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Plaque in West Overton marks historic link
A forgotten link between the Battle of Trafalgar and West Overton will be honoured with a commemorative plaque in the village’s churchyard.
Librarian Katy Jordan, from Trowbridge, was researching her family history when she discovered she was a descendent of West Overton farm worker John Chivers, who enlisted in the Royal Marines and served onboard HMS Victory in 1805.
She said: “I was staggered when I made the discovery because I was originally trying to trace John Chivers’ wife. I was tracing the female linage and found my great, great, great grandmother Anne, who was the daughter of Elizabeth and John Chivers, but I was couldn’t trace the line any further.”
Mr Chivers enlisted in the Royal Marines in 1803 when he was 19 and joined the HMS Victory at Portsmouth on September 3, 1805.
On October 21, 1805 he was involved in the famous battle that killed 57 crew members and wounded 102 but Mr Chivers survived and returned to England on the ship with Lord Nelson’s body.
He lived with his wife in Lockeridge and had seven children. He died in 1850 and was buried in West Overton churchyard but because the church was rebuilt in 1870 there are no gravestones remaining prior to this date.
Ms Jordan and other descendants of Mr Chivers, including former Royal Navy Sub-Lieutenant Peter Marshall who used to live in Alton Priors, have organised the plaque.
There is a dedication service on Saturday, May 3, at 2.15pm. This will be followed by a presentation on The Battle of Trafalgar by Peter Warwick, chairman of the 1805 Club.