Saturday, 15 July 2017

Accidental Death of Bedford Grocer in France

Gwyn Street, Bedford [BorBK2/5a]

Sunday 15th July 1917: Lance-Corporal George Markham, previously a grocer at Gwyn Street, Bedford, has been killed in a tragic accident while serving with the Tank Corps in France. He joined the Colours in November last year but only reached France three weeks ago. In his letters home he told his wife that he was very happy and enjoying military service, but yesterday she received news from the War Office that he had been killed. This morning the following letter arrived from Lance-Corporal Markham’s Captain explaining the circumstances:
“Dear Mrs. Markham, It is with the utmost regret and sympathy that I have to write and tell you that your husband was accidentally killed at about 6 o’clock. He was apparently walking down the railway line reading a paper, and did not hear a train coming. The engine driver blew his whistle, which must have startled him, and he slipped, and the train could not be pulled up in time. There is no doubt he was killed instantly and suffered no pain. He was a bit seedy yesterday, but seemed quite well and cheerful today, and I was speaking to him only about an hour before the accident happened. If there is anything you want to know about or if I can answer any questions, I shall be very pleased to do so. Yours faithfully, Stuart Gay, Captain.”
Mrs. Markham received a letter from her husband by the same post, which she believes was posted by him just before the accident.

Source: Bedfordshire Standard, 20th July 1917

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