Wednesday, 29 October 2014

British soldiers identified 100 years after they died
(Level: Intermediate to Upper-Intermediate / B2 / ** to ***)

The remains of 15 British soldiers who had no known grave (*) have been reinterred in Bois-Grenier, France, 100 years after they were killed in action. 11 of them have been identified.
You are going to watch a Sky News report focusing on this event.
(L-R, clockwise from top left) Private Leonard Arthur Morley, Lance Corporal William Henry Warr,
Private John Brameld, Private Herbert Ernest Allcock, Private William Alfred Singyard
and Private William Butterworth
Photo and captions credit:

If you are interested, you can find more details about them on the Sky News website by clicking HERE

British soldiers being reinterred in Bois-Grenier, France

Beaucamps-Ligny, France,
where the soldiers' remains were found
Map credit:

Bois-Grenier, France
Map credit:

(*) the trench warfare on the Western Front was characterised by soldiers constantly moving back and forth and the unending shelling on the same ground for years. It is no wonder that the graves and burial grounds located there were subsequently damaged or destroyed by the fighting across the same place, which resulted in the loss of the original marked graves (later replaced by new graves which then were in turn destroyed and so on). It had become virtually impossible to retrieve the bodies and to identify them. 
In the Commonwealth military cemeteries, there are soldiers buried in known graves (i.e. with their names being inscribed on their headstone), or buried but not identifiable by name (with "A Soldier of the Great War, Known unto God" being then inscribed on the headstone) and finally, the others (the missing) with no known graves who have their names inscribed on a memorial to the missing . 
You can check this site (The Long, Long Trail - The British Army in the Great War) for more details (number of casualties, number of soldiers with no known graves etc.): click HERE
You can also consult the official Commonwealth War Graves Commission's website for more interesting details: click HERE

Before watching:

The following words could be useful:
at last: finally / eventually     enfin / finalement
private: a person of the lowest rank in the British army     (simple) soldat 
mind-blowing: astounding    incroyable / époustouflant 
humbling: causing awareness of someone's shortcomings       plein d'humilité  
reinterment: new burial      nouvelle inhumation          

While watching:

Watch and answer the following question in French:
Make notes about the following points: what do they refer to? 
John Richmond ?





Boutons ou morceaux d’uniforme et autres objets ?

2009 ?

You can also find the video on the Sky News website by clicking HERE

When you are finished, check your answers:

John Richmond ?

Le grand-oncle de Barry identifié grâce à l’ADN de ce dernier.

Simple soldat tué il y a tout  juste 100 ans, le 18 octobre 1914.

Il a tout quitté (femme ; enfants ; famille…) pour s’enrôler comme volontaire  juste après la déclaration de guerre.



Outil incontournable dorénavant permettant l’identification des restes de soldats, à condition de retrouver les descendants.

Des boutons ou morceaux d’uniforme et autres objets ?

Eléments importants dans la tentative d’identification des restes humains à commencer par l’appartenance à tel ou tel régiment…

2009 ?

Date de découverte des ossements des soldats lors de travaux de construction !

Il aura fallu cinq ans pour identifier les restes de 11 soldats sur les 15 retrouvés.

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