11th November 1918 – Armistice Day

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month the armistice took effect.

The fighting stopped.

But the story of the Rugby Men who went to fight was not yet over. More men were to die. Of wounds, or the Influenza that killed many; both military and civilian.

Our project will continue until all the men on the Rugby Memorial Gates have been remembered. The last Rugby man to die was on 30th June 1919, fighting in Russia.

Over the last four years there have been some men we missed – discovered after their centenary had passed. We will be adding them to this blog during December.

There are a few who we think survived the war, but were listed by mistake.

Then there are the handful who we have not been able to identify. We have done our best but some will have to remain unidentified. There is a list elsewhere.

The reports from the Rugby Advertiser will continue for the time being, recording the town as life returned to normal.

This blog will remain as a memorial to the Rugby men who fought and died.

Workmen position the wreaths on Rugby Memorial Gates, following the Centenary Remembrance Parade, Sunday 11th November 2018.

RUGBY REMEMBERS THEM

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Clements, Eustace Edwin. Died 12th Nov 1918

Eustace Edward CLEMENTS was the son of Charles Edwin, [b.c. 19 April 1866 in Wing, Buckinghamshire] and Mary Ellen, née Lee, Clements [b.c. 1865 in Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire], who were married on 28 December 1891 at Saint Andrew’s church, Rugby.

Mary Ellen and her parents – Frederick, who was born in Hillmorton, and Jane Lee – had lived in Rugby at least from 1864 when Mary’s sister, Minnie, was born there and in 1871 and 1881, when they were living at 768 Old Station, Rugby.  In 1881, Mary Ellen was 21.

Mary Ellen returned to Rugby to have her first child, Eustace, whose birth was registered, as Eustace Edwin Clements, in Q1, 1893 in Rugby [Rugby, 6d, 577].  Eustace was baptised in Rugby at St Andrew’s church on 12 March 1893.  His military Service Record though, would later give his birth place as Northampton – his early home – and his second name as Edward – and indeed on one record his religion as Roman Catholic!

In 1901, the family were still living in Roade St. Mary, Buckinghamshire, with their children: Eustace E Clements, 8; Dorothy Clements, 6; Freddy Clements, 3; and Oscar Clements, 2.   In 1919 Sidney and Edwin Clements would be given as the names of his surviving brothers.

Before 1911, the family had moved back to Rugby and in 1911 were living at 33 Winfield Street, Clifton Road, Rugby.  Charles was working as a Railway Signal Fitter for the LNWR.  Eustace, now aged 18 was working, as an ‘engine fitter apprentice’, also with the LNWR.  His younger brother, Frederick, was 13 and still at school,

Eustace Clements. photo by permission of David Boult

There are two sets of surviving Service Records for Eustace – or Eustace Edward or Edward as he was known to the military.  One set of records of five pages, and one set of 23 pages, with some duplications.  There is also a Medal Card and his CWGC entry.  Unfortunately the Service Records are of very poor legibility in many cases, and parts are missing as they were probably recovered from the ‘burnt records’.

Eustace volunteered early for war service and was attested in Rugby on 31 August 1914.  When he enlisted he was 21 years and 232 days old.  He was 5 foot 11½ inches tall; weighed 160 lbs; had grey eyes and light brown hair, and his religion was Church of England.  He was certified ‘Fit for service in the Royal Garrison Artillery, RFA’.  He became a Gunner, No.1679, in the Royal Field Artillery.  His previous trade was listed as ‘fitter’.

From 31 August 1914 to 12 September 1917 one set of records suggest he was on a ‘Home’ posting – which would seem to be in conflict with other records, and omits one of his postings in France!

He was initially in 51st (R) Battery, R. F. A. and had various postings before the end of December 1914 and would later be promoted to Corporal.  On 1 September 1914 he was at Hilsea,[1] then on 9 September 1914 he was posted to ?13 Reserve Brigade, and on 15 December he was at Frome and on 17 December 1914 with ?/111 Battery.

His military career was not faultless.  On 29 March 1915 he was ‘absent without leave from 10pm 29/3/15 until 2pm 30/3/15, 16 hours’ and was admonished and forfeited one day’s pay.  Then at Winchester on 20 May 1915 he was ‘Absent from town piquet’ and was confined to barracks for two days.  On 10 September 1915 at Lille Barracks,[2] he was ‘Absent from base [or ‘leave’?] 12 noon to 4.30 pm, 4½ hrs.’ for which he received 7 days field punishment No 2.

On 28 May 1915 it seems he was posted to the B/113th Brigade, and was vaccinated in July 1915.  Although an alternative record stated that he went to France on 25 September 1915 after ‘home service’ of 1 year and 25 days, however, there is again confusion as Eustace’s Medal Card stated that he went to France on 20 September 1915.  He would, in either case, have been entitled to the 1914-1915 Star.

He served in France until 10 June 1917 [one record stated 1916!] as on 7 June 1917 he was wounded and was evacuated first to 20th General Hospital, Dannes Camiers, and then ‘Home’ by ship on 11 June 1917 and admitted to the Horton War Hospital with ‘Gun S W right forefinger crushed, contusions of leg’.  He was discharged on 17 July 1917, however another report notes ‘Finger healed but distal joint stiff.  Has [morn]ing massage.  Sent to Command Depot’.

Indeed, he was posted to the Command Depot at Rippon on 28 July 1917 and then posted to 56th Reserve Brigade on 31 August 1917 until 12 September 1917.   He was then posted back to France on 13 September 1917 and seems to have been moved to A/307 Brigade from Base on 26 September 1917, and then to A/306 Brigade F. A. on 8 November 1917.

On 12 December 1917 he was wounded again, presumably comparatively slightly as he was discharged on 17 December 1917.

On 9 May 1918 he was wounded yet again and apparently suffered a ‘… Shell wound severe …’ and was evacuated back to England on 10 May 1918.  On arrival ‘Home’ on 11 May 1918, he was initially admitted to Southwark Military Hospital, London S.E.[3] being treated for ‘… ? gas shell poisoning?’ until 16 July 1918, when he was sent to the Convalescence Hospital,  Eastbourne, until 10 August 1918.

On 19 August 1918 he was posted to 60th Reserve Battery, R.F.A. and granted ‘Leave with free warrant’.  Presumably he was now no longer fit for front line service as on 17 October 1918 he had a ‘compulsory transfer into the Labour Corps as Private, No.669461 at Sutton’.  This suggests that he had been medically rated below the ‘A1’ condition needed for front line service.

Being less than fully fit for service, it was perhaps not surprising that he was taken ill again, struck down by the flu epidemic was sweeping the world.  He died, aged 25, in the Horton War Hospital, Epsom, on 12 November 1918, from ‘Acute Bronchio-Pneumonia & Influenza’.

The second page of a telegram on 13 November 1918 confirms ‘F C Labour Corps 1 acute Lobar pneumonia 2 influenza Warspital Epsom’.  Only the name ‘Clements’ can be read on the first page.

After a funeral in Rugby, he was buried in Rugby’s Clifton cemetery in plot, J192, with a CWGC headstone as Gunner Eustace Edwin Clements, Royal Field Artillery,[4] Service Number, 1679.  The CWGC has him as aged 24.

His headstone also remembers his brother Frederick Clements who most probably died in a Prisoner of War camp near to Berlin.  His family’s chosen inscription on Eustace’s headstone reads: ‘Also in Memory of 307487 Corporal F. Clements Royal Warwickshire Regt. 24.10.18.’

Three items were published in the Rugby Advertiser on 23 November,[5] a report on his death and funeral; the family’s announcement of his death; and their ‘Acknowledgement’ and thanks to friends.

Mr C E and Mrs Clements, 33 Winfield Street, have lost their son, Gunner E E Clements, R.F.A. from pneumonia, under sad circumstances, after seeing a lot of service in France.  He worked as a fitter in the L & N-W Railway Sheds, and when war broke out he answered the first call, and joined Kichener’s Army  in August, 1914.  He served three years in France, and was twice badly wounded.  During the big German offensive in May this year he was gassed.  On recovering he returned to his regiment, when he was called out of the ranks and told that he would have his discharge in two days’ time after good service.  On the following day he was struck down with influenza, which developed into pneumonia, to which he succumbed on the 14th inst.  The funeral took place at rugby Cemetery on Saturday last.  He was borne to the grave by six of his former workmates, and a large number of flowers testified to the esteem in which he was held

CLEMENTS. – On the 12th inst., at Horton War Hospital, Epsom, Eustace Edwin, the dearly beloved eldest son of C. E. & M. E. Clements, Gunner, R.F.A., of “flu” and pneumonia; aged 25 years. – Deeply mourned.’

