A group of thirteen soldiers, who ultimately lost their lives in the First World War and whose identities yet remain unknown, will finally be given a burial with proper military honours near Ypres, a Belgian municipality in the province of West Flanders. At least two of the soldiers are believed to be of British origin.
The ceremony at Wytschaete Military Cemetery in Heuvelland will be one of the last sections in relation to the Dig Hill 80 excavation project, where the mortal remains of 110 soldiers were discovered. The task spearheaded a 1.1 hectare crowdfunded archaeological excavation process at the previous site of Hill 80 in Wytschaete, an area that had been set aside for housing projects in the near future. 550 meters of channels and 430 bomb pits were unearthed in the process of digging between the time period- April and July 2018, with the remains of 110 soldiers belonging to the British, French, German and South African battalions were found.
The burial ceremony will be conducted by Father Patrick O'Driscoll, chaplain to the First Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, bolstered by present-day serving soldiers from the regiment. The soldiers will be placed in three different caskets, with three Commonwealth War Graves Commission tombstones denoting their combined resting spots.
Two caskets will each contain one soldier, with a third containing remains of the other 11 soldiers. The soldiers will be buried together with regards to basic burial customs, ensuring that the individuals who served and lost their lives together also get their recognition collectively.
The Hill 80 site was the place of a windmill before the First World War. However, it turned into a German base for arms and ammunition right after they gained control over the town of Wytschaete in the year 1914. The area acted as a territorial advantage to the Germans as it overlooked the town of Ypres. The site stayed in control of the Germans until it was recovered during the Battle of Messines in June 1917. The Hill 80 site was again taken by the Germans during the Battle of the Lys in 1918, preceding at long last coming back to Belgium in September 1918.
(with inputs from agencies)