Clarke, Charles Edward. Died 20th Aug 1917

This biography of Charles Edward Clarke appears on this blog one year after the centenary of his death in 1917. He is listed on the Rugby Memorial Gates as G E Clarke and has only recently been identified.

————————————————-

Charles Edward Clarke was born in Barby, Northants and baptised there on 6th May 1894. His father was Joseph, a labourer born in Stretton on Dunsmore and his mother Eunice Hannah (nee Burnell). Joseph and Eunice were married in Southam on 15th Jul 1890.

In 1901 the family were living at 2 Hibberts Cottages in Barby, where Joseph was a farm stockman. By 1911 the family had moved to Pailton. Joseph was a labourer for the County Council and sixteen year old Charles was a farm labourer. Charles had an elder brother James and two sisters Lilly and Sophia plus a younger brother Omer.

When war broke out, Charles Edward Clarke was working for the London and North Western Railway in Rugby. He is listed in the Rugby Advertiser of 3rd September 1914 as one of the many men from the Locomotive Department, who had enlisted.

He joined the 9th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment (no. 4447) but was later transferred to the 2nd Battalion, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry (Private, no. 20233). According to his Medal Record he arrived in France on 6th May 1915.

The Duke of Corwall’s L.I. (D.C.L.I.) served in France, where they took part in the second battle of Ypres, until late 1915. They were then sent to Salonika, arriving there on the 5th Dec 1915 and were engaged in various actions against the Bulgarian Army.

Bulgaria was coming under the control of Germany and Austro-Hungary and French and British troops were sent to the area to protect Serbia from attack. Between December 1915 and July 1916, the British Salonika Force was entrenched in a line of defence about 20 miles from Salonika. They then moved up the Struma valley. The autumn offensive captured over 400 square miles of territory including Karajakois (30 Sep – 2 Oct), Yenikoi (3-4 Oct) Tumbitza Farm (17 Nov and 6-7 Dec) but were unable to capture the Serbian town of Monastir.

The D.C.L.I. spent time road making and building entrenchments before attacking Bulgarian held villages below Seres. Casualties were not great; the main enemies were mosquitoes and malarial fever. In spring 1917 the river flooded and troops retired to the hills. They made frequent excursions across the Struma river and although unable to make a significant impression on the Bulgarian position, they succeeded in their primary objective of preventing enemy forces moving west of the Vardar.

In the whole campaign, British losses were 3,875 other ranks killed or died of wounds, 3,668 died of disease. Private Clarke died of heart failure on 20th August 1917. He had been engaged on transport duties for several months and was found dead in his tent an hour after he had been seen in his usual duties.

His Platoon Officer wrote that he was “one of the most popular men in the Battalion and liked by everyone.”

Charles Edward Clarke was buried in Struma Military Cemetery.

He was awarded the Victory and British War Medals and the 1915 Star.

As well as the Rugby Memorial Gates he is remembered on the Rugby Steam Shed Plaque and the Pailton War Memorial.

Charles’ elder brother, James who died on 25th Sep 1915 is also listed on the Pailton Memorial but not on the Rugby Gates.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

 

Information about Charles Edward Clarke and the Salonika Campaign found at http://www.ww1wargraves.co.uk/ww1_cemeteries/memorials_pailton.asp

Advertisements

17th Aug 1918. The Rugby Volunteers at Camp

THE RUGBY VOLUNTEERS AT CAMP.

The Rugby Volunteers returned on Sunday last the Brigade camp on Salisbury Plain of the 5th Volunteer Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, after a very successful period in training. The camp was pitched in one of the most favoured positions on the Plain ; and while the weather was unsettled for the first day or two, it left nothing to be desired for the remainder of the time.

Life under canvas was a new experience for a great many of the men, but they very quickly settled down, and the excellent discipline proved that every man had gone into camp determined to do his duty to the utmost. The rapid improvement of the whole Brigade was very noticeable, and was the subject of comment by the Inspecting Officers.

In the absence of Lieut-Col F F Johnstone and Major Glover, the 2nd Battalion was under the command of Capt C H Fuller as being the next senior battalion officer, and with Capt C Beck (Atherstone) as second in command. The battalion was divided into three companies, Rugby forming No 1 Company, with Stratford-on-Avon and Wellesbourne under the command of Lieut E H Frost (Wellesbourne), senior officer, the other company officers being Second-Lieut C C Wharton (Rugby) and Second-Lieut Bourne, of Atherstone.

The 2nd Battalion came in for its full share of camp duties. These, as well as their drill and training generally, were carried out with smartness, and the work of their machine gun sections attracted more than usual attention, and on inspection they were stated to be among the most efficient Volunteer gun sections that had been seen ; while the work of the Brigade, as a whole, was reported as being the best in the Southern Command.

The days were fully occupied with the various branches of training, and demonstrations were also provided by Horse Artillery and Cavalry from neighbouring centres. In addition, a visit was arranged from a demonstration squad of New Zealanders in squad and arms drill, and from a squad from the Tidworth Schools in physical training, military games, and bayonet fighting. All these “stunts,” were of great interest to the Brigade, and afforded excellent instruction.

There was no ceremonial inspection, but each battalion was inspected on different occasions while carrying out their work by H.R.H the Duke of Connaught (Commander-in-Chief of the Volunteer Forces), Sir Henry Slater (General Officer Commander-in-Chief of Southern Command), and General Ashburner (Inspector-General of Infantry), all of whom expressed their gratification at the progress which was being made.

Friday afternoon was set apart for Brigade sports, and the events were keenly contested by men of all ages. Indeed, one veteran of 71 ran in one of the heats of the 100 yards handicap, and won his heat. Of the five battalions the second met with the greatest success, for out of 19 prizes this battalion secured 11. Local prize-winners were : Capt Fuller, Second- Lieut Wharton, Sergts Watson and Murray, Corpl Batchelor, Ptes Cattell, Hodson, Tait, and Wolfe.

The 2nd Battalion also had an instructional competition in tent patching, rapidity in assembling and putting on equipment, and squads drilled by privates.

Col D F Lewis (County Commandant) commanded as Brigadier, and he is to be congratulated on the success of the camp. Attendance was voluntary, and there is little doubt that many men who were not there, or could not attend, must wish they had been present, and the prospect of another camp ought to stimulate recruiting during the next few months.

The Brigade moved out of camp by battalions on Sunday morning, and left by special trains, and the appearance of the men sufficed to show the great benefit they had all derived.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Lance-Corpl Percy John Round, 2nd Royal Berkshire Regiment, reported missing since May 27th, is now a prisoner of war at Munster, Germany.

Corpl F W Rixom, Rugby Howitzer Battery, second son of Mrs Rixom, 108 Claremont Road, has been gazetted 2nd Lieutenant in the R.F.A.

Capt E G Passmore, M.C, Northants Regiment, son of Mr S A Passmore, Ashby St Ledgers, has been slightly wounded by shrapnel in the hand. This is the third time Capt Passmore has been wounded.

Telephonist T P Cotching, R.G.A, 37 Graham Road, formerly employed by the B.T.H Company, has been badly gassed. For nine days he was completely blind, but he is now slowly recovering.

H S Woodford, son of Mr A Woodford, of 22 Hastings Street, Leicester, has been gazetted Second Lieutenant in the R.E. He was apprenticed to the B.T.H at Rugby, and joined the Army soon after the outbreak of the War.