MR & MRS CLEMENTS & FAMILY wish to thank all kind Friends and Neighbours for sympathy shown to them in their bereavement; also for all floral tributes sent.

Eustace is remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gate and also on the Rugby Loco Steam Shed Memorial,[6]

In July 1919 his father filled in the declaration of next of kin, and on 19 September 1919 Eustace’s effects were sent from Nottingham to his father’s solicitors in Rugby.  They included,
‘Correspondence, Wallet, Photos, Badge, Holdall, 3 Razors In Cases, 2 Toothbrushes, 2 Shaving Brushes, Button Stick, Housewife, Meal Cards, Letters, Shaving Soap, Pencil, Disc, Bag, ?Piece Bread Pouch, Cig Papers, Watch Strap, Tin Tablets, 2 Button Brushes, 3 Handkerchiefs, Metal Pins, Hairbrush, Mirror, Wound Stripe, 4 Blue Chevrons, 2 Pocket Books.’

The family were then living at 33 Winfield Street, Rugby.  It seems that his mother received a separation allowance of 5 shillings per week.

Eustace was awarded the Victory and British medals and the 1914-1915 Star which were sent to his father in 1922.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

– – – – – –

 

This article on Eustace Edwin Clements was researched and written for a Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the Rugby Family History Group, November 2017.

[1]      Hilsea Lines includes 18th- and 19th-century fortifications built to protect the northern approach to Portsea.

[2]      The Lille Barracks were one of the six barracks in the Aldershot Marlborough Lines which were built in about 1890; the Lille barracks were demolished in 1958.

[3]      St Saviour’s Infirmary in East Dulwich Grove … was built in 1887 by the Guardians of the Poor of the parish of St Saviour’s, Southwark.  The Royal Army Medical Corps took over control of the infirmary in East Dulwich Grove on 11 November 1915, which at the insistence of the guardians was named Southwark Military Hospital.  The hospital was fully equipped for 800 patients … the existing Medical Superintendent Dr A  Bruce was appointed the rank of Major and served as its Officer in charge for most of the three and half years the hospital was used by the military. … Altogether 12,522 wounded and sick servicemen were cared for at Southwark Military Hospital of whom [only] 119 died; a very small percentage of those admitted and a tribute to the skill of the doctors, surgeons and nurses.  See http://www.dulwichsociety.com/2010-summer/532-southwark-military-hospital.

[4]      Whilst Eustace had later been in the Labour Corps, this Corps always suffered from its treatment as something of a second class organization, and the men who died are typically commemorated under their original Regiment, with the Labour Corps being secondary.

[5]      Rugby Advertiser, Saturday, 23 November 1918.

[6]      From a report of the unveiling, Rugby Advertiser, 11 March 1921; see also https://www.rugbyfhg.co.uk/rugby-loco-steam-shed-memorial.

Coleman, Duncan Reginald. Died 11th Nov 1918

Duncan Reginald COLEMAN was born in Wardington, Oxfordshire on 27 August 1894, and baptised there on 2 December 1894.  He was the second son of George Henry Coleman [a plasterer, b.c.1856 in Warmington, Warwickshire] and Emily, née Treadwell, Coleman [b.c.1864 in Wardington, Oxfordshire].

In 1901 the family were living at the ‘Red Lion Beer House’, in Wardington, probably following in part the family trade – as George Henry’s father had been an innkeeper in Milcomb.  George Henry was however still working as a ‘plasterer’.

At some date before 1911, the family moved to Rugby and in 1911 were living at 102 Lawford Road, which seems to have been later defined as 102 Dunsmore Terrace, Lawford Road, Rugby.  George Henry was now 55 and his wife Emily was 45.  They had had nine children, but one had died and it seems that one had already left home.  However, seven children were still living at home: Muriel Blanche Coleman was 24; Mary Olive Coleman, 21; Albert Victor Coleman, 18; Duncan Reginald Coleman, was now 16 and already working as a moulder in an Iron Foundry; Ida Cerise Coleman was 12; Stanley Winston Coleman, 11; and Lena Emily Coleman, was 8.

A somewhat complicated set of Service Records survives for Reginald, as it seems he had a number of postings and was also wounded.  Together with various other surviving documents it is possible to provide an outline of his military career.

In summary he was:                                                                                        Days
Home              17 – 4 – 16 to 15 – 7 – 16                         90
BEF France     16 – 7 – 16 to 10 – 5 – 17                      299
Home              11 – 5 – 17 to 22 – 12 – 17                    226
BEF France     23 – 12 – 17 to 11 – 11 – 18                  324
Total    2 years 209 days

He was living at 102 Lawford Road, Rugby, when he first signed up at Warwick[1] for General Service, posted to the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and then posted on 18 April 1916 as a Private, No.18102 in the 11th Battalion, the Royal Warwickshire Regiment (RWR).  He was 21 years and 7 months (or 210 days!) old, 5ft 6¼ inches tall, single and working as a ‘moulder’.

He was transferred as a Private to the ‘Expeditionary Force France’ on 16 July 1916 and embarked for France on 19 July 1916.  On 24 July 1916 he was posted to 11th Bn. RWR, ‘In the Field’.

He was wounded in action with a ‘GSW chest sev’ [Gun Shot Wound to the Chest Severe] on 23 April 1917, and on 3 May 1917 he was ‘adm 4 Gen H’ [Admitted to 4th General Hospital] at ‘Dannes Camier’.[2]  He was then transferred to England on the ‘HS [Hospital Ship] Cambria’ two days later on 11 May 1917, being transferred to the Home Depot that day.

He was admitted to the Eastern General Hospital, Edmonton for 21 days from 11 May to 1 June 1917 and this was extended for a further 10 days from 1 June to 11 June 1917 for the same ‘GSW Chest’ at the Edmonton Military Hospital – probably the same hospital, but with different stamps!!  After these periods, he was pronounced ‘Cured – No FB prelit? or disability – furlough thence CD’ [probably ‘Command Depot’].

On 22 October 1917, he was posted to the Essex Regiment, and on 28 October 1917, he was re-posted as a Private, No.45263 to the 17th Battalion, Essex Regiment at Dover.  On 22 December 1917 he went overseas again from Weybourne, by way of Folkestone on 23 December, arriving in Boulogne to join the BEF on the 24 December 1917.  On the same day he was transferred ‘in the field’ to the Royal Engineers, as a Pioneer, No.358639 and on 27 February 1918 to the Royal Engineers, No.4 Foreway Company, ‘at RE Rates’ from 28 February 1918.

Later that year, on 19 September 1918, he was ‘temporarily and compulsorily’ transferred to the Railways sub-unit in the Transportation Branch RE and from 20 September became a Pioneer with the 234th Light Railway Field Company and allotted a new regimental number: WR/358639.  The letters ‘WR’ stood for ‘Waterway and Railways’.  The 234th (Forward) Company was formed in France and operated there.

The formation of the RE Light Railway Companies in early 1917 was an innovation that was one of the factors that transformed the operational abilities of the army.  Goods and men could now make the last leg of the journey to the front by light rail.  Until that time, ammunition supply in particular had been subject to delays and required vast numbers of men and horses, and the light railways helped overcome both problems.  Traffic and wear on the roads and tracks leading up to the front was eased, and fewer men were required to repair them. … The Company consisted of approximately 200 men, … Drivers, Brakesmen, Guards, Wagon Repairers, Repair Shop Engineers, Traffic Controllers and Storesmen.   There were few officers among this number … The job … was to run the trains, with the tracks being laid by RE Railway Construction Companies – often with the assistance of whatever Labour Corps Company or ‘resting’ infantry were at hand.[3]

At some stage, presumably in early November, he became unwell and was transferred to No. 29 Casualty Clearing Station, which was then stationed at Delsaux Farm.  It was from there that his death was reported, ‘Died – Influenza – 11.11.1918’.  He died of Pneumonia on ‘Armistice Day’, 11 November 1918, aged 25, at ‘29 CCS’.  A confirmatory report in his Service Record, from the Captain RAMC, Medical Specialist, 29 CC Station, read,
358639 Pnr Colemen DR, 234 Light Forward Railway Co. RE
The a/m man died from Influenza followed by Broncho-Pneumonia & heart failure.
The disease was brought about by exposure whilst on military service in France.

