Bid to trace family of fallen WWI soldier

A bid has been launched to find the family of a fallen WWI soldier who was never given a military burial.

Ministry of Defence officials launched an appeal to find the descendants of Private Thomas Parker, who served in the First Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment during the Great War.

Years of research has concluded that the father of three's remains may have only recently been discovered in a field near Villers Guislain in France.

In 2014, a farmer discovered two bodies there - in an area where the Battle of St Quentin Canal was fought between September 29 and October 2, 1918.

There are only four soldiers from 1st Battalion Middlesex Regiment who were killed between those dates and still have no known grave, leading the MoD to conclude that Private Parker's body may be one of the two found.

Now, the MOD’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC), has launched an appeal for families of all four of the potential casualties to take a DNA test in order to confirm the identity of the two fallen soldiers.

Louise Dorr from the JCCC said: “It’s especially poignant that these men died just a few weeks before the end of the Great War. Their deaths would have devastated their families, who probably carried that grief all their lives, especially as they had no grave to visit. Please help us to bring these individuals’ stories to an end.”

If a positive identification can be made, Private Parker will be buried with full military honours later this year or early next with a grave bearing his name.