The following names appear in the list of ladies connected with local hospitals brought to the notice of the Secretary of State for War. Miss O Chaplin, nurse at Clifton Court Officers Hospital ; Miss E Alderson, Nursing Member, Te Hira, secretary of Rugby Town V.A.D. Hospital ; Miss M Tolley, Nursing Member, Southam Hospital ; Mrs L Burdekin, Infirmary V.A.D., Rugby ; Miss L Dickins, Brailes Hospital ; Mrs I H Miller, Rugby District ; Miss C Morris, Pailton House Hospital ; Mrs A M Simey, Te Hira, Rugby.

AN ABSENTEE.—On being discharged from hospital, Pte Daniel Farn, 27th Durham light Infantry, proceeded to his home in Newland Street, New Bilton, instead of joining his unit. The sequel was provided at Rugby Police Court on Wednesday, when he was brought before Mr A E Donkin and remanded to await an escort.

KILSBY.
PRISONER OF WAR.—Lance-Corpl L J Conopo, previously reported missing has written home to say he is a prisoner of war.

FATAL ACCIDENT TO FLIGHT CADET GIBBS.

While flying from a Yorkshire aerodrome on August Bank Holiday, Flight Cadet David Gibbs, youngest son of Mr & Mrs A B Gibbs, of 14 Kimberley Road, Rugby, lost his bearings, and attempted to land at Whitley Bridge. An eye-witness states that Cadet Gibbs, who was a competent pilot, planed down from a considerable height, but when near the ground he apparently decided to change his landing place, and the attempt to alter the direction caused the machine to nose dive and crash to earth. The unfortunate young man received terrible injuries, from which he died on Thursday last week without recovering consciousness.

At the inquest at Doncaster on Friday a verdict of “ Accidental death ” was returned.

Cadet Gibbs, who was only 20 years of age, was educated at Newbold School, and the Lower School, Rugby. When he enlisted as a private in the 5th Buffs a little over two years ago he was employed in the United Counties Bank at Coventry. About eight months ago he was transferred as a cadet to the Royal Air Force, and he had practically finished his course of instruction when the accident happened, and his parents were looking forward to welcoming him home this week. He was a talented violinist, and he frequently played at concerts given in the town.

FATAL ACCIDENT TO CADET PERCY F. WATSON.

While flying on the North-East Coast late on Monday night Cadet Percy Fredk Watson (18), son of Mr F Watson, Post Office overseer, Ormdale, Murray Road and Lieut Reynolds, Merton Park, Surrey, met with an accident, and received injuries which shortly afterwards proved fatal. Cadet Watson was educated at the Lower School, and until he joined the R.A.F in October last he was employed as a clerk by Messrs Styles & Whitlock. He was a bright lad with a genial disposition, and he was very popular with all with whom he came in contact. A fortnight before the accident he visited his home on leave.

At the inquest on Wednesday it was stated that the two men were engaged in a practice flight at night. Half-an-hour after they ascended the aeroplane was seen to take a sharp vertical turn at a height of 500ft, and was next observed in flames on the ground. Both men were shockingly injured, and Watson only lived a quarter-of-an-hour, and his companion five hours.—Verdict : “ Accidental death.”

COVENTRY APPEALS TRIBUNAL

A WIDOW’S SACRIFICE.
Mr H Eaden applied for the exemption of Dennis Mansfield Izzard (18, Grade 1), 43 Bridget Street, Rugby. He said it was presumed that this lad was the sole surviving son of his widowed mother. Two of his brothers had joined the Rifle Brigade—one had been killed, and the other, who was drafted to Mesopotamia, had not been heard of for 14 months. Letters sent to him had been returned, and enquiries had been made through the War Office, but without effect. The case was one which came under the Royal Proclamation.—The Chairman said it was a very doubtful case. The Tribunal sympathised very much with Mrs Izzard, and the best course would be to adjourn the case for enquiries to be made of the Local Government Board.—Mr Meredith said if it could be proved that letters had been returned he would be prepared to stretch a point.—The Chairman said it was a hard case, but he thought the wisest thing to do to prevent complications in the future was to adjourn the case for two months, and this course would be adopted.

“ It simply means that you are asking that this man should stop at home to nurse his wife,” remarked the Chairman during the hearing of a National Service appeal against the exemption till December 1st of Francis Edward Jones (41, Grade 2), Alexandra Arms.— On behalf of respondent, Mr H W Worthington pleaded the illness of Mrs Jones, and he pointed out that two years ago his client was exempted on taking up work in a controlled factory, where he is still engaged.—The Chairman said the Tribunal could not agree that there was any exceptional hardship, and the appeal would be allowed, the man not to be mobilised until October 15th.

A National Utility Order—his own work to be regarded as within the meaning of the order was granted to Harold Henry Gregory, 56 York Street (24, Grade 3), manager of Halford’s Cycle Depot, High Street, Rugby.

The case of Harold Eaden, solicitor, Church Street (39, Grade 3), which had been adjourned sine die, was reinstated at the request of the National Service representative, and a National Utility Order was issued. Mr Eaden to devote 12 hours per week to work of national importance.

The appeal of Arthur Elliott (40, Grade 1), watch and instrument repairer, High Street, Rugby, against an order to join up in 28 days was dismissed, but he was allowed 42 days’ calling-up notice to enable him to complete work in hand.

John Ellard (30, Grade 1), farmer, Willoughby, appealed against the adverse decision of the Rugby Rural Tribunal ; but as he was one of the quota of agriculturists to be released by the county and no exceptional domestic hardship was pleaded, the application was refused.

HARVESTING THE BLACKBERRIES.

The statement which has been going the round of the daily Press that all blackberries were going to be commandeered by the Government is, it appears, incorrect ; but steps are being taken to prevent the crop, which this year promises to be exceptionally heavy, being wasted. As much fruit as possible is to be collected under a scheme organised by the Ministry of Food to provide jam for the needs of the Navy and Army during the coming year. The Education Authorities have patriotically come forward, and have arranged that throughout the country facilities shall be given to teachers and scholars to assist, and during the blackberry season they will be given special holidays on suitable days to enable the available crops of blackberries to be gathered.

The general arrangements for the Midlands will be under the direction of Mr R J Curtis (Food Commissioner). In each county will be a county organiser, and, acting under him, local collecting agents in each school or district. The latter will arrange for the collection, weighing, invoicing, packing, and sending of the blackberries gathered by the scholars and other pickers under his charge. The pickers will be paid at the rate of 3d per lb for the blackberries brought by them to the school or the packing depot, and for his various duties the local collecting agent will receive 3s per cwt, together with a sum not exceeding 1s per cwt for transit by road to the railway station, whence the blackberries will be sent to the jam manufacturers, carriage forward. It is thought that, generally speaking, the allowance of 1s per cwt will be sufficient to cover the cost of road transport.

The county organiser for Warwickshire is Mr Donkin.

The co-operation of everyone concerned is sought. It is hoped that farmers and landowners will grant all possible facilities for the picking of the fruit, without which the jam supply for the services will be wholly inadequate.

TAINTED MEAT AT RUGBY.
QUANTITY CONDEMNED BY THE INSPECTOR.

