THE descendants of a soldier killed during the First World War have gathered in Wimborne to pay tribute to him.

As reported in the Daily Echo, Wimborne town crier Chris Brown has been performing special cries about the lives of each man listed on the town’s war memorial on the 100th anniversary of their deaths.

Recently, Chris invited the family of Private William Arthur Small of the Dorsetshire Regiment to the memorial to hear a cry about his life.

Pte Small died in Mesopotamia – now known as Iraq – on September 29 1917.

He was born on September 24 1895 in Wimborne to Charles and Harriet Small and baptised at St John’s Church on April 26 1896.

The Small family lived in Priors Walk.

By the age of 15, Pte Small was working as a printer’s apprentice. It is not know when he joined the army.

However, Chris said as Pte Small served with the 1/4th Battalion, it is most likely that he was a serving Territorial Army soldier when war broke out, and he volunteered for overseas service.

His battalion went to India at the very beginning of the war in 1914.

After training, the 1/4th landed at Basra in late February 1916 as part of the 15th Indian Division.

A 12-day desert march took them to Nasiriyeh, which became their base.

In 1916 they fought at As Sahilan and in late September 1917 they played a decisive part in the battle of Ramadi on the Euphrates, capturing with two Gurkha battalions the ridge that dominated the Turkish position.

The 1/4th’s role in this success was specifically mentioned in the official dispatch.

Chris, who has been researching the lives and military careers of each of the Wimborne soldiers killed during the conflict, said: “One can only speculate that this battle was where William was killed in action on the Sept 28 1917.

“The 1/4th Dorsets lost 176 men in this battle. William’s father Charles received a total of £31 15s 3d war gratuity for the loss of his son.”

Three of Pte Small’s brothers also served in the war. All survived.

A number of his descendants

heard Chris’s memorial cry on the anniversary of Pte Small’s death.

They then visited the Priest’s House Museum.

Chris said: “The Small family have over the years contributed hugely to the town’s development and many will remember the funeral directors and furniture shop they ran in West Street, Wimborne, and where they founded the Model Town to the rear of their premises.”