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Private Frederick J Burgess

48993 2nd Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment

Grave DA.550
Grave C.208
Son of Mr John & Mrs Harriet Burgess
Husband of Emily

Aged 28 years

Died 30th May 1918

Commemorated at Roye New British Cemetery
Grave I. B.4.
And in Rushden Cemetery
Graves DA.550 & C.208

His brother Francis Sidney Burgess was killed in action, two months before Fred, on 23rd March 1918.

Born and enlisted at Rushden.
The Rushden Echo Friday 3 May 1918, transcribed by Nicky Bates

Rushden's Casualty List

Mr and Mrs John Burgess, of 27 Harborough-road, Rushden, have received official news of the death in action on March 23rd of their youngest son, 20350, Pte Sydney Burgess of the Northants Regiment. He enlisted in August, 1915, up to which time he was employed by Messrs. Nurrish and Pallett. He had been in France altogether over two years, and had twice been wounded. As a lad he passed through the Park road Baptist Sunday School, and his name is inscribed on the Roll of Honour of that church. One other son, 48993, Pte Fred Burgess, also of the County Regiment, has been missing from his unit since March 26th. His wife is now residing with her mother, Mrs Fairey, in Harborough road, Rushden. Pte Fred Burgess joined up on July 20th, last year, and went to France early in January this year. He formerly worked for Messrs. Knight and Lawrence, Rushden.

Rushden Echo, 4th October 1918, transcribed by Kay Collins

A Rumour has been current this week concerning Pte. Fred Burgess, of Rushden, who is a prisoner of war in Germany, to the effect that he has been shot by the Germans for insolence to a German officer. This is absolutely without foundation. Although a little news concerning the soldier has come in a letter, which has caused his people great anxiety, nothing definite has yet been received. If any actual news reaches the town relating to the soldier, Mrs. F. Burgess, who resides at 69 Harborough-road, or his parents, at 27 Harborough-road, will be very grateful if the friends will communicate with them at once.

Rushden Echo, 20th December 1918, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Prisoner of War - PTE. F. J. BURGESS - Behind the German Lines
Another sad case of a prisoner of war killed behind the German lines, although supposed to have been safe in a camp comes to light in a letter received this week from a returned prisoner.

The unfortunate prisoner, Private F. J. Burgess, 48993, 2nd Northants Regt., husband of Mrs. Burgess, of Harborough-road Rushden, was captured in the early days of the German offensive. He sent a postcard on which he had to say he was at Stendall, but like many others, he never was at the place named. He did not receive any parcels nor letters, and no letters were received from him. All the time he was working behind the German lines, and from information given by returned prisoners it is proved that he was killed whilst there. Mrs. Burgess was advised to write to a Capt. Smith, Army Chaplain, and the reply she received was from one who signed himself Pte. Smith, and who apparently acted in the capacity of chaplain. Pte Smith writes:- Dear Mrs. Burgess,—I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter and to express to you my heartfelt sympathy in the irreparable loss you have sustained in the awful death of your husband whilst a prisoner of war.

I’m afraid I cannot tell you more than you have already heard. I only wish I could. In regard to his death, it was no doubt absolutely instantaneous. It happened whilst he was out at work. He was using a pick axe at the time and struck a fuse of an unexploded bomb, killing him and wounding two or three others. This happened on May 30th in the morning at a small place named Damery. In the evening I buried him just outside the camp. In addition to myself and an English interpreter there were twelve of his comrades attended and a few Germans, including the sentries, stood looking on. I read the whole of the burial service, except the lesson, out of the book of Common Prayer. In fact we gave him as respectable a burial as circumstances and authorities would allow. In regard to any mark to recognise his grave, I cannot say. Up to the time I left that place there was none. What subsequently happened I cannot say. Please do not worry more than you can help for your own health's sake. He died doing his duty even though a prisoner. He made the "Great Sacrifice," and who can do more for their country?

Let us hope and pray that he is at rest, and may God grant him eternal peace. Let me assure you both you and him have been in my prayers. Should I be passing through your town, as I do come that way every summer for my holidays, I will make it my business to call on you.

Kindest regards and prayer for you yours.—Believe me, yours truly,

10 Ranelagh-terrace, Leamington Spa.
Dec. 17th, 1918.

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