WW1 letter written by Mrs Becher of Southwell on the day her son died

Photo:Abbeville Communal Cemetery

Abbeville Communal Cemetery

Major Becher's grave is referenced III.D.14

By Andrew Wallis

The letter below was written by Mrs A.M. Becher - mother of Major J.P. Becher to another of her sons, Godfrey, on the day Major Becher died, 1st January 1916.  Note the error that the letter was dated ‘January 1st 1915’ when it was in fact 1916.

(I am the grandson of his other brother, Colonel Lancelot (Lance) Becher DSO).

Below the scans of the letter is a transcript in which Mrs Becher records that his death was "most peaceful".

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'WW1 letter written by Mrs Becher of Southwell on the day her son died' page

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'WW1 letter written by Mrs Becher of Southwell on the day her son died' page

 

 

Jan/1st/15 (sic)                                                                                                                                    3 Red X Hos.

Ch P.O.S.I.

B. G.J

France

 

My dearest Godfrey

You will ve this have received my wire telling you of dearest John’s passing, it was most peaceful at 1.30 this morning, he had been very restless all day till tea time then became quiet & remained so till the end. Vera & I stayed at the Hos so were within call. The change came at 1am.  His funeral cannot be till Tuesday at 9.30am as it’s a general holiday today & then tomorrow busy Sunday.  I have been up to the Cemetery this afternoon it’s in a beautiful situation high up, each grave has a little brown cross with name regiment & date of death the chaplain sees that the graves are nicely kept & looked after.  We shall start home Tuesday night or Wed mor: according to the time of the boat of Wed. We shall sleep the night at St Pancras hotel. I have tried to … Lizzie to return home on Monday.

Vera has received the following from the head D here.  I think it’s a beautiful letter.  “I want to express on behalf of our staff to you, the worthy wife of a very brave man, our deepest sympathy, your husband’s bravery & fortitude & his thoughtfulness for others even up to the last have made a wonderful impression on our staff.  He has been mentioned in all their letters home (the D is censor) week by week for a long time.  His example will never be forgotten by any who have had the great priviledge of ministering to his needs.”

 Lance is about 70 miles from here.  I have wired to him the time of the funeral but do not suppose he will be able to come.  Let auntie C… see this letter.

With my best love to dear yourself Yr ever affec’ mother AM Becher

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