31st Oct 1914. Local War Notes

Sergt Rudlin, of Rugby, has re-joined the Colours, and is now stationed at Border Camp, Aldershot. He served for 23 years in the Royal Field Artillery. He left the service 14 years ago, and has been in the employ of the Leamington Brewery Company at Rugby for the [?].

Pte J Lord (Rugby), of the Rifle Brigade, has been promoted to the rank of corporal, and at a recent examination in marksmanship he was placed first among the N.C.O’s-His brother, Sapper T Lord, of the 4th Royal Engineers, who is stationed at Gillingham, recently gave a lecture to the inmates of the original Borstal Institution on “Building construction.”

Second-Lieutenant S A Hunter, of the 4th West Riding Howitzer brigade, son of Mr and Mrs T Hunter, of Rugby, is now training with his brigade on Doncaster Racecourse.
F Hunter, another son, has passed the September examination admitting to the Royal Military College at Sandhurst, which he entered on Friday last week.

Pte F Timms, 2nd Battalion R.W.R, has written to his parents, living at 33 Pinfold Street, New Bilton, informing them that he has been wounded by a shrapnel shell in the leg and ankle. He is at present in a hospital at Aldershot and states that, the bullets having been extracted, he is getting along quite well.

Col Nutt, commander of the 7th Reserve Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, visited Rugby on Tuesday night, and at one of the places of entertainment made a strong appeal for recruits, stating that although Rugby had done well for Lord Kitchener’s Army, the response in respect to the new reserve battalion had not to the present, been all that could be wished, only 20 having joined from the town.

On Friday last week the local Red Cross nurses, under Commandant Mrs Simey, visited the Great Central Railway Station and handed refreshments to 76 wounded British soldiers, who were passing through the station from Southampton to a northern hospital. The soldiers, several of whom had been badly wounded and had had limbs amputated, were served with tea, coffee, Bovril, beef and ham sandwiches, bananas, cakes, and biscuits. Other people on the platform gave them cigarettes and chocolates. Despite the terrible experiences through which they had passed, the soldiers seemed extremely cheerful, and were very grateful for the kindnesses they received.


Corpl J Bush, of the 5th Dragoon Guards, writing to his sister on October 25th, says :-
“ Your letter to hand, and glad to say that I am so far in the best of health and also one of the lucky ones. It is no good swanking, as one never knows, we might be talking and singing and next minute we are dead. One of my troop, poor chap, he had just come from England, had a wash and shave, and wrote to his mother, and told her he had been in the trenches for the first time, when, all of a sudden, a shell came over, killing him and wounding 13 more. But thank God, I was one of the lucky ones, as on my right one was killed and three wounded, and on my left ten were wounded. Me and the boys are all happy. we have just had a good feed of bacon, cabbage, spuds, and turnips, and have just been relieved from the firing line for 48 hours. You need not send me any more fags or tobacco, as we get plenty now from England. This is the time that it makes you think of home and friends – when you get shells bursting all round you – and we say, ‘Thank God, that has gone over us.’ This to one of the worst wars I have been in – as fast as we kill them they keep coming up; but one Englishman is as good as ten of the chicken-hearted Germans.”
Corpl Bush is the youngest son of the late Mr J Bush and Mrs Bush, and, although only 34 years of age, has served 16 years with the Colours, during which period he has seen much active service, and possesses two medals – South Africa, 1901-2 (five bars, Transvaal, Orange Free State, and Cape Colony), and Somaliland 1902-4. Corpl Bush has an older brother who served 21 years in the same regiment as himself.


Mr C Osborne, of Hillmorton, has received intimation that his son, who is a private in the 2nd Warwicks, has badly wounded in the face by shrapnel during one of the recent actions at the front. He has been sent to Southampton Hospital, where he is progressing favourably.


The regrettable news was received on Monday by Mrs Elliott, of 35 Bath Street, Rugby, that her late lodger, William Woods, had been killed in action in France. This information came from deceased’s mother, living at Exning, Newmarket. She had received a brief message to this effect from the War Office, but knew nothing of the circumstances of her son’s death. Only a week earlier Mrs Elliott had a card from Woods then at Marne, stating that he hoped soon to return to Rugby.

Deceased was a reservist in the Royal Field Artillery. He went through the South African War, for which he received a medal, and he was called up on August 5th. Since October last year he had been working as a labourer in the Turbine Department at the B.T.H Works, and, although no communication had been received from him by the firm since the outbreak of the war, he having re-joined the Colours during the August holidays, we understand he was on the list of those to whom the firm was allowing half-pay during their absence from work on active service.-Previous to becoming an employee of the B.T.H Co, Woods was engaged for about two years as a shunter on the L & N.-W Railway at Rugby. He was 31 years of age, and a quiet, amiable man, who made quite a number of friends in the town, by whom his death will be deplored.

[William Woods is remembered on the BTH Memorial]


On Monday Mr and Mrs Hales, of 22 Pinfold Street, New Bilton, received a letter from Corporal Cross of the 1st Battalion R.W.R, to the effect that their son, Pte Harry Hales, was killed in action on Oct 13. Enclosed was a letter which his parents had sent to Pte Hales, but which evidently arrived subsequent to his death ; and the corporal, in his communication, added that some cigarettes, which were also sent, had been divided amongst his comrades. The sympathy of his colleagues was also expressed.

