Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Proposed new Memorial Park at Pozières


Recommended Posts

I have questions for both the Pozieres Remembrance Association (PRA) and the Fallen Diggers Inc (FDI) concerning the possibility of human remains existing on the proposed memorial site:

To the Pozieres Remembrance Association

I am given to understand that on your Facebook page the PRA have made a statement to the effect that if there are human remains discovered on the site or indeed I presume that the survey undertaken by the FDI indicates the possibility of such remains, the PRA intend to allow these to stay in-situ and not to be removed for investigation and ultimate burial. Please confirm and clarify this statement if my understanding is correct in the light of what follows below.

To The Fallen Diggers Inc

This from the web site: Dennis Frank – Fallen Diggers

It was because of this tour and seeing so many Australian names on the walls of cemeteries, reflecting the missing soldiers that I thought to myself that every attempt should be made to find these souls and given the burial they so deserve. What started out with research one soldier, has snowballed into over 300 soldiers that are all buried within the same vicinity. I am lucky to have an understanding wife who supports my passion and vision to find these amazing Aussie Diggers.

Do I therefore understand that the statement with regard to found human remains still stands?

If the PRA intentions are confirmed as non-removal of any human remains and the FDI statement appears to be just the opposite whose policy is likely to prevail should such remains be found.

Norman

Link to post
Share on other sites

Surely one thing is clear - if ground is broken to provide foundations for any part of the proposed work, as it surely must be, then there is a probability that human remains will be uncovered. if that happens, then the decision is no longer for either association, but would be a matter for the French authorities who would have to be notified immediately and who would ensure that action is taken in accordance with French law and policy.

Keith

Link to post
Share on other sites

Surely one thing is clear - if ground is broken to provide foundations for any part of the proposed work, as it surely must be, then there is a probability that human remains will be uncovered. if that happens, then the decision is no longer for either association, but would be a matter for the French authorities who would have to be notified immediately and who would ensure that action is taken in accordance with French law and policy.

Keith

...and if that happens - and it will happen- I come back to my earlier question.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Egbert

I think you need to ask CWGC as they or the other national authorities, are the only bodies that can give you a direct and specific answer.

Keith

Link to post
Share on other sites

Seadog, I really don't know what you are fishing for. I have stated that Office of Australian War Graves and Un recovered War Casualty Unit of the Australian Army are all being given the results. Yes I stand by my comment, I would not off made that comment if I didn't believe in it. But you have to know surely you cannot just go out there looking for remains. There is a long process. That is why we concentrate of Surveying and Battlefield archaeology. If remains are found all the relevant authorities will be notified, regardless of what nationality they are. Have you even looked at our team on the wbisite, or do you just want to read what you want to see.

I have also mentioned that I can only speak for My organisation. On this thread many people have asked is there going to be a archaeological survey, I answered that in the positive and it was carried out.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Also Seadog what you are reading of our webpage is the about us Tab, which is my personal opinion, why don't you read our front page and see what it says, or our mission statement. We are all here to honour our dead. And if you took the time to join our Facebook page you would see we are not just about Australian soldiers, our archaeologist two of them are British. We have done the right thing and did a survey of the park full stop nothing more.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for that, just one further question about your web site, you quote as detailed in my post the figure of 300 being buried in the same vicinity can you please explain what this means. Am I correct in thinking that your group (FDI) were carrying out the survey of the proposed Pozieres Memorial site on behalf of and and solely for the PRA?.

Norman

Link to post
Share on other sites

Our research shows that there was up to 300 Australian soldiers buried near Mouquet Farm by the British Cavalry Unit dismounted party. With the wrong co -ordinates given of thier burial, after reading many diaries we have found that in fact the co ordinates were wrong. Now we as going through the list of unknowns that are found in that area and seeing if any are coming up with the map reference. There is a lot to do. Yes we would like to do an archaeological survey of Mouquet Farm, I flew to France in February this year and met with the owner and the leasee of the farm. I obtain their approval for it. We are now in the process of getting DRACS approval. But yet again you are reading my personal expressions on the about us page, once again I suggest you read whats on on our main page which clearly states -Fallen Diggers Incorporated are currently researching the experiences of over 800 soldiers that are missing to date in the fields of northern France. But I am sure someone will find a problem with that too.

