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Walter Edwin Jay, St John Ambulance Brigade 1 week 4 days ago #76244

  • BereniceUK
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When he retired from work, he shared some reminiscences of his ABW experiences with the local paper.




LONG AMBULANCE SERVICE

RAILWAYMAN'S BOER WAR ADVENTURES

....Mr. W. E. Jay, Derby's second volunteer for field ambulance work in the Boer War, retired yesterday from the Outdoor Machine Drawing Office of the C.M.E. Department of the L.M.S. after 42 years' railway service.
....During those 42 years he has been actively associated with the Midland Railway and L.M.S. Ambulance Corps, and was prominently concerned with the formation of Derby Division of the St. John Ambulance Brigade.
....In 1935 he was invested with the badge of the Serving Brother of the Brigade for his long and distinguished service.
....As a member of St. Chad's Church, Derby, he passed his lay reader's examination before the Great War and held a Bishop's licence. Since 1914 he has been associated with Normanton St. Giles's, is now a sidesman at the church, a member of the standing committee of the Church Council, and superintendent of the Sunday School.
....Mr. Jay served in South Africa for six months wiih the 21st Field Hospital in 1900.
HIS NARROW ESCAPE
....He had a remarkable escape from death when the Boers started to shell the open-air hospital at Thaba N'chu on April 28 of that year. Despite heavy fire, the staff succeeded in carrying all the wounded on stretchers to the other side of the town for safety, and Mr. Jay was taking charge of the last stretcher when he heard the hissing of a shell and felt the ground shake beneath him. He turned to find that the shell had bored a hole into the earth only a few feet behind him—without bursting!
....Fever spread with alarming rapidity about that time, and he was put in charge of a special case. His patient, having learned that he came from Derby, inquired one day: "Do you know who I am?"
....He told the patient that he knew him to be a Captain Millar, but that was all. Captain Millar replied :"You know the Suffragan Bishop of Derby, don't you?"
...."Yes. Mr. Were."
...."Well, when you get home write to the Bishop's wife and tell her you nursed her brother in South Africa."
....Mr. Jay nursed the captain to health, and subsequently received a letter, thanking him, from the Bishop's wife.
....He recalls the terrible rains which hit the camp during the June.
"BEHELD PITIFUL SIGHT"
...."At daylight, after one of these downpours, I walked outside my tent to have a look round," he told a "Telegraph" representative, "I beheld a pitiful sight. All the troops were standing up with their blankets wrapped round them, like so many drowned rats. They had no tents; there they had been standing all through the night on the open veldt, with no possible shelter save those two blankets each that they carried.
...." Soaked to the skin, water still dripping off them, those men had to keep on the march all day and then lie down the next night in their damp clothes and blankets. Could you wonder at the amount of sickness and fever?"
....An amusing incident occurred while Mr. Jay was outside his tent at Senekal one night making flour and water cakes. A man galloped up on horseback and asked, "Where do the Derbyshire Yeomanry lie?"
...." Why, do you come from Derby?" parried Mr. Jay. not looking up.
...." No," was the reply. "I come from Allestree."
...." Oh, yes. I know where Allestree is well enough. I have skated many a time on Allestree Hall pond. What's your name?"
...."Captain Gisborne."
....Realising that Allestree Hall and the pond belonged to his questioner—an officer at that—Mr. Jay quickly directed him to the Yeomanry camp.
....When Mr. Jay returned to Derby there was a reception party waiting for him at the station. He was pulled from the train; somebody took his helmet, another took his pillow slip, another the canary that he had brought home with him, and another his haversack. His neighbours also turned out to welcome him.
Derby Daily Telegraph, Tuesday 1st August 1939


DEATHS
....JAY. - On June 27, 1950, at 4, Chesterton-avenue, Walter Edwin, the beloved husband of Florence Maria Jay, aged 72 years. Funeral Friday. Service St. Giles's Church at 11.0 a.m. Interment Normanton Cemetery.
Derby Daily Telegraph, Thursday 29th June 1950


Derby Ambulance Worker's Death
....Derby's second volunteer for field ambulance work in the Boer War, Mr. Walter Edwin Jay, of 4, Chesterton-avenue, Derby, has died at his home, aged 72.
....Mr. Jay retired in July, 1939, from the Outdoor Machine Drawing Office of the L.M.S. after 42 years' service.
....He was actively associated with the Midland Railway and L.M.S. Ambulance Corps and was concerned with the formation of the Derby Division of the St. John Ambulance Brigade.
....He was admitted to the Order of St. John in the grade of Serving Brother.
....A widow and one son are bereaved.
Derby Daily Telegraph, Friday 30th June 1950
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