Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Rifleman Bertie Whittemore

Rifleman Bertie Whittemore

Thursday 27th May 1915: The funeral of Rifleman Bertie Whittemore, aged 25, is to be held at Luton this afternoon. Rifleman Whittemore was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Whittemore of King’s Road. A former pupil at Surrey Street School. he was a member of the Wesleyan Central Mission Brotherhood.  Before joining the Rifle Brigade he worked for a some time for Mr. John Bull in Hitchin Road. He served with the Brigade in India and Egypt for eight years and returned to England with his regiment at the beginning of the war before being sent out to the front. Over 9th and 10th May almost the entire  battalion with which he served was mown down as the regiment suffered terrible casualties at Aubers. Private Whittemore received terrible wounds from shrapnel. He would have been killed outright but a tin of cigarettes, which was itself smashed by shrapnel,  protected his heart. He was taken to hospital at Sandgate, Kent, and died last Saturday. His father and brother were able to visit him in hospital; Rifleman Whittemore was unable to do more than whisper, but said he hoped to be home in two months. 

The Mayor has arranged for the funeral to take place with full military honours and Private Whittemore’s body will be conveyed from the King’s Road to the Church Cemetery on a gun carriage supplied by the 4th Staffordshire Battery, 2/3rd Brigade, North Midland Royal Field Artillery. The funeral procession will be accompanied by the band of the 2/6th Battalion Sherwood Foresters and the firing party will be supplied by the 2/7th Notts and Derby Regiment. Bertie Whittemore leaves four other brothers who are also in the armed forces. Private Horace Whittemore has been at the Front with the 1st Bedfords and is now home recovering from wounds. Private Ernest Whittemore and Private Lee Whittemore are both serving with the 1/5th Bedfords. The youngest brother, Seaman Victor Whittemore, aged 21, is in the Navy. He was in action off Heligoland and is now back in barracks after leaving HMS Queen Mary.

Source: Luton News 27th May 1915, 3rd June 1915

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