Letter to The Gazette; December 28, 1908
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(This letter published in The Gazette on December 28, 1908 is a founding document for the Last Post Fund.)

A BRITISH SOLDIER’S DEATH

Sir, Will you permit me to narrate the following incident, the facts of which I personally vouch for, in the hope that it may prevent the recurrence in any city that has a strong representation of British ex-army men.

A few days ago a British Pensioner without friends or relatives within location sank in a doorway ill and comatose. The Police removed him to a Hospital where he died shortly afterwards without regaining consciousness.

Another soldier approached a “British” soldier’s organization who expound the theory of good comradeship, with a view to respectable interment at a minimum cost, and was told by one of the Executive that there were “no funds” for such a contingency, and that not being a member, or having contributed to the organization’s funds, they could do nothing in the matter. Consequently the body was handed over to the Inspector of Anatomy for disposal.

The Executive member’s retort was presumably prompted by this particular man being a non-member, but as an ex-member of that particular organization, I have heard the sentiment expressed, that they should never allow a British soldier or sailor fall ill and die without decent burial, if brought to their notice.

I would strongly advocate a “Voluntary Burial Fund” being organized for this purpose, which from my personal experience of British soldiers and sailors, I feel confident would be kept in such a condition as to meet such local contingencies and provide a resting place for the Empire’s fighting “derelicts.”


Arthur H.D. Hair