My organisation did the survey of the Memorial Park solely PRA with the results being shared with relevant authorities.. Whilst there we did another survey solely for Fallen Diggers as I stated previously looking for the dug out where Albert Jacka should of received his Second VC.

I will state again EVERYTHING FDI DOES IS SHARED WITH OAWG AND THE UN RECOVERED WAR CASUALTIES AUSTRALIAN ARMY. I just don't understand why this feels like a witch hunt.

It seems its ok for British teams to go over there and do what they like. It wasn't only British blood spilt in France.

Charles Bean the Pozières ridge "is more densely sown with Australian sacrifice than any other place on earth."

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks again for your reply. Your use of the words “Witch Hunt” is totally inaccurate for this is an open forum, you have a web site and all that I am trying to do is to gain more understanding of the aims of your organization. To that end what is the ultimate intention of the FDI as regards possible existing human remains in the area of Mouquet Farm. You state that permission for an “archaeological survey” has been obtained so following the completion of that then what, is the ultimate plan to excavate on the site in an attempt to recover human remains I will be obliged if you will clarify this point otherwise what is the point of the survey?.

Norman.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dennis,

Suggesting that British teams go over to the Western Front and do what they like is an over-exaggeration and not really a basis on which to part-justify your own goals.

Your ideas may be admirable but I think it's a case of people being confused by the mixed aims and messages you are putting out there and the obvious conflict of interest between the two groups as highlighted by Norman above. Various parts of your website and much online media allude to your determined goals of finding and recovering the remains of Australian soldiers but you now distance yourself from that aim, suggesting that you're only surveying trenches and dugouts etc. but at the same time using your funds to survey a memorial park for another group who don't necessarily hold true to your beliefs on recovering the missing. It just makes it seem like a mish-mash of half formed ideas without a specific goal. Perhaps that's what makes onlookers a bit apprehensive and subsequently question the professionalism of the two groups.

I hope you take this as the constructive criticism that it was intended to be. Personally I don't believe we need a memorial park with replica windmill built at Pozieres. It sounds a bit cheesy to me. I think the existing memorials and CWGC cemeteries are perfectly adequate for the purposes of remembrance. But that's just my opinion.

Cheers,

Tim L.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Auimfo, thank you for comments. We used our funds on the survey of the PRA park yes. We had the gear and offered our services. I still personally believe we should recover our fallen if we find them in our survey. All the newspaper reports from last year was by over eager friends thinking they were doing the right thing by telling the papers about my organisation. If we come across any remains in our surveys its up to the relevant authorities I.E OAWG and CWGC to decide what to do with them. You question the professionalism, Have you seen our team, there is no way in any shape or form that those archaeologist would work for us if there was any dubious going on. All I can say is judge us by our work and they way we go about it. Getting all approvals in place before any work is commenced and liaising with all the correct authorities.

It just feel like if we were a British team I would not be justifying our work. That is all. If I am wrong then I am wrong

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the reply Dennis. But professionalism isn't always necessarily about 'who' is involved but also about 'how' it is being run. Yes, some of the people involved may be professionals in their respective fields but that fact doesn't make the entire concept professionally operated. The mixed messages are confusing to people and therefore imply a group with muddled ambitions i.e. an unprofessional approach.

For example, you openly admit you used FDI donated funds to survey the memorial park at Pozieres for the PRA. But is that what your sponsors who donated those funds expected their money to be used for? I would've thought they'd be expecting deliberately focused analysis of specific sites of importance and not just generalised surveys of a proposed memorial park area for another group. It's a bit like donating money to the local hospital who then use it to refurbish their on-site privately operated cafe.

Although you say over eager friends telling newspapers about your group was the main source for confusion, most of those articles are direct interviews with you and quote your comments. Surely it provided you with the opportunity to set the record straight? And am I correct in assuming the information on your website was no doubt written by you?

