Private Walter Harris
On Monday 21st August 2023 at 11am a memorial service was held to unveil the headstone for Private Walter Harris, who died on 13th November 1920, aged 22. Private Walter Thomas Ewart Harris served in the Wiltshire Regiment during the First World War and died in the Ministry of Pensions Hospital, Bath as a result of gunshot wounds to the head received during the war and he is commemorated on a screen wall in a military cemetery in Brookwood.
Private Harris was interred in Pink 147a (consecrated ground), a public grave in Downs View Cemetery, on 17th November 1920 and is recorded in the parish records that he was a labourer. He is buried with his grandfather, Jacob Matthews, but the grave was, however, unmarked. This is no longer the case as the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) have now installed a headstone on his grave so that he is rightfully and properly remembered.
Reverend Katey Minshall conducted the memorial service, joined by members of the Royal Wootton Bassett Branch of Royal British Legion, the Mayor, Town Crier, Sheridan Parsons (who wrote about Private Harris in her book – Wootton Bassett One Hundred Years Ago), family members of Private Harris, a representative from the CWGC, along with the Town Clerk, Councillors, Town Council Cemetery team and residents. Wreaths and flowers were laid and a one minute silence was held with Matthew Walton, Wootton Bassett Brass Band playing the Reveille.
Here some photos below taken at the service: –