The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence is attempting to track down a family with County Longford roots after the discovery of remains which are believed to be those of a relative who died in battle during World War I.
The Rowan family had moved from Co Longford to Lancashire in England, where James Rowan was born in the late 1800s.
Mr Rowan had been working as a miner at Park Lane Colliery near Wigan before enlisting with the 1st Battalion, The Lancashire Fusiliers when war broke out in 1914. He was 30 years-old when he died on a battlefield near the Belgian village of Comines-Warneton. His remains were discovered in 2010 by an amateur archaeologist and conclusive proof of his identity could come through DNA analysis if relatives come forward.
And with plans in place for a re-interment and memorial service, the Ministry of Defence in the UK is anxious his family, who are believed to have moved back to the Co Longford area, are involved.
“Private James Rowan is among those remembered on the Ploegsteert Memorial in Flanders which records the many missing in the First World War,” said Lynne Grammond of British Army Headquarters at Andover in Hampshire. “It would be good to hear from any relatives who could be involved now that we can arrange an interment and memorial.
“Unfortunately, whilst we know his family roots were in Longford, and there is speculation that the family returned there, we have little more to go on. Anyone who has knowledge of the family can get in touch with me by phone or email,” she added.
Anyone with information which may to the location of Mr Rowan’s living relatives can contact Ms Gammond by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phoning 0044 7769 887 707 or 0044 3067 701 322.