Rank or Title
Date of Birth
Date of Death
8 Oct 1915
War time / or Pre War occupation
Place of Birth
World War I Address
Place of Death
War Memorial Location
Soldier or Civilian
Pte Joseph Edward Betts, 1784, Eastern Mounted Brigade Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps, was killed by a bullet as he was about to board a lighter to take him to the Gallipoli beaches on October 8th*, 1915.
He was still on board the ship on which he he had set sail from England for the Dardanelles when he was killed. Commanding Officer Major William Archibald, who had been Luton's Medical Officer of Health, wrote to parents Joseph and Mary Jane Betts at 57 Ashton Road, Luton, with the news.
Writing from Imbros on October 9th, he said: "He was killed by a bullet in the head. It hit him as he was getting on the deck of the ship waiting to get on to the landing lighters. His comrades did not hear him make a sound, and did not know he had been hit until they were ordered to fall in, when they found they could not rouse him.
"We brought his body to this place today, and a chaplain has just taken it ashore for burial. We should all have wished to have gone on shore to pay out last respects to him, but were not allowed. However, I can assure you he received every attention.
"I cannot say how grieves I feel at the loss of such a promising young life. He was greatly beloved by all of us, and we all mourn the loss of of a faithful and trustworthy comrade."
Pte Betts was only 20 years of age, and prior to the outbreak of war was in the employ of Mr F. C. Lane, blockmaker, of Pike's Close, Luton. He had been in the Eastern Mounted Brigade Field Ambulance for about two years before they were mobilised and trained with them at the Grove Road, Luton, depot. He was a member of Bailey Hill Pleasant Sunday Afternoon Society, and sailed with his Brigade on August 8th. He had a younger brother, Claude, in the 2/5th Bedfords at Newmarket.
*Pte Betts' death is recorded as October 10th, 1915, but Major Archibald's letter about his death is dated October 9th. A year later his comrades, then based at Halton Camp East, placed a Roll of Honour notice in The Luton News which said Joseph, known to them as Edward, was killed on board HMT Abbasiah, off the Gallipoli (Anzac) Coast on October 8th, 1915.