30th Jan 1915. News from Home and Abroard

LETTERS FROM THE FRONT

BULLET BEHIND A FUNNY BONE.

Pte R Barnes, Scots Guards, of Harborough Magna, was formerly a goods shunter at Rugby Station, and had transferred to Willesden when called up. He went out with the Expeditionary Force, and was wounded on October 29th. He was sent back to hospital in London, and has just had a spell at home. He is returning to the front on Monday next. Relating how he got his wound he writes :—

“ Here the morning I got wounded we partook of breakfast biscuit, we hadn’t time to have any more. Just then these Germans came in the back way, and tried to sell us some lead in the shape of shells and bullets. They came along in front of us in thousands. Oh ! yes ; they must have thought we were all in bed asleep so early in the morning—5.0 a.m. No ; we simply waited on them, and whatever they asked for we supplied them very quickly. But, no, they were hungry that morning, and still they came on. Our little line rallied, and then retired about 200 yards. On came those worn-out Germans, thinking we were running back to England. But, no. My ! What a shock they received when we turned round to meet them. Yes, quite 20,000 of them came in full view. Down went their first line. On we went. Still they came. Then our artillery found them. Off they went in all directions. What was left of them was very little. Their dead lay in heaps scattered about. I should think their casualties were about 15,000 to 20,000 dead and wounded that morning. But their shells burst over my head, and I happened to be in the way of a shrapnel bullet, so it lodged itself in my arm, and I was sent home. Then they found the bullet hiding behind my funny bone. What a place to hide ! Well, I have an opinion, like everybody else, and that is, that in the end the Allies will win by a very large majority. Wishing all our boys the best of luck, and a quick end to the great war.”

NEW BILTON YOUTH IN THE BATTLE OF FALKLAND ISLES.

Mr Jim Hedges, son of Mr Fred Hedges, 63 Campbell Street, New Bilton, who is a sailor on H.M.S Canopus, has written several interesting letters home, in which he refers to the part played by this ship in the Battle of the Falkland Islands. The writer is an old St Matthew’s schoolboy, and was an expert swimmer, on one occasion winning the “ Manning ” Cup at the Public Baths.

In a letter dated November 22nd, and written from Port Stanley, Falkland Islands, he says “ We have been through pretty strenuous times while we were at sea, and after we left Gibraltar we spent a considerable time in the tropics, and the heat made it very uncomfortable for us, besides various other things which take place under war conditions. We went round the other side of South America via the Straits of Megellan, and I must say the scenery was marvellous, made more so by the snow. We have now anchored at Stanley, which is not a very big place, and we are likely to be here for some time to come. Unlike the North Sea fleet, we do not get our breakfast ‘ Daily Mirror,’ and you can guess how the September papers, which some of the chaps had sent yesterday, were scanned eagerly by everybody. A Hillmorton chap on this ship had half an Rugby Advertiser sent to him, which was welcome to both of us. Summer is coming here now, though it is always snowing ; but don’t worry at all about me, because I am in the best of health and safe, although we are not exactly living on roast duck and peas every day, we are quite all right, and ready for any stray Goebens and Breslaus that like to come along.”

On December 8th—the day of Admiral Sturdee’s great Victory—the writer in another letter home says :— I have just left this letter to go to action stations against eight German ships, the account of which you will read in the paper sooner than here. Things were going on as usual here until the engagement this morning. Our ships (not us) are chasing them, and I give them two more hours afloat.”

On December 18th he writes :-“ As I hear that the mail has not gone, I feel I would just like to tell you what went on the day before yesterday. About 9 a.m on December 8th five German warships, with three auxiliaries, were seen approaching the Falklands. Three remained off and two drew up to battle position, and stood by to give the wireless station a broadside. Meanwhile the Canopus, which was guardship at Stanley and moored head and stem on the mud, had gone to action station. As the German crew were seen to man their guns the Canopus fore turret let drive with a 12-in. shell, which missed by inches. The remainder of the ships in harbour were useless. As it was, our first shell richochetted, and half of the shell cleared the after parts of the upper deck of the German ship, Gneisneau. The two ships immediately withdrew out of range, the Gneisneau with clouds of steam issuing a midships. Unfortunately we could not get off the mud till floodtide, so the Cornwall and the Carnarvon went outside ; and the Germans, thinking they had another easy thing, like the Chili Battle, slewed round and came to engage the two small cruisers. Imagine their feelings when out from behind the Islands came the Inflexible and Invincible, followed by light cruisers—Bristol, Glasgow, Kent, and Macedonia, an armed merchant ship. We heard the guns booming for some time, and two or three hours afterwards we got the news : “ Scharnhorst and Gneisneau (the two big ones) sunk.” Later we heard : “ Nurnberg sunk by H.M.S Kent, and Leipzig sunk by Cornwall.” Now we are waiting to hear of the sinking of the Dresden, as the big ships are chasing her. Of the Karlsruhe, the ship off East Africa, more anon. Our ships saved a large number of German officers and men, and we have got a lot aboard Canopus having the time of their lives. The success of the engagement and the saving of the wireless station was due to the Canopus lookouts, and being in a position to fire on emergency, although it was unexpected on both aides.

RECRUITING AT RUGBY.

MANY STILL NEEDED.

Men are still urgently needed for practically al branches of the his Majesty’s Army. Apparently this fact is far from being realised in this district, but although a great many men have been recruited at Rugby Drill Hall, over 2,000 in fact, there are still hundreds in the town who could enlist, but who are remaining deaf to the call, as is shown by the figures for the last few weeks, which have shown a considerable falling off.

Nuneaton has already caught and surpassed Rugby’s total, while the percentage of recruits from Birmingham, which at one time did not compare very favourably with that of Rugby, is now in advance of our town.

Bearing these facts in mind, it is hoped that, with the incentive to recruiting which has been provided in other towns by the billeting of soldiers, the young men of Rugby, who have no reasonable excuse for holding back, will roll up at the Drill Hall in Park Road, where every facility for joining any branch of the service will be given by the Recruiting Officer, Colour-Sergt Winchcomb, who is always most courteous and urbane to any who are desirous of doing their part. Rugby has led the Midlands in recruiting in the past, and it would be a thousand pities if the town, of which we are all so proud, now falls into a third or fourth position.

