A LOCAL historian is searching for the family of a Tynedale man, who was killed in action during the First World War, so they can be reunited with his death plaque.

Len Franchetti of Prudhoe and District History Society was given the circular plaque, dedicated to a John Wilkinson, by a member of the public who wished to remain anonymous.

Death plaques, known formally as a memorial plaques, were issued after the First World War to the next-of-kin of all British and Empire service personnel who were killed as a result of the war.

Through his role with the history society, Mr Franchetti has carried out research into the stories and ancestry of many First and Second World War veterans from Prudhoe and the surrounding area, and the donor hoped he could help.

“The lady got in touch and gave it to me.

“She hoped we could find out more about the family and maybe get it back to them,” Mr Franchetti said.

Mr Wilkinson is known to have been born in Ovingham in 1896 and he was killed on October 8, 1918 in France. He is buried at Prospect Hill, Gouy Cemetery in France.

He is named on Prudhoe’s Lychgate War Memorial, and Mr Franchetti has discovered that his parents were called William and Elizabeth (nee Robson) Wilkinson.

His family lived in several places in Tynedale including Bays Leap Farm at Heddon-on-the-Wall and Shaw Well farm in Corbridge, and Mr Franchetti believes he had four sisters and four brothers.

One of his brothers, Norman, who was born in 1909, died during the Second World War in 1942 and is named on the Hexham War Memorial – suggesting he had at some point moved to the Hexham area. He had married a woman named Grace.

Mr Franchetti added: “The main aim is to pass this on to his family.

“It seems a shame for it to possibly get sold and for it not to be with his family. It would be nice to find them so it can be passed back to where it should be.”