Author and historian Richard Broadhead hopes to ensure 15 First World War soldiers from Trowbridge get the recognition they deserve with the publication of his latest book.
Richard Broadhead at the Trowbridge War Memorial
While researching for his new book The Great War; Trowbridge Soldiers, Mr Broadhead uncovered details of a number of men from Trowbridge, some of whom are buried in Trowbridge Cemetery, who are not remembered by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and have not been given official CWGC headstones.
Mr Broadhead, 45, of Hilmarton, near Calne, said: “I think it is so important that we do not forget these soldiers. With each generation that passes, more is forgotten and we need to do something to make sure they are remembered.”
During his research, Mr Broadhead discovered that at the end of the First World War, lists of the dead were supplied to the CWGC, but there was the possibility that a number of lists were incomplete and failed to take into account the thousands of men who died in this country as a result of wounds or diseases connected with their service.
“The process of finding these men has not been easy, many of the men’s personal service documents were destroyed when the warehouses used to store them were bombed during the Second World War,” he said.
One of the 15 men he researched was Ernest Bennett, a married man who lived in Mortimer Street, Trowbridge.
He volunteered on September 1, 1914, soon after the outbreak of war and was sent to France in November.
In the run-up to Christmas 1914 he served with the 1st Battalion Wiltshire Regiment in trenches at Kemel, Belgium, but by February 1915 he was admitted to a hospital in Liverpool suffering from frost bite and rheumatism.
He died on Christmas Day morning in 1916 at his home in Trowbridge at the age of 30, and was buried in the cemetery with full military honours – later honoured on the town war memorial, but not by the CWGC.
Mr Broadhead will be releasing The Great War: Trowbridge Soldiers, this summer, after previously releasing books on soldiers from Calne and Salisbury.