Friday, February 7, 2014

CEO Huggett's Escape 2 February 1918

Diary of George Kellett, 1918
George Kellett of 4, Bowman Street, Sandal fought in the First World War (1914 – 1918). Whilst serving for the Duke of Cornwall regiment in Northern France in early 1918 he received a Christmas parcel which contained a Christmas cake, parkin, a few apples and this diary. He recorded his year as a soldier, from digging trenches and playing draughts to burying the dead and going over the top.

George Kellett's diary as it looks now

Read George’s diary

To find out more about George’s year and learn more about the people in his life we are publishing all George’s diary entries online. Follow him on twitter @WW1_Diary and read the entries on the dates they were written.
George's diary entry for 7 February 1918 was:

Received a letter from Pam saying she has got up for a little I also received the Express with the news of Ceo  Huggetts escape from Germany into Holland.  Serg. Knife read the lesson at the evening service at YMCA
Wakefield Council's Local Studies holds a copy of the Wakefield Express, Saturday 2 February 1918 which contains a story about CEO Huggett's escape from Germany into Holland:
Here is the article transcribed:
“Escaped to Holland. Shall be home about the middle of February – Huggett.”
These welcome words were the contents of a telegram which was received by Mrs. Huggett, of 16, Gordon-street , off Sandal Cross-lane, from Holland on Sunday, and there was great excitement and delight in the household in consequence. The joyful news concerned the soldier son of Mrs. Huggett – Private George Huggett, of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, who has been a prisoner of war in Germany since the end of August 1914.
Before the present war Huggett had served nine years in the army, having been stationed in Africa and then in Hong Kong.  At the outbreak of war he was working at the Walton Colliery, and he was immediately called up as a Reservist.  He was a member of “the contemptible little army” which proved the pride and salvation of Britain and her Allies.  It was during the memorable retreat from Mons that he fell into the hands of the Huns and he was officially posted as missing from the 26th-30th August, 1914.
One of our representatives called, upon Mrs. Huggett, the widowed mother of the long-absent soldier, on Tuesday morning, and found her in the middle of her household duties.  Asked about the news of her soldier son, she at once produced with joyful tears in her eyes, the welcome wire – “Shall be home about the middle of February” – and the expression on this good woman’s face spoke volumes.  It has been an anxious three years for her, for she has known the terrible trials which her son and other brave fellows have undergone during this time they have been in the keeping of the barbarous enemy.  Until recently she received about once a month a letter or postcard from her son, who has been in five different camps – the first was Doberitz – but, of course, the true state of affairs could never be related.  Until the time the authorities were compelled to stop the practices, parcels of food, etc, were regularly sent to him, and on one occasion at his request she sent him a pair of clogs.  In one communication she received from him, she gathered that he was working in the coal mine seven days a week, and it is safe to assume that he would not receive his weekly war bonus, “plus the usual percentage !”
Huggett is a single man and 32 years of age.  His mother is naturally much excited at the prospect of welcoming back her soldier son to the comfortable home in Gordon-street.  Her whole thoughts are concerning him, but the food difficulty appears to be troubling her – not for herself but for him she loves.  She is anxious to have something substantial ready for him when he comes home, but it is hoped that if the scarcity of meat and other food does continue there will be a jolly good feed for Private George Huggett when he enters 76, Gordon-street.  One thing is certain – Mrs. Huggett will do her best, and it is to be hoped the traders and those in authority will do theirs.
Mrs. Huggett is anxiously awaiting further news of her soldier son, but in the meantime she is quietly rejoicing in the fact that he has said good-bye to the cruel Huns.
George Kellett's Diary on display
George's diary is now on display at Wakefield Museum, Burton Street, Wakefield, WF1 2DD. The museum is free to visit, for info on opening times see Wakefield Museum visitor information

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