After a search to the ends of the Earth for a long-lost relative, finally, on a wet, grey November Sunday in a Levin cemetery, a soldier who died in 1983 was farewelled again.
Paul and Bev Webster from Durham, England, had spent months searching for Paul's father's uncle, William Ernest Gee.
Unable to travel out of the country because of their ages, and the fact that Bev is disabled, they had to make do with long-distance contact with many people and organisations both in the United Kingdom and in New Zealand in their search for the man who from an early age travelled the world.
Eventually they discovered he had lived for many years in Wellington and was buried in the military section of The Avenue cemetery in Levin.
Initially thinking they had reached the end of their journey, they noticed a photo they received of his gravestone showed the wrong information, or rather information that they had never anticipated.
Their great uncle William Ernest Gee, whom they had always known to be a seaman, had a memorial plaque dedicated to W G Gee, a former member of the Coldstream Guards.
So they began wondering: was this the right man in the right grave with the wrong inscription or was this someone else altogether?
Webster contacted the Horowhenua District Council, New Zealand's Internal Affairs, the New Zealand Defence Force, the New Zealand Society of Professional Historians, IC Mark Ltd, the funeral directors, as well as the UK Ministry of Defence, the museum of the Guards and the National Archives in Kew.
Nine months later the mystery was solved thanks to the UK Ministry of Defence and IC Mark's Darrell Manville. It was great uncle William Ernest Gee and due to an administrative error the incorrect name appeared on the memorial plaque.
After a lot of research the Websters had traced William Ernest to New Zealand.
He said the family never knew much about great uncle William. "We were always told he worked at sea."
The first records they found of him was as an 8-year-old. He was a passenger, together with parents and siblings, on the SS City of Marseilles travelling from Bombay in India to London in September 1915.
"His father was a railway engineer and driver in India for 15 years and the family were on their way back to England so he could enlist to fight in World War I. He became a sapper in the Royal Engineers who specialised in building trenches and tunnelling under enemy lines," said Webster.
Other than that they found a baptism record from 1907 in Amballah in India and marriage records from 1932, stating William Ernest had married 16-year-old Hilda O'Brien.
Eventually it became clear William Ernest had ended up in New Zealand, where they found death and burial records in Wellington.
In 1925 William Ernest, on his 18th birthday, joined the Merchant Navy and sent three years on various ships crisscrossing the Atlantic between Britain and the USA. He left in 1932 to marry and the couple stayed in Clayton. They had two children, born in 1932 and 1935.
In Lancashire William Ernest worked as a coal miner and volunteered with the Royal Navy Reserve for four years and then joined the territorials, serving in the 210 Field Battery of the Royal Regiment of Artillery. In 1938 he was a reservist with the 4th/5th battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment.
In 1940 his marriage broke up and he is known to have departed to New Zealand.
"Nothing is known of this break-up or of his children."
Later in 1940 he returned to England to join the Coldstream Guards and in 1942 he was in Africa with the Royal West Africa Frontier Force. He is known to have trained regiments in Sierra Leone and Nigeria.
"He continued to be promoted and ended as Warrant Officer II Company Sergeant Major. Just before his regiment was to leave for Burma in 1944, he fell ill and was declared unfit to serve."
He returned to New Zealand and the Merchant Navy, where he served as a rigger on ships travelling to Australia and the USA.
"In 1957 he was back in Wellington, working for the Legislative Department in Parliament as a parliamentary messenger."
Electoral rolls show he lived at a few addresses in Wellington as well as Levin.
On Sunday this week the Levin RSA put on a rededication ceremony and installed a new plaque on the grave of William Ernest Gee. While the family had asked for a small ceremony the Levin RSA put out all stops for the occasion.
Chris and Lynn Fraser of Bronze Plaques NZ in Thames made a new plaque and the local RSA organised a parade with a piper, Sea Cadets, a bugler, a padre (Captain Chris Collings of the Salvation Army) and a Union flag. The regional RSA president came down from Marton for the occasion.
The whole ceremony, held despite the pouring rain, has been recorded on video so the distant relations in the UK can be there in spirit.
Paul and Bev Webster were overwhelmed by the lengths the RSA went to help them.
"We were bowled over.
"To say they have gone above and beyond doesn't even get close to the heartfelt appreciation that I and my wider family feel for what they have done," said Paul Webster.