England

WW1 British soldiers' remains reinterred 100 years after death

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Media captionThe soldiers were reburied with full military honours at the ceremony near Lille

The remains of 15 British soldiers who died in World War One have been reinterred in northern France, 100 years after they were killed in battle.

Their remains were found during drainage work in 2009, close to the village of Beaucamps-Ligny near Lille.

DNA samples were used to identify 11 of the soldiers from the 2nd Batallion of the York and Lancaster Regiment.

The regiment drew mainly from northern England but also included men born in Surrey, Dorset and Nottingham.

The soldiers were reburied with full military honours at a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in Bois-Grenier near Lille.

They died in battle on 18 October 1914.


World War One Centenary

Image copyright Getty Images

The identified soldiers are:

  • Private Herbert Ernest Allcock, born in Leeds
  • Private John Brameld, born in Sheffield
  • Private William Butterworth, born in Wakefield
  • Corporal Francis Carr Dyson, born in Wakefield
  • Private Walter Ellis, born in Doncaster
  • Private John Willie Jarvis, born in Rotherham
  • Private Leonard Arthur Morley, born in Boxhill, Surrey
  • Private Ernest Oxer, born in Rotherham
  • Private John Richmond, born in Nottingham
  • Private William Alfred Singyard, born in Newcastle Upon Tyne
  • Lance Corporal William Henry Warr, born in Dorset

Work continues to identify the remaining four soldiers.

Glyn Prysor, from the Commonwealth Games War Commission, said: "They came up against very heavy machine-gun and shrapnel fire, which had devastating results.

"They tried to advance several times but they were beaten back and really that was a foretaste of what would then happen over the next few weeks in what became the first battle of Ypres."

The soldiers included Private William Butterworth, 36, from Lancaster, who had recently married and never saw his baby son.

He was the first of four brothers who died during the war.


Image copyright family
Image caption Private William Butterworth was one of four brothers to die in World War One

Analysis: Radio Lancashire's Tim Padfield in Bois-Grenier

In October 1914, William Butterworth and his comrades ran into a hail of German machine-gun fire near the French village of Beaucamps-Ligny.

Fast forward a century and William was finally laid to rest on a brisk, clear day near Lille.

He was one of 32 men missing after that fatal skirmish.

He was also the first of four Butterworth brothers who died in the conflict. Their father also died in the war years - reportedly of a broken heart.

There were many hundreds of visitors crammed into the small cemetery today. A lot of them were descendants who had made the journey - a pilgrimage almost - from all parts of the UK.


Pte Butterworth's great-grandson Ian Birnie, who travelled to France for the ceremony, said: "When we were told that it was William, it was almost as if we'd lost someone only yesterday.

"It seems ridiculous as this happened 100 years ago, but to me, and to our family, this is a loss.

"I get upset about it because there wasn't just one brother, but the funeral will give us some closure for the four brothers."

The ceremony was organised by the 4th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment, which traces its history back to the York and Lancaster Regiment.

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