June 2010

LGC responsible for DNA analysis success on WW1 casualties at the Imperial War Museum

LGC has been working closely with the Australian and British Governments, Commonwealth War Graves Commission and Ministry of Defence on the specialised recovery and identification of soldiers who fell at the Battle of Fromelles in Northern France, on 19 July 1916.

For the first time, unique modifications of modern day forensic DNA techniques have been used by LGC to match DNA from potential relatives with samples extracted from soldiers’ remains.

From 250 recovered bodies, just under 100 have been positively identified using the modified DNA analysis in conjunction with artefacts, anthropological and historical data.

This is a significant scientific achievement for LGC and for all those involved with the project. Steve Allen, Managing Director, LGC is delighted with the results, “We are proud to have played a key part in this important project. By combining the ingenuity of our forensic scientists with LGC’s strength in research, we have been able to develop new methods of analysing DNA to help identify the soldiers at Fromelles."

A ceremony to dedicate the new cemetery and to bury the final soldier is being held in Fromelles on 19 July 2010, the 94th anniversary of the battle.

The Imperial War Museum in London has recognised the value of this work and its significance to Britain’s war history by showcasing it as part of a new exhibition at the museum entitled Remembering Fromelles, which will be on display until January 2011. The exhibition provides a comprehensive account of the Battle of Fromelles, showing battle scenes and memorabilia recovered from Fromelles, and will be opened to the public by HRH The Duke of Kent, President of the CWGC. The Exhibition will be open to the public from 1 July 2010.