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Peter Beckett

A wifes enquiry letter

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Peter Beckett

Along the lines of Bottsgrey (Chris,s) letter, I thought you might be interested in a non-official notification regarding my grandfather, William Beckett, who was shelled at Polygon Wood on 1st October 1917. My grandmother had obviously heard somehow that he was wounded so wrote this letter. It is interesting that Major Eric Crewdon, who also signed off on the 95th FC diaries, should use the same letter to reply. The letter still exists with my Aunt who lives at Lara in Victoria and I have scanned it a very high resolution for my "own copy".

Peter ;)

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shelley

Thank You for sharing this with us, Peter, I found it to be very interesting. cheers Shelley :D

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BottsGreys

Peter:

What an awesome piece of family history--nothing short of priceless. Just think of the multitude of "What ifs" which were probably going through your grandmother's mind as she sat down, steeled herself, and put pen to paper. I assume from your signature that this wound put William out of the War?

Thanks for sharing,

Chris

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Peter Beckett

Chris,

yes it put him out for good. He went from No 10 CCS at Remy Siding, then to No 16 Philadelphia Hospital at Le Treport where he was operated on and 3 months later returned home. He had severe wounds to the stomach and died of complications when I was 2 years old in 1948, much to my intense regret.

He also fell off a roof in 1922 when working up north in Newcastle as I also have a copy of a letter from the surgeon describing his further injuries. I would have thought that German shells might have slowed him down but he had a young family to support so went where the work was.

I hope to finish a book on him this year and privately publish it. When I finish it, I will be sending a copy to Tom Morgan for inclusion on Hellfire Corner so others can share his war time story.

"A Truly Remarkable Generation"

Peter ;)

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j.r.f

PETER

Have you looked at the Australian RED CROSS records,they are on line,I looked up one of my soldiers,who had emigrated to Australia.Pte Stanley Tom Mountain.I came up with something like 29 pages of information.Much of this was duplicated,but it never-the-les told a fasinating story.I hope this might be of some help although I an sure you have already done this.

CHEERS.

JOHN. :D

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HIGHSPEN

What would I give for a piece of Family History like that.

Never let it go.

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Guest dinkidi
PETER

Have you looked at the Australian RED CROSS records,

John.

A little trick with these Red Cross files is to note the name of any other soldier mentioned on "your mans" files, then check the others' files for references to him.

ooRoo

Pat

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Clive Maier

The speed of events amazes me. William Beckett was wounded on 1 October and Mrs Beckett heard about it so quickly that it was still only 9 October when she wrote, having by implication waited a few days for further news. Even more remarkably, Major Crewdon was replying by 12 October.

These letters, when we are privileged to see them, show the extraordinary effort that weary men, accustomed though they were to death and injury, habitually made to comfort families.

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Peter Beckett

John and Pat - Yes, I know and use the Australian Red Cross for my wifes rellies but both my Grandfathers were English and in the British Army.

Clive - Yes, I often wonder how my Grandmother heard the news before sending the letter, must have had a friend let her know.

Regarding the remaining records which are in my Aunt's possession, all I have are his medals. My Aunt has his SWB and even the original blue copy of his Attestation papers! I don't think I will inherit which is why I have scanned everything in high resolution. This was a good move because recently at a talk I gave to the local Family History Group on my visit to the Western Front last year, I produced that letter and let everyone see that it was a modern replica printed off the scan.

As a result I have "modern" duplicates of all the remaining documents.

Peter

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mutley

I have a copy of a similar letter, from the wife of Sjt Joseph Frederick James Whithead MM RFA who was killed on 21 Mar 1918. On the 8th Apr 1918 she writes to the regimental paymaster stating

"Sir, news as just reached me throughSgt Williams of the 112 Battery RFA serving in France that my husband Sgt F Whitehead of the same battery was killed could you please clarify if the report is true as no official report as reach me yet, it is more than three weeks since my husband was killed by the date Sgt Williams gave could you please let me know."

Unfortunately she has still not received official notification by 8th May when her brother in law also writes asking for information, nothing is forthcoming and she writes again on 14 May 1918. Her first official acknowledgment is 12 Aug 1918!!!!!

What she must have been going through is beyond belief.

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