News of Spalding and district men at the front in 1916

Sapper J W Searby.
Sapper J W Searby.

A Spalding mother learned on her fourth wedding anniversary that her husband had been killed in France.

Mrs Searby, of South Parade, heard Sapper J W Searby (29) had ben killed in action in France by a German shell.

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The news came in a letter from someone in the same company as her husband. He wrote saying Sapper Searby had been killed with four other men, and his grave had been marked by a cross, its position forwarded to the Grave Register Committee so that a permanent record could be kept of the site.

He added: “His death seems especially sad as he was erecting a cross on his brother’s grave the previous day.”

Sapper Searby, who left a son aged three, was the second son to be killed in France, and a third son had been killed in a trap accident three years earlier.

There was more news of local men that week. Fleet man Pte Charles Wright, of the Coldstream Guards, had been killed in action in France.

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Pte Ernest Burton, of Gedney Drove End, had been awarded the Military Medal for bravery on the battlefield. Pte Burton was attached to the 9th Norfolks.