Duncan was first buried in the Beugny Military Cemetery No.18, which had been made by the Germans after their Operation Michael[4] advances in March 1918 near the village crossroads.

Later, the German graves were removed, and in 1920, the British burials were exhumed and reburied at the Delsaux Farm Cemetery, adjacent to the Casualty Clearing Station.  Duncan was reburied  in grave reference: III. A. 17.  His gravestone bears the family message ‘Greater Love Hath No Man’.

A draft and copy of a letter sent to Duncan’s father is with his Service Record.

Royal Engineers, Record Office, Chatham  –  16 June 1920

Sir, 

I beg to inform you that in accordance with the agreement with the French and Belgian Governments to remove all scattered graves, small cemeteries containing less than 40 graves and certain other cemeteries which were situated in places unsuitable for permanent retention, it has been found necessary to exhume bodies buried in certain areas and re-inter them, therefore the body of your late son, No. WR/284262, Pioneer, D. R. Colemen, R. E., has been removed and re-buried in DELSAUX FARM BRITIH CEMETERY, 3 ¾ miles E. of BAPAUME.

The necessity for removal is much regretted but was unavoidable for reasons stated above.

The removal has been undertaken with every measure of care and reverence and special arrangements have been made for the appropriate religious services to be held.

I am, Yours faithfully,          for Colonel i/c R. E. Records.

The cemetery is near the village of Beugny, in Pas de Calais, France, some 19 kilometres south-west of Cambrai.

Delsaux Farm was a point on the German defensive system known as the Beugny-Ytres line, which was reached by Commonwealth troops on 18 March 1917, and passed on the following day. The farm was lost on 23 March 1918 after the gallant defence of Beugny by the 9th Welsh Regiment and their withdrawal, but it was retaken by the 5th Division on 2 September 1918, and on the next day the same division occupied Beugny village.  After their advance in March 1918, the Germans made a cemetery (Beugny Military Cemetery No.18) at the cross-roads, and in it buried 103 Commonwealth and 82 German dead.  The site was extended in October-November 1918 by the 29th and 46th Casualty Clearing Stations, which came to Delsaux Farm and made the present cemetery.  A little later, the German graves of March 1918 were removed and the 103 Commonwealth dead reburied in Plot I, Row J, Plot II, Row A, and Plot III, Rows B, C and D.  The rest of the cemetery was made when graves were later brought in from the battlefield. … The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.[5]

Duncan Reginald COLEMAN was awarded the British War and Victory Medals.  He is remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gates and on his CWGC gravestone at Delsaux Farm Cemetery, Beugby. 

Duncan’s outstanding pay of £24-3-8d was paid to his ‘Fa[ther] & Sole Leg[atee] George H’ on 12 April 1919, and note stated that this was ‘Including War Grant £14-10-0’.  On 17 April 1919 his property was returned to the family: ‘Letters; Shaving brush; Badge; Photos; Wallet’.

His elder brother Albert Victor Coleman, signed up on 12 December 1915, and also served initially in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, as No.3098, and later in the Royal Berkshire Regiment as No.44920.  He survived the war.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

– – – – – –

 

This article on Duncan Reginald COLEMAN was researched and written for a Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the RFHG, October 2018.

 

[1]      UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919.

[2]      The No 4 General Hospital was at St Nazaire in September 1914; at Versailles from September 1914 to January 1916; at Camiers, when Duncan Coleman was admitted, from January 1916 to April 1919; and at Dunkerque from April 1919 to November 1919.

[3]      https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-corps-of-royal-engineers-in-the-first-world-war/light-railway-operating-companies-of-the-royal-engineers/.

[4]      https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com/2018/03/20/the-1918-spring-offensive-operation-michael/.

[5]      Edited from: https://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/23600/delsaux-farm-cemetery,-beugny/.

9th Nov 1918. An Unfounded Rumour

AN UNFOUNDED RUMOUR
PREMATURE REJOICING.

Feverish excitement was caused in the town on Thursday afternoon by the circulation of a rumour that an armistice had been signed at 2.30 p.m.

In several instances workpeople gave themselves up to jubilation, and work came to a standstill, until it was found later in the day that the statement had not come through an official source and was premature.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Capt George Alan C Smith, M.C, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, who has been killed by a shell in France, was the elder son of the Master of Dulwich College. At Rugby he was head of his house (Mr G F Bradby’s), and played in the School XV for two seasons, captaining the team during his last term.

Lieut G T S Horton, Royal Hussars, son of Mr T Horton, J.P, Ashlawn House, near Rugby, has been awarded the Military Cross.

Sergt A J Chadwick, of Kilsby, who has been on active service since December, 1914, has been awarded the Military Medal for gallantry on the field.

Lance-Corpl W L Gilks, Yorks & Lancs Regt, son of the late Mr Lewis Gilks, farmer, Grandborough, has been killed in action. He enlisted in August, 1914, and had seen considerable foreign service.

The following Rugby men have been posted as missing :—Pte E Cox, Pte F Smyth, Pte C Spokes, and Pte W Boote, all of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment ; Ptes A Webster, Royal West Surrey Regiment ; A J Webster, London Regiment ; G Watkins, R.W.R, and H Cockerill, M.G.C, have been reported killed ; and Pte W H Newman, Royal Berks Regiment, has died of wounds. Lance-Corpl R G Salmon, M.G.C, has been taken prisoner.

Gunner F J Lines, youngest son of Mrs Lines and the late Mr Lines, 17 Spring Street, died of wounds on October 6th. He was an old Murrayian, 20 years of age, and before joining the army in August, 1916, he was employed by the late Mr C B Jones, hairdresser, Murray Road, who has also been killed in action.

Lance-Corpl H Evans (23), son of Mr W Evans, Thurlaston, formerly of Crick, has died at Norwich Hospital from pneumonia, contracted on active service. He joined the K.R.R on September 2, 1914, and saw a good deal of heavy fighting round Ypres. He was wounded at Hooge in 1915, and again on the Somme in 1916. He was subsequently invalided home, and afterwards was transferred to the Mechanical Transport, A.S.C. He contracted a chill while on duty, and after laying up for a few days he reported for duty too soon, caught another chill, and died on Wednesday. In peace time he was well known as a footballer and cricketer. An elder brother was killed in June last, and another brother is in France.

Pte Victor Cowley, son of Walter Cowley, 34 Poplar Grove, 1st Dorset Regt, has been reported missing since September 30. He joined up in September, 1914, had been twice wounded, and went to France for the third time in March last. He was an old St Matthew’s boy, and before the war was employed in the Winding Department of the B.T.H.

Pte Bernard Woodward, youngest son of Mr and Mrs T Woodward, 39 Stephen Street, has been wounded.

Ptc A Allen, Gloucester Regt, who was employed in the B.T.H Foundry before the war, died from wounds on October 25th.

The Northants Yeomanry, twice mentioned by the Earl of Cavan in his official despatches for distinguished service in Italy last week, is commanded by Sir Charles Lowther, formerly Master of the Pytchley Hounds, and includes amongst its officers Major T E Manning, captain of the Northamptonshire County cricket team.

The death occurred at Stratford-on-Avon, on Tuesday, of ex-Sergt Norman Kinman, of the Warwickshire Royal Horse Artillery, who was well known in athletic circles in the Midlands prior to the War. He was a prominent sprinter and an excellent Rugby footballer, doing fine work for Stratford-on-Avon as wing three-quarter. He gained his Midland cap, and also toured with Leicester. He volunteered at the outbreak of war, and was dis-charged in February of this year after a bad gas attack, having gained his Mons Star and Military Medal. He was 30 years of age.

MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR REV. R. W. DUGDALE.

