A young Cheddar soldier who was one of millions who died in the First World War officially did not exist.

Arthur Blakeman's name is carved on war memorial in the centre of Weston-super-Mare but his service and death in the first battle of Ypres has no official record.

His name does not appear on the Menin Gate, and his existence is not registered by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

What happened to Arthur, the soldier who apparently vanished without a trace, always mystified his family. So when his niece, Jeannette Climmer, from South Gloucestershire, enlisted the help of Wiltshire-based author Richard Broadhead, it was a challenge that they thought he wouldn't be able to meet.

Mr Broadhead said: "In the end, the truth was ridiculously simple but it explained why they couldn't find him.

"On the Menin Gate, and with the War Graves Commission, he's down as 'Arthur Blackmac', not 'Blakeman', so it was no wonder no one could find anything out."

Now the researcher is campaigning for the records to be changed and for the young Arthur, who was just 21 when he was killed, to be given his proper place in history.

But despite the fact that Mr Broadhead has proved no one called Arthur Blackmac was born in Cheddar in 1895 and that there was an Arthur Blakeman, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission is refusing to change the records.

Mr Broadhead said:"I've shown that when he joined the Army he was Arthur Blakeman, but somewhere in the Scottish regiment he was assigned to, someone wrote his name down as Blackmac. Maybe the Scottish officers couldn't understand his Somerset accent."

A spokesman for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission said: "Unfortunately the only thing that supports the name being changed is the birth certificate provided.

"Other documentation from official sources support the name as we have it, but the case is not closed and we are always open to hearing more information."