Saturday, 24 June 2017

Bedford Military Medallist Killed

Wilfred Hammond [Z1360/2/5]

Sunday 24th June 1917: Tragically the young Bedford soldier Sergeant Wilfred Hammond, from whom we heard recently about his work as acting quartermaster, has been killed in action at the age of just 19. His parents have received the following letter from his commanding officer:
“I very much regret to inform you that during the recent heavy fighting your son was killed on the morning of the 7th. As his Company Commander, I am able to speak in the very highest terms of him. He was an extremely reliable and conscientious sergeant, and more than that, a very gallant soldier. He had recently been acting temporarily as my quartermaster-sergeant, and in that position, as in every position he held, his work was done extraordinarily well. I am returning to you a letter you enclosed in a parcel sent out to him, which was received here after his death. The contents of the parcel were distributed among the men of his platoon, as he would himself have wished, I feel sure. The officers, N.C.O’s and men of the Company wish to join with me in expressing their sincere sympathy with you in your great bereavement, and may I express the hope that time will tend to soften the heavy grief you have been called upon to bear.”  
His mother also received the following tribute from the electricity works in Cauldwell Road where he worked before the war: 
“I was much distressed to hear of the death of your brave son. For a boy of his age he was unusually good and would soon have improved his position here so that I am not surprised to hear that he did so well. From the time when the war commenced he was impatient to join the Army and, on account of his age, I tried to persuade him to wait but he took the matter into his own hands and I am sure that, however distressing his early death may be to those he leaves behind, he has been happier for being allowed to fulfil so great a destiny.”
Sources: Hammond family papers [Z1360/1/60-61]; Bedfordshire Standard 22nd June 1917

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