A WORDSLEY historian's campaign to see a shamed WWI soldier finally commemorated on the village war memorial has come to fruition.

For nearly a century the name of Private Joseph Bateman, one of 306 British servicemen shot at dawn for cowardice during the conflict, was omitted from the borough's war memorials.

But following an impassioned plea by teacher and historian Graham Hodgson - the young family man, who had a bizarre history of going AWOL before he even set foot in the trenches, has finally been ackowledged on Wordsley's cenotaph.

Dudley Council had a bronze plaque bearing the long forgotten soldier's name cast and it has now been installed on the memorial outside Holy Trinity Church in the High Street.

Mr Hodgson, from Greenbank Gardens, said: "I am extremely pleased to see Joseph's name added to the memorial and that the sacrifice he and his family made has finally been acknowledged."

The Netherbrook Primary School teacher's call for Private Bateman from Audnam Bank to be commemorated came after he discovered Yorkshire-born Joseph had mysteriously gone AWOL a number of times before making his final fatal error.

The young 2nd South Staffordshire Regiment soldier had even been sent to a military prison for his absenteeism after he vanished when his battalion moved to Ireland.

He was finally executed on December 3 1917 for fleeing the trenches amid warnings his unit was moving to the front line.

Mr Hodgson said: "Some people have questioned whether the circumstances of his death should have excluded him from being remembered in this way, but I think after 90 years we should be willing to forgive what he did and should see him as another victim of a terrible war.

"I would like to thank the officers of Dudley Council who have enabled the work to be undertaken and express my appreciation to the many people who have encouraged my campaign."

Mr Hodgson said Joseph's widow Florence and daughter moved to the Worcester area after remarrying in 1921, but he believes his brother-in-law Ernest Rudge survived the war and may have relatives still living in Wordsley.