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WWI

Four Canadian soldiers killed in WWI will finally be buried in France

Four Canadian soldiers killed in the First World War will finally be laid to rest Thursday in northern France, a century after their deaths, local authorities said Tuesday.

Four Canadian soldiers killed in WWI will finally be buried in France
Photo: AFP
Reported missing in August 1917, the four men aged 20 to 33 were killed during fierce fighting to recapture a position from German troops near Lens in northern France, according to a Canadian ministry of defence statement. 
 
This offensive, led by Canadian troops between August 15 and 25, left more than 10,000 dead, including over 1,300 without a known burial.
   
The remains of the four soldiers were found between 2010 and 2016 during an operation to destroy old munitions and on a construction site near Lens.
   
They will be buried on Thursday in the presence of their families in a ceremony organised by the Canadian Armed Forces at a British military cemetery in the town of Loos-en-Gohelle, the prefecture said. 
   
The Canadian ministry of defence identified them last October using forensic anthropological analysis, historical research and DNA analysis.
   
Discoveries of hurridly-buried remains near the trenches are “frequent” in the local department of Pas-de-Calais, the prefecture said.
   
More than 20 bodies of soldiers have been exhumed since November on the site of the future Lens Hospital, according to the regional newspaper La Voix du Nord.

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BOMB

Bomb de terre: WW1 grenade found in French potato shipment

A German World War I hand grenade was found among a shipment of French potatoes imported for a Hong Kong crisp factory, police said.

Bomb de terre: WW1 grenade found in French potato shipment
Photo: Hong Kong Police Force/AFP

The device was safely detonated after it was discovered at the Calbee snacks factory Saturday.

“The grenade was in an unstable condition because it has been previously discharged but failed to detonate,” Superintendent Wilfred Wong Ho-hon told reporters.

Police detonated it on site, Wong said, with a police video showing bomb disposal officers packing the grenade in a drainage channel at the factory before blowing it up.

The grenade was eight centimetres wide and weighed about one kilogram.

“All the information to date suggested that the grenade was imported from France together with the other potatoes,” Wong said.

The grenade is believed to have been left in a trench during World War I and accidentally gathered up with potatoes planted a century later in the former battlefield.

“If it was covered in mud, the grenade was likely to have been left behind, dropped by soldiers there during the war, or left there after it was thrown,” Hong Kong University military historian Dave Macri told the South China Morning Post.

“The ditch was then filled up and used as a growing field, and the explosive was tossed into the mix of harvested potatoes… and sent to Hong Kong.”

Hong Kong police are used to dealing with old munitions, though more usually US bombs dropped on the city after it fell to the invading Japanese during World War II.

Last year the bomb disposal squad defused three large WWII bombs, two of which were found at a site in the busy Wanchai district where work was underway to build a new metro railway station.

Unexploded wartime bombs or grenades are frequently found by hikers or construction workers in the southern Chinese city, which was the scene of fierce fighting between Japanese and British allied forces in 1941.

The then-British colony was heavily bombed by US and allied forces after the city fell to the Japanese imperial forces.

READ ALSO: French fishing trawler nets one tonne WWII bomb

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