Cemetery researchers hope to track down descendants to present medal

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

GENEALOGISTS hope the descendants of one soldier will be able to claim his Victory Medal when they hold a day of commemoration at a cemetery.

The relatives of many of the fallen buried at York Cemetery are expected to attend a special day of commemoration at the graveyard on Monday (August 4).

But the organisers are also hoping to trace the family of soldier George Henry Sykes, who is buried there.

His Victory Medal was discovered many years ago when a children’s play area was built opposite the cemetery. But his descendants have never been traced.

George Henry Sykes went to fight on the Western Front in August 1915. He died in 1920, aged 50, of a gastric ulcer.

He had ten children, some of whom worked at Rowntrees chocolate factory, and genealogists discovered he had grandchildren and great grandchildren born in or around city. They hope some of his descendants still live in York and will be able to claim his medal.

The commemoration of the anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War will begin at York Cemetery with the laying of a wreath by representatives from Yorkshire regiments and the Royal British Legion, who will then proceed to the cemetery chapel led by a Celtic piper.

A marquee will be erected next to the chapel and the service shown on large screens.

There will be prayers, poetry, hymns, First World War songs and a chance for visitors to lay poppies at the Soldier’s Lawn.

After the service, members from York Cemetery’s genealogy team and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission will be on hand to help with enquiries and there will an exhibition on the cemetery’s war dead.

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