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French Verdun Casualty Identified By DNA

Discussion in 'Military History' started by GRW, Feb 22, 2018.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

    Oct 26, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Stirling, Scotland
    Always heartening to see stories like this.
    "A century after the Battle of Verdun a French soldier who was left behind on the battlefield will get a proper burial Wednesday after being identified by DNA samples from his relatives.
    Sergeant Claude Fournier is the first French soldier who died in World War I to be identified by DNA analysis—a process already used by Britain to identify 10 servicemen in 2014.
    Fournier's remains were found in May 2015 during construction work at Douaumont memorial, which contains the remains of soldiers who died during the 10-month scorched-earth battle between French and German forces.
    An earthmover uncovered three skeletons "almost entirely preserved, completely entangled," Bruno Fremont, the site's forensic scientist, told AFP.
    Hobnail boots, bayonets, bullets, helmets and a small flask of mint liqueur were also found at the site—along with a military tag belonging to a certain Claude Fournier, who was killed on August 4, 1916, at the age of 35.
    The find triggered a quest to formally identify Fournier, who was decorated for his bravery in the longest fight of the war.
    Born on November 27, 1880 in Colombier-en-Brionnais, about 400 kilometres (250 miles) south of Verdun, he worked as a gardener in the Lyon area before enlisting in the army in 1900.
    Little was known about the infantry soldier who was married with a teenage daughter when he fell under enemy fire.
    One of the three skeletons bore some of the traits listed in his army file, but historians could not be sure they had their man until they had a DNA match.
    On learning that a local man who died during the war might have been found a century later the mayor of Colombier-en-Brionnais, Jean-Paul Malatier, went looking for his family.
    With the help of historical associations he managed to track down a 75-year-old grandson, Robert Allard, to the Riviera, as well as a woman in her 80s who thought she was related to Fournier but no longer lived in the area.
    DNA samples yielded matches between Allard, the woman and the dead soldier."
    Slipdigit and JJWilson like this.
  2. JJWilson

    JJWilson Well-Known Member

    Oct 1, 2017
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    Arizona U.S.A
    Wow, amazing, and good to hear his family, though none probably remember him, have closure. It is terrible though that 100 years after the war, were still finding bodies, that's how awful it was, I'm afraid that WW2 victims will have even longer to wait before being discovered and properly buried, others will never get the chance.....
  3. Andy235

    Andy235 Member

    Feb 8, 2018
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    That is wild stuff.

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