As the family had not heard from the War Office that their son had met with his death, this letter naturally came as a great shock to them, and this was intensified in the evening by the receipt of a cheerful letter from their son, dated October 10th. Pte Hales was 22 years of age next December, and had been in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment two years. He had not been home on furlough since last Christmas. Mr Hales has wired and written to the authorities for confirmation, but so far no further particulars have come to hand.

[Henry Hales is remembered on the Croop Hill Memorial]


Mr C Nash, the cemetery keeper at Rugby, received cheering news from his son, Pte Harry Nash, of the 1st Northamptonshire Regiment, on Monday morning. It was to the effect that he had arrived in England again, after a pleasant voyage, and expected to be home in a few days. Pte Nash re-joined the Northampton Regiment on the outbreak of the war, and went to the front, where he was wounded on September 14th. How this occurred, and what he experienced afterwards at the hands of a brutal German, is described in the following letter:—“ I was knocked over by the explosion of a shell. A piece of the shell took the butt of my rifle off, and knocked me quite 4ft. away. It seemed to knock “ the stufffing ” out of me. I could not move, and while I lay there some of the Germans came by. One of them hit me twice with the butt end of his rifle, his first blow catching me on the left shoulder and the other one the back of my head, knocking eleven teeth out. It was raining heavens hard. I lay for nine hours before I was picked up, so you see it is not all honey. There were about 150 dead Germans lying round where I was. I was told afterwards that the Cavalry came and charged the enemy. I think it is a good job they did, or I don’t know what I should have got on their return journey.” “ You may have this published in the Advertiser,” continues the writer, “ and let Rugby people see that Rugby has got a boy in khaki fighting at the front.” Before Pte Nash re-joined the Army he assisted his father in the cemetery. He was a member of the Elborow School Orchestra, and was of great assistance to Capt W F Wood, of the 1st Rugby Company of the Boys’ Brigade, in instructing the lads in drumming and in other ways.

Fletcher, Thomas. Died 30 Oct 1914

Thomas Fletcher was born in Southam, Warwickshire on 29th July 1876. His parents were Alfred, a brazier and Emma (nee Loveridge). Thomas worked as a labourer at Southam Cement Works and in 1897 he married Emily Manning.

In December 1894, aged 18 Thomas had joined the 3rd Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment – the local militia. He was listed as present at the annual training until 1900 when he marked absent and was struck off on 23rd January 1900. This was because he had enlisted in the Royal Welch Fusiliers on 31st October 1899, in Birmingham. Army number 6183.

He gave his age as 19 years 3 months old and it states that he had previously served 5 months in the Warwickshire Regiment and had been discharged by purchase. On his Attestation Form his occupation is given as Labourer and Groom.

His description as given on the Medical Examination Form is: Height – 5ft 7in, Weight -124lbs, Chest – min 33in, max 34in
Complexion Fresh & Freckled, Eyes – Brown, Hair – Black
Distinctive Marks – Female figure back r. forearm. Anchor back right hand
The Approving Officer described him as “ a respectable and intelligent youth”

By March 1901 he was training at Bulford camp with Sitwells Mounted Infantry and a month later was in South Africa, serving with 22nd Mounted Infantry. On 6th Feb 1902, he was wounded, “Severe gunshot left hand”, and in March 1903 he was transferred to the Reserves and returned home to live at 128 Wood Street, Rugby. He worked as a shunter on the railway and by 1914 he and his wife had four children.

In 1911, when his service was complete, he re-engaged in the Reserves, so that when war was declared in 1914, he was immediately called up.

He arrived in France on 4th October, with the Royal Welch Fusiliers. His war was to last 27 days.

After fighting at the battle of Langemark (21-24th Oct) a few miles north-east of Ieper (Ypres) in Belgium, by 29th October 1914 he was in Zandvoorde, a small village about 4 miles south-east of Ypres.

“The ridge running north from here towards the Menin Road was thinly held by the Royal Scots Fusiliers and 1st Royal Welch Fusiliers, who had been in action since 19th October. Throughout the day the Germans attacked believing the line to be strongly defended, but a combination of valiant defence and German incompetence – shells landing in the midst of their own machine-gun sections – meant that the line held until the evening when the surviving officers decided it was time to fall back from a position that was now almost surrounded. Only 120 wounded men reached the new British line closer to Ypres, and of the Welch Fusiliers only 86 returned.”
(The Ypres Salient, A guide to the Cemeteries and Memorials of the Salient – Michael Scott, page 135)

It is not known exactly when or how Thomas Fletcher died but it was during this battle – part of the 1st Battle of Ypres. Bodies were buried by the Germans in unmarked graves, so he has no known grave, but is probably in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery at Zandvoorde.

His name is inscribed on the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres, Panel 22.

Grave of an unknown soldier of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers at Zandvoorde

Grave of an unknown soldier of the Royal Welch Fusiliers at Zandvoorde


Bathe, William John. Died 29 Oct 1914

Private Bathe. Picture from Rugby Advertiser 19 Dec 1914

Private Bathe. Picture from Rugby Advertiser 19 Dec 1914

William John was the 2nd son of Mary & John Bathe, born 1888 in Warnborough Wiltshire. The family moved to Rugby about 1900 and settled at 41 Sun Street.
William John’s attestation papers state he was 17 years, height 5ft 3 inches. Weight 104 lbs, pale complexion, brown hair and brown eyes. Scar right eyebrow and birthmark left flank.
His former employment in Rugby was as a groom for Mr R Holmes.
William John signed 29th August 1906 for 6 years with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. After 49 days of training he joined 1st Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment. 1st December 1906.
Next of Kin is John Bathe Father & Henry Claude Bathe Brother both of 41 Pinfold Street, New Bilton, Rugby.
In 1911 Private William John Bathe was stationed at South Barracks Gibraltar, now aged 22 years. Maybe on route to South Africa where he spent the next 7 years. He is described as a fine muscular fellow and regarded as one of the best boxers of his regiment. On the outbreak of war the regiment was ordered back to England where he was able to spend a few days with his family in Rugby before proceeding to France at the end of October. Sadly William John died of wounds received on 29th October 1914 at Klen Zelebecke and is remembered on the Memorial at Ypres Town Cemetery Extension, Rugby Memorial Gates & New Bilton.
William John received 3 medals: Victory Medal, British Medal and Clasp.
Disembarkation date 4th October 1914. Died of wounds 29th October 1914 he was in France for 25 days. A sad end after spending 7 years in South Africa.