Some outspoken criticisms concerning the quality of the frozen meat which has recently been consigned to the town were made at a special meeting of the Urban District Council on Monday evening. The subject was raised by Mr S Robbins (chairman of the Health Committee), who said a consignment which arrived on Saturday morning was in a disgusting condition, and it was so offensive that he did not like having to go into the building where it was stored. Four or five sides were quite black.—Mr F E Hands : I did not see it, but I smelt it.—Mr Robbins : It was dreadful, and something ought to be done by this Council.

Mr Loverock enquired whether the meat was despatched in a bad condition ? It could not have been on the railway long enough to get into such a state.—Mr Robbins replied that the meat was covered with canvas, and as soon as this was removed the condition was observable. These canvases were put on when the meat was frozen.—The Chairman (Mr McKinnell) : Yes; it is put on right away. I have heard all sorts of tales about the number of years such meat is kept in cold storage, but I can scarcely believe them.—Mr Robbins said the meat would not have been sent to the town had the canvas been removed, because in some places it was quite rotten.—Mr Loverock : That was why some people could not get meat on Saturday. I could not.

In reply to Mr Hudson, Mr Robbins said the meat was condemned by the Inspector of Nuisances, who had the power to do so without consulting the Medical Officer.—The Chairman : It is rather a serious matter.—Mr Robbins : In this case the Government lose, but if bad fish is condemned the loss falls on the proprietor of the shop.—Mr Hands : The abominable part about it is that, if the local Food Committee makes a complaint, they are told by the officials in Birmingham that they must either take it or leave it.—The Chairman : Yes ; what happens is that the meat comes here as food for the town, and if the Health Committee condemn any of it the town has to go short by that amount.

Mr Ringrose agreed that something should be done, because the meat smelt very bad. He went past several butchers’ shops, and he had never noticed such a smell from the shops of Rugby since he had known the town. Rugby was in the centre of one of the largest meat supplying districts in the Midlands, and people complained that while cattle were sent from their market to other districts this class of meat was sent in exchange.—Mr Robbins : I went into one shop, and some of the meat which was sent out was not fit to eat.

The Chairman enquired how much meat was condemned ?—Mr Robbins replied that three sides were condemned, but if it had been left to him he would have condemned the lot. He added : I took care my family had none of it. We went without.

The Chairman said the Food Committee had protested very strongly about the quality of meat which was sent to the town, but it had had no effect. The Government admitted that the quality of the meat was not everything to be desired, and the only thing the Council could do was to write to the Local Government Board on the subject.—Mr Loverock suggested that they should write to Major J L Baird, M.P, and explain the situation to him.—The Chairman said he supposed if the people continued to eat this very undesirable meat the health of the town would suffer.—Mr Loverock : It is bound to.—Mr Robbins said new diseases were continually turning up, and it was not known from what cause they came ; but he failed to see how they could expect otherwise with such meat as this being consumed.—The Chairman : There is no doubt the food is responsible.—Mr Robbins proposed that a very strong letter be sent to the Local Government Board. Although only three sides were condemned, had it not been Saturday morning the whole lot would have been condemned.—Mr R S Hudson seconded.

Mr Robbins : Mr Parsons told me that in pre-war times he would have condemned the lot.—Mr Loverock added that the Inspector informed him that before the war anyone selling any of the meat which was sent out last week would have been prosecuted.—Mr Hudson : Would it not have been better to have condemned the lot and have let the people go without ?—Mr Robbins : We could not do that.—Mr Hands : There is a big risk in eating it.—Mr Robbins : The butchers risk it, and we cannot do as we did in pre-war times. We have got to shut our eyes a lot.—Mr Loverock : Such a quantity of cattle will be coming in shortly that we ought not to have this stuff foisted upon us.—Mr Robbins : The people do not complain of foreign meat. It is the quality.

It was unanimously decided to write to the Local Government Board and Major Baird. M.P, as suggested.

THE COAL SHORTAGE.
URGENT NEED FOR ECONOMY.

It is doubtful whether the public fully realises the seriousness of the coal position. It is a fact that the shortage of coal is giving the authorities far greater anxiety than the food question. Unless the public co-operates by exercising the most stringent economy, grave inconvenience, if not hardship, will have to be suffered during the coming winter.

The demand for coal is constantly increasing—the demand, that is to say, for purposes absolutely essential to the prosecution of the War. Not only have we to provide for ourselves, but for practically all our principal Allies as well. We have to help the United states in France, France itself, and Italy. Notwithstanding this help, the French ration provides for but 1 ton 8 cwt of coal for a family of five for a year, and in Italy they have practically no coal at all for household purposes. When, therefore, we are asked to economise here, it has to be remembered that one effect is to help our Allies in France and Italy, who are infinitely worse off than we are.

The difficulties at the mines are enormous. Miners make splendid soldiers, and they have joined up with a readiness that is beyond all praise. But this very quality, whilst so greatly helping our work in the field, produces a special drain on the industry of coal getting. The withdrawal of men from the mines has inevitably lessened output, for which it is impossible for those who remain to give us full compensation. The public, however, may feel assured that the appeals for intensified exertions issued by the Miners’ leaders and emphasised by the Prime Minister, will meet with a ready response. Great as may be the exertions of the miners, however, there will still be need for the strictest economies by householders.

No doubt there are many ways in which householders may secure substantial savings in consumption. Old customs of keeping roaring firm in several rooms during the winter will have to be dropped, and fires that are burnt must to some extent be assisted by the use of wood, peat, slack, or coke. Every effort should be made, in particular, to lay in stores of wood, and nothing that can be used to keep a fire going should be wasted. The problem of saving must in the main be dealt with by each householder for himself, according to his particular circumstances. Some may be able to get wood where others cannot ; some may be able to breakfast in the kitchen, and thus save lighting any but the kitchen fire till later in the day ; some, again, may in some measure be able to act co-operatively with neighbours. Whatever the expedient used, coal consumption must be drastically reduced—and reduced now.

AN UNUSUAL CATCH.—While Mr J W Lord and Mr F Ludlow, of Castle Street, Rugby, were walking along the side of the canal between Winwick and Elkington on Saturday morning their attention was attracted by an unfamiliar sound. On investigating this, they found a fine specimen of a heron caught on a night line. They released the bird and brought it to Rugby, where it was viewed with interest by many of Mr Lord’s friends. It was subsequently set at liberty. The wings measured 6ft 6ins from tip to tip, and its bill was 7ins long.

DEATHS.

GEORGE.—On June 19th, in hospital at Limburg, Germany, in his 21st year,. HUBERT TREHERN, the youngest and dearly beloved son of Walter and Harriett George, of 2 High Street, and Trehern House, Pennington Street, Rugby.

IN MEMORIAM.

COX.—In loving memory of our dear brother, Pte. FREDERICK FRANCES COX, who lost his life through shell shock on August 16, 1917, in France ; aged 24 years.
“ A year has gone, and still we miss him ;
From our memory he’ll ne’er fade.
His life he gave for King and country ;
In heaven we hope to meet again.
We often sit and think of him,
And tenderly breathe his name ;
Nothing have we left of him,
But his photo in a frame.”
—Never forgotten by his sorrowing Brother & Sisters.

GILLINGS.—In loving memory of Rifleman WALTER GILLINGS, who died of wounds on August 18, 1917, in France.
“ Nobly he did his duty,
Bravely he fought and fell ;
But the sorrows of those that mourn him,
Only aching hearts can tell.”
—Lovingly remembered by Annie.

GILLINGS.—In loving memory of Rifleman WALTER GILLINGS, who died of wounds on August 18, 1917.— Ever remembered by Mr. & Mrs Fox & Family.