A choral requiem in memory of the Rev R W Dugdale, curate in charge, who was killed in France recently, was celebrated at Holy Trinity Church on Saturday (All Souls’ Day). The celebrant was the Rev G H Roper, assisted by the Rev T H Perry. The 42nd Psalm was chanted at the beginning of the service, and the hymns were : “ Lord, it belongs not to my care,” and “ Let Saints on Earth.” At the conclusion of the service the Nune Dimittis was sung. The congregation included Mrs Hardy and Miss Dugdale (sisters), Canon Simpson, Capt & Mrs C P Evers, Messrs F J Kittermaster, C H Fuller, F Thompson, G E Over, W Brooke, A W Sheasby, W T Coles Hodges, C E L Wright, F W Cooke, W. M. and E R Giding. Senior P.M (representing the Lodge of Rectitude, Freemasons, of which the Rev R W Dugdale was chaplain), A Coaton, Mr & Mrs H Marple, Mrs C N Hoare, Miss Gray, Mike Tomlinson, Miss Dean, Miss Buckley, Miss Stuart, Mrs Stokes, Mrs Stanley, Miss Cope and Mrs Ray (representing Murray School, of which he was chaplain), Misses Hollowell, Miss Sargent, Miss Longstaff, Miss Lines, Mrs Beasley, &c.

DUNCHURCH.

The funeral of Leonard J Hopkins, aged 18 years, son of Mr and Mrs Wm Hopkins of Dunchurch, took place at Dunchurch on Tuesday last. Deceased, who was a private in the Devon Reserves, died after a short illness in Waveney Hospital, Ballymena, Ireland. Before joining the army he was employed as gardener at Thurlaston Grange, and a bunch of mauve chrysanthemums (his favourite flower) was sent by Mr Appleby, bearing the word, “These flowers he tended so carefully during his life are sent as a token of deep sympathy from all at Thurlaston Grange.” The funeral service was conducted by the Vicar, the Rev. E P Rowland, and the coffin was borne by four soldiers staying in the village.
Among the flowers were tributes from Mrs Mallam, Mr and Mrs Appleby, Mr and Mrs Dew, Mrs Borsley, Mr and Mrs Tomlin, and Mrs Busby. The deceased was very popular with the boys of the village, and in addition to the above were wreaths from “His Chums,” Pte R Jennings (serving in France), and the Scholars and Staff of Dunchurch Boys’ School. The people of the village fell the deepest sympathy with Mr and Mrs Hopkins in their bereavement.

LONG ITCHINGTON.

THE ROLL OF HONOUR.—Mr and Mrs Joseph Lane have now received official information that their son, Pte Ernest Lane (R.W.R), formerly porter at the Station here, was wounded and is missing from September 2nd last.—Mr and Mrs Fred Sabin have been advised through a letter from Pte T Sewell (his chum) that their younger son, Pte Edward Sabin (R.W.R), has been killed in action. His friend saw him fall, and was with him till death took place. The news has come as a great shock to Mr and Mrs Sabin, the latter of whom has been seriously ill with influenza.

SERGT RUSSELL WOUNDED.—News is to hand that Sergt F Russell (West Riding Regt) was wounded as he was leading his platoon into action on the 14th ult, a piece of shrapnel penetrating his left fore-arm. He was operated on, and is now at Nottingham. Sergt Russell, who served all through the Boer War, was called up as a Reserve in August, 1914, and has seen a great deal of hard and severe fighting in the present war.

WOLSTON.

DEATH OF CORPL L PAGE.—The news arrived at Wolston recently of the death of Corpl Lewis Page, Warwickshire Yeomanry, from dysentry in Egypt. Corpl Page was the third son of Mrs Page and the late Mr W Page, of Wolston, and was in his 35th year. Before hostilities commenced he was a member of the Warwickshire Yeomanry, and was in business as a hay and corn merchant. Much sympathy is felt for his mother and brothers and sister, and for his young widow, who resides at Coventry. Three brothers of the deceased are still fighting.”

SOLDIERS’ CHRISTMAS PARCELS.—The sum of £56 13s 3d has been collected in the parishes of Brandon, Wolston, and Bretford. The committee have sent 74 presents of 12s each to men abroad, and 24 of 5s each to men in England, and £4 4s 5d for parcels to the six prisoners of war. The total expenses were £2 0s 10d.

LIEUT-COL. H. H. PODMORE, D.S.O.

On Saturday afternoon a portrait of Lieut-Col H H Podmore, D.S.O, Northants Regiment, killed in action in December, 1917, was unveiled in the Temple Speech Room by the Headmaster, Dr A A David. The painting was by Mr Charles Miller, and it was presented to the School by the past and present members of Mr B B Dickinson’s house.
Mr R G C Levens, head of the house, formally presented the portrait in “pleasant memory of Col Podmore’s tutorship.”
Dr David accepted the gift on behalf of the School from “ the house which Hubert Podmore served, loved, and inspired.” He added that the memorial was happily conceived, and before unveiling it he wished to thank the past and present members of the house who had joined in the gift, and who desired—and rightly desired—to set it among the pictures of those whom Rugby remembered with gratitude and with honour. They were also grateful to the artist. His was a hard task, but be (Dr David) thought when they saw the picture they would agree that his insight and his skill had been equal to it. He had seen in the photograph, and revealed to them again, what they remembered in the man. Dr David then formally unveiled the portrait, and, having done so. he said :—“ I do not suppose any of us knows a man whose features and expression more faithfully imaged the character within. If the face is ever the window of the soul it was so in him. There was nothing that he had need to hide, therefore the window was not darkened. I wonder if those who follow us here will know from this picture what manner of man he was ? I think they will.”

“ FEED THE GUNS ” CAMPAIGN.

A great effort is being made to extend this campaign in the local villages, and in connection with it representatives of Rugby Rural District (North) and Monks Kirby Rural District Local Committee met at St Matthew’s Boys’ School, Rugby, on Saturday afternoon, last, when the Earl of Denbigh presided, supported by Mr E H Carter, O.B.E (hon county secretary), and Mr R H Myers (hon local secretary).—Mr Myers gave an account of the progress of the organisation, and intimated that final arrangements had been made for a gun to tour the villages during Gun Week (Nov 18-23), when it is hoped that a sum of at least £66,000 will be subscribed in War Bonds and War Savings Certificates.—Lord Denbigh urged those present not to relax their efforts, in view of the satisfactory military position, but to vigorously prosecute the financial campaign til final victory is obtained.

THE INFLUENZA EPIDEMIC.

There are signs this week that the influenza epidemic, which has claimed so many victims locally, is now on the wane, although unfortunately the death roll is still very high. Since the outbreak of the epidemic the number of deaths from influenza in Rugby and the immediate neighbourhood totals 86, of which 61 have occurred in Rugby and New Bilton. In Rugby alone 27 deaths from these diseases were registered last week, and another 14 occurred in the villages immediately adjacent to the town. Thirteen deaths were registered during the first three days of the present week. . . .

NEEDLESS ALARM.

Some alarm has apparently been caused in Cromwell Road by the proposal that the Mitchison Home is to be used as a hospital for influenza patients. Residents in that neighbourhood may feel assured there is no cause to be uneasy.

RUGBY MAN’S FOOLISH ACT.
UNLAWFULLY WEARING AN OFFICER’S UNIFORM.
A HEAVY FINE.

A remarkable story was told to the Mansfield Magistrates on Thursday last week in a case in which Percy Thos Tallis, a mechanical engineer, now on Government work at Coventry, living in Cross Street, Rugby, and whose father is an innkeeper in the town, was charged with unlawfully wearing the uniform of an officer of the R.A.F at Sutton in Ashfield on October 23rd. After being arrested by Insp Brooks, defendant made a statement, in which he said he received information that his brother, who had been seriously wounded, was lying in a military hospital at Nottingham. He went there to see him, his wife joining him the next day. On the 20th ult he made the acquaintance at a hotel of a man named Millus, who was wearing an officer’s uniform. He suggested that he (defendant) should put on a similar uniform and be photographed in it. He agreed to this, and after putting on the uniform they went into the streets, where Millus persuaded him to accompany him to Mansfield. He did so, and the next day, at Millius’s request, he consented to visit Mansfield again. They took tickets there, but alighted at Sutton, where he was arrested.
Mr W Gamble, who defended, pleaded guilty, but urged extenuating circumstances. When Millus saw defendant at the hotel he said, “Put on this uniform and be photographed in it.” Defendant several times refused to do so, and it was only after Millus said he belonged to the military police, and that no harm would result, that defendant consented. He went out with the intention of being photographed in the uniform, and then coming back and taking it off. but Millus persuaded him to go to Mansfield. It was evidently a case of a strong mind overcoming a weaker mental capacity. Defendant committed this foolish act, but Mr Gamble submitted that no real harm had been done. At Mansfield he found Millus was wanted on a charge, so the latter could afford to be reckless. Defendant bore an excellent character. This had been a lesson to him, and defendant would take care that he would not repeat such foolishness again.
The Chairman told defendant he had been guilty of a most foolish act, and had rendered himself liable to a much heavier penalty than the Bench proposed to inflict. He would have to pay £10, and they hoped this would teach him a lesson.—The money was paid.

