The Ministry of Defence have launched an urgent appeal to trace the relatives of a sergeant killed in the Great War following the discovery of remains.
Sergeant Edward Norton, 7th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, was killed in September 1918, his body never found. However, the discovery of human remains near Gavrelle, in the Pas-de-Calais region of northern France, where Sgt. Norton is believed to have died, has sparked an urgent appeal from the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC) to find surviving descendants.
Gavrelle is located near the city of Arras, the scene of a major battle in the latter half of 1918. As part of the Hundred Days Offensive, the Second Battle of the Somme raged from late August until early September that year.
It is hoped relatives will come forward so the JCCC can invite them to participate in DNA tests ahead of a full military funeral to take place in the week commencing 12 March. The tests will prove whether the discovered remains are those of Edward Norton or not. Louise Door, of the JCCC commemorations team, said: “As a result of our extensive research, these remains are very likely to be one of only two missing soldiers, so there should be a very good chance of identifying him. He is to be buried in France … rather than bury him as an unknown soldier, I would love to be able to identify him so that his headstone may bear his name.”
Edward Norton was born in Stotfold, Bedfordshire, to Augustus and Mary Ann Norton in 1881. He originally joined the Bedfordshire Regiment after enlisting, but went on to serve in the Durham Light Infantry. In 1907 he married Susan Agnes Bushwell and his last known address, according to the 1911 Census, was 22 Pondwicks Road, Luton.
If you can help with tracing Edward’s family, please call Louise on 01452 712612 extension 5465 or via email: DBS-JCCCCommem4SO3@mod.uk.
If there is a match, the family will be invited to attend the planned burial service.