First World War hero to be laid to rest... 100 years after he died

Somerset County Gazette: Leonard Warr, third left, with family members Kevin Warr, Yvonne Elsworthy, Fiona Rowswell, Graham Warr and Christopher Warr. Buy this photo Leonard Warr, third left, with family members Kevin Warr, Yvonne Elsworthy, Fiona Rowswell, Graham Warr and Christopher Warr.

A SOLDIER killed in the First World War will at last be given a proper funeral – a century on.

LCpl William Henry Warr’s nephew said he was pleased his uncle’s remains had been found in the French village of Beaucamps-Ligny, where he perished in a battle on October 18, 1914.

He was among 15 soldiers from the 2nd Battalion The York and Lancaster Regiment whose bodies were discovered during construction work in 2009 – ten of them have so far been identified through DNA tests involving living relatives.

William, who was 27 when he died, was from Dorset, but nephew, father of seven Leonard Warr, lives in Maple Close, Taunton.

Leonard, aged 83, said: “It was a bit of a surprise to discover they’d finally found him.

“I’d followed it for years and even been out to France to see his name on a war memorial.

“I’d also been to Belgium, where his brother, Charles, was killed and buried in a war grave.

Somerset County Gazette:

Brothers in arms: William Warr and his brother Charles

“My father didn’t really know William much because William was the oldest of 15 children so there was quite an age gap.

“But it always upset me that my uncle’s body had never been found.

“He deserves to be recognised for giving his life for his country and it’s only right that he has a proper funeral and a grave.”

William and the other dead soldiers will be buried with full military honours at a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in October.

Leonard’s daughter-in-law Carol Warr said family members hope to attend the ceremony.

She said: “It’s cheered Leonard up that his uncle’s been remembered after so long – he was upset when he went to France and William didn’t have a grave.

“William was a regular soldier who joined up in York while Charles was probably conscripted. They died within ten days of each other.”

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