Saturday, 25 July 2015

Luton Mother's Long Wait for News is Over

Rifleman J. Burgess [Luton Times]

Sunday 25th July 1915: After months of worry Mrs Burgess of Chobham Street, Luton has finally received confirmation that her son, Rifleman J. Burgess of the King’s Royal Rifles was killed on 10th March at Givenchy. Some time ago she had received an eyewitness account of her son’s death from a fellow soldier, but until she heard the news officially from the War Office a spark of hope remained. Rifleman Burgess was 23 years old and had worked for Messrs. P. W. Sinfield and Company at Grove Road, Luton, before he enlisted in May 1914. His comrade Rifleman F. Featherstone wrote:
“A few lines on behalf of your son. I have been waiting to write to you but could not as I could not find your address until I received a letter from you. I want you to bear what I have to tell you with a stout heart. On the 10th of March we were told to charge the German trench in front of us, after previously occupying one trench for six weeks. We did so, but I am sorry to tell you that your son fell during the fighting. Do not grieve too much. I know it is hard for you. You have reason to feel proud of your son. He died fighting like the brave chap he always was. He was hit in the abdomen and his last words were: ‘Give my love to mother’. We brought him in, and all the while he was cheering the old regiment. He did not linger more than a few hours. He was in no pain, but passed peacefully away. This has been a great blow to me for we were great chums. He was well liked, so the men miss him very much.”
Source: Luton Times and Advertiser, 30th July 1915

[1] This is presumably the Sergeant F. Featherstone of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps who was killed on 26th September 1915.

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