Lester, Arthur. Died 17th Aug 1918

Arthur Lester was born in 1878 at Bugbrooke, Northamptonshire to George Henry Lester, born about 1845 at Uppingham, Northamptonshire, a farm labourer and Eliza Lester, née Turland (b1853 – 97). The 1911 census returns show that Arthur was living in Bugbrooke with his father and was single. His father had re-married in 1904 to Georgiana Jane Lester, née Chapman. (b 1845).

In 1915 Arthur Lester married Maude Elizabeth Adcock (b 1892, Stoke Golding, Leicestershire) at Nuneaton. They moved to Rugby where in 1917 they were blessed with a daughter, Edith M.

During WW1 he enlisted in the Royal Engineers, 263rd Railway Coy, service number WR/318002. In February 1918 he was sent to France. On 17 August 1918, with the rank of Lance Corporal, he was killed in action and buried in the Ribemont Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, where his grave is maintained by the CWGC. Ribemont was on the railway line from Amiens to Albert, and Mericourt-Ribemont Station had been a railhead for the Commonwealth forces from the early summer of 1915.

In the editorial section of the Rugby Advertiser of 5th October 1918, under the heading ‘Local War Notes’, there appears the following:-
“Lance Corpl A Lester, Royal Engineers, 92 South Street, Rugby, killed in action on August 17th. For upwards of 18 years he was employed as a platelayer in Rugby. He had served in France since February last.”

His wife also placed the following notice of his death in the same edition:-
LESTER. — In loving memory of Lance Corpl ARTHUR (DICK), dearly beloved husband of Mrs. Lester, 92 South Street, killed in France on August 17, 1918.
God takes our loved ones from our home,
But never from our heart.
From his sorrowing wife and little daughter.”

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Watson, Percy Frederick. Died 12th Aug 1918

Percy Frederick Watson was baptised at St Andrew’s, Rugby, on 14 January 1900. His birth address was 9 Charlotte Street, Rugby. His parents were Frederick Watson (b 1870 in Rugby), a Post Office overseer, and Eleanor Jane Watson, née Elkins (b 1873 in Rugby). Percy was educated at the Lower School and was then employed as a clerk by Messrs. Styles & Whitlock, auctioneers, Bank Street, Rugby.

He joined the RAF in October 1917 where he was given flying training as a Flight Cadet. On 12th August 1918, whilst on a practice night flight near the North-East Coast with 2nd Lieut Francis W P Reynolds of Merton Park, Surrey, his aircraft failed at a height of 500 feet and fell to the ground. Due to the severity of his injuries, Percy lived for only 15 minutes.

It was reported in the Rugby Advertiser of 17th Aug 1918 (the same edition that recorded the death of Flight Cadet Gibbs in a similar accident):

 FATAL ACCIDENT TO CADET PERCY F. WATSON.

 While flying on the North-East Coast late on Monday night Cadet Percy Fredk Watson (18), son of Mr F Watson, Post Office overseer, Ormdale, Murray Road and Lieut Reynolds, Merton Park, Surrey, met with an accident, and received injuries which shortly afterwards proved fatal. Cadet Watson was educated at the Lower School, and until he joined the R.A.F in October last he was employed as a clerk by Messrs Styles & Whitlock. He was a bright lad with a genial disposition, and he was very popular with all with whom he came in contact. A fortnight before the accident he visited his home on leave.

 At the inquest on Wednesday it was stated that the two men were engaged in a practice flight at night. Half-an-hour after they ascended the aeroplane was seen to tale a sharp vertical turn at a height of 500ft, and was nest observed in flames on the ground. Both men were shockingly injured, and Watson only lived a quarter-of-an-hour, and his companion five hours.—Verdict : “ Accidental death.”

He was buried in Clifton Road Cemetery, Rugby in a grave which is the responsibility of the CWGC. He is also remembered on the Lawrence Sheriff Memorial Plaque

At the time of his death, Percy’s parents were living at 111, Murray Road, Rugby.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

 

10th Aug 1918. Remembrance Day

REMEMBRANCE DAY.
DRUMHEAD SERVICE.

Sunday last, the fourth anniversary of the declaration of war, was observed by special intercession services throughout the country. At the various churches in Rugby and the villages around the congregations, despite the holiday exodus, were good.

In the afternoon a drumhead service, arranged by the members of the Rugby Branch of the Discharged Sailors’ and Soldiers’ Association, was held in the Lower School held, by permission of the Rev S R Hart, and was attended by several thousand persons.  The members of the association paraded in the Recreation Ground, and, preceded by the B.T.H Band, marched via Hillmorton Road, School Street, Sheep Street, and Church Street to the Lower School field. The service was very brief but impressive, and was conducted by the Rev C M Blagden (rector). The hymns, which were accompanied by the band, were :—“ Hark, my soul, it is the Lord ” ; “ Oft in danger, oft in woe,” and “ Eternal Father, strong to save.”

[Note: many other services were reported around the town]

RUGBY VOLUNTEERS.

“ B ” Company at the 2nd Volunteer Battalion, Royal Warwickshire, left their headquarters in good strength on the 4th inst, to join their battalion and the other battalions of the Regiment at a brigade camp in the South of England. In the unavoidable absence at the Commanding Officer and the second in command, Capt C H Fuller is in command of the 2nd Battalion during camp and Second-Lieut Wharton is in command of “ B ” Company. Sunday being Remembrance Day, the Rector of Rugby (Chaplain to the Company) attended at headquarters, and conducted a short service before the company moved off.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

A comprehensive programme, including many unique competitions, diversions, and side-shows, has been arranged for the Grand Red Cross Fete at Clifton Manor on Saturday, August 31st.

In a letter to a friend, Gunner S Walton, R.G.A, who before enlisting was employed in the Advertiser Printing Works, says :—“ We arrived at Hong Kong last Tuesday, and, so far as I can see at present, I rather fancy I shall like the place. Any way, it is a pleasant change from the dusty plains of the Punjaub. . . . I found Will Spraggett (a former member of the Old Rugby Volunteers) at Hong Kong Hospital. He was looking very well. He wasn’t half-surprised to see me, I can tell you. He is a sergeant in a London Regiment.”

Pte W Smith, Northamptonshire Regiment (Rugby), has been reported killed in action, and Pte R L S Healey, Gloucester Regiment (Rugby), has been posted as missing.

Pte W E Howard, Northants Regiment, youngest son of Mr & Mrs S Howard, Long Lawford, is a prisoner in Germany. Before joining up in April, 1917, he was employed at the Rugby Portland Cement Works, and he had been in France almost a month when he was captured on June 27th.—Pte J Isham, Devonshire, son of Mr & Mrs F Isham, Leamington Hastings, is a prisoner at Langensalza, Germany, and Pte Bernard Keates, Wiltshire Regiment (Rugby), is interned at Limburg, and is suffering from wounds in the back and stomach.

The following Rugby men have been awarded the Military Medal for gallantry in the field :—Pte E F Head, R.W.R ; Driver F Calloway, F.R.A ; and Sapper J W Bartlett, R.E.

We are asked to state that Mr Bertram Shepherd, who formerly resided at Rugby, is now a prisoner of war.

MILITARY CROSS FOR CAPT LAKIN.

