Monday 23 May 2016

A Missing Son and a Crippled Daughter

Tuesday 23rd May 1916: The ordeal of the 8th Bedfords on 19th April still has repercussions. Dame Rumour has been bust with the name of Private J Marlow of 30 Spring Place, Luton and in order to remove the impression that he has been killed in action (whereas he has only been reported as missing) and in the hope that possibly his photo may be recognised and his mother’s anxiety appeased we reproduce it above.

This young Luton soldier – he is only eighteen years of age – commenced work at the early age of nine as an errand boy in the service of straw hat manufacturers H Rosson and Company of 90-92 Collingdon Street afterwards passing into the factory. He heard the call to arms and enlisted in the 8th Bedfords. He was trained at Shoreham and Blackdown and went to France last August. He was at the Battle of Loos and was gassed at Christmas but he otherwise escaped injury. His mother heard twice a week from him and with great punctuality sent him a weekly parcel until recently, when she decided to send a bigger parcel once a fortnight. His birthday was on May 9th and she had prepared a special parcel for that occasion when she received news that he was missing so the good things are awaiting news of his whereabouts.

The Luton News man was particularly interested in his little crippled sister. Miss Minnie is an
intelligent child of twelve years and cleverly manufactures penny gollywogs which she sells and takes the proceeds to Mr H W Covington in Cheapside who promptly smokes to the soldiers for the money. Miss Minnie has no objection to her philanthropic efforts ending in smoke, so long as her brother’s pals get a little enjoyment out of the fuminations and her mother showed our representative receipt from Mr Covington to little Miss Minnie’s order for 12s. 9d. for which he had forwarded 1,250 Woodbines, 3 packets of Player’s and a dozen boxes of matches to the Officer Commanding the 8th Beds, her brother’s regiment. She had several receipts for similar amounts, which spoke eloquently of Miss Minnie’s industry and goodness of heart.

Second Lieutenant Harry C Wealen wrote Mrs Marlow as follows: “Dear Madam: I expect by this time you have heard the news that your son is missing and I wish to convey my deep regret. As his whereabouts is uncertain it may be that he has been taken prisoner and I can only hope that in a few days’ time we may hear some definite news of him. Needless to say I am deeply grieved at losing the services of such a good soldier, but I can only add that I am immensely proud of those gallant few who held the trench on April 19th against such fearful odds”.

Company Sergeant Major W J Ward of the 8th Beds who is “out there” wrote: “To Miss Marlow. Just a line in answer to yours of the 9th inst re your brother No. 19944 Private J Marlow. I am sorry to tell you that I do not know much about what happened to D Company on 19th April, as I was transferred to B Company some time ago, but I was in the line the same day and we had a very bad time, but when we got out of the line I made enquiries in D Company about what had become of my old Platoon, and I was only too sorry to hear that your brother was missing. I have not heard any more of him since, but if I should I will let you know at once as he was one of the best boys I had in my platoon during the time I was platoon sergeant. He was always willing and always steady and brave. Although so young he was a good boy and no one is more sorry than I at your loss and you take my deepest feelings with you at losing such a fine and ever-so-brave a brother and I must sympathise with you and close my small note. Should I hear any more I will immediately let you know”.

We trust Mrs Marlow may soon hear some good news of her boy(1)

Source: Luton News 19th May 1916

(1) He was killed in action on 19th April and has no known grave.

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