31 Jan 2010

Unknown soldiers being laid to rest in France

10:36 am on 31 January 2010

The first of 250 unknown British and Australian soldiers who died during World War I has been reburied in France with full military honours.

A volley of gunshots marked the official burial of the soldier killed in the 1916 Battle of Fromelles. French flags flew at half mast as the coffin was lowered into the grave.

The soldiers are being interred at new a cemetery near where their remains were discovered in 2008. It is the first new Commonwealth war cemetery to have been created in 60 years.

A British team has been working with DNA samples from remains of the soldiers and the results are expected in March. It is hoped that some will be identified.

The ceremony took place in the village of Fromelles near the battlefield where more than 7000 allied soldiers, most of them Australian, were killed in July 1916, reports the ABC. The burials will continue throughout February.