November 2022

Three more World War One soldiers identified 105 years after their death

Three Australian soldiers of the First World War have recently been formally identified - more than 105 years since they were killed on the Western Front. Two of these fallen soldiers were identified by LGC’s ongoing DNA work concerning remains discovered at Pheasant Wood, Fromelles, in northern France.

The Battle of Fromelles, which took place on 19-20 July 1916, was one of the deadliest 24 hours in Australia’s history, with more than 5,500 Australian soldiers losing their lives.

LGC’s experts are currently in their 13th year of working in collaboration with Australia’s Unrecovered War Casualties (UWC-A) – part of the Australian Department of Defence – to assist with the identification of unknown World War I soldiers from Fromelles.

Vic Moore, Commercial DNA Services Manager, LGC, said, “Earlier this month, during Remembrance Week, further identifications were announced of two soldiers, who have finally had their identity returned, providing long-awaited closure for their living family members. This demonstrates LGC’s continued commitment to solving challenging cases and highlights the impact of our science within the field of DNA and statistical analysis. Of course, none of this could be possible without the living family DNA donors who continue to come forward to the UWC-A to be tested”.

The three soldiers’ headstones will be rededicated in 2023.

The full official press release from the Australian Government’s Ministry for Defence can be found here.