The Military Cross has been awarded to Captain (Acting Major) M L Lakin, D.S.O, Hussars, Spec. Res., for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in operation whilst commanding a company of Tanks. He led his company across most difficult country, and successfully held up the enemy for ten hours. Later, when fighting on foot a rearguard action with Lewis guns, he remained behind the infantry, who had retired, for eight hours, inflicting severe losses on the enemy. Capt Lakin is the youngest son of Sir Michael Lakin, Bart, of Warwick, and is 37 years of age. He entered the Army in 1900, and served in South Africa. He attained his captaincy in 1908, and retired in 1911 ; but on the outbreak of the War he re-joined his old regiment, the 11th Hussars. He has been twice mentioned in despatches, and won the D.S.O in 1915. Before the War he was well known as a polo player and as a master of foxhounds in Ireland.

NEWS OF CAPTAIN T. A. TOWNSEND.

We are pleased to learn that Mr T S Townsend, of Clifton Manor, has, in response to an appeal he inserted in several daily papers for information as to the whereabouts of his son, Capt T A Townsend, M.C, R.A.M.C, received letters which justify the strongest hope that the missing officer is a prisoner of war, and, although badly wounded, still alive.

Pte M S B Shorrock, of the 1/20th London Regiment, writing from hospital in France under date August 2nd, says :—

“ I have read in the Continental edition of the ‘ Daily Mail,’ dated the 1st inst, your notice in respect of your son, Captain T A Townsend, M.C. R.A.M.C, who was medical officer to the battalion to which I belong, and under whom I have served as a stretcher-bearer on several occasions. The last occasion, however, was from the last day of November to December 6, 1917. Owing to illness, I regret I had not the good fortune to serve him during our engagement of last March. Nevertheless, I feel I am in a position to give you information which may prove of interest to you. A friend of mine, Pte Michael Foley, who, like myself, is a stretcher-bearer, and served your son, Capt Townsend, of whom I received a full account of the March offensive immediately on my return to the battalion, was actually with your son within a few minutes of his having been wounded and taken prisoner. The actual date on which Capt Townsend was taken prisoner on being wounded was on Saturday, March 23rd. and not on Sunday. March 24th, which latter date has apparently been officially reported to you. May I respectfully point out that your son could easily have escaped but for the fact that he was an exceptionally brave man and such a grand example for many. My friend has informed me that from the moment of the onslaught Capt Townsend worked most nobly and brilliantly. On the third day, however, both his corporal (Corpl Kelly, one of my dearest friends) and our Commanding Officer, Col Grimwood, were wounded, Capt Townsend immediately dressed each, and remained with them. Capt Townsend was wounded when the enemy was no considerable distance away. Previously to his having been wounded he was seen to perform a most conspicuous act of gallantry in face of the enemy. I am somewhat dubious of giving you details of this particular act owing to the censorship restrictions. Perhaps I may have an opportunity of communicating these details under somewhat pleasanter circumstances.

“ Now comes an item of extreme interest Corpl Kelly, to whom I have referred, states distinctly in a letter which he has sent through to one of our boys, that ‘There are here with me (in hospital) the M.O, Capt Townsend ; Pte Smith, ‘ B ‘ Company ; and Drummers (reserve stretcher bearers) Bridger and Roberts. We are all getting on slowly but surely !’

“ I am afraid that no one knows exactly whereabouts your son was wounded, but, however that may be, so it may not have proved possible for him to unite you.”

After promising to endeavour to obtain further information, the writer adds —

“ Your son proved himself marvellous in ‘ Bourion Wood,’ when he worked unceasingly under awful conditions. I never was able to understand however he managed to escape being gassed. No greater man ever attended the wounded and dying as did he on that never-to-be-forgotten occasion.

“ I fear there is nothing else I can add at present. I will again write you so soon as is possible. Meanwhile may you soon hear from your brave son.”

This statement is substantially confirmed by another letter Mr T S Townsend has received from Capt W T Cave, who was captured on the same day by the Germans, and who reports that Capt Townsend was in hospital at Cambrai on March 27th and 28th, badly wounded.

BILTON.
DEATH OF PTE. FRED BARNWELL.

GENERAL regret is felt in this village at the death of Pte Fred Barnwell, of the Marines, which took place in hospital last week-end. Pte Barnwell, who was 31 years of age, worked for many years at Bawnmore, and afterwards for Messrs Willans & Robinson, till he was called up about nine months ago He went out to France about the middle of July, and had only been there a few days when he was returned to England with serious heart trouble. Other complications set in, his friends were sent for, death taking place not long after their arrival. He was the main support of his widowed mother, Mrs Barnwell, of Lawford Road, Bilton, and was a great favourite in the village, being a member of the Working Men’s Club, the Cricket and Football Clubs, and for many years a chorister at the Parish Church. At village entertainments Fred Barnwell’s songs were usually a feature and very popular, and he was always ready to lend a helping hand to any useful work. The sympathy of the whole parish is extended to his mother and his fiancée, who was making preparations for their future marriage.

The remains were brought home for internment, and the funeral took place at the parish church on Thursday. The coffin, covered with many beautiful floral tributes, was borne by six members of the Bilton Brass Band, of which deceased was formerly a member. The Burial Service was read by the Rector, the Rev W O Assheton, R. D, and hymns were sung by the choir in the church and at the graveside.

Representatives of the various village institutions, to which the deceased belonged, followed the relatives in the cortege, and the church was filled with parishioners and friends anxious to show their sympathy and respect. Blinds were drawn at most of the houses. In the evening a muffled peal was rung on the bells, deceased having been one of the band of ringers.

NEWBOLD-ON-AVON.
PRISONER OF WAR.—Mrs R Collins has received news that her husband, Rifleman R Collins, 2nd Battalion, rifle Brigade, who has been missing since May 27th, is a prisoner of war at Frankfort.

WOLSTON.
LIEUT WILFRED COLEMAN WOUNDED.—Mr & Mrs T P Coleman, of Marston Hall, have been notified that their son, Lieut Wilfred Coleman, has been wounded again. When war was declared he was a member of the 3rd Troop of the Warwickshire Yeomanry, and was called up at once. He went out to the Dardanelles in April, 1915, where he was wounded. His next active service was in Egypt, where he soon met with promotion, and afterwards rose to sergeant. Here he saw much fighting. For his good work he was offered a commission, and after training in Egypt went to Palestine, where again he helped to rout the enemy on numerous occasions. His parents were looking forward to his home-coming, but he was sent to France, although he had been fighting for so long. He is now in hospital in France, wounded in the hand, head and neck, but is making good progress.

BRANDON.
PTE G BOSTOCK.—Mr & Mrs Arthur Bostock have received news from the War Office that their son, Pte G Bostock, of the Machine Gun Corps, has been killed. It is now nine months since his parents were notified that he was missing. He joined the Army more than three years ago, and saw a lot of fighting in France, where he was previously wounded. Deceased was a finely built young man, and before joining the Army was a respected employee of Mrs W Eales, grocer, of Coventry. Much sympathy is felt for his parents, who are respected inhabitants, and have resided in the parish for many years.

STOCKTON.
AEROPLANE DESCENDS.—The landing of an aeroplane in the parish on Wednesday afternoon caused considerable excitement, hundreds of people rushing to the spot. Fortunately the pilot was unharmed, though Dr Ormerod was quickly on the scene in case his services were needed. The machine; which sustained little damage, was guarded by volunteers until it could be got away again.

FOR PRISONERS OF WAR.
NEW PARCEL SCHEME.

