Relatives of those who died will read in a Devizes public tribute

Relatives of those who died will read in a Devizes public tribute

Jack Kingsland, great uncle of Richard Tillett, probably pictured in January 1918 at Larkhil camp

First published in News

FAMILIES of soldiers who died in the First World War will take part in a commemoration in Devizes on Sunday.

The Devizes branch of the Royal British Legion, Devizes Town Council and Roundway Parish Council have organised the event to mark the centenary of the war.

All of the names of the 189 soldiers who are listed on the war memorial in Long Street will be read out and crosses planted in their memory.

Relatives of some of the soldiers are among the people who will be reading out the names, including Bernard Fox, whose grandfather Frederick Cowley and his brother Leonard Cowley died in action.

They were from Sturminster Newton in Dorset and Frederick was a furniture packer until he was called up. His wife, Ada Cowley, lived in Agnes Place, Devizes.

Frederick, a private in the Army Service Corps, died on July 3, 1918, aged 30, in Belgium.

Leonard, a lance corporal with the 2nd Hampshire Regiment, died on November 28, 1917, in France, aged 22. His mother, Harriet Cowley, lived in Roundway.

Mr Fox, 75, of Elm Tree Gardens, Devizes, said: “I hope the commemoration event on Sunday is well attended. These people must not be forgotten.

“There were so many of them who lost their lives.”

Another reading names will be Richard Tillett, a retired copywriter in his 60s who lives in London. His great uncle John William Kingsland, known as Jack, was killed shortly after he was sent to the front line in France.

Private Kingsland, who served with the Seaforth Highlanders, died on November 6, 1918, aged 19.

Mr Kingsland’s father, John, was the congregational minister in Devizes.

Mr Tillett said: “Jack was a Devizes lad and we have 80-odd letters from him and his war diary. He was working at a bank in Chippenham when he was called up at 18. He had a sweetheart nicknamed Sissy Church who lived in Chippenham and there’s a particularly heart-wrenching letter from her to Jack’s parents expressing sympathy after he died.”

The event starts at noon.

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