With a view to assisting those desirous of joining, Colour-Sergt Winchcomb announces that in this district the Royal Engineers are open for carpenters, tailors, office telegraphists, saddlers and shoeing smiths. Drivers may be accepted from 5ft 3in and upwards, and others from 5ft 4in and upwards. The pay of saddlers and shoeing smiths is 5s per day. The Foot Guards are open to men of a minimum height of 5ft 8in. The R.F.A is open for gunners and drivers—the former from 5ft 6in to 5ft 10in, and the latter from 5ft 3in to 5ft 7in. The Houshold Cavalry, Royal Horse Guards only, are accepting men from 5ft 9in to 6ft 1in. Good pair-horse drivers are required by the A.S.C for horse transport, and shoeing smiths up to 45 years of age are also required at 5s per day. Wheelers, clerks, and bakers are also desired, and will be paid at the ordinarv A.S.C rates. These may be accepted up to 40 years of age. Mechanical transport drivers may pass the eyesight test with the aid of spectacles, and are accepted if physically fit to perform the work required of them. Men enlisting in the Infantry may be appointed to any regiment, but no man recruited in any district outside the Scottish command other than a bona-fide Scotsman can be appointed to a Highland Regiment. Those who do not want to attach themselves to any branch of the Regular troops may still show their patriotism by joining the Territorials, Yeomanry, Howitzers, and infantry.

The following have enlisted this week :- R.A.M.C., J Humphreys, Cyril Everest, E E Bazeley, and H Clements ; A.S.C, J E W Kingston, W H Thomas, B Darling, J Newbury, F Gardner, and E W Robinson ; R.W.R, R Colledge ; Oxon and Bucks L.I. A Woodward ; K.R.R. J Noon ; Cheshire Regiment, J O’Donnell ; Royal Dublin Fusiliers, R Cantillon ; Border Regiment, John Nolan ; Bedfordshire Regiment, Alfred Dye ; Lancashire Fusiliers, Walter Summer ; Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders, Duncan Reynolds ; R.F.A, G Taylor.

THE TROOPS AT RUGBY.

The characteristic cheerfulness of the average British Tommy was admirably illustrated by an incident which occurred at Rugby last week. A good lady was sympathising with several soldiers upon the fact that they would probably be sent to the war, whereupon one of the khaki-clad heroes replied cheerfully, “ Don’t you worry about us, missis ; that’s what we get paid for.”

An amusing instance of hero worship occurred in the town the other day. A young recruit in the new Army was walking along the Lawford Road with his brand new equipment and the proud air of one who was doing his duty, when he was met by two urchins, about six years of age. The smaller of the two drew himself up stiffly, and in the approved military manner gave the salute, to which the soldier responded. The other boy, with a cynical smile, made a remark to his companion which was inaudible to the passer-by ; but the little lad, with a sigh responded in a tone of envy : “ My word, but don’t I wish I was him.”

A SOLDIER’S APPRECIATION.

“ Of all the towns I have been in,” said a soldier to our representative the other day, “ I have nowhere been treated so well as at Rugby, and in saying this I believe I can speak for the whole of our regiment.” The soldier, a Scotchman, has seen service in different parts of the world, and has been stationed at various centres in the United Kingdom ; but the kindness extended to the troops at Rugby far exceeded that shown by other communities, and evidently he will be sorry when the time comes for him to leave such a hospitable centre.

SCOUTS’ DEFENCE CORPS.

The first drill of this Corps will take place on Saturday, 30th January, at the Drill Hall. Fall in promptly at 7.30. Uniform to be worn.

As there is considerable doubt in the minds of some parents about allowing their sons to join, we will try and make clear our principles.

Our great aim is to train all scouts between the ages of 15 and 17 years, so that in the event of a grave national emergency we may be capable of rendering assistance even if only in a small way. One person fully trained and efficient is as good as a dozen untrained persons. If we train our boys they will be able to take their places when they are required, perchance relieving some trained body of men who could be of greater service elsewhere.

Remember the scouts of Belgium, who stood up with their fathers and elder brothers and did a man’s share of the work. Remember our own scouts, who remained at their posts during the Scarborough raid. Are we going to be less ready to prepare ourselves, and when prepared, to do our duty ? We all pray that our own fair country will not be devastated as Belgium and France has been, but if such an event comes to pass, and the Germans we may be sure will try to do so, we must be ready. Whether they come, or whether they do not, it is our duty to prepare ourselves. If your boys wish to train themselves, weask you to give them your written consent to do so. They will not be compelled to do anything or go anywhere, but let us have them ready if they should he needed. Remember Louvain !

W A RANDLES, Scoutmaster, 5th Rugby (B.T.H) Troop.

SCOUT NOTES.

BY SCOUTMASTERS OF THE 16TH TROOP.

On Saturday last some of our Scouts were busy doing a ” good turn.” Detachments’ from the Lower, Murray and Elborow School troops paraded at the Benn Buildings with trucks, carts and large baskets to deliver toys and other gifts to our soldiers’ children. About 390 parcels were sent out, and the recipients were delighted with their presents. The parade was under the command of Hon Scoutmaster W T Coles Hodges and Assistant Scoutmaster L F Muriel.

It says something for the energy and intelligence displayed by the lads that the actual work of delivery was easily accomplished before tea, though the homes were as widely separated as Oak Terrace in the south, Boughton Road in the north. York Street in the west, and Spoilbank in the east.

The following boys were on duty, and the Christmas Gifts Committee, through their Secretary, have expressed their appreciation of their work :—Lower School : Scouts Ashby, Fenley, Lovatt, Milner, Sheasby, Stribley, and Watson. Murray School: Scouts Hart, Atkinson, Holes Pennington, Malin, Hasselwood, Kay, Winterburn, Clarke, Virnals, and Harris. Elborow School : Scouts Amos, Easton, Irons. Chaplain, Maynard, Hemmings, Hopcraft, Snook, Silvester, Toomes, and Wright.

16th Troop : Fall-in to-day (Saturday) at 2.30 p.m : (a) First and second-class cooking ; (b) judging distance, number, height, &c.

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23rd Jan 1915. Letters from the front

A BRINKLOW REPRESENTATIVE IN THE TRENCHES.

