MoD searches for relatives of missing Bedfordshire soldier

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The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is trying to trace relatives of a World War One soldier who died in France in 1918.

Sergeant Edward Norton was born in Stotfold, Bedfordshire, in 1881 and lived in Luton. He enlisted in the Bedfordshire Regiment, but was later transferred to the 7th Battalion Durham Light Infantry.

Clues unearthed

In July 2016 human remains were discovered in Gavrelle, northern France, close to where Sergeant Norton went missing. Researchers also discovered a shoulder title from the Durham Light Infantry.

The battalion’s records show six men died during that month; four officers and two soldiers. After analysing the artefacts and accoutrements at the site, the researchers believe the remains are ‘likely’ to belong to one of the two soldiers.

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Not unknown

A grandson of the other soldier has been traced, but the team have been unable to find any relatives of Sergeant Norton.

Louise Dorr from the Ministry of Defence’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC) said: ‘He is to be buried in France on 15 March.

‘Rather than bury him as an unknown soldier, I would love to be able to identify him so that his headstone may bear his name.’

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