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Private Arthur James Wheatley

40776 7th/8th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

Pte A J WheatleySon of Mr Jabez and Mrs Annie Wheatley

Aged 21 years

Died 18th September 1918

Commemorated at La Kruele Military Cemetery, Hazebrouck
Grave IV. A.5

Born at Raunds, enlisted at Rushden.
Rushden Echo, October 4th, 1918, transcribed by Greville Watson

Rushden’s Casualty List - Victims of the War

Mr and Mrs Jabez Wheatley, of 14, Park-place, Rushden, have suffered bereavement by the death from wounds in France on Sept. 18th of their second son, 40776, Pte. Arthur James Wheatley, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, aged 21.  A fortnight ago to-day they received a telegram to say their son was seriously wounded and that permission to visit him could not be granted.  On the following day, however, their hopes were somewhat raised by the receipt of the following letter from the Rev. F. P. Williams, M.C., Chaplain to the Forces : “I am sorry to tell you that your son, Pte. A. J. Wheatley, was wounded in action on September 16th.  He is wounded by shell in the left arm (fractured), left knee, leg and foot, but he is doing as well as can be expected.  Probably he will be in England soon.”  On Monday week the parents received a further telegram stating that their son had passed away, and official confirmation is now received.  Mr and Mrs Wheatley have some little consolation in the thought that their eldest son, Pte. H. S. Wheatley, of the same regiment, was able to attend his brother’s funeral.  In a letter home, Pte. H. S. Wheatley says : “It gives me great pain to have to dispatch this news to you, as it was so sudden to me.  Only a few days before his death I saw him quite well, and he gave me his photo.  I can’t tell you how I felt, as I am so upset.  I know you will miss him so, but God has taken him to a better land, and we will all see him again some day.  His officer is very upset about it, as he was such a good lad.  He was hit by a piece of shell in the shoulder, and poison set in.  He lived one day and a half, so they sent for me to see him.  He was cheery until about two hours before he passed away, and he said ‘Tell Sam to tell mother,’ but he died before he could say any more.  It has upset me so much that I don’t know what to do, but there are thousands who have died for this great cause.  I saw him buried in a lovely graveyard.  I will send you a sketch of his grave, mother.  It is heartrending to have to send you this letter, but I will tell you more about him later.  I am sorry for Dad and you, dear, but God knows best, and we will join up later together.”  In a subsequent letter to his wife, Pte. H. S. Wheatley says : “It was hell up there.  I was wondering whether I should get out myself, but thank God, I am alive and well at present.  Arthur was expecting leave, but it was a very bad wound.  He knew me to the last.”  The deceased soldier enlisted nearly two years ago.  He went out to France twelve months ago last February, and in the following April he was invalided home with trench feet, returning to France in October last year.  On March 22nd this year he received slight shrapnel wounds in the face and hands, but was not sent to England.  Before joining the Colours he was in the employ of the late Mr Owen Smith, boot manufacturer, Raunds, and as a lad passed through Raunds parish Church Sunday school, and for four years he was a member of the choir of that church.
Private H S WheatleyKettering Leader, 4th October 1918, transcribed by John Collins.

Tell Mother! - Rushden Fusilier’s Unfinished Dying Message

Pte. Arthur James Wheatley, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, and son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Wheatley, 14, Park-place, Rushden, has been officially reported as having died on September 18th, of wounds received in action on September 16th. His brother, Pte. H. Sam Wheatley, also of the Royal Inniskillings, was sent for, and cycled 20 miles, arriving at the hospital just in time for the burial. He was told by a nurse that his deceased brother’s last words were: ”Tell Sam to tell mother --,” though he died before he could say more. The late Pte. Wheatley, who was 21 years of age on November 7th, was wounded in the shoulder by a shell, and septic poisoning set in, causing his death. Before joining up in November, 1915, he was in the employ of Messrs. Owen Smith, shoe manufacturers, Raunds.

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