Manchester

Search for Manchester WW1 soldier's descendants

Lancashire Fusilier artefacts
Image caption Researchers identified the soldier's regiment from a watch, cap badge and shoulder flashes

Researchers are trying to find descendants of a forgotten World War One soldier whose remains were found in a Belgian hamlet.

Ministry of Defence officials think the soldier may have been William Cheetham Taylor, who was born in Manchester and served with the Lancashire Fusiliers.

They are now seeking to match DNA from the remains with living relatives.

The soldier is thought to have been killed in 1914 during heavy fighting in Le Touguet, near the French border.

The remains of six soldiers were discovered by a team of Belgian archaeologists carrying out a dig before a building development in the hamlet.

MOD researchers found two of the six to be unidentifiable, and are awaiting results from DNA tests from potential relatives of a further three, who were all found to be from the fusiliers.

Image caption The soldier's regiment is marked on a cap badge found with the remains

However, the researchers have not yet been able to find descendants of the final soldier.

The soldiers' regiment was identified from artefacts found with the remains including a watch, cap badge and shoulder flashes.

Researcher Louise Dorr said: "It's a bit like a cold case. We just need that final little piece of the jigsaw".

She added: "I am so anxious to find William Taylor's family. It is poignant to remember that their wives and children would have been bereft, and probably carried that grief all their lives, especially as they had no grave to visit."

Research has established William Taylor was born in 1884 in the Newton Heath area of Manchester, the eldest child of George Taylor and Mary Ellen Cheetham.

Image caption Ministry of Defence researcher Louise Dorr is anxious to identify the soldier's living relatives

His wife was called Maud and they had a son called Albert.

Mr Taylor was killed on 18 October 1914 during the Battle of Messines, where the fighting often took the form of ferocious house-to-house combat, unlike the trench warfare which later became the norm.

It is thought he had a brother called John who lived in Blackley, Manchester, and got married in 1912. He had two sons - Frank who died in 1992 in Bolton, and Albert.

Researchers think Frank's son David Alan Taylor may be living in Oldham.

The soldiers were buried in the Prowse Point military cemetery in Ypres, Belgium, where their names will be inscribed on their gravestones once identified.

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