A JOINT investigation has enabled the grave of a local man to be rededicated nearly 105 years after his death during the First World War.

Second Lieutenant Sam Hughes was aged just 25 when he was killed during trench raids in the La Boutillerie Subsector, south of Armentières in France, on November 6, 1917.

He was born in Bagillt and lived in Wrexham before the war. 

Until now, his remains lay in an unmarked grave as he was buried by the Germans in Beaucamps Communal Cemetery German Extension. After the war, his remains were moved into Pont-du-Hem Military Cemetery and he was buried next to Company Serjeant Major David Jones DCM - who died the same day as Second Lieutenant Hughes.

The Leader:

As their identities were unknown, they were recorded on the Ploegsteert Memorial - which commemorates men from who fought on the northern Western Front and whose graves are unknown. 

Hughes had enlisted into The Royal Welsh Fusiliers, arriving on the Western Front in December 1915, joining The Welsh Regiment.

His only sibling, Gunner Isaac Newton Hughes was killed just two weeks after him on 20 November 1917 and is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial. 

READ MORE: World War booklets honour Wrexham community's fallen

Thanks to an investigation by the MOD’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC), also known as the ‘MOD War Detectives’, new headstones now bear the names of Second Lieutenant Hughes (2Lt), along with Company Serjeant Major David Jones DCM, from south Wales.

The headstones were the centrepiece of a rededication service that was held at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s (CWGC) Pont-du-Hem Military Cemetery, in northern France on Thursday, March 10. 

The Leader: The service was attended by serving soldiers of The Royal Welsh and veterans of The Royal Welsh Association.The service was attended by serving soldiers of The Royal Welsh and veterans of The Royal Welsh Association.

The final resting place of Second Lieutenant Hughes was identified after evidence collated by researcher Steve John and was submitted to the CWGC.

Further research by the National Army Museum and MOD’s JCCC led to the location of Hughes’s grave being confirmed.

Whilst investigating the case, Rosie Barron a caseworker within MOD JCCC, confirmed the adjacent grave must belong to CSM Jones. 

READ MORE: North Wales Second World War mystery solved after 77 years

Rosie Barron, JCCC said:  “It has been a privilege to organise this rededication service for 2Lt Hughes and CSM Jones.

“These men died on the same day and are likely to have known each other well.

“It seems fitting that we now know they lie next to each other in Pont-du-Hem Military Cemetery and that we have been able to honour their memories today in the presence of their regimental family.”  

The service was attended by serving soldiers of The Yorkshire Regiment and The Royal Welsh as well as veterans of The Royal Welsh Association and was conducted by the Reverend Ben Norton CF, Chaplain to 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment. 

The Leader:

The Reverend Norton said:  “To be able to lead the rededication services for Second Lieutenant Sam Hughes and Company Serjeant Major David Jones DCM from The Welsh Regiment is a tremendous honour. ”

“Reading their names and hearing their stories brings home to me personally their stoic courage and love for their fellow men. ”

“We walk in their footsteps and embrace the light of hope that they have passed to us through their sacrifice. We hold them in our prayers as we commend them to God.” 

The Leader:

Xavier Puppinck, CWGC Area Director for France said: “We are grateful to the dedicated researcher who submitted the case for the identification of Second Lieutenant Hughes.”

“We were delighted when the MOD JCCC was able to expand their investigation to the adjoining grave, which has now been established as that of Company Serjeant Major Jones.”

“Commemorated on a Memorial to the Missing for almost 100 years, their graves can now be marked by CWGC headstones bearing their names.”