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Preamble & IntroductionA MemoirCrimea DiaryThe Sad SequelBeeston & the CrimeaJowett GenealogyBack to Transcripts
The Diary of William Jowett

The Diary of William Jowett - the Sad Sequel

Having given the whole of Sergeant Jowett’s Diary, we will, in the next place, insert a copy of a letter sent by him to his father on the very day he made his last entry therein and then devote the remainder of the space at our disposal to information kindly furnished by his friends respecting his manly fortitude under suffering and to that of his unfortunate death, which is deeply lamented by all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance.

Camp before Sebastopol, Sept. 6. 1855

My Dear Father
I address you in answer to a few lines you enclosed in Bessy’s letter. Let me beg of you not to fret yourself about me; what better does it make me? Content yourself and live in hope. If it pleases God for me to fall, it will be in a good cause and for my country. You must recollect that many thousands of better men than me have fallen already. We opened fire again yesterday and I think we shall soon do something now; we are daily expecting the enemy to make a general attack upon us. Scarcely a night passes without a cut in with them in the advanced trenches, but they generally drop in for it. I am for the advanced trenches to-night and expect to have to go in. I am contented so long as I enjoy good health. There are now 100 men in the regiment that came out with me and if any-one had told me at that time what I could go through, I should have thought them insane. But thank God I am able and willing to go through as much more. Send me a newspaper as often as you can. Hoping this will find you all enjoying the blessing of good health,

I remain your affectionate Son,

The last attack on the Redan took place on the 8th of September, but the Diary ends with the 6th, in consequence of Mr Jowett not having had time to continue it. He was engaged in the trenches until midnight on the 7th and was ordered on parade at eight o’clock the following morning. After parade they were again ordered to the trenches to prepare for the final attack. A few minutes before the termination of that dreadful conflict, whilst close up to the Redan, he was struck by a shell, which inflicted a severe wound on his right leg and arm. He was then removed to the regimental Hospital, to receive the necessary attention his case required from the surgeons, who reported him severely wounded. Although wounded and unable to write, his noble spirit was undaunted, his hope fled not; nor did his thoughts turn so much upon his own condition, as to those whose affection was centred in him. His greatest anxiety was how to communicate to them his wounded state, so as to prevent an undue laceration of their feelings. With this object in view, he obtained the services of a comrade, as soon as he could and dictated the following buoyant letter to one of his sisters;

Light Division, 7th Fusiliers,
Regimental Hospital,

Dearest Sister
The tidings I have to unfold may cause you joy and grief; for, in the first place, I must inform you that we are in possession of part of the town and all the Russian works that were most destructive to us. And the next, Dear Sister, is , I am wounded. But do not be disheartened, for, thank God, ‘tis a slight one. I say one, but I received two, neither of which are termed dangerous. We had a great many poor fellows knocked over and I should be thankful that I am not in the number; however, let me hope that my next may convey better tidings. Write immediately to Uncle and Cousin George. And believe me,

Your ever Affectionate Brother,

Cheering and hopeful as the above letter appeared, under the circumstances, its arrival at the village of his boyhood created a general gloom and tears of sympathy bedewed the eyes of many of its inhabitants. A subscription had been entered into, for the purpose of presenting him, on his return, with an appropriate Testimonial; but those who had cheerfully subscribed began to be fearful that their subscriptions, instead of being appropriated as originally intended, would have to be expended in erecting a monument to his memory and that they should never see him again. That these fears were not altogether groundless, the following letter, written two months afterwards, bears ample testimony:-

General Hospital before Sebastopol,

19th November, 1855.

My Dear Father
I am sorry to inform you that my wound has not got on so well as I expected. I am sorry my leg was not taken off at first, for it if had been I should have had a much better chance. I am now lying in a poor state, nothing but skin and bone, my knee much swollen and I fear fractured, so that if I recover I shall be a cripple the rest of my life. I fear it must be taken off now and I am too weak to undergo the operation, so you must not be alarmed, Dear Father and Sisters, if you hear of my death. I am reduced to a perfect skeleton and am lying in the General Hospital, where I was removed to on the evening of the 15th, when that dreadful explosion took place, which gave me a terrible shaking and made me much worse. My arm, I am glad to say, is nearly well, but the poor leg is the worst and perhaps by the time you receive this I shall be no more. I feel myself so weak as to be unable to move in bed. I am quite resigned to my fate, but still I have some hope it may please God to spare me; if not, you will get some-one to inquire after my medal and keep it in the family; my name is engraved round the edge. Please send a copy of this letter to Susan and inform them all of the state I am in. You must excuse this short letter, for my arm is weak yet. Kind regards to all relations and friends. God only knows whether or not this will be my last. My trust is in Him; He is kind to me in giving me time to prepare for death, for which I am truly thankful. Dear Father, be not disheartened, for many far better men than me have fallen and many more will yet. Kind love to you all.

