Thursday 11 December 2014

Hope for the Best

Friday 11th December 1914: Mr and Mrs. J. Fowler, 42 King-street, Kempston, have received a letter from their son, who is with the 2nd Bedfords at the front. He writes: "I am pleased to tell you that I am in the best of health, but I am sorry to say that I haven't been able to get any news of Cecil (his brother) yet. I have made inquiries in his Company, and they seem to think he was taken prisoner by the Germans, as several of his Company who were with him at the time are missing, and it is known that some of our troops were captured, as the Germans were on top of us when I got away. He was all right that morning, as I spoke to him. This was October 30th and I have never seen him since. We lost very heavily that day and there were very few of us left. I don't know how I got through myself. I was hit through the sole of my boot with a piece of shell but it only bruised my foot. It is the third time I have been hit, but only bruised. I suppose the casualty list will soon be published in the paper, and then you will see what has happened to him. He might be wounded and in hospital somewhere. It takes a long time to get them sorted out. If he is a prisoner - and I should not be surprised - you won't know for a long time, but tell mother not to fret, as I still have hopes of hearing about him, and in any case it might have been worse, as we can't all expect to get through" [1]

Source: Bedfordshire Times 11th December 1914

[1] Sadly 9774 Private Cecil Charles Fowler, C Company, 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment is recorded as having been killed in action on 8th November 1914, aged 22. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial. The Battalion advanced to a support position near Ploegsteert that day. It is odd that his brother did not see him in the intervening nine days but no doubt shows how disorganized things were following the battle on 31st October.

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