Private Bernard Wolfe, son of Mr Augustine Wolfe, railway missioner, Bolton, probably one of the first of Kitchener’s Army to participate in actual fighting, sends home a striking account of his experiences. Private Wolfe joined in the last week of August, and has been in the firing line since December 21. His father is a native of Brinklow, and is well-known to Railway Mission men at Rugby. His grandfather and great-grandfather were also residents of Brinklow.

“ The Germans dropped between 20 and 30 shells over our trenches, but did no damage. Our artillery got their range beautifully, and dropped shell after shell right among them, and eventually succeeded in silencing their batteries. Our company (“ D ” Company) lost three men and a few wounded.

“ The German shell devastation in some of the towns and villages here is beyond all imagination. Cafes, houses, convents, are all deserted, and everything left holus bolus. Some of the brave Belgians remain in their remnants of homes. They have lost everything but their great and noble hearts and I don’t think there is compensation available on this earth to make good their losses and deprivations, I think the German troops are getting demoralised, and I honestly think the war will end suddenly, and will surprise all nations when it does collapse.

” It is very weird at night-time. Picture a dark night. British trenches and German about 70 or 80 yards from one another, with just an occasional rip zip of bullets to let each side know there’s a watch being kept. Then the “ Allemandes ” send a fire ball across, just like an enormous blue light, which illuminates the whole length of trenches. And then, what ho! bob down ! if you don’t you get it, for as soon as the light goes up volley after volley comes as long as the light lasts, which will be 30 or 40 seconds.”

FROM A LILBOURNE MAN.

An interesting letter has been received by Mrs Barnett, of Lilbourne, from her husband. Private A Barnett, 1st Royal Warwicks, in which he says that life in the trenches with such wet weather is most trying—otherwise, he states that he in in a good slate of health. Barnet says : ” I received a parcel just before Christmas from Miss Mary Mulliner, Clifton Court (where he was employed before the outbreak of war). Please thank her if you see her. I am also so pleased the children received toys from the Court ; I am sure they would be pleased. We are having four days in the trenches and four out, the different regiments relieving one another as soon as it gets dusk. I believe the trenches we occupy are in Belgium, but when we are out at rest, we are in France. We have had about four months of it now. I wish we could get out of the danger zone for a while for a good rest. At a place near Armentieres we had 31 days in the trenches without coming out, the enemy being entrenched about 200 yards away. We are nearer now—only 100 yards separating us. You can imagine we have to be very careful in our movements. We were on fairly good terms with them at Christmas, not a single shot being exchanged. They said they would not fire if we did not, and the truce was kept, and we were able to enjoy Christmas rather better. Bitter foes as we are we were able to talk to some of them, also exchange cigarettes and cigars. Anyone that did not se it could not believe that such a thing could happen in warfare : nevertheless, it’s true. Some of our men got hold of souvenirs, but I failed to manage one myself.

“ Our Battalion has suffered very badly : out of 1,110 men I am afraid there is not above 200 left. No doubt many are prisoners of war. When we arrived here we encamped near Langy. Just when they had completed a big retirement from Mons, we took up some trenches at Bueq-Le-Long, and on being relieved we reckoned on a rest. Instead of that we had four days’ march, resting at Rozet-St-Albin, Crepy, Rully-Verberi, and St Omer. From the latter place we rode with motor transport, packed in like sardines for three hours, to Caistre. Next morning we advanced and encountered the enemy at a place called Meteren, which they occupied and were made to evacuate alter a sharp encounter lasting about three hours. Our casualties numbered about 100. It was raining all the time and we were soaked to the skin. During our march through France I did not see anything that took my fancy much. I do not know what there is to make a fuss about. Old England can compare with it for scenery or anything else—except that it is a little warmer here.”

A NAPTON MAN AT THE FALKLAND ISLANDS.

William Watson, of Napton, writing from H.M.S Cornwall on December 9. 1914, says :- “ Dear Mother,— Just a line to let you know how we are getting on. I think the last time I wrote to you was when we were at Montevideo.

On December 7th we arrived at the Falkland Islands, and all of a sudden, when we were in the midst of coaling, we heard a gun fired. It was the Germans come to bombard Port Stanley. Directly we knew we stopped coaling, and our ship and four more British ships, viz, the Inflexible, Invincible, Carnarvon, and Glasgow, gave chase. When we had been steaming along as fast as we could go for about one and a-half hours we saw the smoke of five German ships. At last we gradually got nearer, and the Inflexible engaged with the Scharnhorst. We caught the Leipzic up, and had an engagement with her, which lasted four hours. By the way, I forgot to tell you I am wireless messenger, and I was on watch when we were in action. We fired over 1,000 rounds of lyddite shell at them before we set the Leipzic on fire. We have had several bad hits ourselves, one of which passed through the funnel down into the painters’ shop ; but we put the fire out before it did very much damage. At last, about ten minutes past seven, we hit her right forward with a lyddite shell, and she caught on fire. You ought to have seen he r; I stood and watched her. At last she made a headlong plunge, and down she went. I think out of about a crew of 900 eighteen were saved. Five of them we have in our sick bay. Of the five German ships four have been sunk and one escaped, but she will get captured sooner or later. Out of our crew there are only about four injured, and no one killed. Well, mother, I think we shall come home. Tell them all at Napton I am quite well and happy.”

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

On October 14th the sister of Scout J Farn, [?] Worcester Regiment, forwarded to him on the Continent a parcel, containing some cigarettes and handkerchiefs. On October 21st. however, he was wounded, and never received the parcel. This has recently been returned to another sister of Scout Farn, to whom he had left his property by his will , the authorities evidently being under the impression that he had been killed. The parcel has probably an interesting history attached to it, because when it was opened a piece of shrapnel shell was found inside it, the letter and some notepaper were torn to shreds, and the handkerchiefs were perforated, evidently by pieces of shell, but how this came about is a mystery. We are informed that Scout Farn, who is still in Cedar Lawn Hospital, Hampstead, has undergone two operations, and is going on as well as can be expected. He was wounded by fragments of shrapnel in the right arm.