The limit of weight for parcels for prisoners of war has been raised from 10lbs to 15lbs each. The Rugby Prisoners of War Help committee are now despatching to all Rugby and district men through the Regimental Care Committees of each man’s unit one 15lbs parcel per week, instead at three 10lb parcels every fortnight The weight of food will, therefore, remain the same, but there will be a considerable saving in the cost of parking materials as well as labour. The usual bread parcels will be maintained.

The cost of the new parcels will 15s each, or £3 every four weeks, and an additional 7s 6d per mouth for bread ; thus the cost to provide for each man is now £3 7s 6d every four weeks, or £3 13s per calendar month. The total cost of the food parcels for all the men on the Rugby Committee’s list now exceeds £400 a month, all of which has to be raised by voluntary subscriptions.

This week’s parcel contains : 2lbs of beef, ½-lb vegetables, 1lb tin rations, ½lb tea, 1lb tin milk, ½-lb dripping or margarine, 1lb tin jam, 1½lbs biscuits, 1 packet Quaker oats, grape nuts or milk pudding, 50 cigarettes, 1 tin sardines, 1 tablet soap, 1lb tin herring, 1lb beans, ¼lb cocoa, ½-lb bacon.

Next week’s parcel will consist of : 1½lbs biscuits, ½-lb cocoa, 1lb milk, 1lb Lyle’s syrup, 1lb rice or dates, 1 small potted meat, 1 tablet soap, 1lb tin rations, 1lb tin sausages, 1lb sugar, 1lb suet pudding, ¼-lb chocolate, ½-lb tin veal, ham or beef, 1 packet Quaker oats, grape nuts or milk pudding, 2ozs tobacco, 1lb cured beef.

Relatives and friends who would like a parcel sent in their own names to local prisoners of war should send the cost of same, i.e. 15s, to the Hon Organising Secretary, Mr J Reginald Barker, 9 Regent Street, Rugby, who has undertaken this special service in the hope of maintaining the “ home-touch ” with the prisoners.

Correspondents should in every case quote the regimental number, rank and battalion of the prisoner in whom they are interested.

RUGBY FOOD CONTROL COMMITTEE.

At a meeting of this committee, held on Thursday in last week, there were present : Messrs T A Wise (chairman), H Tarbox (vice-chairman), Mrs Dewar, Mrs Shelley, Mrs Townsend, Messrs A Appleby, J Cripps, G Cooke, T Ewart, R Griffin, A Humphrey, C Gay, W A Stevenson, and A T Watson.

The Executive Officer (Mr F M Burton) intimated that the butchers had decided to take all imported meat for the week ended August 10th, and all English meat for the following three weeks.—Mr Cooke : I admire their decision. Everybody will be away next week.

The Executive Officer reported that the work in connection with the new ration books had now been completed, and the committee passed a vote of thanks to Mr J T Clarke and the ladies who had rendered voluntary assistance.

It was reported that the Housewives’ Committee had distributed the cheese handed over to them by the committee.—The Executive Officer stated that the Housewives’ Committee had been accused of making a profit out of the cheese by charging 8½d per lb for it, but that was the price they paid to the Food Control Committee. These accusations had been made, not by the people who had received the cheese, but by those who wanted to buy some and had been unable to do so.—Mrs Shelley said members of the Housewives’ Committee had been insulted by many people, who had said they were liable to be prosecuted for charging the extra ½d per lb.—The Executive Officer : It is not Government cheese.

It was decided to grant facilities to the committee arranging the Rugby Hospital Fete to obtain supplies for refreshments; and the Executive Officer was directed to make the necessary arrangements.

The Education Committee of the Co-operative Society wrote stating that the annual children’s treat was to be held on August 10th, and requesting the committee to allot 40lbs of fat to the Confectionery Department of the Society to make 2,000 small cakes for the children, and also to allow them ½-lb of tea.—The Executive Officer pointed out that all the fat was allotted, so that the committee could not allow the society an extra supply.—A member suggested that dripping should be used ; but the Executive Officer replied that coupons were required for this ; 1lb of dripping could be obtained for one coupon.—Mrs Shelley said the usual tea now had to be dispensed with ; but the committee wished to give each child a small cake, otherwise they would get very hungry.—The Chairman said the New Bilton children had their annual treat in his field the previous day, and he was very much struck by the fact that they all brought their tea with them ; even the smallest infant brought a small parcel.—It was decided that no additional fat could be allotted for this purpose ; but the committee agreed to offer the promoters permission to obtain sufficient tea for each child.

Permission was given to the committee of the Hillmorton Show and Sports to purchase 3lbs of tea for supplying refreshments.

The Executive .Officer reported that 15 licenses for the sale of meat without coupons were granted on the previous Saturday evening in respect of 274lbs of beef and 325lbs of brawn, suet, &c. This showed a decrease of 276lbs of beef and an increase of 225lbs of other meat.

“ WAR BREAD ” AND ITS EFFECT.—A searching enquiry into the effect of the war bread and flour on the general health of the population in typical industrial areas has been made by the Local Government Board, and the results are now under the consideration of the Minister of Food. The general deduction is the war bread and war flour are to be considered as only among the many factors affecting the health of the community. Other elements, such as the diminished supply of fats, the rationing of meat, and the scarcity and enhanced price of fruit and fresh vegetables enter into the calculation, and all have their effect on the general health. As far as bread and flour are concerned, the worst days are over.

WASPS AND FRUIT.—While there have been no general complaints this year as to the presence of wasps nests, reports have been received from one or two districts, in which it is said that nests appear to be rather numerous. It may be well, therefore, to remind leaders to keep a look-out for nests, and to destroy them by any of the well-known methods. There is so little fruit this year that it would be a pity if that little were to be eaten by wasps ; while, further, wasps’ nests in the harvest fields may at any time lead to serious accidents.

ROAD TRANSPORT.
The date for returns of Registration Forms expired on the 31st ult, but a large number of owners of goods-carrying vehicles have failed to register. Another 14 days has, therefore, been granted, but particular stress is laid on the fact that if any owner fails to register he not only becomes liable to serious penalties, but will probably have his vehicles impounded, licenses cancelled, and petrol removed. All goods-carrying vehicles (except horse-drawn up to 15cwt load capacity) must be registered and permits issued for use thereof.

HOLIDAY BOOKINGS FROM RUGBY.

Not since the critical days of August, 1914, has there been such an exodus of holiday makers from Rugby as was experienced during the week-end. Many people, with a patriotism which is commendable, if hardly wise from a health point of view, have dispensed with their regular holidays since the beginning of the War, but the constant strain and stress of war conditions has been such that in many cases the only alternative to a break down in health has been a complete rest far away from all the worries, anxieties, and petty annoyances of business. This being so, a number of local businesses establishments closed on Saturday evening for the week ; while other traders suspended business until Thursday morning. The large works also closed on Friday for ten days, and this afforded many of the workers an opportunity, of which full advantage was taken, of accompanying their families on holiday.

The bookings at the L & N-W Railway were exceptionally heavy, Blackpool and North Wales, with about 250 each, attracting the largest numbers of visitors. Scottish, Irish, and South Coast resorts were also well patronised. Friday and Saturday were the two busiest days, and on Monday and Tuesday the local bookings were very heavy.

