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WW2 soldier is finally at rest

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The body of a teenage Pontefract soldier has finally been laid to rest 74 years after he was killed fighting in Italy during the Second World War.

The remains of Raymond Frederick Rose, who served in The Coldstream Guards, were buried in an unknown grave but was recently identified through DNA testing.

The coffin of an unknown soldier is carried in during the burial service for Lance Corporal Ronald George Blackham from Northwich, Cheshire and two unknown soldiers at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) Salerno War Cemetery, in Italy, who were all killed in WWII, during a fierce battle on 25 September 1943 on Hill 270, near the village of Capezzano. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday March 16, 2017. See PA story DEFENCE Soldier. Photo credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

The coffin of an unknown soldier is carried in during the burial service for Lance Corporal Ronald George Blackham from Northwich, Cheshire and two unknown soldiers at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) Salerno War Cemetery, in Italy, who were all killed in WWII, during a fierce battle on 25 September 1943 on Hill 270, near the village of Capezzano. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday March 16, 2017. See PA story DEFENCE Soldier. Photo credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Aged just 19, he fought and died in the Battle of Salerno in September, 1943.

His family never knew how he was killed or his where he was buried, so were invited to a recent ceremony at Salerno War Cemetery.

The family of another soldier from Gloucester, Joseph Goulden, also attended after he too was identified following the investigation by the MOD’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC).

Both has been given new headstones bearing their names.

Guardsman Rose’s family released a statement, saying: “We are proud to know that a relative of ours was brave enough to lay his life down for us.

“Raymond volunteered to go to war and we ask ourselves ‘would we?’ Probably not.

“It’s an incredible sacrifice at the age of 19. To risk his life for the good of his fellow man; the ultimate sacrifice.”

The Coldstream Guards were brought up to Hill 270 in Salerno to attack at midday on September 25, 1943.

Their plan was to reach the bottom of the hill by infiltrating from the left and using the thick trees as cover.

At 11.40 am the attack began but did not go to plan with huge casualties, including Guardsmen Rose and Goulden.

The fight had been part of the Allies’ invasion of Italy, months before the main assault on mainland Europe on D-Day in 1944.

Sue Raftree, of the JCCC said: “These two brave soldiers fought for their country to make our lives better. Originally buried as unknowns they now have their own headstones whilst their families finally have closure.

“It is a privilege for the JCCC to have organised this fitting service.

Reverend Jacob Caldwell, who took the service, said: “At Salerno, The Coldstream Guards demonstrated a remarkable resolve in the face of profoundly challenging circumstances.”