Fighting raged for years at Serre in Northern France: an infamous German stronghold held off the Allies. Thousands died, many of them buried or left where they fell on a battlefield now transformed to verdant farmland. Among the Fallen – three soldiers whose remains were found here by our team of historians, archaeologists and forensic scientists.
The bodies were found close to the rumoured location of an infamous German stronghold: a fortress-like three-sided defence called The Heidenkopf: a stronghold that generals on both sides felt was worth dying for.
The team are able to determine that one of the soldiers was British but a lack of material evidence prevents them from identifying him.
The other two are identified as German. They were discovered with tantalizing clues as to their identity. One soldier took into battle a touching souvenir of home, a pictorial shoe polish lid. He also broke one of the cardinal rules of war by scratching his name on his i.d. tag. The partial name and the shoe polish lid allow a positive identification.
The other was found with a matted lump of paper. Using real world “CSI” techniques, University College London is able to restore a lost document that gives them a name and a place.