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Posted 17 January 2011 - 01:26 AM
Posted 17 January 2011 - 02:13 AM
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Posted 17 January 2011 - 06:37 AM
Posted 17 January 2011 - 07:08 AM
Posted 17 January 2011 - 08:50 AM
It is appalling that there is no hard and fast rules, that are enforced in France concerning finds such as this, how many remains have been destroyed and lost forever, and how many more will suffer the same fate.
Could not contact either the CWGC or the Australian Embassy at the weekend, sounds like the situation here in the UK. The Police should have been informed immediately but that of course may have happened. It is a sad fact but this is how the found dead are generally excavated in France. To the best of my knowledge there does not exist any official body who will take charge of the exhumation using the best archeological methodology. It remains the responsibility of the finder to undertake such work and we should be grateful to the individuals involved for this. The CWGC in France apparently employ a person described as an “Exhumation Officer” whose task it is to oversee such recoveries but I personally have never read a report where this person has become involved. The whole question of the exhumation and removal of the dead is a complete mess particularly in France although I believe that more formal and official arrangements now operate in Belgium. If you think this is bad what about the SIX British soldiers discovered in Beaucamps-Ligny in 2009 who were also subjected to the same treatment.
Posted 17 January 2011 - 09:13 AM
Posted 17 January 2011 - 09:32 AM
Norman, the system in Belgium works to a certain extent, but could do with some tweaking, i understand your comments concerning the "local people", most are honourable and have sincere motives, however some are not so, robbing remains of any relics found on them, thus stripping their immediate chances of id, and in some cases re burying the remains so that their "work" goes unknown.
Willy, I agree with you entirely. The sad fact remains that if it were not for the efforts of local people as mentioned in the newspaper article then there would be no guarantee that such remains would even reach the stage when they can be buried with honour. There is in France no other system in place and initial exhumation of the fallen is completely reliant on the skills and dedication of the locals. Much discussion has taken place on the forum with regard to this situation and I frankly see no improvements forthcoming the foreseeable future. This is even more regrettable when you consider that the use of DNA testing has been so successful in the case of the Fromelles fallen, so much so in fact that I would suggest that where the remains allow it such samples should be taken and retained as a matter of course in case sometime in the future the possibility of identification arises.
May I reiterate that I believe that the whole method of recovery and attempted identification of the fallen in Belgium has been updated recently to a much better system. Any right-minded and concerned person will see that a more formal and accountable system of retrieving the remains of our (British/Commonwealth) dead is urgently needed in respect of France for that is the least that we can do to honour their sacrifices.
Posted 17 January 2011 - 09:32 AM
Posted 17 January 2011 - 09:46 AM
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Posted 17 January 2011 - 10:25 AM
Posted 17 January 2011 - 10:30 AM
Regarding finds in France, i believe as has been previously posted here, the finder should report to the police, once satisfied they are not from a likely crime, they can be removed by any means and handed over, there is no law to state that a full archaeological survey and recovery has to be carried out. With expensive machinery and workers stopped from working, the chances are a blind eye may be turned in some cases and work continues!
I believe in the UK (this, from watching Time Team) that if archaeological evidence is found on a site, the site owner is responsible for paying for an archaeological survey.
Is this the case in France?
If so, I can understand that land owners would be unwilling to contact anyone if evidence of a body is found. But then they would have to live with knowing that they are keeping someone from possibly being identified and correctly commemorated.
What about the gendarmerie in Albert, was that closed too?
I just spoke to Paul Daley who is at Heathrow about to come home.
He assures me that both the embassy and CWG were closed and that the blldozer would have continued its work irrespective of the find.
As for the glorious dead, Paul believes that he is about to be handed to the French Police,(still in the hessian bag).
This is ridiculous....
Posted 17 January 2011 - 10:49 AM
Posted 17 January 2011 - 10:52 AM
Apparently they were shut!, first port of call should have been the police.
'Hopefully now his identity will be returned'.
Surely journalists should know better. First port of call for this fool in these circumstances should have been the Australian consulate who would be well versed in such matters and have been able to provide him appropriate guidance.
Posted 17 January 2011 - 11:14 AM
I feel you are all being far too harsh and quick to libel a pair of honest and caring men. A bulldozer had uncovered these remains and, from past experience, we know that it would very likely have ploughed them under again. M. Zanardi is, I believe, a Battlefield Guide and well-versed in the required procedures. Contacting the Mayor of the municipality would certainly constitute the "authorities" and it is hard to see what even the Mayor could do on private land in the face of a 'dozer driver determined to carry on his paid work. Zanardi and the Mayor effectively shielded the remains with their own presence and were at least able to recover what remains they could. Placing the remains on hessian sacking was perfectly respectful (what would you have, white linen?) and practical under the circumstances. What did you do with the last military casualty you handled? No, it's not the best battlefield archaeology - but it's better than the bulldozer would have done. I feel that it's also inappropriate to doubt the Mayor's word that he couldn't raise the Australian Embassy on the weekend. If you've ever tried to raise any embassy on the weekend, you'll know that it can be impossible - especially in these days of "leave a message after the tone". Please ease up Pals - and be careful about libelling good people. Antony
And were it not for Dominique Zanardi, the soldier would probably have stayed anonymously beneath the sticky mud of the Somme for an eternity.
Zanardi found the soldier's partially exposed body in the drainage ditch late last Friday.
He recovered some of the bones immediately and the rest with us the next day.
Unable to contact anyone from the war graves commission at the weekend, Zanardi and the mayor of Pozieres, Bernard Delattre, were planning to remove the body from the site today to prevent it from being reinterred by the bulldozer on the site.
Mr Delattre, meanwhile, had tried unsuccessfully to inform the Australian embassy in Paris at the weekend that a WWI Digger had been found near his village.
Posted 17 January 2011 - 11:19 AM
Posted 17 January 2011 - 11:20 AM
Posted 17 January 2011 - 11:20 AM