Devizes crosses are planted in memory of the fallen

This Is Wiltshire: Inspector Matthew Armstrong and Brownie Hattie McVey, who both took part in the service Inspector Matthew Armstrong and Brownie Hattie McVey, who both took part in the service

A moving tribute to soldiers who died in the First World War was paid in Devizes on Sunday morning as people of all ages gathered at the war memorial for the planting of crosses.

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

A cross was planted for every one of the 189 soldiers who are listed on the memorial in Long Street.

Among those who planted the wooden remembrances was Owen Bridewell, eight, who carefully added a row of crosses as his brother Scott, 14, read the names of some of the fallen.

The two boys are the sons of Devizes mayor Sarah Bridewell, whose husband Michael is a chief technician in the RAF and also took part in the ceremony. Scott, a Devizes school pupil, has been researching one of the men on the war memorial with the same surname but found he was no relation.

The mayor welcomed everyone to the ceremony and afterwards she said: “I was very pleased with the way the town council, Roundway Parish Council and the Royal British Legion worked together.”

Devizes town councillor Judy Rose read the moving poem Commandeered by Lucy Gertrude Moberly before the crosses were planted.

Police inspector Matt Armstrong also read out some of the names as Brownie Hattie McVey, eight, the daughter of Chippenham police sergeant Nick, planted crosses.

Others involved in the ceremony included relatives of some of the soldiers whose names are on the war memorial.

These included Richard Tillett who travelled from London to honour his great uncle John William Kingsland. Mr Tillett said: “Jack was a Devizes lad and we have many letters from him and his war diary.”

Bernard Fox of Elm Tree Gardens, Devizes, remembered his grandfather Frederick Cowley and his great uncle Leonard Cowley. He said: “These people must not be forgotten.”

As the Last Post was sounded over Devizes shortly before 12.30pm, the crowd stood in silence to remember the fallen.

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