First World War hero who died 100 years ago has links to Milverton woman

Jo Morrod.

Jo Morrod.

First published in News Somerset County Gazette: Photograph of the Author by

A MILVERTON woman is planning to attend the funeral of a distant relative she never even knew existed – 100 years after he died.

Private Leonard Morley was among ten soldiers killed in a battle in France in October 1914 who have only just been identified using modern DNA testing techniques.

Jo Morrod, who had never heard of him, was asked to give a sample after being told he could be her second cousin twice removed.

She said: “I told them they’d made a mistake because I already knew of a great uncle, Leonard Bolver, from the Manchester Regiment, who had been killed early on in the war.

“I thought they must have been confused but then the tests came back positive.”

The remains of Pte Morley, who was from Boxhill, in Surrey, and 14 colleagues were discovered during construction work in the French village of Beaucamps-Ligny, where they died during fighting on October 18, 1914.

He was just 22 – the youngest of ten men who have now been identified – and was serving with the 2nd Battalion The York and Lancaster Regiment.

Jo hopes to attend a ceremony when all 15 are being buried with full military honours at a Commonwealth Graves Com-mission cemetery in France in October.

The County Gazette revealed last week that William Warr, 27, of Dorset, another of the soldiers identified, was the uncle of Leonard Warr, of Taunton.

“I know nothing about Leonard Morley and have never seen a photo of him,” said Jo.

“But it’s nice to think that a relative of someone who lives quite near to me must have known him.”

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