28th Nov 1914. Belgian Refugees Married at St Marie’s

The wedding of the two Belgian refugees, M Victor Buelens, a printer, and Miss Emilie Alice Dekeyser, costumier, both of Louvain, evoked such interest in the district, and it is doubtful if the beautiful church of St Marie’s has ever held such a large congregation for a nuptial ceremony as it did on Tuesday morning. The sacred edifice was packed to the doors, and among the congregation were a considerable number of the Belgians at present resident in the town. The bride, who was given away by a friend, M Gustaaf Leunis, looked very nice in a costume which she had made herself, and she was attended by her two sisters, Jeanne and Maria Dekeyser, who were also prettily attired. The bride-groom was accompanied by the brother of the bride, M Rene Dekeyser, as best man. Father Lerude, a Belgian priest from the neighbourhood of Liege, performed the nuptial ceremony, and he was assisted by Father Jarvis, of St Marie’s, and Brother Vermast, another Belgian priest.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, which was very brief, and was conducted in the Flemish language, Mr F Quartly, the organist, struck up the inspiring and appropriate strains of “ La Brabanconne,” and subsequently “ The Marseillaise,” and the Russian and English National Anthems, also the “ Wedding March.” A merry peal was also rung on the bells. A large crowd assembled outside the church, and gave Mons Victor and his bride, both of whom looked supremely happy, quite an ovation, the scholars of St Marie’s Schools joining in the cheers, which were renewed when they entered the motor-car.

The committee responsible for the care of the refugees provided an excellent English wedding breakfast for the whole of the Belgians, at which the usual complementary speeches were made. Amongst those present, were Frs Lerude, Jarvis & Vermast. The bride and bride groom were the recipients of a number of useful presents from friends and sympathisers in the town. We are sure all our readers will join with in congratulating the happy pair, and in the wish that their married life may be long and happy.

The bridegroom is a painter by trade, but as a temporary measure, he has, with four others living at 17 Hillmorton Read, obtained work at the B.T.H. The bride is a dressmaker, and together with her sisters, conducted a flourishing business in Louvain. Two months before the war broke out Mr Buelens had secured a house of five rooms, and purchased all his furniture, and all the arrangements were concluded for his wedding on August 22nd. Then the present terrible war began, and together with his fiancée, her grandmother, mother (a widow), three sisters, two brothers, and a cousin, they left Louvain on August 18th, the day before the Germans arrived there. The place was then being bombarded, and they were forced to fly from their homes, with nothing more than a few articles of wearing apparel, leaving behind them the newly-furnished house, all their wedding presents, and the greater part of their clothes. From that time they have not received any information as to whether the house has been burned down, but, judging by many pictures published of the ruins at Louvain, there is very little chance of finding it intact. They travelled by train from Louvain to Ghent, were they remained for three weeks, the whole of the bride’s relations and the bridegroom living in a large house in that city. But there was no sleeping accommodation for them in the house, which was probably crowded with other refugees, and at night some slept in armchairs, but the greater part upon straw laid on the floor-boards. They subsequently proceeded by train to Ostend, where they were lodged at the Great School of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart (Freres de sacre Coeur), and for another four weeks they slept on straw on the floor of the schoolroom, in rows down each side of the room. Men and women were mixed together in the same room, and during the whole of this time none of them took off their clothes or made any change in their underwear. At the end of that time they were able to rent a house, where they found proper sleeping   accommodation, and they stayed 1 ½ days more. Then there was a rush to get away to England, and the bridegroom and his friends went to the landing stage at Ostend to take ship. They arrived at the quay at 7.0. on the Tuesday morning, and sat on the wooden bridge by the quayside without shelter, food, or drink until 10.0 on Wednesday morning, waiting for a boat to take them over. The weather was very bad, it rained heavily, and was piercingly cold, but they had to endure all this without any protection. Their bodily and mental sufferings must have been unspeakable. They arrived at Folkestone at 4.0 p.m, and they were immediately supplied with hot food and drink, and everything possible was done for them. They all speak in the highest terms of the reception accorded to them. They were immediately afterwards taken on to Edmonton, where they stayed about a week. During that time they again made arrangements for their marriage, and the priest wrote to the Bishop for permission for it to take place. But before the reply arrived they were moved on to Rugby. Here they met a fellow countryman in Brother Vermast, who lives at St Marie’s College, and he informed them they must remain at Rugby four weeks before the marriage could be celebrated. The four weeks expired last Wednesday.

In spite of all their troubles, the Belgian refugees are wonderfully light-hearted, and those who have spent hours in their company are astonished to find now philosophically they take their troubles. They all speak in glowing terms of England and the English people, and have very little desire to return to their native land. They have met with many friends in Rugby, but we would like to suggest that people in Rugby who know even a little French should invite a few of them to their homes occasionally for an evening; it would help to brighten their days, which sometimes hang heavily on their hands. Visitors are always welcome at 17 Hillmorton Road, and anyone who can speak French-even imperfectly-is especially welcome.

It may be interesting to state that in Belgium the wedding worn on the right-hand, and at the ceremony the bride presents the bridegroom with a wedding-ring, which he afterwards wears, but he has the privilege of buying them both.

For the information of Belgians in the town and district, we append a translation of the above report in Flemish.


Other arrivals of Belgian refugees in Rugby include Mons G Vilain, a glass manufacturer and exporter from Antwerp, and Madame Vilain. They have been received by Mr and Mrs C Bluemel, and are staying with them at Northfield House.

A second instalment of £1 16s 6d, collected by Miss May Madden and Master Dick Cousens in pence from customers at the Crown Hotel, has been handed over to the local Belgian Relief Fund. This makes a total of £3 11s collected in this way.

28th Nov 1914. War Casualties

We understand that two Dunchurch men were on H.M. battleship Bulwark, which has been blown up.

Sergt A Amos, of the 3rd Dragoon Guards, nephew of Mrs C W Bluemel, Northfield House, Rugby, has written to say that he is wounded and in hospital at Rouen.

Pte P Benjamin, 1st South Staffs, of 19 Newland Street, New Bilton, has written informing his aunt, with whom he lived, that he has been wounded in the side, the bullet being extracted from his back. He is at present in Netley Hospital.

Induced in the casualty lists between November 11th and 13th is the name of Captain the Hon Rupert Cecil Craven, of the Royal Scots Fusiliers, who is stated to have been wounded in action. Captain Craven, who was born in 1870, is the only surviving brother of the Earl of Craven, Lord-Lieutenant of Warwickshire.

Trooper F Kitchener, of the 11th Hussars, who formerly worked for Mr J H Lambert, baker, New Bilton, has been reported as missing. Mrs Lambert, however, received a letter from him dated two days after the day mentioned, when he was quite safe, and the inference is that he became detached from his company.

Mr J T Wrighton, of 34 Abbey Street, has received a letter from his son, Sapper William Wrighton, Royal Engineers, stating that he was wounded in the left arm on November 11th, and is at present in a hospital at Cardiff, where he is receiving every attention, and is making good progress. Sapper Wrighton, who is 20 years of age, has been in the army two years, and before enlisting was employed at Messrs Willans & Robinson’s, and was also a former member of “ E ” Company. He was a member of the Rifle Section which a few years ago won the Arthur James Challenge Cup.


The news of the death in action of Pte G Thornycroft, of the 1st Royal Warwicks, which we published last week, caused much regret in Hillmorton, where he was well known, and his wife has been the recipient of many expressions of sympathy, for which she wishes to thank all friends. At Hillmorton Parish Church on Sunday night the Vicar (Rev R Lever) fittingly alluded to the late soldier, and “ On the resurrection morning ” and other suitable hymns were sung.


Mrs H Oldershaw, of 129 Oxford Street, Rugby, and formerly of Bilton, on Wednesday evening received official notification from Capt Forbes, Grenadier Guards, that her husband, Pte Hy Oldershaw, Grenadier Guards, was buried in a large tomb at Rond de la Reine, Villers Coterrets Forest, about September 4th. Pte Oldershaw, whose photo we reproduced last week, was 25 years of age, and leaves a widow and infant child, with whom much sympathy will be felt.


News been received from Mr G T Hilton, of Rugby, who has taken up his duties in France, where he has charge of about 100 men. He speaks of the urgent need for warm clothing, and appeals for supplies of underwear, etc, to be sent out.

At a meeting on Monday night the Co-operative Employees’ Relief Committee decided to organise a whist drive. They also voted a guinea to the Belgian’ Relief Fund. The arrangement whereby refugees may obtain weekly, at the expense of the committee, 10s worth of groceries at the stores is still in force.

Pte Joseph Wm Shaw, of the Mill Farm, Clifton-on-Dunsmore, son of Mr and Mrs Shaw, late of Lilbourne, has been promoted to the rank of corparal, and is now on the permanent staff of the Army Veterinary Corps Hospital at Stockwood Park, Luton.

A signal honour has been paid to the Leicestershire Yeomanry. They are brigaded with the 1st Life Guards, are doing duty as infantry in the trenches, and using the rifle and the bayonet.

Mr J Hammond, the secretary of the B.T.H Athletic Club, has joined the Royal Army Medical Corps.

Two sons of Mr E Bluemel, of Penrhos House, Clifton Road, have recently enlisted in the Honourable Artillery Company.

The Warwickshire Yeomanry, as part of the South Midland Brigade, have left Newbury for the East Coast.


Recruiting has been again fairly satisfactory at Rugby, 21 having enlisted during the past week, bringing the total up to 1,977, or 23 short of two battalions.


A notice has this week been posted at the B.T.H. Works, in which the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty wish to impress upon those employed in the establishment the importance of the Government work upon which they are engaged :-

” Their Lordships desire all engaged in this establishment to know that it is fully recognised that they, in carrying out the great work of providing for the requirements or the Royal Navy, are doing their duty for their King and Country equally with those who have joined H.M Forces for active service afloat or ashore.

“ Their Lordships fully appreciate the efforts which the employees are making, and trust that everything will be done to assist the Naval Authorities by pushing on all orders as rapidly as possible. A great and special effort is necessary.”


The children of the United States have sent a shipload of Christmas gifts for children of sailors and soldiers killed or missing ; also of those still serving.

The local Relief Committee (Benn Buildings, Rugby) will be glad to receive names and addresses of children who wish to participate in the gift.

Edmans, Frank Sidney. Died 26th Nov 1914

Frank Sidney Edmans was born on 17 October 1893 and baptised on 12 November 1893 in Walthamstow London.
In 1901 the family were living in Waverley Road Walthamstow with their first three children and a boarder.
In 1911 the family were living in Rugby at the Cooperative Cottages in New Bilton.
1911 Census
Name Age Born
William Arthur Edmans b 1867 44 Shoreditch Middx
Beatrice Mary Eliza Edmans 43 Dalston Middx
Frank Sidney Edmans 17 Walthamstow Middx
Violet Beatrice Edmans 14 Dalston
William George Edmans 10 Walthamstow
Lillian Gladys Edmans 8 Walthamstow
Ivy Grace Edmans 7 Walthamstow
Albert Edward Edmans 3 Wolston
Harold Ernest Edmans 2 Wolston

In 1911 Frank was a celluloid bicycle pump overhauler and his father, William, was a celluloid bicycle handle polisher, both in the Cycle Accessories industry in Rugby
(In Walthamstow in 1910 23 cycle manufacturers were listed, representing about 16 per cent of those in Essex, though doubtless many of them were small works merely assembling components.)

There is a naval record for Frank in 1912. He must therefore have already been serving in the Royal Navy before the outbreak of war. Frank was at that time a Stokerman Second Class no. SS 115220, on HMS Bulwark.
Following the outbreak of the First World War HMS Bulwark was attached to the Channel Fleet, conducting patrols in the English Channel. On 26 November 1914, while anchored near Sheerness, she was destroyed by a large internal explosion for the loss of 736 men. Two of the 14 survivors died later in hospital. The explosion was likely to have been caused by the overheating of cordite charges that had been placed adjacent to a boiler room bulkhead. The body of Frank Sidney Edmans was not recovered for burial.

Also on the naval record Frank S Edmans won the Star, Victory and British War Medals.

The Commonwealth War Graves entry reads
Frank Sidney Edmans
Death Date: 26 November 1914
Cemetery: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
Service Number SS/115220

UK, Commonwealth War Graves Register

UK, Commonwealth War Graves Register

Edams 2

Portsmouth Naval Memorial

On his death in 1914, Frank’s mother Beatrice lived at 82 Co-op Cottages, Lawford Street, New Bilton, Rugby.



21st Nov 1914. Local War Notes

It is stated that the Leicestershire Yeomanry are now in the fighting line.

C Spicer and A E Lorriman have joined the Rugby Howitzer Battery. The latter was formerly a member, but went away to America, and returned to England in order to re-enlist.

Mr R Herron, of Rugby, who for the past two years has been in training at a Baptist Theological College, has joined the Royal Army Medical Corps. He is a competent ambulance man, and has already been promoted to the rank of sergeant.

We understand that the whole of the Belgian refugees, with one exception, living at 17 Hillmorton Road, have obtained employment, three of them at the B.T.H Works at Rugby, and two others at Birmingham. A boy is also working at the shop of a tradesman in the town.

Members of the St John Ambulance Brigade are doing useful service in accompanying wounded Belgian soldiers from the Red Cross Hospital who are able to get out for walks in the vicinity of Rugby. On three days a week they are doing this, the walk generally occupying about an hour, and the men greatly appreciate the kindness shown.

The Rugby Co-operative Society’s employees have sent warm mufflers, helmets, and socks, together with supplies of cigarettes, to their comrades, 18 in number, who have joined Lord Kitchener’s Army. The gifts have been very much appreciated, and letters of thanks have been received, saying they were just the articles that were required.

On Sunday afternoon the Salvation Army Boys’ Band (under the leadership of Mr Whitmore) played patriotic airs and the various National Anthems for an hour at the Red Cross Hospital for the benefit of the wounded Belgian soldiers. The visit was greatly appreciated, and the soldiers sent to the band by way of thanks an illuminated card, the handiwork of one of their number-a graceful act of acknowledgement that the band fully reciprocated.


George Edward Middleditch, a premium apprentice who was employed in Rugby Erecting Shop, serving his time to fitting, and enlisted in the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry Regiment in August last, has done particularly well. He showed ability and quickly rose to the rank of sergeant. This week he has received his discharge papers from this regiment and offered a commission, which he has very naturally accepted. Middleditch has gone to his home in Devon for a brief rest, and awaiting instructions from the War Office as to the regiment to which he is gazetted. Before leaving Rugby for home he visited the erecting shop to say “ good-bye ” to the workmen, who took the opportunity to warmly congratulate him on his well-merited promotion.


Pte. Arthur Hill, a reservist in the Royal Horse Artillery, who previous to the war was employed by Messrs Willans & Robinson, has written to his former land lady, Mrs Judd, of 21 Dale Street, stating that he has been wounded.

Mrs Meadows, of Inwood’s Cottages, near Bilton Grange, this week received news of her son, Pte J T Meadows, 1st Northants Regiment, who is now lying wounded in Duchess of Westminster’s Hospital in Paris, but he hopes before long to be able to return home.

Pte G T Wills, of the North Staffordshire Regiment, who resides at 57 Jubilee Street, New.Bilton, and who, as reported last week, had been wounded, was an Old Elborow Boy, and a member of the Rugby Parish Church Choir during the rectorship of the late Mr Murray. He served for one year and ten months in the South African campaign, and has written to his wife informing her that he is in a hospital at Versailles, is being well looked after, and going on as well as can be expected.

We understand that Mrs H Flavell, of 14 Newbold Road, who a few week ago received official intimation that her husband, Pte H Flavell, a reservist in the Coldstream Guards, had been posted as missing, has since received a communication from him stating that he is well.


Pte A Hirons, of the 1st Coldstream Guards, of whom nothing had been heard for some time, has written to his landlady, Mrs Green, of Hillmorton, informing her that he has been wounded in the back and been taken a prisoner by the Germans. Pte Hirons, who is a native of Churchover, served three years in the Guards, and had been on the reserve twelve months. Before mobilization he was employed in the Loco Department at the L & N. W. Railway Station, Rugby.


Pte A Glen, reservist of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, and a native of Rugby, has arrived home, on sick leave, suffering from three wounds received in the trenches at La Basse, and tells the story of how his life was saved by the devotion of a comrade.

Pte Glen, who is the caretaker of the Conservative Club in Abbey Street and is well known in town, stated in an interview with our representative that the first battle he was engaged in was at Le Cateau. About a month ago his brigade was ordered to relieve another section in the trenches at La Basse. Their position, however, was located by a spy, and the Germans immediately started business with their “Jack Johnsons.” A church steeple near the British lines was set on fire by the shells, and fell into the trenches, causing great havoc. Several hayricks were also fired, and by the light from these the Germans were able to easily locate the British, and then rake them with such a shower of shells that they were forced to retire, their places being taken by Indians. Pte Glen received a bullet wound in the head, and was also struck on the neck and shoulder by a fragment from a “ Jack Johnson,” and thus was unable to leave. A comrade remained behind to render assistance, and whilst he was bandaging Pte Glen’s head was fatally struck by a shell, which would otherwise have struck the wounded man. When Pte Glen came round in the morning the dead body of his faithful chum was laying across his back. According to Pte Glen, matters are going very well for the Allies in the Western Theatre. He added, optimistically, “ We are winning safe as eggs, slow, but sure, and at big price. There is no doubt about that. The Germans have machine guns made of papier mache ; and these, in addition to being very effective, are easily carried by one man, and thus give them a great advantage. The rifle fire of the German infantry as a body is poor ; but the companies of sharp shooters do great mischief. One significant fact struck Pte Glen very forcibly, and that was the great deterioration in the quality of the German troops now being brought into action. At the commencement of the campaign the German infantry consisted of fine set-up men ; but the troops now opposed to the British consist, for the most part, of boys from 18 to 20 years of age and old grey-headed men. Pte Glen, who was also wounded in South Africa, said[?] that he only saw one Rugby man at the front, Pte S Cockerill, of his regiment, who has also been wounded.


Mr H Berwick, a reservist in the 1st King’s Own Regiment, has returned to England wounded, and has written to his former landlady, Mrs Smith, of 123 Lawford Road, New Bilton. In this he states that after the retirement from Mons the British took up positions on a hill, and were ordered to prepare for a night or early morning attack. They were preparing to do this when at about 400 yards away a very deadly fire commenced with a few rapid shots from what we call their ” safe deliveries ” (siege guns), which were right in among our Brigade. It was found out after we had been forced to retire that the enemy had a whole Army Corps and had been carefully watching our movements. They had, it is estimated, eight machine guns all turned on one battalion, and I am sorry to say that battalion was mine. That was our first experience, and where we lost 540 officers, N.C.O’s and men. I received a hit in the shoulder by shrapnel, the first shot they fired, which also dislocated my shoulder.” After alluding to the German use of dum-dum bullets and the abuse of the white flag,” the writer says, “ I must confess that their (German) gunners are fine shots. So would you if you were near them. If It was not for their Susie Greens (big guns), I think the English Boy Scouts could beat them, as I think their infantry is absolutely bad.” Describing a German charge at Armentierres, he states that they had been contiguously attacked by the Germans at night and early morning, and the R.E. put some wire entanglements about 200 yards in front of the British trenches, and they then waited for the Germans. We spotted them at about 600 yards, and let them come on until they got to 300 yards. Then they seemed to hesitate. All of a sudden there went up a sort of downhearted yell, and on they charged – if we can call it a charge. It was simply lovely, a great big grey mass with their heads down, and could not see where they were coming until they got on to our wires. Some of our lads thought they were on a fair ground, as their great round heads looked just like cocoanuts.” Among the places where the writer saw heavy fighting were Mons, Marne, Aisne, St Margarette, St Omar, Lille, and Armentierres.


About a fortnight ago Mrs. G. Thorneycroft, of Hillmorton, wife of Pte. Thorneycroft, of the 1st Royal Warwicks, received the following note, written on the back of a letter she had enclosed in a package of cigarettes to her husband :-” I am very sorry to have let you know that your husband met his death on the battlefield. His letters have been opened and the cigarettes have been given to his friends. We all sympathise with you in your great loss.” The letter was undated, and was only initialled. Mrs Thorneycroft has since been in communication with the military authorities, and on Wednesday received official intimation that he was killed in action on October 23rd. Pte Thornycroft served nine years with the colours, during which time he served in India and also went through the South African War, one of his most treasured possessions being Queen Victoria’s chocolate box. He had been in the reserve for seven years, and previous to being called up was employed by Mr Whittaker, the builder. He was about 36 years of age and highly respected in the village, where much sympathy is expressed for his widow.


During the past week 20 recruits have enlisted at Rugby Drill Hall, bringing the total figures up to 1962, exclusive of a considerable number who have gone from the town to other recruiting offices. Men are still urgently required for the various regiments of infantry of the line.-Recruiting, for the Howitzer Battery Reserve has been proceeding at Rugby and Coventry this week, and we understand that the number required has now been raised.

14th Nov 1914. Belgian Refugees

The family of Belgian refugees who arrived at Rugby last week, and were accommodated in the house formerly used as the Girls’ Welcome Club in Newbold Road, have returned to London.

On Saturday, three more Belgian refugees, consisting of an old lady, and her daughter and grandchild arrived unexpectedly from London, and as there was accommodation available, they were taken in and will remain. There are now fifty refugees at Newton House.


Mr A Coleman presided over a well-attended meeting of the Rugby Hairdressers’ Association, held in the old Court Room on Monday night, the principal business being the work members had undertaken for wounded Belgian soldiers in the Red Cross Hospital. The sub-committee reported what had already been done, and it was decided that three member should visit the institution every Wednesday and Sunday to undertake what shaving, hair-cutting, etc, was required. Several of the assistants offered their services to the Association for Wednesday afternoons, which being their half-holiday was considered to indicate a self-sacrificing and commendable spirit.


The Rector presided at a well-attended meeting of members of the congregation of Holy Trinity Church interested in the scheme for providing hospitality for a number of Belgian refugees. A communication was read from the Belgian Relief Committee in London, stating that more fugitives were expected in a few days and advising the committee to go ahead with their scheme.—A recommendation that a house should be taken and that members of the congregation should be asked to loan or give furniture was approved, and the report presented showed that there was every indication of the project being well supported financially. It was decided to open an account with Lloyds Bank, and to ask Mr Parkinson to act as treasurer. The temporary committee was made permanent and given power to act. It consists of the following:-Mrs St Hill, Mrs McKinnell, Mrs C F Harris, Mrs J Gilbert, Miss Maude, Rev R W Dugdale, Dr Waugh, Messrs W T C Hodges, J Chappell, H E Marple, J J Gilbert, and J C Harrison, with Mr J Gilbert, jun, hon secretary.


The committee appointed by the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood, and the Adult Schools to arrange for providing hospitality in Rugby for Belgian refugees met at the Friends’ Meeting House on Tuesday night, Mr J Findlay being voted to the chair. The officers were appointed, including : Chairman, Mr C F Savage; treasurer, Mr W H Clay ; joint secretaries, Mrs Merttens and Mr John Gibson. Furnishing, catering, and finance committees were appointed, and the result of the appeal for funds indicated that many people were willing to contribute weekly sums, supply furniture, and assist in other ways ; and it was agreed to offer hospitality at 39 Albert Street (a house nearly opposite the Grand Hotel, which is being rented by Mr and Mrs Merttens) for 10 or 12 fugitives. The Chester Street Mission having expressed a wish to co-operate, the committee willingly gave their consent, and invited them to elect representatives on the committee. Other business of a routine character was transacted.


At the weekly parade on the 2nd inst, Capt Wood made an appeal to his boys to subscribe something in the nature of fruit or vegetables for the refugees at 17 Hillmorton Road, and announced that a special parade would take place the following Friday night to receive the articles. Upwards of 105 paraded, every boy with his haversack well filled, many carrying parcels in addition. Headed by the band, the Company marched to Hillmorton Road, and were met at the entrance to No 17 by the refugees. An interpreter explained who the donors of the gifts were. The gifts included apples, pears, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, various kinds of greens, cauliflowers, marrows, etc, several clothes’ baskets being well filled. One boy sacrificed his two white rabbits, these, with fancy ribbon around their necks, greatly pleased adults and children alike. The refugees heartily cheered the Company as they were marching away. A large number of relatives and friends of the boys witnessed the ceremony.

