Soldier from Newcastle killed during First World War is identified - while families of soldiers from Middlesbrough and Thornaby sought to provide DNA

Mission to identify the fallen

Mission to identify the fallen

First published in News Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by

A FALLEN soldier from the North-East is among ten to be positively identified almost 100 years after were killed during the early months of the First World War.

An appeal has also been issued to trace the descendants of two other soldiers from the region yet to be identified.

Newcastle-born Private William Alfred Singyard, whose family now lives in Lincolnshire, was one of the ten whose remains were discovered on a construction site at Beaucamps-Ligny in Northern France.

They were identified through DNA samples supplied by surviving relatives.

The men were members of the  2nd Battalion The York and Lancaster Regiment and were killed in battle on October 18, 1914.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) hopes to identify five other sets of remains and believes two of those may be Lance Sergeant George Edwardes (9854) who was born in Middlesbrough, and Thornaby-born Private David Wilson Williams (8458).

Defence Minister Lord Astor of Hever said: “Our thoughts remain with all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our country.

“Although these soldiers fell almost a century ago, the Ministry of Defence still takes its responsibility extremely seriously to identify any remains found, trace and inform surviving relatives and to provide a fitting and dignified funeral so they rest in peace.”

The soldiers will be re-buried with full military honours at a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in October. It will be organised by the 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, which traces its history back to The York and Lancaster Regiment.

Commodore Ian Bisson, of the MoD's Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre, which identified the soldiers, said: “This has been a difficult but very successful piece of work for the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre team and we have identified far more of the fallen than we first hoped.

“We can still identify some of the remaining five sets of remains and would appeal to those who think they may be family members to get in touch with us.”

The other nine soldiers to be positively identified and their relatives traced were:  Private Herbert Ernest Allcock (Leeds); Private John Brameld (Sheffield); Corporal Francis Carr Dyson (Wakefield); Private Walter Ellis (Doncaster) Private John Willie Jarvis (Rotherham) Private Leonard Arthur Morley (Boxhill, Surrey); Private Ernest Oxer (Rotherham); Private John Richmond (Nottingham) and Lance Corporal William Henry Warr (Dorset).

Anyone who thinks they may be related to the two soldiers from Teesside should call the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre team on (01452) 712612, extension 6303.

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