Soldier’s memory kept alive years on

THE Royal British Legion and Commonwealth War Graves Commission have joined forces to keep the memory of those who died in World War One alive.Worthing residents are asked to remember Vio Douglas Wallace Pitt, who died 98 years ago, on August 24, 1916.

Douglas died in 1916
Douglas died in 1916

The eldest son of Captain Thomas William Wallace and Naomi Agnes Pitt of Bath House, Broadwater, Worthing, Douglas was admitted to the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) on July 12, 1915, aged 23 years and six months.

Douglas wanted a commission in his father’s regiment and his county regiment, The Royal Sussex but there were no vacancies, so he was commissioned into the 8th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment on August 2, 1916.

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At this time the battalion had just completed a successful advance on Contalmaison, a small village east of Albert on the Somme.

On August 10, 1916 Douglas wrote to his father: ‘My dearest Dad, I received this morning your letter forwarded on from the cadet school.

“I expect you have now got my letter of a few days ago. One of my letters must have gone astray if you didn’t receive any for a fortnight.

“This is the first wet day we have had so far. I am writing from the company mess – still in bivouac in the wood.

“Last night there were night operations. We returned about 1am. That day I was orderly officer but did duty as well.

“I think I told you I am info scout. Yes dad you can send the breeches now to …I am glad you have got the kilties again. We have a lot in our brigade.

“The pipers are going constantly. There is a jolly good divisional band which plays during the afternoon and evening.

“I think we shall be moving shortly. Let me know when you are moving Dad. This is a jolly pretty place where we are. There are several woods about the district and nice little rides.

“Well my old Dad I must leave off now as the mess table is being laid. With much love from old Doug.”

Douglas was wounded by a shell, a fragment of which struck him in the chest, but failed to kill him outright because it went through his prayer book in his breast pocket.

He is known to have died on August 24, from thoracic sepsis, probably a result of developing an infection in his chest.

Dr Stephen Clarke, head of remembrance at The Royal British Legion, said: “A century on from Vio Douglas Wallace Pitt’s death, we’re urging people to visit the Every Man Remembered website and write a public thank you for Vio Douglas Wallace Pitt and others who made the ultimate sacrifice during the First World War.”

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