14th Nov 1914. Soldiers’ Stories From The Front

A Lance-Corporal in the Welsh Fusiliers, whose parents are Old Rugbeians, writing from the trenches on November 4th, says :-“ We have been in the trenches now for 14 days, and it is awful. They are shelling us continually all day. Our regiment has lost about 300 killed and wounded so far. Just about 50 yards in front of our trench there are plenty of Germans that we killed about ten days ago. The shells are doing all the damage. I have got a German helmet for a souvenir if I come safely through it. I am lucky, as the chap next to me got killed the first day. . . . It is a shame to see old people and little children trudging along the road with no home. You can see our troops giving them something to eat when possible. I saw a Rugby Advertiser to-day ; I notice it has got some soldiers’ stories in it. I will keep you interested when I come home with them. . . . . I could do with a wash-have not had one for 16 days. We are all the same. . . . You should see the damage the Germans do to the villages. You can’t realise it. There is a church facing us—smashed to bits by shells. Every night you can see flares in the sky. It is the Germans building up their reputation by burning up the villages. Every day a drove of aeroplanes comes over us looking for our position so as to bring effective fire on to us.”

Sergt Freemantle, 123rd Battery R.H.A, writes under date October 29th :—“ We are all well here and getting plenty of supplies up. Only just a few “ Jack Johnson’s ” to keep us company. The weather is fine, but cold. The day has been favourable again for us. One of our Batteries, 80th R.F.A, is reported to have wiped a whole German Battalion out. The German prisoners are surprised when they are told that the Germans have not captured London or Paris. All prisoners say how pleased they are to be taken by the English. One boy, about 17 years old, walked into our trenches, with a dixie full of chicken stew. He had lost his way, so one can imagine his surprise when we collared him. I have not received one mark up to now, although our Battery had bad luck at Mons, Le Cateau, Sossoins, Aisne. The Germans have been trying to find us now for days, but I don’t think they can hit anything now only houses. The Indian troops with us seem to frighten them. The only thing that grieves us most are the snipers. They sit on haystacks or trees and have pot shots at us. One of our fellows (known in Rugby) was sent to find a sniper in the Brewery at —. He found three civilians with a maxim. They are now very happy. Our Battery, 123rd R.F.A, has been repaying old debts. We suffered at Le Cateau, but now we have turned the tables. We have five Legion of Honour men in our Brigade.

A Rugby man, a private in the South Wales Borderers, writing home on October 25th, says :-” You will read in the papers about the quantity of shells bursting around us day and night, and those who come out of it are lucky. We lost a great lot of officers and men on the 21st-my birthday, which will be one to remember. With God’s help I hope to be with you soon, as I think they (the Germans) must see by now that they are a beaten army, and the sooner they give in the better. We had 31 days in the trenches under fire, and then two days and nights riding in a train—if you can call it so with forty in a truck with our equipment, so you can guess it was a treat—and right into the firing line again.”

Capt Mortimer, of the 27th Battery, 32nd Brigade, R.F.A, who was for several years the Adjutant of the Rugby and Coventry Howitzer Batteries, has been awarded the Cross of a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour for saving the guns by “ man handling ” them under heavy fire, at Ligny, in France, on August 26th. On the same day a D.S.O was awarded to one of the officers of the Battery and D.S.M to seven of the men.


Pte A W Bottrill, 2nd Co. 1st Coldstream Guards, has written to his parents, residing at 94 Bridget Street, Rugby, stating that he is in hospital suffering from rheumatism and a shrapnel bullet wound in the shoulder. He was being transferred to Versailles, near Paris. Pte Bottrill, who is a reservist, was employed in the Turbine Department of the B.T.H, and was called up on August 5th—two days after his marriage. In one of the postcards he has sent home he states that he has heard from some of the Royal Warwicks that his brother Frank, who is a reservist in that regiment, was wounded, but so far the parents have received no confirmation of this.

Pte G John Wills, a reservist of the North Staffs. Regiment, has written informing, his wife, who lives at 77 Jubilee Street, that he has been wounded. He says : “ I have had a rough time since I wrote last. We have been shelled night and day, and the Germans have been trying to break through time after time. We took up some fresh trenches to relieve another regiment, and in front of them were scores of dead Germans. Our company’s turn to go into them came on the night of Nov. 1. They shelled a few times up till five o’clock ; then they let loose (talk about being in hell, that’s not in it !) as hard as they could with their guns on our few trenches ; then, when they had finished, they attacked us. I got wounded in the arm and shoulder, not severely, and don’t know how I got out. I am at a field hospital.”

Pte Chas King, 1st R.W.R, of 47 Pinfold Street, New Bilton, has written to his mother to the effect that he was wounded in the muscle of the right arm on October 27th, but is “ still carrying on.” He has previously been in hospital with gout, caused by service in the trenches. Pte King is a reservist, and has seen active service in India among the Afridis. Pte King mentioned that he had seen nothing of the three Rugby men—Corpl Hancox, Pte W G Goodman, and Pte W Busson, who had been reported as missing from the R.W.R. ; but pointed out that units were continually becoming detached.

Mr W J Farn, of the Mechanical Transport, Department, A.S.C, who was wounded at the Battle of the Aisne, has received a card from his brother, Scout J Farn, of the Second Worcester Regiment, stating that he has been wounded, and is in a base hospital. Scout Farn, who, like his brother, went through the Battles of Mons, Marne, and the Aisne, was, before he enlisted, in the employ of Mr Bradby, Barby Road. Driver Farn’s leave of absence expired this week, but this has been extended because he has not fully recovered from his wound. While at the front he had several exciting experiences, and witnessed the annihilation of about 2,000 Germans in a British ambush, and also the treachery of the Germans with the white flag when opposed to the Northamptonshire Regiment in the trenches, and the speedy retribution with the aid of a machine gun which overtook the Germans.


Both the Leicestershire and the Northants Yeomanry Regiments have gone on foreign service.

Rather more than 100 recruits are required to complete the 7th (Reserve) Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, which is fixed at 600.

The Warwickshire Yeomanry are still in their Berkshire quarters, but with everything ready to go abroad at a few hours’ notice when required. The order may come at any moment, or they may remain for some time yet.

The 7th Warwickshire Territorial Battalion is busily preparing to join the Expeditionary Forces, orders for which may be expected any time after the end of the month.


There have been considerable changes in the personnel of the 7th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment in the last few weeks. Col Freer Ash is not now in command, having been gazetted to the 8th Reserve Battalion. The whole battalion has been, to a certain extent, reorganised. The main body are in Essex, and are taking part in work of an important character, the nature of which, owing to the censorship, cannot be disclosed. A part of the battalion are still doing guard duty at a Government ammunition factory near London.


