|Rushden Echo, 26th November 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins
Higham Ferrers Man Killed
Corpl G W Perkins
Son of Alderman C W Perkins
Struck by a Shell A Promising Career Cut Short An Accomplished Musician
The profound sympathy of every resident of the borough of Higham Ferrers is extended to Alderman and Mrs. C. W. Perkins, in the irreparable loss they have sustained in the death of their eldest son, Corporal George William Perkins, of D Company (Mobb’s Corps), 7th Northamptons. Deceased, who was 29 years of age, was with the British Expeditionary Force in France, and was killed at the front on Nov. 17th.
Alderman Perkins received the following letter on Monday evening last:
“Nov 18 1915
“Dear Sir,I very much regret to have to tell you that your son, Corpl. Perkins was killed yesterday. He was going with an Officer and three other Corporals, as an advance party, to a certain place. They were in a motor lorry going along the road when a shell burst close to them, killing two and wounding two others. Your son was killed on the spot, so I am glad to say did not suffer. As the O.C. of the Company I cannot say how sorry I am to lose him. He was a most efficient N.C.O., always cheerful and helpful under the worst circumstance. Such men are difficult to replace. I might add that you have the sympathy of the whole company.Yours sincerely, D. Farrar, Capt, OC D Co. 7th Northants.”
By the same post came the following letter from2nd Lieut. Meadway:-
“Dear Mr and Mrs Perkins,It is with deepest feelings of sympathy that I write you these few lines to express my great sorrow, as well as that of all ranks in the great loss that you and all of us have sustained. I was in charge of the unfortunate little party at the time when your son was hit, and I hope it will be a slight comfort to you to know that he did not suffer at all, as he was killed instantly. I find it hard to realise that we shall not have him with us again, and I cannot tell you how much he will be missed, as he was always sdo bright and cheerful and a great help to all around him. Let me again express my deepest sympathy.Yours sincerely, Brian W Meadway.
Capt. Edgar Mobbs has written to Ald. Perkins as follows:- “Dear Mr. Perkins,I am very sorry to have to write and say your son has been killed. I know what a shock it will be to you. He was such a good fellow, loved by everyone, and his place will be hard to fill. He was with an advance party going through a village and a shell burst over his head. It killed two of my men and wounded three more. I was 400 yards away and, when i got up to your son he was dead. He was killed on the spot. I took his t=ring off his finger and have sent you the same. All the other things will be sent to you by the Battalion. He was buried at a place called Reminghelst in Belgium. When I get back I will have a cross put on his grave for you. We were just on the way to our trenches, so i could not go back with him. I hope I shall have the pleasure of seeing you some day if i ever get back to England.”
Sergt. H. Pettit, 7th Northants, has sent to the following letter: “Nov. 20, 1915.Dear Mr. Perkins,I hardly know how to write this letter. I know how you must fell, because I feel it so much myself. The sad death of your son has robbed me of a very dear friend and the best corporal any sergeant could wish for. To think that George stood by my side till I was wounded, in those three days of Hell at Loos, and came out unscathed, and then to fall by a chance shell! I can hardly realise it yet that he has gone. It has left me feeling stranded. Dear George always lived with me in our various dug-outs, and slept beside me in the hut at the rest camp. We shared everything we hadwhat was George’s was mine and what was mine was George’s. He was immensely popular throughout the whole of the Company, and indeed with the battalion, and that without seeking for it in the slightest way, as he was always outspoken and said right out what he thought. He was one of our most valued N.C.O.’s, both by officers and men alike, always cheery and willing for any work, and absolutely fearless, so that all his men loved him and would have gone through Hell and back again under him. His place will be impossible to fill. The whole of the 14th Platoon mourn his loss as a dear friend and a tried and valued N.C.O., and wish me to express their deepest sympathy with you and Mrs Perkins, and also Miss Robinson. It is a little something to know that he must have died instantly and suffered no pain at all. One of the men handed me his muffler (Army), which I beg you will allow me to retain as a keepsake, and when I get home I will try and come and see you and hand it over to you.With deepest sympathy, I remain, yours sincerely, Herbert Pettit, Sergt.”
Pte F J Cunninghame, 7th Northants describes the incident thus:“We had some bad luck on Wednesday whilst the Battalion were moving from camp to . A number of men (D Company) were enjoying a ‘left’ on a lorry when a shell struck a tree and caused a premature explosion. Corpl. G. Perkins (Belongs to Higham Ferrers; was in S.S. and B. Bank at Spalding, very popular in the company) was killed outright. Corpl. D. Phillips (connected with Northampton, and an old Wellingburian) and Pte. S. Symonds were severely wounded. The Huns had been staffing the road all the afternoon.
The late Corpl. Perkins was educated at Higham Ferrers Grammar School under the late Mr. A. G. C. Vann, M.A. On leaving school he took up a position in a bank at Spalding, where he remained for 8½ years. During that time he served six years with the old Volunteers, these being subsequently drafted into the Territorials, the 4th Lincolns. After 12 months in a bank at Ipswich, deceased was removed to Kettering, and had been there about 12 months when he enlisted. During his period of service in the Territorials he won several shooting prizes, being an excellent shot. In 1910 he won the battalion silver cup for distance judging.
The principal hobby of deceased was music, of which he was passionately fond, and he was an accomplished pianist. When he left Spalding his many friends in the town, at a special function, made him a presentation of a gold watch and a purse of gold, the recipient having rendered signal service in Spalding as an accompanist at many local concerts. Referring to his abilities, the “Spalding Guardian,” when he left the town, said that Mr. Perkins was one of the most popular and skilful accompanists the town had ever known. He had been accompanist at every musical gathering of note, and London vocalists had several times expressed their delight at the sympathy and brilliance with which he played for them.
About 12 years ago deceased became a member of the Pemberton (Rushden) Lodge of Freemasons, and on leaving for active service the Lodge presented him with a fine pair of field glasses, which he carried to the front with him.
Ald. and Mrs. Perkins have received very many letters expressive of condolence with them, as also many personal expressions of sympathy.