THE remains of an unknown New Zealand soldier who served in World War I have been discovered at Messines in Belgium.
The remains were discovered in April, alongside two New Zealand Infantry shoulder badges, and following forensic analysis have now been officially accepted as the remains of a New Zealand soldier.
The soldier will be reburied in a Commonwealth War Grave, likely in Belgium, later this year or early next year, the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) says.
“The soldier ‘Known only to God’ will be reburied with ceremonial honours reflecting his sacrifice and service to New Zealand,” NZDF military advisor in London Lieutenant Colonel Nick Gillard said.
About 700 New Zealand soldiers lost their lives during the Battle of Messines in June 1917.
Such battles on the Western Front were fought under tough conditions and it wasn’t always possible to recover the bodies after fighting had ended.
It’s estimated that more than half of those who died during the Battle of Messines have no known resting place.