24th Oct 1914. Local War Notes


A number of Old Rugbeians, are mentioned in despatches published this week.

The members of the Crick War Relief Sub-Committee have raised the further sum of £3 2s 9½d in a house-to-house collection.

Up to the present about 200 recruits have been secured towards the 600 required for the 7th (Reserve) Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

Mr Alfred Brooke, of 24 Bilton Road, has obtained a commission as Second Lieutenant in the 8th Battalion London Regiment Post Office Rifles.

W D Packwood, second son of Mr C J Packwood, of Rugby, who joined the Colonial contingent, arrived with the force at Plymouth, and has now gone into training at Salisbury Plain.

The first of a new series of six lectures to ladies on first-aid, in connection with the Rugby Branch of the Red Cross Society, was given by Dr Simey, in New Big School on Thursday afternoon. There were about 40 present.

The Coventry City Police on Wednesday arrested 25 alien enemies of military age resident in the city, including the whole of the waiters at the King’s Head, the largest hotel. They will be interned at the Newbury camp. Enquiries show that the number of Germans and Austrians in the city is about 40.


During the last few days the Warwickshire Yeomanry have been notified that they will proceed to a certain destination about October 31st. The regiment will leave on Friday week for a seaport, and proceed from there either on the Saturday or Sunday. Their destination is, of course, unknown, but it will probably be one of the large military camps in the vicinity of the British base, at which place they will continue their training for some time to come. Rumours that they are off to “ the front ” are unfounded, unless the phrase embraces the whole of the continent of Europe. Probably they will continue training for the rest of the winter, and then be put on work such as guarding lines of communication, etc.

C Squadron suffered another misfortune on Monday last, their horses again stampeding. About fifty broke away. Several were injured, and the animal belonging to Trooper F Farndon, of the Rugby Troop, was killed.

The whole of the 1st South Midland Mounted Brigade has now left Newbury Racecourse and gone into billets. The same system that proved so successful at Bury St Edmunds has been adhered to, and all the regiments are split up into squadrons and billeted at farms and large houses. “ C ” Squadron, which includes the Rugby Troop, have very comfortable quarters at a disused mill. The horses are still picketed outside. They are, however, in a field with a south aspect and somewhat sheltered by tall trees, and every care is taken to keep them fit and well. The men consider themselves very fortunate in getting such good billets, and have lost no time in settling down and making themselves comfortable. Though the brigade has been accepted for foreign service, nothing is yet known as to its future movements, and judging by the expense which has been incurred in making the mill comfortable and habitable, it is intended that the troops will remain some time in the neighbourhood.


The War Office issues an urgent call for 1,000 motor drivers and 50 skilled petrol lorry fitters to proceed at once to the front.

Recruiting Headquarters has issued a new poster emphasising the fact that more men are needed at once to complete the second half million for the New Armies and to ” ensure success abroad and safety at home.”


SIR,—I have some money in my hands to spend on warm clothing for the North Sea Patrol flotillas—but want more ! Will you allow me to appeal through your paper to your readers to assist in this good work ? Subscriptions will be acknowledged weekly.—Yours faithfully,
The Manor House, Frankton, Rugby, Oct. 19.

24 Oct 1914. News from the Front


Corpl A J Harris, son of Mr and Mrs A Harris, Dunchurch Road, has sent another letter home, stating that he is still fit and well. The situation in France is summed up in a phrase that billiard players will-readily understand : “ We have got the Germans ‘snookered’ and they know it.”


Sergt W Judge, of the 20th Hussars, paid a surprise visit to his wife at 23 Jubilee Street, New Bilton, on Tuesday in last week, and remained until Saturday morning, when he returned to France. Sergt Judge, who as a reservist was called up on the outbreak of hostilities, was one of the first to be ordered to France, and was recently sent home with one of Field-Marshal Sir John French’s chargers. He took part in the Battle of Mons and the fighting round Arras, and in one engagement he had a very narrow escape, his horse being shot under him. Sergt Judge has only a very poor opinion of the much-vaunted German cavalry, and states that they will not face steady fire unless forced to do so. Their uniform in some cases is very much like that of the British Cavalry, the only distinguishing feature being the brass helmets, of the Prussians. Then, too, the British horses are far superior to any possessed by the enemy. The general contempt of Thomas Atkins for the German riflemen is shared by Sergt Judge, who states that they fire very rapidly, but register many more misses than hits. “ It is most amusing,” he adds, “ to see the British soldiers waiting in the trenches with folded arms in some instances for the Germans 300 yards away to shoot at them. Even under these circumstances it is very rarely that the Germans hit their man. During some of the engagements the Germans have outnumbered the British by 15 to 1 ; and Sergt Judge mentioned an incident which came under his notice, where 50 British completely annihilated 200 Germans. French tobacco does not meet with the sergeant’s approval, and he states that owing to the scarcity of matches the rays of the sun passed through a magnifying lens have had to be utilised for lighting pipes and cigarettes.


