A REDIDCATION burial service has taken place in Borth’s St Matthews Church following a 100 year old mystery.

Gordon Brown travelled to Borth from Essex for an Aberystwyth University students of 1974-77 reunion.

On the Sunday of that trip, he went on a walk by himself, and discovered the communal grave of three sailors who died during the First World War.

Two of the three men buried there were unnamed.

Mr Brown was aware that the name of one of the men buried in the grave - Prosper Colman - had only been uncovered in 2014, a few years before his visit in 2019.

He said: “I spotted a commonwealth war graves headstone, as someone with a background in the army, I knew what it meant.

The grave had Prosper Colman’s name on it, and that sent me into a bit of a frantic detective, searching the internet for information about how he died, which allowed me to piece together who else could be buried here without being identified.”

The discovery inspired Mr Brown to investigate the other unnamed men buried in the communal grave.

Eventually, he believed he had uncovered the name of one of them - Frederick Dyer. Frederick Dyer was a sailor on board HM Yacht Kethailes, the same ship that Prosper Colman was on when it was accidentally rammed at night by SS Leicestershire on 11 October 1917.

The collision sank the ship and killed 17 members of her crew, including Frederick Dyer and Prosper Colman.

With the research collected, Mr Brown began what would become a three year campaign to have Frederick Dyer’s name accepted and marked on the communal grave’s headstone.

The Commonwealth War Grave Commission eventually accepted his research, and a new headstone with Frederick Dyer’s name etched onto it was placed at the grave.

“I was submitting my research to the commission during the pandemic, they weren’t working in their office and everything for everyone was up in the air.

“I won’t have been the only person coming to them with information that they have to research and confirm themselves. Even making a headstone is a process that takes months.”

The years-long saga would come to an end on Sunday 3 September, when a rededication service was held at St Matthews Church, with Gordon Brown and five of his friends being there for the service.

“It was an amazing service, Frederick dyer was a member of the Mercantile Navy, so having members of the mercantile navy association Aberystwyth branch was very special.

“We also had a member of the Royal British Legion’s Borth branch there.”

“It was very humbling to see the service go ahead and see Frederick Dyer put to rest properly, having been identified and having a service done in his name.”

Mercantile Navy Aberystwyth branch chair Ian Lewis said: “Sailing back then was a very dangerous life. On top of the world wars, the seas were dangerous, and ships weren’t designed with the safety measures that they have today.

“Thousands of people lost their lives at sea, particularly during both world wars.

“So many of them never had a proper burial where they were identified, but now there is one less serviceman who remains unknown to us.”