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Halesowen man collects missing will after 68 years
3:06pm Tuesday 21st August 2012 in Local
THE missing will of a soldier killed in the Second World War has been returned to his Halesowen family after being found in a bus garage several decades later.
National Express West Midlands staff were stunned when they unearthed the document in a dusty envelope during the refurbishment of its Acocks Green base.
After a 10 month search, David Hall, from the town came, forward to collect the will of his great uncle Private Gordon Heaton, written on June 29 1944, just weeks before his death in battle on August 27.
The poignant document was accompanied by a letter, dated November 9 1944, informing the family of his death, aged just 21.
Mr Hall, aged 51, collected the will on behalf of his family including the soldier’s brother, John, now aged 80.
He said: “I have only just started to look into my family history and to find something this interesting which has been out of our hands for several decades is incredible.
“I am delighted to be able to taken rightful ownership of this today on behalf of my family most importantly my great uncle John – Gordon’s brother.”
Pte Heaton, from Handsworth, was a member of the Eight Worcestershire Regiment and is buried in Vernonnet Cemetery, Normandy, France, alongside 15 comrades.
Christine McDaid, National Express administration controller, said: "When we refurbished our lost property room this letter was on top of the shelves covered in dust. When we looked to see what it was we were shocked to find the will of a soldier in Word War Two.”
"This is an incredible part of family history and we are delighted that a member of Pte Heaton's family has come forward and taken rightful ownership of his will."