Fothergill, Albert Edgar
Son of George Fothergill, bootmaker, and Matilda M Fothergill, of 9 Church Street. Younger brother of Julia A, Matilda M, and George R. Also the older brother of Wilfred W and Lilian E. Husband of Latoria May Fothergill, they lived in Grafton, New South Wales, Australia.
Fothergill was born on 02/03/1886, and attended the School from 1901-1902. He served as a Lieutenant in the Army, with the Australian Infantry, Australian Imperial Force, 9th Bn.. Fothergill sadly lost his life on 20/04/1916, as a result of the War.
Fothergill is buried in Rue-du-Bacquerot (13th London) Graveyard, Laventie, France, reference F. 34.
He Never Hesitated to Volunteer (BGS Chronicle July 1916)
"A.E. Fothergill left the School fourteen years ago, having come to it with a Senior Peloquin Scholarship from Queen Elizabeth's Hospital, and there are therefore few left at the School now who remember him personally, though he made many friends of his own time. He went out to Australia, and became a schoolmaster in New South Wales, married, and had three young children, when the war broke out, yet he never hesitated to volunteer for service. He served with the 7th Queensland Rifles, and was an officer of promise: unhappily it was his destiny to be the second Old Boy to dall among the Australians, for in April of this year he was killed in Egypt. He had not forgotten his old School, and about Christmas last wrote sending his photograph and his good wishes: his School has reason to be proud of him." - July 1916
A Letter Home:
76885 Fothergill Albert Edgar late of Grafton and Australian Imperial Forces
In the trenches somewhere in France April 20th 1916
Wishing you many happy returns of the day (May 23rd); will send you a present if I get to town before then, Albert, my dear wife, once more I am taking the opportunity of sending you as much as I am allowed; hoping my letter will give you as much pleasure in reading as it gives me to write it.
I am glad to be able to say that I am in the very best of health and I hope you and the dear little girls are keeping well and keeping a cheerful face as I am endeavouring to do at present despite the frightful weather we are having and the cheerless nature of our surroundings.
Since I last wrote you we have again been shifted and at present we are almost at grips with the Boches with whom we hope to settle accounts shortly. I may not tell you exactly where I am but you may always address your letters to the same address as I gave you before leaving Egypt.
I have not heard from you since you went to Grafton to live, so that I do not know how you got on there.
I am left to guess and imagine all sorts of things but my mind would be greatly relieved to know for certain that everything was going on alright with you. The reason I have had no mail is on account of my change of battalions also change of [company] but I expect a big batch of letters shortly.
Well dear the best news I have for you is that I have been promoted to first Lieutenant which entitles me to wear two stars instead of one. There is no difference in pay but I am one step further up the ladder & the next step if I am not put out will be Captain. We must trust in God for his protection on the battlefield; and the prayers of yourself and the dear children will be needed by your far off soldier husband.
It is my wish that you attend Mr Murray’s Church and encourage the children to go as well because Mr Murray is the best Christian I know in Grafton and has always been broad minded and sincere. He could well surely be better after this war. There are some things I have learnt since I left my comfortable home to help to square accounts with the Baby Butcher of Berlin. One is to appreciate a good home; another is to understand my fellow men better. What splendid fellows the Australians are and what noble unselfish hearts exist whose presence is hidden by the outward habits of hard swearing, hard drinking and a seemingly careless attitude. I can tell you that the job of censoring the news letters lets the officers know their men better than any other job I know. I am proud of our Australian boys and proud to be the father of three little Australian girls and my only regret is that if I go under I shall not have left any boy behind to keep up the reputation of the Australians.
Now dear you must be prepared always for the worst. I hope and pray for the best because we never know what will happen from day to day and by the time you get this I may be either wounded or dead. In any case you may depend on it I shall die game. Cheer up my girl if the worst comes to the worst I know you will be proud of your English boy in years to come and teach the children also to be proud of their English father.
There have been many occasions where things might have been more comfortable at home but taking into consideration the sudden change in my manner of life and the fact that I never did get on well with the bush parents who tried to make our lives unhappy. They have not been forgotten and forgiven and if ever I come home it is my intention to start fresh and give you as happy a time as any wife can have.
God bless you and may the dear children grow up to be as good wives and mothers as you have been. If I am killed my things are all to be returned to Thomas Cook and Son, Sydney, and they will get them for you and deliver them to you. Everything I have will belong to you of course you will be entitled to £2.10 a week from the military and £200 from my Insurance. You are not to pay any debts; my death on behalf of my country will wipe off all my debt because those I owe money to are not poor people. They can all afford to lose it if I have lost all.
I advise you to get a boarding house and get Leila to help you to run it then you will always have something to rely on. In this letter I am sending you a 10 shilling note for the children. It is the only Australian money I have left and will buy the little pets some fruit and extras.
In another packet I am sending you a photo plate I had taken in Cairo but no copies taken. If you take it to a photographer he will touch it up for you and copy in on paper. I am also sending you a little brooch for a keepsake. It is a souvenir of the transport that brought us from Egypt to France. I have also sent you 5 packets of postcards which I know you like very much. I may be too busy to write such a long letter again but I will drop a line if only a postcard every few days when I get the chance.
I think this is all I have to say at present so I will conclude with fondest love and heaps of kisses to yourself and the dear little children and your father and mother Leila and Hosee from your loving soldier husband, Albert.
Send to Thomas Cook and Son Ltd, Martin Place, Sydney, for a trunk, I valise and 1 kit bag to be collected from Base in France. xxxx to Mam, xxxx to Dorrie, xxxx to Lely, xxxx to Jean, xxxx to Jean extra.
5 November 1916. On this date Probate of the last will and testament of the said deceased was granted to Letoria May Fothergill of Muswellbrook, widow, the Executrix according to the tenor of the said Will. Testator died in France 20 April 1916. Estate sworn at £184.19.0 nett.