I'm really not trying to imply your actions are dubious (as you put it) nor point the finger of blame at anyone specifically, but rather explain to you why I think people are unable to grasp what FDI is all about. It just seems like the focus of your group has been blurred and any point to it has been lost amid all the confusion.

I hope you understand what I'm driving at.

Cheers,

Tim L.

P.S. I'm thinking those in charge of the PRA won't be too happy with you if the survey you conducted on their behalf results in a delay to their park being constructed :whistle:

Link to post
Share on other sites

I can tell you for a fact that our main sponsor was there helping with the survey. He was well aware of the survey for the Memorial Park. Also Seadog our results will ba shared with the authorities how many times do I have to tell people this. If there is remains in our survey results it is up to them what they will do. What I want to do at Mouquet Farm is nothing more than what La boiselle project was. We want to study Australian positions and placements, followed by German positions. And if we wanted to excavate a Australian trench and have all the authority to do so, who are you to say we can or can't. I am not asking the British public for money. All I want to do is survey areas that a significant to Australian Military History. And Once again say it again share with the Australian Authorities, If the Australian DVA OAWG and Un Recovered War Casualties had no problems with us doing what we were doing, why should you.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Also whilst there we did survey Albert Jacka's dugout In OG1, for our Organisation. Which I believe is important as he should of received his second VC there. I have my own personal beliefs on what should be done by our fallen who are discovered. But the finally decision is not up to me or my organisation. If they decide to leave them there undisturbed or to relocate them for a proper burial is not up to me. I just love military history and want to do my bit for our fallen.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Windmill is coming in for a lot of flak and I think it needs to be said that the Moulin project is a locally-based initiative that has been combined into the more recent Memorial Park plan. Long before Pozières played its iconic part in the Great War, the village was largely defined in its locality by its position astride the Roman road and by its windmill. The local aspiration is therefore to reinstate a structure that is emblematic of the broader history and identity of the village and, at the same time, to use it as a focus of remembrance and reconciliation among all the participants in the Great War, not least the local inhabitants who lost their homes, their livelihoods and the heritage of their forebears. http://www.moulindepozieres.com/

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dennis,

I'm not sure if your reply was aimed at me or Seadog but there's no need to get all defensive.

Did I anywhere say that I had a problem with what you are doing or what you can or cannot do? If you check back a couple of posts, you'll find I said your ideas were admirable. (although admittedly I don't agree with the idea of the PRA's memorial park but I'm entitled to that opinion). You need to stop thinking that people simply asking questions for clarification are trying to attack you - it's not necessarily the case.

I'm just trying to provide you with some food for thought about why onlookers might find your approach to this a bit muddled and confusing and hence their questions. It's completely up to you if you choose to take it on board or completely ignore it - I don't really care.

You're correct about the Gallipoli survey. And from what I understand, there was an clear and extensive 5-year plan, scope of works, operating procedures, etc, etc, developed and finalised before any work commenced - not just a couple of paragraphs of mission statement on the front page of a website. If you have a similar overall structured plan of work and proposed outcomes, perhaps you should publish it on your website so everyone can be clear about your plans. That would certainly resolve any confusion. As you have said yourself, you just can't go over to France and dig for things.

Cheers,

Tim L.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Siege,

I know what you're saying and can understand the idea behind the replica windmill.......I just can't get past the whole theme park cheesy feel to it. Maybe I'm being a bit too harsh but I don't think we need any more memorial parks and monuments. What we have is perfectly adequate and very moving.

Cheers,

Tim L.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I was directing it to seadog , auimfo would you like for me to email you our methodolgy statement? so you can see what we are doing. Email me on dennis@cssaustralia.com.au and I will gladly share it with you.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I can tell you for a fact that our main sponsor was there helping with the survey. He was well aware of the survey for the Memorial Park. Also Seadog our results will ba shared with the authorities how many times do I have to tell people this. If there is remains in our survey results it is up to them what they will do. What I want to do at Mouquet Farm is nothing more than what La boiselle project was. We want to study Australian positions and placements, followed by German positions. And if we wanted to excavate a Australian trench and have all the authority to do so, who are you to say we can or can't. I am not asking the British public for money. All I want to do is survey areas that a significant to Australian Military History. And Once again say it again share with the Australian Authorities, If the Australian DVA OAWG and Un Recovered War Casualties had no problems with us doing what we were doing, why should you.

