This blog is part of a letter sent by Sergeant J Ainscough of Hindley, a soldier with the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. He describes his time training and arrival in France, the long marches in bad weather and weeks spent digging trenches. He then describes the funeral of Sergeant Bailey, junior.
Researched and written by Ann Wilson, volunteer at Wigan Archives and Local Studies
‘First of all, fancy you can see a small group of men moving slowly along, in the dead of night. There you see the small group slowly wending their way, bearing the body of a young man who 24 hours before was in the best of health. Now stitched up in a blanket being borne to his last resting place, with his father, parson and a few comrade following, the father little knowing that he would be lying next but one to his son within a week.
Glancing over to another field, you can see a red glare and you know the men of two nations are wondering which will be the best way to mingle the other’s blood with a piece of lead or metal. (such is war). Then you turn your head and see what used to be someone’s home, gentleman’s or workman’s, no matter, both share the same fate. All at once you turn round to find that the small group have stopped in the middle of a field by a grave that has been dug by the deceased’s comrades and into which is being lowered the remains of a man who has willingly given his life for King, country and the loved ones at home. There they stand with hat in hand and heads bent low, the small group are then dismissed from the graveside looking forlorn and sorrowful, cursing the Kaiser.’
Full letter printed in the Wigan Observer 6th November 1915