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Newcastle soldier reburied 100 years after death

Private William Alfred Singyard died in 1914. Photo: Ministry of Defence

A soldier from Newcastle who was killed during the First World War was reburied in northern France today, 100 years after his death.

Private William Alfred Singyard was one of 15 British soldiers laid to rest at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Y-Farm Cemetery.

Wreaths of poppies were lain by the graves of the soldiers. Credit: MoD
The Union Jack was laid over each coffin during the ceremony at Commonwealth War Graves Commission Y-Farm Cemetery. Credit: MoD

The bodies of the 2nd Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment soldiers were discovered in 2009 during construction work in the French village of Beaucamps-Ligny.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Y-Farm Cemetery is prepared for the service. Credit: MoD

Since then, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been tracking down potential relatives in the hope of identifying them.

Successful DNA analysis of samples given by relatives has tracked down the identity of 11 of the soldiers.

Private William Alfred Singyard. Credit: MoD

WHO WAS PRIVATE WILLIAM ALFRED SINGYARD?

William Singyard was born in Newcastle in 1884. He worked as a tanner before enlisting in the York and Lancaster Regiment in May 1903 having just turned 19.

His original enlistment for three years with the Colours was extended by a further five years.

William was transferred to the Reserve in May 1911 and eventually found employment with the North Eastern Railways as a goods porter, where he worked until he was mobilised in August 1914.

William married Margaret Allen in 1913 and they had a daughter, Elizabeth. She was little more that a year old when her father was killed.

Three of William's cousins were also killed during the course of the war.

A military brass band playing before the ceremony. Credit: MoD

THE SEARCH TO IDENTIFY THE OTHER SOLDIERS

Two soldiers from the North East may be among four who were reburied today who have not yet been identified.

The Ministry of Defence has narrowed their search to the families of six British soldiers, and say their investigation team is 'particularly interested' in speaking to them.

They are:

  • Lance Sergeant George Edwardes 9854 - born in Middlesbrough
  • Private Horace Foster 7147 - born in Sheffield
  • Private Ross Jeff 10523 - born in Moss, Doncaster
  • Private Gavin Lowe 9194 - born in Alyth, Perthshire
  • Private William Albert Sunderland 7429 - born in Ripley, Derbyshire
  • Private David Wilson Williams 8458 - born in Thornaby, Stockton on Tees

Anyone who thinks they may be related to these soldiers should contact the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre team on 01452 712612 (Ext 6303)