Tribute paid to fallen soldier

The planning of an itinerary for a battlefield tour of Belgium led to the laying of a poppy cross on the grave of man who lived in Whitnash.

Arthur Duckett lived with his aunt Winifred Foster from 1911 when he worked as a baker after moving from Southam.

He travelled over to Warwick to enlist in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in 1914 and was later killed in action.

Terry Thompson, who lives in Whitnash and is a member of the Queen’s Own Warwickshire & Worcestershire Yeomanry Comrades Association, planned the itinerary, and noticed that it went by Voormezeele cemetery.

Mr Thompson, who is researching the fallen inscribed on the Whitnash War Memorial, said: “I thought, I know that one. I knew Arthur Duckett was buried there so I checked the list of graves.

“So we made a special point of making it our first stop of the day to lay a poppy cross at his grave. It was very moving.”

The cross was laid by Major Richard Hall, secretary of the comrades association, in the presence of more than 30, six of them from Whitnash, including Cllr Brian Smart, of Whitnash Town Council.

Eighteen names are inscribed on the war memorial outside St Margaret’s church, Whitnash – 11 from the First World War, six from the Second World War, and Warrant Officer Gary O’Donnell, the highly decorated bomb disposal expert who was killed in Afghanistan in 2006.

Mr Thompson hopes to present his findings to the church, where there are regular acts of remembrance, and the town council.

He wants to hear from anyone who might have information about Arthur Duckett, particularly if there are any family left, as inquiries in Southam drew a blank.

He said: “Arthur’s family line seems to have come to an end with the death of his brother Frank’s son Graham, aged 52 in 1982.

“If anyone knows of any information about the lives of the fallen on the Whitnash memorial please email [email protected].”

*Private Arthur J Duckett was the son of John and Julia Duckett, born February 18, 1892.

*Arthur died on October 9, 1917, aged 25.

*His unit was returning to the trenches after a rest and he was killed.

*He is buried in Grave I. K. 46 of Voormezeele Enclosures No.1 and No. 2, near Ieper, better known by its former French name Ypres.

Related topics: