Dedication at Fromelles
19 July 2010: On the 94th anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles, members of the Group travel to northern France to attend the dedication of the new CWGC military cemetery at Fromelles (Pheasant Wood)
See video footage of the ceremony from the BBC
First of Fromelles fallen buried
The remains of the first of 250 British and Australian soldiers killed in the 1916 Battle of Fromelles were reburied on Saturday 30 January 2010. Over the course of the next few weeks all the soldiers will be reburied with full military honours at a new cemetery close to the site.
Battle of Fromelles
April 2009: The Commonwealth War Graves Commission launches a new website remembering fromelles. The recovery phase of the Fromelles operation will commence on 5 May with a blessing of the site at Pheasant Wood.
February 2009: WWI soldiers to be exhumed from mass graves
The remains of around 400 British and Australian soldiers killed in the Battle of Fromelles are to be exhumed from mass graves and individually buried.
WWI archives of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva
In March 2009 Peter Barton was given access to World War I records at the ICRC headquarters in Geneva to enable him to carry out research into the identities of World War I casualties discovered at Fromelles. He was able to examine records that had lain virtually untouched since 1918, and estimates that there could be 20 million sets of details, carefully entered on card indexes, or written into ledgers.See Piecing together the past
Now he has prepared an illustrated 48 page report to give an overview of his research.
The ICRC archives occupy over 27 linear kilometres of shelf space, of which some 400 metres relate to WWI. The ICRC wish to begin digitisation of some of the First World War holdings - lists of missing and dead - during the autumn of 2009. It is hoped that completion will take place by the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of WWI in 2014.Contact Peter Barton
Commonwealth War Graves Commission selects location for new war cemetery at Fromelles.
The CWGC has confirmed the location of a new war cemetery to contain the remains of up to 400 Australian and British First World War soldiers.
On Monday 29 September,2008, Warren Snowdon, Australian Defence Minister, visited the site at Pheasant Wood, Fromelles. In this photograph he can be seen with Lord Faulkner of Worcester, Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary War Graves and Battlefields Heritage Group.
This photograph is of Dr Tony Pollard from the Centre for Battlefield Archaeology at Glasgow University, who is explaining to Australian Defence minister and his delegation what his team found when conducting excavations at Pheasant Wood, Fromelles, earlier this year.
Wreath from the All-Party Parliamentary War Graves and Battlefields Heritage Group laid on the 92nd anniversary of the Battle at Fromelles
On 19 July 2008, the 92nd anniversary of the Battle at Fromelles, Lord Faulkner of Worcester, Chairman, together with Peter Barton, First World War historian and co-secretary of this Group, were present at a commemoration ceremony held to honour the fallen at Fromelles Field. Lord Faulkner laid a wreath on behalf of the Group.
The sculpture "Cobbers" (known as the Diggers Memorial) in the Australian Memorial Park commemorates the Australian casualties of July 19 1916, in total over 5000.
See also report in La Voix du Nord of 22 July 2008
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission have set up a dedicated website for those who wish to trace the families of men who died at Fromelles.
In June 2008 excavation of WW1 graves commenced on a series of mass grave pits at Fromelles Field in northern France. The pits were thought to contain the remains of up to 400 British and Australian soldiers killed in the disastrous attack on German lines during the 1916 Battle of Fromelles. The excavation work was carried out by a team from the Glasgow University Archaeological Division under Dr Tony Pollard.Also Current Issues page on this website. Article in the Guardian of 3 June 2008 WWI 'mass grave' to be sealed: Report (13 June 2008) on the BBC News website
On June 5 2008, Lord Faulkner of Worcester, Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary War Graves and Battlefields Heritage Group, tabled the following Question in the House of Lords:
“whether, following the recent discovery of large numbers of human remains, Her Majesty's Government will initiate discussions to establish a Commonwealth War Graves site at Fromelles in northern France.” Read the Hansard report here
Who are we?
The All-Party Parliamentary War Heritage Group, chaired by Lord Faulkner of Worcester, has over 90 members.
Co-secretaries are Peter Barton, historian & author of several books on WW1 in association with the Imperial War Museum & Professor Peter Doyle, a military terrain specialist.
Some useful links
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission
- Imperial War Museum
- UK National Inventory of War Memorials
- War Memorials Trust
- The War Graves Photographic Project
- The Battlefields Trust
- Centre for Battlefield Archaeology
- The Western Front Association
- British Commission for Military History
- United Kingdom Parliament