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Hellshade

WWI Troops found in mass grave - have been reburied

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More than 5,500 Australians were killed, wounded or went missing at Fromelles in under 24 hours,

along with more than 1,500 British, cut down by German machine guns and artillery.

German troops buried them afterward, Australian investigators say.

The site, near a pockmarked battlefield, was covered over time.

 

What a waste - what a terrible waste of youth and future, of ideas, of intelligence,

and plans yet to be made, of laughter and joy, of tenderness, love - of life...

 

May we never forget - and let them all rest in peace.

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For those in the UK, Channel 4, 20:00 tonight 'Finding the Lost Battalions' is a documentary on the above.

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I can only wonder how many such graves are discovered in the areas that used to be the Eastern Front during WW1, and also during WW2. Battlefields of the west are much better documented, and also covered by the media. I always think about the other, forgotten fronts of the war when reading these news. It's great that they were able to find some relatives of the men, so that they may finally know what happened to the soldiers who went missing in action during the battle.

 

RIP :salute:

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For those in the UK, Channel 4, 20:00 tonight 'Finding the Lost Battalions' is a documentary on the above.

 

Yes, It was good...glad that some of the relatives got closure.

 

The lady at the end echoed my thoughts exactly..Just "Why?"

 

I can see a reason for WW2, and fighting the Nazis...but WW1 was just such an horrific waste of young lives...it should never be forgotten

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Thoughts about this waste of so countless many lives often makes me sentimental,

and sometimes makes me try to condense the feelings and thoughts into something

maybe poem like. Forgive me, and if you find it embarrassing, consider me drunk,

pass on and don't worry - I don't have to earn my living with this.

 

 

falling

 

black

smoke

column

growing

longer

downwards

moments

rushing

faster

faster

 

cold lips

insecure look

helpless hands

trembling

first touch

unknown

wilderness

warmth growing

gently whispered

breath

world in my arms

scent of her skin

ever present

ever precious

ever

ever

 

why me

why here

why today

why

 

lord, find a way!

save with your gentle hand

this falling butterfly

this falling soul!

 

never

more

meadow

apples

mother

blanket

sister

starlings

laughter

brook

grapes

father

fishes

water

clouds

faces

rain

cloudburst

concert

crayons

tender

touch

autumn

swans

slowly

rising from the golden pond nearby...

 

angel's

smile

snow flakes

winter

frozen

white

burried

bodies

black

smoke

finger

pointing

on

pockmarked

soil

touching

down

- - -

Edited by Olham

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I have uploaded to my webspace a Google Earth markup file of placemarkers for WW1 cemeteries and memorials that I've collected from various web browsings.

 

You can download it here.

 

Save it and double click to open it (if you have GE of course) and it should open GE and show the placemarkers. For one thing the sheer number (especially in France and Belgium) is heart-rending. For another, many have links to the various countries' war grave commissions, e.g. Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge where you can click through to pictures of the cemetery and the lists of the fallen. I sometimes, of a lunchtime or other breather, randomly click on a marker and go and pay my virtual respects... always puts the day's petty worries into perpective.

 

It's not an exhaustive list and has some duplication, I'm afraid, for which I apologise... still a work in progress.

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I don't know how to feel about this. It's portrayed as a positive thing to identify the missing dead, which in some ways it is, but it comes too late for the generation of families who actually knew these men. It struck me watching the progam that it was the living relatives and girlfriends who were denied the closure of knowing where their loved ones were left to lie. For these people, then yes, no stone should be left unturned, but once that generation has passed, then my feelings begin to change. I have tremendous compassion for those who watched their loved ones depart for war and never return, but when they themselves have passed on, then the link is broken and loss becomes less immediate. The closure, or peace brought though finding the mortal remains of their dearest has come too late for them. Sorry my choice of words isn't the best, but I hope you get what I mean.

 

If you're not going exhume and DNA test everybody, then why do it for anybody? What are you actually achieving? Where is it going to lead you? Are we to desecrate the tombs of unknown soldiers just because our science can now find out who these men were? They had families too. No. These men have been laid to rest once, and rested there for nearly 100 years. Even in a mass grave, far from home and buried in an unmarked field by their enemies, they were meant to rest in peace.

 

What about the bodies we disturb who still remain unknown?

 

Like I said, I have mixed emotions. I need to know who and what is actually driving this quest for knowledge. If it is driven by grief still actively felt by these families, then yes, I'm ok with it. But if it's a scientific experiment to see how clever we've gotten in the last 100 years, then it's time to move on I think.

