Relatives of fallen South Yorkshire soldiers sought by MoD

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Relatives of three South Yorkshire soldiers are being sought by the Ministry of Defence after their remains were discovered on historic battlefields.

MoD officials are trying to identify living relatives so they can be involved in re-interment and memorial services for the three soldiers, who died in action together during fighting near Beaucamps-Ligny, northern France, in October 1914.

Their remains were discovered in 2009 while construction site preparation work was being carried out.

The MoD is looking for relatives of Sheffield-born Private Horace Foster, Private Joseph Halliday and Private James Scoley, who were all of the 2nd Battalion the York and Lancaster Regiment.

Army spokeswoman Lynne Gammond said: “It is always difficult to trace surviving relatives of those who were killed in action so long ago, but we believe it is important to give those families closure wherever possible. We would be very grateful to anyone who can help us find anyone connected to those mentioned.”

Pte Foster, who was 30 when he died, was born in Sheffield in April 1884 and worked as a labourer before enlisting in the Army in November 1902. He served In India until 1905 and then transferred to the Reserves. He worked as a labourer until he was mobilised. He did not marry or have children.

Pte Halliday, who was born in Leeds in December 1878, came from a family of eight children, only three of whom reached adulthood. He joined the Army on July 8, 1904, enlisting in Sheffield, and spent eight years in the ranks, mostly in India, before transferring to the Reserves in 1912. He worked as a coal labourer before being mobilised.

Pte Scoley was born in Hexthorpe, Doncaster, in June 1886 and joined the Army in November 1902, serving three years with the Colours before transferring to the Reserves in January 1911. A brass finisher by trade, he is known to have married and had one child.

Anyone who may be able to help should contact Lynne via email on or by calling 07769 887707 or 03067 701322.