Remains those of Kiwi soldier - Defence Force

PALOMA MIGONE
Last updated 10:10 25/09/2012

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The remains of a New Zealand soldier killed in World War I have been discovered at Messines in Belgium.

The remains were found in April this year, alongside two New Zealand Infantry shoulder badges.

The Defence Force today confirmed the remains belonged to a New Zealand soldier following forensic analysis.

The soldier will be reburied in a Commonwealth War Grave with his mates later this year or early next year.

"The soldier 'Known only to God' will be reburied with ceremonial honours reflecting his sacrifice and service to New Zealand," Defence Force military advisor in London, Lieutenant Colonel Nick Gillard, said.

"He can now lie with his comrades who also lost their lives during the Battle of Messines."

An unknown Kiwi soldier had also been discovered near Messines in July last year, and was laid to rest in February.

The remains, believed to have belonged to a 25-year-old man, were found alongside a New Zealand Rifle Brigade hat badge.

Messines was the scene of intense fighting by New Zealand Division troops over a seven-day period in June 1917.  

Around 700 New Zealand soldiers were killed in action during the battle.

Because of tough fighting conditions, it was not always possible to recover those killed in action after fighting had ended.

It was estimated that over half of those who died during the Battle of Messines had no known resting place.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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