Sheppard, William Joseph. Died 28 Feb 1915

SHEPPARD, William Joseph

Died 28th Feb 1915
Age 23
Rank Private
Number 8563
Unit 3rd Kings Royal Rifles, Part of 80th Brigade, 27th Division.

William Joseph Sheppard

William Joseph was born Tardebigge in Worcestershire, in 1891 only son of Thomas and Mary (nee Workman) Sheppard. Thomas was a carpenter and by 1901 the family had moved to Rugby where Thomas worked as a railway carriage spring maker. The family lived at 25 Corbett Street.

By 1911 William had enlisted with the 3″’ Battalion Kings Royal Rifles, and was in Dagshai, India. At the start of the war the Battalion was in Meerut, India. They arrived England on November 18th 1914 and William landed in Le Havre December 20th 1914.

On 13th February the Rugby Advertiser announced that:

“News has been received that Rifleman William Sheppard, of the King’s Royal Rifles, son of Mr T Sheppard, of 26 Corbett Street, has been seriously wounded at the front, presumably by shrapnel. Rifleman Sheppard, who went to the front with the Expeditionary Force from India in November, is in a military hospital at Boulogne, his injuries consisting of a shattered thigh.”

A month later came the news that Rifleman Sheppard had died of the effects of his wounds.

In a letter to Mrs Sheppard, a lady visitor at the hospital expressed her sincere and heartfelt sympathy at his death, and added:- “I have been able to go and see him almost every day since he came in, so you will realise how sad I feel at his death. No one could help admiring him; Poor fellow! His pluck was wonderful, and never failed him up to the very last. He had to undergo an operation to his leg on Sunday afternoon. I was in the ward and he told me all about it himself beforehand.
“I have never seen anyone so calm; never a word of complaint or anxiety. He had just seemed quietly confident that everything would be for the best. I cannot tell you how much he impressed me, but then, he has always been like that all through his illness here – a true Briton, if ever I have met one. I have been in this place since October, and have known some splendid men in the hospital here.”

The amputation of Rifleman Sheppard’s leg was necessary owing to haemorrhage. He was accorded a military funeral and given a soldier’s last honours.

He was buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, grave ref. 111.C.72

When it was known he had passed away, the Union Jack at the Cambridge Street Wesleyan Church was flown at half-mast, and a sympathetic reference was made by the Rev E Wyman on Sunday.



27th Feb 1915. Appeals for more Men.


Mr C T Mewis, 44 Bath Street, has received a very interesting letter from a friend, Pte W Gardner, of the 3rd Coldstream Guards, who is at the front. Mr Gardner was formerly a policeman at Rugby, but of late was employed in the Press Department of the B.T.H.

In the course of this letter Pte Gardner recounts his experiences, from the time he first went out, in very interesting manner. He relates that on Christmas night they were sent to the trenches, but found them in such a terrible condition that they volunteered to dig some more. This request was acceded to, but the weather was so cold that their trousers and putties were frozen to their legs and their socks to their feet. During the whole of this time they were under fire, but luckily no one was hit, although some had very narrow escapes, and a bullet passed through a parcel of Christmas dainties which he was carrying in his pack. After recounting further experiences, the writer goes on to say :-

” I was very pleased to hear that the young men of Rugby have rallied round the Old Flag in its time of danger, and I hope that if there are any slackers left they will soon buck up and come in, for every man is wanted out here. They will all get out here in time, for I think this is going to be a long war yet, and every able-bodied man ought to try and do his little bit. But it wants all the single ones to come first ; then, if it comes to a pinch, the married men should get in. If they were to see some of the sights that I have since I have been here they would soon some in, I am sure. Wherever you go you are sure to find some trace of German brutality and destruction—houses and churches burnt to the ground or blown down by shells or bombs, starving women and children walking about without any home, parents, or food. It is awful. There is no doubt but that we shall win, for we are now steadily gaining ground and winning along the line all the time. The Germans do a lot of damage sniping-a game of which they are very fond. It does not take a crack shot to do it with their rifles, which have got telescopic sights on them. They can hide in a wood or house 500 yards a way, and, looking through these sights, see a man’s head through a loop-hole as plainly as if he was only two yards away. We have caught many of them, so this is first hand information. The writer adds that he has seen several Rugby men at the front, including Pte Flavell, of the B.T.H. He states states that he has slept in a number of peculiar places of late, viz. in the trenches, in the road when the mud has been 2 or 3 inches deep, in the gutter when it had been raining and the water was running down it like a young river, in a haystack, on the railway lines, in a cattle truck, barn, stable, ploughed field, cow-shed, workhouse and college, but never in a bed.”


Although there are still hundreds of young fellows in the town and district apparently without any adequate reason for holding back, only four have joined the forces this week, this being the smallest number since the commencement of the war. The total number from Rugby now exceeds 2,200. Those joining this week were:—Royal Berkshire Regiment, A H Sear and F Parker; R. W.R, E H Healey; Leicestershire, A Tyers.


