Thursday, 11 October 2018

Last Messages from Dying Soldiers

Corporal William Hart

Friday 11th October 1918: News of her husband’s death came as a great shock to Mrs. Elizabeth Hart of Caddington. Her husband, Corporal William Hart of Caddington, was badly wounded in the left arm on Sunday 22nd September. His arm was amputated to the elbow, but he was able to write a message to his wife with his right: “My love to all; keep smiling”. However, he succumbed to his injuries and died in hospital at Rouen on 1st October. A former stoker at the Luton Gas Works, Corporal Hart had joined the Army in October 1914. He was invalided home and spent a year in a London hospital. He had only been back in France for eleven weeks when he received the fatal wound.

Twenty one year old Private Bernard Bone of New Town Street, Luton, has also died of wounds. Before the war he worked for Messrs. Kent and was a member of the Territorials. He served with the East Anglian Royal Engineers until a recent transfer to the Cheshire Regiment. He had been wounded three times and had suffered from trench fever. The chaplain of the Canadian Casualty Clearing Station where he died wrote to his mother: “He was struck by a shell from the enemy causing bad fractures of both legs, and his hands and face were slightly wounded. The fearful shock to his whole nervous system was an alarming factor. He was quite cheerful at first. Everything that the best surgeons and nurses could do was done for your dear boy … When I asked him what message I should send to you he simply said, ‘Give her my love and tell her that I did my duty for God and country, and if God sees fit to take me I am not afraid of death.’ … He saved others; himself he could not save.”

Source: Luton News, 17th October 1918

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