First soldier from forgotten First World War battle laid to rest in cemetery in France

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No one may ever know how valiantly he fought. Nor how fearfully he faced his death on the battlefield.

But on a snow-capped hillside in northern France, a soldier who died in the carnage that was the Western Front during the First World War was finally laid to rest with full military honours.

His body, as yet unidentified, was the first of the 250 remains of soldiers that were found in mass graves at the site of the Battle of Fromelles, one of the most fiercely fought of the war. In all some 500 soldiers from the British 61st Division, along with 1,700 Australians, were mown down in a disastrous attack on a German-held salient just north of Fromelles village almost a century ago.

On Saturday, in a sombre but moving ceremony, the first of the unidentified soldiers - "known unto God", as their gravestones are customarily inscribed - was laid to rest in the newly built cemetery 440 yards from Pheasant Wood, the scene of the fiercest fighting.

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