Plea to trace troops’ families

British troops in action in northern France during World War One
British troops in action in northern France during World War One
0
Have your say

Relatives of South Yorkshire soldiers killed in a World War One battle are being urged to come forward.

The Army wants to trace descendants of the fallen heroes, so they can be involved in burial and memorial services.

Two soldiers from the county have now been identified among bodies discovered in 2009 around the Beaucamps Ligny area of northern France.

Officials are searching for relatives of Private Ross Jeff, aged 20, of Second Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment, who was killed in action on October 18, 1914.

Pte Jeff was born in April 1894 in Moss, Doncaster and worked as a railway porter before enlisting in 1914.

It is believed he may have a great nephew living in the UK.

A second soldier from South Yorkshire has also been identified – Lance Sergeant George Edwardes, also of Second Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment, who was killed on October 23, 1914.

He was born in January 1888 in Middlesbrough and lived with his mother and brother Thomas on Fleetham Street.

Before enlisting in 1910, he worked as a clerk canvasser in Barnsley.

Both men’s remains were among 15 bodies discovered in 2009 during preparations for building construction.

Lynne Gammond, for the Army, said: “It is always difficult to trace surviving relatives of those who were killed in action so long ago, but we believe it is important to give those families closure.

“We would be very grateful to anyone who can help us find descendants of the men.”

Soldiers whose bodies were found at Beaucamps Ligny are all believed to have been from the York and Lancaster Regiment.

Identification has come from tags, other items they were buried with and historical records – although the work has not yet been completed for all the men.

Frank Wood, of Woodhouse Mill, Sheffield, is hopeful his grandfather, Lance Corporal Larrett Roebuck, is among those found.

L/Cpl Roebuck, aged 25 and a professional footballer with Huddersfield Town before the war, died on October 18, 1914, leaving a wife, son and three daughters.

Once identities of all the men have been established and descendants traced, a formal service and reburials will take place.

■ Relatives of Pte Jeff and L/Sgt Edwardes are urged to contact Lynne by emailing lynne.gammond453@mod.uk or calling 07769 887707.