Extracts from the News

Heroism Of Canadian Captain After German Shell Mutilated Him

Montreal Daily Star

Friday, April 16, 1915

Transcribed by: Marj Kohli


Heroism Of Canadian Captain After German Shell Mutilated Him
Insisted Upon Ambulance Man Attending to Others First
Dies After Making Apology for Trouble Given
Thought He Would Have to Give Up Football
THE 255th DAY OF THE WAR


London, April 16--The heroic fortitude of a young Canadian Captain,
Francis Whitchurch Townend , of the Royal Engineers, is graphically
described by a motor ambulance driver.

Captain Townend, who was born in Halifax, and was the grandson of W.J.
Stairs, died on March 29 from wounds received the previous day.

The driver says Captain Townend was with the Indian Engineers inspecting
telegraph wires, when a shell burst in their midst. He was found in a
shell hole with his legs apparently half buried. He told the ambulance man
to attend to the others first, as he was all right.

When Captain Townend was moved they found he had been standing on the
stumps of his legs, which were both shot off at the knee. He was perfectly
conscious and calm, and, looking at his legs, asked quietly, his handsome
face showing no pain, "Tie something fightly round both thighs to stop the
bleeding."

Another horrible wound was found in his arm. While it was being dressed
Captain Townend said: "I think I'll give up football next year." As he was
carried to the hospital where he died, he was perfectly collected,
laughed, and quietly apologised for all the trouble. The driver adds:

"I have never seen such courage before. I felt as I left the hospital that
I had seen a man."

Officers of Captain Townend's Meerut Company have asked the family to be
allowed to erect a monument over the grave in the Bethune Cemetery.

 

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