Your affectionate Son,

Great as were the sufferings he had to endure from his wounds, they were considerably increased by that terrible explosion of the French magazine, on the 15th of November, in the neighbourhood of his regiment, where he narrowly escaped death and necessitated his removal to the General Hospital at Balaclava. This circumstance had the effect of showing how highly he stood in the estimation of his regiment. His Company were asked, "Who will carry Sergeant Jowett?" They all rose to a man, apparently anxious to have the honour; a selection had therefore to be made from the seniors. After his removal his limb was amputated and for a long time he lay, sometimes inspiring hope, at others brooking sad despair.

And oft they watched in the night his breathing soft and low,
As in his breast the wave of life kept heaving to and fro;
So silently they seem’d to speak, so slowly moved about,
As though they’d lend him half their powers to eke his living out.

To allay the increasing anxiety of his numerous friends, the principal Medical Officer kindly forwarded the following letter:-

General Hospital, Camp, Crimea

February 11, 1856.

Dr. Home, Staff Surgeon, Principal Medical Officer of the above Hospital, forwards, at the request of Sergeant Jowett, of the 7th Fusiliers, the accompanying Diary, which Dr. H. has perused with astonishment at the care and regularity with which it has been kept, during times of incredible hardship to the soldiers and indeed to all concerned.
Dr Home regrets to say that the state of Sergeant Jowett is still an extremely critical one, being in a state of great debility; occasioned - 1st, by the wound received on the 8th of September; 2nd, by the injury from the explosion which happened in the neighbourhood of his regiment, on the 15th of November, which necessitated his removal to this Hospital; and 3rd, from the effects of the removal of his limb, which was rendered absolutely necessary to save his life. He is an extremely good and contented patient and as such makes it a pleasure to the Clergyman and Medical Officer to give their utmost attention to him. He has a man, chosen by himself, from his own regiment, in sole and constant attendance on him and nothing is withheld either in the way of support or nourishment that he desires, not excluding calf’s-foot jelly, a supply of which he receives every second day from the Lady Nurses at Balaclava. Dr. H. sincerely hopes that Sergeant Jowett may recover, but at the same time he cannot disguise from his relatives, that his present state affords grounds for considerable apprehension as to the results.

Mr. W. Jowett
Movriston, by Swansea.

In the ensuing Spring, a slight improvement in William Jowett’s health and strength, dispersed, in a great measure, the gloom which had so long overshaded his family and friends and enkindled a flame of gladdened expectations within them. His sister, elated with hope and anxious for his return, adopted with confidence the invitation of the Poetess

Come home, brother.
Come to the hearts that love thee; to the eyes
That beam in brightness but to gladden thine;
Come where fond thoughts like holiest incense rise,
Where cherish’d memory rears her altar’ shrine.
Come home, brother.

Come to the hearth-stone of thy earlier days
Come to the ark, like the o’er-wearied dove
Come, with the sun-light of thy heart’s warm rays
Come to the fire-side circle of they love.
BROTHER, come home!

The following letter amply testifies that the realization of their fondest hopes would, in all probability, be eventually accomplished:-

General Hospital, Sebastopol,

April 17, 1856.