Gunner A G Turner, of the Royal Field Artillery, brother of Mr A Turner, newsagent, of Bridget Street, New Bilton, has recently written home ; and in an interesting account of his experiences at the front states that he has been in the thick of the fighting. “ We did our best,” the writer adds, “ and have been congratulated for our coolness, and every time we meet the Lincolns, the Scots, and others of our Brigade, they all say : “ Good old gunners ; let ’em have it.” Our section got into a tight corner, but we managed to get out unhurt. No infantry were near at the time, so we got a good gallop, and then we came into action and checked their advance again and again.” After asking to be supplied with tobacco and cigarettes, and also notepaper and envelopes, Gunner Turner continued : “ I shall never forget what I have seen and done. I have been gun-layer, and if I have seen one German drop from our shrapnel I have seen hundred. We caught them napping in one place, and as they could not get away they put up the white flag, but when our infantry advanced on them they started to open fire, and then we put the shell into them. That day we captured about 500 altogether. My word ! they have been looting the country—smashing doors and windows and taking everything they thought was any good ; but they soon move when we get into them.”


Captain Clifford Aston, of the Royal Engineers, nephew to the Rev C T Aston, vicar of St Matthew’s, Rugby, has been under shell fire several times, and has given a vivid account of his experiences in a letter. He says : “ It is curious how terrifying the ‘Black Marias’ are. After we got out of their zone and into the shrapnel zone one felt comparatively safe, and did not mind much about them. The real reason for this is, I think, because the wounds caused by ‘Black Marias’ are so awful, and those of shrapnel comparatively slight. ‘Black Maria’ is a high explosive shell, made of thick steel from half to one inch thick. It is 8½ins in diameter and 2ft 6ins high. When it lands it bursts with terrific force, and smashes the case into hundreds of jagged splinters. If these hit one they tear great holes and pieces out of one. Pieces as big as the handle of a table knife will go right through a man, and other pieces 12ins by 4ins get thrown about with great force. It is the fear of those wounds that makes the effect, of the ‘Black Maria,’ as she does infinitely less actual damage than shrapnel shell, which only contains bullets that make clean holes.” Capt Aston has visited Rheims since the bombardment, and says that, although the cathedral is badly damaged, it is not the blackened ruin, with no roof and the walls half knocked down, one would expect to find, the structure being entirely undamaged, and stands there a beautiful building.

17th Oct 1914, Local War Notes

Among recent casualties is the name of 2nd Lieut F A Sampson (R. Fus), wounded and missing. Sampson represented both Rugby and Cambridge at racquets.

The King motored from Buckingham Palace on Tuesday to Epsom Downs, and there inspected the Public Schools Brigade, which several Rugbeians have joined.

Fireman Fred Wood, of the Rugby Fire Brigade, son of Mr W F Wood, Market Place, left Coventry on Tuesday morning last, where he has been training, to join his unit, the 7th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, at Chelmsford ; also Mr Tom Lane, son of Mr J H Lane, the Windmill Hotel.

According to statistics gathered by the “ Railway News,” it would appear that 11 of our railway systems have contributed over 35,000 men to the colours. The L & N-W Company has supplied 9,400, and the Great Central 1,300.

On Wednesday the King reviewed 20,000 Territorials of the South Midland Division in Hylands Park, Chelmsford. His Majesty was accompanied by General Sir Ian Hamilton and General Heath, commanding the division, to whom he expressed his pleasure at the physique and bearing of the troops.

The number of employees of the B.T.H Company now serving with the Colours is upwards of 1,000, and a complete list of these, with rank, regiment, number, and other particulars, will appear, in a special enlarged war issue of the “ Asteroid”—the organ of the B.T.H Social Club—which will be published this month.


Mrs F Bennett, of 8 Gladstone Street, New Bilton, has received news from her son, Driver Charles Bennett, Army Service Corps, that he is at present in Netley Hospital suffering from a bullet wound in the foot, received in France. He states that “ it is terrible at the front ” ; and adds : “ The French people are very good to us all.” Driver Bennett’s parents visited him on Tuesday, and he is progressing satisfactorily.

Pte A Phelps, Rifle Brigade, 11 Gladstone Street, New Bilton, is a prisoner in the hands of the Germans.

No further news has as yet been received of the three Rugby men, all members of the Royal Warwicks—Pte Walter Geo Goodman, Pte W Busson, and Lance-Corpl Hancox, who were reported as missing after the fighting round Ligny on August 26th.

The 7th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment (including the Rugby Company) were under orders to move to Coggerstell yesterday (Friday) morning, and in doing so would have to march about 14 miles.


Steps are being taken to secure 600 recruits from Coventry and district for the 7th Home Service Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, which Colonel H J Nutt is raising. Recruiting for this commenced at 10 a.m on Monday at the following stations :—The Barracks, Coventry ; the Labour Exchange, Leamington ; the Law Courts, Nuneaton ; the Drill Hall, Rugby; the Town Hall, Stratford-on-Avon; and the men will be billetted at the Old Artillery Barracks, Coventry.

At Rugby, where Major A Welch has been in charge recruiting has been rather slow, only about a dozen having been accepted. We are asked to point out that all Rugby men joining will be placed in the same company, and at least 62 are required to complete the company now training at Chelmsford, but more than this number will be welcomed.


