A DESPERATE plea for information regarding a soldier from Longford who fell in World War Two has been issued.

The soldier in question died at the age of 19, in 1944, when he was fighting in the Netherlands.

Private Edwin Barrett Johnson was killed in action at the Battle of Overloon, which took place from September 30 to October 18, 1944.

Warrington Guardian: Edwin is buried in Overloon War CemetaryEdwin is buried in Overloon War Cemetary (Image: Commonwealth War Graves Commission)

Edwin was killed on Monday, October 16 - just two days before the battle ended in an Allied victory, which liberated the town of Venray, following Operation Aintree.

The grave of Edwin can be found at Overloon War Cemetary; he was part of the Royal Norfolk Regiment, First Battalion.

In a turn of events, the Warrington Guardian has been in touch with a man who has adopted the grave of Private Johnson, and he regularly tends to the headstone and pays his respects to Edwin in the Netherlands.

Rick de Kievit lives in Belgium, but regularly visits war graves in Europe as a mark of respect; he adopted Private Johnon's grave, and lays flowers on the headstone once a year, as well as lighting a candle for him at Christmas.

Speaking to the Warrington Guardian, Rick is appealing to anyone with information about Edwin to come forward.

Warrington Guardian: Rick places a flower on Edwin's grave annuallyRick places a flower on Edwin's grave annually (Image: Rick de Kievit)

Rick said: "The thing I would like to know the most is if Private Edwin still has any living relatives - if so, I would love to get in contact with them to learn more about Edwin, who he was, and to keep his memory alive. 

"For now, I have a grave with the remains of a young hero who gave his life for our freedom; all I know about him is his home town, his full name, rank and the date when he passed away."

Research undertaken by the Warrington Guardian shows that a Private Edwin Johnson is commemorated on the Newchurch war memorial, in Culcheth - though it remains unclear whether this is the same man.

Newchurch memorial was unveiled in 1920, on Saturday, October 23, by The Rt. Rev. Bishop of Liverpool, Dr Chevasse - 13 names were added to the memorial following the end of the Second World War.

Warrington Guardian: The memorial in Newchurch, Culcheth, lists a Private Edwin JohnsonThe memorial in Newchurch, Culcheth, lists a Private Edwin Johnson (Image: Culcheth Local History Group)

Private Edwin Barrett Johnson is listed as being the son of George and Annie Johnson, who lived in Longford, Warrington, Lancashire - as it then was.

Rick said: "I think it’s very important that people visit military graves from both world wars, but also from the present, too, to pay respect and remember the ones who gave their lives for our freedom.

"The next time I will visit the grave will be on Thursday, May 4, that's the national remembrance day of the Netherlands."

The inscription on Edwin's grave reads: "Years will not darken nor shadows dim the beautiful memories we keep of him."

If you have any information about Private Edwin Barrett Johnson (born 1925, died 1944) please send an email to: tom.bedworth@newsquest.co.uk

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