In addition to Sergt-Major J W Goddard, mentioned in our columns last week, another old St Matthew’s boy has been awarded the Military Cross by the King, after being mentioned in Sir John French’s despatches. The recipient on whom the honour has been bestowed is Sergt-Major F A Nason, of the Army Veterinary Corps, a nephew of Mr T Nason, 130 Railway Terrace.


News has been received that Mr William Dirbin, who formerly lived at 11 Spring Street, Rugby, was killed in action near Soissons in January. The deceased, who was a reservist in the Royal Field Artillery, was for several years employed in the Goods Department at Rugby L & N-W Railway Station, but was transferred shortly before the war broke out. He was called up in August last. The gallant fellow was of a quiet, unassuming disposition, and was a favourite with all who knew him ; and the news of his untimely end has come as a great shook to his wife, with whom much sympathy is expressed, and his friends.


Mr C J Beard, of Murray Road, Rugby, still receives letters occasionally from his son, Pte Sidney Beard, of the 2nd Warwickshire Regiment, who is detained as a prisoner of war at Gottingen, Germany. At the request of Mr Adams, of Dunchurch, Mr Beard wrote to his son recently, asking if he knew anything of the fate of his soldier son, Pte Willie Adams, of the same regiment. The letter was posted at Paris, and yesterday (Friday) morning Mr Beard got a reply, in which the following gratifying sentence was given :—“ I have spoken to Adams ; he is quite safe.” Private Beard has also asked for food, clothing, soap and other articles to be sent to him

Pte John Richardson, of the Coldstream Guards, the eldest son of Mr W and Mrs Richardson, The Banks, Dunchurch, volunteered for the front at the outbreak of the war, and landed in France on November 12th. He died from wounds received in action on February on 11th. He was one of the smartest of the young men that went from Dunchurch. Up to the present, in addition to Pte Richardson, the following Dunchurch men have been killed :— Lance-Corp E Parker, Lance-Corpl White, Pte R Norman, and Gunner Harry Pearce (on the Bulwark).


During the week the troops in Rugby have been exercised in route marching, and on Thursday they joined contingents from Leamington ; while Nuneaton and Coventry men met for similar work.

Captain the Hon E A FitzRoy, M.P. is not yet medically fit for active service, and is doing light work with his regiment.

In the area in Essex over which the German aeroplane raid took place last week-end a number of the Warwickshire Territorials, including “ E ” Company, are located.

Mr W G B Over, formerly of Rugby, who joined the colours in September last, is now engaged as musketry instructor attached to the 10th (Service) Battalion of the 19th Yorkshire Regiment. He holds the rank of Sergeant-Major, and is stationed at Aylesbury.

On Monday last coal supplied by the bag was advanced in Rugby 1d per cwt. On Monday next another halfpenny will be put upon the 4lb loaf, making the price 8d.


With regard to the proposal made by the Urban District Council to use the B.T.H hooter for an alarm signal in case of air raids, a correspondent living in Lower Hillmorton Road writes to point out that when the wind is blowing from a southerly direction the hooter is almost inaudible in that district, and therefore would be useless as an alarm. Our correspondent suggests that the new bell at Rugby School should be sounded as well as the hooter in case of air raids. This would ensure that when the wind was blowing from such a direction as to diminish the volume of sound from one of the alarms, it would increase that of the other. It is suggested that a key of the door giving access to the bell-rope should be left either at the Police Station or given to the police officer on duty in the town, and that immediately notice of a raid is received the officer shall make his way to the tower and ring the bell. The suggestion seems to be a good one, and we recommend it to the Urban Council for their consideration.


Tuesday.—Before Dr Clement Dukes (in the chair), T Hunter, T A Wise, A E Donkin, and J J McKinnell, Esqrs.

HANDED OVER TO THE MILITARY AUTHORITIES,-Pte George Oliver, of the Scottish Regiment, was charged on remand with stealing a gentleman’s overcoat, of the value of £1, from the doorway of a shop belonging to Tom G Hough, pawnbroker, in Little Church Street, on February 16th.—Application was made by an officer of defendant’s regiment for the man to be handed over to the Military Authorities to be dealt with.— This course was agreed to, and defendant was remanded till next week in the same bail for the authorities to report as to whether he had been dealt with.

20th Feb 1915. Court Martial but No Spies in Rugby


A district military court martial was held at Rugby Police Station on Friday last week.


Lance-Corpl Edward Wharton, of one of the departmental corps stationed at Rugby, was charged under section 15 of the Army Act with being absent without leave while on active service, at Rugby, on the 6th to 8th February.-Mr Harold Eaden, solicitor, Rugby, appeared for Wharton, who pleaded guilty.-The evidence for the prosecution was that the prisoner failed to present himself for duty on the days in question, as instructed to do so by orders left at his billet, and to feed and water his horse. He was arrested on the 8th inst.

