2nd Lieutenant Eric Henderson who served with the 8th (City of London) London Regiment ‘Post Office Rifles’, has been laid to rest over 100 years after he was killed on the first day of the Battle of Messines during WW1.

The service, organised by the MOD’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC), part of Defence Business Services, was held on Wednesday 16th May 2018 and was conducted by the Reverend Thomas Hiney CF, Chaplain to the 19 Royal Artillery Regiment.

Nicola Nash, JCCC said: “Although over 100 years have passed since Eric’s death, we passionately believe in continuing to honour his sacrifice and the sacrifice of all members of the Armed Forces who are lost in battle”.

2nd Lt Henderson initially joined the 28th Battalion London Regiment in July 1915 as a Private. He was soon commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and eventually joined the 8th Battalion London Regiment, also known as the Post Office Rifles. He was killed in action on 7th June 1917 aged 21, near the village of Messines in West Flanders, Belgium.

He was found a century later during road works around Eekhofstraat, near Voormezele. Further research, conducted by the JCCC, showed that the location of the soldier was exactly where the Oak Reserve Line was, which corresponded with the location of Eric’s regiment on the day of his death.

Family members who paid their respects to 2nd Lt Henderson included his three great nieces, Lucy Cocup, Sarah Foot and Judith Leyman, as well as members of their own families. Mrs Judith Leyman, said on behalf of the family: “Being here in Ypres, and knowing Eric’s resting place, means an awful lot to us. He wasn’t a dusty memory in our family, but part of our mental landscape”.

Sub Lieutenant Harry Lewis from the British Embassy in The Hague was also in attendance. Current members of the Royal Artillery Regiment paid their own tribute by providing the bearer and firing party.

Mel Donnelly, CWGC Commemorations Manager said: “For almost a century, 2nd Lieutenant Eric Henderson was remembered with honour on the CWGC’s Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial to the Missing – one of tens of thousands of young men whom the fortune of war denied a known grave. Today, thanks to the efforts of many, that statement has new meaning for Eric and his family.”