Friday, 12 May 2017

Communication Errors

Private Sydney Gray

Saturday 12th May 1917: On April 12th Mr. William Gray, a fishmonger of Castle Street in Luton, received news that his son, Private Sydney Gray of the Essex Regiment had been wounded in Egypt. Further news followed including a letter from his son in which he said he was doing very well, but on May 4th Mr. Gray received official notification of his son’s death, with a message of sympathy from the King. Confused by this turn of events, Mr. Gray cabled the hospital and is relieved to have received a reply stating “Error. Doing well.”  Before the war Private Gray worked in his father’s business and was well known in Luton as an excellent swimmer and sports enthusiast. He joined up last year and sailed for Egypt after training at Halton Camp.

Another Luton resident, Mrs.Fanny Lake of Ash Road, has been informed that her husband, Private Harold Alfred Lake of the Bedfordshire Regiment is missing and presumed to be a prisoner of war. His commanding officer wrote “I  am very sorry to inform you that your husband, who went into action on April 23rd is missing. From inquiries I have made I can gather no further details, but think most likely he is a prisoner of war. Should he be a prisoner I should not worry too much, as he will not have a bad time.” [1]   Private Lake joined up on 2nd September last year and went to France just before Christmas. He previously worked at the Diamond Foundry and was a member of Bury Park Brotherhood and football club.

Sources: Luton News, 10th and 17th May 1917

[1] Sadly this was a mistaken hope. Harold Alfred Lake had in fact been killed on 27th April 1917.

No comments:

Post a Comment