A first world war soldier from Batley Carr died following a leg amputation soon after King George V visited him.
Pte Joseph King, 19, of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, was shot through his leg on November 2, 1914.
Recovering at the base hospital in Boulogne, the former miner wrote to his mother Mary with the news, urging her to cheer up and to “tell all the boys I got wounded and am going on well.”
He hoped to be home for Christmas. The Rev Nugent, who had got to know Pte King at the hospital, later wrote her that Joseph had to have his leg amputated to the knee.
But in his next letter, he wrote: “My Dear Madam, I grieve to tell you that Private King died here on December 12. We so hoped he was getting better but suddenly he took a turn for the worse and died.
“I am sure he was prepared to go. I visited him several times and I got to know him well.”
A few days before he died, Joseph’s sister also received a letter in which said King George V and the Prince of Wales paid the hospital a visit with officers.
Joseph wrote: “The King enquired how I was getting on, and then passed on to the other beds. Don’t forget that I shall be pleased to receive a present from you at Christmas,” he added.
Private King, of Albert Street, enlisted in Dewsbury and set off to war on August 10, 1914.
He was buried with military honours at Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, leaving his mother and father Elam, along with seven siblings.
This story is just one of those featured in the latest edition of The Bugle.
It is produced each month by Project Bugle, a WWI history group for Batley and Birstall which is also running a series of monthly exhibitions. Visit Batley or Birstall’s library to learn more and pick up a copy.