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    KL1 Radio Local Radio for West Norfolk

Local News

Unknown soldiers laid to rest

todayOctober 29, 2021 8

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A burial service for two unknown soldiers who lost their lives during the First World War has been carried out by the chaplain to the 1st Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment.

The service, conducted by The Reverend (Major) Gary Birch CF, took place at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s (CWGC) Perth Cemetery (China Wall) near Ypres, Belgium.

It was organised by the MOD’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC) Commemorations Team, also known as the ‘MOD War Detectives’.

The Royal Anglian Regiment paid their respect at the service for two unknown First World War soldiers (52753294)
The Royal Anglian Regiment paid their respect at the service for two unknown First World War soldiers (52753294)

The service was attended by representatives of The Royal Anglian Regiment – historically the regiment of infantry for the 10 counties of Lincolnshire, Rutland, Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Essex.

They took part although there was little evidence of these two soldiers having any association with them.

The Reverend (Major) Gary Birch CF said: “We choose names for our children carefully and many of us really don’t like it when someone gets our name wrong.

“Therefore, when so many in this place, including the two we lay to rest today, do not have a name, it is important that we gather to pay our respects and honour them in this way, despite not knowing who they were”.

The graves and headstones of both soldiers were prepared by the CWGC who will now care for them in perpetuity.

Despite extensive research carried out by the JCCC, neither of the men could be identified and they were buried as unknown soldiers of unknown regiments.

The Royal Anglian Regiment paid their respect at the service for two unknown First World War soldiers (52753298)
The Royal Anglian Regiment paid their respect at the service for two unknown First World War soldiers (52753298)

Louise Dorr, of the JCCC said: “It is always incredibly sad when we have to bury British soldiers without being able to return their names to them.

“Sadly, in this case, these two men were found with nothing that gave us any clues as to who they might have been. Although we couldn’t name them and tell their families, they have been buried with full military honours from their Army family and the UK Ministry of Defence.”

The Royal Anglian Regiment paid their respect at the service for two unknown First World War soldiers (52753296)
The Royal Anglian Regiment paid their respect at the service for two unknown First World War soldiers (52753296)

Liz Woodfield, CWGC director of external relations, added: “Although it has not been possible to identify these casualties by name, we are honoured to lay them to rest alongside their comrades at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Perth Cemetery (China Wall). We proudly mark their graves, ensuring that their service and sacrifice will not be forgotten.”



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