World

DNA analysis gives 11 bodies a name and family history in WWI reburial

  • A worker from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cleans leaves off of the caskets of World War I soldiers prior to a re-burial ceremony in Bois-Grenier, France, Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. Fifteen British WWI soldiers were re-buried at Y Farm Commonwealth cemetery on Wednesday, nearly a century after they died in battle. The soldiers, who served with the 2nd Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment, were discovered in a field nearby in Beaucamps-Ligny in 2009 and identified through a variety of means, including DNA. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

    A worker from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cleans leaves off of the caskets of World War I soldiers prior to a re-burial ceremony in Bois-Grenier, France, Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. Fifteen British WWI soldiers were re-buried at Y Farm Commonwealth cemetery on Wednesday, nearly a century after they died in battle. The soldiers, who served with the 2nd Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment, were discovered in a field nearby in Beaucamps-Ligny in 2009 and identified through a variety of means, including DNA. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)  (The Associated Press)

  • British Soldiers carry the casket of a World War I soldier during a re-burial ceremony in Bois-Grenier, France, Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. Fifteen British WWI soldiers were re-buried at Y Farm Commonwealth cemetery on Wednesday, nearly a century after they died in battle. The soldiers, who served with the 2nd Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment, were discovered in a field nearby in Beaucamps-Ligny in 2009 and identified through a variety of means, including DNA. Out of the 15 soldiers found, 11 were positively identified. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

    British Soldiers carry the casket of a World War I soldier during a re-burial ceremony in Bois-Grenier, France, Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. Fifteen British WWI soldiers were re-buried at Y Farm Commonwealth cemetery on Wednesday, nearly a century after they died in battle. The soldiers, who served with the 2nd Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment, were discovered in a field nearby in Beaucamps-Ligny in 2009 and identified through a variety of means, including DNA. Out of the 15 soldiers found, 11 were positively identified. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Two British soldiers bow their heads as a detail carry the casket of a World War I soldier during a re-burial ceremony in Bois-Grenier, France, Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. Fifteen British WWI soldiers were re-buried at Y Farm Commonwealth cemetery on Wednesday, nearly a century after they died in battle. The soldiers, who served with the 2nd Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment, were discovered in a field nearby in Beaucamps-Ligny in 2009 and identified through a variety of means, including DNA. Out of the 15 soldiers found, 11 were positively identified. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

    Two British soldiers bow their heads as a detail carry the casket of a World War I soldier during a re-burial ceremony in Bois-Grenier, France, Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. Fifteen British WWI soldiers were re-buried at Y Farm Commonwealth cemetery on Wednesday, nearly a century after they died in battle. The soldiers, who served with the 2nd Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment, were discovered in a field nearby in Beaucamps-Ligny in 2009 and identified through a variety of means, including DNA. Out of the 15 soldiers found, 11 were positively identified. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)  (The Associated Press)

Eleven British casualties of World War I who got a name and family history through cutting-edge DNA research have been officially reburied with some of their descendants in attendance.

Wednesday's solemn ceremony highlighted how current-day identification technology can make a difference for families who never knew what happened to their ancestors.

The soldiers were killed by the Germans in northern France 100 years ago this month. Their remains were found in a field there five years ago.

Walter Oxer was at the ceremony and said his father always had questions about the fate of his grandfather, Pvt. Ernest Oxer.

Oxer said that his father "always wondered where his father was and he knew nothing about it. He was just an unknown soldier," adding the belated discovery was "unbelievable."