14 March 2018

Family attend burial service for First World War soldier more than 100 years after his death

A burial service for First World War soldier Private (Pte) Thomas Edmundson was held at CWGC Perth Cemetery (China Wall) in Belgium this morning.

Pte Edmundson was killed in action on 26 April 1915, while serving with B Company, 1st/7th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry.

The moving service was attended by his cousins from the UK and Canada, as well as British Defence Staff, regimental representatives from The Rifles and local dignitaries.

The CWGC provided the headstone, which was engraved with a personal inscription chosen by his family: “I once was lost but now am found… and grace will lead me home”.

The CWGC’s Mel Donnelly said: “More than 100 years after his death, Private Thomas Edmundson has been laid to rest at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Perth (China Wall) Cemetery with the honour and dignity his sacrifice deserves.

Today’s ceremony was an opportunity for us to give thanks for this brave man’s service, to understand the effect his loss had on his family and his community, and to renew our determination to remember him and his fallen comrades forever.”

His remains were found in Zonnebeke, with a shoulder title of the Durham Light Infantry. The 1st/7th Battalion’s war diary records them as being under heavy shell fire on 26 April. Eight soldiers from the 1st/7th Battalion were killed that day, none of whom had a known grave, and they were commemorated on the CWGC Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.

A DNA sample was taken from the remains and compared to a family member from each of the eight soldiers. The results proved that the remains were those of Private Thomas Telford Edmundson.

Thomas was born in 1894. He was just 20 years old when he was killed.

The service, led by The Revd John Swanston CF, 1st Battalion, The Rifles, was organised by the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre.

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