To the Editor of the Rugby Advertiser.

DEAR SIR,—I have been asked by Lieut Coates to make an appeal to provide for the Commanding Officer of the 9th Service Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment a fund for the supply of the many extras that the Government grants do not cover, such as the purchase of extra range finders, field glasses for picked men, and many other necessaries. A sum of £200 is required, and to meet this any donation sent to me shall be forwarded to the proper quarter.—Yours faithfully,


Chairman, Urban District Council,

Benn Buildings, Rugby, October 15th.


Messrs Sam Robbins, Ltd, have supplied the Northamptonshire Yeomanry (now stationed at Hurst Park, Winchester) with five “ Triumph ” 3-speed motor cycles, and also with 15 “ B.S.A.” bicycles. It is understood the motor cycles are for despatch work.



Private J T Meadows, of the 1st Northampton Regiment , now serving in France (whose home is at Inwood’s Cottages, near Bilton Grange), has written stating that he is in the pink of condition. He adds : “ Times are getting better now, as you know that we are progressing favourably. The travels of the troops have been great, but the duty has been well done. The high traditions of the British Army are still maintained by the sons of many an anxious mother. Time will prove this. I suppose George and Herbert are still hard at work. Never mind ; one wing of the family is flying along. The weather is terribly hot in the day-time, but at night it is the extreme reverse ; but all these little hardships we look upon as nothing when such a prize is at stake. Four of us from Rugby are still all together.”


For some weeks past “ C ” Squadron (which includes the Rugby Troop) of the Warwickshire Yeomanry has been in training with the 1st South Midland Mounted Brigade at Newbury. It was understood that this week the Squadron would move out to Donnington Mill, about a mile from the Racecourse, All the local men are reported to be fit and well ; and having volunteered for active service, they expect in due time to embark for France, where it is presumed they will be required to assist in guarding communications.


Fredk Favell, a member of the Rugby Typographical Association, and formerly an employee of G Over, and who has joined the Royal Garrison Artillery, has written from Woolwich Common to the local Secretary, and says : “ It is a bit of a drop from Rugby rate to 7s a week, but I should not like to be walking about where the girls are six to one.” After stating that the food is rough, but plentiful, he goes on to say: “ We shave every morning now in cold water, and as there is only one small mirror for ten men in our tent, you can believe me when I say that one does not know whether he is shaving his own face or somebody else’s there are so many round the glass.” From a letter Mr Favell has Written to his fellow-workmen it would appear that he and his friend, Mr D Kennard, from the same office, are having a good time and are keeping in good health.


Pte T Cockerill, of the Yorkshire Light Infantry, now serving with the Expeditionary Force, has written a card to his mother (Mrs Grumble, of 33 Gas Street), in which he says : “ I think things are going on the right road. It is so with our Brigade. We seem to be giving the Germans all they want, for every day we keep advancing, and that means a lot. We are getting plenty of good, food, and that is a lot more than the enemy can say. . . . Tell Harry I shall have a lot of pints to sup before I am straight up, as there is no such thing as beer here ; but if I do get down for Christmas we will make up for lost time.”


17th October 1914, Belgian Refugees in the Rugby District


There was considerable excitement in the villages of Marton and Princethorpe last week, when 60 Nuns, who had to leave Lierre owing to the bombardment of the town by the Germans, arrived at Marton to accept the hospitality of the Nuns of the Priory at Princethorpe. Their arrival had been expected for several days ; but as the precise time could not be ascertained, it was impossible to make any definite arrangements for meeting them at the station. As soon as it was known in the villages that they had reached Marton Station everyone who had a vehicle fit for the purpose made his way with it to the station, and in motor-cars, traps, dog-carts, and vehicles of all descriptions they were quickly conveyed to the Priory. The Nuns spoke in the highest terms of the kindness they had received from everyone on their journey.


Several of the Nuns spoke English fluently, so that they had no difficulty in making their way about, and included in the party was an English lady, who had been in the Convent some 14 years. By the kind permission of the Mother Superior, our representative was on Monday accorded an interview with this sister and another, who gave him some interesting particulars concerning the town and country and their hurried departure from it. They both spoke in the highest terms of their reception at Princethorpe, and how glad they were to be safe in such a peaceful home after all their trials. The sister explained that they belonged to the Order of St Ursuline, which is not so “ close ” an Order as that of the Benedictines at Princethorpe—for whereas the latter are entirely confined to their convent and grounds, the former were allowed to take the children they were educating out for walks and to do their own shopping and necessary things of that sort, although they wore not allowed to see their relatives, even if they were dying.


It was explained that the day before the Germans commenced to bombard the town the reverend mother of the convent received the whole community of Nuns of the same Order, who had had to fly from Wavre and who thought they would be perfectly secure behind the forts at Lieve. But they only stayed one night, as the following day after their arrival shells began to fall on the convent, one of them striking the hospital, where several wounded Belgian soldiers were lying, killing half of their number. The Superior, therefore, thought it time for the Nuns to leave, and the majority of those from Wavre left for the sea coast, the party which eventually reached Princethorpe following a little later, it being the intention of the two companies to meet at Antwerp. When the second party got to the station at Lierre they were told that, owing to the enormous number of refugees that had crowded into Antwerp, no more trains would be run there. Fortunately for the Nuns, they met an Army officer whom they knew, and owing entirely to his influence they were enabled to travel by a train containing wounded soldiers. When they arrived at Antwerp they found FRESH TROUBLE awaiting them, for they were told they would not be allowed to leave the station. Happily another officer came to their assistance, who took them to a quiet part of the station, where they sat down on their bundles and said their prayers, and eventually through his exertions they were enabled to leave the station and repair to a convent in the city. Unfortunately the leaders of the first party had practically all the money required to transport both companies to England, and as the two failed to meet again, the second contingent found themselves stranded in Antwerp. But here again they met with friends, and subscriptions were quickly forthcoming from parents of girls who had been educated in the Convent, and others—one gentleman alone gave 2,000 francs, or about £80. Naturally the fares for so large a number from Ostend to Marton came to a very large sum, and the delay caused by the raising of the money, obtaining leave from the military authorities to go, and the difficulty in securing places in the boats, forced them to remain at Antwerp from the Tuesday till the Saturday.