Trooper Harvey Woods, of the 17th Lancers, is paying a short visit to his home in William Street, Rugby, from the front. His regiment was drafted from India to France, and this is the first time he has been home for seven years. While wishing to say nothing as to the actual fighting, Trooper Woods states that his regiment has been diverted from its ordinary duties, and has been serving in the trenches. In fact, he came straight from the trenches to Rugby. In many instances the men are standing waist deep in water. He spent Christmas Day very quietly in the reserve trenches.

NEW BILTON SOLDIER WOUNDED.

Mrs H Anderson, 39 Pinfold Street, New Bilton, has received official news that her son, Pte John Elson, 1st Northumberland Fusiliers, received a gunshot wound in the back in action on January 7th, and is at present in a General Hospital at Rouen. Pte Elson, spent Christmas Day in the trenches, has also written home to say that the wound is not serious. Mrs Anderson has another son in the Howitzer Battery and one in Lord Kitchener’s Army, and her husband has also a son wounded at the front.

WITH THE HON. ARTILLERY COMPANY AT THE FRONT.

The following extracts from a letter from a “ H.A.C. ” man at the front to his friends at Rugby will be read with interest :-

“ While doing duty in the trenches the other day one of our men went back to a barn to fetch something, and on returning he was shot. He went down with a call for help. I ran along the communicating trench in order to assist him, when a bullet took my shoulder strap off. Our officer recalled me at once. Some time after our bugler crawled out to the man, bound up his wounds, and stayed with him till dusk. He was shot soon after nine o’clock in the morning. They were sniped all the day through, but fortunately they were not hit. When we picked him up at dusk one of the men in my section was shot through the arm and knee.

“ Another day, owing to the continual rain, the communicating trench got full of water. It was my lot to cut a way through the side to enable the water to drain away. I had to stand for an hour up to my middle in the water ; it was bitterly cold, and I felt very exhausted towards night—so much so that I tumbled over when marching home. Our officer insisted on my riding his horse back, for which I was grateful. Unfortunately he has since been killed. He was a great favourite with the men.

“Early in the New Year we determined to have a festive gathering to which we invited some of the Scots Guards. The barn was lit up with candles. When the plum pudding arrived all the lights were extinguished and the brandy set alight. Of course, it was received with cheers.”

“ The other day, on our return after three days in the trench’s we decided to have a concert, so we stopped up all the cracks and crevices, so that no light could be seen from outside. The concert commenced, but we could not have it to ourselves. The Germans took part in part. They commenced to shell us. Towards four o’clock we had to clear out, and whilst packing up our wagon two shrapnel shells burst just over us in the trees, but luckily no one was hit.

“ We attended a very impressive service the other night ; it was held in a convent. The chaplain used a small electric torch, so that he could read the service. We all stood round and sang ‘God save the King,’ and, as you may suppose, the line ‘ Scatter his enemies’ was emphasised.”

RECRUITING AT RUGBY.

During the past week 27 recruits have been sworn in at Rugby. Their names are :—R.A.M.C, W Bax and W D Bottrill ; Northants Regiment, G S Carr ; R.F.A, H Dale, H Blythe, W H Morgan, C E Godwin, F B Allibon, W F Bolton, and E A Baines ; Gloucesters, T M Horrell ; A.S.C, W J Barnwell, A Copeman, I Green, A J Townsend, and T Worrall ; R.W.R, J Smith, E Summer, and C E Newman ; Dublin Fusiliers, J Cody ; Worcester Regiment, H Wells ; Lancashire Fusiliers Bantams, F Lowndes and P J Dunkley ; Oxford and Bucks L.I, E Harvey and W Jephcott ; Coldstream Guards, E W Davenport and H Payne.

 

23rd Jan 1915. Rugby Entertains the Troops

SOLDIERS’ CHURCH PARADE.

THE SACREDNESS OF HOME.

On Sunday morning a united Church parade of the Anglican members of the two regiments stationed in the town was held, and evoked much interest. Dense crowds gathered in the vicinity of the Parish Church to witness the arrival and departure of the troops, who were headed by their respective bands—brass and drum and fife. The large number of soldiers, wearing khaki uniform, occupied the greater part of the Church, and the remainder of the seats were placed at the disposal of the civilian worshippers. The Rector (Rev Claude M Blagden) conducted the service—a shortened form of matins—and the Rev G H Roper read the lesson. Several members of one of the bands led the singing and responses, and the effect was very pleasing. The special hymns were : “ Thine for ever,” “ Soldiers of Christ arise,” and “ Oft in danger, oft in woe.”

The service concluded with the National Anthem. After service, the battalions, headed by their bands, and followed by large crowds, marched off to their respective headquarters, where they were dismissed.

In the afternoon the Band gave a concert in Caldecott Park.

ST MARIE’S.

Low Mass was said for the soldiers at St Marie’s Church on Sunday at 10.15 a.m. About 200 mustered in the Market Place and marched to the church.

SUNDAY SCHOOL ADDRESS.

Sergeant Mudd, of the Irish Regiment, addressed the Cambridge Street Wesleyan Sunday School on Sunday, taking as his subject : ” A good soldier of Jesus Christ ” (2 Tim ii 2).

MILITARY BAND CONCERT IN THE PARK.

Several thousand persons were attracted to the Caldecott Park on Sunday afternoon, despite the cold, piercing wind, by the announcement that by permission of the Commanding Officer the a Military Band stationed in Rugby would give a concert from three to four p.m. The Band is an excellent one, and well-balanced. The selected items were thoroughly appreciated. Rossini’s famous descriptive composition, ” William Tell,” was especially pleasing, and was rendered with taste and feeling, and perfect expression. The programme was :-March, “ La Marseillaise ” (Puener) ; overture, “ William Tell ” (Rossini) ; valse, “ Passing of Salome ” ( Joyce) ; song, “ The Trumpeter” ; sketch, “ [Way?] Down South ” (Myddleton) ; selection, “ Mar[?] Market” (Rubens) ; two-step, “ Blaze away ” (Blankenberg) ; and Regimental March. The Band gave another concert on Wednesday in the Park, when, despite the threatening state of the weather, there was a good attendance of soldiers and civilians. The programme was as follow :- March, “ El [?]banico ” (Jovaloyes) ; overture, “ Zampa ” (F Kerold) ; valse, “ Destiny ” (Baynes) ; cornet solo, “ Serenade ” (Schubert) ; sketch, “ Ireland for ever ” (Myddleton) ; selection, “ Faust ” (Gounod) ; two-step, “ Puppehen ” (Gilbert) ; Regimental March.

