Source: September 1916 casualty.
BRAVE BOY’S DEATH
Only 16, Behaved with Coolness and Courage, Example to Men.
“He was young, but not too young to die a glorious death for England and the cause which we believe to be righteous. Just before going to the trenches I had a celebration of Holy Communion. You[r] boy was present. He was laid to rest near Martinpuich.”
It was comforting to the mother and friends of the sixteen-year-old boy who went away from Todmorden last year to receive the above from Chaplin Harold Peacock, for there had been the brief word:
“Regret to inform you that no. 159209 Pte. J. Watts was killed in action on Sept. 15th, 1916, when our battalion went into action on the Somme.”
The mother, Mrs Watts, who is mourning the loss of her boy, lives at 135 Gamble avenue. When the lad begged to go she finally consented, hoping that the war might be over before he reached France. Previous to the news of his death, which came only a few days since, he had been reported wounded and missing.
“He joined our battalion 3-7-16,” wrote Captain Peacock, “and was proving himself a good soldier. During the severe bombardment which preceded the attack he behaved with coolness and courage, being an example to his comrades.”
Captain S.J. Gaudier also wrote, conveying the deep regrets of his platoon.
The young soldier, Joshua Watts, was employed in the Sun Bricks Co., Todmorden. He was born in Lancashire, but had lived in Toronto twelve years.