WW1 Commemoration: Tragic end to couple in war

WW1 Commeration: Tragic end to couple in war

WW1 Commeration: Tragic end to couple in war

First published in News
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A SAD and poignant story was uncovered by the Remembering Rodborough local history group after trawling through old copies of the Stroud News.

On October, 27, 1917 Sergeant Arthur Watkins of the Gloucestershire Regiment and Julia Stockwell of Bath Rd Terrace, Rodborough, were married at Holy Trinity Church.

Following the wedding, Arthur returned to the Western Front and Julia to work at the munitions factory at Quedgeley.

Arthur Watkins, a former employee of Stroud Brewery, served throughout the war, having joined The Gloucesters as a volunteer in September 1914.

But in March 1918, Arthur was killed in action. Julia never rallied from the blow and died on the first anniversary of their wedding, October, 27, 1918. She had succumbed to the flu pandemic but a secondary cause of death was illness likely to have been connected to exposure to dangerous chemicals.

In spite of Arthur’s death, the Stroud News records the enthusiasm of Julia’s younger brother Jack, who was a Stroud News employee, to go to war. The newspaper from August 1918 reads: “Another Stroud News man has left on His Majesty’s service. I refer to young Jack Stockwell of Bath Road. His enthusiasm for war has been a bit of a worry to his employers and parents, for Jack joined the colours in the early stages of the conflict and it was only when he was down for a draft that it was discovered that he was under age and was returned to civilian life. He has now joined the navy and at this moment, a week after enlistment, he is sailing to America on a troop ship. Despite the turmoil he has caused in this office by his patriotic fervour, young Jack has many good points and those whom he most tried, forget and forgive his little idiosyncrasies now. Good luck to him is my sincerest sentiment, anyhow”

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