Saturday, 6 February 2016

Luton Soldier Finds His Dead Brother

Trooper Reggie Looker 

Sunday 6th February 1916: The parents of Trooper Charles William Reginald “Reggie” Looker of the 1st Beds Yeomanry received the sad news of his death in a letter from their youngest son Trooper Richard “Dick” Looker who was serving with the same Regiment. The brothers had joined up soon after the beginning of the war and had been sent to France together in April last year. Dick wrote that he saw a comrade run out of a gap and realised there was something wrong. He called out to ask what had happened but received no answer so went to investigate. He found his brother lying dead, shot through the head. Reggie Looker, who was 22 years old, was educated at Bishop Stortford College, then undertook a farming course at the Beds County Council Institute at Ridgmont. For two or three years before the war he had worked at different farms to gain practical experience.

Major Selby Lowndes of the Beds Yeomanry and Sergeant Jack Andrews of No.3 Troop have written letters of sympathy to Trooper Looker’s parents. Major Lowndes wrote: “His death, thank God, was instantaneous, as we have discovered, and there was no suffering of any kind. His brother was with him immediately he was shot, and, poor fellow, he feels it dreadfully. We were all so fond and proud of him, as we are of the one who is left. He was universally popular, and a splendid soldier. I know your anxiety, as I have a boy of 19 in the same brigade as myself, and one of 17 in the Black Watch.”  The Sergeant adds: “He was a great favourite with every one of us, and was looked upon as a certainty for promotion at an early date. His death is a great blow to all of us, and he will be sorely missed by the whole squadron … Doubtless Dick has written you full particulars, and how he was buried in the Cemetery at --- by his comrades and friends, surrounded by the roar of guns, etc., and I could not help but think, whilst placing a blanket round him, how peaceful and quiet he looked to the storm of shot, etc., raging outside. He died as he lived, a soldier in every sense of that word.”[1]

Source: Luton News, 10th February 1916

[1] The grave of Reggie Looker is at Vermelles British Cemetery. His brother Dick survived the War.

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