FOR the past four years I have given much thought to an 18-year-old World War One volunteer who joined the DLI behind his parents' backs to become a stretcher-bearer
I wrote a play called 'Before The Leaves Fall' which was inspired by my greatuncle Charles (known to the family as 'Mac') a stretcher-bearer
who lived in Loughborough.
He worked as a stretcher-bearer
, following up behind the advancing troops to bring in the casualties, and spent most of the night bringing in the wounded through a heavy barrage.
Durham-born Michael Heaviside enlisted in the army after the death of his mother and saw action in the Second Boer War as a stretcher-bearer
. After leaving the regular army, he transferred to the Army Reserve and worked in Burnhope Colliery until the outbreak of war, when he re-enlisted.
His parents received the following letter from their son's Commanding Officer, Captain J E Eastwood, who wrote:"We had just one man badly wounded and your son, as a stretcher-bearer
, was attending to him when I heard that we had another man wounded higher up in the trenches so your son set off to attend to him and while doing so was shot dead on the spot."
Historian Alister Williams says: "Before he was an infantry officer Frederick was a stretcher-bearer
, which was a very risky job.
The pensioner's brother Fred Jones, an Army stretcher-bearer
, lost an arm at the Battle of Monte Casino in Italy in 1944.
"Mahatma Gandhi was a stretcher-bearer
, and it was after Spion Kop it was reputed that he first noted his feelings toward passive r esistance."
During World War II he declared himself a conscientious objector and was jailed, later serving as a Red Cross stretcher-bearer
A topic of particular interest to Singh is Gandhi's service as the leader of an Indian stretcher-bearer
corps during the 1906 "Zulu rebellion" in South Africa.
In the killing fields of the Western Front, Jones was a stretcher-bearer
, going out into no man's land to recover wounded soldiers as bullets whizzed past his ears.
The next day, along with a stretcher-bearer
, he returned to the battlefield to rescue a fallen soldier.