Letter of condolence 31 January 1915

Major Hyslop

 

I am sorry to have to tell you that your son was killed this morning in the trenches, he was orderly officer and was going his rounds of the sentries, a sentry reported to him that a party of the enemy were in sight behind their lines working at some fortifications, your son ordered rifle grenades to be fired at them and was looking over the parapet to observe the effect of the grenades when he was hit in the head and killed instantaneously. I can’t tell you how sorry I am to have lost him, he was a most promising young officer and brave almost to recklessness and though he has only been with us a short time was liked and esteemed by all his comrades.  His effects will be sent to England as soon as possible.

 

Deeply sympathising with you.

 

P.S. He will be buried this afternoon at a Farm known as Ration Farm about two miles from Armentieres near Bois Grenier which we have made into a cemetery and have a number of men buried there.

 

No Major Hyslop shown in the Feb 1915 Army List with H.A.C.

Letter to Mr. Dowsett 31 January 1915

Letter to Mr. Dowsett 31 January 1915

 

COPY.                                                                                                                     31 Jan. 1915.

 

My dear Mr Dowsett,

 

I am indeed grieved to have to tell you the saddest news you could have.  Your brave boy was shot yesterday and passed away without regaining consciousness.  I know what a terrible blow this must be to you and Mrs Dowsett and that even the knowledge that he has proved himself a man of whom we are all proud is small consolation to your sorrow.  He was always so keen, always plucky and cheerful, always to be counted upon and the conditions out here have tested all the qualities to the full and in none was he found wanting.  His Regiment has lost a fine soldier and our Company a man we can ill spare.

 

I need not tell you what a sorrow this is to me personally, or how deeply I feel for you in yours. No one knew him better than I did or can more truly appreciate his true worth.

 

He was in the Fire Trench and was shot in the head while pluckily trying to locate a sniper who was firing on the trench, and I know it will be some consolation to know that while everything possible was done he can have suffered no pain or even consciousness. His section brought him down from the trench in the evening and he was buried last night in a grave dug by four old members of his section and myself in a little cemetery we have made here in Kemmel where the other brave men lie.  The service was read by our Colonel in the presence of most of the Company and every man and officer as he departed saluted our comrade and perhaps many of us wished that when our time comes it will be with as clean a record and in as fair a fight.  We have put up a small cross inscribed, Sgt T.W. Dowsett, No 2 Company, H.A.C. Killed in action Jan 30. 1915.

 

I will see that a more permanent cross is made and that the grave is cared for and will send you a photo or sketch of the spot. Would I could do more for a one I have known so long and admired so much.  We are collecting his personal things and will send them to you and our captain is writing to his mother.  If there is anything more I can tell you or do you can count on my doing so.  At least he was ready when his country needed him and he died the finest death a man could die.  I know we all feel with you and mourn our loss today

 

With my deepest sympathy,

Yours sincerely

(sgd) H.P.G. MAULE

 

Not shown in Army List Feb 1915 but in a later List is shown as 2/Lt from 21 Feb 1915.

 

Letter of death 31 January 1915

Lieut Col Grove.

 

It is with the greatest regret that I have to tell you of the death of your son this morning. He was directing fire upon a small party of Germans he had seen, and on turning round to give an order must have exposed his head, for he was shot in the back of the head and died at once.  He cannot have suffered at all for he was dead when the men got to him.  He was a very brave fellow and was doing well.  I have had the small things from his pockets packed in a small box which will go by post to-day, and I enclose a list of the contents.  The remaining things will be sorted out and sent home to you later when we come out of the tranches.

 

Several of us were present at Nation Farm and amongst many of our men. The service was read by our padre Rev. F. Stewart.  We will have a suitable wooden cross put up to mark the grave as a temporary measure & the little cemetery is well looked after.

Letter of Sympathy 31 January 1915

Letter of Sympathy 31 January 1915

 

Chaplain.

 

I feel that I must send you a note of heartfelt sympathy. It seems but yesterday when I met your boy when he joined us here & he spoke of you wondered if it would be possible for you to come and see him.  His death has come as a shock to us all.  He died at his post of duty, faithful unto death.  We buried him this afternoon beside some of his comrades in the military cemetery near where he fell.  Several officers and men attended the service and saw his body laid reverently to rest.

 

I know I cannot enter into the depth of your sorrow but the knowledge and memory that your boy gave his life in his country’s cause, in the cause of peace, will bring comfort and strength to you. He has earned the reward of the faithful unto death and of the Peacemakers, “They shall be called the children of God.”

Letter Re Sgt TW Dowsett 31 January 1915

COPY.                                                                                                                   31st Jan. 1915.

