Grave at Fromelles unearths political minefield

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The unearthing of human remains in the German-dug mass grave in Fromelles may ease the heartbreak of some soldiers' families, but it has sparked a monumental political headache for the Australian and British armies.

With up to 400 Australian and British soldiers apparently buried together in the pits beside Pheasant's Wood, how will we navigate and reconcile the two nations' different responses to and expectations of the find?

While both are party to a postwar agreement — that they won't launch specific searches; that their war dead remain where they fell — it is different when "compelling" evidence is found to justify individual investigations.

However, it does not mean that the bodies, when found, will be repatriated. Indeed, at Fromelles on Thursday, Major General Mike O'Brien made very clear that, despite some media headlines, no diggers will be repatriated — no matter what the outcome of investigations.

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