The remains of four Belgian First World War soldiers have been transferred from the Boyau de la mort in Dixmude to the La Panne military cemetery, where they will remain permanently. Three of the four soldiers were identified through DNA tests.
The bodies of the four soldiers were found during an archaeological dig in Dixmude in 2016. One was found near the left bank of the Yser and the other three near the right bank. Their uniforms revealed they were from the 12th regiment. They probably died between the 16th of October and the 10th of November 1914.
DNA tests helped identify Petrus Pintens and Gérard Joseph Dethier. A third body was identified as Félix Jacquet via a process of elimination.
The soldiers were loaded into an authentic Ford T ambulance one by one. La Brabançonne and The Last Post were played. They were then buried at La Panne, as there is still some space there. The other cemeteries are protected and concessions still have to be arranged.
“We did exactly as they would have done 100 years ago. These boys were buried quickly, as they couldn’t be buried properly because of the fighting. That’s what we’ve done for them today. This authentic ceremony has taken us 100 years back in time”, says Colonel Rudy Baert from the War Heritage Institute.