Letter from Revd.K. Julian F. Bickersteth to Annie Rix

The following is a transcript of a letter received by Annie Gladys Rix (nee Horn) from the Revd. K. Julian F. Bickersteth concerning the death of her husband Frank Ellis Rix at the Battle of Arras on April 9th 1917                                                                                                                                                                                                  B.E.F

. April 24th 1917

Dear Mrs Rix

I hardly know how to write to tell you of your dear husband’s death. He was, as you will have heard from the war office, killed on Easter Monday in the great battle of Arras.

It was my sad duty to lay his body to rest in the military cemetery near Beaurains side by side with those other officers and men of the same battalion who fell on the same day. Your husband was killed instantly by a machine gun bullet and can have felt no pain. I have seldom seen a more peaceful face. I got to know your dear husband well while he was with us and learnt to respect him and to love him for his sterling qualities and fine character. He was a most regular communicant and came to the Holy Communion on Good Friday only three days before the battle, a service which I was able to hold for our fellows just before they went up into the trenches prior to the attack. He was always so cheery and bright and such a fine Christian man. I do not doubt for one moment that he must have a good Christian woman as his wife and so I feel sure that you will know to Whom to go at this time of severe trial for comfort. Yet I know that whatever our faith may be, the sense of loss and separation will not be the less and that you have many sad and difficult hours before you. May God in his mercy keep you to become reconciled to this great sacrifice. Your dear husband could not have died a nobler death. He died bravely and for a righteous cause and I am sure if he could speak to us now he would tell you that he would not have it otherwise. His glorious death will I am sure be an inspiration to his old pupils and an example to them all their lives. I have seldom met a finer Christian man than he was.

His grave is carefully marked- a cross has been erected over the spot so that it can readily be found at any future date. His funeral was conducted with full military honours. All his private effects are being sent to you through official channels and should reach you in the course of a few weeks. May God bless you and help you.

Yours very truly,

(Revd) K. Julian F. Bickersteth C.F

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