WWI body finally identified

AN Australian soldier of World War I, whose remains were uncovered in Belgium two years ago, has been identified as Private Alan James Mather of Inverell, NSW.

Veterans Affairs Minister Alan Griffin said Private Mather died in the June 1917 Battle of Messines.

That battle opened with the detonation of a series of enormous mines, an event depicted in the recent film Beneath Hill 60.

Mr Griffin said Private Mather was listed as missing, one of some 6000 Australian soldiers with no known grace from fighting on the western front. He was discovered at Ploegsteert, Belgium, in 2008.

“His remains were recovered along with a significant amount of equipment, clothing and badges that enabled him to be identified as an Australian infantry soldier,” he said in a statement.

“Although a corroded identification disc was also recovered, forensic investigation failed to provide identification details. Mr Griffin said historical, anthropological and DNA evidence helped establish his identity.

“I am extremely pleased that we have been able to restore the identity of this Australian soldier who was missing for almost a century,” he said.

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