NEW RATION BOOKS IN USE.

The new ration books came into use on Monday, and for the next six months they will be the medium by which the available supplies of meat, fats, sugar, and jam will be equitably distributed among the population. Should the War come to an end during the period there is no likelihood that the necessity for rationing will cease. Organised distribution of food, in fact, will have to be continued for many months after fighting stops. No exception is likely to be taken to the maintenance of restrictions. Rationing from the first has worked smoothly in this country, and has been accepted as the fairest—and indeed the only—method of apportioning foods the supply of which is insufficient to meet the normal demand.
Only one change is associated with the use of the new book. Jam, marmalade, and honey are added to the list of rationed articles. It was originally intended that syrup and treacle should also be included; but Lord Bledisloe, the Director of Sugar Distribution, announces that there is no need to surrender coupons when buying these foods. In view of the quantities in which jam is customarily sold, the ministry of Food has arranged that the jam coupons in the ration books may be used in each case in the week marked on the coupon, or in any of the seven succeeding weeks. The red coupon numbered 1 for the week ending November 9th may be used at any time before December 29th. A customer, therefore, may hold his coupons over for seven weeks, and in the eighth week buy a 2-lb jar of jam with the eight coupons saved.

WARWICKSHIRE WAR AGRICULTURAL COMMITTEE.

The following reports have been made by the Executive Committee and the Women’s War Agricultural Committee to the County Council :—
The work of the harvest in this county has, generally speaking, been completed, notwithstanding the shortage of labour and bad weather experienced for the last six weeks. The inspection of farms has been continued, and in 34 cases cultivation orders have been issued. In three cases recommendations have been made to the Board of Agriculture to determine tenancies, and in two cases derelict land has been compulsorily taken for improvement. The total acreage ordered to be broken up is at present 35,103 acres.
Orders have been received from the Board of Agriculture for a re-survey of the county for the purpose of more carefully classifying the grassland and for obtaining particulars of all farms not properly cultivated. It is proposed to put this in hand forthwith. The committee continues its efforts to retain skilled men in their employment on the land, releasing for service only those who can best be dispensed with ; 1,402 soldiers from the distribution centre at Budbrooke Barracks are employed on the land. Additional camps have been established at Kingsbury and Mancetter. The total number of prisoners employed is 636, of which 507 are in the camps, 49 are billeted with farmers, and 80 are out with migratory gangs. Including the horses at the prisoner camps, there are 218 under the committee’s control. The number of tractors in the county is 73.
The organisation of threshing has been successfully carried out, district committees were formed, and districts allotted to threshing proprietors. Shortage of drivers has somewhat handicapped the work, but every endeavour is being made to rectify this.
During the past season Mrs Bedhall has given 92 demonstrations in fruit preservation, with an average attendance of 38. One week was devoted to training pupils to work the district canneries established in the county. Thirty visited have been made to such canneries for the purpose of giving further advice and assistance.
The appeal to school children to pick blackberries to be made into jam for the Army and Navy was taken up with keenness, and has been conducted with great success. Already 29 tons 7 cwt have born sent to jam factories.
The Women’s Agricultural Committee reported :—During the past quarter the principal work has been the formation of gangs of woman for threshing. These gangs consist of a number of women, varying from four to six, one of whom is invariably the forewoman. Twenty gangs are already at work, comprising approximately 90 women, and from reports already received they appear to be giving satisfaction. We are prepared to supply any further gangs that may be asked for. We have a total number of 406 girls working in the county at this time, and a welfare officer has been appointed from London to supervise their recreation and general well-being. The total number of L.A women trained in this county since April, 1917, is 261, a very large percentage of whom are still on farm work here, and we are greatly indebted to the farmers who have undertaken to help our committee in this way.

WARWICKSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL.
LAND FOR EX-SERVICE MEN.

At a quarterly meeting of the Warwickshire County Council, held at Warwick on Tuesday, Lord Algernon Percy, presiding, the Small Holdings Committee presented a report on the provision of land for ex-service men, and recommended “that the Small Holdings and Allotments Committee be charged with the matter of dealing with the settlement of ex-service men on the land in the county, all the powers of the Council being delegated to them.”
Alderman Sir H R Fairfax-Lucy moved an amendment : “ That the County Council considers the proposals of the Board of Agriculture for the provision of land for ex-service men a most unsatisfactory one, as it does not enable these men to become the owners of their holdings, and that, further, they consider that the powers of borrowing for purchasing land and adaptation should be restored, and that they should be informed at an early date on what terms loans will be issued for that purpose.” He pointed out that under the policy of the Board of Agriculture County Councils could take up land only through the powers of the board to obtain loans, and this depended on the adoption of the system of a perpetual rent charge. He thought it was their duty to ascertain the demand for land, and this information could be obtained through the Territorial Force Association, which had relations with discharged soldiers. It would be the duty of the County Council to find loans for those who had experience and capital to take up land. It would be necessary for the Small Holdings Committee to continue to press for the re-establishment of their old powers.—The amendment was carried.

SHOP HOURS IN RUGBY.

The following copy of a letter, written by a Rugby housewife to the Secretary of the Housewives’ Committee, was sent to us last week too late for insertion :—
DEAR MADAM,—We understand your committee tried some time ago to get some consideration and convenience for busy workers to do their shopping. They are the majority ; they are the ready cash people ; yet all our wants and purchases have to be crowded into Friday night and Saturday afternoon, waiting in crowded shops, getting served in a take-it-or-leave-it-quick style. If there was a later hour—say, 7.30 on Tuesday—it would ease both server and served at the week-end.
Does it ever occur to traders that the shops are already closed morning, noon, and night to the workers for four whole days?
Can we who have twenty minutes to half-an-hour’s walk home and live the same distance from the town sandwich a tea-dinner and a wash in-between, and yet get in town even by seven o’clock ? No, not for a bit of cotton wool or a pound of oatmeal, or any other necessary for whatever illness or emergency is in the home. If we—the majority—have still to be put to this inconvenience, there is no need for the leisured minority to require four days in which to make their purchases.
Why not even things up a bit ?—Yours very truly,
“ A.E.W.”

DEATHS.

ELLARD.—On October 30th, at 29 Station Hospital, Cremona, Italy, Trooper W. J. ELLARD, 14th Corps, Northants Yeomanry, younger son of Z. J. Ellard, Barby, aged 27 years.

EVANS.—On November 6th, at the Military Hospital, Norwich, Pte. HARRY EVANS, the beloved second son of W. E. & A. M. Evans.—“ Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

GILKS.—Killed in action on October 13th, Lance-Corpl. WM. L. GILKS, Yorks. and Lancs. Regt., aged 22.

HOPKINS.—On October 30th, at Ballymena, Ireland, of pneumonia, Pte. L. J. HOPKINS, the dearly beloved son of Elphinstone and Annie Hopkins, Dunchurch, aged 18 years.

LINES.—On October 6th, Gunner F. J. LINES, R.F.A., youngest and dearly beloved son of Mrs. Lines and the late Mr. H. Lines, 17 Spring Street, who died of wounds received in action in France ; aged 20. Never forgotten.

OLDHAM.—Killed in action on October 24th, in France, HARRY, fourth son of the late Stephen and Annie Oldham, 33 Stephen Street, Rugby (late of Long Lawford), aged 25 years.—Deeply mourned by his loving Mother and Brothers and fiancee Lottie.

PEARMAN.—On November 4th, at Warley Military Hospital, after a short illness of pneumonia, HERBERT CARL, elder and beloved son of Thomas and Ada Pearman, of Ryton-on-Dunsmore, in his 23rd year.

STIBBARDS.—On the 31st October, 1918, at the 1st Eastern General Hospital, Cambridge, Seaman HARRY FRANK STIBBARDS, B.Z. 11286, “Attentive III,” passed peacefully away after a short illness, contracting pneumonia. Much suffering patiently borne. Interred in Cambridge Military Cemetery.—Deeply mounted by all who knew him.

