THE family of a man who lost his life in France during the Second World War are being sought for a commemorative project to honour his sacrifice.

The 46th Royal Marine Commando travelled over to Normandy on D Day on June 6, 1944, and it was five days later that they entered their first battle to liberate Rots – a small village in the north west of France – from occupation by the 12WaffenSS Hitlerjungend.

But on June 11, 22 comrades were killed in action, including Alexander Victor Wheeler who was from Swindon.

Not a lot of information is known about the 19-year-old except he was the son of Albert and Elsie Wheeler who lived in the town.

Now a project has been launched to trace Alexander’s family members to create a photographic plaque to honour the 22 fallen men in Rots on the 75th anniversary of their death.

“We have managed to track down all of the faces of men in the commando but the one from Swindon we haven’t managed to find out any information,” said Jeff Hewitt, 65, who is leading the project and whose dad also served in the 46RMC.

“We have had great success in ringing the families of the other troops in all sorts of places from Dublin to Scotland but we are struggling to speak to a few.

“The sons of the men who served think it is very important to honour them this way and we hope people can help us find out more information about Alexander Wheeler.”

Rots was finally liberated on June 12.

In the years that followed, the village installed a war memorial to commemorate the men and while veterans have gone back to the French village over the years, many are now too frail to make the trip – prompting their sons to carry on their legacy in photographic form.

Jeff, who lives near Oxford, hopes to find out more information about Alexander before they mark the anniversary in 2019 as well as invite any family members to join the group of sons in Rots for the service.

He added: “I don’t think what happened will ever be forgotten as generations come and go. I hope the plaque we present will be hung in the school where the pupils are reminded about the importance of what happened.

“The research we have done has found that many of the men were found dead in the village next to the Germans they were fighting. It wasn’t pleasant but they died to save the lives of many others and the commando carried on even when they saw that some of their fellow comrades had been killed.

“It is really nice to see that the village and mayor in Rots will still not let their memory fade and on the 75th anniversary, the plan is to get as many people there. We want to celebrate their lives but also celebrate their liberation.”

If anyone has any information relating to Alexander Wheeler, email Jeff on