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.

A QUICK PROMOTION.

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.

WAR CASUALTIES.

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.

WOUNDED AND PRISONER OF WAR.

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.

HOW A RUGBY SOLDIER’S LIFE WAS SAVED – A COMRADES DEVOTION.

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.

NEW BILTON RESERVIST 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.

HILLMORTON SOLDIER KILLED IN ACTION.

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.

RECRUITING AT RUGBY.

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.

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