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Letters From The Bowes Brothers – March 1, 1917 Somewhere in France

Dear Mother and Family,

This is the saddest letter I will ever have to write and long before you get this letter you will have heard from the war office that poor Jimmie has passed away and Fred badly wounded and at present most likely on his way to England.

They were both together with Eddie O’Neill and a McLaggart from Melita and all four were wounded together in the early hours of Feb. 28th. A rifle grenade dropped right among them but the boys were far the worst wounded. I was talking to Jim up the line at 1 o’clock when I came off duty and the next word I got was that both were wounded and then in the afternoon came the news that Jim had passed away.

They sent me from the line but when I reached the field ambulance Fred and the other two had been sent on. Fred was in fair shape when he reached the [field hospital] but they could not tell me in the hospital whether he would lose his leg or not. He also was wounded in the face and arm.

Oh mother, I am nearly heart-broken and crazy. We used to have such talks together and now I am left alone again. Jim passed away very quietly, thinking of us all and not of himself. Mother, let one thing alone comfort you in the hour of your trouble and that is that your dead boy was one of the greatest heroes that has passed away in this terrible strife. Although wounded far the worst and suffering intensely, he would not let them take him out until they had taken Fred first. Oh, was love for your brother ever more fully brought home than that?

Fred does not know as yet that Jim has passed away and they will not likely let him know until he is in better shape. Jim’s private things left today all but his watch which I have carried ever since he joined the battalion. His funeral is to be held tomorrow and I have still that task to do. That is see my brother buried near the shell-swept fields of France.

Now Mother I will close this sad note for my heart is too full to write more at present but you have most of the particulars in fact all at present. God make it more easy for you to stand this terrible blow for I expect by now that you will have heard the sad news.

I will close your loving son,



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