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Private Mark William Powell
51227 1st/4th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment

Son of Walter Evans Powell & Ada Powell

Aged 19 years

Died 10th July 1918

Commemorated at Contay British Cemetery, Contay
Grave IX A.27

In Contay Cemetery there are commemorations to the forces of the United Kingdom 689, Canada 414, Australia 29 and South Africa 1.

They died in the First Battle of the Somme or in the German Offensive 1918.

Rushden Echo, 19th July 1918, transcribed by Kay Collins

Higham Ferrers Casualty – P.C. Powell Bereaved
We are sorry to learn that P.C. Powell and Mrs. Powell, of College-street, Higham Ferrers, have received news that their son, Pte. Mark William Powell, of the Suffolks, was instantaneously killed by a shell on July 9th or 10th. The sad news is sent by comrades and officers of the deceased soldier. Second-Lieut. F. J. Smith, writing to Mr. and Mrs. Powell, under date July 13th, says: “It is with the deepest regret I have to inform you of the death of your son in action. I hope it will comfort you to know that he died immediately and suffered no pain whatever. I am more grieved than I can say over this sad calamity, for your son and I were good friends together, and I always found him a real boy for sports, tec. He was buried well behind the line in a cemetery, and although I was unable to attend myself owing to being in the trenches, I am given to understand that he had full military honours composed of men of his own battalion. His comrades join me in conveying their deepest sympathies to you in your great loss, and I pray that it may console you to know that he died doing his duty—the finest death of all. He is a great loss to me, for I found him to be an excellent soldier, always cheery, and helping his fellow comrades where possible, and a thorough favourite with everybody.”

Photos taken on a visit to Contay in 2006
Rushden Echo, 26th July 1918, transcribed by Kay Collins

The Late Pte. Powell—In our last issue we reported that Pte. Mark William Powell (Suffolk Regiment), son of P.C. and Mrs. Powell, of College-street, had been killed by the explosion of a shell on July 9th or 10th. A comrade writing to Mrs. Downing at the Post Office, Higham Ferrers, says: “I am sure you will be very sorry to hear that poor ‘Bob’ Powell is dead. I am given to understand that a shell landed in his dug-out yesterday afternoon, and that the wounds which he sustained were so severe that he died very shortly afterwards. He was a most popular boy in the company, and all deeply regret his death. It does seem a dreadful thing that such a fine, strong, and healthy young fellow as he was should come to such an end. This fearful war is putting years and years on us, and such occurrences as this makes our nerves very touchy. I do not know his mother or father or would write them, but they have indeed all our sympathy in their sad loss.” P.C. and Mrs. Powell desire to express their sincere thanks to all kind friends who have sent expressions of condolence with them in their sad bereavement.

C.Q.M. Sergt. Abbott further confirms the sad news, and adds: “He was a good soldier, one of the best, and was respected by officers and men alike.”

Lance-Corpl. Stafford, in a letter to the bereaved parents informing them of the lamentable event says: “I made a promise to ‘Bob,’ as we were great pals, that I would let you know if anything did happen to him, so I am carrying out his wish. It will be a small comfort for you to know that he he suffered no pain as he was killed quite instantaneously in his sleep, and has been buried in a quite resting place far behind the lines. Your son was highly respected in our platoon, and will be greatly missed by us all.”

The late Pte. Powell enlisted on April 12th, 1917, when but 18 years of age, and went to France on January 2nd this year. Up to the time of enlistment he was a member of the Higham St. Mary’s Church Lad’s Brigade, and he was employed by Messrs. Charles Parker, boot manufacturer, Higham Ferrers. He was an accomplished exponent of the fistie art, and during his training beat the champion of the Artillery at Luton before an audience of 5,000. For his powers in this respect he was awarded a handsome silver cup. Just prior to proceeding to the front he gave us an exhibition of boxing at Felixstowe on behalf of the Red Cross, and on this, as on all other occasions, refused any remuneration. He was offered an appointment as gymnasium instructor in German East Africa, but refused, preferring to undertake more serious duties in the firing line.

Mark with one of his boxing trophies

Rushden Echo Friday 29th June 1917, transcribed by Susan Manton

Boxing success
We congratulate Pte. Mark Powell, of the training Reserve, son of P.C. and Mrs. Powell, of Higham Ferrers, upon his success in the recent six rounds contest against Gunner Stockholm R.F.A. As a result of his skill in the pugilistic art, Pte. Powell has won a silver fruit bowl. He is but 18 years of age, and joined up last Easter.

Rushden Argus, 29th June 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Boxing—P.C. Powell is delighted with the success his son has achieved at Luton in a recent military boxing tournament. Pte. M. W. Powell (of the 17th Training Reserve) won a nice rose bowl by winning the special six-round contest. Jimmy Wilde and Johnnie Basham also appeared at the tournament.

Army Boxing

Two letters sent by Mark to his young sister Molly.
Dear Molly, Thanks very much for the letter you sent, its good of you to send one in mother’s. I will answer all you send me and hope you get on alright at School. I think of you lots of times when I am knocking about. So you write when I get my new Place because I am being moved, so now close with best Love to Dear Molly From Your Brother Mark XXXXXX Letter to Molly
Nov 5, 1917

To My Dear Sister Molly,
Just a few lines to you Molly, to thank you for your card you sent me, it was very good of you I am sure. I often think of you and Hector and Quinne [Queenie]. Well Molly I hope you are a good girl and help Mother all you can till I come home and I will take you out for a spree some where. I heard Dad had killed the Pig so you will have bacon to go at now at breakfast time. I wish I was there with you. But the war will soon be over. Well Dear Molly I must close. I will send you a letter in Mother’s next time so will close with Best Love From your Brother Mark
P.S. give these to Hector, Quinne and Baby.

Letter in 1917 Mentions bacon

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