The mystery of a Tolworth soldier detailed in a letter to the Surrey Comet may have been solved by a former detective.

Mike Hoare, vice-chairman of the Chessington District Residents’ Association, responded to a letter seeking information about Private Albert Henry Brackstone, whose name is engraved on a war memorial near Andover, in Hampshire.

Two Longparish residents are attempting to trace all those who appear on the village’s war memorial, for a concert in November.

Mr Hoare, who has researched a considerable portion of his own family tree, found further details about Pt Brackstone’s life in the borough.

He said: “The coincidence is that my family came from the next village.

"That’s how I spotted it when I saw the letter. They always take a bit of work, especially with families from that era.

“Sometimes, they switched their Christian names when they got married or later in life.”

Researcher Henry Yelf said: “Every year, the names on the war memorial at Longparish are read out.

“The feeling was that they were becoming just names.

“We’re absolutely delighted with the result. It’s given us that key to take the research for the story of Brackstone to the next step. We’re still hoping to find a picture of him.”

Brackstone came from Longparish, but moved to Tolworth and lived in Worthington Road after marrying Daisy Winifred Watling in 1915.

He was killed in action in 1917.

Wandsworth Guardian:

Henry Yelf's letter to the Comet, asking for help in tracing Pt Brackstone's life

Mr Yelf said: “We’ve found a lot of stories. There was one chap who got a white feather in the post and joined up. He was killed in 1918.”

The white feathers were part of a campaign to shame men into enlisting.

Information about those whose names appear on Longparish’s war memorial will be presented on November 14 at St Nicholas’ Church, when the village choir will perform Faure’s Requiem.

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