Unknown soldier coffin carried by Mercian Regiment troops
WWI

Two Unknown WWI Soldiers Buried After 100 Years

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

Unknown soldier coffin carried by Mercian Regiment troops

Troops from the Mercian Regiment carry the coffin of one unknown soldier (Picture: MOD).

Two unknown soldiers killed on the Somme during World War One have been buried on the Western Front.

One of the fallen soldiers was in the Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment).

It is unclear what regiment the second unknown soldier belonged to.

The Sherwood Forester was buried on Wednesday at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's (CWGC) Guillemont Road Cemetery in northern France.

Captain Benedict Griffiths and Lieutenant Colonel (Ret'd) Dominic Hancock participate in the burial service of the unknown Sherwood Forester (Picture: MOD).
Captain Benedict Griffiths and Lieutenant Colonel (Ret'd) Dominic Hancock participate in the burial service of the unknown Sherwood Forester (Picture: MOD).

The unknown soldier of unknown regiment took place on Tuesday at the CWGC's Guards' Cemetery, Lesboeufs. 

The services were organised by the Ministry of Defence’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC)

"It has been a privilege to organise these burial services here on the Somme," explained Rosie Barron from the JCCC.

"Although the identities of these two soldiers remain unknown, it is only right that they are afforded the burial and recognition that they deserve.

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

The services were conducted by the Reverend Tim Flowers CF, Chaplain to 4th Battalion The Mercian Regiment.

The Reverend Tim Flowers conducts the burial service at the graveside of the unknown soldier in Guards Cemetery, Lesboeufs (Picture: MOD).
The Reverend Tim Flowers conducts the burial service at the graveside of the unknown soldier in Guards Cemetery, Lesboeufs (Picture: MOD).

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."

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

Artifacts discovered helped identify one soldier as a member of the Sherwood Foresters.

However, no artifacts were found with the other soldier, meaning his identity and regiment are unknown.

The JCCC believe both soldiers were killed in September 1916 during heavy fighting in the area.

Although it was not possible to identify the Sherwood Forester, the JCCC believe he was most likely to have been a member of the regiment's 2nd Battalion. 

There are still too many members of 2nd Battalion missing in the area from that period to identify him, according to the MOD.