The Plympton-Wyoming Historical Society is trying to solve a mystery.
President Don Poland says the Wyoming Legion recently contacted the historical society after find a wooden cross in the storeroom of the local branch. The Legion was worried it might get discarded and felt it would be better to have it displayed in a local museum in a military exhibit.
This historical society is researching the names of the fallen soldiers from World War One listed on the Camlachie and Wyoming cenotaphs and the cross bore the name of one of the men, Private Wm. Wright.
“When we saw this grave marker for the first time we were astounded as it was one of the soldiers we were doing research on. It was almost like a “voice from the grave”. Almost like saying ‘Hey, it is me, Wm Wright,’” says Poland.
Poland says when the soldiers were killed in battle in the World War One, the Imperial War Graves Commission put wooden crosses at their graves. The crosses were all the same and had a little metal ribbon on them with the commission’s initials, the person’s name, his battalion, registration number and date of death.
In the 1920s, the commission started replacing the crosses with stone markers, says Poland.
“Most of the wooden crosses were burned at that time, but a very few of them were repatriated to the soldier’s home country,” says Poland. “How this one found its way home to Wyoming is the big mystery we would like to be able to answer.”
Poland says they’re hoping to local Private Wm. Wright’s family, but so far haven’t been able to even though they know some of the details of his family.
“We know he was from the Wyoming area. We know his mother and father, and his siblings names. We have all his data from his attestation papers- age, physical description…We know the cemetery he was buried in. We know the battle he died in (in France on Sept. 29, 1918. We just haven’t had the time yet to delve further into his family tree,” says Poland.
If anyone has information about Private Wm. Wright, Poland would like to hear from you by email at [email protected] or you can contact Dave Hext in Petrolia.