A Spalding soldier due home for Christmas had been killed on the eve of his departure.
Pte George Healey (34), son of Mr W Healey of Little London, had been serving in France with the 1st Lincolnshire Regiment.
This newspaper reported that “all arrangements for making his short stay at home as bright and happy as possible” had been made, but “a piece of German shell cancelled his leave at the same time it closed his promising career on this earth”.
Pte Healey had gone out with the First Expeditionary Force and gone through numerous actions untouched.
He was said to be in the retreat from Mons, and had spent months in the trenches.
The sad news was conveyed in a letter sent by his company officer, Sec-Lieut W H Jacques, who said Pte Healey had been struck on the head with a piece of shell and died instantly.
He wrote: “Your son was one of the very best and bravest men in the company, and in the platoon which I have the honour to command. We all greatly miss his bright, cheery face and his pleasant, kindly manner, which earned him great respect and popularity among both officers and men. The company has sustained a great loss by his death, as he was a man who could be relied on to the last, and a man who, by his example, infused courage and steadiness into the young soldier. He was a good man and a brave soldier.”
Pte Healey came from a “highly patriotic” family. One brother, William Healey, was a Warrant Officer in the Navy and was then mine sweeping at the Dardanelles. Another brother, Joseph H Healey, had been invalided out of the Navy. A third brother, John Healey, was said to be “an old volunteer” who “made strenuous efforts to join the Army” at the outbreak of war. A brother-in-law and five cousins were also serving.