A GRIM discovery in a French garden has triggered a poignant search across the region for the family of a young officer who gave his life for his country almost a century ago.

His remains were uncovered purely by chance after heavy rainfall uncovered a shallow grave near Beaurains, just south of Arras in the north of France.

The area was the scene of heavy fighting during the First World War and the village itself was virtually destroyed during the conflict.

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Following investigations by the Ministry of Defence it is known that the remains must be one of four officers who died in the area on May 3, 1917.

One of them was Second Lieutenant John Legge Bulmer, a Yorkshireman attached to the 5th Battalion, Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, who was just 22 when he was killed.

And a search is now underway for any of his surviving relatives who might be able to provide a DNA sample to confirm whether or not the remains are his.

Lt Bulmer was the son of the Reverend Edward and Elizabeth Bulmer of Brooklands, Filey. He was educated at Marlborough College, where he was head boy in 1913, and then studied at Merton College, Oxford.

Of his brothers it is known that one, Edward Stanley North Bulmer, born in 1887, became a teacher and that he died in Askrigg, in the Yorkshire Dales, in 1972.

Another brother, Charles Regis Bulmer, born in 1900, lived in Darlington where he died in 1963 and a third brother Reginald Potter Bulmer, born in 1902, also died in Darlington in 1983.

He also had another brother, Philip Henry Bulmer, born in 189, but there are no records of him after 1911.

The officer’s only sister, Frances Elizabeth Bulmer, was born in 1888 and later became a secretary at the Missionary School in York.

Lt Bulmer’s name – along with those of the other three possible candidates – is currently inscribed on the Arras Memorial.

However if it can be proven that the remains are his they will be re-interred, with full military honours, in one of the First World War cemeteries run by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in the Beaurains area.

*Anyone who mioght be able to help us trace the relatives should contact Lynne Gammond t HQ Army on 07769-887-707 or 03067-701-322 or via lynne.gammond453@mod.uk