In mitigation of the offence, Mr Eaden pointed out that the man only enlisted in January last, and had not a thorough knowledge of military discipline. He had a wife and four children. The former was in a deplorable state of health, and was not expected to live. Accused had received a letter from his wife, in which she stated that she had had a very bad heart attack, and her health was so bad that she had been compelled to sell the business in which he had established her before leaving. In consequence of this letter he went to see his parents on Saturday to make arrangements for them to look after her and the children. As his duties were those of a groom, he did not think there was any harm in going away if he arranged for his work to be carried out by someone else, and he actually paid another man to do the work. He did not receive the orders from his officer which were left at his billet, otherwise he would not have gone. The man voluntarily presented himself before his officer at nine o’clock on the Monday morning. Under the circumstances, he asked them to deal leniently with the accused.

During the reading of the wife’s letter accused burst into tears.

Evidence of character was given by an officer under whom accused worked, who stated that he bore a good character and had shown particular keenness in looking after several of the horses which were sick, and had turned out at nights to look after them.

The prosecuting officer having put in a statement of accused’s character, the room was cleared for the court to consider the verdict, which will be made known in due course.


Pte E Grimley, “ C ” Company, of the English Regiment, stationed in the town, pleaded not guilty to two charges, i.e, to disobeying the command of a superior officer, Sergt Norman, by not marching off when told to do so and with offering violence to a superior officer while under escort by attempting to strike Sergt John David Ronald.

Sergt Norman gave evidence to the effect that on the 4th inst., at 11 p.m. “ C ” Company of his regiment were on a route march, and orders were given to them to cross a fence and re-organise in the meadow at the other wide. He noticed accused was working very slackly, and he told him to fall in. He stood on one side at first, but eventually did so. They then received the order to march off, and the platoon did so, but accused stood still, and repeatedly stated that he was not going to do any more. Witness then reported the offence.

Accused stated that he did not refuse to march. He only marched slowly.-Witness related that Grimley stood still, and said, “ I am not going to do any more.”

Corpl Weston stated that he was ordered by the Company Sergeant-Major to take charge of accused under escort, but he did not know for what reason. He gave the order, “ Quick march!” but accused took no notice. Alter two minutes and the second order he moved off. On reaching the centre of the town accused commenced to struggle with the escort, and Sergt Ronald, seeing this, came back with two more men. In the struggle the accused struck out at Sergt Ronald, and had the latter not got out of the way he would have received the blow.- Accused asked : “Was my arm free when the escort had hold of me ?,” Witness : You wrenched your right arm free in the struggle.- Q : How could I hit a a man who was behind two others marching out ? -A : You struggled towards Sergt Ronald.

Sergt Ronald stated that he saw the accused struggling with his escort, and he went back with two men. Accused wrenched his right arm free, and attempted to strike witness on the face, but he avoided the blow by raising his right arm.

In defence, the accused said that he did not hear the order given by Sergt Norman to march off. Sergt Norman told him he would have to go to the guard-room, and accused answered: “ You can put me there now, as if I am going to the guard-room I am not going to do the route march.” He had no intention of striking at Sergt Ronald.

The company officer gave evidence as to the accused’s character. He had known Grimley for about three years. He was a very good soldier, but suffered from a bad temper.-The court then proceeded to consider their finding.

Two cases of desertion also came up for hearing.



The CHAIRMAN said the Brigadier in command of the troops in Rugby had called upon him to express his thanks to the Council for the excellent arrangements made as regarded billeting, and help afforded to him and his officers in various ways. He also desired particularly to thank the townspeople for the very kind and hospitable way they had welcomed the soldiers and made them as comfortable us they possibly could. He (the Chairman) told him they were only too anxious in Rugby to do all they could for the soldiers, who they were pleased to find to be such a respectable, well-behaved body of men.


The General Purposes Committee reported that they had considered the notice issued by the Chief Constable of the county respecting precautionary steps to be taken in the event of an air raid by an enemy of the country, and had arranged with the works manager of the B.T.H Co, Ltd, for the company, on receiving information from the police of an impending air raid, to give a distinctive signal on the works hooter. The signal proposed is 10 blasts on the hooter, each lasting three seconds, with three seconds intervals ; the whole period of the signal being one minute. The committee was considering with the manager of the Gas Company the policy of reducing the number of street lamps lighted and darkening the tops of the remaining lanterns. The committee desired to record their thanks to the police authorities and the management of the B.T.H Company for their ready co-operation.

The CHAIRMAN moved the adoption of this report, and said the reason that the B.T.H was chosen was that there was someone there night and day. Ten blasts on that hooter would arouse Rugby.-Mr SHILLITOE enquired if these directions would be printed for the benefit of general public. The CHAIRMAN answered that there was to be another meeting of the committee, and he supposed they would decide to advertise it.-Mr WISE thought it would be a good idea to have a test alarm to if the people noticed it (laughter).-Mr YATES asked what the people were to do. Were they to go out to look for the aircraft.-the CHAIRMAN thought it was a matter of common sense. They should go into the basement if they had one, or at any rate stop in the house and put the lights out. These directions would be inserted in the notice.-Mr NEWMAN enquired as to the B.T.H Works, with regard to the reduction of light. Their lights could be seen for a very long distance, and he asked if they would reduce theirs also.-The Clerk replied in the affirmative, and said they would immediately vacate the whole of the premises, with the exception of the Fire Station.



The Secretary of the Admiralty has made the following announcement:-

Information has been received that two persons, posing as an officer and sergeant, and dressed in khaki, are going about the country attempting to visit military works, &c.

They were last seen in the Midlands on the 6th inst., when they effected an entry into the works of a firm who are doing engineers’ work for the Admiralty. They made certain enquiries as to the presence or otherwise of anti-aircraft guns, which makes it probable that they are foreign agents in disguise.

All contractors engaged on work for his Majesty’s Navy are notified, with a view to the apprehension of these individuals, and are advised that no persons should be admitted to their works unless notice has been received beforehand of their coming.

A rumour current in the town that access was obtained at one of the Rugby Works is, we are officially informed, quite untrue.


Mr L W Eadon, son of Mr W Eadon, Hillmorton Road, has enlisted as a gunner in “ A ” Battery, Reserve Battalion of the H.A.C.

The Pipers’ Band of the Scottish Regiment, with drums, by kind permission of the Commanding Officer paraded in the School Close on Monday afternoon, and played several marches and national airs to the delight of a large number of members and friends of the School.

Corpl A J Harris has been promoted owing to the services he has rendered at the front as a motor-cycle dispatch rider, to second-lieutenant in the Royal Engineers. He had the honour of being mentioned in the dispatches from General French published on Thursday last. He is now stationed at Fenny Stratford. It will be remembered that he gained his colours as a half-back in the Rugby School Football XV, and afterwards played regularly for the Rugby Club.

Pte J Bonnick, A.S.C, of Wellesbourne, who, as we announced last week had been reported killed at the front on December 2nd, has wired to his wife that he is quite well.


Sir John French’s despatch, published on February 18th, includes the names of two old pupils of St Matthew’s Boys’ School recommended for gallant and distinguished service in the field, viz: Sergt-Major John W Goddard, of the Royal Field Artillery, eldest son of Mr J Goddard, a former gymnastic instructor at Rugby School, and Corpl (now Lieut) A J Harris, of the Royal Engineers, formerly a member of Rugby School Officers’ Training Corps, son of Mr A Harris, Dunchurch Road.

In addition to being mentioned in despatches by Sir John French, Sergt-Major J W Goddard is included in the list published yesterday (Friday) of those on whom the King has bestowed the Military Cross.


We much regret that owing to the shortness of time given by the War Office for preparing “Ashlawn” as a hospital it has been impossible to acknowledge all the kind gifts which were sent during the first few weeks for the equipment of this hospital.

In future we hope to acknowledge the weekly gifts in this paper, which are greatly appreciated by the patients. We take this opportunity of thanking all who have been good enough to send gifts.

Many people have also very kindly lent their cars for conveying patients to and from, and also for the use of the hospital.


Recruiting still continues very slack at Rugby, only eight having been attested this week. They are :-R.W.R : J G Beasley and H S Mason. Hants Regiment : T Colledge and F H Spiers. R.A.M.C : F H D Moore, A P Webb, C Cook, and J H Wakelin.

We are informed that there are 16 regiments of Infantry which are open to men of a minimum height of 5ft 1in, but the chest standard of 34 1/2ins remains unaltered.

13th Feb 1915. Plum Puddings and Football


Learning that troops billeted in the town had had no Christmas fare, the portion of the Fellowship Relief Committee managing the Soldiers’ Club at the Friends’ Meeting House decided to hold a “ plum pudding night ” on Saturday, at which a free distribution of plum pudding, mince pie, &c, should be made amongst all soldiers who cared to attend. For the occasion a marquee was hired and erected on the grass at the back of the Meeting House. This was illuminated be electricity and suitably furnished. Forty plum puddings, several of which had been reserved for birthdays, were given by friends interested in the scheme, in addition to hundreds of mince pies, celery, &c. Tea and coffee were dispensed ; a well-wisher from a distance sent a box of fine cigars ; the committee provided cigarettes ; and as something like 200 soldiers attended, and everything passed off well, the event was voted a great success. The Meeting House was too crowded for games after the spread, and so an impromptu concert was arranged by Mr John Gibson, the energetic and affable secretary. The Misses Mochrie, Miss Ward, Sergt Pools, Mr W Crooks, and Mr H W Edmundson rendered songs, and there was a little Christmas music. An amusing item was a recitation by Mr T Wilson. The President of the Club made a speech on ” The two kinds of religion in the world “ the false and the true .” Cheers were given for the soldiers, for the President, and for the committee, who had worked so hard to make the night such an unqualified success. As all the provisions sent in were not consumed. It was decided to have an “ aftermath spread.”



As was expected, the meeting of the Irish and English Regiments stationed in the town to decide the destination of the Rugby Hospital Cup, on Saturday, produced a strenuously fought match on the Eastlands ground on Saturday, when, despite the wretched weather, there was a crowd of between 2,000 and 3,000 people, including a good mustering of men in khaki. From beginning to end the match, which resulted in the victory by 3 – 0 of the Irishmen, was remarkably, well fought out, and, although the treacherous state of the ground made accurate play difficult, both teams proved themselves masters of the game. As is usual when soldiers’ teams are opposed to one another, there was a good deal of vigorous play, but fouls were of very infrequent occurrence, and were much less common, in fact, than is often the case when two civilian teams meet. The English Regimental Band had arranged to play selections during the afternoon, but owing to the unpropitious weather this treat had to be foregone.

Mr T Arrowsmith carried the whistle, and the teams were :-English Regiment : Sully ; Redhead and Prosser ; Harker, Cowley, and Brown ; McMullen, Fitton, Chapple, Sheerer, and Riley. Irish Regiment : Leaming ; McGie and Skinner ; Sinclair, Ward, and Beswick ; Rice, Thacker, Collings, Bishop, and Lough.

At the commencement the English team, playing with rare dash and enthusiasm, did most of the pressing, and on several occasions they came very near to scoring, but Leaming was a safe goalie, and dealt with some difficult shots in a convincing manner. After about a quartet of an hour’s play the scene was transferred to the other end, where, after several ineffectual efforts, the Irishmen went ahead, Ward, their skipper, beating Sully with a peculiarly placed shot. The lads from the Emerald Isle returned to the attack and for a while gave the English defence a very anxious time. The defenders put up a stiff fight, however ; Prosser distinguishing himself again and again by his lightning returns. Sully also figured prominently in goal, and once, rushing out, saved a fine shot at the expense of a fruitless corner. Once or twice the Englishmen broke away, but they only threatened the Irish goal for very brief intervals, owing to the inability of their forwards to press home the attack and the excellent tactics of the Irish defenders. Just before half-time the indefatigable efforts of the Irishmen met with success, and Beswick beat Sully with a beautifully placed shot, at a terrific speed, which gave him no chance whatever, and the interval arrived with the Englishmen two goals down. The rain, which had cleared off for a while during the first half, again commenced in the second stage, and added considerably to the difficulties which each team was experiencing, and to a certain extent robbed the game of much of its interest. As in the first half, the Englishmen began the attack, and forced a corner. The ball dropped dead in the mouth of goal, and it looked for a second as though the lead would be reduced, when one of the defenders relieved with a mighty drive. Lemming was tested on several occasions, but proved safe at each time of asking. At the other end the Irishmen missed a fine chance of scoring, Thacket shooting over the bar with only the goalie to beat. A few minutes afterwards Sully cleared splendidly for the same player, and Collings hit the crowbar, and from the rebound sent by. The Irishmen continued to have the best of the play, and Thacker put the result beyond doubt with a good shot. This was the extent of the scoring, and the Irishmen will hold the cup for the coming year.


Immediately after the match the cup was presented to Ward, of the Irish Regiment, by the Officer commanding one of the regiments. In doing so, the gallant Colonel expressed the opinion that the cup had been richly deserved by the Irish team (applause}. Both teams had played a most sporting game under very exceptional circumstances, and it spoke well for the excellence of the football on both aides that the crowd had stopped, in such wretched weather, till the end. He remarked that each of the 22 men would receive a medal, which, if they wanted anything to remind them of Rugby, would do to. But the kindness they had received at Rugby was such that they could never forget. They would often look at those medals on even muddier, and, perhaps, bloodier, fields, and they would then think of their friends in Rugby (applause). He thanked the committee who had made those games possible.

Cheers were then given for the two teams, the gallant Colonel, and the residents of Rugby, and the hearty manner in which the military section gave the last-named, was proof of their appreciation of Rugby’s treatment of them.

We are informed that the meeting of the two soldiers’ teams on Wednesday, February 3rd, and again on Saturday, February 6th, was the direct outcome of the energies of the Rugby Hospital Cup Committee. The Hospital Cup is run by an independent committee, and the suggestion to invite the Town Club as well as teams from the soldiers billeted in Rugby was made by one of the members of this committee. The arrangements for the short, but very successful competition, were entirely carried out by Messrs Gordon, Pett, Pratt, Arrowsmith, Dunkley, Rogers, and Nightingale (acting hon secretary).


News has been received that Rifleman William Sheppard, of the King’s Royal Rifles, son of Mr T Sheppard, of 26 Corbett Street, has been seriously wounded at the front, presumably by shrapnel. Rifleman Sheppard, who went to the front with the Expeditionary Force from India in November, is in a military hospital at Boulogne, his injuries consisting of a shattered thigh.

Shoeingsmith A Wood, R.F.A, of Rugby has written to a friend at Bicester, stating that he has recovered from his wounds received in December, and returned to the fighting line.

Driver Jack Bonnick, A.S.C, of Wellesbourne, near Warwick, whose wife is staying at Bicester, Oxfordshire, was officially reported killed on Sunday morning. The War Office communication, which contained the usual sympathetic message from their Majesties, stated that his death took place on December 2nd. A similar communication (sent to a later address) was received on Tuesday. Evidently a mistake has been made, as Mrs Bonnick has received letters almost every week from her husband before and since December 2nd. By the same post that she received the first intimation of his death she also received a letter from him, enclosing a French money order. Enquires are being made. He has a brother, Mr George Bonnick, residing at Rugby.


Pte A H Nickolls, of the Gloucester Regiment, who previous to the war was a police constable at Rugby, paid a visit to the town last week. Pte Nickolls, who went to the front at the commencement of hostilities, has seen fighting at Mons, the Aisne, Ypres, and la Basse, and was wounded at the last named place in the abdomen and foot in December. He is now making good progress towards recovery.


Another old St Matthew’s boy, Pte Arthur W Kendall, son of Mr W Kendall, of 40 Rowland Street, has been wounded at the front. In a brief but cheerful letter home he states that he was wounded by shrapnel in the right thigh on February 2nd, and spent the whole of his 21st birthday, February 3rd, in a Red Cross train. He does not believe his injuries to be severe. Pte Kendall, who has been in the 3rd Coldstream Guards for two years, has been at the front from the commencement of the war. This is his second spell in hospital, the first occasion being the result of an accident.


A military court martial was held at Rugby Police Court yesterday (Friday), the prisoner, Lance-Corpl Edward Wharton, of one of the departmental corps stationed at Rugby, being charged under section 15 of the Army Act with being absent without leave while on active service, at Rugby, on the 6th to 8th February.

Mr Harold Eaden, solicitor, Rugby, appeared for the defendant.

There were three other cases end the proceedings had not terminated at the time of going to press.


About eighteen men have enlisted at Rugby this week. They are :-Army Service Corps : E W Elkins, W A Farndon, J Freeman, and J Daniels. R.F.A : A C Gilks, R W Payne, E J Read, and H A Dyson. R.A.M.O : J Clarke and W T Wilson. Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry : H T Morby and W Usher. Royal Engineers : D S S Foxley and W P Cleaver. King’s Royal Rifles : B L Paxton, Coldstream Guards : E J Gill and F Harris. R.W.R : W Warland (enlisted in 4th South Midland Howitzer Reserve Brigade since January 18th), J Turner, P Durrant, F Dale, G Walley, C Dashwood, R E Ingram, W Dale, A E Smith, A G Towill, C Rule, E W D Walton, C W Knight, A E Payne, and W J Allen.

6th Feb 1915. Narrow Escapes and an Opinion of the German Troops


Thursday’s papers contained in the list of soldiers wounded at the war the name of Pte H Goode, of the Lancashire Regiment. Pte Goode is the son of Detective-Inspector Goode, of Rugby, and when the war broke out was called up as a reservist, being at the time foreman cleaner in the locomotive engine-sheds. He went through several of the earlier engagements of the war, and his friends in Rugby hope his wounds are not serious.


Driver F H Johnson, 115th Heavy Battery R.G.A. of West Leyes, Rugby, who enlisted in Lord Kitchener’s Army at the outbreak of the war, is at present in a hospital at Sheffield, suffering from wounds received at the front. In a letter to his friends he states that he got up last week for the first time since he was wounded-eight weeks ago. His hand and arm are nearly well, but he cannot use his fingers yet. At the time he was hurt his horse had its head blown clean off. Driver Johnson had a marvellous escape, as the horse fell before he could clear himself from the saddle. The horse rolled right over him, injuring his hand and back terribly. He really thought he should never see Old England again.


Bombardier W Hudghton, Royal Field Artillery, of 21 Jubilee Street, New Bilton, who is at present in Lincoln Hospital suffering from injuries received while acting as a dispatch rider about a fortnight ago, passed through a very unpleasant experience, from which he was only extricated by his own coolness. From a letter written to his wife, it appears that he was carrying a message from one General to another, and while he was galloping across a ploughed field his “ old friend,” his horse, received three shots, and “ the poor beggar died.” Bombardier Hudghton was pinned under his horse, and two Germans, observing this, and presumably thinking that he was incapacitated, advanced towards him. They, however, failed to perceive him take his carbine from its place, and he managed to shoot one. The “ other bloke ” then pointed his rifle at the New Bilton man, but the latter got his shot home first, thus accounting for the pair. Bombardier Hudghton is now suffering from injuries to the knee caused by his horse falling with him.



A member of the Rugby Police Force, who was called up to his regiment on the outbreak of hostilities, paid a brief visit to Rugby this week, and in an interview gave a few of his experiences to our representative. He took part in the initial fighting round Mons and the glorious retreat, and also in subsequent engagements, and thus has an interesting story to relate.


He saw a very brave act performed by a German. The Company to which he belonged charged a German natural trench and took the enemy by surprise. The bulk of the Germans threw up their hands in token of surrender, while others ran away, but were immediately shot down. One man, however, fought on, and an Englishman went for him with a bayonet. The German seized the bayonet with one hand, and when another man went for him he took hold of his bayonet with the other hand. A third man came up, however, and with a well-directed thrust accounted for him ; the German, grinding his teeth, made use of a few choice expressions as he fell. Upon searching this man they found him to be in possession of the Iron Cross.


As has already been reported, the opposing troops fraternised together on Christmas Day at various parts of the line, but at one point an exceedingly unfortunate incident occurred. The Rugby man, thinking he had some friends in the Monmouthshire Regiment, walked along to their trenches, and there saw a sergeant who had been mortally wounded while trying to fraternise with the Germans. It appears that the sergeant had advanced unarmed towards the German trenches, carrying a box of cigarettes, and motioned to the enemy to come the remainder of the distance, but they refused to do so. He, therefore, returned to his trench, but shortly afterwards started off again, intending to go the whole way this time. When he got half across, however, a shot was fired, and over he went, but, although he was mortally wounded, he managed to get up again and run to his own trench, not, however, before one of his mates had accounted for one of the Germans, who were sitting outside their trenches, so that it was “ a life for a life.” Firing went on as usual then for a time, but, subsequently a better spirit prevailed, and the Germans apologised to the Monmouths for shooting their sergeant, explaining that it was an accident.

The Rugby sergeant’s Christmas dinner consisted of chicken, boiled cabbage, and potatoes and splendid plum-pudding. He explained that it was only with the Saxons that the English fraternised. These men were far more gentlemanly than any other German race, in fact, they “ played the game.” The Prussians, who, with the Uhlans were mainly instrumental for the outrages, did not believe in that sentiment


The sergeant’s opinion of the German troops was that they were first-class soldiers ; they were very clever and had their share of pluck. One advantage the British had ; the Germans were not so good at pushing home an attack as the British were. As an illustration he stated that on one occasion the Germans were massed in preparation for an attack, but they were observed by the British just in the nick of time, and a heavy rifle and Maxim fire was directed upon them. They could hear the German officers, who were at the rear of the men, urging them on in very strong terms, but without avail, and the enemy soon turned and fled, whereas the British would have pushed the attack home at all cost. At the commencement of the war they leaned to the opinion that the German infantry were not good shots, but they had since learned, differently ; and they had discovered that the Germans had corps of snipers who were deadly. While the German officers were fine men, who knew their work, the British officers were the bravest men in the world. As an example of coolness and pluck, he stated that he was one day in a building with a captain, when a shell came hurtling through the roof. They both escaped via the window, and almost before the masonry had ceased to fall, the captain had whipped out a camera and obtained a snap-shot. Speaking of the German artillery, the sergeant’s experience was that its bark was worse than its bite. Whereas the British only fired when they had a target, the Germans were continually blazing away whether there was a target or not, and they must have wasted a great quantity of ammunition in this way.


After relating to our representatives stories of outrages on women, and the manner in which three British cavalrymen were done to death and mutilated by the Uhlans, the sergeant stated that the British had had a great number of there stretcher-bearers shot by the Germans. At the commencement of the war they always put the Red Cross flag in a prominent place upon the buildings, which were used for treating the wounded, but it was found that the flag only drew fire, and the hospitals were invariably shelled. Now, instead of putting the flag in a prominent place it was simply stuck in the ground near the hospital, to show the troops where to take the wounded.




A meeting of the Warwickshire War Relief Fund Committee was held at the Shire Hall, Warwick, on Wednesday, Lord Algernon Percy presiding.

The Organising Committee reported that the conditions of trade throughout the area of the County Committee seemed good, and very little distress existed up to the period ending January 30th, the number of civil cases of distress dealt with by the local committees was 66, the total sum thus expended in relief being £112 12s 9d. Further grants amounting to £185 had been made to local committees. This brought the total amount of the grants made to local committees to £325.

The Hon Treasurer reported that the balance at the bank was £6,083, including £500 already ear-marked for the Warwickshire Branch of the Red Cross Society. It was decided to send £3,275 to the Prince of Wales’s Fund as a second instalment.

Mr Batchelor, the chairman of the Belgian Refugees’ Sub-Committee, reported that the number of refugees at present in the county area was about 1,300, excluding the large towns. The question of employment had proved to be a most difficult problem. A few farmers had applied for agricultural labourers, but in most cases they could not undertake to find accommodation for the families, which was essential. The question of whether refugees, receiving hospitality and earning wages, should contribute towards their maintenance, had been much discussed, and finally the Birmingham Committee, in conjunction with managers from various homes, had agreed to recommend that refugees should be asked to contribute one-third of their wages towards their maintenance, and that they be advised to bank as much as possible of the remainder for the day of repatriation.


On Saturday, Mrs H H Mulliner and Mr F van den Arend visited the Alexandra Palace, London, to select more refugees for Newton House and “ The Beeches ” Clifton. From the 4,000 refugees in this building they chose the following :- Aloysuis Ogiers, cabinet-maker, Buoght, and his wife and seven children ; and Andrie Avaerts, coachman, Antwerp, and his wife and four children. They also brought away a tailor and his wife and child, for the Welford Refugees’ Committee ; and Sidoni Buylaert, the wife of a soldier, her five children, and brother, Henri Torfs (who has volunteered for service but been rejected), for the Barby and Kilsby Committee, who have provided an excellently furnished house for their reception.

On Wednesday, Mr Van den Arend fetched another family, Edward Hoeyendonck, railway worker, his wife and four children, for “ The Beeches.” This family comes from the neighbourhood of Malines, and left on August 24th, since when they travelled from place to place, reaching London a fortnight ago.

We are informed that there are now 83 Belgian refugees working in the town, who are not receiving the hospitality of any committee, and these are all registered by the Board of Trade at the office of the Newton House War Refugees’ Committee, which is regarded by the authorities in London as the official committee in Rugby. We understand that the Newton House Committee only provides funds for the refugees there, which, with those at “ Beeches,” now number 102, and that they will shortly apply for financial assistance from the residents of Rugby. Money has been sent by several people, including a very acceptable cheque for £75 from Mr W Wiggins, part of the proceeds of the sale of a sheep in Rugby Market.


The past week has been one of the slackest experienced at the Drill Hall for same time. The following have been attested :- A.S.C : F H West, E S Watts, A Turrall, and A V Brown. R.W.R : W F Woolfe, A F Brown, W Warland, and E W Nicholls. Oxon and Bucks L.I : R Megson. Coldstream Guards : C R Lee. 16th Lancers : J H Toomey. R.F.A : W F Hessey. R.M.A.C : John Clarke.

Simpson, Anthony Henry. Died 1st Feb 1915

Anthony Henry Simpson
Lieutenant, 1st Bn. Royal Warwickshire Regiment

Anthony Henry Simpson was born in Rugby on 28 December 1887 and baptised on 7th March 1888 at Holy Trinity Church. His parents were James Herbert Simpson MD, consulting medical officer to Rugby Hospital and his wife Charlotte Maria (nee Wilson). They were married at St John’s church, Ealing on 16th November 1878.

He attended Hillbrow School and then Rugby School, before going to Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He then became an assistant master at Tonbridge School, where he was an officer in the O.T.C. On 24th December 1914 he was gazetted Lieutenant to the Special Reserve of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

Picture from , De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour, 1914-1919

Picture from , De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour, 1914-1919

He arrived in France on 19th January 1915. He died at the Base Hospital, Boulogne on 1st February from Bronchitis contracted while on active service. He is buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery.



Milne, John Robert. Died 1st Feb 1915

John Robert Milne
6174, 2nd Bn., Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)

Bandsman John Robert (Jack) Milne was born around 1883 in Dublin, Ireland. His father was Colour Sergeant Thomas Milne, who became a drill instructor at Rugby School.

After attending St Matthews School, Jack joined the Scottish Rifles in August 1898 as a band boy and served throughout the Boer War. At 6ft 2in, he was a keen sportsman and was in the Battalion football and cricket teams.

At the outbreak of WW1 he was with his regiment in Malta and after a short stay in England (including twelve hours in Rugby) he arrived at the front on 5th November 1914.

On November 29th he was injured at Armentieres. Some comrades who had been sent out to get water got too close to the German lines and two of them were shot. Jack, a stretcher bearer was the first to reach the casualties and started to dress one of the wounded men. He was shot by a sniper 200 yards away. The bullet entered close to the spine and came out under the left breast. He remained conscious and was taken to the Field Hospital.

“He kept very bright and cheerful all the time until his death. He remained at the base hospital until the New Year, and then was brought to England and taken to the Royal Herbert Hospital (Woolwich), where he lay for another 32 days, although paralysed from the waist downward, to all appearances improving; but on the 1st February he seemed to get a change, and gradually faded away without having had any pain.”
(Rugby Advertiser 13 Feb 1915)

The funeral took place on the 5th February 1915 and he was buried with full military honours at Shooters Hill Cemetery. The Band of the Royal Field Artillery preceded the gun carriage. His two brothers, Will and Thomas, lowered him into the grave.