Lytham Times December 1916
A letter was received on Christmas morning, by Mrs. Cropper, of
Wellington Street, Lytham, informing her that her husband, Pte. J. Cropper, of the King's
Liverpool Regt., was missing, believed killed. Private Cropper, before enlisting, was employed
as a joiner, by Messrs. Sutcliffe and Sons, of St.Annes.
The Chaplain of the regiment, in the letter, says:
"I am afraid I have to send you very bad news that your
husband is wounded and missing in the German lines, and I am afraid it is practically certain
that he is dead. He was one of the daring party that raided the German trenches; he did
splendidly, but was badly hit getting out of their trenches to come back after the raid. An
officer, himself badly wounded, saw him, and is practically certain he was dead. It was quite
impossible to get him back, so he had to be left where he was, in German hands.
Of course, it is just possible he may be wounded and a
prisoner, but I am afraid you must try and accept the fact that he is dead. Without doubt, his
body will have been decently and reverently buried behind the German lines, and they will put up
a little cross to mark his grave. I am very sorry for you, and I want you to understand how
deeply I sympathise with you in your great sorrow.
Will you try to remember two things; the first, that he died
the finest death a man can die, fighting for his country and the Right; and secondly, that it is
only his poor body that lies here in France, while his soul, the real self that you know and
love, has gone back to his God, who loves him, too."