Although the figures of recruits in the town during the past week show a considerable improvement on those of recent weeks, the numbers are by no means so satisfactory as could be desired. Since Friday last week 20 have been attested for the New Army, as against eight the previous week. The recruiting sergeant is very optimistic, however, and is of opinion that there will shortly be another boom, as many villages in the neighbourhood have so far hardly been affected at all by the call for men.

A detachment of about 50 men of the National Reserve, who in future will act as bridge guards, has arrived.


A local sailor on H.M.S Zephyr, torpedo destroyer, writes :—“ Dear Sir,—I should like to give a word of thanks to the Rugby people for getting subscriptions up for warm clothes for the North Sea flotillas, as I am a Rugby man and doing patrol duty in the North Sea. I think they are much needed for the coming winter. No one would hardly realise what we have to go through in all weathers, night and day, with hardly any sleep, risking our lives where there are such a lot of floating mines. We have been very busy getting rid of them. We found out and sunk 19 in one day, so you see the risk we are under. We are very grateful to Admiral Powlett for what he is doing on our behalf, and hope the funds will increase. The writer goes on to say : I hope I shall be able to have a go at the Germans before long, as I should not be satisfied with myself to be blown up with a mine. They get frightened as soon as they see our ships, and run for all they are worth. There’s no doubt we shall spend Christmas in the Navy this year, when I was hoping to be back with the wife and family ; but, never mind, we are not down-hearted, and hope to finish them off before long. I get the Advertiser sent to me every week, and see how things are going on. Good luck to the North Sea Flotilla Fund.”


7th Nov 1914. War Casualties

Scout J Farn, 2nd Worcesters, has been wounded at the front. His brother, Driver W J Farn, was wounded at the Battle of the Aisne.

George Lines, a reservist in the Coldstream Guards, living at Newbold, has been wounded, and is reported to be in Sheffield Hospital. Lines was also wounded in the Boer War.

Lieut O’Connor, of the Cameronians, son of Mrs O’Connor, Overslade Manor, arrived home yesterday (Friday) with an injured ankle. He has a staff appointment in the 7th Division, and hopes in a few days to return to his duties.

The parents of Pte Harry Hales, 1st R.W.R, of Pinfold Street, New Bilton, have received official intimation that their son was killed in action on October 13th. Last week we reported that they had already received intimation, from a comrade of their son’s, of his death.

The death took place on October 31st, at Plymouth, of enteric fever, contracted on voyage whilst crossing with Canadian Contingent, of Aubrey, aged 20, younger son of Percy Ridley-Thompson, of Park Close, Bloxham, Banbury, and formerly of The Croft, Dunchurch. Deceased was an old pupil of Mr T Arnold Wise, of “ Oakfield,” Rugby.

Pte Harry Nash, of the 1st Northamptonshire, Regiment, son of Mr C Nash, the cemetery-keeper at Rugby, arrived home on Thursday. He looks very well, although he is still lame.


The two sons of Mrs Anderson, of Rokeby Farm, Rugby, who have been in the fighting line, have been wounded, and as a result are now back in England. Lieut C E Anderson, of the Gordon Highlanders, was shot through the knee, and is now under treatment at the Empire Hospital, Vincent Square, London. His brother, Second Lieutenant R G F Anderson, of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, was wounded in the head by shrapnel, and has been brought to his home at Rugby, where for the present he has to be kept very quiet, and is not allowed to see visitors. Mrs Anderson has another son in the army, Lieut W R W Anderson, 4th South Midland Howitzer Brigade, who is in camp at Great Baddow, Essex.


News reached Mr George Cook, of 13 Temple Street, Rugby, on Monday evening that his son, Ernest, who is a private in the Oxford and Bucks light Infantry, has been wounded, and is now in hospital at Tidworth, Wilts. Pte Cook went to the front with his regiment early in September, and on October 21st was wounded in the left leg and the right cheek. “ I hope to be on sick leave in Rugby before very long,” he says, and adds: “It is so different here to what it is in the trenches, for I am so comfortable.”—Before enlisting, Pte Cook assisted for a time at the School Armoury, and then worked at the locomotive engine sheds at Rugby. He was also in the Territorial Army before joining the Regulars.


News has been received that Pte A J Vineall, of 65 Winfield Street, Rugby, has been rather badly wounded in the foot, and is at present in hospital at Leeds. On Tuesday he had several toes amputated, and on Wednesday, when visited by his wife, was still suffering from the effects of this, but appeared to be going on well. Pte Vineall, who was attached to the East Surrey Regiment, is a reservist, and has served 12 years with the colours, eight of which were spent in India. He also went through the South African War. Before being called up he was a fitter in the B.T.H foundry.


Mrs H Flavell, of 14 Newbold Road, recently received intimation from the War Office that her husband, a reservist in the Coldstream Guards, was missing. She has, however, since received a post card from her husband, dated after the day mentioned in the War Office message, and the assumption is that he has become detached from his unit. Pte Flavell was an employee of the B.T.H Co.


In the fighting in the neighbourhood of Ypres, France, the 2nd Royal Warwickshire Regiment has taken a gallant part, and several men, whose homes are in Rugby and district, have been wounded.

Pte Wm B Wheeler, youngest son of Mr and Mrs J Wheeler, of 135 Abbey Street, Rugby, was wounded at Menin, near Ypres, on Trafalgar Day (October 21st), and is now in hospital at Portsmouth. He has a bullet ground in his right fore-arm, and says he received it where the heaviest and hardest fighting was going on. He adds in a letter to his parents :

“ It is hard fighting, I can tell you with those “ Jack Johnsons ” and shrapnel flying about in all directions. It’s a treat to be clear of them for a time. Whilst we were in a hospital in France, the German aeroplanes dropped two bombs just outside.” Describing the battle, he states: ” We were under heavy fire of big guns and so we retired for a short distance. Then we advanced still under the heavy firing, and moved so rapidly that we got within fifty yards of the German guns, thinking we were going to capture them, this being our intention, but as our artillery was giving a flanking fire, the officers would not take them. I was on the extreme right when I got hit.” Pte Wheeler mentions a number of comrades who were also wounded, and considers it is a wonder there are any of his Company left to tell the tale.

