Appeal to find family of Bedfordshire First World War soldier before he is finally laid to rest

Worthing's First World War fallen, September 1917 SUS-170927-124524003
Worthing's First World War fallen, September 1917 SUS-170927-124524003

An appeal has been issued to find the family of a Stotfold soldier killed in France during the First World War.

Edward Norton was a Sergeant of the 7th Battalion Durham Light Infantry when he lost his life in September 1918 just two months before the end of the war. His body was never found. Now, the MOD’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre is appealing for his family to get in touch after a set of human remains were discovered near the town of Gavrelle in northern France, the place where he fell a century ago.

Born in Stotfold, in 1881 to Augustus and Mary Ann Norton, Edward originally served in the Bedfordshire Regiment before transferring to the Durham Light Infantry. He married Susan Agnes Bushwell in 1907 and according to the 1911 census, his last known address was 22 Pondwicks Road, Luton.

Now an appeal has been launched by the MOD JCCC to trace Edward’s surviving relatives so they can be invited to undertake a DNA test to prove whether or not the remains are his. If there is a match, the family will be invited to attend a full military burial service in March.

Louise Dorr from the JCCC said: “As a result of our extensive research, these remains are very likely to be 1 of only 2 missing soldiers, so there should be a very good chance of identifying him. He is to be buried in France on 15 March. Rather than bury him as an unknown soldier, I would love to be able to identify him so that his headstone may bear his name.”

She added: “There are still so many 1000s of men lost in the Great War who have no known grave. To be able to identify just 1 of them takes a huge amount of research. Most importantly, it brings their individual story to an end and fills in the gaps in their family history”.

If you can help with tracing Edward’s family, please call Louise on 01452 712612 extension 5465 or via email:

If you know Edward’s family, get in touch at