'Unknown' WWI Kiwi soldier found in Belgium

By Paul Harper

The New Zealand soldier's remains will be reburied in a Commonwealth War Grave. Photo / NZ Herald
The New Zealand soldier's remains will be reburied in a Commonwealth War Grave. Photo / NZ Herald

The remains of a New Zealand soldier who died in World War One have been discovered in Belgium.

The New Zealand Defence Force said the remains were discovered in Messines (Mesen) in West Flanders in April, alongside two NZ Infantry shoulder badges.

Forensic analysis has confirmed the remains belong to a New Zealand soldier.

NZDF military advisor in London, Lieutenant Colonel Nick Gillard, said the soldier can now be buried with his mates.

"The soldier 'Known only to God' will be reburied with ceremonial honours reflecting his sacrifice and service to New Zealand. He can now lie with his comrades who also lost their lives during the Battle of Messines," Lt Col Gillard said.

The remains will be reburied in a Commonwealth War Grave later this year or early next year.

Messines was the scene of intense fighting by New Zealand Division from June 7 to 14, 1917. Around 700 New Zealand soldiers were killed in action during this battle.

It is believed more than half of those killed during the Battle of Messines have no known resting place.

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