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DNA traces relatives of Cpl Francis Carr Dyson back to David Dyson of Minster of Sheppey

By Lewis Dyson

A 100-year-old First World War mystery has been solved with the help of a Minster man’s DNA.

David Dyson was notified last week that his second cousin, Cpl Francis Carr Dyson, is one of 15 soldiers whose remains were discovered during construction work near the French village of Beaucamps-Ligny five years ago.

DNA samples provided by surviving relatives led to 10 of them being formally identified at a meeting at Endcliffe Hall in Sheffield.

David Dyson with the letter confirming he is related to Francis Carr Dyson

They all served with 2nd Battalion The York and Lancaster Regiment and were killed in battle on October 18, 1914.

Work to confirm the names of the remaining five bodies continues.

The soldiers are to be given a full military funeral at Y Farm Cemetery, Bois Grenier, France, on October 22, almost 100 years to the day after they died.

Retired teacher Mr Dyson said: “I find it incredible that they have been able to identify who these soldiers were 100 years after they died.”

The 60-year-old, who was raised near Rotherham in Yorkshire, had researched his family tree a few years ago and registered his name on the website Genes Reunited.

A First World War soldier's grave. File image

A genealogist from the Ministry of Defence was therefore able to track him down and asked the Wards Hill Road, Minster, resident to send a DNA mouth swab through the post.

The grandfather-of-four said: “My sincerest thanks go to Melvyn Pack, the genealogist. He is like the cement that has brought it all together.

“I already knew a Francis Carr existed but I had no idea who he was or that his body had been lost for almost a century.”

Cpl Francis Carr Dyson was born in Wakefield in 1889.

David Dyson's relative was traced through DNA. Stock picture

His father Willie was a political journalist and named his six children after politicians.

Francis took the name of a US congressman for Maine.

He enlisted as a regular soldier in 1908 and when war was declared his regiment was sent to France before he was killed, aged 24, during a battle in the early stages of the conflict.

The funeral of the soldiers has been organised by the 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment.

It traces its history back to The York and Lancaster Regiment.

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