Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Last Respects to Our Unknown War Hero

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Last Respects to Our Unknown War Hero

Article excerpt

Byline: By Peter Taylor

A war hero from the North East was buried in a corner of a foreign field nearly 90 years after he was killed in action.

More than 50 soldiers and civilians made their way to the tiny British military cemetery in a farmer's field at a village near Ypres in Belgium.

Iraq war veterans from the 1st Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers travelled from their base in Germany to make sure the unknown Northumberland Fusilier was fittingly laid to rest.

The detachment included two buglers who played the last post and a Northumbrian piper playing a lament at the burial of the fusilier's remains.

Gateshead man James McCoy travelled with his wife Pat and son Jamie, 13, to lay a wreath, even though he will never know if the remains are those of his grandfather James William, who went missing in action on May 24, 1915, aged 33.

The remains, found in Flanders more than five months ago, were identified as those of a Northumberland fusilier by a uniform pin bearing a number five, signifying the fifth regiment of Fusiliers.

But an extensive investigation failed to name the soldier, who was buried as a Northumberland fusilier known unto God.

Col Bob Turnbull, chairman of the Northumberland Fusiliers Association, who travelled from Tyneside for the burial, paid tribute to the fusilier.

He said: "We are here to honour this son of ours, who fell in battle nearly 90 years ago.

"During the Great War, Northumberland had more than 50 battalions.

"Thousands of Northumbrians fought near here, where they fell in their thousands."

The seven-strong party from the 1st Battalion of fusiliers, led by Major John Turquand, included Sgt Mark Richardson from Throckley and Sgt Andy Crawley from Heaton.

After the service, Mr McCoy said: "It was excellent. It was very moving. …

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