Schoolchild's World War One battlefield journey to find Great Grandad

Ryan Dawkins from Tring went on a journey to the Battlefields of World War One for the 100 year anniversary of the end of World War One, to search for the grave of his Great Grandfather.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 1st November 2018, 7:50 am
Updated Thursday, 1st November 2018, 7:55 am
Ryan at the gravestone of his Great Great grandfather, Reginald John Boyes
Ryan at the gravestone of his Great Great grandfather, Reginald John Boyes

Ryan's grandfather, Lance Corporal Reginald John Boyes died aged 29 fighting on the Menin road (which is where the Menin Gate now is ) on the outskirts of Ypres.

This was the battle of Passchendale in the Ypres Salient.

He was killed in action on October 3 1917, and is buried at Poelcapelle British Cemetery, in Belgium.

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Ryan's mum, Jo Dawkins posting to facebook last weekend the story of Ryan's journey has got hundreds of likes and has gone viral.

Ryan goes to Tring School, and a group of the year 11's this year were taken to the battlefields of World War One to pay tribute to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Jo said: "I am really proud of Ryan for going to pay his respects to the fallen.

"Ryan is very into history, and is also a member of the RAF cadets so this was a dream holiday for him.

‘This trip was organized by Anglia Tours, many of whose guides are ex- servicemen.

"With my dad Ryan did his research about our family history and learned that my Great Grandad was a Lance Corporal who gave his life when he was buried alive as a shell hit the trench he was fighting from.

Ryan took all the information he had discovered along with family letters he found from another soldier explaining to his mother what had happened, and also the location of the grave.

One of the guides from Anglia Tours took Ryan off to try and help him find his great grandfathers grave.

Jo added: "I hadn't heard much from Ryan because he's a bad texter and caller - but towards the evening I just got a three word text that made my heart leap!"

The text simply said: "I've found him" - with the accompanying picture.

"I was so moved and my dad was also over the moon.

"It's stories like this that restore my faith, what a brilliant way of showing our youngsters exactly what these boys not much older than themselves sacrificed for us to be free. So much better than any book or lecture.

"I just want to say thank you to the tour company for making history come to life for today's young people. Lest we forget."