Tyne & Wear

Durham soldier's relatives sought for rededication service

Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, Border Regiment, Oosterbeek 20 September 1944 Image copyright Crown Copyright
Image caption Private Harry Vasey, was killed in Oosterbeek in 1944

The family of a soldier killed during World War Two is being sought after his final resting place was confirmed.

Private Harry Vasey, who was part of the 1st Airborne Battalion, The Border Regiment, was killed during Operation Market Garden in Oosterbeek in 1944.

Now his identity has been confirmed, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) want to trace his family so his grave can be rededicated in the Netherlands.

The MoD said plans were also in place to change his headstone.

'Trail goes cold'

Born in Durham in May 1916 to Harry Vasey and Annie Young, he enlisted in April 1940 when he lived in Bowburn, County Durham.

An MoD spokesman said: "Unfortunately that is about all we know about Private Vasey and his family and that's where the trail goes cold.

"We are hoping that there are some of his family still living in that area."

Image copyright Crown Copyright
Image caption Operation Market Garden saw Allied forces land behind German lines near Arnhem

Since WW2, a section of the Royal Netherlands Army has been working to identify the graves of unknown soldiers killed in battle.

The exhumation reports were scrutinised for clues to the identities of these men and the research was presented to the MoD.

Mr Vasey is one of six Border Regiment soldiers, including Lance Corporal Raymond Halliday, to be identified.

The aim of Operation Market Garden was to take strategic bridges near Arnhem, but the Allies underestimated the number of German troops lying in wait and it failed.

More than 1,400 Allied troops died and more than 6,000 were captured by German forces.

It is hoped Mr Vasey's surviving relatives can attend the service at Oosterbeek Cemetery on 14 September in honour of his sacrifice and bravery, the MoD said.

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