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
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 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:-
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.
PRINTED BY R. PORTER, BEESTON, NOTTINGHAMSHIRE