The A'Bear Branch

The Great Ward 1917.


CASUALTY. It is with regret that we announce the death in action of Lieutenant (acting Captain) Hedley John A'Bear (Jack) Royal Foot Surreys, second son of Mr. J.B.A'Bear, of "Cowfields", Peppard. Lieutenant A'Bear was 24 years of age, and joined the Colours at the outbreak of war. The news of his death on July 10th is officially announced but several letters have been received by Mrs. A'Bear from his brother officers. His military career has been most successful in the way of promotion and distinction. As sergeant he received the following recognition from the Major-General of the Division: "I have read with great pleasure the report of your regimental commander and brigade commander regarding your gallant conduct and devotion to duty in the field on 13th-14th July 1918, during the battle of the Somme". At the capture of Thiepval he was awarded the Military Medal (as we have previously announced). The following extracts from a letter to Mrs. A'Bear from the Colonel are typical of several letters received from other officers: "Early this morning a heavy shell landed on the roof of a trench shelter, in which were your husband (Jack) and other officers, and he and one of his subalterns were killed instantly. It is, indeed, a great loss to all of us here, as he was the most popular officer in the battalion, both with his brother officers and his men, and knowing how much greater your loss is, we give you our heartfelt sympathy. I was not alone in having the deepest affection for Jack A'Bear, but apart from this I have lost to-day one of the best officers in the battalion. I promoted him to the command of a campany soon after I took over the battalion, and he proved time after time that I could not have made a better choice. I am certain that no more gallant officer has given his life for his country than Captain A'Bear ..... I would again assure you of the deep sympathy of all the ranks in the battalion". A Lieutenant writes: "We have lost in him the pride of the regiment - a friend, a soldier and a gentleman". Another officer says: "We are all the poorer without him; that type of man is all too hard to replace these days - in fact they are irreplaceable". A memorial service will be held at the Parish Church on Sunday.

MEMORIAL SERVICE: To the memory of Captain H.J.A'Bear, M.M. (whose death in action we recorded last week), a service was held at the Parish Church on Sunday afternoon. There was a large congregation, drawn from Peppard and the surrounding parishes. Members of the family present included Mr. and Mrs. J.A'Bear, Mrs. H.J.A'Bear and Miss A'Bear. The Rector conducted the service, and in the course of a short address dwelt on Capt. A'Bear's career as a soldier, crowned by a noble death. The hymns were "Fight the good fight", "Peace, perfect peace", and "Jesu, Lover of my soul". At the close the "Dead March" was played by the organist.

A'BEAR - On August 30th 1937 at Manor Farm, Aldsworth, Cheltenham, John Burton A'Bear, aged 79 years.