Poignant letter home to best pal’s mum

Port William resident Beth Docherty got in touch about her father, William Adams, who was just a teenager when he went to war in 1914.

William, who survived the war, was a member of the 46 Battalion, Royal Field Artillery (RFA) the gunners who were responsible for both firing on the enemy trenches with a barrage of shells as well as protecting their own side when they advanced across no mans’ land. He was in changes of an ammunition wagon driven by two horses.

William was badly injured after one of the horse got wounded. He was bending down trying to help the stricken animal when it lashed out in pain and kicked him on the head. It took him a long time to recover from this injury and it left him with a permanent, horseshoe-shaped scar on his forehead, his daughter remembers. Beth has the poignant letter that her father wrote to the mother of his best pal, Jimmy Lowe, who was killed in action in 1917 when serving with the Black Watch near Arras.

William writes: “I heard about your loving son’s death. Poor Jimmie, he was so kind and true and respected wherever he went. But I shall never forget him. He was a good pal to me. I was a bit taken aback when I read it. The tears rolled down my cheek and memories came back when we played together at Murray Place. We were the best of friends and did not cast out as the others did, we worked together and helped together. As he enlisted before me, he deserves the honour he has got both from his God above and his King and Country. I hope you receive this note from his fellow companion. Too far away your eyes to see, But not too far to think of thee.”

Driver William Adams

46 Batt RFA

Somewhere in France