A WANGARATTA woman who was instrumental in the DNA identification of a local soldier killed in the 1916 Battle of Fromelles has described the process as “the most amazing story”.
Judith Douthie’s great uncle, Captain Kenneth Malcolm Mortimer, is one of nine World War 1 Australian soldiers whose families finally have closure after their remains were formally identified by the 2018 Fromelles Identification Board.
Capt Mortimer, a former Wangaratta Agricultural High School student, and the other eight soldiers identified were originally recovered from unmarked mass graves adjacent to Pheasant Wood in France, along with a further 250 Australian soldiers who fought and died in the 1916 Battle of Fromelles.
Federal Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester said their identification was “a notable achievement for Australia, our army, and all those involved in the research, finding and identification process”.
“Importantly, the identification of these soldiers provides closure for some families with missing members lost during the battles of World War 1,” Mr Chester said.