Nine soldiers of the First World War have been reburied with full military honours at Ypres, the world’s largest CWGC cemetery, in the presence of its President, HRH The Duke of Kent.
The men’s remains were first discovered in 2018 and seven of the nine were identified by the MOD’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC). They now lie under headstones bearing their names and personal inscriptions chosen by their descendants in Tyne Cot Cemetery, near Ypres in Belgium.
Despite every effort and extensive DNA testing by the JCCC, the other two casualties remain unidentified. One has been buried as an unknown soldier of the Northumberland Fusiliers, while the other as an unknown soldier, of an unknown regiment.
The ceremony, organised by JCCC, was conducted by a burial party from Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and attended by descendants of five of the casualties
Alongside The Duke of Kent, our Vice Chairman Sir Bill Rollo, and Director General Claire Horton were able to witness the final goodbye, more than 104 years after these men were killed serving their country.
Claire Horton, Director General of CWGC, said: “We are honoured to have worked alongside the JCCC in the recovery and identification of these men and to now be caring for them in perpetuity in Tyne Cot, CWGC’s largest cemetery. The fact that so many of them have been positively identified is testament to the collective dedication that continues to this day, to remember our fallen.”
Nicola Nash, JCCC, said: “After working on this case for nearly three years, it gives me an immense feeling of pride to see these men finally being laid to rest. It has been wonderful to share this emotional day with so many of the family members, who have travelled as far as Australia to attend. The sacrifice these men made will never be forgotten.”
Seven of the casualties died on 14 October 1917.Lance Corporal Blakeborough is believed to have been killed in a separate incident a day earlier. The soldier whose regiment is unknown was found separately and his date of death could not be established.
The men reburied were:
· 2nd Lieutenant Leslie Wallace Ablett, 11th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, 20
· 2nd Lieutenant Edward Douglas Bruty, 11th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, 21
· Serjeant Thomas Feasby, 11th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, 32
· Lance Corporal Stanley Blakeborough, 11th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, 21
· Private Harry Miller, 11th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, 28
· Private Joseph Patrickson MM, 11th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, 24
· Private Arnold Sanderson MM, 11th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, 26
· An Unknown Soldier of the Northumberland Fusiliers
· An Unknown Soldier of the Great War