UK

WW1 British soldiers' remains reburied near Ypres

The coffin of an unknown soldier Image copyright Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Image caption The men's remains have been reinterred in a military cemetery near Ypres

Six British soldiers have been reburied in Belgium with full military honours more than 100 years after they were killed in action in World War One.

Remains of the unknown soldiers were found in 2008 and 2010 in a farmer's field near the town of Ypres.

Two of the men were from the King's Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment and two from the Lancashire Fusiliers. The regiments of the other two men are not known.

The Ministry of Defence said it had not been possible to trace any relatives.

The men were killed in battle in October 1914, the MoD said.

It is thought they were given field burials at the time. Their bodies were found in the Comines-Warneton area, just south of Ypres.

They were reinterred during a funeral service at the nearby Prowse Point Military Cemetery, where more than 200 UK and Commonwealth servicemen are buried.

The service included the hymns Jerusalem and I Vow To Thee My Country, and a reading by the British ambassador to Belgium, Alison Rose.

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, told the BBC: "It was quite a turnout. 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.

Image copyright Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Image caption The service included a reading by the British ambassador to Belgium, Alison Rose

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 World War One.

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


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