During their journey to the coast they did not pass over any of the battlefields or see any of the bombarded towns ; but they saw the barbed-wire entanglements at Antwerp, and some of the houses which had been struck by bombs. They also saw countless numbers of trees which had been cut off about two feet from the ground, and large areas of houses, church towers, etc, that had been razed to the ground to give a clear sweep to the Belgian guns. Everywhere they encountered crowds of refugees with their belongings, many of them being packed on the little carts drawn by dogs, which are one of the most remarkable features of Belgium. A large number of refugees were massed all round Antwerp, to which city they had been refused admittance owing to the large number that had already been taken in, but doubtless some place was found for them before the bombardment began. Questioned as to the alleged German atrocities, such as maiming little children, the Sister said she had no personal knowledge of any, but she described how the Germans at one place made prisoners of the whole of the inhabitants. They then separated the men from the others, and shot every third man. Among the unfortunate victims was the brother of a Sister in the Convent at Lierre. In another instance a German soldier placed the muzzle of his rifle against the breast of the Superior of a convent and threatened to shoot her. Of both these instances the Sister now at Princethorpe had personal knowledge. The nuns at Wavre found outside their Convent a little boy of about 2 1/2 years, quite alone, and wounded by a ball in the foot. They took him to the ambulance and had it extracted, and they took such a fancy to him that they had taken him with them in their wanderings since. The Sister again referred in high terms of praise to the splendid reception they had met with at Princethorpe, which she said had nearly healed their wounds.


With regard to the refugees, now comfortably housed in the Village Hall at Clifton, mention should be made of the thoughtful interest taken in the party by the residents generally. The practical steps taken for the welfare of the two families by Mr and Mrs T S Townsend, of the Manor House, has been previously mentioned. Mrs Stevens and the Misses Carruthers have also been very kind, and the same remark is true of other ladies, including Mrs Mulliner, of Clifton Court, where one of the Belgians and his daughter are making themselves useful in dairying ; whilst amongst the farmers who have come forward nobly Mr Allan, Mr Atkins, and Mr Russell should be named. Mrs Little has offered the use of the Lodge at Dunsmore for Belgians, and a party was expected to arrive this week.


Mr Henry Boughton-Leigh, of Brownsover Hall, having kindly promised to lend Newton House, near Rugby, for the accommodation of Belgian refugees, a committee of those interested met at the Rugby Drill Hall on Wednesday to consider the neccssary steps to be taken. Mr T Vaughan Morgan (Monks Kirby), presided.

It was decided to take in 24 Belgian refugees at once, and it is expected that they will arrive at their temporary home on Monday or Tuesday next.

Meantime, Newton House has to be equipped for the reception of the guests, and the committee will be very glad if residents of Rugby who have surplus furniture or any household article, will either lend or give them. Beds, chairs, chests of drawers, carpets, lamps, linen, etc, will be very acceptable, and on the receipt of a post card Mr Sam Robbins, of Albert Street, has offered to collect and deliver the goods for the committee; also gifts in kind for the use of the distressed Belgians.

Of course, the refugees will have to be kept whilst at Newton House, and any subscriptions or donations for this object will be thankfully received by the Hon Edmund Parker, of Westfield House, Bilton Road, who is acting as hon treasurer.

Mr F Merttens, of Bilton Rise, has offered the hospitality of his house to Belgian refugees.


During the past few days thousands of Belgians have landed in England, and temporary homes are urgently needed for them. The distress in Belgium at the present time is also acute, and the appended appeals from the County Committee and Lady Willoughby de Broke should awaken a sympathetic response :-


To the Editor of the Advertiser.

SIR,—In view of the present crisis it is a matter of urgent importance that temporary homes should be found for the thousands of our stricken Belgian allies who are seeking shelter in this country. Persons willing to offer hospitality to these refugees are earnestly requested to send at once their names and addresses to this committee, together with full particulars concerning the class of refugee they are willing to entertain, their number, sexes, etc, and the accommodation available.

Persons able and willing to act as Flemish interpreters, regular or occasional, are requested to send their names and addresses to this committee.—Signed on behalf of the Committee,

WILLIAM J MURPHY (Deputy Chairman).
WILLIAM J SHAW (Hon Secretary).
14 Northgate St, Warwick.

Thrasher, Charles William. Died 13 Oct 1914

Charles William Thrasher was born in Rugby in 1894, the son of Charles Edward and Thirza Thrasher, nee Hunt. His birth was registered in Rugby Registration District in the June quarter of 1894, reference 6d 529.

Charles was baptised on 18th May 1894 at St. Andrew’s Parish Church, Rugby.

In the 1901 Census the family was living at 43, Railway Terrace, Rugby, next to the Railway Hotel (no. 45). He is shown as William C Thrasher. His father was a Cab Driver (Groom), born in Long Buckby. Thirza was born in Long Lawford. Charles had 3 sisters: Eliza 12, Edith 9, and Kathleen 9 months and one brother, Leonard 4.