Lce-Sergt Wm Harper, whose home is at 20 Old Station, Rugby, is also wounded, being under treatment at a hospital at Aldershot. His parents went to see him on Thursday last week, and have a souvenir in the shape of a crumpled up whistle, which was struck by shrapnel and is considered to have saved their son’s life. His chief wound is in the arm, which was broken, and the flesh lacerated by a shell. Sergt Harper was ordered to the front with his regiment from Malta. Within six weeks of leaving Southampton for France he was back again wounded in the leg and arm. During the whole of the time from his embarkation at Malta until he was treated for wounds, he had not removed his clothes nor slept in a bed, and he has passed days without food and water, so strenuous and fierce has been the conflict in the trenches.

Pte F Batchelor, whose parents live at 35 Worcester Street, Rugby, is another soldier from the same regiment who has been wounded, he having been shot through the muscle of the right arm, on October 27th. He has this week been recuperating at Rugby, and told an Advertiser representative some of his experiences. He landed with his regiment at Zeeburghe, in Belgium, and first got into touch with the enemy near Ghent. He was one of a patrol party of 28 sent out to ascertain what force the enemy had in the neighbourhood, and that got to within 1½ miles of the German headquarters. The party was billeted in two houses, and then learnt with surprise that two doors away was a house occupied by 32 Uhlans. “We are in for a warm time,” remarked the officer, adding that each man was thenceforth to shift for himself. Refugees provided the soldiers with civilian clothing and walking sticks, and with their military dress tied up in bundles, the men mingled with the fugitives, and took train with them to Bruges, where they re-joined the column and marched to Ostend. The water here had been poisoned, and many dead fish floated on the surface. The troops entrained, intending to proceed to Antwerp, but news came of the fall of that city, and the column journeyed instead towards Ypres, and there joined the main French and Belgian armies.

“ C ” Company, to which Pte Batchelor belongs, was billetted in Zonnebeke, which place was left at 8.0 a.m, without a German in sight, but on returning at 1.45 p.m there was a large number of the enemy in the vicinity. The infantry took up a position behind a church, in which a number of wounded lay, and the position was vigorously shelled. Pte Batchelor was included in a patrol consisting of a lance-corporal and three men, who came upon a Uhlan in a tree, with platform and signalling equipment complete, his duty being to indicate what effect the German artillery was having upon the Allies positions. The patrol might have overlooked him had he not shouted out excitedly, “ English, mercy,” but he omitted to throw down his arms, and the patrol opened fire, and killed him.

Pte Batchelor had several narrow escapes. Although wounded, he was crawling along to the aid of a comrade shot in the abdomen, when the lance-corporal told him to go back for treatment, and went himself to the assistance of the man calling out, and promptly received five bullet wounds in his right arm. Having had his own wound dressed at the field station, Pte Batchelor proceeded with other wounded soldiers to Ypres, where 400 of them were looked after by the Sisters of a Convent. Subsequently he reached Boulogne, and crossed the Channel to Southampton. He was for a short time in Chatham Hospital, and in the next bed was lying Pte Osborne, of Hillmorton, who was shot in the cheek and ear, which has resulted in partial deafness. Pte Batchelor has seen some terrible sights, the most sickening being that of a comrade who received the full force of a shell, which blew away completely his head and left arm—a spectacle which filled all who witnessed it with a thirst for revenge. Lieut-Col Loring, though wounded in the foot, still continued to direct operations. He has since been killed in action. Pte Batchelor is now quite convalescent, and had orders to report himself at headquarters at Warwick yesterday (Friday).

7th Nov 1914. Local War Notes

Colonel H H Mulliner has been appointed Assistant Commandant, and Mr Henry Hawkins, M.F.H (temporary Major), Superintendent of Remount Depots.

The North Division of Warwick Territorials were to leave England this week, and the South Division, which includes Rugby Infantry Company, are due to go a month later.

Stanley E Jones, manager L.C. and Midland Bank, who enlisted as a private in the “ A ” Company, Public School Battalion, Middlesex, has been promoted lieutenant, East Yorkshire Regiment.

Mr G T Hilton, motor engineer, of Rugby, who has been appointed a second lieutenant in the Mechanical Transport Section of the Army Service Corps, had orders to join his ship for France yesterday (Friday).

On Sunday and Monday evenings (All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days) muffled peals in memory of the soldiers and sailors killed in the war were rung on the bells of the Parish Church.
“ Rugby has enlisted a larger number of men, in proportion to its population, than any other town in the country.” This statement was made by Canon Baillie at a meeting at Coventry last week ; and he added that all the young men whom he had known during the 15 years he was rector there were out with the colours.

The following men of E Company (Rugby), 7th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, have been promoted :—Sergt Tomlinson to be colour-sergeant ; Corpls Black and Smith (G) to be sergeants ; Lce-Corpl Ward to be lance-sergeant ; Lce-Corpls Hayes, Robotham, Bromage, and Brereton to be corporate ; Privates Hughes, Green, Hope, Branston, Wells, and Abraham to be lance-corporals. The Company is getting on very well under the present conditions, and will shortly be leaving this country for foreign service.

The useful sum of £1 14s 6d has been collected by Miss May Madden from the customers of the “ Crown ” Hotel, Rugby, for the local Belgian Relief Fund. The amount has been handed to Mr. A. Morson, Benn Buildings.


To the Editor of the Advertiser.

DEAR SIR,—Permit me to make use of your next issue to thank Messrs A James, C M Veasey, A W Adnitt, J Macdonald, H Molsher, W W Shittitoe, A G Salter, W T Crofts, W T Sheasby and assistants, T M Wratislaw, P Croft, R Tait, F Solomon, E J Pollard, H A Lines, H Marvel, T Johnson, also Mrs Aston, Mrs Howard, and the Misses Deane, for so kindly sending the bale of comforts for the men of “ E ” Company per Mr Veasey to me at Witham for distribution. All the volunteers for foreign service received at least one article, and the remainder were distributed among the home service portion of the company. Owing to separation of volunteers and home service men, ” E” Company is very much split up. There are over twenty of them here and a strong machine gun section at Witham, so our parades there were rather small. The men at Waltham Abbey have been here for nine weeks, and consequently could not get any of the comforts Mr Veasey sent, but perhaps he will remember this in the event of more being sent to him for distribution.

All those at Witham desire me to express their thanks and appreciation of the kindness of the donors.—Yours faithfully,
Lieut,7th Batt, R. War. Regt.
Royal Gunpowder Factory, Waltham Abbey, Nov 3.

