Police have revealed that the body of a first World-War soldier was discovered in a Dorking flat last Tuesday.
It appears that the corpse had remained un-noticed underneath a bed within the flat for up to two years before being discovered.
Dorking Police have stated that at the present time they are not treating the discovery as suspicious, and that they believe that the death was due to natural causes, although a full post-mortem will be carried out later this week.
It is understood that the deceased had lived at the address since the 1950's and had been a lodger of Mrs Doris Cattermole, the owner of the property.
The veteran, identified as ex-private Heinz Funkengruber of the 357th Infantry Regiment had been a postal clerk in the German Army when he was captured in the act of strapping a mail pannier to his bicycle during the battle of Auber's Flange in 1918.
While in captivity in England he developed a taste for corned beef sandwiches and tea made with condensed milk; So much so that at the end of formal hostilities he elected to stay in England, and settled in the Surrey market town of Dorking, due to its then prominence within the international processed meat distribution market.
With the coming of a second European war between Britain and Germany in 1939, in order to avoid internment he prudently changed his name from Heinz Funkengruber to that of Wilheim Funkengruber. Thereby passing the second World-War in obscurity, or Roseville Villas, Norton Street as it was then called.
Dan Fowler, the president of the local British Legion remembered Mr Funkengruber.
"He was a lovely bloke," said Mr Fowler. "Very quiet and courteous. Now and then he would take an extra glass of beer, and when that happened he would open up and talk about the war; Raping Belgian nuns, bayoneting babies with pitch-forks, burning hovels down with flame-throwers, that sort of thing. He was tremendous fun. We are all very saddened by his death."
When interviewed by reporters, Mr Funkengruber's land-lady, Doris Cattermole said:
"Oh, he was a true gentleman. Wouldn't hurt a fly. Many a night we'd sit by the fire, me knitting balaclava helmets, and him just sitting there quietly smoking his pipe. I do miss the smell of his rough shag you know."
"I remember a couple of years ago there was talk of what would happen to the last soldier, and people were saying that they would bury the last one in Westminster Cathedral. And I think that he was worried that if he was the last one they would bury him there before he was dead. I'm sure it played on his mind, and when they said that the last one had passed on I think he must have got frightened and hid under the bed in case they came for him. When I got up the next morning he wasn't there and I thought that they had taken him in the night. I wouldn't have known if they had or not as I always switch my hearing aid off when I go to sleep to save the battery."
The discovery of Mr Funkengruber's body was made by Mrs Cattermole during a social visit to her flat by her friend Mr Alfred Starling.
Mrs Cattermole once more:
"Alf had come round to show me his etchings, and I suggested that we use the spare bedroom as there is more space to look at them in there. When we were in the room, Alf said to me: Blimey, it stinks in here. Have you got a jerry under the bed? Of course he meant a chamber pot and not a German soldier, but as I was on my knees anyway, I looked under the bed and there was poor old Mr Funkengruber.
Oh we did have a good laugh over that!"
Mr Funkengruber's remains will be posted back to Germany for burial in Stuttgart Cathedral.