As many as 20 soldiers killed in Australia's bloodiest 24 hours in battle have been identified, almost a century after they were lost at Fromelles during the nation's first action on the Western Front.
The joint Australian and British project to identify 250 soldiers buried in mass graves by German troops following an overnight battle on July 19, 1916 has already identified 124 Australians by name using DNA, as well as anthropological, archaeological and historical evidence.
An announcement that up to 20 additional soldiers have been identified, expected to be made close to Anzac Day, would take to 144 the number of Diggers identified by name in the five years since the ambitious project began.
The identification team, which met at Australia House in London last week, focused on a German list of soldiers buried in six mass graves at Pheasant Wood, near the small farming town of Fromelles, just days after the battle.
The team, including molecular geneticists and anthropologists, tested more soldiers this year - about 135 compared to about 60 last year. They also reviewed past cases in the hope of making a match, with this year being the last official year of the program.