|The Rushden Echo Friday 17 November 1916, transcribed by Nicky Bates
Rushden Soldier Killed - Private William Okey of the Northants Regiment - 'One of Our Best Men' - 'Absolutely Reliable'
We regret to report that Mr G T Okey, of 26, Albion-place, Rushden, has received official news that his fourth son, 20836, Pte William Okey, of the Northants Regt., was killed in action on the Western front on November 4th. The official document is accompanied by the customary letter of sympathy for the King and Queen.
Pte Okey, who was 32 years of age, prior to joining the army had served seven years in the Navy, but was discharged in 1907 with a fractured wrist. He joined the colours in October 1915, as one of Capt Stocken's recruits, and went to the Front on February 19th this year. Up to the time of enlistment he was employed by Mr T Robinson, boot manufacturer, Gordon-street, Rushden.
Mr Okey has received the following letter, from Capt Gurney, the commanding officer of his late son's battalion:- "I am very sorry indeed to have to write and tell you that your son was killed two days ago. He was hit by a piece of trench mortar and was killed instantly, so he suffered no pain. At the time he was in charge of one our Lewis guns in the front line. I cannot say how much I sympathise with you in your great loss. He was one of our best men, and absolutely reliable. He will be missed by the whole company."
This is the second son of Mr Okey's who has laid down his life in the service of his country, as his first-born, the late Pte George Okey, of the old 48th Foot (Northants), was killed on November 16, 1898, during the Tirah campaign. His name is included in St Sepulchure's Church, Northampton, to the memory of those who fell.
Two other sons are serving with the colours - Gunner Joseph Okey, of the RGA, and Sapper Arthur Okey, of the Royal Engineers, now in France.