Brothers’ lost war medals reunited with Worthing family

Beeding and Bramber Local History medal presentation - Alan Westbrook handing the medals over to Trevor Witten
Beeding and Bramber Local History medal presentation - Alan Westbrook handing the medals over to Trevor Witten

THE First World War medals of two brothers have finally been reunited with their family nearly 100 years after they were killed.

The Beeding and Bramber Local History Society, with WWI researcher, Ken Wilson-Wheeler, helped track down the family of the Witten brothers, who died within ten days of each other during the Battle of the Somme in 1916, and are remembered on their parents’ headstone in Upper Beeding churchyard. Each had received the British War Medal and Victory Medal.

The society was contacted by Alan Westbrook who inherited a box of medals following the death of his father. Some were of his relatives, members of the Keywood family, who had previously lived in Bramber.

However there were four medals which had been awarded to Frederick and Thomas Witten and Alan had no idea why his father had them and so enlisted the help of the society.

Alan wanted to return the medals to a member of the Witten family so the society tried to find descendants of the boys’ brother Arthur.

Alan rang people with the name Witten in the Worthing telephone directory and found Trevor Witten, whose grandfather had been the boys’ cousin.

This week three members of the society hosted a reunion in Upper Beeding Village Hall so Alan and his wife could meet the Witten family before going to the churchyard to see the War Memorial with the boys’ names on, and the headstone marking the grave of their parents.

Here, Alan handed over the medals of the Witten brothers to Trevor Witten, who said he was ‘overjoyed’ to receive them.

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