British and Australian war dead exhumed in France

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Work has begun in France to exhume the remains of up to 400 British and Australian soldiers who died in the Battle of Fromelles during the First World War.

The remains, buried in a cluster of mass graves discovered last year, are to be reintered individually in a cemetery being built near the village of the same name.

Australian, British and French dignitaries gathered in Fromelles for a ceremony marking the launch of the project, which is expected to be completed next year.

An Australian amateur historian discovered the graves - which contain the largest group of Australian remains from World War I ever found - in a muddy field on the edge of a small wood, prompting an investigation by the Australian government.

More than 5,500 Australians were killed, wounded or went missing at Fromelles in under 24 hours, along with over 1,500 British, cut down by German machine guns and artillery.

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