22 February 2017

Upcoming Burial and Rededication Services

The following burial and rededication services are due to be held at Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries.

One Soldier, Méteren Military Cemetery, France. 

A funeral service will be held for an unknown British soldier of unknown regiment on Tuesday 7 March 2017 at 1100 hours at Méteren Military Cemetery, France. A set of remains was discovered near Méteren in November 2016 but no identifying insignia accompanied the casualty. The soldier will be buried as a Soldier of the Great War Known Unto God. The service has been organised by the Ministry of Defence’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre and will be attended by British Defence Staff, regimental representatives and local dignitaries. 

Three Soldiers, Perth Cemetery (China Wall), Belgium. 

A funeral service will be held for three unknown soldiers of The Lancashire Fusiliers, the New Zealand (NZ) Infantry and of unknown regiment on Tuesday 7 March 2017 at 1500 hours, Perth Cemetery (China Wall) near Ypres, Belgium. The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and New Zealand Embassy Staff will provide support. 

Three sets of remains were discovered near Zonnebeke in December 2012 and accompanying military insignia indicated the casualties were WW1 soldiers of The Lancashire Fusiliers and NZ Infantry; no identifying insignia accompanied the third soldier. Despite extensive research, the Ministry of Defence’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC) was unable to identify the casualties and they will be buried as Soldiers of the Great War Known Unto God. The service has been organised by JCCC and will be attended by British and NZ Defence Staff, regimental representatives and local dignitaries.

Two Soldiers, Douchy-les-Ayette British Cemetery, France. 

A funeral service will be held for two unknown British soldiers of unknown regiments on Wednesday 8 March 2017 at 0930 hours at Douchy-les-Ayette British Cemetery, France. The remains were discovered near Moyenneville in September 2016 but no identifying insignia accompanied the casualties. The soldiers will be buried as Soldiers of the Great War Known Unto God. The service has been organised by the Ministry of Defence’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre and will be attended by British Defence Staff, regimental representatives and local dignitaries. 

One Airman, Berlin War Cemetery, Germany.  

A funeral service will be held for Sergeant (Sgt) Wilfred Lawson of 426 Squadron Royal Air Force on 16 March 2017 at Berlin War Cemetery in Germany. Sgt Lawson was a member of the crew of Lancaster bomber LL721 which was based at RAF Linton on Ouse in Yorkshire. It took off for a bombing mission on Berlin on 27 January 1944. The aircraft was intercepted and attacked before crashing near Karcha, where it burned on the ground for several hours before being removed by a unit of the Luftwaffe. While several of the crew managed to bail out, only three of them survived; they were captured and held as Prisoners of War. Two others’ parachutes failed to open and they are buried in Berlin War Cemetery. The remaining two crew remained missing. 

On 7 September 2014 the crash site was excavated and some human remains found. DNA samples were taken and compared against family members of the two missing airmen. The results prove that they belong to Sgt Wilfred Lawson. He will be buried with full military honours in Berlin War Cemetery on Thursday 16 March 2017 at 10.00 hours. The service has been organised by the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC) and will be attended by British Defence Staff, regimental representatives and local dignitaries. 

Three Soldiers, Ancona War Cemetery, Italy. 

The Rededication Service for three soldiers who were killed in Italy in the Second World War will take place on Tuesday 28 March 2017 at 1500 hours in Ancona War Cemetery, Italy. Private Lionel Brown of the Parachute Regiment and Privates Daniel Hollingsworth and Thomas White of The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment) were Prisoners of War and whilst being transported with Sergeant Mario Mottes (an Italian soldier) were shot on 10 March 1944 at Ponte Del Diavolo. They were originally all buried as unknowns in Montedinove Cemetery however the soldiers were later transferred to Ancona War Cemetery and now have individual named headstones. 

The service has been organised by the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre and will be attended by family of Ptes Brown and Hollingsworth. The Parachute and Princess of Wales Regiments will provide support. 

Three Soldiers, Salerno War Cemetery, Italy. 

A Full Military Funeral will be held for three soldiers of the Coldstream Guards on Thursday 16 March 2017 at 1100 hours in Salerno War Cemetery, Italy. One of the soldiers has been identified as Lance Corporal (LCpl) Ronald George Blackham whilst his two colleagues will be buried as unknowns. The Coldstream Guards will provide support. 

The remains were found in 2014 and research confirmed they had been killed on Hill 270 on 25 September 1943. So far only one has been identified however, the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC) continue their investigations. 

The service has been organised by the JCCC and will be attended by 19 members of LCpl Blackham’s family including his sister, also senior staff of the British Defence Section, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Italian military, Regimental representatives and local dignitaries.