Remains of French Soldiers Discovered by Verdun Battlefield Tourists

The chapel built on the site of the village of Fleury, destroyed in the 1916 Battle of Verdun.

The chapel built on the site of the village of Fleury, destroyed in the 1916 Battle of Verdun.

A group of German tourists walking near the former site of Fleury, a village on the Verdun battlefield, recently discovered the remains of numerous French soldiers killed in the 1916 battle.  According to archeologists who excavated the site, the spot had most likely been a first aid post destroyed by an artillery shell.  The village of Fleury, located near Fort Douaumont, was completely destroyed during the battle and was never rebuilt, serving rather as a memorial site over the intervening decades.

In addition to the physical remains of an estimated 15-30 individuals, archeologists unearthed numerous personal effects including scissors, rings, and pocket change.  French Army identity discs discovered with the remains have allowed several of the dead soldiers to be identified and efforts to locate their descendants are being made.  The bones which cannot be identified will likely be interred at the Douaumont Ossuary which houses the skeletal remains of at least 130,000 French and German soldiers discovered on the battlefield.

The 1916 Battle of Verdun was among the bloodiest campaigns of the First World War and, more than any other battle, defined the French experience in the war.  More than 700,000 French and German soldiers died in the 10-month battle.

For more information, see The Daily Mail online story here

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