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Information from Clive Wood, 2008
Corporal Archie Alfred Mepham

12385 5th Northamptonshire Regiment

Grave F.588Son of Mr John R and Mrs Clara J Mepham

Aged 23 years

Died 22nd March 1916

Commemorated in Bethune Town Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France
Grave V. B.72
And in Rushden Cemetery
Grave F.588

Born Burton-on-Trent.
The soldiers
Back row: Privates Eley, A. Trussler, W. Bailey.

Front row: Lance-Corpl. A. A. Mepham, Privates W. Linnett, W. Parker, A. Ford, T Cook.

Picture by A A Mepham

Rushden Argus, 25th December 1914, transcribed by Kay Collins

Anxious to Have a go at the Germans

We print this group of Rushden soldiers now at Shorncliffe. They are all feeling well and fit and are looking forward to having a "whack at the Germans." Most of them had military training previous to joining the 5th Battalion Northants Regiment. Lance-Corpl. Mepham has recently earned the promotion from private.

The Wellingborough News Friday 25 December 1914, transcribed by Nicky Bates

British 'Russians' - Anxious to Have a Go at the Germans

A group of Rushden soldiers now at Shorncliffe, are feeling well and fit and are looking forward to having a "whack at the Germans". Most of them had military training previous to joining the 5th Battalion Northants regiment. Lance-Corpl Mepham has recently earned the promotion from private.

[photo of] Pts Eley, A Trussler, W Bailey, Lance-Corpl A A Mepham, Ptes W Linnett, W Parker, A Ford

Local War Items Promotion

The son of Mr J Mepham, of the Rushden Steam Laundry, has been promoted to the rank of Lance-Corpl of the 5th Battalion of the Northants regiment, now at Shorncliffe.

The Rushden Echo Friday 25 December 1914,transcribed by  Nicky Bates

Promotion for a Rushden Soldier

Serving at Shorncliffe, Private Archie Mepham, son of Mr J Mepham, of the Steam Laundry, Rushden, has been promoted to the rank of Lance-Corporal. He is in the 5th Battalion Northants.

The Rushden Echo Friday 31 March 1916, transcribed by  Nicky Bates

Two Victims of One Shell - Rushden Soldiers Killed - Corpl AA Mepham Succumbs to Wounds - Buried in Bethune Cemetery

We regret to report that news has been received in Rushden from unofficial sources that Corpl AA Mepham, of C Company, 5th Northants (Pioneers), eldest son of Mr and Mrs Mepham, of 103, Portland-road, Rushden, has been killed in action. The same shell mat laid him low also killed, we regret to say, another Rushden soldier, Lance Corpl T Cooke, particulars of whose tragic death are reported in this issue. The deceased soldiers were bosom friends and used to share each other's parcels. They enlisted together a week after the outbreak of war in August 1914, and went out with the same draft to the Western front, in May 1915.

Archie MephamThe late Corpl Mepham was aged 23 years and 10 months and was employed at the Rushden Steam Laundry, of which establishment his father is the proprietor. He had spent two years in Canada, and before going abroad had seen up to two years service in the Northamptonshire Yeomanry.

Mrs Mepham received the following letter, giving the sad news of her son's death on Saturday morning.

33 Casualty Clearing Station, BEF, France

Dear Madam,

I am writing to let you know that Corpl Mepham 12385 of the 5th Northants was admitted in here yesterday evening at 7.15, suffering from wounds in the neck and left side. He was very seriously wounded, and everything possible was done for him from a medical point of view, but all to no avail. He passed away at 3.45 this morning. His remains will be buried in Bethune Cemetery. His personal effects will be forwarded to you through official channels soon. With earnest prayers for you consolation in your great sorrow and with sincere sympathy,

Yours very truly (Rev) R Gillanders
C of E Chaplain

Wellingborough News, March 31 1916, transcribed by Clive Wood

Killed by the same shell

We are grieved to report that two Rushden lads have recently been killed by the same shell in France. The first one is Corpl. A A Mepham of the 5th Northants, son of Mr & Mrs Mepham of 103 Portland Road, Rushden. Corpl. Mepham enlisted in August 1914 and went out to France in May 1915. A letter which Mr Mepham (who is the proprietor of the Steam Laundry) received from a Chaplain on Saturday states that his son was wounded in the neck and left side on Tuesday night, March 21st, between 7 and 8pm and died at 3.45am the next morning. He was buried in Bethune Cemetery.

The other soldier is Lance-Corpl. T Cook of the 5th Northants, eldest son of Mr & Mrs Wm Cook of 1 Trafford Road, Rushden.

Lance-Corpl. Cook enlisted at the same time as Corpl. Mepham and the two became firm friends going to the front together. According to a letter which Mrs Cook received from one of her relatives at the front, both men were repairing a trench under great difficulties when a shell from a German trench mortar exploded and killed Lance-Corpl. Cook instantaneously, mortally wounding Corpl. Mepham and injuring several other men. Mrs Cook has received a letter of sympathy from Sergt. H. Wortley of the 5th Northants. The case is made all the sadder because of the fact that Lance. Corpl. Cook came home from the front and was married some six months ago. His wife, who lives in Little Street, has received the sad news from a soldier named Ford..

Wellingborough News, May 5th 1916, transcribed by Clive Wood

A Hero’s Death - Rushden Corporal Killed while Saving a Comrade

We print the latest portrait taken of Corpl. A A Mepham, a pioneer of the 5th Northants, whose heroic death we previously reported. The dead soldier is the son of Mr J Mepham of Rushden. The following letters were written to the bereaved parents.

Second/Lieut Fletcher writes:
"It is with deep sorrow I write to inform you of the death of your son, Corporal Mepham, who died of wounds two days ago as a result of the explosion of a shell near him. Your son Archie was a very good worker, and died a gallant soldier's death doing his work. He will be greatly missed by both his comrades and myself. He will be buried in the English Soldiers Cemetery, and some of his comrades will attend the funeral. I know his loss to you will be very great indeed. He was a dutiful son in writing home regularly to you both and I feel sure he leaves behind him a sorrowing mother and father who will always miss him".

A comrade Lance-Corporal Chas. A Lawley wrote: "I take this opportunity to again express my deepest sympathy in your sad loss. You have one great consolation - you have every reason to be one of the proudest mothers in Great Britain for your son lost his life in his endeavour to save a comrade".

The Rushden Echo Friday 23 March 1917, transcribed by Nicky Bates

In Memoriam

MEPHAM - In loving memory of Corpl Archie Mepham, of the 5th Northants Regt. (Pioneers), the dearly loved eldest son of Mr and Mrs Mepham, of Rushden, who was wounded March 21st and died March 22nd, 1916, aged 23 years, in France.

A loving son, a brother kind,
A beautiful memory left behind.
He proudly answered his country's call,
His life he gave for one and all.
We never knew what pain he had,
We never saw him die.
We only know he passed away
And never said Good-bye.

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