|The Rushden Echo Friday 22 October 1915, transcribed by Nicky Bates
Rushden Soldier Killed? - Conflicting News - The Fate of Private Walter Ayres
Unofficial news was received on October 5 by Mrs G Page, of 27 Oswald road, Rushden, that her brother, Pte W A Ayres, 13210,1st Northants, was killed in action. The news was conveyed by a comrade, Pte S Eason, who says: "Poor Walter Ayres was killed on Sept. 25th in a charge. He was our Captain's servant and was with him when he was killed. Our Captain got very badly gassed, and poor Walter was with him at the time. He just said how well we were doing when he got shot through the head. The bullet went in above the right eye and came out at the back. He lived about four hours but was unconscious all the time. He was buried by the side of a lot more of our regiment. I am sure he will be very much missed by all his platoon, as he was a very good and brave soldier. I should think Mrs Ayres (deceased's mother) will hear from our Captain. I know he took Walter's address".
The above was received by a friend of Mrs Page's. Mrs Page then wrote to Pte Eason and the commanding officer (2nd Lieut D G Chisholm), and both confirmed the report of Walter Ayres' death.
Curiously enough, Mrs Page received official news from the War Office that her brother was slightly wounded and thus a little hope is entertained of some mistake. The decisive statements of Lieut Chisholm and Pte Eason, however, seem to make the hope very vain.
|The Rushden Echo Friday 2 June 1916 , transcribed by Nicky Bates
Rushden Soldier Missing - Conflicting Reports - News Wanted of Private Walter Ayres
Mrs George Page, of 27 Oswald road, Rushden, would be glad to receive news of her brother, Pte Walter Ayres, 13210, B Co., 1st Northants Regt., who was reported in our columns last October to be killed, the news being contained in letters from Pte S Eason 9466, B Co., 1st Northants, and Lieut DC Chisholm, B Co., 1st Northants Regt. After these unofficial reports, an official letter was received from the War Office stating that Pte W Ayres was slightly wounded, as also reported in the "Rushden Echo" at the time. Since then the only news Mrs Page has received is the form of a letter from another brother (Private Oscar Ayres, army cook) at the base, which was received last Friday. He says:-
"On the night of the 20th, I was with the 1st Battalion for a visit, only 10 minutes walk away from our billets. It was very funny how I came to get the news. There was another fellow and myself together, and he offered to meet two of his old chums of the 1st Battalion, and I got into conversation with one, and asked him what company he belonged to. His answer was B company, and I then asked if he knew a fellow by the name of Ayres. His answer was that he belonged to the very same section was Walter, and it was in the Loos affair, on the first night of the gas attack that Capt. Medcalf, made his way over the top of the trench and Walter was the next to follow his Captain, and just as his head was shown over the top, a bullet hit him in the forehead, killing him instantaneously. He was buried just over the parapet and a small cross was erected. That is all the fellow knew of him, and he swore the information was absolutely true."
Another brother, Mr Horace Ayres, also received a letter from the War Office, saying that Pte W Ayres was slightly wounded, and thus conflicting reports leave room for much doubt as to whether it was Walter who was killed. Any information from any comrades or from Capt Medcalf would be gladly received either at Mrs Page's address or at the "Echo" office, Rushden.