Wales

Cardiff woman 'reunites' WW1 soldier with family

Gwyneth Jones behind grave Image copyright Gwyneth Jones
Image caption Gwyneth Jones has been contacted by the family of Pte Robert Deans

A soldier who died in World War One has been "reunited" with his family thanks to a curious stranger.

Gwyneth Jones travelled to France to visit the grave of the soldier who lived in her Cardiff home more than a century ago.

Grangetown Local History Society sent postcards to the last known addresses of more than 400 men who died.

A relative of Pte Robert Silvester Deans said it was nice to know someone else cared about him.

Details of his life were sent to Ms Jones' home on Clive Street to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the war.

The 25-year-old died near the town of Albert, on the Somme, in 1916.

Now Ms Jones has been contacted by three members of his family who read how she had been moved to visit his grave in Bapaume Post Military Cemetery.

Image copyright Grangetown Local History Society
Image caption The postcards sent to Grangetown residents last year that started Ms Jones' search

"When I returned home from a Remembrance Day service, a note had been posted from someone who had read the story and was Robert's relative," she said.

"They were thrilled that I had been to the grave as they hadn't been able to.

"I'd felt so sorry for this young man that I wanted to reconnect him with his home. Now I feel that I've reconnected him with his family. It's wonderful."

Another to contact Ms Jones was the soldier's second cousin Pamela Campbell, 69, born in Cardiff but now living in Lincolnshire.

"It was so lovely to think someone had been to the grave to lay flowers because we haven't had the opportunity to go there," she said.

"Gwyneth's curiosity has added to our knowledge. We knew he had died but it was nice to think someone else cared about him."

Image copyright Gwyneth Jones
Image caption Pte Francis Leonard Bell died less than two weeks before the end of World War One

In a final twist, Ms Jones has since discovered her great uncle is buried nearby.

Pte Francis Leonard Bell, of the Lancashire Fusiliers, died in France from gas poisoning on 29 October 1918 - just 13 days before the armistice.

She said: "I had almost adopted this other family's soldier but I had no idea I had a relative of my own who had fallen in the war."

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