Charles’ father died in the first half of 1910, his death is recorded in the Rugby Registration District in the June quarter of that year, ref. 6D 319.

His mother, Thirza, 43, remarried to a younger Cab Driver, Arthur Hewson, 30 in late 1910 at Long Lawford. He was born in Leicester.

By the 1911 census the family had moved to 6, Charlotte Street, Rugby. Arthur is still a Cab Driver/Coachman. Charles is an Engineer’s Apprentice at BTH (British Thomson Houston) at Mill Road, Rugby.

Charles joined up on 18th August 1914 as a Gunner in The Royal Field Artillery, number 74090. Unfortunately neither his Service Record nor Pension Record survived the Blitz of WW II.

He was part of the 15th Brigade, which was in the 5th Division, and part of the 2nd Corps under the command of Sir Henry Smith-Dorrien.

On October 8th 1914, Field Marshal Sir John French Commander in chief of the British Armies in France and Flanders had conferred with General Foch, appointed by the French Commander-in-Chief to supervise the operations of all the French troops north of Nyon. 2nd Corps followed the joint plans of operation agreed at that meeting. This operation became known as the Battle of La Bassee.

On 11th October the Corps arrived on the line Aire-Bethune with the objective of connecting     with the right of the French 10th Army, and then pivoting on its left to attack the enemy who were opposing the 10th French Corps in front.   On the 12th they were commanded to continue their march and to bring up their left flank in the direction of Merville. They were then to move to the east of the line Laventie-Lorgies, which would bring them to the immediate left of the French Army and threaten the German Flank. The Fifth Division connected up with the French Army north of Annequin.

The 3rd Division, having crossed the canal deployed on the left of the 5th, and the whole of the 2nd Corps advanced to attack, but were unable to make much headway owing to the difficult character of the ground. It was covered in mining works, factories and other commercial premises. The terrain was remarkably flat, rendering effective artillery support very difficult for Charles and his comrades. Before nightfall on the 12th, some advance had been achieved and had successfully driven back counter attacks with great loss to the enemy and destruction of some of his machine guns.

On the 13th, the 2nd Corps wheeled right, pivoting on Givenchy to get astride the La Bassee-Lille Road near Fournes to threaten the right flank and rear of the enemy. Little progress was made. Sir Henry Smith-Dorrien mentions the fine fighting of the Dorsets and the gallantry of the Artillery, in particular, so Charles work was recognised.

During the 14th the Commander of the 3rd Division General Hubert Hamilton was killed. The battle continued in the same direction for 2 days.

On the 16th the move continued until the left flank of the Corps was in front of the village of Aubers, which was strongly held. The village was captured the next day, as was Herlies, on the point of the bayonet.

The Second Corps was believed have been opposed by the 2nd, 4th, 7th, and 9th German Cavalry divisions, supported by several battalions of Jaegers and a part of the 14th German corps.

On the 18th powerful counter attacks were made by the enemy all along the front of the Second Corps. They were repulsed most gallantly but only slight progress was made.

During this battle Charles William Thrasher was ‘Killed in action’.

His time at the Front had lasted for only a week.


There is a difference in the date of his death between the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (13/10/1914) and in De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour 1914-1924 (18/10/1914). It may be that the written figure is not clear and has been interpreted differently.

His entry in De Ruvigny reads: Thrasher. C, Gunner No. 74090, R.F.A. Served with the Expeditionary Force in France, killed 18 October 1914.

He is remembered at the Le Touret Memorial in the Pas de Calais, NNE of the town of Bethune.

After the War he was awarded 3 medals, Victory, British and 14 Star.


10th Oct 1914, Rugby Lady’s Escape From Berlin.

Included in a party of English ladies who were recently allowed to return home from Germany via Rotterdam and Flushing was Miss Madeline Loverock, daughter of Mr Lewis Loverock, of “ Grey lands,” Hillmorton Road, Rugby. At the outbreak of the war Miss Loverock was living with a Russian family in Berlin, and the fact that she and others are now safely back in England is due mainly to the intervention of the American Consul, than whom no one could have been more thoughtful and kind.

“ Directly war broke out,” said Miss Loverock in an interview this week, “ we had to get permission to stay in Germany and to obtain an American passport, signed by the Ambassador, under whose protection we placed ourselves. We had to report ourselves every three days, and if we failed we were threatened with trouble. Some of the English forgot on one occasion, and they were told if this occurred again they would be imprisoned. We also had to keep very quiet, and refrain from any demonstration against the Germans.


Asked if food prices in Berlin were enhanced owing to the war, Miss Loverock said at first prices were raised ; but the Kaiser gave orders that they were to be reduced to the normal level, and this was at once done, with the result that, so far as commodities were concerned, the residents had up to the present experienced little, if any, difference.

“ We were treated very well indeed by the Germans, but we owe it all to the American Ambassador, who communicated with the British Government and got us away. Two American gentlemen travelled on the train for our protection, and as soon as we crossed into Holland the Dutch showed us great kindness. At every station when the train stopped they regaled us with tea, coffee, milk and cakes, and did everything for us they possibly could, even to cheering us on our way by singing their national songs.


Miss Loverock confirms the tidings brought home by others as to the garbled reports of the war published in the German papers. Nothing but German “ victories ” are recorded, and even the success of the English fleet in the North Sea was distorted in such a way as to read very much like a German victory.

