On this day in 1917, Captain Morrison-Scott, of the Royal Marine Artillery, wrote this letter to Jane Heaton, of Adair Road, Eastney, Portsmouth.
‘It is with the greatest sorrow that I write to tell you that your husband, Sgt Heaton, was killed today by enemy shell fire at the battery position, while fighting the Hun.
‘He did not suffer, for he received a fragment of shell through the brain.
‘Poor, poor dear fellow, we all – officers and men alike – regarded him with affection and high esteem.
“He is, for me, personally, the greatest loss sustained.
‘I should not tell you, but I do so to show you how highly he was held in esteem – Sgt Heaton was recommended just a few days before for the Military Medal, and it will almost certainly be granted.
‘This, of course, is no consolation, but I know you will like to know that his courage, cheerfulness and soldierly qualities were fully appreciated by his officers and comrades generally.
‘God bless him and you, dear Mrs Heaton.
‘PS There were unfortunately five other fatal casualties at the same time and they have all been buried together in the military cemetery.’
– from John Sadden’s The Portsmouth Book of Days.