The Ulster Tower, courtesy of the Somme Association

First World War remains unearthed at the Ulster Tower, Somme

Posted on on 28 November 2013
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The Somme Association has announced that during roadworks and improvements at the Ulster Tower, First World War remains were discovered.

Major roadworks and improvements are ongoing in the Thiepval area of the Somme region of France in preparation for the Centenary of the First World War. Part of these improvements is the widening of the Pozières to Beaumont Hamel Road.

On the 21st November 2013, soldier's equipment and "what appeared to be human remains" became visible as work was being carried out.

The Somme Association reports that contractors were immediately asked to stop work and that the area was preserved, with the remains being covered from public view.

Mr Bob Thompson from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in Thiepval was contacted and "all necessary steps [were] put in place to recover the remains which were treated with the utmost respect at all times".

The Somme Association has stated that it "would not be appropriate to comment on the possible identification of the soldier at this stage" and that it will "assist the CWGC in whatever way possible".

It also highlighted that there is a "strong indication" that the remains belong to a member of the Royal Irish Rifles, due to the cap badge discovered (pictured below).

Also during the excavations, the bucket of the track digger struck what is believed to have been a German mortar gas shell. This ruptured and a gas cloud developed, with the area being "hastily evacuated". The French authorities have "dealt with the situation".

Source: The Somme Association

Images courtesy of the Somme Association

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News