War grave appeal for soldier 70 years after his death tracks down his granddaughters

The granddaughters of a soldier tragically killed during the final days of one of the Allied forces' most controversial operations of the Second World War will attend a service in his honour after his war grave was identified.

Friday, 22nd July 2016, 2:55 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd July 2016, 3:59 pm
British soldiers standing respectfully at a grave in Arnhem, which was involved in the battle, in 1944, in an image owned by the Crown.

The women answered an appeal launched by the Ministry of Defence as its joint casualty and compassionate centre searched for relations of Lance Corporal Raymond Halliday 70 years after his death.

The Durham-born soldier, born to Henry and Nancy in 1918 and married to Lily Hunter in 1934, was enlisted in the Border Regiment in April 1940, but was killed four years later while fighting in Operation Market Garden.

The battle, in Oosterbeek in the Netherlands, was conceived by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery in an attempt to end the war early.

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The seven-day offensive involved more than 30,000 men and aimed to take eight key bridges on the Dutch and German border, but was struck by failing communications and a lack of supplies.

The strategic goal was to encircle the heart of German industry, the Ruhr, in a pincer movement.

The northern end of the pincer would circumvent the northern end of the Siegfried Line giving easier access into Germany.

The MOD launched the appeal to find his relatives so they could be invited to attend the service, which will take place at Oosterbeek Cemetery on in September 14.

The department has welcomed contact from his two of his granddaughters, who live in Billingham, and their plans to attend the service as “fantastic news.”

Nicola Nash, from the centre, said: “We do not know a great deal about Raymond, but what we do know is that he was living in Stockton-on-Tees with his wife Lily when he enlisted.

“We believe they may have had a son together, also called Raymond, who was born in 1942 and still lives in the area.”