Burial service held for unknown Sherwood Forester soldier

Burial services have taken place on the Western Front for an unknown soldier of The Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment) and an unknown soldier of an unknown regiment

Both soldiers fell during the First World War on the Somme in France.

The unknown Sherwood Forester was buried at Guillemont Road Cemetery.

The unknown Sherwood Forester was buried at Guillemont Road Cemetery.

The first service of the unknown solider of an unknown regiment took place on Tuesday April 16, at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s (CWGC) Guards’ Cemetery, Lesboeufs.

The unknown Sherwood Forester was buried yesterday, Wednesday April 17, at Guillemont Road Cemetery.

The services, organised by the MOD’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC), part of Defence Business Services, were conducted by the Reverend Tim Flowers CF, Chaplain to 4th Battalion The Mercian Regiment.

Rosie Barron, JCCC said: “It has been a privilege to organise these burial services here on the Somme. Although the identities of these two soldiers remain unknown, it is only right that they are afforded the burial and recognition that they deserve.

Both men were laid to rest by a burial party composed of members of The Mercian Regiment, the antecedent regiment of the Sherwood Foresters.

Both men were laid to rest by a burial party composed of members of The Mercian Regiment, the antecedent regiment of the Sherwood Foresters.

"They are now at rest amongst their comrades who lived and fought with them in the cause of freedom.”

The Reverend Tim Flowers said: “It is a tremendous honour and privilege for me today to conduct the funeral service of one our fallen comrades over 100 years since he fell in battle. He is known unto God.”

The remains of both soldiers were discovered on the edge of the village of Ginchy, during work on a wind turbine project.

Whilst one soldier was identified as being a Sherwood Forester through artefacts found with his remains, no artefacts were found with the other soldier.

Reverend Tim Flowers held the service.

Reverend Tim Flowers held the service.

His identity and regiment are therefore unknown. The JCCC believe both soldiers were killed in September 1916 during heavy fighting in the area.

Despite extensive research by the MOD team, it was not possible to identify the Sherwood Forester, although it is believed that he was most likely a member of the 2nd Battalion of that regiment. However, there are still too many members of that Battalion missing in the area from that period to identify him.

Both men were laid to rest by a burial party composed of members of The Mercian Regiment, the antecedent regiment of the Sherwood Foresters.

The new graves were prepared by the CWGC.

Mel Donnelly, CWGC Commemorations Manager said: “These two soldiers, unknown but not forgotten, have been laid to rest alongside their comrades in Guards’ Cemetery and Guillemont Road Cemetery with honour and dignity. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission will ensure that their sacrifice is not forgotten and their graves, together with all of those who served and fell, are cared for in perpetuity.”