have graves listed as unknown.
Members of the public who have a relative that fits this profile are encouraged to register with the UWC-A team online at https://army.govcms.gov.au/forms/uwc-a-online-registration-form
Information about Unrecovered War Casualties – Army is available on the Army’s website: https://www.army.gov.au/our-work/unrecovered-war-casualties/