Burial for Doncaster war hero 100 years after death

Gunner Albert Venus is to be laid to rest 100 years after his death.

Gunner Albert Venus is to be laid to rest 100 years after his death.

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A Doncaster World War One hero is to be finally laid to rest – more than 100 years after dying in battle.

Gunner Albert William Venus from Thorne was killed in 1915 – but his contribution has never been properly commemorated.

Scanned from Sunderland Echo  library copy WWI World War One Trench Warfare.  Cramped and crowded conditions in the trenches on the Somme and at Ypres.

Scanned from Sunderland Echo library copy WWI World War One Trench Warfare. Cramped and crowded conditions in the trenches on the Somme and at Ypres.

But next Wednesday, the Doncaster soldier and a fellow Yorkshire serviceman, who died in the same firefight near Ypres, will be laid to rest in Belgium.

Gunner Venus and Corporal Joseph Rowbottom were killed in May 1915 and will be buried in the town which was at the centre of one of World War One’s bloodiest campaigns.

The ceremony is the culmination of years of detective work by amateur historian Tony Brookes, who campaigned for Gunner Venus to be properly remembered after discovering his tale.

The former Thorne Grammar School head said: “I did not expect this outcome when I started researching. It is wonderful that they will finally be buried in marked graves – a rightful tribute to two brave men who gave their lives for their country.”

It is wonderful that they will finally be buried in marked graves – a rightful tribute

Historian Tony Brookes

The burial comes exactly 101 years to the day the soldiers crossed to Le Havre on April 20 1915 as part of the 2nd Northumbrian Brigade.

In late May the men were caught up in a fierce battle, known as the Battle of Bellwaarde Ridge. At 7am on May 24, a shell hit one of the guns killing Corporal T. A. Carr and Gunners J. Clarke, G. Robinson, J. Rowbottom, all from Scarborough, and A. W. Venus. Only two of the soldiers, Carr and Robinson, were commemorated by Commonwealth War Graves Commission and had their names inscribed on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres.

Another two, Clarke and Rowbottom, were accepted for commemoration in 2012.

Details of the fifth gunner, Venus, from Finkle Street, Thorne, came to light when Mr Brookes was researching names on Thorne War Memorial.

Realising that Gunner Venus was not known to CWGC, he amassed evidence of his death and in August 2014 the Commission agreed to commemorate him.

Then the remains of six soldiers were found buried in a field in Ypres with DNA testing identifying the remains of Gunners Rowbottom and Venus. The remains of the six will be buried at Ypres Town Cemetery at 11am on Wednesday.