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Subdeacon Joe

102 Years Later

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British soldier killed by shellfire in France during World War One is identified and finally laid to rest 102 years later thanks to an engraved SPOON found in his pocket

 

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A lost British soldier who was killed during World War One near Lens in northern France has been identified 102 years later - thanks to war grave detectives and an unusual discovery. 

Frederick Thomas Perkins was aged 25 when he was killed in battle on April 22, 1917 and he became one of the many anonymous soldiers whose bodies were lost as shellfire exploded around where he fell. 

At the end of the war in 1918 only half of those killed on the Western Front had received a proper burial in a military cemetery. An average of 50 soldiers' bodies continue to be found on the former battle fields each year.   (emphasis added)

The remains were found alongside Perkins' helmet, bayonet, knife and fork which had severely corroded over the many years. 

However it was the discovery of a spoon engraved with a '4EX' and the number 3899 which narrowed the soldier down to the 4th battalion of the Essex Regiment. 

Arnold pointed out that while none of the soldiers were issued identifying dog tags in the First World War, they were 'lucky' the Essex Regiment had decided to put numbers on their spoons.  

 

50 a year.  

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Wow! They figured it out from a spoon. Amazing. 
 

50 a year? Another “Wow!”

It’s nice that people care enough to do this job of tracking down people’s remains and putting names to them for proper burial. I kind of have mixed feelings about it though. Part of me thinks the battlefield be left alone and those that fell left alone there. 

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39 minutes ago, Pat Riot, SASS #13748 said:

Wow! They figured it out from a spoon. Amazing. 
 

50 a year? Another “Wow!”

It’s nice that people care enough to do this job of tracking down people’s remains and putting names to them for proper burial. I kind of have mixed feelings about it though. Part of me thinks the battlefield be left alone and those that fell left alone there. 

 

Not possible as the "battlefield" was a large portion of several countries in Europe. especially France and Belgium.  When you consider that there were about 8 million combat casualties on both sides :( and only half were given a proper burial; 50 a year is rather dis-heartening.

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I'm of two minds about this. On one hand they deserve a proper burial. On the other hand they're only burying a few small bone fragments anyway, as most of these young soldier's bodies have already returned to the soil where they fell all those years ago.

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