Sunday, 2 June 2013

Archaeologists unearth the bones of at least 20 French First World War dead after chance discovery by hikers in the forests of Verdun

Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of at least 20 soldiers killed during the First World War after a chance discovery by a group of tourists.

The bones were pulled from the earth at the scene of the destroyed village of Fleury-devant-Douaumont, in Meuse, north-east France, after hikers spotted a bone sticking out of the ground.

Many personal belongings belonging to the deceased have also been uncovered, including ammunition, rings, watches, scissors, military books and wallets.

It is believed the location where the remains were found was a first aid station located in the basement of a house, which was completely blown apart by the impact of an artillery shell in June 1916.

Watches found amongst the bones set the time of the artillery strike to just after 11am.

A group of German tourists found the remains entirely by chance as they took a walk through the forest of Verdun on Tuesday, prompting a full-scale dig to recover more bones.

The site where they were found is an ancient village which was completely destroyed in 1916 during the Battle of Verdun and never rebuilt.

The remains of the soldiers are mixed up and estimates of how many bodies have been found range from 13 to 26.

Experts say that the place were there soldiers were discovered is not the place where they were killed.

Rather it is believed they were killed or injured on the battlefield and kept there ahead of their planned burial.

However, the German artillery shell which struck the first-aid station hastened that process.

Seven of the soldiers have already been identified through the military identification tags they wore. According to official records, these soldiers were killed in combat between March 28 and April 5.

Investigations have already begun to find the descendants of the men.

In cases where the family does not want to recover the body, the soldiers will be buried in the Fleury military cemetery under a white cross.

Where no identification can be made the bones will be kept at the the Douaumont ossuary, a memorial containing the remains of soldiers who died on the battlefield during the Battle of Verdun

During the 300 days of the Battle of Verdun, which lasted from February 21 1916 to December 19 1916, approximately 230,000 men died on a battlefield covering less than eight square miles.

Most were killed by artillery.

The battle became known in German as Die Hölle von Verdun, or in French as L'Enfer de Verdun. Both names translate to English as 'the Hell of Verdun'.

It was the longest and one of the most devastating battles in the First World War and the history of warfare.

Sunday 2 June 2013^headlines

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Nine killed during tornado outbreak in central Oklahoma

The Medical Examiner's Office confirmed Saturday morning that nine people, including two children, were killed during the tornado outbreak in the Oklahoma City metro area Friday evening.

According to the Medical Examiner's Office, four victims have been identified, and five others have not been identified.

In addition to the fatality numbers released by the medical examiner's office, two other victims were identified by the Oklahoma and Okfuskee county sheriffs' offices in towns east of the metro.

The Oklahoma County Sheriff's office identified a man who died when his vehicle ran into high water in Harrah, Okla. and the Okfuskee County Sheriff's office identified the body of a woman who also drowned after driving into high water.

Authorities have not released the victims' identities pending notification of family members.

The bodies of a mother and her baby were found at I-40 and Cimarron Rd. in Canadian County. Two other victims were found in a car near S.W. 15th St. and Choctaw Rd. in Union City.

One other person near N.W. 10th St. and Radio Rd. in El Reno.

Hospital officials said at least 75 people were hurt.

If you are missing a loved one from Friday night's tornado, you are encouraged to call the Medical Examiner's office at (405)-239-7141. Officials say they need help identifying the five unidentified victims.

Sunday 2 June 2013

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