|The Rushden Echo Friday 30 June 1916, transcribed by Nicky Bates
Rushden Soldier Dead - Pte Fred Clayton
An Officer and Four Men - Killed by the Same Shell
We deeply regret to report that Mr and Mrs F Clayton, of 109, Park-road, Rushden, have received news, which though from unofficial source, is, we fear true, that their son, Pte Fred Clayton, of the Northants Regt, was killed in action last Friday, June 23rd. The sad news is sent by the deceased soldier's captain, who writes under date June 24th, as follows:-
"It is my sad duty to write these few words to you as your son Fred Clayton was killed in action last night. He has been with my battery for some time, and was a man that could be depended on in all emergencies. He died like a hero by sticking to his guns during a heavy bombardment. A direct hit from a shell blew the emplacement he was into pieces. I regret the loss of a good soldier and you have my own sympathy and the sympathy of his battery comrades. Any further information you might require I shall be only too pleased to render."
Mr and Mrs Clayton have received further confirmation of their son's death from Mrs Reid, of Stanwick, whose husband has written home to say that he heard Pte Clayton's death as described above, and went to ascertain if it was right. He saw Pte Clayton, with three other comrades and an officer, all lying dead having been killed by the same explosion of the same shell. He helped to carry Pte Clayton off the battlefield, and said in his letter that he would see that his comrades all had a decent burial.
The late Pte Clayton, who was 21 years of age, enlisted on April 8th, 1915, prior to which time he was in the employ of Messrs. Wm Green and Sons, Rushden. He was a member of the Rushden Athletic Club, and of the cycle club in connection with that institution.
The late Pte Clayton, we understand, had not been in the trenches between Easter and June 20th as he had become attached to a trench mortar battery and had been receiving instruction in his new work, having prior to that been a bomb thrower for 12 months.
To-day Mrs Clayton received the following letter from the Chaplain:-
"Dear Madam, - I am so sorrow [sic] to have to tell you of the death of Pte Clayton of the Northants, attached to the Light Trench Mortar Battery. He was killed with his officer and three comrades on Saturday in the trenches. We buried them all together on Sunday evening in the cemetery close to here, and the battery will erect crosses over their graves. Pte Clayton was killed instantly and I think could not have suffered at all. With very real sympathy, yours very truly, Ed U Evitt, Chaplain."
|The Rushden Echo Friday 14 July 1916, transcribed by Nicky Bates
Died a Hero's' Death - The Late Pte Fredk A Clayton
Chums' Tribute to a Rushden Victim - "A Good Soldier"
Mr and Mrs F Clayton, 109, Park-road, Rushden, received official news on Sunday in confirmation of the death in action of their son, Pte Frederick A Clayton, of the Northants Regiment. In our issue of a fortnight ago we published letter from the deceased soldier's captain and from the chaplain in which particulars were given of the gallant manner in which the late Pte Clayton met with his death. It will be remembered that the chaplain wrote: "He was a man that could be depended on in all emergencies, and he died like a hero by sticking to his guns during a heavy bombardment."
Since then Mrs Clayton has received the following letter from Pte T Copson, son of Mr Fred Copson, of 13 Queen-street, Rushden, who was her son's chum:-
"I am writing these few lines to express my sincere sympathy with you in the great loss you have sustained by the death of your son Fred. He and I were the greatest of chums, and we had been together ever since we came out. I was only about twenty yards away when it occurred, and I can assure you he did not suffer. He died a hero's death by the side of the gun he was working. He was a good soldier and liked by everyone in the battery. I may also add I was present at the burial service and saw him laid to rest. If ever I have the good fortune to come back I will tell you where he was buried. If there is anything further you would like to know I will be only too pleased to tell you anything that lies in my power. I am sending his cap badge as I think you may treasure it. I also have a watch belonging to him. It is not of great value but I know it would be worth a lot to you. I will take great care of it and let you have it as soon as I can. I will send it by the first fellow I know who is coming home."
Mrs Clayton has also received letters expressing sympathy with her in her bereavement from the Rushden Athletic Club and Institute and from Mr C A K Green, her son's former employer. For these and all other she and the deceased soldier's fiancee desire us to give expression to their thanks.
Rushden Echo, 22nd June 1917, transcribed by Gill Hollis
In remembrance of Pte. Frederick Albert Clayton, of the 7th Northants Regiment, attached Trench Mortar Battery. Who was killed in action June 23rd, 1816. Aged 21 years.
A father’s and mother’s hearts are aching
For a son they love so well;
He gave his life for his country,
In Honour’s cause he fell.
He sleeps beside his comrades
In a hallowed grave unknown,
But his name is written in letters of love
On our hearts he left at home.
We often sit and think of him
When we are all alone,
But his memory is the only thing
That we can call our own.
Inserted by his loving mother and father and brothers, - 109, Park Road, Rushden.