WEBSTER.—In memory of ARTHUR JAMES WBSTER, beloved son of Mr. &. Mrs. Webster, of 9 Old Station Square, Rugby, who was killed in action during the evening of September 28, 1918.
“ A loving son, a faithful brother,
One of the best towards his mother ;
He bravely answered his country’s call,
He gave his life for one and all.
We pictured his safe returning,
We longed to clasp his hand ;
But God has postponed our meeting
Till we meet in the Better Land.”
—From his loving Mother, Father, and Brothers and Sisters.

IN MEMORIAM.

ELKINGTON.—In proud and loving memory of our dear son and brother, JOHN THOMAS ELKINGTON (JACK), who fell in action “ somewhere in France ” on November 10th, 1916.—“ God’s Will be done.”
“ Just when his hopes were brightest,
Just when thoughts were best ;
He was called from this world of sorrow
To that Home of eternal rest.
Never a day but his name is spoken,
Never a day but he’s in our thoughts ;
A link from our family chain is broken ;
He’s gone from our home, but not from our hearts.
His loving smile, his cherry ways,
Are pleasant to recall ;
He had a kindly word for each,
And died beloved by all.”
—Too dearly loved to be forgotten by his Mother, Father, and Sisters, of Long Lawford, Brothers in France and Germany.

 

Laughton, David. Died 10th Nov 1918

David LAUGHTON was born in Rugby on 10 – or possibly 11 – October 1890He was the third child and second son of George Varnsvay Laughton (b.c. Q3, 1859 in Lutterworth) and Eliza Ellen, née Allen, Laughton (b.c.1863 in Attleborough, near Minestay, Warwickshire), who were married on 25 December 1885 at St. Andrew’s church, Rugby when George was living at 25 Cambridge Street, Rugby.

In 1887 when their daughter Emily was baptised the Laughton family had moved to 130 Cambridge Street, Rugby.  George was a ‘painter’.  For the 1891 census, David had ‘arrived’ and was 5 months old, the youngest of three children all born in Rugby, and the family was now living at 2 James Street.  His father was a ‘Painter L&NW Wagon Depot’.

It seems that the family then moved for some six years to Earlestown, Lancashire, where a son, Joseph Edward was born in about 1892, and a daughter Lilian May in 1896.  They moved back to Rugby before the birth of their son, George in about 1900.  In 1901, they were living at 25 Abbey Street, Rugby, and David’s father was still a ‘Railway Wagon Painter’.

By 1911, the growing family had moved to a six room house at 147 Oxford Street, Rugby.  David’s parents had been married for 25 years and they had had eight children, of whom seven were still living.  They had entered Evelyn, b.c.1898, with status ‘dead’ on the census and then realised their error and deleted her – they would not realise how useful such ‘errors’ would be to future research.

Also entered at the end of the list of children was a William Allen Laughton, born in Attleborough in about 1882, it would seem that this was Eliza’s son, from before her marriage, who had probably been adopted into the family, although no definite trace of him has yet been found, in earlier censuses, either as an Allen or a Laughton.

In 1911, David Laughton was now 21, single and working as a ‘Clerk (Engineer’s)’ at Willans and Robinson.  He may have been involved in ‘War Work’ and thus did not join up early in the war.

He married Barbara S Mochril in Rugby in Q3, 1918, and her later address was also given as 147 Oxford Street, Rugby, the Laughton family home.

It would appear from his Royal Navy Record card that soon after his marriage, he joined the Navy as No: M/34139 in the Portsmouth Division on 15 October 1918, for the ‘period of hostilities’.

When he joined he was 5ft 5inches tall, with a 32 inch chest, dark blond hair, grey eyes and a fresh complexion.  His Record for his very short period of service stated that he had a ‘VG’ [very good] character and a ‘Sat’ [Satisfactory] ability.

He served on Victory I, as a ‘Writer 3rd Class’.[1]  He was probably still working as a Clerk in a ‘Pay Office’ in Portsmouth,

It seems likely that ‘Victory I’ was a base depot at Portsmouth, probably used as an accounts office dealing with pay.  It does not seem to be listed in WWI, but was at Goodings near Newbury as an Accounting Base from September 1940 in WWII.  The 1866 Naval Discipline Act stated ‘Ships of War’ in its text, and to ensure that that Act could be applied to Shore Bases, they had to have a named parent ship.  Hence Victory for the shore base at Portsmouth.[2]

Sadly, only some three weeks after he had enlisted and the day before the war ended, he died of Pneumonia in Haslar Naval Hospital.

His ‘Cause of Death’ was given as code ‘3’, and elsewhere as ‘Died from Disease’.[3]  Another record is more specific, and states that he died from ‘Bronchial phneumonia’ – quite possibly as a result of the ‘Flu’ that was sweeping the world.

He was buried in the Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery, Gosport, Hampshire, in grave ref: 37 11.  The cemetery is also known as Clayhall Royal Naval Cemetery.

‘During both wars, Gosport was a significant sea port and Naval depot, with many government factories and installations based there, as well as the Haslar Naval Hospital.  …  Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery, which was attached to the Naval Hospital of 2,000 beds, contains 772 First World War graves, 2 of which are unidentified.  Most are scattered throughout the cemetery, …’[4]

David Laughton’s CWGC memorial headstone has no additional family inscription.  He is also commemorated on the Rugby Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road, Rugby.

His widow, Barbara, married again.  Her marriage with William C Keep was registered in Edmonton,  Middlesex  in Q1, 1923.  David’s mother died in Rugby aged 69 in 1934; his father, also in Rugby, in 1952

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

– – – – – –

 

This article on David LAUGHTON was researched and written for the Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the RFHG, September 2018.

[1]      In WWI, a 1st Class Writer was classed Petty Officer, 2nd Class Writer a Leading Rate and 3rd Class an Able Rate.

[2]      Edited from: http://www.gwpda.org/naval/rnshore.htm.

[3]      UK, Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919.

[4]      Edited from: https://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/2044620/haslar-royal-naval-cemetery/.

Greatrex, Arthur. Died 10th Nov 1918

Arthur GREATREX was born in Coventry in 1893 and his birth was registered in Q1, 1893 in Coventry.  He was the second son of John Greatrex (b.c.1850 in Coventry) and Harriett Hannah, née Mayo, Greatrex, (b.c.1845 in Coventry), who were married on 25 December 1875 at St. Michael’s church, Coventry when both were living in Smithford Street.  They were both able to sign their names.

In 1881 Arthur’s father was a ‘cabman’ and the family lived at 8 Garden Row, Coventry.  There were then two young daughters, Amy, 5, and Maggie, 2.  In 1891 the family was still at 8 Garden Row, and Arthur’s father was still a ‘cabman’, his wife was a ‘waitress’ and Amy, now 15, was a ‘general domestic servant’ but still living at home, where there was now also an eight year old son, John Greatrex.

In 1901, they were still in Coventry, but now living in both 7 & 8 Garden Row. John Greatrex [sen] was now a ‘stableman and groom’; John [jun] was now 19 and a ‘postman’, having been made an ‘Assistant R. Postman – Coventry to Little Heath’ in 1899, and then been appointed ‘Postman’ in March 1901 in Coventry.[1]  There was also now another son, Arthur Greatrex, the main subject of this biography, who was eight years old.

The next year, in 1902, Arthur’s mother, Harriet, died aged 56.  Arthur’s father died in 1909, before the next census.

By 1911, John Greatrex had moved to 44 Victoria Avenue, New Bilton, Rugby, and had been married for eight years to Minnie Lona and they already had four children, all born in New Bilton.  He was now a ‘wireman’.

It is not known whether Arthur might have moved to Rugby at a similar date to his brother, but he could not be found in the 1911 census.  He had travelled to North America.  He arrived back in Liverpool on the Empress of Britain, Canadian Pacific Line, from St John, New Brunswick, Canada, on 18 January 1913.  He was then 20 and described as a ‘constructor’.

For some time, possibly both before and certainly after his visit to North America and before the war, Arthur worked in the Wiring Department at BTH.  Whilst his name does not appear among the early lists of men who enlisted from the BTH, the records show that he enlisted in Rugby,[2]  initially as a Private, No: 10578, into the 7th Battalion, the South Staffordshire Regiment.

