Thursday 17 March 2016

Australian WW1 Soldiers buried in Wiltshire Villages, UK

I have recently been in touch with a lady called Cathy Sedgwick from Australia who has been researching Australian soldiers who died during the First World War and are buried in the United Kingdom.  I posted some information about those in the Wiltshire village of Compton Chamberlayne some time ago and will re-post shortly in the light of what I have since found out.  This is what Cathy said:

"My name is Cathy Sedgwick. I am a 54 year old stay at home housewife with 2 adult sons – aged 23 and nearly 20 and I live in Sydney, Australia.  I started researching my Family tree on my father’s side almost 10 years ago as my parents had divorced when I was around 12 years old and I knew very little about my father’s side of the family – except for his brothers and sisters and my grandmother.

Then I moved on to my husband’s side to research. He was born in England and moved to Australia when he was 7 years old. After researching the Sedgwick name back to 1750’s I then moved on to my mother-in-law’s side of the family tree. Her grandfather lived in Dinton, Wiltshire around 1920 until his death in mid 1960’s. He was Chauffeur and right hand man to Bertram Philipps, who bought Dinton House which was later renamed ‘Philipps House’.

While researching the parish of Dinton, I came across a family history website based on the county of Wiltshire, where you “adopt” a village and therefore the page on the website. So I volunteered to take on the Dinton page.  As there is very little information as in Census etc. for the time period between 1920-1960, I learnt a lot about the village itself by doing research – through newspaper articles, persons of interest, listed buildings, names on the War Memorial and photos.

While researching Dinton, I came across the nearby village of Compton Chamberlayne which had 28 Australian Soldiers buried there. Being an Australian I felt a need to explore this and as the tiny parish had no-one looking after it on the website – I took that on.   Thankfully, a lovely man by the name of Andrew Stacey (who I had contacted out of the blue to ask permission to use his photos of Dinton) went to Compton Chamberlayne on one of his visits to the area and took photos of all the graves in the cemetery. I then research all the War Graves and completed 5-7 page biographies on each of the Australian Soldiers.

I then discovered that another village – Codford had 31 Australian Soldiers and 66 New Zealand soldiers buried in one of their cemeteries. I emailed around and a lovely lady by the name of Romy Wyeth – an author of several books on Codford - went & photographed all the War Graves for me. So I completed biographies on all those.

I then discovered that Durrington had 141 Australian Soldiers so took that on as well as Baverstock – 29 Australian Soldiers - and then Sutton Veny which has 141 Australian soldiers and 2 Australian nurses. I have completed biographies for all 169 War Graves in Sutton Veny which will soon be available on the Sutton Veny village website.

I am no longer volunteering on the family history website – due to issues with the Administrator. I did have 13 parishes that I was looking after and completed biographies for the names on the War Memorials in the villages I looked after.

I am almost finished researching all 227 War Graves in Durrington, Wiltshire as a favour to Dave Healing from Durrington who helped me out many times with the Durrington page. I hope that the biographies will be available on the Durrington Council website – but have had some interest from Amesbury History Museum.

In between completing the Durrington War Graves - I am working my way through the Australian soldiers who died in WW1 and are buried in England. There are almost 2,500. My work is now being accepted on the Australian website – WW1 Australian Soldiers & Nurses who Rest In The United Kingdom: