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.
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,