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Private J R Petch

 
 

Harrogate Herald - 6th June 1917

W H Breare letter

I had a visit on Monday from Corporal G W Sawbridge, who is at St George's Hospital. He is making good progress. Whilst lying at the Casualty Clearing Station he saw Albert Duncan, who was the stage manager at the Kursaal, attending to the electric light. Other Harrogate men he came across were Joe Gibson, out porter; Petch, fruiterer; Hartley, who worked at Mr Hunter's Cambridge Street shop; and "Micky" Harrison, painter, he spied at the entrance of a dug-out as he was coming out of the line. He also saw Sergeant Morrison and Malthouse, of Knaresborough; Tom Saville, E Sherwood, the St Luke's cricketer. This recalled pleasant memories, as Sawbridge was also a player with this club. My visitor was only half a mile from his brother Frank, who was wounded the day after Sawbridge, and subsequently died. He recovered from that wound, but had only been back a day when he got hit again on Easter Monday. A younger brother was also wounded the same day as Frank. He is having ten days' leave before returning to a training centre. Harrogate was brought prominently to mind on one occasion by the display of a large poster in a YMCA hut, with the invitation, "Visit Harrogate for health", and a view of the Prospect Hill and Stray. He speaks highly of the attention received in hospital. He has put on three stone since arriving in England.

 

Harrogate Herald - 20th June 1917

Roll of Honour

Mr and Mrs Archer, of 9 Pearl Street, Starbeck, were greatly relieved and pleased to receive a post-card on Tuesday morning, stating that their son, Private W Archer (West Yorks), was a prisoner in Cassel, Germany. He has been wounded in the right wrist, and is in hospital. Private H L Hughes, son of Mr Hughes, Crown Place, Harrogate, and Private J R Petch (WY), son of Mr and Mrs Petch, 117 Regent Avenue, Harrogate, are also prisoners at Cassel.

W H Breare letter

Private J R Petch, of the 15th West Yorks, is a prisoner in Germany, having been taken on the 3rd of May. His friends, when they heard he was missing, were apprehensive and full of trouble. A postcard from him brought immense relief. They received a postcard from a certain depot, where they look after their own boys who are prisoners, asking for sizes of his cap and boots, and intimating that clothing and food had been sent to him.

 

Harrogate Herald - 20th June 1917

W H Breare letter

News has just come that Private H L Hughes, son of Mr Hughes, fruiterer, Crown Place, is also a prisoner at the same place as Petch - Cassel, Germany. It is with relief we have also heard word has come from Private W Archer, who was wounded in action, as is in hospital in Germany, a prisoner at the same place. His home address is 9 Pearl Street, Starbeck.

I have had many friends of missing soldiers, especially those who were missing on the 3rd of may, to see if I could give them any help or encouragement. I am glad to say that I was able to send them away more cheerful than when they came and decidedly hopeful. I received this early news of the postcards having come from missing prisoner soldiers after seeing friends of Sergeant Major Horner. I hope the good news of missing men turning up as prisoners will bring still further comfort and hope to those who have not yet heard from their boys. in the case of Petch, the usual rumour came through by means of some boy's letter to friends suggesting that Petch had been killed. I hope all you boys will be very careful in sending any such information. It is best not to mention mere rumours or surmises. Say nothing if you do not have direct evidence. You see, though you may write to somebody in confidence, it is bound to get out, and it is whispered from ear to ear and it grows. The consequence is the relatives are anxious and distressed. I know how these rumours arise, and I am sure they are given in good faith. You are told that a boy is missing. Somebody else is likewise informed, and perhaps he will say, "I hope he is not killed". Well, that word killed sticks, and in passing from mouth to mouth it gradually becomes converted into a statement that such and such a boy has been killed. So you will be very careful in your letters, won't you, even in those to your most intimate friends?

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