American relatives of Kings Worthy First World War soldier visit his memorial (From Basingstoke Gazette)
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American relatives of Kings Worthy First World War soldier visit his memorial
Updated 3:19pm Wednesday 18th June 2014 in News
IT’S the focal point of remembrance services in Kings Worthy.
The Bryce Stewart memorial was built by St Mary’s church in memory of a soldier killed in World War One.
Now 100 years since the start of the Great War, a descendant of Lieutenant Bryce Stewart has travelled thousands of miles from the USA to find out more about his local connections.
Peter Walker and his wife Meg Anderson from Massachusetts visited Kings Worthy during a six-week visit to Europe.
Peter, a professor at Salem University, is a relative of Bryce Stewart’s mother Georgiana Walker.
He discovered his connection with the Bryce Stewart family when he was contacted by St Mary’s two years ago, prior to work being carried out on the memorial.
They were met by Denis Welstead, from St Mary’s Church who led the renovations, and Alix Hickman who researched the family tree and the history of their home Hinton House for the Worthys Local History Group.
The couple were shown other tributes to Bryce Stewart including a brass plaque in the church and a small wooden sign hidden in the choir stalls given by his nurse Selina Hopkins.
Bryce Stewart arrived in France in August 1914 as part of the British Expeditionary Force.
He returned briefly to Kings Worthy after being wounded at Ypres but was killed in action and buried where he fell in Mesopotamia, present-day Iraq, in 1917.
The Bryce Stewart memorial was funded by his parents as a tribute to their son.
The names of their son and other villagers killed in World War 1 were added to it.
Peter Walker told The Worthys Parish Magazine: “It’s been very moving and we are very grateful that people that still care and take the trouble to renovate these memorials to keep them alive especially now as we are marking the 100th anniversary of the war.
"It makes me think of all the families torn apart by war. I can imagine what it must have been like for the Bryce Stewarts. I have always been interested in tracing my roots and to get a sense of where I came from”.
Mr Walker later visited the recently restored Hinton House, the former family home, which until recently was part of Kings Worthy Primary School.
He promised that he and other family members would return to the village again, to remember and pay tribute to Lieutenant Bryce Stewart.
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