|The Rushden Echo Friday 1 September 1916, transcribed by Nicky Bates
Rushden Soldier Killed - Pte W Bigley - "Died a Hero's Death"
We regret to report that Mrs J Bigley, of 56, Oakley-road, Rushden, has received news of the death of her son, Pte W Bigley, Northants Regt, on the Western front. The sad news is sent by Sec Lieut J B Oldfield, who writes under the date of Aug. 25th as follows:-
"Dear Madam, - With great regret I have to inform you that your brave son, Pte W Bigley, was killed yesterday at 3 p.m. by a German shell. Perhaps it will be some slight consolation in your great sorrow to know that death was instantaneous. It happened so quickly that he could not have known what hit him.
"As we are still in the trenches and having a rather rough time I haven't time to write full particulars, but can assure you I shall do so in a few day's time.
"He was a very gallant soldier and died a hero's death. Believe me to be madam, in deep sympathy with you in this your great bereavement, Yours faithfully, J B Oldfield."
Further information is sent by Cpl B C Smith, one of the deceased soldier's comrades, who writes under date Aug. 25th as follows:-
"It is with deep regret that I have to tell you that Walter was killed last night (Thursday Aug. 24th). Our people were trench mortaring the Germans, who retaliated by shelling us. Walter was just taking some food to his comrades, when a shell burst close against him, killing him instantly, also severely wounding and the Company Sergt Major and Quarter Master Sergeant.
"I was away from the regt. at the time, but on hearing the sad news I went up to the trenches and made all enquiries I possibly could. I went to Walter's funeral; he is buried in the British cemetery at Vermelles. I am sure it will be a great relief to you to know that he had a British soldier's funeral.
"I cannot tell you what a terrible blow it is to me, as you know Walter and I have been such staunch pals ever since we enlisted. It will be like losing a brother, as we were always together as much as possible. It is always the custom for the platoon officer and sergeant to let the parents know if anyone has been killed, but they did not know your address, as I wasn't there to tell them, but they and his many comrades of the regiment have asked me to convey to you their deepest sympathy. In closing please accept my deepest sympathy, and may God bless and strengthen you in your hour of trouble."
The late Pte Bigley enlisted on April 6th 1915, prior to which time he was employed by Messrs. Nurrish & Pallettt, boot manufacturers, Rushden. As a lad he passed through the Park-road Wesleyan Sunday School, but in later years was a regular attendant at the Wellingborough-road Mission Hall, Rushden. He had been in France 13 months when he met his gallant end, having proceeded thither on July 21st, 1915. Although of a very quiet and retiring disposition he was well-known in the town and greatly respected by all who were acquainted with him.
Much sympathy is felt withy his parents in the grievous loss they have sustained.