WWI soldier buried in Flanders Fields, Belgium: Robert Kenneth Malcolm
More than a century later, a World War I soldier who disappeared at the height of the bloodbath in 1917 was laid to rest in Europe on Wednesday.
Pvt. Robert Kenneth Malcolm, a stretcher bearer with the U.K. Royal Army Medical Corps, was buried at the Bedford House Cemetery in Ypres, at the heart of Flanders Fields in Belgium, The Associated Press reported. The battle zone was the scene of some of the worst fighting between allied forces composed of French and British Commonwealth troops against a force built around German soldiers.
Malcolm, from Stockton-on-Tees in the United Kingdom, went missing at the age of 23 in 1917. His remains were recovered in 2019.
During the war, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history, hundreds of thousands of soldiers died on the Western Front but some were never accounted for. Soldiers often went missing in muddy fields churned over by relentless bombing and fighting.
The carnage took place from 1914-1918 and included the first use of chemical weapons.
The mystery behind their disappearance left families with uncertainties for years.
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‘The dignity of a funeral’
During the burial, a photo shows, a relative of Malcolm sprinkled earth on his grave.
“It is overwhelming for us. I’m glad he’s had the dignity of a funeral now with all the marvelous support,” Jane Foster, whose great-great-uncle was Malcolm, told the Associated Press.
Foster said the burial held special meaning not only for the missing recovered soldiers and their loved ones, but other families who have yet to have closure.
“We do feel it’s for everybody who has lost somebody and hasn’t got a final resting place for them,” Foster told the outlet.
Contributing: Associated Press
Natalie Neysa Alund covers breaking and trending news for USA TODAY. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.
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