2nd Jan 1915. Christmas Celebrations


To the Editor of the Advertiser.

SIR,—As Newton House now accommodates 50 refugees (as many as it will contain with comfort), the committee have accepted Mrs Buzzard’s generous offer in placing The Beeches, Clifton, rent free, at their disposal.

All available money will be wanted for purchasing food, so I venture to appeal for the loan of such articles of furniture as are necessities. At Newton House the furniture has been lent by members of the committee and their friends ; but as this source of supply is nearly exhausted, we are compelled to make a public appeal for the requirements of The Beeches.

Accommodation is urgently needed for further families, rendered homeless by the devastation of their country. Many of the expected guests at The Beeches will be friends and relations of those now at Newton House, and it will be understood how eagerly their arrival is looked for. It is only lack of the necessary furniture which delays the house being opened.

The committee realise that the total requirements (sufficient for 40 inmates) can only be obtained in small lots. No doubt in Rugby there are many who will spare something ; the loan of one bed or blanket, or one chair, &c, will be of help.

On receipt of a postcard our energetic and most capable Hon Secretary (Mr van den Arend, King Street, Rugby) will send to fetch anything which is offered ; he will also acknowledge its receipt, and include it in the inventory, and have it labelled wherever possible. Further, he will do his utmost to ensure the safe return of everything to the lenders when this cruel war is ended.

Loans will also be acknowledged in the columns of the Advertiser.—Yours truly.


President of the Newton House Committee.

P.S.—The principal items required are 40 beds (some being cots), 120 blankets, 80 sheets, about 100 chairs, some tables and chests of drawers, as well as cooking utensils, china, knives, forks, spoons, lamps, and candle stands.

It has been suggested that the employees of firms in the town and neighbourhood might wish to equip a room complete, to which the name of the particular firm could be given for the time being. The Advertiser staff, acting on this suggestion, has undertaken to furnish one room, by lending articles they can spare and subscribing the necessary funds to purchase the remainder.


The wounded British and Belgian soldiers who are being cared for in Rugby School Sanatorium were not forgotten during the festive season, and arrangements were made for them to celebrate the day in a fitting manner. Each man was the recipient of a suitable present, and a Christmas tree was also provided, and furnished with acceptable gifts for their delectation. Later in the day a number of friends visited the soldiers and gave them a pleasant entertainment, which included French songs and recitations, and altogether a most enjoyable time was spent.


The Belgians who are the guests of the Fellowship Committee at 39 Albert Street were specially provided for on Christmas Day. As their seasonable gift the committee presented each adult with a pair of new boots, and two well-wishers in the boot trade provided the children with slippers. Special Christmas fare was also arranged for by the catering sub-committee, and a friend having given a Christmas tree, one or two others set to work and had no difficulty in getting sufficient toys, &c, with which to adorn it, so that the young people sojourning at the house had as happy a time as could be wished.


The Women’s Co-operative Guild provided their annual children’s evening in the Large Hall on Tuesday. Nearly 400 attended, including many of the Belgian refugees in the town, who, with their children, were specially invited. After an excellent tea (dispensed by members, including Miss McClure), a varied programme was gone through. Mr C Bockin (chairman of the Educational Committee) presided, supported by Mrs J T Franklin (vice-president of the Women’s Guild). Instrumental selections were given by Masters Hough, Watson and Allen, and Miss Lily Barnett ; songs were rendered by the Misses Vann, Wilson, and Maizie Hammond, also Eric Sheffield. Some good dancing was done by the Misses Mewis and Thacker, and by Miss MacKay. Belgian children also sang National Anthems ; Maizie Hammond and Phyllis Hayes recited ; and all the performers acquitted themselves creditably. Then came a lantern entertainment, the narratives being related by Mr W S Read, whilst Mr A E Holdom manipulated the lantern. After the children had retired the adults remained for a little dancing, in which the Belgians joined.


The following shows how Christmas was spent at Witham:—

December 25.—9.45 a.in, church parade ; 11 a.m, Marathon race, about four miles, 25 competitors, won by a man of H Company, Pte Bale (E Company) being one minute behind him, and Pte Harris (E) was fourth ; 1 p.m, dinner to troops in the various halls, schoolrooms, &c, lent by the inhabitants of Witham. The food was cooked by the inhabitants, who also came and waited upon the men during their dinner. The menu included roast beef, vegetables, and plum pudding, with beer, mineral waters, and cigarettes. These extras were provided by subscriptions which wore kindly sent by the Mayors of Coventry, Leamington, Warwick, Nuneaton, and others. In the evening the men were allowed the use of the halls, &c, again for concerts held by the companies, and the men were provided with refreshments.

Dec 26.—The Right Half Battalion played the Left Half Battalion at Rugby football, and in the afternoon at Association, the Left Half winning in the morning and the Right Half in the afternoon. At 6 p.m a tea was provided by the inhabitants of Witham in the various halls, &c, at which concerts were again held in the evening.

Lieut-Col Elton, officers, non-commissioned officers, and men of the 7th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, Witham, wish to thank all those who have so kindly contributed towards their Christmas fund. The great kindness of friends at home has been very much appreciated by all ranks at this season, and they beg to tender their very grateful thanks.


Owing to the number of players who have joined the colours and financial considerations, Rugby Town Association F.C have resigned from the Northants League.


George Renshaw, captain of Rugby F.C, has enlisted in the Army Service Corps, and left for headquarters at Aldershot yesterday (Friday). G W Grubb, a Rugby forward, and C G Dadley, captain of Newbold Second XV, have also joined the same branch of the service.


During the past week about 40 men have enlisted in Rugby. This is the best record for some weeks past.


It is very satisfactory to learn that the efforts of the Rugby Urban District Council to secure the billeting of soldiers in the town has had effect, and unless anything unforeseen happens we shall have, on or about the 10th or 11th of the month, two battalions (about 1,600 men), which are journeying from India, billeted in the town. The troops are the 1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers and the 2nd Battalion Royal Fusiliers.

Captain Erskine-Murray, from the Headquarter Staff of the Southern Command, Salisbury Plain, visited Rugby on Thursday morning, and had a long interview with the Chairman of the Urban Council, Mr J J McKinnell, and the officials, with whose help the town was divided into two sections—one for each battalion. These sections were sub-divided into quarters, in each of which about 200 men will be billeted. It is expected that the men will be here for about a month.

There is no doubt that Rugbeians, with their usual open-handed generosity, will give the soldiers a right royal welcome ; but we are asked to urge upon all the advisability of refraining from treating the men to alcoholic liquors.


News has been received that Driver Fred Johnson, R.F.A, of West Leyes, has been wounded at the front. Before leaving to join the colours, Driver Johnson was employed as a driller at Messrs Willans & Robinson’s. Driver Johnson, who is in a Belgian Hospital, is wounded in the right hand, and is unable to write home. A fellow patient has communicated with Mrs Johnson, and informed her that they had a fine time at Christmas, and each man, on waking, on Christmas morning, found a stocking filled with good things on his pillow, a happy thought, which, as he remarked, reminded them of “ childhood days.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s