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 Post subject: Renewed hope of identifying three WW1 soldiers
PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 12:03 am 

Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2006 4:13 pm
Posts: 1672
Location: South Australia
Renewed hope of identifying three WW1 soldiers
Wednesday - 17 October 2007 - MINASSIST53/07

Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence, Mr Bruce Billson, today announced renewed hope for identifying the remains of three WW1 soldiers re-interred in Belgium earlier this month.

The remains of five Australian WW1 soldiers were discovered in Zonnebeke last year during a road excavation and two, Sergeant George Calder and Private John Hunter, have already been successfully identified using DNA matching from surviving female descendents.

Mr Billson said a Belgian laboratory has now been successful in extracting Y chromosome materials from the remaining three unidentified soldiers, meaning it is possible for scientists to attempt matches with male descendents of the missing soldiers.

“It is my hope that all of these soldiers will be positively identified, and the availability of this additional DNA testing has increased the likelihood that this will occur,” Mr Billson said.

“Historical research has identified several possible soldiers and we will continue collecting DNA samples from surviving relatives of those soldiers, now widening the search to include male descendents.”

All five soldiers were re-interred in Belgium on the 4 October 2007 in a moving ceremony attended by the Governor General of Australia, Major General Michael Jeffrey and Vice Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie.

Initial research revealed seven possible matches for the remains, and DNA testing successfully identified SGT Calder and PTE Hunter, whilst discounting a further two candidates. Army will re-establish contact with descendents of the three remaining possible candidates; 4931 Private William Williams, 2488 Private George Richard Storey and 3233 Private T. A. Gibbens.

People who may have a connection to one of these unidentified individuals should contact Mr Roger Lee of the Army History Unit on 02 6266 2204.

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