The Irish Military War Museum team was privileged to attend a reburial service for Sergeant David Harkness Blakey MM at the beginning of October, in Thiepval, France.
Sergeant Blakey was reported missing during the Battle of the Somme in 1916. He was killed on the first day of the battle, 1st July. He was just 26 years-old.
Amazingly, Sergeant Blakey’s remains were found during routine roadworks being carried out ahead of the Battle of the Somme centenary commemorations. They were found close to the Ulster Tower, and he was identified by his metal identification tag.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission held the service on October 8th at 11am, for Sergeant Blakey and two unknown comrades; one from the Royal Irish Rifles, one from the Cambridgeshire Regiment.
Reverend Robert J Birnie CF, Chaplain to 1st Battalion the Royal Irish Regiment, conducted the service. In attendance were representatives of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, the Royal Irish Regiment, UK Defence Staff and local dignitaries.
Some of Sergeant Blakey’s family members were also present, including his great-great-grandchildren
It was a very moving, thought-provoking ceremony, which was very touching to be a part of.