South Yorkshire WWI soldiers found at last

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A group of South Yorkshire soldiers who were killed almost 100 years ago in World War One can finally be laid to rest by their families.

Several soldiers from the 2nd Battalion the York and Lancaster Regiment, including four from South Yorkshire, lost their lives on October 18, 1914.

Their buried remains were unearthed by builders in the French village of Beaucamps-Ligny - but it has taken until now to formally identify ten of the fallen heroes using DNA samples provided by surviving relatives.

The local soldiers who have been positively identified and whose surviving family members have been traced are:

n Private John Brameld, born in Sheffield and family now living in Yorkshire;

n Private Walter Ellis, born in Doncaster and family now living in Yorkshire;

n Private John Willie Jarvis, born in Rotherham and family now living in Yorkshire;

n Private Ernest Oxer, born in Rotherham and family now living in Yorkshire.

Defence Minister Lord Astor of Hever, who announced the news of their identification, 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 now be re-buried with full military honours at a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in October.

Work to identify the remains of five more soldiers is continuing and investigators would like to speak to the families of the following men who could be amongst those recovered: Private Horace Foster 7147, of Sheffield; Private Ross Jeff 10523, of Doncaster; Private William Albert Sunderland 7429, of Derbyshire.

Call 01452 712612.