Twenty-one year-old British soldier Pvt. Gordon Heaton was killed on D-Day, June 6, 1944, but his family was never informed of his fate. For 68 years they heard no official word but have now finally found out, though only through mostly luck.
It turns out the reason they heard nothing was a messenger boy, or so it appears, inadvertently left the telegram informing the Heaton family of their loved-one's death in the fighting that day on a bus. Along with that telegram was Heaton's last will and testament.
The documents were found during the clearing out of lost property boxes in a bus depot in Birmingham recently, near where his family lived, and the information was posted by the National Express, a company that operates bus and transport services in the U.K.. The documents been sitting there unnoticed for 67 years and only found last November.
Family of fallen soldier sees notice
By happenstance Pvt. Heaton's brother, John, has been ill of late and his illness had gotten John's grandson, David Hall, 51, wondering if he might ever solve the mystery of his grandfather's brother. He began an online search.
"After searching online, I found information National Express had released about their discovery, for someone with the name Private Gordon Heaton. I knew it might not be him but knew I had to follow it up so gave them a call," Hall told media this week. "The information from the official records ties in with our family so we know it's definitely him."
Hall said that while pleased to have this information, having found it also has him "tainted with sadness to think a relative of mine who was fighting for his country died at the young age of 21.
"I would rather have him with us here today."