Uncle killed in Second World War action not listed on memorials

This Is Wiltshire: Lee Gothard at Marlborough War Memorial and, inset, her war hero uncle Lee Gothard at Marlborough War Memorial and, inset, her war hero uncle

Mother-of-three Lee Gothard is fighting to get the name of her uncle, Victor Stroud, who was killed in action in the Second World War, added to one of Marlborough’s war memorials.

Ideally, she said, she would like his name appended to the memorial by the New Road mini roundabout that lists the names of men from the town who were killed in both the world wars.

Lance Corporal Victor Stroud was living at Puthall Lodge just to the east of Marlborough on the A4 when he enlisted in the Coldstream Guards aged 19 at the onset of the war.

He was fighting with the 5th Battalion (2nd Company) in Nijmegen in the Netherlands as the Allied troops were beginning to regain control of Europe when he and a large number of his colleagues were killed in an air strike by German Luftwaffe bombers.

Mrs Gothard, who lives in Thatcham, has been to the Netherlands and found her uncle’s grave in the Jonterbos war cemetery at Nijmegen, recording that he died on October 29, 1944. “I have visited my uncle’s grave and it is in pristine condition,” said Mrs Gothard, adding her thanks to the Common-wealth War Graves Commission that maintains all the overseas cemeteries.

Victor Stroud was the brother of her late father Bill, who was born in a cottage next to the Red Lion pub in Axford and, as their father was a farm worker, the family travelled around the Marlborough area.

Mrs Gothard said: “I’ve been looking around the war memorials at Axford, Wootton Rivers, Cadley and at Burbage as well as making enquiries with Marlborough Town Council, but I can’t find his name so it seems the only monument to my Uncle Victor is the one at the Jonterbos war cemetery.”

At some stage Victor Stroud’s father lived and worked at Hatt Gate on the Wootton Rivers road and it is believed, said Mrs Gothard, that her uncle lived there too – although at the time he joined the Army his address was given as Puthall Lodge which is in the parish of Mildenhall.

However, having exhausted her search of the village war memorials, Mrs Gothard has asked Marlborough Town Council if his name can be added to the New Road memorial.

She said that as her uncle had made the ultimate sacrifice it was right and proper his name should be recorded on a war memorial where he lived as well as where he died.

“If his name is not on any of the village war memorials then this is where it should be,” said Mrs Gothard.

“His name has to go somewhere and if it is not done in my lifetime then it never will be done,” she said.

“I have been looking into this for the past 16 years since my dad passed away.”

Town councillors in Marlborough are currently considering the request from Mrs Gothard.

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