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Wills news – Soldier’s will found 67 years after it was written

10th September 2012

Private Gordon Heaton never returned from the war, and his family never received the telegram notifying them of his death, so, they presumed he had been killed in action but were never aware of the details.

The paperwork relating to his death, including the official notification and a Will, had been placed in the lost property office of the National Express depot in Acocks Green, West Midlands and was only found when office worker Christine McDaid was tasked with clearing the office for redecoration.

She said that when she started looking through some of the items in a heavy cardboard box, she suddenly realised the importance of the lost document.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes when I opened it and realised the dusty document was the signed last Will and Testament of a 21-year-old soldier,” she said.

“It was sent by the War Office and was also accompanied by a formal typed letter to the soldiers’ parents informing them of his death.”

Private Heaton’s will states that he left his entire estate and all his possessions to his mother and, after Ms McDaid appealed for the family of the soldier to come forward, the documents were finally directed to their rightful destination.

Thankfully, todays solicitors for wills are able to electronically handle testators’ wishes and store wills on secure databases so that this sort of occurrence does not happen.

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