“ The busiest time we have had since the War started ” is the report of an official at the Crest Central Station. All the trains were packed to their utmost capacity, and the rush of passengers was reminiscent of pre-war excursions to Cleethorpes and other popular seaside resorts. Bookings to the West of England, London, Yorkshire, and Cleethorpes were exceptionally heavy ; but all through bookings to Scarborough and the North-East Coast watering places were suspended. Owing to the inclement weather, the number of short-distance tickets issued on Bank Holiday was rather below the average.

DEATHS.

BARNWELL.—On August 2nd, at the Military Heart Hospital, Colchester, Pte. FREDERIC BARNWELL, 1st Battalion, R.M.L.I., aged 31 years.—“ Peace, perfect peace.”

IN MEMORIUM.

ARIS.—In loving memory of Lance-Corpl. MARK ARIS, killed in action on August 6, 1915.
“ There is a link Death cannot sever,
Love and remembrance last for ever.”
—Fondly remembered by his loving Sisters and Brothers.

PURTON.—In loving memory of my dear son, Lance-Corpl. G. H. PURTON, late Oxon and Bucks L.I., who died of wounds in France on August 6, 1916 ; aged 24 years. Also of my dear husband, HARRY PURTON, who passed away on December 3, 1912 ; aged 43 years.
“ Can we forget them ?
Ah! no, never,
For memory’s golden chain
Binds us on earth
To them in heaven
Until We meet again.”
—From Mother, Ernest, Rose, and Violet.

REYNOLDS.—In ever-loving memory of my dear husband, Pte. HARRY REYNOLDS, who died of wounds received in action at St. John’s Ambulance Hospital, France, on August 12, 1917.—“ R.I.P.”—Sadly missed by his Wife and Children, Spencer and Eva.

Lewis, Lewis. Died 8th Aug 1918

Lewis Lewis was born in Rugby in 1899, and his birth was registered in Q3 1899.  He was the third son and fourth child of Frederick Lewis, who was born in about 1868 in Leamington, Warwickshire, and his wife Maggie, née Clarke, Lewis, who was born in about 1870, in Walsall, Staffordshire.    

Lewis Lewis was baptised on 26 November 1899 at St. Matthew’s Church, Rugby.  His father was a Police Constable and the family were then living at 14 Plowman Street, Rugby.

In both 1901 and 1911, the family were still living at 14 Plowman Street, and Lewis’s father, Frederick, was still a Police Constable.  By 1911, Lewis was eleven years old, and there were now seven children in the family.

Unfortunately no Service Record has survived for Lewis, but he joined up in Rugby,[1] and his Medal Card shows that he served initially as a Private, No:376041, in the 8th Battalion of the London Regiment, and then as a Private, No:368091, in the 7th (City of London) Battalion of the London Regiment.

The 7th Battalion was a conjunction in early 1918 of the 1/7th and 2/7th Battalions of the London Regiment.  After early training the 1/7th had joined the 4th London Brigade in the 2nd London Division.  After the 2nd London Division was brought up to strength, it entrained for Southampton, disembarking at Le Havre on 18 March 1915.  The Battalion fought in many of the major actions of WWI, well before Lewis would have been involved.

There is no date on his Medal Card for when Lewis went to France, indicating that this was after the end of 1915, but it would probably have been well after this date and some time after he joined up.  He was unlikely to have been sufficiently trained – or indeed old enough assuming he had declared his correct age – to serve overseas until at least mid 1917.

During 1918, by which date Lewis was probably with the Battalion in France, they fought at Villers Bretonneux (24 to 25 April 1918).  This was during the period of consolidation after the turning point of the German advance of ‘Operation Michael’.  August saw the start of what developed into an Allied offensive and advance, which became known as the ‘Hundred Days Offensive’,[2] and pushed back the German Armies along an extended front until the Armistice was declared.

The combined 7th Battalion seems to have moved from the 2nd Division and its War Diary is within the records of the 174th Brigade in the 58th Division at The National Archives[3] – and on-line.  The events recorded in the Diary for August and for the last few days before Lewis was killed are summarised below.

1 August – ROUND WOOD – Kit & clothing inspection.

2 August – Move by bus to HALLOY-LES-PERNOIS.  Battn. in billets 2.30pm.

3 August – HALLOY – Squad and Company drill, Lewis gun, signalling and stretcher team class.

4 August – Battn. standing by, 1½ hours notice to move – moved by bus and march route to BONNAY – in position 4.30am, 5-8-18.

5 August – BONNAY – Proceeded to relieve the 11th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, 18th Division in reserve.

6 August – In Line – In reserve.

7 – 10 August – see Narrative attached.

11 August – BRAY-CORBIE ROAD – Battalion in reserve near CEMETERY COPSE.

12 August – Battalion moved back to ROUND WOOD.

The ‘Narrative’ for the period 7-10 August comprised four typed pages detailing the action and the advance of nearly two miles in two days.  Extracts (below) provide details of the action on 8 August when Lewis was killed, and some of the locations given are shown on the map[4] below.

‘At 10.20 p.m. on the 7th. The Bn. moved forward from Valley in J.22.c. … along COOTAMUNDRA street and CRUMP lane to their assembly position in K.25.a. … Bn. H.Q. was at LONE TREE CEMETERY J.24.6.2. … There was little counter preparation by the enemy … Shortly before 4 a.m. on the 8th. A heavy mist fell and by zero hour (4.20 a.m.) it was impossible to see more than 20 to 25 yards.

The ultimate objective of the Bn, was the line K.27.d.9.4. – K27.b.9.7.  ‘A’ and ‘B’ Coys, passing round to the N side of MALARD Wood supported by ‘C’ Coy, and ‘D’ Coy, containing the N.W. side of the Wood … 173rd Inf. Bde. were to pass through one hour later and take a further line beyond of the SOMME RIVER. …

The barrage opened punctually at 4.20 a.m. and was very good, … owing to the mist it was impossible to observe the progress of the operation but batches of wounded and prisoners soon began to arrive and … progress was satisfactory, at any rate as far as MALARD Wood.

I found two Coy. of the 2/2nd London Regt … arranged … to … advance through MALARD Wood.  I got them the assistance of a Tank … and they advanced to the East side of the wood.’

It was at some time during this advance that Lewis Lewis was ‘Killed in Action’.

‘On the afternoon of the 9th. the troops of the 8th London Regt. with me were withdrawn as further operations were contemplated. … I had no precise instructions as to the operation but I understood the American Troops were to attack GRESSAIRE WOOD from my left flank at 5.30 p.m. … At 6.30 p.m., I and my Adjt. with H.Q. Lewis Guns moved forward and from K.27.b.9.6. I was able to observe British and American troops establishing posts on the ridge S.E. but fighting still appeared to be going on to my right in the lower ground and also in GRESSAIRE Wood.

On the night of the 10th … the Bn. Was relieved by American Troops and moved back to MALARD WOOD.’

Various general points and recommendations were made in the report, which are of interest.

(a) In both assaults numerous T.M.s, Heavy and light machine guns were captured and many prisoners.  In each case the severest fighting and the most prisoners were in the enemy’s front line. In the second assault 4 field guns and 3 5.9 howitzers were captured the latter in GRESSAIRE WOOD, … A wagon of signaling stores was also captured … The heavy mist undoubtedly helped in assaulting the enemy forward defense on the 8th. inst, that was largely responsible for the failure of the second phase.