I will take it that the above was in response to my last post. If so there are more questions than answers like, just how do human remains show up on the type of survey being conducted I have no idea perhaps you can provide the explanation. You mention the La Boisselle Project which you will no doubt be aware came to an acrimonious end due to the breakdown between the LBSG and the owner of the site, not a very good example to quote. My question still remains unanswered which is just what does your organization propose to do following the survey of the Mouquet Farm site, please advise. By the way I do actually understand that as you have said “It wasn't only British blood spilt in France”..

Norman

Link to post
Share on other sites

I know what you're saying and can understand the idea behind the replica windmill.......I just can't get past the whole theme park cheesy feel to it. Maybe I'm being a bit too harsh but I don't think we need any more memorial parks and monuments. What we have is perfectly adequate and very moving.

Who is 'we', Tim? The Moulin de Pozières project is a local French initiative, as is the village's own spectacular Son et Lumière, illustrating and commemorating the story of Pozières during the Great War.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Siege Gunner, My response about the sponsor was for someone else. ,

One such research project that is currently being undertaken is that of the July 1916 - Battle of Pozieres. This small village in the Somme area of northern France is where more Australians still lay almost 100 years after the battle, more than any other battlefield anywhere in the world.

After 24 months of tirelessly researching military maps, diaries, documents and Red Cross files, the team has identified important archaeological sites and are now ready to send a small team to France to use non-invasive searching technologies to identify and confirm these sites.

These sites such as trenches, machine gun pits, forward operation points, mustering stations, etc. are all relevant to the Australian personnel that fought and died there and need to be identified so people can identify with their relatives that they have read or heard about through the generations.

The La Boiselle Project I used as an example for the shear purpose of what we want do, not how it ended. I can also use the Gallipoli Project I posted earlier as an example.

We have always gone through the proper authorities and channels. We have done nothing wrong and nor shall will. Our fallen and the respect they deserve will always be our highest priority.

Cheers

Dennis

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dennis can I assume that the remark about La Boisselle (Post 123) was a partial response to my last post, if so can you please educate me as to how “Non-Invasive techniques” can identify the presence of human remains as quoted in my Post 121 as I would dearly like to know. Has to-date your organization actually located human remains from WW1 on the western Front and with the involvement of the authorities given these a reburial in a war cemetery?. Perhaps you will also be kind enough to answer my other point about what future plans the FDI has towards the Mouquet Farm site when the results of the survey are available.

Thanks

Norman

PS It may just be down for update/maintenance but the PRA site is not available.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have answer about Mouquet farm we are not looking for remains in Mouquet farm. this is what we want to do.

One such research project that is currently being undertaken is that of the July 1916 - Battle of Pozieres. This small village in the Somme area of northern France is where more Australians still lay almost 100 years after the battle, more than any other battlefield anywhere in the world.

After 24 months of tirelessly researching military maps, diaries, documents and Red Cross files, the team has identified important archaeological sites and are now ready to send a small team to France to use non-invasive searching technologies to identify and confirm these sites.

These sites such as trenches, machine gun pits, forward operation points, mustering stations, etc. are all relevant to the Australian personnel that fought and died there and need to be identified so people can identify with their relatives that they have read or heard about through the generations.

We also research unknown graves and see if we can give them names. But Im sure you will find something wrong with that too.

I hope it has cleared tings up. Over this thread and having to justify to people who think they are the archaeological police of France.. We deal with DRAC and the Relevant Australian authorities, they are the only people WE ANSWER TOO. No one else.

Resistivity survey doesn't not find remains. It show abnormality in the ground which then archaeologist distinguish what it is. If they believe it could be remains then a GPR will be used. I am not an archaeologist to tell you how it works seadog. Not answering any more questions on here, you can email me.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...