Forgotten World War One heroes from a Doncaster village are to be honoured after plans to restore their graves were unveiled.
The last resting place of four soldiers who were killed in action during the conflict had been lost after the Edlington graveyard in which they are buried fell into disuse and disrepair.
But now a campaign by a local historian backed by Don Valley MP Caroline Flint will lead to the graves being restored and headstones added for the first time in more than 30 years.
The graves of Private G Bucktrout, Pt C McLaughlin, Pt A Walker and Able Seaman CH Pye have been left unmarked for more than three decades in a small overgrown graveyard near St Peter’s Church in Old Edlington.
The church closed in the 1970s and the headstones were removed in 1981 – but in the 100th anniversary year of the outbreak of World War One, plans have been drawn up to honour the men.
Historian Dave Glover who is spearheading the scheme said: “The situation was intolerable. Very few WW1 soldiers were repatriated for burial in the UK, yet we have four in our small village graveyard, now left to the elements, unmarked and overgrown – a disgraceful situation.”
But after getting in touch with Edlington Town Council, Mr Glover, of Back Lane, Edlington, has had his campaign brought to the attention of politicians.
Now work will start in the next few weeks in restoring the graveyard and re-erecting headstones.
The Church of England’s Sheffield Diocese still owns the small cemetery annexe – but those details only recently came to light, allowing work to get under way.
Caroline Flint and Father Stephen Edmonds of nearby St John The Baptist Church have thrown their weight behind the project.
Ms Flint said: “Now we know who owns the land, we are very keen, in this centenary year to restore these graves and have them properly marked in honour of these brave men once again.”
As well as headstones, a memorial commemorating the efforts of the men will be created and the land will be opened to allow the public to pay their respects.
Mr Glover said: “These men should be remembered and their contributions recognised now and long into the future.
“We are looking for anyone who can help us to get in touch.”
A memorial for Pte Bucktrout, of the York and Lancaster Regiment, Pte McLaughlin of the Royal Army Service Corps, Pte Walker of the Tank Corps and AS Pye of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, exists in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission at Stonefall Cemetery in Harrogate.