LILLE, France, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- British Veterans Minister Kevan Jones said 250 fallen World War I troops began receiving a "fitting place of rest" Saturday in Fromelles, France.
The British official said reburying the British and Australian soldiers who died in the 1916 Battle of Fromelles was part of an international effort to identify the fallen troops and give them a proper burial in individual coffins with their own headstones, The Times of London reported. DNA testing is being done to identify as many of the soldiers' remains as possible.
"It was the wish of both governments to give these brave soldiers a fitting place of rest, honoring the commitment shown to our fallen after the First World War," said Jones, referring to Britain and Australia.
"Today we have started that process. Work to try and identify them has already begun and I urge again any families who think they may have a relative killed at the Battle of Fromelles to come forward to assist with this."
Saturday's ceremony marked the first of the fallen soldiers to be buried with full military honors. An estimated 1,780 Australians and 503 British nationals were killed during Germany's victory in the historic battle and the dead were initially buried in mass graves.
The Times said Australian Veteran Affairs Minister Alan Griffin was on hand for the ceremony, along with surviving family members of those killed in the 1916 conflict.
The last reburial ceremony is to take place July 19, the 94th anniversary of the battle.