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Soldier's 'lost' family is found
10:00am Monday 12th August 2013 in News
A NINE-year search to find the family of an Andover soldier killed during the First World War and buried in an unmarked grave has finally come to fruition.
And this month Sergeant Leonard Maidment’s surviving family will visit his grave after 90 years as an unknown soldier buried in Marfaux British Cemetery.
The plight of the sergeant came to light in 2004 when David Tattersfield, who is a volunteer with the Western Front Association, visited the cemetery, where he noticed a headstone marking the grave of a sergeant of the Hampshire Regiment killed on 20 July, 1918.
Mr Tattersfield, of Wakefield, was aware that only one battalion of the Hampshire Regiment had been in the area on that date and after research back home he found that just two sergeants of the regiment were killed on the day. Further research found that one of the men died in what is now Iran, but 22-year-old Sergeant Leonard Maidment was named on the Soissons Memorial to the Missing and died on the Western Front.
After the war the battlefields were cleared and soldiers were buried as close as possible to where they fell.
Marfaux British Cemetery stands on the trenches from which the Hampshires and other battalions advanced.
After discovering the identity of the soldier, Mr Tattersfield approached the Andover Advertiser for help.
And following an article in the paper and on the website andoveradvertiser.co.uk, it came to the attention of Sgt Maidment’s great-nephew Keith, who lives in Australia.
The family, along with Keith’s two brothers, Michael and David, and Mr Tattersfield, will attend a re-dedication service on 20 August at the cemetery.
Keith, whose grandfather was Sgt Maidment’s brother Henry, told the Advertiser: “My greatgrandparents, their children, or my father and his siblings, never had the opportunity to pay their respects to Leonard for his service to his country.
“My brothers and I are privileged to be able to visit Leonard as representatives of the Maidment family to finally pay our respects.”
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