Wednesday, 28 November 2018

News of More Casualties

Beaudesert Boys’ Council School 1913 [Z50/72/21]

Thursday 28th November 1918: Tragically the end of the War has not meant the end of bad news for the families of soldiers. News of two men killed in the very last days of the fighting has now reached Leighton Buzzard, along with confirmation of the death of a third, and a report that a fourth man has died from the effects of influenza. Private Leslie Johnson, the nephew of Mr. Thomas Munday of Bridge Street, was killed on November 4th. He had worked in the Income Tax Office, London, but took up farming owing to ill health and for a short time was employed in the local area. He joined up at the age of just 17. His brother, Charles Rowland Johnson, the son-in-law of Mr. Henry Chapman Furlong, was killed in October 1917.[1]

Private Tom Hyde of the Middlesex Regiment was killed in action on 7th November, just four days before the signing of the Armistice. The chaplain of his battalion has written to his wife telling her that her husband was killed instantaneously by a shell and suffered no pain. Private Hyde was the son of Mr. and Mrs William Hyde of East Street, where his wife and child now live at number 28. Before joining up he worked for Mr. W. G. Willis, builder. A year ago he was wounded in the knee, and as the joint remained stiff he was sent to Ireland on garrison duty. During the last “push” he was again sent out to France. He was 27 years of age, and a member of the Leighton Buzzard Excelsior Band.

Private R. Miles of the 8th Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry, formerly a Trooper in the 17th Lancers and the Bedfordshire Yeomanry, the son of Richard and Annie Miles - now of Leighton Buzzard but previously of Wicken in Northamptonshire - had been reported wounded and missing. He has now been officially reported killed. His elder brother was seriously wounded on the Somme.[2]

Sapper Samuel Walter Stevens of 12, Plantation Road, was serving with the Royal Engineers when he was admitted to a casualty clearing station in France on 8th November. He died on the 13th from pneumonia following influenza. Sapper Stevens was an old boy of Beaudesert School and worked for Messrs. Adams and Whiting as a bricklayer before joining the Army in 1915. After nine months’ service in France he was operated on for appendicitis; he returned to France after recovering from the surgery. He was 28 years old and leaves a wife and young daughter.

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 26th November 1918

[1] Charles Rowland Johnson of the 1st Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment died on 17th October 1917, aged 32. His wife, Jessie Frances Johnson, was living at 14 High Street, Leighton Buzzard. His brother is listed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as Martin Leslie Johnson, aged 19. In 1911 Charles Rowland Johnson was living at 18 Bridge Street, Leighton Buzzard, with his uncle Thomas Henry Munday and working for him as a jeweller’s assistant.

[2] Apparently Reginald Miles of the 8th Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry, whose death on 15th October 1917 is recorded on the Tyne Cot Memorial.

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