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Boughton, Dunkirk & Hernhill
War Memorials



Sources:

The late  Mrs Connie Eve - The original documents have now been donated to the Guards Museum in London

Letters from Frederick Eve’s comrades

“………. How dreadfully sad we all were at the death of your splendid husband.”

Letter  from Captain Frederick Blackwood, Officer in Charge, No. 4 Company.


3 January 1917

2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards,

B.E.F.


Mrs Eve,


I had been meaning to write to you before, to tell you how dreadfully sad we all were at the death of your splendid husband, but we are only just out of the trenches and so have had very little time until now.


I received your letter here this evening on returning from the line.  Your husband was killed instantaneously by a shell, as we were leaving the trenches on the evening of 17th December.  It was a bit of extraordinary bad luck – we were last in the front line, but in Reserve, and there had been no shelling all day – I led the Company out of some quarries at about 6 p.m., having been relieved by some Irish Guards.   Just as we were leaving, the Germans began to shell us and several shells fell very close – a bit of one of them unfortunately struck your husband on the head, and he was killed on the spot – two other men were wounded.   He was carried down to the dressing station which was quite close, but he was then dead.   I am quite certain he suffered no pain whatever, and I don’t think he probably even knew he was hit.


I felt his death particularly because I had sent him on a soft job the day before, for which a man was required, but when he got there the people who had called for a man changed their minds, and said he was not required.  I had chosen him because he had been out too long and had done so well.


He is buried, with a nice cross over his grave, and his full name and regiment, inscribed on it – in the quarry in a little cemetery where lie several more of our gallant dead.


The parcels you sent, I am afraid, have been sent back, as is the usual custom. I will see that everything belonging to him, is sent to you – but I expect this has already been done.


Please accept my deepest sympathy – the consolation is that he died the very best death that a man can die.


Yours faithfully,


Frederick Blackwood

Capt.




Letter from  Douglas ( a Chum of Frederick Eve’s from Rochester Police Force)  written  to a mutual colleague, Russell , the day after Frederick Eve was killed (transcribed from the original pencil-written letter)


18th December 1916

Dear Russell,


It is with the greatest of sorrow I write these few lines to break the sad death of poor Fred which occurred on the night of the 17th.  


Poor Fred was on his way from the trenches when a shell burst over him, he lived a few minutes afterwards and then pass (sic) away.  I spoke to him but he was too far gone and pass away without saying one word.


I can assure you that I feel it very much indeed, as he was the only Chum I had in the Battalion.  I am one of the very few left of the Battalion as they are all new faces.


How I wish this terrible war was over.  I am writing this in great hurry, as I want you to break the news to Mrs Eve.  I had her address, but sorry to say I have lost it, so the next best thing I could think of was to write and ask you to break the bad news to her.  I feel very, very, sorry for her indeed, poor thing.


Kindly let me have her address and I will write and explain all.


You might let the Chief and men know, and I will write and let you know more later.


We are fixing a very nice cross over the grave, stating his name, number and Regiment and date of his death.


Kind regards to all.


I remain your old Chum


Douglas.


“It is with the greatest of sorrow I write these few lines ..........

.......... he was the only Chum I had in the Battalion. I am one of the very few left of the Battalion as they are all new faces.”

“ It was a bit of extraordinary bad luck – ………  …… he had been out too long and had done so well. ”

“…………….He fought the good fight and died I suppose, the grandest death in the world.”

“ I will have everything done that is at all possible, to find anything of his – I know so well how you would value it. ”

“……….. This is a horribly dangerous war and none of us officers and men ever know almost from hour to hour, when our time may not come. ”

“ I would so much have liked to have been able to send you something belonging to him”

A further letter  from Captain Lord Frederick Blackwood, Officer in Charge, No. 4 Company, (transcribed from the original pencil-written letter) tells Frederick’s widow that the search for his belongings has been unsuccessful:


From

Captain Lord Frederick Blackwood,

2nd Grenadier Guards.

January 21st 1917


Mrs Eve,


I am sorry to say that up to now I have been unable to get hold of any of the little things belonging to your husband, though I have taken a good deal of trouble about it.


As I told you when your husband was killed, we had just been relieved by the  2nd Irish Guards in the quarries, and his body was taken back to the quarries (where the doctor was) by my Company stretcher bearers and an officer.   He was buried by the 2nd Irish, and anything belonging to him, should have been taken off him, and sent to his battalion.  This was not done, and I am trying to find out what happened to them.  In any case, his pay book should have been sent us, even supposing nothing else was carried by him.  I am waiting to enquire to the Priest who I know was there, to ask him if he knows anything about it.  I would so much have liked to have been able to send you something belonging to him but I still have hopes that his things might have been sent to the base, and that you will get them alright.


I feel so very sorry for you – I know what a nice man your husband was  - and I have always felt his death rather particularly – as the shell that killed him burst very near to myself and it might so easily have been my wife who was in the same unhappy position as you are now in.


Thank you for your good wishes for my own safety.   This is a horribly dangerous war and none of us officers and men ever know almost from hour to hour, when our time may not come.


Yours truly,

Frederick Blackwood

Lt.

A letter from Lieutenant R.A.W. Bicknell (transcribed from the original pencil-written letter) indicates that his comrades knew how precious to his widow would be Frederick’s few personal belongings.


January 8th  1917


To Mrs Eve.

Dear Madam,


Capt. Lord F. Blackwood has told me to write to you, during his absence with regard to your late husband’s belongings. I was with him when he died and I feel I should like you to know that he suffered no pain and died as he was carried into the dressing station – he was buried by the Irish Guards and I am having enquiries made as to whether anything was found. You can be perfectly sure that I will have everything done that is at all possible, to find anything of his – I know so well how you would value it.


These letters are difficult to write and still more so for you to read – I am coming home on short leave soon and will let you know anything I can, either then or before I start.


I hope that you are comforted in your loss – he fought the good fight and died I suppose, the grandest death in the world.


Yours truly,

R.A.W. Bicknell

Lt.


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