Identified by DNA, soldier laid to rest 94 years after death

April 22nd, 2010 - 1:17 pm ICT by IANS  

London, April 22 (IANS) A soldier who was killed in the First World War and placed in an unmarked grave has now been given a proper burial after his remains were identified with the help of DNA.

Private Harry Dibben was shot in the chest while attacking a German trench at the battle of Fromelles in 1916.

The Germans sent his identity tags to London, but the soldier’s body wasn’t recovered, Daily Express reported Thursday.

There was only an inscription of his death on the grave of his parents in his village of Buckland Newton, Dorset.

In 2007, the remains of 250 unknown soldiers were exhumed by archaeologists from an unmarked grave in Fromelles, France.

Richard Dibben, who was researching his family’s history, came to know about the exhumation and realised great-uncle Harry may be among them.

Harry was serving in the 14th brigade of the 5th division of the Australian Imperial Force. He had emigrated to Australia in 1912 and enlisted with the army three years later.

Richard, who stays in Dorset, contacted the Australian Army. They sent him a DNA swab kit. The result confirmed that Harry was one of the unknown soldiers.

Now Harry has been laid to rest in a marked grave in a new cemetery in Fromelles, alongside 75 other soldiers.

“It is all rather poignant. At last my great-uncle Harry will have formal recognition of his death and there will be a grave to visit,” Richard was quoted as saying.

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