First World War casualties from Lancashire have been reburied in France – almost 100 years to the day since they died.
Fifteen members of the 2nd Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment, including Private William Butterworth from Lancaster and Private Herbert Ernest Allcock, were caught in German machine gun fire during an offensive in the Lys Valley on October 18, 1914.
Their remains were found during construction work near the French village of Beaucamps-Ligny in 2009, and all but four have been identified using DNA samples.
All of the men were reburied yesterday morning at the Y Farm Commonwealth cemetery Bois Grenier as members of their families watched alongside representatives from the British Embassy in Paris, York and Lancaster Regiment, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), Joint Casualty & Compassionate Centre and Royal British Legion.
The 4th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment provided the Commanding Officer, padre, pall-bearers, firing party and a military band.
One of the soldiers, Private Herbert Ernest Allcock, was the great-uncle of Marlene Jackson, from Garstang. Speaking after the soldiers’ remains were found, Mrs Jackson, a retired teacher, said: “I had a phone call out of the blue from the Ministry of Defence asking if I had any relatives named Allcock.
“I didn’t think I had but then realised it was my grandmother’s maiden name and it turned out her brother had been found.
“It was quite a surprise because I never knew about him and when all the families met up at the meeting in Sheffield, it was quite moving to hear about the whole process of them being identified.”
Mrs Jackson said she had also discovered distant cousins she didn’t know existed.
A spokesman for the CWCG said: “We were very pleased to support the MoD on the reburial of 15 soldiers from the Yorkshire and Lancashire Regiment.
“The ceremony was extremely moving 100 years on for many family members in attendance.”