THE TROOPS AT RUGBY.

More troops arrived on Tuesday, and are being largely billeted in the St Matthew’s district of the town. They appear to be a fine lot of fellows, and have already created a very favourable impression.

On Monday evening a whist drive for soldiers was held in the Church House. The first prize was won by Pte O’Donnell and the booby by Pte Symondson.

Another concert will be held in the Church House on Saturday, when it is hoped as many soldiers as possible will attend.

On Monday and Tuesday evenings Sergt Johnson gave lectures on “Astronomy” at the Baptist Church, which were much appreciated.

On Wednesday afternoon a football match was played on the Recreation Ground between an eleven of civilians and a Company team of one of the regiments billeted in the town. The soldiers, who played excellent football, won a good game by five goals to one. There was a good attendance of spectators.

A number of soldiers attended service at the Market Place Wesleyan Church on Sunday morning. The service was conducted by the Rev Robinson Lang (pastor) and intercession prayers were used.

B.T.H. ATHLETIC CLUB AND THE TROOPS.

The Athletic Club in connection with the B.T.H Company has generously placed its commodious playing field on the Clifton Road at the disposal of the troops quartered in the town, and the soldiers will be at liberty to play there on any week-day. It is hoped to arrange Association football, Rugby, and hockey matches on Saturdays, and, at the suggestion of two of the officers a “gate” will be taken on a subsequent Saturday on behalf of local charities. Practice football and hockey matches will take place to-day (Saturday).

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

During the week the troops have been exercised in the usual way in route marching, trench digging, &c.

By the kind permission of the Officer in Command, the Military Band will play in Caldecott Park from 2.45 to 3.45 p.m on Sunday if the weather is favourable.

In describing social, athletic, or other events in which the soldiers participate the regiments located in the town will be referred to in the Advertiser as the English, Irish, and Scotch respectively, as the case may be.

TROOPS MARCHING AT NIGHT.
NOTICE TO MOTORISTS ON ROADS NEAR COVENTRY.

The county police authorities notify that troops will be marching in the roads and lanes within a radius of six miles of Coventry every night between 5 and 10 p.m, taking various routes. Motorists are specially requested to keep a sharp look-out so as to avoid any mishaps. The troops will always keep on the proper side of the road, and will be preceded by a man carrying a white flag, and followed at the extreme rear by a man carrying a red light. Special attention is invited by all concerned.

HAVING A GOOD TIME.

The men billeted in Rugby are amazed at the heartiness of the welcome that has been accorded them, ” We never experienced so much kindness before. People seem to be competing with each other to make us welcome, and the experience is very different from what we have been accustomed to.

Another small contingent of troops is expected at Rugby this week-end.

THE EARLIER CLOSING OF PUBLIC-H0USES & CLUBS.

Apparently some uncertainty seems to exist amongst the holders of off-licenses in Rugby and New Bilton as to whether the closing order made by the Justices last week applies to them as well as the public-houses and clubs. We are authoritatively informed that the order does apply to them, and all retailers selling under licences for consumption off the premises must close at the prescribed time.

 

Dixon, John Tinley. Died 17th Jan 1915

John Tinley Dixon was born at Bishops Wearmouth, Sunderland in 1880. He was the eldest son of Thomas Grieves Dixon and Amelia (nee Pearson?). Thomas worked in a Cattle Spice Works and later as a Mineral Water Syrup Maker (1911).

In 1911 John Tinley Dixon was a single man, living with his parents at 15 Howarth Street, Sunderland. His occupation was an Engineers Turner at Engine Works. The following year he was living at 40 Hunter Street, Rugby and he was still an engineer, although it is not known where he worked. On 3rd August that year, he married Lillian Elizabeth Cleaver of Queen Street, daughter of Thomas Daniel Cleaver, a window cleaner.

In 1901 John had not been living with his parents. He had joined the army and was at Chelsea Barracks in London. Aged 20, he was a soldier in the 3rd Battalion, Coldstream Guards. No service record has been found, so it is not known if he fought in South Africa. He must have been in the reserves by 1914 as he was called up at the start of the war and arrived in France with the British Expeditionary Force on 21st August 1914.

He would have fought in the Battle of Mons and the First Battle of Ypres. He was probably killed in the winter operations of 1914-15, when trench warfare was becoming established.

Lance Corporal J T Dixon, 1858, 2nd Bn. Coldstream Guards died on the 17th January 1915 and was buried at Le Touret Military Cemetery, Richebourg-L’avoue.

He was awarded the 1914 Star and the Victory and British Medals

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

16th Jan 1915. Arrival of Troops in Rugby

Although it was originally announced that the regiments to be billeted in Rugby were the Royal Fusiliers and the Lancashire Fusiliers, these arrangements were altered by the authorities last week, and it was decided to send instead the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, and the Border Regiment, The troops, who have been stationed in India, arrived in England on Sunday, and after travelling all night the first detachment—half the Battalion of the Inniskilling Fusiliers—reached Rugby about nine o’clock on Monday morning, their comrades arriving shortly afterwards, and the Border Regiment at about 11.30.

Mr Arthur Morson (clerk to the Urban District Council) received a telegram notifying him that the first contingent had left the docks at Avonmouth between five and six o’clock on Monday morning, and he immediately proceeded to make the necessary arrangement for their reception. The first train left the port at 4.30 a.m, and carried 12 officers, 404 rank and file, and 10 tons of baggage and ammunition. The train arrived here at eight o’clock.

The second train, which left at 5.0 and arrived at Rugby at nine o’clock, brought 11 officers, 435 rank and file, and six tons of baggage. The third train conveyed 11 officers, 449 rank and file, and 15 tons of baggage, and left port at 6.45 a.m. The fourth train started its journey at 7.30, and reached Rugby at 10.30. It contained 11 officers, 459 rank and file, eight tons of baggage and ammunition.

