'Austrian soldier shooting in the Alps', courtesy of the Imperial War Museum, © IWM

Remains of two Austro-Hungarian First World War soldiers to be buried in Italy

Posted on centenarynews.com on 07 June 2013
Share |

Following the discovery of the remains of two Austro-Hungarian soldiers from the First World War in September 2012, a remembrance and burial service will take place on the 16th June 2013.

Analysis of the remains revealed they were Austro-Hungarian soldiers, who fell to their deaths and were discovered at the Presena Glacier in the Eastern Alps in Italy.

Tests were conducted by Dr. Daniel Gaudio of the Laboratory of Pathology in Vicenza and his team on the remains to determine their identities. Dr. Gaudio's team was assisted by Franco Nicolis, Director of Archaeological Heritage of the Province of Trento, and Nicola Cappellozza of the Archaeological Society SAP, working with archaeologists from Trentino.

The remains were described as being at "an advanced level of skeletinatisation", but some clothing discovered at the scene with identifiable "trims and buttons" enabled analysts to infer that the soldiers belonged to an artillery regiment.

"Both fallen men were of a very young age, one in particular could have an age close to eighteen years old, if not younger, when he died". Additionally, the younger soldier's jacket did not have "badges", which may indicate "perhaps a newly enlisted recruit".

Furthermore, with the remains was found a bag containing gas masks, made in England, but adopted by the Italian army only in 1918. These clues have helped the analysts to approximate when the deaths occurred.

Both sets of remains "bear numerous signs of grenades: small and medium shrapnel fragments".

Speaking about the discovery of the Austro-Hungarian soldiers, the Councillor for Culture, European Relations and Co-operation for the Autonomous Province of Trentino, Franco Panizza, said:

"The Trentino region is still, 100 years after the conflict, a veritable outdoor shrine".

The continuation of research, discoveries being made in the region and the respect accorded to the conflict "is the spirit that animates the initiatives for the Centenary [of the First World War]... a spirit embodied in a slogan - "from war to peace"".

The Councillor said the Centenary and research projects serve as an opportunity to "build strong relationships with other European countries" and for further study into the conflict.

Mr. Panizza urged young academics, "perhaps about to graduate", to spend time analysing the conflict in their studies, which could eventually "help give a name" to "these young boys who died on the front at high altitude."

The burial will take place at the Graveyard Adamello Bondo in Italy on the 16th June 2013.

To read the press release about the discovery of the remains, visit the Italian language Autonomous Province of Trentino website here.

To find out more about the burial, visit the Italian language Trentino Grande Guerra website here.

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News