|Rushden Echo, 25th February 1916, transcribed by Kay Collins
Higham Ferrers Soldier Dead - Pte Sebe Middleton
Succumbs to Frostbite and Serious Complications
We regret to state that Pte Eusebius (Sebe) Middleton, 1/4th Northants Regt. Territorial Force, son of Mr and Mrs Septimus Middleton, of Wharf-road, Higham Ferrers, has died from complications following frostbite, and illness. In last week’s “Rushden Echo” we reported that Pte Middleton was a patient at the University War Hospital at Southampton, suffering from frostbite, complicated by dysentery, kidney trouble, and abscesses, and that it had been found necessary to amputate one foot, while it was feared that the other foot would also have to be taken off if the state of the patient’s health permitted.
A telegram was received by the patient’s parents at Higham Ferrers on Saturday afternoon stating that the condition of their son was critical, and another telegram was received on Monday morning to the effect that he passed away on Sunday afternoon.
Two years ago the deceased joined the Higham Ferrers Company of Territorials. In July 1914, he attended the camp at Berkhampstead, and on the outbreak of war he was recalled from the camp with the rest of the Northants Territorials. He volunteered at the camp for active service, though only 16 years of age at that time. Before going to camp he worked for Mr W N Roberts, currier. The deceased was a scholar in the Wesleyan Sunday school and he was also a member of the Wesleyan Boys’ Brigade.
Yesterday afternoon the funeral of the deceased soldier took place at Higham Ferrers. An impressive service was held in the Wesleyan Church, with which the deceased was so closely identified. The Rev R H Higson conducted the service and gave a brief address. A hymn was sung and, as the coffin was removed from the church, the organist, Mr Walter Middleton, a cousin of the deceased, played the “Dead March” in “Saul”.
The mourners were:- Mr and Mrs Septimus Middleton (father and mother), Misses Laura and Muriel Middleton (sisters), Mr and Mrs Frank Middleton (brother and siter-in-law), Mrs E Middleton and Mr A Middleton (sister-in-law and uncle), Mr and Mrs J Middleton (uncle and aunt), Mr and Mrs O Middleton (uncle and aunt), Miss N Middleton and Mr W S Middleton (cousins), Mr W Middleton and Mr B H Pashler (cousins).
The coffin which was draped with the Union Jack, bore the inscription:
Pte E Middleton,
Died Feb 20th 1916
Aged 18 years.
The burying party, of the 3/4th Northants Regt., from the Northampton Depot, comprised Lieut A G A Hodges, Sergts Corby, Andrews and Walding, Corpl Poulton, Lance-Corpl Buxton, and Pte Saunders. They acted as bearers. Col-Sergt F Draper was also present, as well as Ptes W Cox and H Westley, 1/4th Northants regt., who are home on leave at Irthlingborough. As Pte Westley left the Gallipoli Peninsula, the last man he saw was the deceased soldier, and it is a coincidence that Pte Westley’s brother was billeted at Thetford with the deceased.
The Rev R H Higson officiated at the interment at the Cemetery. Mr F Parker was the undertaker.
[A list of wreaths follows]
Through civic thoughtfulness the road from the deceased’s home to the chapel and thence to the cemetery had been cleared of the snow.
Mr and Mrs Septimus Middleton wish to thank all friends for their sympathy in their sad loss.
The following message has been received:- “The King commands me to assure you of the true sympathy of His Majesty and the Queen in your sorrow.Kitchener.”
The following letter has been received from Sister Isabel Jack, who was in charge of the deceased in hospital:-
University War Hospital,
21st Feb 1916.
Dear Mrs Middleton,
You will have heard by now of the sad news of your dear little boy Sebie.
We wired you as soon as we saw the change which came on so suddenly, but he passed away sooner than we expected. His end was very peaceful and calm.
I am sure it was a great blow to you, it was a great disappointment to us all. We did all in our power to make him happy. I meant to have written the day of his birthday, but we were busy. He received numerous post cards, which seemed to cheer him. I have sent the cards and money to you, through the office; I thought you would like to treasure them in remembrance of your boy.
He was one of the bravest patients we have had, and he did try to get well. We all got to be so fond of Sebie, never a murmur of discontent.
I do hope, Mrs Middleton, you are keeping your spirits up, and may God help and comfort you at this sad hour. If there is anything you would like to know about Sebie, I shall be too pleased if you would write to me.
With kindest regards and sympathy from us all.