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Grave finally has soldier's name
10:00am Monday 23rd September 2013 in News
THE family of an Andover solider who lay in an un-named grave for almost a century has given their loved one a new headstone.
The remaining relatives of Sergeant Leonard Maidment, aged 22, visited his unmarked plot at Marfaux, near Reims, in France, on 20 August for the re-dedication service.
It was in 2008 that historian David Tattersfield discovered the nameless grave and, after some detective work, concluded that it belonged to the Andover soldier, who was killed on 20 July 1918.
Sgt Maidment was sent to France that summer with the 2/4th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, to join the territorials of the 62nd (West Riding) Division.
Taking part in the attack on Marfaux on 20 July, the Hampshires suffered fatal casualties of one officer, one Sergeant (Maidment), a Lance Corporal and 24 privates. For 95 years eight of these men, including Sgt Maidment, had no known grave and were commemorated on the Soissons Memorial to the Missing.
But last month the young soldier’s great nephews and their wives – some of whom had travelled from Australia – gathered in the cemetery around the new headstone to give thanks for the life of Sgt Maidment.
Those who attended also included mayor Frederic Dechamps and chaplain Reverend Dr Simon Bloxham-Rose, who read the opening prayer.
The Last Post and two minutes of silence followed the service while the family members planted wooden crosses at the foot of the new headstone and three wreaths were laid.
Mr Tattersfield said: “It was a day that will live in the memories of all who were present, and a remarkable event to acknowledge just one soldier who gave everything for King and Country who is now honoured with a known resting place.”
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