Will find sparks hunt for WWII casualty relatives

National Express West Midlands is hoping to reunite the family of a soldier killed in France in 1944 with his last will.

Private GORDON ALBERT JAMES HEATONNational Express West Midlands have launched an appeal to return a Last Will and Testament (Will) written by a local solider in WWII to his family.

The Will was discovered during a recent refurbishment of the bus operator’s lost property office at their Acocks Green garage and the sight of a war office envelope from 1944 really took staff by surprise.

The Will is that of Private Gordon Heaton of Eight Worcestershire Regiment and was written on 29 June 1944.  The Will is accompanied by a letter on 9 November 1944 to the soldier’s family informing them of his death in battle on 27 August the same year at the age of 21. Private Heaton lived in Handsworth.

Private Heaton is buried in Vernonnet Cemetery in Normandy France alongside 15 other members of the Worcestershire Regiment.

National Express West Midlands want to reunite the soldiers family with this heirloom and have issued a call for them to come forward and contact them on 0121 460 8867.

Christine McDaid, Administration Controller, National Express West Midlands said: “We get hundreds of items into our lost property store every week including pairs of glasses, items of clothing and mobile phones.  Every week we have to clear the lost property out due to space and we donate items like glasses and phones to Cancer Research.”

“However, recently we decided to refurbish our lost property room and on top of one of the sets of shelves covered in dust was this letter.  When we looked to see what it was we were shocked to find the will of a soldier in WWII.  The really odd coincidence is that on 9 November it will be 67th anniversary of his death.”

“This is an incredible part of family history and we really hope that a member of Private Heaton’s family will come forward and take rightful ownership of his will.”