A soldier’s war grave has been identified 95 years after he went missing in action.
Company Sergeant Major Andrew Gale, 41, of Quinton Street, Earlsfield, is believed to have died at a casualty clearing station near Ypres, Belgium, on September 28, 1918, just weeks before armistice was signed ending the bloody conflict.
He left behind his wife Olivia and five children.
Following investigative work by staff at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), work is now under way to contact the relatives of CSM Gale.
The grave lay unmarked for almost a century but when the headstone with his rank and unit was noticed by a CWGC worker and cross checked against casualty records for the area it was concluded it could only be that of CSM Gale.
A new headstone bearing his name will be put above the grave, with Ministry of Defence (MoD) officials hoping to find his family to see if they want an inscription.
A First World War historian, Andy Robertshaw, tracked his widow’s story who tried to find out what happened to her husband.
He said: “Miraculously Andrew Gale’s service record survived. Nearly 60 per cent of the records were lost when the centre they were kept in was bombed in 1940.
“Olivia wasn’t officially notified about his death until October 23, almost a month later. “Five days earlier she writes to the unit. She says, ‘I have not heard from his unit. I’m very worried about him’.”
Mrs Gale died in 1937 aged 60, not knowing where her husband’s remains were buried.
At the time she had children Libby, John, Fred, William and Grace, with the MoD attempting to tracetheir descendants.
Peter Francis, of the CWGC, said: “When we looked at the information there was only one candidate.
“It would be wonderful if we could find the family so they can come and pay their respects.”
Do you believe you are related to CSM Gale? Contact the newsdesk on 020 8722 6334 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.