Sunday, 23 November 2014

The Increasing Toll of War

In November 1914 local casualties began returning home. Pte. Gravely of Malthouse Road is reported at home with a poisoned foot after an encounter with barbed wire entanglements and was expected to return to his regiment the following week.


The parents of Corpl. Ralph Charman, of the 1st Lifeguards, who live at Spencer’s Road, Crawley, have received intimation that he is a prisoner o war in Germany. Fortunately, he is quite well.

Pte. Ben Eggleton, 2nd Sussex, whose home is a Crawley, was wounded at the Battle of the Aisne, getting shot through the forefinger of the right hand. The bone was shattered, and the digit has had to be amputated, the operation being performed by Mr F. Wood in the Crawley Cottage Hospital. He is, happily, going on alright.


Pte. Parker, of Ifield, was badly wounded in the arm last week, and is now in Chelsea Hospital.

Pte. Pullinger, previously wounded, is now, we are glad to say, well on the way to recovery.


Meanwhile the Civil Guard for Crawley and Ifield, formed from the Crawley Rifle Club, was being re-branded as part of the West Sussex Civil Guard and had set up their headquarters at the Picture Hall at East Park. Appeals were made for suitable recruits aged 16-60, unless eligible for the army.


Ted Cook was promoted from Sergeant to Colour Sergeant on 28th November and his service record shows that he was now serving with the 2/4th Royal Sussex Regiment.


Elsewhere new is reported of –


DEATH AT THE FRONT.- This week the war has cast a deep shadow on Mrs Masson and her many friends in Crawley, by the death in action, of Lieut. Col. Kelly, to whom Mrs Masson was engaged, and would, had not fate interposed, have been married on the very day upon which the sad news of his death reached her.

The gallant officer fell in North France, during the 24 hours fight for the trenches on November 23rd. The action had been raging furiously all day with uncertain results, when about 10:30pm the Army Corps Reserve arrived on the scene, and British and Indian regiments side by side, wholly undeterred by two unsuccessful assaults, renewed the attack. For a long time the issue was in the balance, but about 6:00am on the morning of the 24th it became evident that the assailants could no longer be denied, and by 6:15am they were once more masters of the trenches, for the possession of which such bloody controversy had been waging for nearly 24 hours.  


Col. Kelly was shot on the very verge of the trenches, but he lived long enough to have the happiness of knowing that the brave Indians who he led so valiantly had once again proved their worth in this kind of work. His loss is deeply felt and deplored by the whole regiment, to which he had greatly endeared himself.


Lieutenant Colonel George Henry Fitzmaurice Kelly was 44 and was commanding the 34th Sikh Pioneers when he was killed. He was buried in Beuvry Communal Cemetery.

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