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Social media helps French police find WWI soldier’s relative

February 23, 2018

Jean-Marie Salanova, right, head of the local police department, hands a copy of a letter by French WWI soldier Sgt. Jean Soulagnes to his great-great-grand niece Clara as her father Stephane Douhot, and mother Lydie, right, look on during a ceremony in Marseille, southern France, Friday Feb.23, 2018. The handwritten missive was written on May 27, 1915 from the Somme by 24-year-old Jean Soulagnes to a friend. Soulagnes was killed in fighting 12 days later in the battle of Hebuterne. With the aid of social media traced Soulagnes' great-grandnephew Stephane Drouhot. (AP Photo)

PARIS (AP) — A fallen soldier’s letter from World War I that was discovered in France has touched authorities so much they launched a successful search for the soldier’s living relatives.

The handwritten missive was written on May 27, 1915, from the Somme by 24-year-old Frenchman Sgt. Jean Soulagnes to a friend. Soulagnes was killed in fighting 12 days later in the battle of Hebuterne.

The letter was found by Marseille police in February in a search following a burglary.

With the aid of social media, authorities found Soulagnes’ great-grandnephew, Stephane Drouhot. He attended a ceremony Friday at a Marseille police station where he was given the letter.

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