|Rushden Echo, July 14 1916, researched & transcribed by Clive Wood
The third son of Charles and Selina Dickens of 39 Little Street, Rushden. The first his mother knew of his enlistment was when she found his apron rolled up and placed on top of a cupboard in the washhouse. Serving with the Northamptonshire Regiment, died of wounds July 3rd 1916 aged 26 years.
Succumbs to Serious Injuries - Three Shrapnel Wounds
'Talking Of Good Old Rushden'
Mrs T Dickens, No 8 Harborough Road, Rushden, received unofficial news on Monday morning that her husband, Pte. Thomas (Tom) Dickens, Northants Regt, has died of wounds received in action. The news is contained in a letter from Gunner Jesse Smith, R.F.A. France, son of Mr and Mrs Smith, of 28 Crabb Street, Rushden. He writes:-
"Dear Mrs Dickens,
I regret to inform you that your husband died of wounds at two o'clock this morning (July 4). I was sitting beside him for two hours before he passed away, and I can assure you that he was in no pain and quite unconscious when he died. He seemed quite contented when I was with him, and was talking of the times we have had together and of good old Rushden, and was in very high hopes of being in England in a few days. Of course, I cannot tell you what I should like to, Mrs Dickens, but you shall know everything when I come home, for he told me all. He was wounded three times in the stomach with shrapnel. I carried him to the operation tent and left him. At night Driver Leading and I went to see him and gave him some cigarettes. When he had died there was a rosary round his neck and he was buried with it on. Well I cannot tell you any more of this sad news, but you shall know everything later on. I will bring you a photo of the cemetery where he is buried."
Official confirmation was received by Mrs Dickens on Tuesday morning, a War Office letter arriving by the second post. The letter says that death took place at the 45th Casualty Clearing Station on July 3rd. A letter was enclosed from Mr Asquith (the Prime Minister, as War Secretary), expressing the true sympathy of the King and Queen. Pte. Thomas Dickens enlisted over 12 months ago with Pte. Fred Clayton, who was reported killed in the 'Rushden Echo' a fortnight ago. He was about 25 years old and formerly worked in the shoe trade.