A French archaeologist is trying to trace the family of a Bideford soldier killed in World War One after finding an inscription written by him in the Somme.

Gille Prilaux, of the French Ministry of Culture and Research, is appealing to Gazette readers to find the family of Sergeant Francis Henry Tilke.

Mr Prilaux has spent several years conducting research on underground inscriptions by soldiers of the Great War.

In 2014, he discovered an inscription in the caves of Naours in the department of the Somme, by Sergeant Tilke.

The sergeant, registration number 7490, lived in Bideford and enlisted in the 1st Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment.

The inscription by Sgt Tilke in the Somme caves.The inscription by Sgt Tilke in the Somme caves.

Mr Prilaux said: “He participated in the Second Boer War in South Africa and was wounded in the Battle of Elandslaagte on October 21, 1899.

“He re-enlisted in the Great War as a sergeant major.

“He was wounded in action on November 11, 1918, the day of the armistice, and died the next day at the age of 40.”

Mr Prilaux would like to find the family of Sergeant Tilke so he can send them the photo of the inscription he discovered.

If you were related to Sergeant Tilke or have any information about him, contact reporter Sarah Howells on sarah.howells@archant.co.uk.