 

God forbid it isn't driven by expediency to 'do the right thing' before these graves are plundered by souvenir hunters.

Edited by Flyby PC
  • Like 1

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I can see exactly where you're coming from Flypc.

 

In fact, putting my 'cynical' head on for one minute, I wonder if this was to keep the War Graves Commission in a Job?

By WW2,most fallen soldiers were logged, and their place of death recorded...but WW1 soldiers had no such sentiments from the Military.

 

As you rightly point out...the families of these men, are into the fourth or Fifth generation...most probably have no idea, and even less interest in the events of nearly 100 years ago.

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Not knowing the fate of a family member, no matter how long ago he died in a war, may be problematic for relatives even though no one of the deceased person's generation is still alive to remember him. Such things often leave a mark for generations - not always and for everybody, but it can happen. So that's the reason why I think it's a good thing when people finally get some closure. It may be difficult to understand if nothing like that has every happened to a person's family though. And I do believe that the men who died on countless battlefields and were buried in mass graves, or not buried at all and left for the beasts, would appreciate getting a decent burial and the fact that they are not forgotten, even though none of their friends and loved ones may still be alive.

 

I also believe that the men who fought and died in the Great War wouldn't want us to believe that they fought and died for nothing. They most certainly did believe in something, otherwise they wouldn't have endured such terrible things for years. I feel our modern society has become so cynical and sceptical that we are almost afraid to believe in anything, to have any higher values, and much less to die, or think of dying, for anything.

Edited by Hasse Wind

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I'm maybe a bit over sentimental that way. I even get the heeby jeebies when Time Team digs up a saxon or iron age grave. I know it's fascinating, and we've learned such a lot, - but part of me still squirms that it's just not right.

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I can see both sides of the question.

 

Once there is no one who might have known the dead, can they truly be remembered? Putting it harshly, aren't they in just the same position as the overgrown, crooked gravestones in our country churchyards, memorials to someone no one knew?

 

However, with regard to the war dead, when there is no one left alive who might have been a contemporary of those who fell, then the danger is that those many cemetaries become more monuments to the conflict than memorials to the individual dead.

 

Even when the myths are busted, e.g. about the First World War being pointless; about 'lions being led by donkeys'; about the 'lost generation' etc. - the scale of loss of life remains so great (and in WW2, too) and the effect on the World so pivotal that that it must all be remembered. And then, at the sharp end, war is fought by persons, by individuals, not by Powers acting as such. If we are to avoid the danger of comforatble detachment, then, for me and probably for others, especially after the passage of much time, remembrance is the more poignant and more real if there is a name, against which one might set a history, a list of deeds, descendents et cetera - if one sought to. The story of the 'Tomb of the Unknown Soldier' is very moving, but it does in actual fact reduce the remains that lie within it to the role of symbol, rather what they truly are, those of a person.

 

To that end, I would advocate that DNA testing should indeed be carried out if the opportunity present itself - as it did in this situation re: Fromelles. If the bodies of the fallen are to be moved, e.g. from forgotten graves to a place where their sacrifice will be publicly honoured then by all means take the time to seek a name for each. And it may still bring closure, or at least a sense of that, even nigh 100 years later - that was evident from last night's programme, when one of the women featured noted that the sadness of her family's loss had passed through the generations... and alas her relative was not found.

 

The CWGC's mission though, and that of its peers, is to honour those that fell (and continue to fall) - in perpetuity. The fact therefore that some body somewhere will always keep those young men and women at heart, even if the rest of the daily human traffic forgets, is justification enough for me.

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I'm maybe a bit over sentimental that way. I even get the heeby jeebies when Time Team digs up a saxon or iron age grave. I know it's fascinating, and we've learned such a lot, - but part of me still squirms that it's just not right.

 

Maybe archaeology is just a scientific way of robbing graves? :cool:

 

These can be difficult questions both ethically and morally, that's absolutely true. For example, the Iron Age: without digging through such remains, opening tombs and all that, we'd know lot less about the history of humankind. But would those people who lived hundreds or thousands of years ago, who buried their dead and honored them, appreciate the fact the somebody is opening their graves in the future? Most likely not. I wonder whether the archaelogists and people studying to become archaeologists, give thought to these matters? Do any of them have any doubts about their work? Or are they just dealing with the nameless remains of long-dead peoples, and it doesn't really matter one way or the other?

 

Any archaelogists here?

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