We are currently working on a very interesting project, translating for Fromelles. This includes website content, press releases, blog entries as well as academic documents. These relate to the exhumation of a mass First World War grave. This is at Fromelles in Northern France. The project is for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

The bodies are those of hundreds of British as well as Australian soldiers. They fought at the Battle of Fromelles in 1916. Once recovered, they will be reburied. This is the first new Commonwealth War Graves Commission military cemetery in over fifty years.

Our translators are keeping the French public and academics up to date with what’s happening during the dig. We are translating a range of information from English into French.

Director of Better Languages, Mike Hunter, says: “This is a fascinating project. Telling the story of Fromelles to a French audience, is both interesting and challenging.”

In-country translators

Our lead translator and proofreader are both based in France. As a result, we’re able to use the most current language style and terminology. This ensures that the website has mass appeal. It aims to inform both the general public and academic community of progress.

The battle of Fromelles

The fallen soldiers attacked in clear view of enemy lines. They were directly under fire from the German troops, including one Adolf Hitler. Within hours, the Australians lost more than 5,500 men. These include those killed, missing or injured. British casualties reached over 1,500.

Recovering the bodies

Hundreds of bodies were missing after the battle. As a result, for years the mystery of their whereabouts has remained unsolved. Now a team of specialists, including archaeologists, anthropologists as well as radiologists from Oxford Archaeology, are on site to recover up to 400 bodies.

DNA will be used wherever possible, to identify the remains. The bodies will be reburied in individual graves in a brand new cemetery between February and March next year. A commemorative event is being planned for the anniversary of the battle – 19 July.

Better Languages is working with the Commission to guarantee information is up to the minute and dealt with in the right manner.

Mike concludes: “Being involved in a project of this nature is interesting and enlightening. This is both in terms of the history, and the process the team on site have to go through to recover the remains. We do feel privileged to play a role.”

We will be reporting back on the painstaking work during the exhumation and the eventual commemorative event to honour those lost during the Battle of Fromelles.

Appeal for family members

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is now appealing for family members who believe they may be related to British or Australian soldiers who died or went missing during the battle of Fromelles to come forward. Names can be checked on the Fromelles section of The Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s website.