The news of their arrival soon spread, and small crowds collected in the vicinity of the L & N-W Railway Station to witness the incoming of the later detachments. The men, who were wearing their Indian sun helmets and great khaki coats (a necessary precaution owing to the cold biting wind, in striking contrast to the excessive heat of the plains of India), were a fine stalwart lot of fellows. On arriving at Rugby the men were marched off to their billets, which were mainly situated in the Abbey Street and Oxford Street quarter of the town, and were pointed out to them by the police and boy scouts. This kind of accommodation is quite new to the men, who have never been billeted on the population before, but Tommy Atkins is an adaptable fellow, and doubtless will soon settle down to the new arrangement.

During the time that the men remain, at Rugby it is expected that they will go into training for the serious work before them. The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers have a fine regimental band, and Rugbeians will probably be provided with some musical treats during the troops’ sojourn here.

Several of the rank and file who have talked with our representative have already formed a good opinion of Rugby, which they consider to be a delightful town, although, as one remarked, “ It’s a bit cold after the hotter parts of India where we have come from ; but I suppose we shall soon get used to it.” The voyage from India was naturally slow owing to the conditions of transport, the speed of a convoy depending on its slowest vessel. Christmas was spent on the water, and passed off very much like an ordinary day, with very little, if any, variation in the diet or routine.

As there is no Brigadier at present in command of the troops in Rugby, the supreme command is by courtesy vested in the senior officer, who in this case is Lieut-Col R C O Hume, officer commanding the 1st Border Regiment.

The officers commanding the regiments express themselves as more than satisfied with the reception that the troops have experienced in the town, and from the reports it appears that the whole of the billets are satisfactory and comfortable. The men are delighted with their billets, and quite a number state that the inhabitants upon whom they are billeted cannot do too much for them.

We are informed that at least one of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers has “ met his fate ” in Rugby, and intends to lead a local lady to the altar at an early date.

Soldiers arrive in Rugby from India

Soldiers arrive in Rugby from India

RECRUITING AT RUGBY.

Recruiting has proceeded rather slowly at Rugby this week, although the recruiting officer, Colour-Sergt Winchcombe, is willing to take recruits for any of the Infantry Line Regiments, R.F.A. Army Service Corps, and 5th (Rugby) Howitzer Battery. So far he has done remarkably well, and it would be a matter for regret to all if the figures began to fall off, especially as there are still some hundreds of men in the town without dependents who could and should join, and as the call for more men is still incessant. Amongst those who have been attested during the past week are :- R.F.A : Herbert James Masters, Samuel Masters, Arthur Busby, Charles Denton, Geo Wm Hy Baldwin, John Priest, and John Watkins. Royal Warwick Regiment : Cecil Harry Wood, Wm Samuel Stebbing, Ed Chas McCrow, and Sydney Batchelor. Army Service Corps : John Henry Busson, Malcolm Ringrose, and William Sabin. Border Regiment : Geo Starkey. Coldstream Guards, Henry T Smith, Bert Whitehead, Arthur Priest, and Arthur Lane.

The number attested during the past week was 24.

7TH (RESERVE) BATTALION, R.W.R.

The 7th (Reserve) Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment has now been brought up to full strength, and no further recruits are needed at present. The number on the roll is now 1,101, and among the latest additions are A Nason (Shilton) and M E Cleaver (Grandborough).

THE 4th SOUTH MIDLAND HOWITZER BRIGADE.

A Reserve Brigade to the 4th South Midland Howitzer Brigade is being formed. The total strength will be 371 of all ranks, and towards this number 157 have been enrolled.

The officers at present are : Col A H Heath, of Street Ashton, Adjutant ; Capt Sydney Field, Lieut J P Nickalls, and Lieut Selby Lowndes. There are vacancies for other officers.

The completion of this new Brigade will greatly facilitate the Service Brigade going out, it being necessary that it should have a reserve from which casualties can be replaced.

Recruits can obtain all particulars and give in their names at the Recruiting Office in Windmill Lane, Rugby.

Among recruits enrolled this week are E Howes and E W Howes (Harborough Magna), Floyatt and S D Hargreave (Flecknoe), and B Varney (Northcote).

BILTON’S SOLDIERS & SAILORS.

The parish of Bilton possesses an excellent record so far as the forces are concerned. New Bilton has 193 soldiers and sailors, and Old Bilton 40. Thirty-two of the New Bilton men are at the front and nine from Old Bilton. With regard to casualties, four New Bilton men have been killed, five wounded, and two are prisoners of war. One Old Bilton man has been killed.

“ HAMMERED ” TOES.

One of the Relieving Officers reported [to Rugby Board of Guardians] that a man in one of the villages had endeavoured to enlist, but was rejected because he had two “hammered” toes. These he was willing to have removed, provided the Guardians would maintain his wife and family whilst he was in the hospital for the operation.—It was understood that after the toes had been removed the man would be fit to serve with the colours, and the Board agreed to give him the assurance that his family would be amply provided for during his incapacity.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR – GIFTS TO TERRITORIALS.

Sir,—I notice that gifts are often being made by Rugby people to the local Territorial Company in Essex, and I am anxious to know whether any of these “ comforts ” reach the detachment doing guard duty at Waltham Abbey Royal Gunpowder Factory. These men belong to Rugby and certainly should participate. They are performing work that is equally as important (if not more so) as that of their comrades at Witham, though it partakes solely of home defence, for which the “ Terriers ” were originally called into being.— Yours faithfully,
ONE INTERESTED.

 

9th Jan 1915. The Billeting of Soldiers in Rugby

THE TROOPS AND EARLY CLOSING OF PUBLIC HOUSES.

Superintendent Clarke said that on December 31st Captain Murray called upon him, and said he wished him to get billets for 2,000 or 3,000 soldiers, who were expected to arrive at Rugby on the 10th inst. The men would have little to do, and there might be a temptation to drinking ; and he, therefore, thought it was only right that the public-houses in the town should be closed an hour earlier-10 p.m instead of 11 o’clock.

The Chairman intimated that the application would be granted, and he asked Superintendent Clarke to report on the conduct in the town ; and if it was found the time limit was not sufficient to make a further application. The restriction would be in force so long as 500 soldiers were billeted in the town.

The order will affect clubs as well as public houses.

Superintendent Clarke said he understood the soldiers would come to the town together, and would also leave in a similar way.

