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  1. ITV Report

Was Unknown Soldier from Bolton? Mystery of Tommy laid to rest in Belgium

An unidentified Lancashire Fusilier who died in the First World War was laid to rest with full military honours in front of hundreds of people who turned out to pay their respects.

The body of the unknown man was buried alongside two Australian soldiers on Tuesday afternoon in Ypres, Belgium.

The unknown soldier's coffin carried to his final resting place Credit: PA Pictures

A ceremony at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Tyne Cot Cemetery was attended by dignitaries, representatives from the regiment and crowds of members of the public.

Research suggests the British soldier may have been killed on October 9, 1917, when he was aged between 23 and 29 while fighting in the Battle of Passchendaele which took place 101 years ago between July and November 1917.

The bodies of the three comrades were found lying side by side in what is thought to be a shell hole in May 2016 when water works were carried out on Vijfwegestraat, a road near the cemetery.

A bugler sounds The Last Post Credit: PA Pictures

A pencil engraved with the name of Eagley Cricket Club, near Bolton, was found next to the British soldier alongside epaulettes of the regiment, service buttons, a belt, boots, fragments of a winter coat and a pipe.

But despite extensive investigations looking into the history of the regiment, battalion war diaries, cricket club records and DNA, his identity has never been confirmed.

Tests were carried out to find out if a missing soldier who lived near the cricket club was a match but this proved unsuccessful.

The burial party kneels by the Unknown Soldier's coffin Credit: PA Pictures

The battle lasted 105 days and capturing the village of Passchendaele, now entitled Passendale, came at the cost of an estimated 500,000 casualties. The bodies of 42,000 were never found.

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