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Monday, 19 August, 2002, 21:10 GMT 22:10 UK
Lost soldier's family found
Poppies
Pte Crompton will be buried near to where he died
Relatives of a First World War casualty from Lincolnshire have been tracked down after a radio appeal.

Private William Crompton was killed on the Somme but his body was not found until 1999.

Once his remains were identified a search was made for family members to attend his funeral.

Four close relatives have now been found and it is hoped they will be able to make the journey to France.

Soldiers in the First World War
More than 200 Lincolnshire soldiers died in one day

Private William Crompton, from Gainsborough, was 24 when he died in July 1916 during the battle.

Pte Crompton was a member of the First Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment, which lost 243 men in less than 24 hours.

The remains of many soldiers are still being found on battlefields in France, but it is unusual to identify them.

Ben Armstrong, of Bartlett Battlefield Journeys which helped with the search, said: "Often clues to who these soldiers were, such as identity tags, disintegrate in the soil.

"Of more than 100 bodies found near Ypres this year, none have been identified, so the case of Private Crompton is very rare."

The body of Pte Crompton was identified in 1999 by his identity disc and regimental shoulder title.

Military honours

Researchers were hopeful of finding relatives as Pte Crompton was known to have had four brothers and was survived by his wife and two sons and a daughter.

Initially the authorities had little luck but a radio appeal led to a breakthrough.

Mr Armstrong said: "We had contacted only very distant relatives but the day after the appeal we were phoned up by his nephew.

"It was a tremendous sensation."

One of his nephews, 76 -year-old Donald Crompton from Beckingham, near Gainsborough, did not know his uncle's remains had been found until he heard the story on the radio.

He is now hoping to take part in a ceremony in France where Pte Crompton will be buried with full military honours.


click here to go to Lincolnshire
See also:

08 Aug 02 | England
03 Nov 98 | World War I
10 Nov 98 | World War I
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