PELLS, Fred [of Worksop]

Photo:Pte. F. Pells in the Borough of Worksop Roll of Honour of the Great War 1914 - 1918 (at Worksop Library)

Pte. F. Pells in the Borough of Worksop Roll of Honour of the Great War 1914 - 1918 (at Worksop Library)

Picture the Past image - Worksop Guardian, Sissons & Son Ltd.

Sherwood Foresters

Worksop Guardian 14 July 1916

How a Worksop soldier met his death by being “smashed to pieces” by a high explosive shell, is told in a letter to deceased’s wife, Mrs F Pells, of 10, Sandy Lane, Worksop. The Hero’s name is Pte Fred Pells of the 12th Sherwood Foresters, and he lived at 10, Sandy Lane, at his wife’s mothers for a long time. He was very well known in the Sandy Lane district, and about the town, but previous to his death he was for a long time absent, “doing his bit”, and did not get any leave from France. He enlisted on the 4th January last year and left two days later for training at Lichfield, being drafted out to France in September. He served in the trenches ever since, till his death, which happened on June 20th. No official information was received by his relatives for several weeks, and it is only lately they were made sure that he fell and died. The first intimation was conveyed in a letter from Pte G. Knowles, also a Worksop man, attached to the 12th Batt. S.F. at the front, and told the facts of Pell’s death. His letter ran as follows:-

“Dear Madam, I have much grief in telling you about your husband’s death, of which I expect you have heard. He was a pal of mine and only the day before he cut my hair. I will tell you how it happened. We had done our six hours work, and we were relieved to go for our bit of grub and a bit of lead for the next six hours. We had nicely got to sleep when the enemy started shelling all around our dug out. Your husband and three went to a dug out a bit further away for safety, and they asked me to go, but I refused. They had not been there for half-an-hour before a high explosive shell came through their dug-out and buried three of them and wounded the others, who I think, will never be any more good. Our chaps started to work to get them out from underneath. The first one we got was a lad names Hunt, from Ilkeston. His legs, I believe were broken, and his eyes were all bunged up. They say now he is dead. Our chaps worked on and around your husband and a chum from Durham. They were smashed to pieces and were picked up and put in sand-bags and blankets-and, oh! I can tell you, the sight was horrible. We started this sapping job seven weeks ago, and we had twenty nine men, but now we have only ten….I sympathise with you Madam in your great loss:- Yours Pte G.Knowles”

“PS, lots of people in Worksop know me by the name “Chub”. I used to play in the Northern F.C.” This letter explained everything, but gave no dates, and a letter from deceased’s brother-in-law dated June 23rd, said, “Just a few lines to let you know I am in the pink. I know how bothered you all will be with getting the news about poor old Fred. I expect the officer will have written and told you all about him. Nearly all the platoon and I went to see his grave last night. I don’t think there was a man who did not cry, but I expect I started them, for as soon as I saw his name on the cross, I started just the same as a child. I have got a photo of where he was killed”.

Pells was 25 years of age, and leaves a widow and two little girls to mourn his loss. A letter of sympathy was also sent to Mrs Pells, from Lieut: D.Lewis, reinforcing the letter of Pte G.Knowles. Much sympathy will be extended to them during their trial.











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