|From the Burnt Records, Peter Inns & Kay Collins
Raymond Ekins and his three sisters were the children of William & Elizabeth Ekins of Albion Place, Rushden. On the 5th August 1912 Raymond married Kate Pettitt and their son Clarence Raymond was born in May the following year at Woolwich. Raymond Ekins was examined at Northampton on 10th December 1915 and was 5' 6" tall, weighed 122 pounds with a 34" chest (2" expansion), needed some dental treatment and was recorded as a shoe leveller. A certifcate signed by Esrom Skinner Pettitt of 7 Beaconsfield Terrace, harness repairer declared Raymond to be a "good saddler", and was dated 15th April 1916. He was called up on 26th April 1916 at Northampton and transferred to Maidenhead for training.
He left England on 29th April 1918 and joined his unit on 16th May 1918, and died of wounds 14th September 1918. His wife was living at 50 Kings Road when she received his effects, listed as disc, numeral, cards, letters, cigarette case, photos, wallet, purse, watch & chain, knife and a badge.
|Rushden Echo, September 20th, 1918, transcribed by Greville Watson
Rushden’s Casualty List
Mrs Ekins, of 50, King’s-road, Rushden, has received the sad news that her husband, Sapper R. Ekins, R.E., has died of wounds. Deceased, who was 29 years of age, leaves a widow and one child. He was a native of Rushden, but for several years worked at Woolwich, returning to Rushden just before joining up. It is a sad feature of the case that by the same post Mrs Ekins received a letter from her husband, saying he was well; a second one from his comrades, saying he was wounded, but going on nicely; and a third from a chaplain, saying he had died of his wounds. The letter from the comrade was as follows: “Saturday, Sept. 14th,Dear Mrs Ekins,I regret to tell you that your husband was wounded this morning as we were returning from the trenches. Let me hasten to assure you that, although it is rather a serious wound, having, I believe, broken the shin bone below the right knee, I honestly do not think it will involve the loss of his leg. He is only hit in one place, and is so very cheerful, conscious all the time. I promised him that I would write to you, and I know first-hand news is better than any other. Fortunately, there was a dressing station not many yards from the place where it happened, so he speedily received proper treatment after we had bandaged it and stopped the flow of blood. I expect he will be writing himself very soon. At any rate, I should say he will be sent back to England, where I hope he will be fortunate enough to stay.” Unhappily the hope expressed in this letter was destroyed by the communication from the chaplain, which was as follows: “Sept. 14th.Dear Madam, I am sorry indeed to have to convey sad news concerning your husband. He was admitted here, wounded, but failed to rally, and passed away early this morning. We laid his body to rest ‘in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life.’ We believe a grateful country will always remember its brave sons who, at the call of honour and duty, have sacrificed their lives so freely for Right, Country, and King.” Sapper Ekins, who formerly was in the employ of Messrs. John Cave and Sons, Rushden, had been in the Army 2½ years. He had just recovered from trench fever, and had only been in the lines three days when he received the fatal wounds.