Remains of 15 British Tommies found in France

23rd November 2009, Comments 0 comments

The remains of 15 British soldiers who were killed in the early months of World War I were found in northern France this week 95 years after their deaths, a local mayor said Sunday.

LILLE - The Tommies have been identified as volunteers of the York and Lancaster Regiment killed between October 18 and 20, 1914 in a gunbattle with German troops near the castle of Flandres de Beaucamps-Ligny.

Frederic Motte, mayor of the district, told AFP that builders hit a skull on Wednesday as they were clearing space for a sewage treatment plant in a new social housing project for the village of Beaucamps-Ligny.

"We alerted the police and the prosecutor's office, then digging a little further we came upon military gear, such as bullets and bandoliers," he said.

"We could see they were British soldiers by their buttons, which had the initials of their regiment," said the mayor, who learned the history of the York and Lancasters after he found a body in his own garden in 2006.

Some of the dead appear to have been caught by surprise at the moment of their death. One had a canteen in one hand and a pipe in the other.

The bodies have been transferred to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission which maintains several cemetries in the former battlefields of northeastern France and, where possible, tries to identify remains.


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