7th (Service) Battalion, the South Staffordshire Regiment, was formed at Lichfield in August 1914 as part of K1 and became part of 33rd Brigade in 11th (Northern) Division.  It moved to camp at Grantham in mid-September 1914, and then moved to Frensham in April 1915.  They sailed from Liverpool in early July 1915 for Gallipoli, landing at Cape Helles and remaining there 23-28 July 1915.  First were casualties sustained in the “Horseshoe” facing Achi Baba.  They were withdrawn to Imbros and rejoined rest of division for landing at Suvla Bay on 7 August 1915.  They were evacuated from Gallipoli in December 1915, and moved to Egypt via Imbros.  They were then moved to France in July 1916.

The War Diary of the 7th South Staffs in France from July 1916 to 1919 can be consulted,[3] but whilst the history of the Battalion is known, it is not known exactly when Arthur joined them.  It was probably in 1914 which would have allowed time for a period of training, as his Medal Card showed that he went to Gallipoli with the Battalion, departing to that ‘Theatre of War first served in – 2(B) Balkans’ on 2 July 1915.  As noted they were then moved to France in July 1916.

However, it seems that Arthur returned to UK at some date in 1917, and took the opportunity to marry with Alice Parnham in Grantham, their marriage being registered during Q3, 1917 (Grantham 7a, 947), when he was about 24.  As noted, the 7th South Staffordshires had been stationed in Grantham between September 1914 and April 1915, and that is probably when Arthur and Alice met – she was some 10 years older than him.

His address was later recorded as Grantham,[4] and indeed he had ‘moved in’ with his wife at her family home, although it is unlikely that he was there for long.  She was an only child, born on 1 June 1883 in Grantham, and in 1891 she was living with her parents – her father was a joiner – at 32 Sydney Street, Grantham.  Her father died before 1901, when her mother was in receipt of Parish Relief, and she and her mother were still at the same address in 1911, indeed she lived with her until her mother’s death aged 73, in June 1928.

Arthur must have been in UK in mid to later 1917, for his marriage, and then also around March 1918, when his wife became pregnant.  It seems to have been a long home posting, but two leaves in short succession seems unlikely, perhaps he was wounded and returned to UK to recover and convalesce and they took the opportunity to get married.

Arthur later served abroad again as a Private, No: 47679, with the 10th (Service) Battalion of the Essex Regiment.  Again, the date of this transfer in not known, but if he had been recovering in UK, that might have been the opportunity to post an experienced soldier.  He would thus have only experienced the actions from later 1917 that are outlined below.

The 10th Battalion of the Essex Regiment were formed at Warley in September 1914 as part of K2 and came under orders of 53rd Brigade in 18th (Eastern) Division.  They moved to Shorncliffe and then to Colchester, going on to Codford St Mary in March or May 1915.  On 26 July 1915, they mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including:-

1916 – The Battle of Albert; the Battle of Bazentin Ridge; the Battle of Delville Wood; the Battle of Thiepval Ridge; the Battle of the Ancre Heights; and the Battle of the Ancre.

1917 – The Operations on the Ancre; the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line; the Third Battle of the Scarpe; the Battle of Pilkem Ridge; the Battle of Langemarck; the First Battle of Passchendaele; and the Second Battle of Passchendaele.

1918 – The Battle of St Quentin; the Battle of the Avre; the actions of Villers-Brettoneux; the Battle of Amiens; the Battle of Albert; the Second Battle of Bapaume; the Battle of Epehy; the Battle of the St Quentin Canal; the Battle of the Selle and the Battle of the Sambre.  They ended the war at Le Cateau, France.

The detail of all these actions would be far too extensive for this summary, indeed the Narrative on the near final attack near LE CATEAU on 23 October, which were appended to the Battalion War Diary,[5] took up two typed pages alone.

It was assumed that in this major attack on LE CATEAU or some similar action, Arthur was wounded, as recorded by the CWGC.  His chain of evacuation might have included a Regimental Aid Post, in or close behind the front line, and then a Field Ambulance, a mobile medical unit, and then a Dressing Station, where a casualty would receive further treatment and be prepared to be evacuated to a Casualty Clearing Station, and then on to a Base Hospital, which in Arthur’s case, was the No.1 English General Hospital on the French coast at Etretat, a small seaside town about 26 kilometres north of Le Havre.

However, a note on his entry on the Medal Roll of the Essex Regiment of those to be awarded the 1914-1915 Star, had an added note ‘Died Lobar Pneumonia[6] 10.11.18’.

Whether he ‘Died of Wounds’ or of ‘Lobar Pneumonia’, or possibly a combination of both, he died at 8.45 pm on 10 November 1918, the day before the end of the War, in the No.1 English General Hospital, as shown on an official copy extract – in French – of the entry in the Register of Deaths of the ‘Commune d’Etretat’.[7]

He was buried in the neighbouring Etretat Churchyard Extension in grave ref: III. E. 3.

In December 1914, No.1 General Hospital was established in Etretat and it remained there until December 1918.  In July 1917, it was taken over by No.2 (Presbyterian USA) Base Hospital Unit, but it continued to operate as a British hospital.  The first seven burials took place among the French civil graves but in February 1915, two plots were set aside for Commonwealth burials in the churchyard.  These were filled by December 1916 and from then until December 1918, the extension was used.  Etretat Churchyard contains 264 Commonwealth burials of the First World War and one German grave.  Etretat Churchyard Extension contains 282 First World War burials and four from the Second World War.  There are also 12 German graves in the extension.  The extension was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

His CWGC memorial headstone has the additional family inscription from his wife, ‘Until the Day Breaks and the Shadows Flee Away’.

Arthur Greatrex’s Medal Card showed that he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal and that he also won the 1914-1915 Star. 

He is commemorated on the Rugby Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road, Rugby; on the list of BTH Employees who served in the War 1914 – 1918; and also on the BTH War Memorial.[8]  He does not appear to be commemorated in Grantham.

His back pay of £14-16-10d was paid to his widow and sole legatee, Alice, on 14 February 1919, and a further 2/3d on 19 May 1919.  His War Gratuity of £19-10s was paid to her on 6 December 1919.

His residence at his time of death was recorded as Grantham; and that of his widow was noted as 32, Sydney Street, Grantham, and it seems that they had briefly set up home in her family home, where she continued to live.  In 1939 she was recorded as a widow, undertaking ‘Unpaid domestic duties’.  Also in the house in 1939 was Martha Alice Greatrex, born on 3 December 1918, who had worked as a ‘Cashier, Book-keeper, Grocery, retail trade, telephonist Grantham …’.  She would later marry Leonard Chambers on 18 October 1944.  It would seem that Arthur and Alice had a daughter.  She was born less than a month after her father died – a father that she never met.   Arthur’s widow, Alice’s death, aged 94, was registered in Grantham in Q1, 1978.  Their daughter, Martha, died in August 2001 in Bourne, Lincolnshire.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

– – – – – –

 

This article on Arthur GREATREX was researched and written for the Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the RFHG, September 2018.

[1]      British Postal Museum and Archive; Series: POST 58; Reference Number: 95, and Reference Number: 97.

[2]      UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919.

[3]      UK, WWI War Diaries (France, Belgium and Germany), 1914-1920, South Staffordshire Regiment, 11th Division,  Piece 1816/1-4: 7 Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment (1916 Jul – 1919 May).

[4]      UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919.

[5]      UK, WWI War Diaries (France, Belgium and Germany), 1914-1920, Essex Regiment, 18th Division, Piece 2038/1-5: 53 Infantry Brigade: 10 Battalion Essex Regiment (1915 Jul – 1919 Apr).

[6]      Lobar pneumonia is a form of pneumonia that affects a large and continuous area of the lobe of a lung.  It is one of the two anatomic classifications of pneumonia (the other being bronchopneumonia).  Lobar pneumonia usually has an acute progression.  It seems this was often the main cause of death in case of deaths in young men in the 1918 influenza epidemic.

[7]      The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; General Register Office: Miscellaneous Foreign Death Returns; Class: RG 35; Piece: 45.

[8]      This is from a list of names on the BTH War Memorial when it was unveiled.  It is taken from the list published in the Rugby Advertiser, 4 November 1921 and given at https://www.rugbyfhg.co.uk/bth-war-memorial.

Gibbs, Bertie. Died 5th Nov 1918

Bertie GIBBS was born in Wandsworth, London, in 1895 and his birth was registered in Wandsworth in Q4, 1895.  He was baptised on 6 November 1895 at St Stephen’s church, Clapham Park, Lambeth.  He was the son of William Henry Gibbs, b.c.1870, in Lambeth, and Alice née Tuck, Gibbs, b.c.1871, in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.  Their marriage was registered in Q2, 1892 in Wandsworth.

