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Commonwealth War Graves Commission Selects Location for new war cemetery at Fromelles

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has confirmed the location of a new war cemetery to contain the remains of up to 400 Australian and British First World War soldiers.

The new cemetery will be designed and built by the Commission close to Pheasant Wood on the edge of the village of Fromelles in France where earlier this year a team of archaeologists from Glasgow University, working on behalf of the Australian and British  Governments, confirmed the presence of large numbers of human remains of both British and Australian soldiers.

Peter Francis, spokesperson for the Commission said, “This is the first time in more than fifty years that the Commission has constructed a new Commonwealth war cemetery.

The cemetery will be built to the same high standards as the Commission’s existing First World War memorials and cemeteries in France – using similar materials and horticulture.

Plans are currently being finalised and it is our intention to make these publicly available as soon as possible.

The location for the new cemetery has been decided after much careful deliberation by the Commission’s horticultural and structural experts and following discussions with the people of Fromelles and the Australian, British and French authorities.

The present burial location at Pheasant Wood was deemed unsuitable due to the likelihood of regular flooding and a lack of access.

The preferred location should be easily accessible to the many pilgrims who will wish to make the journey to the cemetery and affords the Commission an opportunity to construct a lasting memorial befitting the sacrifice of these men.”

An image of the chosen site is available on the Commission’s website by clicking here

For further information please contact Peter Francis on 0044 1628 507163 or by email at peter.francis@cwgc.org

Ends.

Notes to Editors
1. The battle of Fromelles took place over 19 and 20 July 1916.  The 5th Australian Division suffered 5,533 casualties and the 61st British Division suffered 1,547 casualties during the 24 hour battle.

2. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Established by Royal Charter on 21 May 1917, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission is responsible for marking and maintaining the graves of those members of the Commonwealth forces who died during the two world wars, for building and maintaining memorials to the dead whose graves are unknown and for providing records and registers of these 1.7 million burials and commemorations found in most countries throughout the world. Visit www.cwgc.org for more information.

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