My Dear Sister
I duly received yours, and was glad to hear of your enjoyment of health, which I hope will long continue. I am happy to inform you that I am a deal better and I think in a fair way of recovery. My Doctor now has every hope of me, which is a great consolation. I certainly have improved of late, but am still very weak; I am able to sit up in bed, but not for long together. My leg, or rather the stump, is quite healed, but still is a little painful; I trust it will get better as I become stronger. The fine weather has set in, which is very favourable for me and I hope in a few days to sit in a chair. Dear Sister, do not expect too much, but trust in Him who can do all things. I am quite resigned and live in hopes.
If I do live. I think I shall be very comfortable with my pension and the little I have saved. I shall send you £4, more if I am spared and that will make £20, which will be a nice thing for me if my life is spared; if not, you must distribute it amongst you as I directed. Write to Father and Uncle as soon as you receive this; and, believe me,

Your Affectionate and Loving Brother,

On the 23rd of the following month he wrote again, stating how much better he was and expected (though not able to leave his bed) to be reported fit to go on board and sail for England; and whether the effects of the voyage would prove injurious or beneficial to him, he was calmly resigned to meet his fate. He sailed a few days afterwards and arrived at Plymouth on the 3rd of July, where, at his own request, he was landed, the voyage having been too fatiguing for his exhausted frame. On the following day he wrote to inform his sister Susan of his arrival and invited her to come to Plymouth to see him. It soon became evident, however, that the effects of the voyage and sudden change of atmosphere had deprived him of the benefit he had received from the cheering influence of the returning Spring, by robbing him of the little strength and hope he had gained. In a letter to his Uncle, dated August 6th, he thus wrote:-

I intended to have written to you long since, but really I have not been able, having to lie on my back while I do so, which I can assure you is no joke, especially to a person that is continually suffering from pain. I am sorry to say that I am not much better; I am quite at a stand-still. The Doctors here appear to me to know little about such cases as mine, but however I am resigned to my fate; if it please God to raise me up again, it will be so; if not, I must leave this world of sorrow when my time comes. I have nothing particular to live for in this worked, my Dear Uncle, but the question is, am I fit for another? This subject I cannot say much about, but my prayers, of late, I can assure you, have been very earnest; so I hope and trust, when my time does arrive, sooner or later I shall die happy.

From this time he gradually sank and on the 8th of September, when all earthly hopes had fled and his Medical attendants became aware that recovery was impossible, he wrote the following letter, which was his last, to his father:-

Military Hospital, Plymouth,

8th September, 1856.

My Dear Father
I once more take the opportunity to write you a few lines. You must forgive me for not writing oftener than I do, for I really am not able. You may depend upon it, my Dear Father, that nothing gives me more pleasure than writing to you, if I was only able to do so, but I am not. I should like to write a letter to each of you, but I cannot, therefore one must suffice for you all. I am sorry I have not been able to write to Mr. Porter, to thank him for his kindness, but must leave that for you to do. Remember me kindly to him and if it please God to give me strength, I shall not fail to remember him. Give my kind regards to all my old friends and if I do not meet them again in this world, I hope to do so in a better. I am sorry to say that I am suffering great pain from my leg and feel myself getting weaker and weaker every day. I can assure you, my Dear Father, that I am but a poor creature; nothing but skin and bone; although I look pretty well in the face. I have given myself up for another world, therefore, if you wish to see me again, I think you will have to come to Plymouth to do so but, however, that I will leave with you; come if you like. I should like to see you appear respectable, because there would be so much notice taken; not that I care so much about that, but it is better to appear tidy than otherwise and for that purpose you can go to Leicester, to Susan, and she will supply you with what money you want; I have got none by me at present, or would have sent it to you. I shall leave all to you; come if you like; if not, wait patiently and trust in Him who can do all things, but write directly and let me know what you intend to do. It is twelve months to-day since I received my wounds and in commemoration of the day I have received a present from Her Majesty - a beautiful silk handkerchief. How very kind of her, is it not? I must now draw to a close. I could say a deal more if my strength would allow, but it will not. My sincere love to you all.

I remain, Dear Father, your affectionate Son,

P.S. May God, in His mercy, bless and preserve you all from all danger. Pray for me; but remember, ‘the prayer of the wicked availeth nothing.’ Think seriously, Dear Father, of your everlasting soul.

On his father’s arrival at Plymouth, he found him in a similar state to that which we have already described, but perfectly calm and collected. Possessing a father’s feelings, he could not restrain them in the presence of his beloved son, who, with a mild, but firm expression of countenance, thus addressed him:- "Be a man, father. For better and braver men than I have fallen; and I have only done my duty and given my life to my country;"

His father remained with him for two days, during which time he coolly gave directions for the appropriation of his savings (about £30) during the war and also about his medal, which he was anxious should be kept in the family; it contained a clasp for Alma, Inkermann and Sebastopol. He requested also, as he should not lie by the side of his mother, in death, that his father would erect a stone upon her grave in remembrance of them both. After their last farewell, which may be better imagined than described, he continued gradually sinking for three weeks and on the 11th of October, 1856,

He gave his honours to the world again
His blessed part to Heaven and slept in peace.

