Improvements will be made to an overgrown war grave in Devizes Cemetery after the Gazette highlighted the sorry state it was in.

The grave of Devizes soldier Private Herbert Ashton Gait, who served in the First World War and died in 1917 aged 36, is the responsibility of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Author Richard Broadhead, of Hilmarton, expressed concerns about the state of the grave and the headstone being laid flat when he was at the cemetery to research his latest book on Devizes soldiers.

A spokesman for the Commission said Pte Gait’s grave, which is privately owned, had been inspected every three years and cleaned every two years in accordance with its regulations.

The spokesman said a new headstone had been installed in 2006 as the previous one, which had been laid flat, had become unreadable.

He said the headstone was laid flat due to kerb stones surrounding the plot and the close proximity of another headstone at the base of the grave prevented it being installed in an upright position.

The spokesman said: “The residue from an overhanging pine tree has discoloured Pte Gait’s headstone but that residue will be cleaned by Commission staff this week. They will also remove soil from around the headstone and introduce marble chippings to minimise plant growth.”


Mr Broadhead was delighted that the Commission was making improvement’s to Pte Gait’s grave.

He said: “I’m over the moon but I just find it amazing that a war grave had got into that condition.”