Unknown WW1 soldiers are laid
to rest at last

Soldiers prepare to lower the casket of a British First World War soldier during a reburial ceremony at Prowse Point cemetery in Ploegsteert, Belgium.
Soldiers prepare to lower the casket of a British First World War soldier during a reburial ceremony at Prowse Point cemetery in Ploegsteert, Belgium.
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Six British servicemen, from Lancashire Fusiliers and the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, have been reburied in Flanders Fields over a century after they died in the chaotic first months of the First World War.

The six unknown soldiers received a service with full military honours.

Their bodies were found half a dozen years ago in farmland in the surroundings of Ypres where several of the war’s biggest battles were fought.

Two were identified as coming from Lancashire Fusiliers and two from the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment.

They are believed to have died on the battlefield in October 1914 at a time when German and British forces faced off in ferocious battles as the frontline of the 1914-1918 war was formed.

At a moving ceremony yesteray, serving soldiers saluted as the flag-draped coffins were reburied.

During the service at Prowse Point Military Ceremony in Belgium, soldiers were led in prayer by the Rev Mike Goodison and the Rev Chris Kellock.

Hymns, including Jerusalem and I Vow To Thee My Country were sung b efore soldiers fired a salute.

The British and Belgium National Anthems were sung and an address was given by Alison Rose, ambassador to Belgium.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), which looks after memorials in more than 150 countries, the ceremony was attended by around 300 people.

Carl Liversage, the CWGC’s head of external engagement for Western Europe, said: “It was a very dignified service – everyone was very moved by it.” He said members of the King’s Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment and the Lancashire Fusiliers travelled from the UK to attend.

Members of the public including about 40 New Zealand schoolchildren who were visiting the battlefields were also there, he added.

The CWGC handles the discovery of about 30 sets of remains each year.

They are mainly found on the Western Front battlefields and are uncovered by builders or farmers ploughing.

Stretching 440 miles from the Swiss border to the North Sea, the line of trenches along the Western Front moved very little between 1914-1918, despite attempts on both sides to break through.

Last year marked the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.

About five million British servicemen fought in the war, of whom 750,000 were killed and a further 1.5 million wounded.