He was buried at Stoke Damerel Church on the 13th, with military honours, which ceremony was performed by the 6th regiment and two of his old comrades of the 7th. The inhabitants of Beeston, fully appreciating his character as a man and his bravery as a soldier, are preparing a Monument to be erected to his memory, with the following inscription:-

This Monument was erected by the Inhabitants of Beeston,
to perpetuate the Memory of SERGEANT WILLIAM JOWETT,
of this village, who enlisted in the 7th Fusiliers, January the 8th
1847 and died at Plymouth Hospital, October the 11th, 1856,
of a wound received on the 8th of September, 1855, at the
Redan Battery, aged 26 years.

He fought bravely at Alma, Inkermann, in the Trenches,
twice at the Redan and narrowly escaped death at the French
Explosion, on the 15th November, 1855. He possessed
Nelson’s convictions and acted up to them.

The annexed Testimonial of his character, written to one of his bereaved family by Robert Rawlinson, Esq., one of Her Majesty’s Sanitary Commissioners in the Crimea, will be duly appreciated:-

I saw Sergeant Jowett twice before leaving England and twice in front of Sebastopol and read several of his letters written from the seat of war. They all express the feelings and sentiments of a good man and a gallant soldier; are full of hope and confidence - no doubt inspired by nobleness of nature, goodness of heart and rectitude of life. He was a man to respect and love, without presumption or fear. Peace be with him and honour to his memory. My family join with me in deep sympathy over his death. So long as England can produce such men, she must remain great. We join in the hope expressed by the Chaplain, that he is in a better world. In his loss you have this satisfaction. He did a soldier’s duty - ever showed his face to the enemy - and in a Christian spirit and faith, he died a soldier’s death.


Several interesting letters arrived too late for insertion in the early part of the work, according to their respective dates, from one of which we give the following extract:-

Camp, Scutari, May 14, 1854.

I am sorry to inform you that we were much disappointed when we found that we had such bad accommodations on board the Oronoco, the newspapers having stated that we should have every comfort. Just fancy 914 soldiers, 24 women and all their luggage, besides the ship’s crew and a great deal of cargo, stowed away. She certainly was a large ship, but I can assure you that we had hardly room to move about. A number of our men have been out before and they say they never experienced worse accommodation; still we don’t care much about it. But why did not the newspapers publish the truth? We never expected to have feather beds, so on that score were not disappointed. We each had a blanket and our great-coats. I am happy to say that our rations were good and plentiful. We had 1 lb. of salt beef one day and 1 lb. of pork another; and with the beef 6 oz. of flour and a small quantity of raisins and suet to make a pudding with, which was pretty good when made up, still the plums had to shout to each other, being so far apart. With the pork, an allowance of very good peas, to make soup with. We likewise had 1 lb; of biscuit daily and an allowance of pepper, mustard and vinegar, so we fared pretty well in that respect; and to wash the whole down, about two o’clock p.m. we marched up to a large tub of grog and received half a pint, which we either drank or disposed of as we thought proper.

Reader, thou now hast trac’d the steps of one
Late from the field of mighty action gone,
Whose bravery, whose manliness and worth
Shone brightly in his val’rous deeds on earth.
A loving kinsman and a faithful friend,
Ready alike his country to defend;
Proud of Old England’s institutions, laws,
His heart and soul were given to her cause;
As lion bold, he fear’d no rifle’s crack,
Nor to the roaring cannon turn’d his back.
Is he not heir, by right, to Fame’s estate?
Procur’d by his own blood, the price was great.
His duty nobly done, we now may claim
Unspotted laurels for his worthy name:
And that his fame through ages may extend,
Our utmost efforts to that object lend,
That generations yet unborn may scan
The hist’ry of this true-born Englishman.
Exhibited within the old Church-yard,
His deeds of valour will his mem’ry guard;
And Christian friends, on love and mercy bent,
Will stay, to deck with flow’rs his monument.