(b) Communication was lacking to start with … By 4 p.m. the line was run out … and was maintained throughout.  Two lines were laid into the ravine …  but it was found impossible to maintain them owing to shell fire.  The wire for these lines was collected by my signalers on the ground as their own supply was inadequate.

(c) Medical Arrangements.  On the 9th. inst. the supply of stretchers was wholly inadequate and supplies demanded were very slow in arriving.  Many wounded lying out in front at no great distance from the R.A.P. [Regimental Aid Post] could have been collected much earlier, were it possible to supply R.A.M.C. Bearers on this work.  At present M.O.s are forbidden to use them forward of the R.A.P, even when things are quiet.

(d) H.Q. Lewis Guns proved extremely useful in furnishing an intact and fresh reserve to be brought forward after the objective had been taken.  I recommend that each Bn. be supplied with a light German machine gun for instructional purposes as a knowledge of their use would be very useful to assaulting troops.

(e) Supply Tanks fulfilled their role well.  I recommend that a Q.M.Sgt. travel with them to remain in charge of the dump when formed, and to ensure the supplies reaching the troops for whom they are intended.  The Bn. received some S.A.A. [Small Arms Ammunition] from ‘plane.

(f) Casualties were unfortunately heavy on both days amounting to 12 officers and about 300 other Ranks.’

Lewis Lewis was only one of that great number (300 ‘O.R.s’) killed or injured during the two days of this advance.  He was among those ‘Killed in Action’ on 8 August 1918 and was 18 years old.

Lewis Lewis was originally buried, together with another soldier, W.C. Newton, also from the London Regiment, in a single grave, with their two names on the cross, in a small cemetery nearer to where they fell.  The ‘Concentration Record’[5] showed that they were both named on a single cross on a joint grave located at map reference: ‘62d.NE.K.25.b.1.4.’  This is just south of the trench, which was the route to the concentration point for the attack by the 7th Bn. London Regiment on 8 August 1918.  It is about a mile north of the village of Sailly-Laurette – in Map Square 25 and is shown on the map above.

The list of smaller cemeteries and burial grounds that were concentrated to Heath Cemetery, Harbonniers after the war, included the …

‘… Sailly-Laurette Military Cemetery, 800 metres due North of Sailly-Laurette village – in Map Square 31.  Here were buried 38 soldiers from the United Kingdom mainly of the 58th (London) Division and two from Australia, who fell in August 1918’. 

However, the map reference given in the ‘Concentration Report’ would seem to refer to a location another 1000 yards or so north of this cemetery location, so it seems that it was a smaller cemetery which is not listed in the CWGC list.

When smaller burial grounds and battlefield graves were later ‘concentrated’ – bodies were exhumed, moved and reburied in larger cemeteries, which could be better maintained.  The two soldiers from the London Regiment were both reburied in separate graves – Lewis Lewis was reburied in grave reference: VIII. G. 17.,[6] – and W. C. Newton in grave ref: 8. J. 11., at the Heath Cemetery, Harbonnieres, Somme [Map ref: ‘62d.SE.Q.29.d.5.4.’], some 5 miles south-east of  Sailly-Laurette.

Heath Cemetery is situated on the south side of road from Amiens to St Quentin.  Harbonnieres was … regained by the Australian Corps on 8 August 1918.  Heath Cemetery, so called from the wide expanse of open country on which it stands, was made after the Armistice.  Graves were brought into it from the battlefields between Bray and Harbonnieres and from many other burial grounds in the area.[7] … the list includes: ‘… Sailly-Laurette Military Cemetery, 800 metres due north of Sailly-Laurette village.  Here were buried 38 soldiers from the United Kingdom mainly of the 58th (London) Division and two from Australia, who fell in August 1918, …’.

His family had the inscription ‘All that he Hoped for, All he had he Gave’, added to his gravestone.

The Coventry Evening Telegraph published a note on 9 October 1918,
THE ROLL OF HONOUR. Coventry and District Casualties. To-day’s list of casualties includes the following : Killed.  London Regiment. – Lewis, 368091, L., Rugby; .[8]

His Medal Card and the Medal Roll showed that he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.  He is also remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gate.

The Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects shows that Lewis’s outstanding pay of £6-16-11d, was paid to his father on 20 November 1918, and his War Gratuity of £3 on 28 November 1919.

The address for his parents given on the CWGC site suggests that by the early 1920s, Frederick and Maggie Lewis had moved to 35, King Edward Road, Rugby.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

– – – – – –

 

This article on Lewis Lewis 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, May 2018.

[1]      Info from: UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919

[2]      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Battle_of_Bapaume.

[3]      The National Archives, WWI War Diaries (France, Belgium and Germany), 1914-1920, London Regiment, 58th Division, Piece 3005/6, 1/7 Battalion London Regiment (1918 Feb – Nov).  See also on www.Ancestry.co.uk.

[4]      Adapted from https://maps.nls.uk/view/101465314.

[5]      Smaller burial grounds and battlefield graves were later ‘concentrated’ – the bodies were  exhumed, moved and reburied in larger cemeteries, which could be better maintained.

[6]      One of the Concentration Record Sheets states grave 18 not 17.

[7]      See list at https://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/62000/heath-cemetery,-harbonnieres/.

[8]      Coventry Evening Telegraph, Wednesday, 9 October 1918.

Gibbs, David. Died 8th Aug 1918

David Gibbs was born in Sparkbrook, Birmingham in 1898. He was the youngest of 8 children born to Albert Pettman Gibbs (b 1856 in Woolwich, Kent), a pastrycook employed by the LNWR, and Emma Gibbs, née Malone (b 1856 in the City of London). David was educated at Newbold School and the Lower School, Rugby.

David was employed at the United Counties Bank in Coventry when he decided to enlist in the 5th Buffs in 1916. About December 1917 he was transferred as a cadet with service number 242005, to the 38th Squadron of the Royal Air Force where he received instruction as a pilot. Whilst completing a solo flight on 5th August 1918 in Yorkshire he crash landed and died of his injuries on 8th August.

The accident was reported in the Rugby Advertiser of 17th August 1918:

FATAL ACCIDENT TO FLIGHT CADET GIBBS.

 While flying from a Yorkshire aerodrome on August Bank Holiday, Flight Cadet David Gibbs, youngest son of Mr & Mrs A B Gibbs, of 14 Kimberley Road, Rugby, lost his bearings, and attempted to land at Whitley Bridge. An eye-witness states that Cadet Gibbs, who was a competent pilot, planed down from a considerable height, but when near the ground he apparently decided to change his landing place, and the attempt to alter the direction caused the machine to nose dive and crash to earth. The unfortunate young man received terrible injuries, from which he died on Thursday last week without recovering consciousness.

 At the inquest at Doncaster on Friday a verdict of “Accidental death” was returned.

 Cadet Gibbs, who was only 20 years of age, was educated at Newbold School, and the Lower School, Rugby. When he enlisted as a private in the 5th Buffs a little over two years ago he was employed in the United Counties Bank at Coventry. About eight months ago he was transferred as a cadet to the Royal Air Force, and he had practically finished his course of instruction when the accident happened, and his parents were looking forward to welcoming him home this week. He was a talented violinist, and he frequently played at concerts given in the town.

He was buried in Clifton Road Cemetery, Rugby, in a grave which is the responsibility of the CWGC. He is also remembered on the Lawrence Sheriff School Memorial Plaque.

He was survived by his parents, who were then residing at 14 Kimberley Road, Rugby, and six of his siblings.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM