17 Apr 1915. Rugby Territorials Ready For Anything

LETTER FROM THE FRONT.

T Wallace, who is with the Rugby Howitzer Battery at the front, writing to his mother, says they had a lovely passage across the Channel, and then a 24-hours’ journey by rail—after which he made up his mind never to say anything against English railways. He adds : “ We have not seen any Germans yet—only a few prisoners ; but we can hear the guns quite plain. We are in a place where the Germans have been over once and were driven out at the point of the bayonet. . . . I am looking forward to taking my clothes off to-night for the first time since Sunday, and getting some sleep. Don’t forget to send the Advertiser out. There is nothing else I want. We were well served out with clothing before leaving England. We are living in an old chapel—fairly comfortable—for the present. We don’t know how long it will be before our battery has a packet at the Germans—but I don’t think it will be long.”

RUGBY TERRITORIALS READY FOR ANYTHING.

Four old Murrayians attached to the machine gun section of the 1st-7th Royal Warwicks, at present “ somewhere in France,” have written to their old schoolmaster, in which they say :—“ So far we are all feeling fit and ready for anything. After leaving our training quarters in England we had a very pleasant voyage across the water, except for the fact that we were rather overcrowded in the boat. On landing we spent the first night under canvas, and left the following day for some unknown destination. We were 24 hours in the train, which unfortunately was not quite as luxurious as the old L & N-W Railway. They packed us in cattle trucks ; but still, we made it an enjoyable journey. Since leaving the train we have had various billets, such as barns and empty houses, which have plenty of ventilation, thanks to the German shells. During our short stay in one of the base towns we had plenty of trench digging, which served to keep us fit. We had our first spell in the trenches about five days ago, and spent the best part of Easter there. The Germans evidently did not forget that it was Easter, for they sent, us one or two nice eggs over in the shape of shrapnel. At present we are billeted in a town which is used for resting troops, a few miles behind the firing line. Taking it on the whole, under the present conditions we are enjoying ourselves and getting plenty of good food.”

RIFLEMAN DODSON.

Rifleman Dodson, of the Rifle Brigade, son of Mr Edward Dodson, of Newbold-on-Avon, who, as reported in the Advertiser last week, was killed on March 24th. Deceased, who was 22 years of age, was working at the Cement Works at the time he enlisted in September. He went to France about six weeks ago. He fell in a battle during which a friend from Cosford, who went out with him, was bayonetted and killed. He was a member of the Newbold II football team, of which he was vice-captain for two years, and he sometimes played for the first team.

RUGBY TOWN PLAYER KILLED IN ACTION.
PRIVATE GEORGE RICE.

Followers of Association football in Rugby and district will hear with regret that George Rice, one of the half-backs of the Rugby Town Club, has been killed in action. Pte Rice, who was a reservist in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and who, previous to being called to the colours, was employed as a polisher at the B.T.H, Coventry, was 28 years of age, and leaves a wife and three children. Rice was a popular player, and a clever half-back, and before, signing on for the Rugby Club he did good service for Lord Street Juniors and Longford, and possessed a handsome set at medals, comprising Winners ; Two “ Midland Daily Telegraph,” one Birmingham Junior, four Coventry and Warwickshire League Championship, two Bedworth Nursing Cup, two Rugby Hospital Cup. Runners up: One Coventry and Warwickshire League, two “ Midland Daily Telegraph,” two Foleshill Nursing Cup, and the Coventry Nursing Cup.

RUGBY TERRITORIAL INJURED.

Bombardier A J Vingoe, of the Rugby Howitzer Battery, has written to his wife, residing at 10 Kimberley Road, Rugby, stating that he has been invalided to England and is now in hospital at Southend, as the result of injuries received “ somewhere in France ” on Easter Monday. Bombardier Vingoe was with the advance party of the battery, which was expecting to go into action on the following day, when he fell down some steps in a barn and fractured his arm. Previous to the war, Bombardier Vingoe, who is believed to be the first local Territorial to sustain injuries, was employed as an instrument maker at the B.T.H.

RECRUITING AT RUGBY.

The following have been accepted at the Rugby Drill Hall during the past week :—Royal Warwick Regiment, J Varney, A Farmer, and V G Paremain ; A.S.C, E H Blinco, E Badby, J Bansfield, H S Pemberton, and C Hart. Butchers and bakers are required for the Army Service Corps, and also men for the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Dr WHEELER, North Street, Rugby, is serving with the Royal Army Medical Corps, and Dr Grant, of Albert Street, is serving with the Highland Light Infantry.

Harry Douglas, son of Mr and Mrs Douglas, of 87 Cambridge Street, also late of the Rugby Town Fire Brigade, has been invalided home through injuries received while serving in the Royal Field Artillery.

The 9th (Service) Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, quartered at Blackdown, Surrey, did an exceptionally good performance in the recent musketry course, coming out top of the 13th Division of Lord Kitchener’s New Army. The weather was not conducive to good shooting, and the men had to use the new service rifle, to which they were not well acquainted. In the “ A ” Company of the Battalion, who scored most points in the course, there are a good many Rugbeians.

Pte Clifford, 2nd Grenadier Guards, attached to the 1st Irish Guards, who was serving in the Rugby Police Force when be was recalled to the Colours last August, has been shot through the left hand. Pte Clifford, who has been at the front from the commencement of the war, is the third member of the Rugby Police Force who has been wounded, the others being Pte Higginson, of the 2nd life Guards, and Pte Nicholls, Gloucesters. Pte Clifford, who had resolved to enlist in the army, had only a few days to serve in the Police Force when he was called up.

G P Rathbone, youngest son of Mr W T Rathbone, Hillmorton, who enlisted in the 3rd Birmingham City Battalion in October, has received a commission as second lieutenant in the 11th North Staffordshire Regiment. He is at present undergoing a course of instruction at Leeds University previous to joining the regiment.

NEW BILTON MAN WOUNDED A SECOND TIME.

Mrs H Anderson, 39 Pinfold Street, has received news that her son, Pte John Elson, of the Northumberland Fusiliers, was wounded by a bullet in the arm, on April 3rd, in the field, and is at present in hospital at Guildford. Pte Elson, who is a reservist, and was employed by a local builder before the war, has himself written to his mother stating that he is progressing well. This is the second time he has been wounded in this war, the first occasion being several months ago, when he sustained a rather serious gunshot wound in the back and side.

MORE SOLDIERS AND MILITARY WORKERS BADLY NEEDED.

The Chairman of the Urban District Council has received a letter from Colonel Browne, commanding the sixth recruiting area, urging that more men for the Royal Warwickshire Regiment are badly needed, and stating that if we are to carry this war through successfully and quickly every man of eligible age ought either to be under arms, making munitions of war, or serving their country in some capacity.

Colonel Browne appeals through the Chairman of the Urban District Council to the small employers of labour to release every available man, and expresses the opinion that if these employers realised the very critical position of the very existence of their business owing to the war they would co-operate in every way.

Colonel Browne acknowledges how splendidly Rugby has done, but urges that more men are still wanted.

RUGBY VOLUNTEER TRAINING CORPS.

There are now upwards of 250 members of this organisation in Rugby, and it is hoped that all the other men who are eligible will come forward and join the Corps. The duties the Corps is now asked to undertake, which were outlined in a recent issue, make it extremely urgent in the national interests that a strong and efficient force should be raised. However urgent a man’s private business is it is desirable that all should recognise that the existence of that business depends upon the safety of the country, and that they should be prepared to devote a small portion of their time in assisting to preserve this safety.

RUGBY YEOMEN ON THE WAYFARER.

The “ C ” Squadron of the Warwickshire Yeomanry have left their war station for a foreign destination and sailed last week-end.

The Squadron, which includes the Rugby Troop, passed through Rugby Station on Thursday midnight en route for the port of embarkation.

Amongst those on board the Wayfarer, which is supposed to have been torpedoed or mined when off the Scilly Isles, and was subsequently beached at Queenstown, were at least three members of the Rugby Yeomanry Troop-Troopers Farndon, Ellis Reeve, and Biddle. Mr A H Reeve, butcher, of North Street, had a telegram from his son on Monday to say he was safe.

A Falmouth contemporary states that the Wayfarer left Avonmouth with equipment and some men on board. Interviewing one of the rescued yeomen, a correspondent states that at 2.15 on Sunday afternoon a frightful explosion was heard. Steam and smoke rose to a tremendous height, and there was big smashing of glass. The hay which was on board for the horses was blown everywhere. The men took to the boats—one of which contained nearly 50—and rowed about until they were picked up. The men had to get away from the Vessel in what they stood up in and for the rest all was lost, including in some instances a fair amount of money.

The main body of yeomen sailed on another vessel.

SWINFORD YEOMAN REPORTED DROWNED.

A report has reached Swinford that Trooper E R I Powell, son of the Rev J G Powell, vicar of Swinford, has been drowned. It is stated that the boat in which he and others were making their escape from the Wayfarer after the explosion capsized.

CASUALTIES AMONG L & N-W RAILWAYMEN.

According to the April number of the “ L & N-W Railway Gazette,” there were 1,058 casualties reported among L & N-W Railway men with the Forces between February 19th and March 15th. The list includes the following :—Killed: H R Barwick, East Anglian Engineers (Wolverton). Died from wounds: T C Tooth, Bucks Territorials (Wolverton); C Manning, Northamptonshire Regiment (Rugby). Wounded or sick: J W Windsor, 1st Worcester Regiment (Rugby) : F White; 3rd Worcester Regiment (Northampton) ; C J Houghton, 1st Bedford Regiment (Bletchley) ; W Rawlins, Duke of Cornwall’s L.I (Northampton) ; J Taylor, Middlesex Regiment (Wolverton) ; C Rose, Royal Field Artillery (Wolverton) ; W J Cooke, Oxford and Bucks L.I (Wolverton) ; J H Busson, Army Service Corps (Rugby).

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR.

THE DRINK QUESTION.

SIR,—It is gratifying to read in your last issues Mr R Dumas’ opinion that drinking habits have not interfered with the work of the B.T.H Company. I would claim for the Rugby Land Society a large share in bringing about so satisfactory a result. That society in all their conveyances have prohibited any buildings erected on their plots being used as public-houses, with the result that in all the streets they have laid out the residents are freed from the temptations that are so frequent in the central and older part of Rugby,

It is somewhat curious that in the older parts the licensed houses are to be found in groups of three, and here and there two adjoin one another.

The site of the licensed house in Oxford Street was obtained independently of the Land Society.

April 14th.            J W KENNING.

SHOP ASSISTANTS AND THE WAR.

DEAR SIR,—As a shop-assistant (and grocer, too), may I write in defence of myself and assistants generally and try to show to a certain class of people who are never tired of throwing out silly sarcastic remarks, devoid of all humour, as to why we shop-assistants are not supposed to be enlisting in the numbers that we might. Let me refute that statement, for I know grocery firms in Rugby who have sent 20% and over of their employees to the colours. This means a very serious handicap to the carrying on of “ Business as usual.”

No doubt more could be spared, if certain section of the so-called “ patriotic ” public would be patriotic enough to have a little more consideration for the short-handed tradesman, who, and justly too, is obliged to keep up, if possible, a full staff to deal competently with his customers—the patriotic (?) section, who wave flags, and shout “ Enlist! enlist ! ” to the man who calls for orders ; and then telephones three and four times a day for goods to be “ sent at once ! ” or “ I shall go elsewhere ! ” Is it likely that master men are going to release their trained assistants when they are open to such competition as this ? And do these particularity patriotic persons stop to think if they are giving up themselves half so much as they are expecting these shop assistants to give up ?

How many shop-assistants are being dealt with in the same manner as are the recruits from the Works here in Rugby, who, I believe, receive a third pay (or half-pay, if married), and an open place when they return ?

This is a matter purely for the master-men I know, but it make a vast difference in the quality of our patriotism, and it eases the road to the Drill Hall. Not that I maintain that shop-assistants should be treated in the same liberal manner, but it is, just a point in my argument that should not be lost sight of when sneering at shop-assistants for not enlisting.

I and others often get sneered at by the very people who are keeping us here, who spend enough on one dinner of the week to pay a dozen of we assistants a part of our pay while fighting our battles, and their’s.

Let these people help to send us, we are ready and eager to go, ready to give up not only our positions, but, maybe, our lives. Let us go as their “ special ” soldiers, as they cannot go themselves. If this is too much for them to do, if this is too “ real ” a way for them to show their patriotism for our dear old country, then do not sneer at the shop-assistant, if he also puts self first. Give him a little more encouragement, a little more real help, and show him that you are really patriotic, then you will be surprised at the vast number of shop assistants who are willing to join the army and do their “ little bit.”— Believe me, Dear Sir, Yours faithfully,

B. L. H. (THE GROCER’S MAN).

 

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