Friday, 6 November 2015

Bereavement for Another Luton Family

Informal group at a military camp, c.1914. Men wearing RAMC badges.

Saturday 6th November 1915: Another young Luton man has fallen at Gallipoli. Twenty year old Joseph Edward Betts of Ashton Road joined the Royal Army Medical Corps two years before the war began. As a private in the Eastern Mounted Brigade Field Ambulance he trained at the Grove Road depot where the Brigade has its headquarters. He sailed for the Dardanelles on August 8th but never made it ashore. His commanding officer, Major Archibald, has written to Private Betts’ mother describing his last moments:
“He was killed by a bullet in the head. It hit him as he was getting on the deck of the ship to the landing lighters. His comrades did not hear him make a sound, and did not know he had been hit until they were ordered to fall in, when they found they could not rouse him. We brought his body to this place today, and a chaplain has just taken it ashore for burial … I cannot say how grieved I feel at the loss of such a promising young life. He was greatly beloved by all of us, and we all mourn the loss of a faithful and trusty comrade”.
The Betts family also have a younger son, Claude, who enlisted in the 1/5th Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment. As Claude is only 17 years old[1] his mother has requested that he should be kept in England until he is older; he has been sent to the 3/5th Battalion which is currently stationed at Newmarket.

Source: Luton Times 5th November 1915

[1] The newspaper report give his age as 15 but other records show that William Claude Betts was born in 1898. He survived the war. 

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