I know some of the forum members have read and commented on the article re some of the 10,800 Australian soldiers from WW1 being ploughed back into the fields in northern France by French farmers based on yours and Mike Bower’s experience in Northern France.
The Department of Veteran Affairs and the Department of Defense do not believe this is happening and believe it is all Media spin,
My intent is to encourage the Australian Government to invest in establishing an MIA Institute to ensure our soldiers are to rest in peace after being killed in such a horrific way.
I have emailed
Malcolm Turnbull (Responded)
Stewart Robert (responded)
RSLs in each state (two have acknowledged but no action)
Lest We Forget
My objective is for our young Diggers to finally rest in peace.
Some options are:
1. Create an incentive program that entices the French farmers to report any finds rather than ignore remains and plough them back.
2. Speed up the process so that the farmers are not penalised by interrupting work on their farms
3. Establish a facility in Northern France that can identify the remains by DNA and badges etc
4. Create a publicity program to notify all relatives of Diggers MIA from WW1 battles to register and contribute DNA samples for identification purposes.
5. Once the remains are identified bury them in an appropriate war cemetery with full military honors.
If it proves to be too difficult to achieve the first option then I propose a second option:
No Tillage Farming
This farming practice has been adopted all over the world including Australia where 22,239,000 acres are farmed this way.
In essence it would mean the French farmers would not be continually ploughing our Diggers up over and over again.
This would require an investment from the Government including equipment and training. It is also a very green method of farming.
The benefit to Australia would be knowing our ANZACs are finally resting in peace.
The French farmers also benefit by:
- Reduced labor requirements
- Time savings
- Reduced machinery wear
- Fuel savings
- Improved long- term productivity
- Improved surface water quality
- Reduced soil erosion
- Greater soil moisture retention
- Improved water infiltration
- Decreased soil compaction
- Improved soil tilth
- More wildlife
- Reduced release of carbon gases
- Reduced air pollution
The Government leases farms along the trench lines of the major battlefields where the Australians fought.
The lease for a year would be very advantageous to the Farmers to ensure their cooperation.
Then a controlled and properly monitored dig could take place.
Fromelles was a wonderful example of what can be achieved and having attended the ceremony, I got a true sense of the importance of honoring our fallen soldiers who gave their lives for their country.
My Uncle Harry is one of the MIA from Fromelles, died at seventeen.
I have spoken to Ian McPherdran who wrote the article and he would be keen to write a follow up article .