First World War soldier buried after being found in field

Soldiers carry the casket of First World War Lance Corporal John Morrison at the Woburn Abbey cemetery in Cuinchy, northern France, during an interment ceremony 100 years after his death. Picture: AFP/Getty

Soldiers carry the casket of First World War Lance Corporal John Morrison at the Woburn Abbey cemetery in Cuinchy, northern France, during an interment ceremony 100 years after his death. Picture: AFP/Getty

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The remains of a soldier who was killed more than a century ago during the First World War are to be laid to rest after they were found two years ago by a French farmer.

Lance Corporal John Morrison, from near Forres, died aged 29 in France in January 1915 but his body was never recovered.

His remains were discovered in December 2014 at Cuinchy, near Arras, by a local farmer.

Insignia discovered with the remains included a spoon engraved with his service number, 5181.

This and the presence of other artefacts led the Ministry of Defence Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre to determine his identity via DNA and trace his family.

They were recently invited to Fort George, near Inverness, to find out more about his service and to make plans for his funeral, more than 100 years after he died.

Dr Ian Morrison, 90, from Dingwall, LCpl Morrison’s nephew, and his niece Sheila Thomson, 92, from Forres, visited Fort George as the nearest living relatives to the soldier.

Dr Morrison said: “Our family will be very well represented at the burial, with about eight people planning to be in France.”

LCpl Morrison, of 1st Battalion Black Watch (Royal Highlanders), was born in Tomintoul, Moray, but brought up at Brodie Castle near Forres after his father became the gamekeeper there.

Major Martin Stanning from Fort George said that it was a pleasure to host the family and give them background on the history of the battalion.

“The Royal Regiment of Scotland is immensely proud of its heritage and to be involved in the burial of LCpl Morrison is a huge honour,” he said.

“The golden thread that runs right through the regiment, linking us inextricably with our forefathers, is core to our ethos; activities like this strengthen the bond between past and present.

“The Scottish soldiers of today share the same fighting spirit and esprit de corps as that of our ­ancestors, hence we are honoured to assist the Morrison family in burying their uncle, John ­Morrison.”

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