LOOS-EN-GOHELLE, France – Twenty British soldiers are being laid to rest with full military honors in this sleepy northern French village, nearly a century after the First World War battle that claimed their lives.
Workers building a new prison discovered the remains, laid out in a common grave along with 30 German soldiers. The reburial ceremony serves as a reminder of the horrors of World War I, and of why many Europeans a century later are wary of seeing a new conflict on their eastern flank in Ukraine.
The 20 bodies being reburied were among some 60,000 British empire casualties during the 1915 Battle of Loos.
Only one of the bodies discovered could be identified thanks to an ID tag: 22-year-old Private William McAleer of the tiny Scottish seaside town of Leven.