Two World War One Australian soldiers have been identified and buried at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Queant Road Cemetery in Buissy, France.
Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester was one of those in attendance, and said he was deeply honoured to be able to pay his respects to the fallen diggers.
“It is a rare privilege to be a part of a ceremony so important to two Australian families. Their loved ones have been returned to them and buried with full military honours,” Minister Chester said.
“It is a measure of who we are as a nation, that we continue to strive to find, recover and identify our missing service personnel. It is a sacred duty, which honours all who serve and have served.”
The soldiers were identified as Lance Corporal James Leonard Rolls and Private Hedley Roy MacBeth, of the 24th Battalion Australian Imperial Force (AIF), and were both buried with full military honours.
The remains of the soldiers were discovered in May 2015, and after three years of forensic examinations and extensive investigations by the Unrecovered War Casualties - Army (UWC-A), were formally identified in August 2018.
“I wish to pay tribute to the work of all the many individuals, volunteer groups and organisations involved in the identification of Lance Corporal Rolls and Private MacBeth. Without their tireless work we would not be able today to recognise the service of these soldiers,” said Minister Chester.
Lance Corporal Rolls was born in Prahan, Victoria and was a draper by trade until his enlistment in the AIF at the age of 22.
Private Macbeth hailed from Launceston, Tasmania, where he was employed as a rubber worker until he joined the AIF at the age of 30.
The pair are believed to have been killed on 3 May 1917, when a high explosive artillery shell exploded in their dugout. They were both reported 'missing in action' and later declared 'killed in action'.