History of the Vale

Evesham man shot as a deserter

The following is a transcript of an article in the Evesham Journal and Four Shires Advertiser, 6 March 1915, concerning the execution of a local man who was serving in France.

The memorial to those soldiers Shot at Dawn during the First World War, National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas, Staffs

The memorial to those soldiers Shot at Dawn during the First World War, National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas, Staffs

“As there are many rumours in the town with regard to the death of an Evesham soldier named Albert Pitts……Mrs Pitts of 22, Kings-Road Bengeworth, asks us to publish the facts of the case as she knows them.

In the last week of November Mrs Pitts received a letter from her husband, in which he stated “I have been lost for two weeks, but I have got on the right track for the regiment……I can only say I am writing this from Calais only  twenty-one miles from old  England…………..”

On December 1st he wrote “It leaves me quite well at present, except my ears. I am gone quite deaf now, but I think it will go off. I have been struggling along. I have not had a chance to find my regiment, for you cannot understand the French. They direct you wrong, but I shall find them just now. ”

On January 21st he wrote a letter which he addressed from his company of the Warwickshire Regiment………. In this letter he said he did not receive the Christmas parcel his wife sent. This letter was endorsed as follows “Pte Pitts was absent during Christmas without leave and naturally his present did not reach him – Censor”

Mrs Pitts heard nothing further until Wednesday morning this week when she received the following letter: –

“Infantry Record Office….March 2nd 1915 –  Madam No 6747 Pte Alfred Pitts 2nd Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment was sentenced after trial by court martial to be shot for ‘when on active service’ deserting His Majesty’s Service, and the sentence was duly executed on February 8th 1915 at 7.30am.” R.F. Formby Lieut.- Col……. ……

Yesterday morning Mrs Pitts received the following letter from her husband.

My dearest wife and kiddies – Just a few lines in answer to your loving letter I received quite safe. Well, I expect this will be the last letter from me, my dear as I have got to be shot for being absent: but I could not help it. I tried to find my regiment. I did my very best, but it can’t be helped. My dear I wish I could have seen you all. You must try to do your best for kiddies. I should not upset myself. My dear, I did my duty before I was absent. It has all been trouble with us. I was very unlucky. I am so sorry to have to write a letter like this, my dear: I am quite done up. I did not think I should have come to an end like this, dear. I would rather be shot by a German. Well I must close now darling, for the last time. Try to forget me for your broken-hearted husband Bert. Do your best for my dear kiddies. God Bless them. May he be always with you and them”

Here follows a number of crosses that represent kisses.

Mrs Pitts has three young children the eldest seven years of age. Pitts has served twelve years with the Warwicks. and was a reservist at the outbreak of hostilities, when he signed on for another four years.”  

You can download a pdf copy of the original article here: Evesham Journal 6 March 1915_Shot at Dawn article

See below for further information about Private Pitts sent to us by Broadway Remembers.

3 thoughts on “Evesham man shot as a deserter

  1. Private 8747 Albert Pitts, 2nd Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment. The records state that ‘While Battalion engaged under fire on 24th of October 1914 accused got away: arrested at Boulogne on 12 January 1915, and gave false particulars.’

    Albert Henry Pitts was married to Annie Louisa Moore (m. Evesham in 1906). They had 3 children. Prior to his enlistment he worked as a drayman for a market gardener in Evesham.


    • Again, thank you for this extra information Broadway Remembers. It is good to know more about Private Pitts who, as a drayman, would have been a figure known to a wide number of Evesham residents.
      That he was AWOL from late October to early January would explain the length of time before he was tried by court martial.


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