 

Dear Mrs Dowsett,

 

It is with the greatest possible regret that I have to write and inform you of the death of your gallant son Sergt T.W. Dowsett.  He was “Killed in Action” on Saturday 30th January (yesterday) whilst in the trenches with his company.  The gallant fellow was shot through the upper portion of the head at 7-45 a.m. and although his comrades and I did everything that was possible for him he never recovered consciousness but passed peacefully away at 9-30 a.m.  We carried his body back to Kemmel the same evening and buried him in a small portion of a field set aside as a cemetery for the British troops.  He lies there side by side with some of his comrades.  The Colonel read a most impressive funeral service and he was laid to rest at 7-45 p.m. surrounded by a large number of his comrades which included many officers, and all the officers and non-commissioned officers of his Company.  We placed a small wooden cross at the head of his grave upon which Mr Maule (who is also writing to you) had written a suitable inscription.  The actual position of the grave it will be quite easy for us to indicate to you at any time.

 

I have given you all the above details because I thought you would like to know them. Any further information you may desire I shall be most willing to supply if possible.

 

The whole of his personal belongings found upon him at the time of his death was carefully taken care of and will be forwarded to you at an early date.

 

In conclusion I need only say that every member of the Regiment send to you and to all his relatives their deepest sympathy. You have lost (I know) a dear son.  We have lost a brave and gallant comrade, loved by every member of his company and particularly so by the members of his section he so cheerfully led.

 

Believe me, with deepest sympathy, to be

Yours very truly,

(sgd) ERNEST GARNSEY, Capt H.A.C.

(officer commanding No 2 Company)

 

  1. Garnsey appears in the Army List.

George Ryan’s letter home dated 14 Jan 15

Victoria Barracks

Dinapore

Behar

India.

14 Jan 1915

 

Dear May,

 

Just a few words to let you know I received no letter this week. I suppose mother didn’t get my letter from Aden, or I should have had an answer to it this week.

 

However, they expect the mail boat in a bit earlier this week; it’s supposed to reach Bombay some time to-day, so we might get our letters Sat night.  It will be quite a change, as it’s been Mon or Tues the last 3 or 4 weeks, before we’ve got any letters.

 

I fired ball-cartridge for the first time yesterday. I got on very well; it was only on the 30 yards range though.  It was only to get us used to our rifles – those that had not fired ball before.  We shall start firing our “course”, next week I expect.  It takes two or three weeks, as we have various kinds of targets, at different ranges, both rapid & deliberate (take your time) firing.  We can earn extra pay for firing, I think.  A first-class shot gets 6d a day extra a second class gets 3d & a 3rd class shot gets nothing extra.  Of course, you have to be very good at it to get anything extra.  The Army doesn’t give anything away.  These payments are what the Regulars get, but we don’t know yet whether we shall get them.  Of course, we are acting as Regulars out here, but when it comes to a matter of pay we are only Territorials.

 

Well the rumour that we should leave here in March has been buried. We’ve had another one since then & that was that we were here for 3 years but that’s also been buried.  The one alive at present is that the war will be over by October & that we shall spend next Christmas at home.  I hope this last one is right.  After all “there’s no place like London”.

 

Hoping you are all well & jogging along alright.

 

Love to all,

Yr loving brother

George

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne Jan 1915

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne

 

Extracted from

 

Brigade Diary, Personal Diary, Operation Orders, Note Books, Memoranda & Correspondence

—————–

 

1915

 

January 10 1915

R.P.

“Today I am Brigade Orderly Officer, so I have to sleep in Officer’s Quarters as the other officers in the Battery are away I am extra busy.  The weather is dreadful here.

I have seen Dick Pelly, who is Chaplain here. Influenza is rampant here.  According to the doctors one in five have the complaint.  We shall be a very small army if the Germans land on the coast.

 

The other morning I had to get up at 4.30 am to see two lots of men off at the station on leave. It meant riding to and from the station four times.

 

I hear that our Brigade is to go into huts at Reed Hall, two miles out of the town, probably at the end of this month.

 

There are rumours tonight of air ships over London.  I hope it is not true for your sake.

 

We are hoping to get our new guns soon. It is about time too.  Then it will seem more like business.  We have a lot of new Canadian horses, but they are not exactly pleasant rides.

 

January 19 1915

R.P.

Maldon House

Wellesley Road,

Colchester.

 

“One day last week I motored to Clacton for dinner.  The place was in complete darkness.  It was most strange.  There were no lights showing at all.  Now I have a bad cold.

 

On Sunday morning I motored up to town to see some men off to the Front, and when I got back I was bundled off to bed, and no less three doctors came to see me. I slept all day yesterday, and now my temperature is normal.  I hope to be out again tomorrow.  Dick Pelly has been in to see me tonight, and yesterday my visitors were the three doctors.  It is lucky we have not to pay for their visits.  My host and hostess are looking after me very well indeed.

 

Monday January 25 1915.

R.P.

“Last night saw me back in Colchester.  One officer is away at Shoeburyness on a course, and one officer has left us altogether, so we are shorthanded.

 

Tomorrow Capt Farmer and another officer and myself will be away all day on a Reconnaissance Ride. The mud here is worse than ever.

 

Give my kind regards to Amy Mac when she turns up.