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TOPIC: Lieutenant Richard John Jelf, Royal Engineers - died at sea 2.6.1900

Lieutenant Richard John Jelf, Royal Engineers - died at sea 2.6.1900 1 year 1 month ago #55891

  • BereniceUK
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In St. Oswald's Church, Ashbourne. He's also named on Ashbourne's ABW memorial tablet in the same church.





AN OFFICER INVALIDED HOME SHOOTS HIMSELF.

Lieutenant R. J. Jelf, of the Royal Engineers, shot himself during the homeward voyage from South Africa on the Dilwara.

After being employed in the telegraph department in South Africa, he was invalided home suffering from dysentery, which had followed enteric fever. On the evening of June 2nd he left his attendant and went on the promenade deck. Before anyone could check him he had taken a revolver from his pocket and shot himself.

He was beyond medical aid and died in great agony 45 minutes after. He was buried at sea next morning. Lieutenant Jelf was the eldest son of Colonel R. H. Jelf, C.M.G., commanding Royal Engineers, Eastern District, and was born in 1872. The deceased officer virtually acted as Director of Telegraphs to General Buller throughout all his operations up to and including the relief of Ladysmith.

Rhyl Record and Advertiser, Saturday 30th June 1900
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Lieutenant Richard John Jelf, Royal Engineers - died at sea 2.6.1900 1 year 1 month ago #55906

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A very sad story! There was probably no attention and no help given to depression in soldiers in Jelf's debilitated condition. He probably had the additional burden of being a young officer who was expected to follow in his father's illustrious footsteps, and he may have felt that he had failed.

Brett

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Lieutenant Richard John Jelf, Royal Engineers - died at sea 2.6.1900 1 year 1 month ago #55908

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Going by the suicides of soldiers (and at least one nurse) who had returned home suffering from enteric there was no support system for any of them. But that was just a reflection of society as a whole at that time, I suspect. There was also what we now call Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Additionally, a number of returned soldiers turned to vagrancy as a result of being unable to find work or through the failure of their marriages and home-lives, perhaps as a result of PTSD.

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