The Chairman said some of the soldiers might go away before the others, but so long as 500 remained the order would be in force. The Bench hoped the licensed victuallers would assist the police in preventing drunkenness. The order would come into force from the date the soldiers arrived ; but there must be a special meeting of the Justices for endorsing it, and this would be held on Tuesday next.

THE BILLETING OF SOLDIERS IN RUGBY.

The response to the invitation to Rugby householders to provide billets for the troops expected next week from India has been very gratifying. The staff of the Urban District Council have in hand the arrangements, and in making their enquiries they have had the assistance of a number of voluntary workers. In the majority of cases the soldiers will be billeted in couples, but some residents are providing accommodation for four or six, and there is one case in which eight soldiers will live together under the same roof. The allowance is 2s 6d a day for each man, 17s 6d per week, which should be sufficient to make the billeting worth while from the landlady’s point of view. Exactly what the regulation rations are has not yet been disclosed, but it is expected that the N.C.O’s when the troops arrive, will supply lists of the provisions required to those who are providing homes for the solders during their sojourn in the town. From our report of the Petty Sessions on Tuesday it will be seen that during the time the troops are in the neighbourhood the public-houses of the town will be closed at 10 p.m in the interests of sobriety and general good order.

A telegram was received on Sunday evening stating that billets would also be required at Rugby for a third battalion-the Inniskilling Fusiliers, bringing up the number to 2,400.

Not only are arrangements being made to house the soldiers comfortably, but, as in other towns under similar circumstances, clubrooms are to opened in different parts of the town, where the soldiers can write letters, read the daily papers, obtain light refreshments, and enjoy quiet games.

A small committee has been busy looking out for suitable premises in different parts of the town, and the result of their enquires has been most encouraging. It is proposed, we understand, to work the refreshment buffet from a central committee, but to empower the committees who will work at the different centres to obtain what provisions are needed and report periodically to the central organisation. The scheme is, of course, still incomplete, and various matters of detail have yet to be decided, but it is hoped to secure as social dubs for the soldiers-the-Chester Street Mission Room, Cambridge Street Wesleyan Schoolroom, Grosvenor Road Hall, the Corn Exchange, the Friends’ Meeting House in Moat Street, Wood Street Mission Room, the Howitzer battery, the Church House, and the St Matthew’s Club, and no doubt other places will be available if required.

Another proposal is to have an Entertainment Committee, so that if a concert has to be arranged at short notice no difficulty will be experienced in securing artistes and helpers.

As will be understood, these plans, in addition to the billeting, have placed an enormous amount of work on the Urban District Council and their officials, but all an are working energetically, and no doubt when the troops arrive the arrangements for their accommodation and entertainment will prove equal to the emergency.

So far as the facilities for the bileting of the troops is concerned, the officials in change have limited their enquiries to the Parish of Rugby, it being the town and not adjacent places that had applied for soldiers to be sent-and by Thursday they had the satisfaction of knowing that accommodation had been found for the whole of the 2,400 men. Indeed, so general has been, the response to the invitation to provide homes, that more accommodation than is for the present required has been found, and in case there might be future requirements, a waiting list has-been prepared.

Exactly when the troops will arrive has not yet been ascertained. Monday or Tuesday are now mentioned as the possible days, but those who are providing billets are advised not to get in food until the soldiers actually arrive, as there is just the possibility of this event coming later still in the week.

The Officers’ quarters will be at the Royal George Hotel, the Three Horse Shoes Hotel, and the Grand Hotel, but an officer will reside in each section of the town in which the men are billeted.

To the Editor of the Advertiser.

DEAR SIR,-I have again to trespass upon the generosity of the inhabitants of Rugby. We have some 2,500 troops coming into our town, and it is felt that it is our duty to make their stay here as comfortable as possible.

A committee has been formed to provide amusements for the men in their leisure hours and to provide also facilities for reading and writing in various parts of the town. To equip these centres properly we shall need money, and I ask those interested to send their donations to Mr Sam Robbin’s, Auctioneer’s Office, Albert Street. I feel sure Rugby will be as loyal in the matter as other towns.-Yours truly,

J J Mckinnell

Chairman, Rugby Urban District Council.

9th Jan 1915. Local War Notes and Christmas at the Front

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

At the Rugby Cattle Market, on Monday next, Mr W Wiggins will sell by auction a sheep, which has been presented for the purpose, the proceeds of which will be given to the Belgian Relief Fund.

Mr R G S Anderson, of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, who was wounded, has now re-joined his regiment.

Mr P A Morson, son of Mr Arthur Morson, of Rugby, has joined the Foreign Service Battalion of the Honourable Artillery Company.

Sergt-Instructor Bird, of the Stores Department of the B.T.H Company, has been appointed to a commission in the Northants Regiment in connection with Lord Kitchener’s Army.

Mr C G Richards, late of Rugby, is now with Royal Army Medical Corps at Diss, in Norfolk, and he expects to sail for Egypt with a detachment of the Corps in a few weeks’ time.

H Welsby, T Lee, T Batchelor, and H Webber (Rugby), and C Batchelor (Hunningham) hare joined the reserve battalion of the 7th Royal Warwickshire Regiment. The battalion has now more than 1,000 men.

Mr C F E Dean, partner of Mr W G B Pulman, solicitor, Rugby and Lutterworth, has enrolled in the Public Schools Battalion attached to the Royal Fusiliers, and left to take up duty in London on Saturday.

RECRUITING AT RUGBY.

Recruiting still continues fairly satisfactory at Rugby. During the past week 36 men enlisted, the best day being Monday, when 15 came [?]d. So far the total for Rugby is 2,102.

AMUSING RECRUITING INCIDENT.

The recruiting officer in charge at the Drill Hall had an amusing experience on Wednesday morning. Two little boys from Pinder’s Lane-one aged 6 years 10 months and the other aged 7 years-presented themselves, and stated quite seriously that they wished to enlist as buglers, The sergeant, instead of informing the youngsters that this was impossible, entered into the spirit of the joke, got out the papers, and began to fill in the particulars. The would-be recruits expressed their willingness to join any corps to which they could be sent, and subsequently left the hall fully satisfied that they might at any be called to serve.

A SOLDIER’S THANKS.

