UK & World News

  • 1 March 2014, 0:38

Saving Private Ryan: Sinkhole Swallows Grave

Military bosses are trying to save Private Ryan's headstone after a sinkhole swallowed his grave.

The World War One soldier's body had lain in rest for nearly 100 years, but was lost when a 20ft-deep hole opened up in a military cemetery in Pembroke Dock, West Wales.

His military headstone has been left teetering close to the edge of the precipice.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is now battling to preserve the memorial to Private Francis Ryan, who served in the 3rd Reserve Battalion, King's Liverpool Regiment.

The 40-year-old soldier died in 1915 after volunteering to serve in the regiment.

Pembroke Dock district Parade Marshal David Boswell told Wales Online: "The graveyard is a monument to the Army, Navy and Artillery stationed here during the First World War.

"But unfortunately Mother Nature has taken over and when she opens up her body there is not much you can do.

"It's a shame it's happened but the MoD have looked into it and are trying to restore the grave to its original condition as soon as possible.

"This is the only military cemetery in Wales so will be nice to have it re-opened and ready for the centenary of the First World War."

The MoD has so far failed to trace a living relative of Private Ryan, who was born in Longford, Ireland, in 1875.

Five other military graves are in danger beside the hole. They have the names J O'Brien, Private J McGuiness, Gunner William Henry Hurley, Private Charles Joseph Duffy and Private E Sullivan.

The sinkhole was caused by water erosion through limestone beneath Private Ryan's grave - and his coffin is hidden beneath mud and rubble.

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