To the Editor of the Advertiser.

SIR,—Allow us to send through your columns an actual account of the manner in which “ E ” Company, 7th Batt. R.W.R. is fed and billeted. We have had a well-known Rugby gentleman down here this week-end, and he tells us that in the windows of various tradespeople of our town appear “ Menu cards of ‘ E ‘ Co.,” the generous contents of which make our people at home think we are being fed like fighting cocks ; and these accounts, together with the paragraph which appeared in your issue of a fortnight ago, telling of how the reserve battalion was being treated at Coventry, make it very inconvenient for us, as we invariably have to send home for food or money every week to keep us going, such requests to our people being to all appearances under false pretences. You will see from the attached “ menu ” (the correctness of which can be vouched for) that there is a vast difference between the actual and the theoretical. The management of food issued to the 7th Service Battalion leaves much to be desired, and is causing a growing discontentment. The Government grant the same allowance per man to all regiments, and if our reserves can get all that is due to them, why not we ? The facilities for purchasing food and cooking are as good here as at Coventry, and we fail to understand why the difference is made, and if such a distribution is necessary between a service and a reserve battalion, what becomes of the surplus money which must ensue from the food issue of lower value ? Perhaps some of our townsmen will use their influence to have these points cleared up for us, as we are tied by disciplines and cannot ask questions for ourselves.

At this point of the letter we would wish it to be understood that we are in no way grousing at the life and the hardships attached thereto. Every man jack of us is anxious to serve his King and country, and we are all craving to get to the real business in France for the sake of adding to the traditions of dear old Rugby ; but when such misleading accounts are exhibited in our town we feel that we must speak out and let the people know the truth.—Yours truly,

The following is the actual menu of “ E ” Company, 7th Batt R.W.R. :—Breakfast, 1oz. bacon and half-pint of tea unmilked per man ; dinner, 4ozs roast beef or stew, composed of beef, carrots and turnips (potatoes are a rare luxury), per man ; tea, half-pint tea unmilked and jam per man.. Bread, 1lb, and cheese 4ozs per man per day. This is the daily routine of messing, and has never been changed since our mobilisation on August 5.

Witham, Essex, November 2nd.


Parker, Edward Joseph. Died 3rd Nov 1914

4316, 1st Bn. Coldstream Guards. Died 03 November 1914, aged 32

Edward Joseph Parker was born in Dunchurch and baptised there on 20th March 1882. His parents were Thomas, a labourer from Wappenbury and Elizabeth (nee Barnett) who married in Dunchurch in 1873. Edward Joseph was the fourth of six children and by 1901 was a painter’s apprentice and living with his parents in Dunchurch.

In 1908, while living in Clifton Road, he married Nellie May Hancock. Nellie was born in Bicester, Oxfordshire and probably in service in Yelvertoft at the time. In 1909 they had twins, Nelly May and Edward Charles and by 1911 the family was living in Corbett Street, Rugby. Edward Joseph was a shunter on the L&NW railway.

Although his service record does not survive, an article in the Rugby Advertiser of 14th November 1914 provides the information that he had served three years with the Coldstream Guards, probably in South Africa and was then in the reserves. This explains why he was called up at the start of the war and arrived in France on 30th August 1914. He died of wounds on 3rd November 1914 and was buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery.

Edward Joseph Parker. Rugby Advertiser 14th Nov 1914

Edward Joseph Parker. Rugby Advertiser 14th Nov 1914


General sympathy will be felt with Mrs E J Parker, of 19 Corbett Street, Rugby, who has received information that her husband, Lance-Corpl Parker, of the Coldstream Guards, has died from a gunshot wound in the back in a hospital in France. The first news that her husband had been wounded was conveyed to Mrs Parker early last week in the following letter from Sister Cameron, of the Hospital:- ” Your husband has been very badly wounded, and I am very much afraid he will not recover. He wished to send a message to you just to say that he had been wounded, and was anxious to get well for your sake and the baby’s, and to send his love.” The official news did not arrive until November 4th, and shortly after this the following letter was received from the Rev Hedley R Burrows, chaplain of the Forces :- ” You will have heard by this time that your husband has been taken to his rest.   He died here of his wounds at 1.45 p.m on November 3rd. I was with him just about an hour before the end, and gave him the Blessing. He gave me your address, and sent his love to you and the children. The doctors and nurses worked with great skill and devotion to save his life. I hope you will be comforted in your great loss, and sustained by the sense of power that Christ will bring to all those who suffer in the faithful discharge of their duty. No act of duty done is ever forgotten or thrown away.” Lance-Corpl Parker, who was 32 years of age and a native of Dunchurch, was well known in the town. He had been in the employ of the L & N- W Railway for ten years, and when called up was head shunter. He had served three years with the colours and nine in the reserve, and had signed on for further service. He leaves a widow and two young children, with whom much sympathy is expressed. In one of his letters from the front he said: ” Things are a bit warm, shells bursting over and around us all day, and we are burrowed in the ground like rabbits. I have just been touched with a bit on the lip and foot, but nothing to hurt – got a thick lip, that’s all.” On October 15th he wrote : ” We are still in the trenches and in the same place ; but, of course, we must not say where. I expect when we move it will be a move with a vengeance, and I hope that I shall go through it all right. Still, ‘what is to be will be.’ I thought we should be home for Christmas, but I am doubtful about it now. I am afraid there is some very heavy work to be done yet. It will take a lot more men, and I think that there will be little trouble to get them according to the papers.”
(Rugby Advertiser, 14 November, 1914.)

As well as the Rugby Memorial Gates, Edward Joseph Parker is also listed on the Dunchurch Memorial. Entries in the Rugby Advertiser In Memoriam also remember him.

PARKER.—In loving memory of Edward Joseph Parker, who died at Boulogne Hospital, from wounds received in action, November 3rd, 1914. Gone, but not forgotten by his loving parents.
(Rugby Advertiser, 6 November, 1915.)

PARKER.—In loving memory of EDWARD JOSEPH, the beloved son of Mr. & Mrs. T. Parker, of Dunchurch, who died of wounds received in action on November 3, 1914.—At rest.—Not forgotten by Father, Mother, Brothers and Sisters.
(Rugby Advertiser, 2 November, 1918.)