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Campaign launched to commemorate Great War soldier

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A former soldier has launched a heartfelt campaign to mark the unmarked grave of Pte Arthur Fowler, a Gloucestershire soldier who sacrificed his life during the Great War.

Jenny Naylor, who moved to Charfield in 2019, is leading the effort to ensure Fowler’s service is properly recognised and remembered. She became actively involved in the village’s Remembrance activities. Discovering that Pte Arthur Fowler, whose name is listed on the village war memorial, lacked a marked grave, she began a determined quest to commemorate him.

image0 9 | Campaign launched to commemorate Great War soldier
Pte Arthur Fowler.

Her research revealed that Fowler, who served with the Worcestershire Regiment, was wounded at Neuve Chapelle in 1916 and subsequently died in Bristol General Hospital later that year, aged 20. Despite his sacrifices, there is no Commonwealth War Grave Commission (CWGC) memorial for him, as his cause of death—a twisted gut—was not officially linked to his military service.

Undeterred by the CWGC’s decision, Jenny decided to raise funds for a headstone herself: “I don’t want his service and sacrifice forgotten just because his family couldn’t afford to fight the system or pay for a headstone,” she said.

She’s started a Crowdfunder campaign to raise £2,500 for a memorial headstone, which will be placed alongside his mother’s grave in St James’ Churchyard. With support from the local community and various military associations, Naylor has already raised £600. A businessman has also pledged an additional £500 if the fund reaches £2,000.

The campaign has garnered the support of the Mercian Regiment and the Worcester and Sherwood Foresters Regimental Association, who have shared the initiative on their social media platforms.

“Arthur’s story is a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by so many during the Great War. It’s essential we ensure these stories are remembered,” said Jenny.

Rev Rick Williams at St John’s Church in Charfield has given his blessing for the memorial, supporting Jenny’s endeavour. To contribute to the campaign and help honor Pte Arthur Fowler, visit the Crowdfunder page at Funding grave marker for young WW1 Soldier – a Community crowdfunding project in Wotton-under-Edge by JennyNaylor (crowdfunder.co.uk)

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