Every year, construction workers or farmers churning up the soil of Western Europe unearth the bodies of a handful of Canadian troops killed in the two world wars. Even after their skeletal remains are found, though, the servicemen's identity often stays a mystery.

But now the National Defence Department is planning to keep a team of experts on retainer who can routinely use genetic testing and other advanced forensic tools to try to attach a name to the long-dead soldiers, airmen or sailors.

The department recently issued a contract for a "mortuary service provider" to handle both movement of the remains and the painstaking historical and scientific work involved in trying to identify them, with DNA analysis being the newest and final tool in the process.

The unusual contract calls for the services of forensic archeologists, forensic anthropologists and genealogical researchers.

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