Home of the Infantry Regiments of Berkshire and Wiltshire

The Family of Private Curtis Visit 11th August 2011

On Thursday 11th August, the museum played host to the family of Private Lewis James Curtis, who was killed in The Netherlands on 2nd October 1944 whilst serving with the 5th Battalion, The Wiltshire Regiment. They came along to find out what the battalion were doing prior to his death and were shown archive documents and photographs from the period July until October 1944. They were also given a tour of the museum with Assistant Curator, Jackie Dryden.

His remains were identified recently by dental records and his nephew and niece traced.  In the past families have always enjoyed this valuable experience, as with the family of Thomas Venn, whose remains were discovered two years ago.  Robert Cole (the nephew) and his wife attended together with Susan Wilbourne (his niece) and her husband.  The family  travelled from Liskeard in Cornwall, which is where Private Curtis also came from, so this remains his family home. The visit was arranged by Sue Raftree of the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre whose work it is to try and find the families of military personnel whose remains may have recently been discovered.

Also here were a cameraman and reporter from the BBC who are currently making a documentary about the work of the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre, who are based in Cheltenham.

Our pictures (taken by Jackie Dryden) show the family looking through archives and photographs, the BBC crew and Robert Cole and Susan Wilbourne handing over some of their own memorabilia to the museum’s Manager/Curator, Simon Cook. Click on the image to enlarge.