Can you help trace family of First World War soldier from Hitchin named in mystery memorial?

The plaque

The plaque - Credit: Archant

The hunt is on to trace the family of a teenaged Hitchin soldier who died in the First World War after a memorial plaque in his name was found abandoned on a dump.

Edward Christopher Halsey, who served in the 3/4th Battalion, The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment, was only 19 when he was killed in action in January 1918.

The plaque was found in Berkhamsted, on the other side of the county, 20 years go by Margaret Casserley.

She said this week: “I was throwing stuff in the skip and came across it. I asked the attendant what it was doing there and he said it would be sold off for brass, so I bought it.

“Every year I would bring it out on November 11 and place a poppy on it. It would be great to return it to his family.”


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Mrs Casserley, who has now presented the plaque to the Hitchin branch of the Royal British Legion, has researched the soldier’s past and found that he was the son of John and Minnie Agusto, who lived at 31 Grove Road.

Research has also revealed that he was the youngest of four and a brother to John, Joseph and Mary.

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He was killed while serving in Sorel-Le-Grand, France.

He is buried in the Fins New British Cemetery, Sorel-le-Grand, Somme, France.

Research has also shown his grave number which is Plot three, Row F grave 28.

“With the First World War commemorations at the forefront of people’s minds we maybe able to find his family and give the plaque back, which looks like it was in a church,” said Mrs Casserley.

Hitchin Poppy appeal organiser Mary Prowse said: “There must be someone or a member of his family in the area.

“His name is on the war memorial but it would be nice to give the plaque back to his family.”

If you can shed any light on the mystery, call Mary Prowse on 07925 528998.

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