A London family has been given a chance connect with a family member lost on the Second World War battlefields in Italy.

For seven decades little was known about what happened to Jimmy Griffiths, until a chance series of events led them to his final resting place.

It was one of Griffiths’ war-time mates who started the quest, taking him back in time, and to Griffiths' family

Jo Parker and her mother Anna Parker spent Friday packing, preparing for a trip to Italy to pay tribute to Jimmy Griffiths, who lost his life just days after his 18th birthday.

It’s hard to fathom for Jo, “I mean, that’s just a young boy. That’s a young boy. How brave he was to strike out and go over.”

Underage, it’s believed Griffiths snuck into the military. Most of his family only learned of his whereabouts when notice came that he had died. 

A Winnipeg veteran was beside Jimmy Griffiths the day he was killed. And it was Morley Roney’s desire to know more about the young man, a young man who Roney, and others in the regiment, took under their wing.

And this is what led to the connection to the Parkers in London.

The 91-year-old Roney felt it was important to let them know one thing, “I just told them that he didn’t suffer.”

Roney says the loss of Griffiths stayed with him in the 70 years since, wondering if Jimmy had ever been properly laid to rest.

A chance meeting with a distant relative who lives in Italy sparked the search, and she found Griffiths’ grave.

A photo uploaded by that relative was also discovered by Griffiths’ London relatives, who connected with Roney.

A made-in-Manitoba ceremony will bring the first-ever Remembrance Day observance to the Coriano Cemetery in Italy where Griffiths is buried along with over 400 others.

Jo looks forward to being part of the ceremony, “He’s one of our family members and for all those years he was almost forgotten…I think it does bring comfort to know, you know, that he’s been accounted for. I think that’s the most important thing.”