THOMASTON — The Belgian family caring for the grave of a local World War II veteran came to Thomaston recently to learn more about the young man and his life.

David L. Wotton was a senior at Thomaston High School in March 1943 when he enlisted in the Army. Two years later, on Feb. 15, 1945, Wotton was killed in action in Belgium. He was 20 years old.

Wotton was buried in the Henri-Capelle American Cemetery in Belgium, though his parents added his name to their family gravestone as well.

Robbe and Franky Meers of Bilzen, Belgium, adopted Wotton’s Belgian grave as part of a program coordinated with the American Battle Monuments Commission.

In July, Robbe, Franky and Crystal Meers visited Thomaston and learned more about Wotton with help from Susan Devlin of the Thomaston Historical Society.

The Meers and Devlin visited the Beechwood Street house where Wotton grew up, as well as his parents’ grave. Raymond and Rena Wotton are buried in the Thomaston Village Cemetery.

As a surprise for the Meers family, Devlin located Wotton’s one remaining relative in the area, his cousin Margaret Gagnon of Friendship.

When Gagnon joined the group, she showed off a box of Wotton’s belongings which his mother had given to Gagnon for safe-keeping.

Items in the box included Wotton’s military cap, which had been sent to his parents, and copies of letters he wrote. There were also several items relating to scouting, as Wotton was an active member of the Boy Scouts.

The 1943 Sea Breeze High School yearbook notes that Wotton was the smallest boy in his class, but he was a patriot with a big heart. Wotton is remembered here and in Belgium.

The Thomaston Historical Society is planning a special program in September about the fallen patriots of Thomaston. This program will lead with Wotton’s story.

For more information on the Thomaston Historical Society, visit: thomastonhistoricalsociety.com.

David Wotton’s grave in Belgium. Courtesy of Thomaston Historical Society