Pte J T Meadows, of the 1st Northants Regiment, writes from the London General Hospital : ” Will you allow me space to convey my many thanks to the people of Rugby, who have so generously thought of me this Christmas and New Year, and who have made it so happy for me in my sufferings from terrible wounds received in action. The names of engagements I am unable to state, only the one where I was put out of action (Ypres). I regret to say my recovery is very slow. Through it all I remain quite happy.”

RUGBY SHUNTER’S NARROW ESCAPE.

S S Alfred Wood, of the 1st Artillery Division, who previous to being called up for active service was employed at Rugby L & N-W Railway Station as a shunter, in a letter to a friend says :-

“Things have been a bit rough at the front, but are a little better now. He was having a fortnight’s rest from the firing line, and it seemed quite a change to be away from the ‘ coal boxes.’ He was hit once, but it did not do any damage, the bullet going through his jacket and just grazing his back. One of his mates from Rugby got killed, and another had his eye taken out with a piece of shell at Ypres. In one passage he says: ‘ When we got back from the battle of Ypres they had completely blown the town to atoms. We were in a wood one day, and the

Germans started to shell us just us we were going to have a bit of breakfast—such as it was. One of our sergeants was having a wash, when over came a German shell and shot him dead. Five more were killed and wounded, and also about a dozen horses. So you see we have been through a bit. At the battle of the Aisne we had a rough time, losing nine guns out of eighteen in the Brigade and a lot of men. We lost two guns and about 40 men one day ; the Germans captured them and took them prisoners.”

KITCHENER’S RECRUIT AT THE FRONT.

Driver Jack Jones, son of Mr Rowland Jones, brewery agent, Claremont Road, who joined the new heavy battery, Garrison Artillery, in connection with Lord Kitchener’s Army, in August, was selected for the front early in November, and must have been among the first in Kitchener’s Army to go. He has written several letters home, in each of which he states that he is quite well. In one letter he says : “ Our guns have gone very well up to now, without a casualty, so I think we have been very lucky. I think we have to put all that down to the officers, because they are all very clever men. They know how to find the enemy, but the enemy has not found us yet, and I hope they won’t.” In another letter he says : “ Things out here are a bit quiet. We have been in action now about one month.”

HOW THE WARWICKSHIRE YEOMANRY SPENT CHRISTMAS.

At the time of the German raid on Scarborough the Warwickshire Yeomanry were stationed on the coast not a hundred miles from the scene of hostilities. General regret was expressed that their bit of the coast had not been selected for the attack instead of the Yorkshire coast.

A week before Christmas the regiment was moved from the coast to a few miles inland. The change was not appreciated, for the men are now quartered in a Little village of about 300 inhabitants, and five miles from any town. The last place they were at was about the size of Warwick, which, besides the ever-present attraction of the sea and shipping, boasted a couple of picture shows, and a hall where writing, &c, could be done. Also the men were billeted on private people, and consequently lived very well and had real beds to sleep in, which, after sleeping on bags of straw for the last few months, was Paradise. Army rations went down very badly after billeting for a month, after Christmas fare was a welcome break in the monotony of bread and meat and bread and jam. Most of the men are now billeted in empty houses, a troop to a house. Six or seven men occupy a room, and with the coming of Christmas hampers many enjoyable, if informal, dinners and teas were held. A whip round is made periodically for coal, and the same method was adopted to buy a couple of kettles. Some queer meals have been eaten lately ; pineapple chunks, pork pie, and cake and tea have provided many a meal, some of which have been breakfasts, others dinners or teas. Each room usually has its own store of small groceries, and every man ought soon to be a complete housekeeper. If one room is short of tea, it can often be obtained from the next by swapping a piece of coal for it. In the same way a couple of mince pies area equal to half a candle. The latter are indispensable articles of the men’s housekeeping, as there is no other means of lighting the houses, and friends sending parcels might with advantage slip a few in. A very pleasant Christmas was spent, each squadron having a real Christmas dinner, followed by a concert in the evening. Everyone enjoyed the Christmas spread, which was done in real style, turkeys, geese, roast beef, plum puddings, with fruit, nuts, and drinks ad lib. After living more or less on bully beef, this was a welcome change, and everyone enjoyed it to the full. The concert also was a great success, and was kept up till 10.30 p.m, a very late hour for soldiers, who on ordinary occasions must be in their billets by 9.30 p.m.

The regiment has been engaged in very interesting work and schemes lately, much of which has involved a good deal of cross-country riding.

A CHRISTMAS DAY TRUCE.

In a further letter home, Pte Sheasby says that on Christmas Eve they were ordered to some new trenches. We hadn’t been there many minutes before we started shouting the compliments of the season to the Germans, who were entrenched about 250 to 300 yards in fronts of us, and to our surprise they shouted back : “ Hello ! you English, if you won’t fire we won’t over Christmas ” ; so, of course, we shouted : “ All right; we won’t fire till you do.” Of course, the sentries were at their posts just the same ; but we felt more free, and hadn’t to keep bobbing down to miss stopping a bit of lead. At the same time we hardly expected them to keep to their word ; but there was not a shot fired that night by us or by the Germans opposite, although there was firing going on on our right and left. The next morning as soon as it got light and we had had breakfast, we took a walk through our barbed wire entanglements, and met them halfway between the two trenches. After hand-shakes and “ A Merry Christmas ” we exchanged cigars and cigarettes, and all had a chat and smoke together. I took a drop of whiskey, and we had a drink. They were very eager after the whiskey, you bet ; and they also seemed very eager after food too. . . Our officer came out and took our photograph, about 20 of us, Germans and British mixed together, and he has promised me one if he can get them away to be done. . . We fixed things up that neither side would fire on the other unless we were ordered to, and then we were to fire in the air until after Boxing Day ; but one of the Germans came over and volunteered the news that he had seen their orders, and that they were to make an attack on us that (Boxing night) at 12.15 p.m. Of course, we got prepared, and all stood to arms at about 11.30 with fixed bayonets, all at our posts, anxiously waiting for them. And then our big guns started to let them have it for a few minutes after that, and shelled their trenches for about three-quarters of an hour, dropping shells right into them. I think that must have put them off it and made them think that we were about to make another attack. Anyway, we stood to our posts till 2.30, and nothing happened.”