Lead Final honour for HMS Victory man
Military calls the Last Post and Reveille echoed around West Overton churchyard on Saturday to honour a man who served in the Battle of Trafalgar.
The three buglers, from the Chippenham Sea Cadet Corps, joined 20 direct descendents of John Chivers, who served on HMS Victory in 1805. Two Royal British Legion guards of honour also attended the dedication led by the Rev Maria Shepherdson.
The plaque was unveiled by Peter Warwick, chairman of the 1805 Club, which commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar.
After the service, about 60 people went to the Upper Kennet Village Hall to hear more about the story of Mr Chivers.
Trowbridge-born Peter Marshall, one of Mr Chivers’ descendents, helped to organise the event. He said: “We all found the service of dedication very moving and we are very proud to have a permanent memorial to such an inspirational ancestor.
“Everyone who came to the service and to the presentations afterwards learned a great deal about the events surrounding the Battle of Trafalgar and its link with West Overton and Lockeridge, which now adds something new to the heritage of this part of Wiltshire.
“The family would specially like to thank the Rev Maria Shepherdson and all the local people who helped to make this such a memorable day.”
Farmer’s son 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 battle against French and Spanish ships in which 57 crew members perished and 102 were wounded. 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 the church was rebuilt in 1870 and there are no gravestones remaining prior to this date.
Picture shows: Back, from left, Peter Gregory and Dave Hicks of Royal Navy, Marlborough, Kirsty Lambert of Wootton Bassett Sea Cadets, Peter Marshall and Daniel Phillips of Chippenham Sea Cadets. Front, James Leigh of Wootton Bassett Sea Cadets, the Rev Maria Shepherdson, descendents Alan Jordan and Lynda Godard and Megan Emms of Wootton Basset Sea Cadets