Heroes’ Stories: William Pitt

William and Celia Pitt

Celia Sarah Davis married William James Pitt on November 25, 1905 at the Register Office in Swindon. William worked as a boilermaker and labourer in the Works, and the 1911 census shows the couple (pictured) living in Hawkins Street, Rodbourne, with their four young children. They went on to have another two.

A reservist, having previously served with the Royal Warwick Regiment, William re-enlisted in October 1914. He was 43 years old. On April 4, 1917 he was discharged, suffering for tuberculosis and permanently unfit for service.William’s daughter Violet remembered that when her father came back from the war he was ill and had to live in a special shed in the garden of 21 Hawkins Street. She recalled playing round his feet in the kitchen, making dens under the blanket that covered his knees.

He died just three months later, on July 17, 1917.

In the 1930s Celia worked as a cleaner at the Civic Offices in Euclid Street, but how she managed in those early post-war years with six children to raise alone has passed out of family memory. She later lived at 142 County Road, opposite the football ground. She died there in 1947, having survived another world war.

Photo courtesy of Steve Arman

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