WWI Doncaster soldier found at last

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A fallen Doncaster soldier is among ten others to be identified almost 100 years after they were killed in the First World War.

The remains of Doncaster-born Private Walter Ellis were positively identified after his surviving relatives provided DNA samples.

Three other South Yorkshire soldiers, Sheffield-born Pte John Brameld, Pte John Willie Jarvis and Pte Ernest Oxer, both Rotherham, were also identified.

Their remains were found during construction work near the French village of Beaucamps-Ligny in 2009.

All had served with 2nd Battalion The York and Lancaster Regiment and were killed in battle on 18 October 1914.

The discovery will now allow the surviving relatives of the soldiers, who all live in Yorkshire and were informed this week, to see their forefathers laid to rest 100 years on from the outbreak of the war.

Defence Minister Lord Astor of Hever 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 which will be organised by the 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment who traces its history back to The York and Lancaster Regiment.

Work to identify a further five sets of remains found at the same time is continuing.

Commodore Ian Bisson, from the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre, which identified the soldiers, said: “This has been a difficult but very successful piece of work for the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre team and we have identified far more of the fallen than we first hoped.

“We can still identify some of the remaining five sets of remains and would appeal to those who think they may be family members to get in touch with us.”