Pensioner Don Little hopes to have his great uncle’s memorial recognised as a war grave to save it from being dug up.
Percy Little, who lived in Tugela Road, Chippenham, fought in the First World War, but was discharged from the Army after falling ill and dying of TB in 1918 aged 25.
He was buried, possibly in a grave marked with a wooden cross, at St Paul’s Church near his home. There is no marker now and in eight years it could be claimed and re-used if the Commonwealth War Graves Commission does not formally recognise it.
Don Little, a volunteer at Chippenham Museum and Heritage Centre, found out about the grave after a Civic Society talk by Hilmarton historian Richard Broadhead.
Mr Little, 72, of St Mary’s Place, said: “I knew he was buried in Chippenham but I didn’t know where to begin looking. We also have discovered this is where my great-grandfather and great grandmother were buried, so it’s very exciting for me.
“I had looked for a long time. It would be terrible if his grave was not appropriately honoured and was re-used,” said Mr Little, who has been in hospital, but hopes to visit the site soon.
Mr Broadhead said: “There is a period of 100 years after a person dies that if their grave bears no marker and so cannot be identified, it can be re-used, unless it is a recognised war grave.
“This is a man who fought in the Great War and died of an illness almost certainly contracted in that time. He is honoured on the Chippenham war memorial but the War Graves Commission won’t accept that he died as a result of the war because he had been discharged for a year by the time he died. But where would Percy Little have contracted TB if not in the trenches?”
North Wilts MP James Gray said: “It seems quite clear Percy Little died of an illness he contracted during his service in the First World War, and where someone deserves to be honoured by the War Graves Commission then they jolly well should be.”
A Commission spokesman said: “In the case of Percy Little, there is insufficient evidence that his discharge from the Army in 1917 was due to tuberculosis, which caused his death in 1918.”