A SECOND World War veteran and the man whose great uncle he buried in Germany 72 years ago have remarkably met following hours of research.

John Bent, 91, of Wrexham Close, Callands, was just 17 when he signed up with the Irish Guards Armoured Division in 1943.

Sergeant Harry Kenwright, who lived on Lawn Avenue, Padgate, had been with the division since the outbreak of the war.

On March 30 1945, both men, who did not know each other despite their links to the town, crossed the Rhine in their respective Sherman tanks for what was going to be the final push to end the war in Europe.

But three days later Harry was killed after receiving a direct hit from a Panzerfaust weapon.

John and some of his comrades had the task of burying him in a nearby field before continuing their journey through the heart of Germany.

Having heard of Harry's tragic story, John's son, Chris, of Hudson Close, Old Hall, wanted to see if he could find any descendants of the Kenwright family.

An initial search found the grave in the war cemetery at Rheinberg and the name of Harry's parents, Walter and Sarah.

A trip to the history room at Warrington Central Library moved the quest for more information on further, with an announcement of Harry's death found in an edition of the Warrington Guardian.

It gave details of the family, of which another three were serving their country.

Harry's cousin, Ruth Ingram, was tracked and she was able to provide information which led Chris to Liam Kenwright, grandson to Harry's brother, Cliff.

Chris then arranged for the pair to meet at John's home in Callands on April 6.

"It was a time when young men were thrown together into a world conflict," said Chris, 59.

"They were not prepared for all they would experience and had to adapt and learn quickly.

"It was touching for him to hear that Harry was an immensely likeable man though it was very hard hearing of his horrible death.

"The amazing meeting is something neither will forget.

"It was a truly remarkable meeting and both were genuinely inspired by it. It was worth all the hours of research."

John, who survived his stay in a prisoner of war camp after he was captured in April 1945, recalled how Harry came home on leave for two weeks shortly before his death, as well as the burial he organised.

He said: "It didn't happen very often, only the odd one was allowed home every now and then.

"I remember him talking to me about it saying 'I don't want to be killed, I have a fear that if I go home when I come back I'll get seen off'.

"It (the burial) was up a bit of a hill with a tree on the top and the surprise was that there was an army chaplain that we had never seen before waiting for us.

"He said a few prayers and then we had to move on."

In 1948 Harry's grave was moved to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site at Rheinberg.

Liam, of Chiltern Road, said he is determined to visit it one day to pay his respects to his great uncle.

He added: "I'm 26 now, the same age he was when he died.

"The thought of one of my friends dying would be such a major event, yet then it was part and parcel of a soldiers' life.

"What a man John is – a genuine hero of this country."