In November 1893, when Bertie’s elder brother was baptised at St Stephen’s, Wandsworth, they were living at  5 Elizabeth Place, and his father was a ‘Retort Setter’.  1895 the family were still at 5 Elizabeth Place, Clapham, but in 1891, when Bertie was 5, the family was living at 5 Shuckfords Buildings, Great Yarmouth.  His father was still a ‘retort setter, gas works’.  Bertie had an elder brother, William Henry, 7, and sister, Rose May, 6; and a younger brother, Sydney George, 4.

In 1911, when Bertie was 15, the family was living at 45 Tyrolean Square, Great Yarmouth.  Bertie was working as a ‘factory hand’, and now he had another brother, Alfred, who was 7 years old.  His father was not at home on census night, and no further trace of him has been found.

At some date after 1911, Bertie moved to Rugby, and Rugby was recorded as his place of residence when he ‘signed up’.[1]  It seems that he worked before the war in the Rugby Steam Shed, as a ‘B. Gibbs’ is listed on their memorial.[2]

Bertie joined up in Coventry,[3] and his Medal Card showed that he served in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment (R.War.R) as a Private with, at least latterly, the Regimental Number: 42579.  The CWGC confirmed that he finished his service with that number in the 1st/8th Territorial Battalion (Bn.) R.War.R.  There was no date on his Medal Card for when he went to France, and he did not receive the 1914-18 Star, suggesting that he went to France after the end of 1915, possibly some time after he had joined up.

The 1st/8th Bn. R.War.R had mobilised for war and landed at Havre on 22 March 1915 and became part of the 143rd Brigade of the 48th Division and was engaged in many actions on the Western Front.  In later 1917 they were moved to Italy, and remained there in 1918, until they left the Division on 11 September 1918 and moved to back to France, to join the 75th Brigade of the 25th Division.

The 1st/8th Bn. R.War.R. War Diary[4] for their time with 25th Division gives an outline of their actions in the last month or so of Bertie’s life, when they were back in France, and during the Pursuit to and Battle of the Selle (17–25 October 1918), and its immediate aftermath, which were all part of the final ‘Hundred Days Offensive’ of World War I.

8 Oct – The success of the operations of this day brought the battalion into action at SONIA farm, where it held a gap between the 30th American Div. and our 7th Brigade. … moved up to the forming up positions between SERAIN and PREMONT.

9 Oct – Zero was at 5.20 … the battalion advanced and took its objectives beyond MARETZ …

10 Oct – Starting from a point N of HONNECHY …the battalion advanced after heavy fighting to the outskirts of LE CATEAU. … The Americans … had been held up … the positions taken were consolidated and held.

11 Oct – … the battalion marched out to HONNECHY … this was … the heaviest and most continuous fighting which the battalion had met and the battalion came out with fresh laurels added to its reputation. …

12 Oct – The battalion marched to SERAIN to rest.

13-15 Oct – Sunday … services … reorganisation and re-equipment … and training …

16 Oct – … in reserve …for attack … on R. SELLE … moved to HONNECHY.

17-18 Oct – HONNECHY – supporting Gloucesters and Worcesters …

19 Oct – … C&D Coys moved with Worcesters to attack BAZUEL which was taken and held. …

20 Oct – … battalion relieved and marched out to ST BEN[I]N . …

21 Oct – Here the unit rested and reorganised.

22 Oct – … the battalion … moved up to its forming up position along the railway …

23 Oct – POMMEREUIL – The attack commenced at 01.20 hours. … to be used to help mop up POMMEREUIL … owing to heavy fog the attacking units of the first wave became rather mixed up … but on Capt W Mortemons M.C. who was commanding the battalion … going out and taking command … and organising attacks on enemy M.G. nests which had been missed …the situation rapidly cleared and all objectives were gained.

It is known that Bertie was wounded, and it might have been some days before his date of death.  He might have been wounded in this same action at Pommereuil, when a fellow Rugby 1st/8th Bn. soldier, Frank John Garrett,[5] who had only joined the Battalion on 8 October, was ‘killed in action’ on 23 October.

He may, of course, have been wounded later, in early November, and the further actions described in the War Diary are summarised below.  The Battalion carried on training until the end of the month and then,

31 Oct – The Battalion relieved the 11th Sherwood Foresters …

1 Nov – LE FAUX – the Battalion was holding the left sector …

2 Nov – Dispositions remained unchanged, the day was quiet …

3 Nov – Owing to the rainy weather the forward Companies were relieved …

4 Nov – LANDRECIES – At 00.15 the Battalion attacked and after a very severe fight secured its objective which was the line of the River SAMBE at LANDRECIES …

5 Nov – MAROILLES – the Battalion received orders to continue the advance … moved along the LANDRECIES – MAROILLES road … and advanced without opposition … Companies were billeted in houses along the LANDRECIES – MAROILLES road, and rested there the day.

6 Nov – No change, O.O.21., ordering the Battalion to continue the advance received.

7 Nov – … orders to resume the advance … the advance continued from the eastern outskirts of MARBAIX, to the village of ST. HILAIRE SUR HELPE where the vanguard was engaged by strong M.G. nests.  The mainguard was not involved … and on relief, marched out to billets in MARBAIX.

The Casualties in this period of action were 1 officer and 27 OR killed, 2 officers and 106 OR wounded.

It seems more likely that Bertie was wounded in the ‘very severe fight’ against LANDRECIES on 4 November, or possibly during the advance toward MAROILLES on the day of his death, Tuesday, 5 November 1918.

He would have been carried back to a Regimental Aid Post, which was typically within a few hundred yards of the front line, and then on to an Advanced Dressing station [ADS].  As he was doubtless a more serious casualty, he would have been moved next to a Field Ambulance, a mobile front-line medical unit, before he was transferred on to a Casualty Clearing Station [CCS].[6]

The time this would have taken makes it more likely that he was wounded on 4 November, becoming one of the 106 O.R.s wounded in early November.  In Bertie’s case it is likely that he was transferred to one of the Casualty Clearing Stations at Bohain, some 15 miles to the south-west, through which area the Battalion had passed on their advance on 6 October.  Whether he survived that final journey to the CCS is unknown, but he died from his wounds on 5 November 1918.

The CCSs used the neighbouring Premont British Cemetery, some two miles to the north-west of Bohain.  Bertie Gibbs was buried there in grave ref: II. D. 22.

Premont is a village in Aisne, some 19.5 kilometres south-east of Cambrai.  Premont village was captured by the 30th American Division on 8 October 1918.  Premont British Cemetery was made and used by four Casualty Clearing Stations (the 20th, 50th, 55th and 61st), which came to Bohain in October 1918, and it was closed in the following December.

No family inscription was added to his memorial by his family, and there is no next of kin or family name in the CWGC record.  It may be that it was his mother, Alice Gibbs, who died in Yarmouth in Q2, 1915, aged 45 [Yarmouth  4b, 38].  His father, as mentioned, has not been found.  His siblings appear to have remained in Yarmouth, or returned to London, and may well have lost touch.

Bertie Gibb’s Medal Card showed that he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.  He is also remembered on the Rugby War Memorial Gates in Whitehall Road, and on the Rugby Steam Shed Memorial.

The ‘100 Days’ Advance to Victory’ continued and only six days after Bertie’s death, the War came to an end.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

– – – – – –

 

This article on Bertie GIBBS was researched and written for the Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the RFHG, August 2018.

[1]      UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919.

[2]      Rugby Loco Steam Shed Memorial.  This is a bronze tablet bearing the names of the dead, mounted on white marble, superimposed on black slate.  On either side of the tablet is hung a framed illuminated roll of honour, containing the names of members of the department who served in the forces during the war.   (From a report of the unveiling – Rugby Advertiser, 11 March 1921.)

[3]      Also shown in: UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919

[4]      TNA, WWI War Diaries (France, Belgium and Germany), 1914-1920, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, 25th Division, Piece 2251/4: 8 Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment (1918 Sep – 1919 Feb).

[5]      See ‘Rugby Remembers’ for Frank John GARRETT, died 23 October 1918.

[6]      Outline from http://www.qaranc.co.uk/Chain-Evacuation-Wounded-Soldiers-First-World-War.php which provides greater detail of the WWI chain of medical evacuation.