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Grave of Yorkshire Soldier Identified in France

In a poignant ceremony held at the Courcelles-au-Bois Communal Cemetery Extension, the final resting place of World War I soldier Lance Corporal Edward Smith has been officially marked after more than a century of anonymity.

L/Cpl Smith, a valiant member of the 1st Battalion (Bn) Northumberland Fusiliers, tragically lost his life on December 7, 1916, during the brutal conflict. His fate was sealed when a shell struck his trench, leaving behind a legacy of sacrifice and courage.

For years, L/Cpl Smith’s grave remained unmarked due to wartime record-keeping challenges. However, recent meticulous research by the MOD War Detectives, formally known as the MOD’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC), has now brought clarity to his final resting place.

Grave Of Yorkshire Soldier Identified In France

Alexia Clark, a dedicated JCCC Caseworker, expressed her satisfaction at having identified L/Cpl Smith’s grave. Today’s rededication ensures that his name will forever be etched in memory, honouring his sacrifice.

The solemn service was led by Reverend Geoffery Berry CF, Chaplain to The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland. Reverend Berry eloquently reminded us that the “Young Dead Soldier” serves as both a timeless reminder to comrades and a resounding challenge to leaders and diplomats: to make the hard-won peace worthwhile.

The headstones over both L/Cpl Smith’s and another soldier’s graves were meticulously replaced by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), who will continue to care for them in perpetuity.

Xavier Puppinck, France Area Director of CWGC, humbly reflected on the privilege of rededicating L/Cpl Edward Smith’s resting place. His noble sacrifice and unwavering service now echo through the hallowed stones of the Courcelles-au-Bois Communal Cemetery Extension.

The service was further supported by The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, who were in France to honour one of their own fallen soldiers.

As the ceremony concluded, the poignant words of Captain Archibald MacLeish’s poem, “The Young Dead Soldiers Do Not Speak,” resonated—a timeless tribute to those who gave their all for peace and freedom.

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