“ The people of Berlin, believing the reports in the papers, are naturally enthusiastic over the war, and are quite confident it will end in favour of Germany. There can be no doubt that of their enemies England is the most hated. The Germans profess to thoroughly enjoy fighting Russia ; they don’t very much mind France ; but they hate the English, and the newspapers are fanning this feeling by reporting daily what they describe as “ English lies.”

From the only news available the English ladies in Berlin were given to understand that England was in a sorry plight indeed, and it was not until they arrived at Rotterdam on the homeward journey, and learnt for the first time how matters actually stood, that they found the English nation still existed, and not been swept from the face of the earth, after all.

The English Chaplain (Rev H Williams) and his sister behaved in a splendid way to the English in Berlin. The Ambassador tried to induce him to leave with him directly war was declared, but he refused, saying he should share his last penny with the English. By special dispensation, due to the fact that St George’s Church (the headquarters of the Anglican community in Berlin) was founded by the late Empress Frederick and stands on royal property near the Kaiser’s castle, no helmeted policeman attends Divine service there to see that the useful prayer for England is omitted. The prayer is omitted, but in other English churches in Germany a “ Schutzmann ” is stationed. It will interest our readers to know that a brother and sister of the Rev H Williams reside at 53 Newbold Road, Rugby.


10th Oct 1914, Local War Notes

Mr T H Paine, an ex-soldier, of Clifton, has re-joined his former regiment, the 19th Hussars.

Mr Goddard, butler at the Rev E Earle’s, Bilton Change, has left to join the Colours at the front.

Mr C T Morris Davies, the Welsh international hockey player, and captain of the Rugby Hockey Club, also Well-known in the cricket field, has joined the 6th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

The Northants Yeomanry, who have volunteered for foreign service, are being served out with new rifles, and also with swords. They expect to move south from Houghton Regis on Saturday preparatory to going to the front.

R W Lucas-Lucas is now at the camp at Valcartier, Quebec, and will serve with the Canadian contingent.

Lieutenant Guy B Lucas-Lucas returned from Australia on Tuesday, and rejoined the Howitzer Battery at Great Baddow, Chelmsford, on Wednesday.

The profits of the third scholars’ swimming gala, to be held at the Rugby Public Baths on Monday evening, will be devoted to the Prince of Wales’ National Relief Fund. An excellent programme, including the team race for the “ Flint ” Cup, which was won last year by St Matthew’s School, has been arranged.

The members of the local Howitzer Brigade, who are now located in Essex, are beginning to find the nights are getting cold, and that warmer clothing is needed. In another column we publish an appeal from Mrs West, of Bawnmore, wife of Col West, who is in Command of the Brigade, asking for garments, &c, and we would suggest that there are many friends of the Brigade in Rugby-mothers, wives, sisters, or sweethearts, who might be able to occupy their spare time in knitting cuffs to keep the wrists warm, belts, and other little comforts.

W J Farn (Mechanical Transport Army Service Corps), better known as “ Dolph ” Farn, is now in St Gabriel’s College, Camberwell, London, having been wounded just outside Rheims with shrapnel and falling masonry. The shrapnel shattered three fingers on his left hand. Among other exciting experiences was the retreat from Mons, Farn driving a traction engine in the retreat, but the engine was gradually overhauled by the Germans and eventually had to be abandoned. Farn only saw one B.T.H man at the front-Judd, of the B.T.H Turbine Extension-whom he saw outside Rheims on September 13th.


Recruiting has again been slack at the Drill Hall this week. Since the outbreak of hostilities, however, the number enlisting at Rugby has been 1,890, at Nuneaton 1,841, and at Atherstone 400. Rugby is thus a head of Nuneaton, despite the larger population of the mining town.


Past and present members of “ E ” Company, R.W.R, will hear with pleasure of the progress which Corpl A P White is making in the Royal Naval Air Service. Mr White was a member of the Company for a good number of years, and was very popular in all ranks. He was employed at the B.T.H. He is now chief petty officer in the navy, and left Rugby about two months ago for service. On September 1st, in company with about 30 other petty officers and mechanics, he went to the Central Flying School at Upavon for a month’s instruction in aero engines and aircraft. On the completion of his course he came out top at the examination, well in advance of the remainder, and consequently he has been transferred to the permanent staff of the school, as instructor in workshops-a satisfactory position, which was only gained by hard work and many hours of study.


“ Thank God, when the young lads fall, sir,
We still have the brave old boys.”

So runs the well-known song, and an inspiring example of the truth of this was afforded at Rugby Drill Hall recently when two veterans, who have long left the regular army, came forward as recruits, and were, to their great delight, accepted. Col-Sergt James Manning, aged 64 years and six months, was the first to present himself, and last Friday he left the Drill Hall for Dorchester, to rejoin his old regiment, the Dorsetshires, at his former rank of colour-sergeant-instructor. He is a fine specimen of a recruit, states the Recruiting Officer, and when he left the Drill Hall he was as “ lively as a cricket.” The other aged hero is Corpl George Goode, who, at the age of 58, has re-enlisted at his old rank in the Northamptonshire Regiment, to which he was formerly attached.


Corpl A J Harris, of the Motor Cycle Dispatch Riders’ Corps, now serving at the front, has written further letters home to his parents-Mr and Mrs A Harris, Dunchurch Road. He says he feels as fit as he has ever been in his life, and is learning to dodge the German shells. Details of the work being undertaken are not given, but Corpl Harris says the officers in command are very pleased with what the dispatch riders are doing.