August 1914: The Funeral Procession for Corporal Rawson
Corporal Arthur Rawson became the first local fatality of WW1 when he was killed in an accident with a rifle at a training camp in Romford. The shot which killed him was fired by another Whittlesey recruit and his friend, Alfred Davis.
The incident happened whilst the men were sleeping. The 18 year old Private David laid down on his rifle and a shot was fired. The bullet entered Corporal Rawson’s leg and travelled up through his groin, severing an artery. Despite the efforts by the Royal Army Medical Corps officer to stop the bleeding his leg was amputated. He died shortly after the operation.
The findings of a Court inquiry were defined as “a tragic accident” with a verdict given of “Accidental Death with no parties to blame”.
Lance Corporal Davis was badly wounded himself in May 1915 when rescuing a wounded comrade under heavy shell fire, whilst working as a stretcher bearer. This resulted in him being awarded the Cambridgeshire Regiments’ earliest Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM).