29th May 1915. Rugby Soldier’s Experiences


Pte George Randall, of the 2nd Rifle Brigade, formerly of Barby, who has been out at the front since January 19th, has returned to his home, 48 Grosvenor Road, Rugby, for a few days’ leave. Pte Randall was wounded in the left arm on May 9th, while the British artillery were shelling the German positions, preparatory to the recent successful advance. This is the second time he has been wounded, the previous occasion being at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle. This was only of a slight nature, however, and did not necessitate his leaving the trenches. The bombardment preceding the attack at Neuve Chapelle, Pte Randall describes as “ hell on earth.” The whole sky was lighted up with flames, the roar of the guns was deafening, and the destruction to life and property appalling. The Rifle Brigade was the first regiment to enter Neuve Chapelle, and they immediately commenced to dig themselves in, in the belief that they had cleared out all the Germans. Bullets were continually falling around them, however, and a strict look out was kept. Eventually a flash was observed to come from one of the few houses that was standing, and a party was immediately dispatched to this point. On arriving here they discovered that the Germans had taken refuge in the cellar, and a hand grenade was thrown down. The English corporal then enquired how many were there, and the reply came back “ Four.” Then divide that amongst you,” shouted the corporal as he threw another grenade down. It was afterwards discovered that there were eleven Germans in the cellar, of whom three were killed and eight wounded. The Rifle Brigade had to remain in the trenches at Neuve Chapelle for eleven days. Alluding to the recent British advance, Pte Randall stated that the fighting was much fiercer than at Neuve Chapelle.

Speaking of the terrible destruction which was occasioned by the heavy artillery, our informant stated that one evening when they were going to the trenches they saw a church which had been completely destroyed, and the only thing which was standing was a crucifix. This was absolutely unscathed, despite the fact that the case in which it had been enclosed was smashed to atoms. Needless to say this made quite an impression on all the men who passed by in absolute silence. He saw two other crucifixes at other places which were standing desolate, but unharmed, amid wholesale ruins. Pte Randall mentioned that he had only one experience of poison gas, and on that occasion the wind was very unsteady, and he believed that it did as much, if not more, damage to the Germans than to the English. Only one man in their section was affected, and he but slightly.

The question of the attacks upon Lord Kitchener then came up, and Pte Randall expressed in the most emphatic terms the confidence which all the men at the front place in the War Secretary. “ He is worshipped out there, and his detractors won’t get much support from the men at the front.” There are quite a number of Rugbeians in the Rifle Brigade. Corpl G Reynolds, the Rugby footballer, joined this Battalion, but has now been drafted to the artillery.


Lance-Corpl Harry Payne, of Long Lawford aged 20, was three years in the army, and belonged to the 1st Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He went to France in August, and had seen a good deal of the fighting. He was killed in action on 25th April at Ypres. His brother, Private George Payne, of the 2nd Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, has been a prisoner in Germany since October. His father, N Payne, an old soldier, has re-enlisted with the Royal Warwicks, and is now at Coventry.


PRIVATE W WEBB WOUNDED.—Only last week we recorded the fact that Lance-Corporal J T Webb, the son of Mr and Mrs Charles Webb had been wounded. On Monday they received a post card to say that their other son had been wounded. The only notification was from the British Red Cross Society, that he was at the Military Hospital, Cardiff. Private W Webb belongs, like his brother, to the 1st Worcester Regiment. He volunteered early after the war began, but was not sent to the front so soon as his brother. For several years he was a capital member of the Brandon and Wolston Boy Scouts, of which he became one of the patrol-leaders. His parents not hearing from him feared he was dangerously wounded, but a communication somewhat relieved them. It stated that he was getting on very well, but his right arm, having a bullet wound, he was unable to write himself. He was very bright, and but for his arm looked very well.


As we briefly announced last week, Mr J R Porter, of 56 Avenue Road, New Bilton, has received intimation that his younger son, Rifleman George R Porter, of the King’s Royal Rifles, was killed in action on May 8th. Rifleman Porter, who was 21 years of age, had been in the K.R.R four years, and at the outbreak of war was stationed in India. His regiment landed in England in November, and was drafted to the front before Christmas. Early in the New Year Rifleman Porter was invalided home with a frostbitten and poisoned foot, and returned to France on Easter Sunday. He was an excellent shot, and in 1913 held the regimental medal for boxing (novices, 9st 6lb). Before joining the K.R.R he served four months in the Royal Warwicks Special Reserve, and he formerly belonged to the j Boys’ Brigade.


PRIVATE HERBERT GRIFFITHS, of the Rifle Brigade, who, as reported last week, was killed in action on April 27th.


Pte Clifford, of the Grenadier Guards, has written to say that he has been wounded, and is in the base hospital. He is doing well. This is the second time that Pte Clifford, who previous to the war was a member of the Rugby Police Force, has been wounded.


We regret to hear that Pte Nicholls, of the Gloucester Regiment, who previous to the outbreak of war was a member of the Rugby Police Force, has been killed in action. The news was contained in the following letter, written to a friend by the platoon sergeant:—“ I am very sorry to inform you that Pte Nicholls died in battle on the 15th inst. A brave man he lived, a brave man he died. We were ordered to re-take a trench, and he lost his life in the operation.” Pte Nicholls’ death will be generally regretted in the town, where as a constable he was well known and highly respected. In February last he was badly wounded, and was invalided home, returning to the front on his recovery.


Ptc L Stewart, of the Rugby Territorial Company “ somewhere in France,” writes :- “ You cannot realise how keep the chaps are to scan the Rugby Advertiser. They went into the trenches last night (May 16) after a four days’ rest—well, supposed to be a rest. The previous time in the trenches lasted six days, and they had a warm time of it, during which they lost Corpl Johnson. Everyone feels his loss keenly. He was one of the most popular men in the Company. The weather this week has been unsettled, and we have experienced some heavy rains. A few days’ rain makes everything so rotten, especially when living under canvas. . . . I think the finest column in the Advertiser this week is the one containing the Rev 0 T B McNulty’s letter headed “ Religious ministrations at the front.” Every word was true to the letter, I have seen him several times.”


No less than 24 employees of Messrs Frost & Sons, printers, Warwick Street, Rugby have responded to their country’s call, and four of them have been promoted to the non-commissioned ranks. They are : F Tucker, joined Rifle Brigade in September, Sergeant ; C Roberts, joined K.R.R in September, Sergeant, and now in France ; A G Towell, joined Howitzer Battery in January last, Corporal ; and W McKay, joined Lincolnshires in September, Corporal.-Unfortunately, E A Piper, 1st Batt Royal Warwickshire Regiment, who joined in August, and has been out in France since October, has been officially reported as missing since April 25th, on which date the Warwicks lost a lot of men at Hill 60. To keep the employees at home in touch with those at the front the firm print for circulation amongst them from time to time a little brochure, in which the roll of honour, the casualties, and the last dates from which news was received from any of the men, are recorded. Interesting extracts from letters, and notes skilfully made up in technical phraseology, together with encouraging words of approval, encouragement, and appreciation from the proprietors, help to fill the twelve pages, which are enclosed in stout khaki covers, printed in patriotic design. The get-up is in keeping with the high standard of work turned out by Messrs Frost, and is no doubt eagerly welcomed by their representatives at the front.


Ashlawn Red Cross Hospital was re-opened on Friday last week to receive wounded soldiers. About 25 arrived in the evening, and were met by the Ambulance Brigade and conveyed to the hospital. Three of them belong to the K.O.S.B and two to the Inniskillings ; the remainder to other regiments. Only three are from the Dardanelles ; the others received their injuries at Ypres. Some of them have been badly wounded.

Twelve Canadians arrived on Wednesday evening. Their wounds are not serious, and they hope to go out again soon. All the others are doing well.

Gifts for the patients at the hospital have been received from the following :—Mr Badham, Mrs Fenwick, Mr Flint, Mr Garrett, Mrs Giddons, Hon Mrs Hastings, Mrs Horton, Mrs Little, Miss Lucking, Mr Mallam, Mrs Neilson, Mr Graham Paterson, Lady Rowena Paterson, Mrs Rose, Miss Stanley, Mrs G Sumner, Mrs Saunders, Mrs Stevens, Miss Varnish, Mrs Wheeler, Mrs West, and Miss Irwin.

Surgical Instruments, from Dr Roche, Dunchurch.

The Rugby Hairdressers’ Association has promised to attend the patients every week.

Miss Buckley has kindly consented to attend three days a week for massage, and the Misses Fenwick are continuing to do all laundry work for the soldiers free of charge.

Number of patients now in hospital, 37.


With a view to encouraging and assisting the breeding of light horses, the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries have been authorised by the War Office to arrange for the sale of some mares which have been returned from abroad as no longer suitable for use with the Expeditionary Force, and which have been specially selected by the Board as of types suitable for breeding purposes.

The mares will be kept under the care and observation of the Board for a month after their return from abroad, and will then be sold by public auction on the express condition that they are not at any time to be exported out of the country.

North, Walter Robert. Died 26th May 1915

The name W R North appears on the Rugby Memorial Gates.

The only person who died in WW1 to match this name is Walter Robert North who died on 26th May 1915. We have not found any connection with Rugby.


Walter Robert North was born in Devizes, Wiltshire in 1886. His parents were George Edward and Amelia (nee Bateman) who had married in Camberwell in 1879. Both were born in Oxfordshire and George was working as a prison warder in Devises at the time.

By 1901 the family had returned to Oxford and in 1907 Walter married Clara Ann Kilbee there. In 1991 He was working as a Tram Conductor. They had three children.

At the start of the war Walter enlisted, at Oxford, in the Queens Own Oxfordshire Hussars, as a private (regimental no 1607) and arrived in France/Flanders on 20 September 1914.

At some point he was wounded and died of wounds on 26th May 1915. He was buried at Oxford (Botley) Cemetery.

Perhaps some indication of where he received his injuries is the birth in Oxford, on 2nd November 1915, of Robert Walter Ypres North.



Hunt, Albert John. Died 27th May 1915

Albert John HUNT

b.1877 –   Wolverhampton

Parents –Richard John HUNT (Passenger Guard) – Jane Sarah HUNT (Fuller) m. 1873 – Bethnall Green


He married Agnes HALEY (b.1868 Gravesend) m – 1905 at LEWISHAM

1881 census –   Living at Vicarage Hill Clifton age 4

1891 census –   Living at Cambridge St. Age 14 (Errand boy)

1901 census –   Living at Royal Artillery Barracks, Green Hill Schools Repository, Gun Park & Observatory.

1911 census –   In India with Agnes.

They had no children.

He made the Army his career and rose to the rank of Regimental Sergeant Major in the Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Field Artillery.

Albert John Hunt

Albert John Hunt

Albert J. HUNT fought in the Balkan battle at Gallipoli Turkey and was killed in action on the 27th May 1915 and is buried in the cemetery and remembered on the Helles memorial.

He was awarded the Campaign, Victory & British War Medals.

22nd May 1915. Anti German Feeling in Rugby


On Friday night last week a crowd assembled at the top of High Street, and made a hostile demonstration against Mr Meerholz, a naturalised German, who runs a hair-dressing establishment on premises also used as a branch post office. As soon as it was dusk people began to congregate ; but, on the whole, good humour prevailed until about 11 p.m. when a stone was thrown through the plate-glass window of the shop and another through the bedroom window. Inspector Lines, Sergt Goodwin, and about eight constables were on duty in the vicinity. They controlled the crowd well, and at about 11.30 induced the people who had assembled to quietly return to their homes. Mr Meerholz’s shop window was boarded up to prevent further damage.

On the following day rumours gained currency it that further raids would be made on the place, and also upon a house at Bilton. A considerable number of police-nearly a hundred were quietly drafted into the town, and were kept in readiness in the respective localities, but there was no attempt to give effect to the alleged threats. A number of people assembled in High Street, but more out of curiosity than in a spirit of mischief.

The demonstration was referred to in several places of worship in the town on Sunday.

Preaching at the evening service in the Parish Church, the Rector (the Rev C M Blagden) said :-“ We feel that on our belief in the Godhead of Jesus Christ depends our belief in the authority of His teaching. ‘Never man so spake’ as He did, and when He lays stress on judgment, mercy, and faith as essential qualities in the Christian character we are bound to observe what he tells us. It is from this point of view that I wish to protest publicly against the hooliganism which brought dishonour on our town on Friday night last week. Lynch law is no part of the teaching of our Lord. It provokes retaliation ; it makes no distinction between innocent and guilty ; it always falls heaviest on defenceless women and children ; it is in its essence utterly un-Christian. Those who were guilty of the violence which fills us all with shame and disgust will find a much better field for their activity in Flanders, where there are plenty of armed enemies waiting for them.


Allusion was made to the incident by the Vicar of New Bilton (Rev F Challenor), who said he thought it was a very disgraceful thing to do. That which we hated in the Germans we were in danger of developing ourselves, and he urged New Bilton people to take no part in such proceedings.



SIR,- I have seen with pleasure that you have reprinted my letter of May 12th in “ The Times,” and as I now live the greater part of the year in Warwickshire, I am only to pleased to supplement that letter.

As far back as 1867, my father took out expatriation papers for me “ a minor ” after the free city of Frankfurt had lost its independence through being annexed by Prussia, an act against which he and others strongly protested. After a few years of travel, I settled in London in 1870, and became naturalised in 1876. I have already condemned and expressed my abhorrence of the German acts and methods in this war, and perhaps I may now add that my only son has been fighting with the British Army since last October.-Yours faithfully,


22 Upper Brook Street, W.

May 20th, 1915.


DEAR SIR,- The letter in your last issue gives me a welcome opportunity of giving public expression to my feelings of grief, horror, and indignation at the crimes committed by the German Government. They are the outcome of that aggressive arrogant Prussian militarism which I have always denounced, and which has become a standing menace to civilisation and humanity.

As regards my position on the Bench of Magistrates, I have sent my resignation to the Lord Lieutenant of the County, as I realise that under present conditions this position is liable to mis-construction by those who do not know me.-Yours faithfully, F MERTTENS.

Bilton Rise, near Rugby, May 15th.

Mr R B Meerholz, 23 High Street, Rugby, writes to say that he became a naturalised Englishman in the year 1909, and that he has not resided in Germany for the last 17 years. He has for the last 11 years continuously resided in England, his adopted country. He takes this opportunity of expressing his detestation of the conduct of the Germans, and wishes to contradict all rumours to the effect that his sympathies are with them. He heartily desires the success of the Allies.


SIR,-I was amazed on reading the Advertiser this week that such an academic question as to whether Mr Merttens should or should not retain his seat on the Rugby Bench of Magistrates was still being discussed-and this after the Lusitania outrage and the fiendish atrocities recorded in the White Paper issued by the Bryce Commission. Mr Bonar Law has said that the well-to-do German, naturalised or not, is the most dangerous. We know that a German who becomes naturalised in England does not lose his sympathies with the Fatherland ; we know that hundreds of well-to-do Germans have been living amongst us with plenty of leisure and plenty of means, and we know that the means have been supplied by the Fatherland. If the Germans ever do visit Rugby we may rest assured that its admirable position as a railway centre will be very much appreciated by them, and there is not the slightest doubt that they know its many excellent points a great deal better than 90% of its inhabitants do, thanks to their excellent advance agents. I have the greatest sympathy with the people who in some of the large towns have wrecked German property. I say more power to them-they have instrumental in moving the Government. The German has forfeited the respect of the civilised world, and a man who will trust one of them in the future will regret it. – Yours truly, ASHFIELD.


22nd May 1915. Reports from the Dardanelles




At the Baptist Church on Sunday night, the Rev J H Lees read a letter, received by Mr and Mrs Flowers and family, of Dunchurch, from Corpl Walter Whale, of the 1st Border Regiment. Mr Lees said he hesitated to read the letter in a place of worship, but he had decided to do so because it presented so graphic a description of the actual fighting, and brought home to them the need for prayer and self-examination. The letter is dated May 4th, and we make the following extracts from it :-

“ I expect you will have seen by the papers I am wounded and on my way home. We were to have gone in hospital in Alexandria, but when we got there they were full up. I am on a hospital ship now, and the sisters are very kind. I think I am lucky in being sent to England, though, of course, I shall be sent back as soon as I am fit.

“ We landed on Sunday, and had to climb a big cliff before we got to level ground, and as we came over this cliff the enemy were firing on us. Of course, they were knocking out men over in hundreds, as we were right in the open, and they were in trenches only about 200 yards away.

They could scarcely help hitting us, and our men were falling all round me. My officer got killed before we had gone twenty yards. Sergt Johnstone was killed just after. Another of our sergeants got knocked over, and there were, dozens of privates falling all round me. I was expecting to get hit any minute, but we kept advancing. At last the enemy retired ; then it was our turn to shine. As they retired we popped them over. After that we laid down flat and dug trenches the best way we could. Of course, it was a difficult job, but we dared not look up, or we should have had our heads blown off. They did not trouble us for about two hours after that, so we got a trench finished after a style.

“ At night on they came again to about 100 yards from our trench, firing on us the whole time, and we were firing back as fast as our rifles could fire. There were only twenty of us, and two of them were wounded, so that left us 18 to keep that lot back, and with no officer. There were more troops further back, but they could not get to us, nor we to them, so we kept up a rapid fire. I fired about 300 rounds that night. We thought they would rush us any minute. If they had we should have had no earthly chance, for we were so outnumbered. We kept our bayonets fixed ready for them, and in the finish they retired altogether. Didn’t I thank God for the dawn ! I broke my rifle, and took one from one of the dead Royal Fusiliers. We finished off our trench, and had another go at them in the afternoon and all night. We must have killed hundreds of them. An officer came to take charge of us, and he praised us for the work all had done the night before. He said it was wonderful how we kept them back.

“ Tuesday we advanced again and dug more trenches and stayed the night fighting. The next day we advanced to take a hill five miles away, on which the enemy were entrenched. We had to drive them out, and we had had no sleep, and so were exhausted before we started.

“ We were in fall pack, and it was a broiling hot day, so we were told to throw our packs down. It was a bit better without that weight, but they were on the hill with their big guns, and we were advancing, so they just mowed us down.

“ The corporal in charge of our section told me to take charge when he got shot. We had not gone 100 yards before I got hit, too, four times in the back while I was lying down giving orders. I told the men to go on, but I had not been lying there more than ten minutes before our men began retiring. I got up and ran as best I could to the cliff, and then I rolled down to the seashore, when I got picked up and put in a boat. I did sleep when I was put in bed. We had gone four days and nights without sleep. My wounds did not keep me awake. My clothes were cut off me, soaked with blood, so I have not a thread of clothes, only a pair of boots and a cap-not even a shirt. I left everything I had. I am going on finely now, only cannot use my left arm. I was wounded by shrapnel.”


In a number of private letters to Rugby people the death of Sergt Johnstone, of the 1st Border Regiment, is announced. Sergt Johnstone was an earnest Christian man, who took an active part in religious work during the stay of the regiment in Rugby. He conducted services at the Baptist Chapels at Dunchurch and Draycote, and also at the Rugby Railway mission. He was an enthusiastic temperance advocate, and induced many men in the regiment to sign the total abstinence pledge.


One or two Rugby people made a special journey to Manchester on Wednesday in order to visit wounded soldiers home from the Dardanelles, who were billeted in the town. They found Corpl Owens, of the 1st Inniskilling Fusiliers and Pte T Connolly in the military hospital at Crumpsall, and both were delighted to see their friends ; as was also Pte Pat Mullen, who was billeted in Cambridge Street, and is in Trafford Park Hospital, with his face badly damaged.

Corpl Owens has a bullet lodged in his chest which has to be extracted.

Pte Connelly has been badly wounded, as will be gathered from the following letter received by his landlady in Corbett Street :- “I was wounded in two places. I was shot through the arm and through the side, and have been very ill, but am now on the road to recovery. We had very severe fighting and we lost very severely. Our Colonel was killed and half of our officers and about 400 of us were killed and wounded ; but we made the Turks pay very heavily for what we got. At the place we landed there were 20,000 Turks, and there were only 8,000 of us. We captured 2,000 of them, and I don’t know how many we killed and wounded. We got a lot of German officers among them, and we took two forts at the point of the bayonet. The Inniskillings, the Border Regiment, and the Royal Fusiliers, fought splendidly, and lost heavily ; but we won a lot of ground. It take time to force the Dardanelles, as they are so strongly fortified.

Capt Charles Unwin, of the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, son of Dr Unwin, formerly of Dunchurch, who was wounded in the fighting at the Dardanelles, has since died.

Pipe-Major Mackenzie, the stalwart leader of the band of pipers of the K.O.S.B, and who will be remembered by Rugbeians, has, we regret to learn, been killed.


So cordial was the reception given to the troops belonging to the Brigade recently billeted in Rugby that it is not surprising many of the soldiers anticipate with pleasure the time when they will get an opportunity to re-visit the town. At least one wounded soldier-it is reported there have been more-has this week taken advantage of the chance to spend a short time at his old billet. This is Pte Harris, a member of the Border Regiment, who stayed with others at a house in Craven Road. He was shot in the wrist, the bullet afterwards passing into his leg. The first-named injury has caused him to lose the use of two of his fingers. The fighting in the Dardanelles he describes as simply terrible. Two other men billeted in the house have also been wounded. Pte Keelian was shot in the elbow, and is under treatment at a hospital in Manchester, whilst the other man (Pte Greenhow) is reported to have sustained a broken leg and it is feared he may have fallen into the cruel hands of the Turks.



Pte Thornbury, of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, who was billeted with Corpl Owens, at 26 Corbett Street, the home of Mr and Mrs Thos Sheppard, has written to his Rugby friends a letter containing a characteristic Irish ” Bull.” The letter is dated from Malta on May 14th in it Pte Thornbury says : “ I hope you are in good health, only I am wounded.” He adds, however, that the wound is slight, and he expects to be better in a short time. Pte Thornbury proceeds to give an interesting account of his experiences at the Dardanelles :-

“ I have had a hot time of it since I started out here,” he says. “ I have been very lucky. I have been is the mouth of death once, and I don’t know how I got out of it. The Turks are very bad fighters. They would not fight at all, only for German officers leading them. I tell you it felt very strange to us that morning we landed. It was on Sunday. At six o’clock I woke up out of bed to hear big naval guns booming like thunder. Some of our chaps were shot in the water before we got to shore. When I left the firing line our chaps were doing well. I wish this war was over, as I should like to give Rugby a call when I get back.”



During the time the troops were billeted in Rugby several of them attended the Railway Mission, and for ten Sundays in succession the services were sustained by soldiers, who both gave addresses and sang hymns. To commemorate the happy associations the members of the Mission had with the soldiers an address and roll has been prepared ; and on Sunday afternoon, at a service conducted by Mr Frank Ward, this was presented by Mr T Hunter, who made a suitable speech. The document will henceforth occupy an honoured place on the wall of the Mission Room. The address was as follows :-

“ RUGBY RAILWAY Mission.-We desire to place on record our appreciation of the services rendered in this branch off the Mission by members of his Majesty’s Forces during the time the 87th Brigade, 29th Division, was stationed at Rugby, between January and March, 1915.”

Appended are the names of twenty men belonging to the several regiments who worshipped at the Mission, and received a copy of the “ Happy Warrior,” together with a promise that during the war they would be remembered at the services on Sunday mornings.

The proceedings were rather saddened by this news that Sergt Johnstone, who headed the list, had been killed and in a letter from Corpl Northam, dated April 20th (read by Mr Ward), reference was made to this, the writer stating that he did not know what they would do without Sergt Johnstone and Pte Wood, of the R.A.M.C., as the section of the Army to which he belonged had no chaplain with them, and the two men named had made it their custom to conduct religious meetings.

The roll had been very nicely illuminated by Stanley Beard. Down the left-hand side was a golden sceptre with floral embellishments, and an Egyptian landscape scene, crossed naval flags, and an aeroplane hovering over a war vessel had been introduced with good effect.

A solo, “ Thou art passing hence, my brother,” was rendered during the service by Mr W Butcher.


22nd May 1915. Casualties of the War


Mr and Mrs J Wood, of 85 Oxford Street, have received news from the front that their son, Rifleman Leslie Wood, of the Rifle Brigade, is missing. His regiment was engaged in severe fighting in the neighbourhood of Hill 60 on Sunday, May 9th, and after the battle he failed to respond to the roll call, and his fate is, at present, uncertain. Rifleman Wood joined the army in August last, and was drafted to the front about ten weeks ago. He was 21 years of age, and previous to joining the army was employed, in the Controller Factory of the B.T.H. He was a former member of the Holy Trinity Church Choir, and was also a member of the Church Troop of Boy Scouts, in which organization he took a great interest. He is a nephew of Mr W E Robotham, vice-chairman of the Rugby Board of Guardians.


KILLED IN ACTION.-Much sympathy is felt with the Rev W E and Mrs Jackson, who received the news on Friday last week of the loss of their second son, Second-lieut E P Jackson, 3rd Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, but attached to the 1st Battalion South Wales Borderers, killed in action. Lieut Jackson was a young man of great promise and very highly spoken of by his brother officers. Before joining the Army he was pursuing his legal studies, and after he had graduated at his college he intended to take up law as his profession. He seemed to have a peculiar aptitude for legal decisions. His College authorities, as well as his military authorities, speak in the highest terms of his work. All will regret that a young life of such promise should be out off after just having attained his majority.



Mr and Mrs J Hancocks, of Hillmorton Locks, have received the sad mews that their third son, Sergt Herbert Harold Hancocks, of the 3rd Battalion King’s Royal Rifles, was killed in action at Hill 60 on April 26th. Sergt Hancocks, who was 25 years of age, had been in the Army eight years, seven, of which had been spent abroad in Crete, Malta, and latterly India. He was present when the dastardly attempt to assassinate the Viceroy, Lord Hardinge, was made, and some of the scraps of metal from the bomb were embedded in his helmet. He also assisted in lifting Lord Hardinge from the elephant, and was present at the great Durbar. He finished his term as a soldier in July last, but owing to the outbreak of war was unable to return home. His regiment landed in England in November, and proceeded to the front a few days before Christmas. Before leaving for France he spent a few days with his family at Hillmorton. He was one of the best shots in the corps, for which he was awarded at modal. He was also a first-class signaller, and acted as instructor in this branch. An enthusiastic follower of local football, Sergt Hancocks informed his patents that he always looked out for the Rugby Advertiser reports of local matches. The accompanying photograph is reproduced from a group taken in India. Another son of Mr and Mrs Hancocks is serving in Kitchener’s Army.


Mr J C Brown, son of Mr J Brown, of North Street, Rugby, has received a commission as surgeon probationer in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserves.

Lieut-Col and Hon Col H Hanbury has been gazetted lieutenant-colonel of the 7th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

Mr Percy Read, of 86 York Street, who is a compositor at Messrs Frost & Sons, is leaving his work to join the Army. Mr Read was married about two years ago, and as an old Volunteer has been so impressed with the necessities of the military situation that he is giving up his employment and disposing of his home in order to do his “ little bit” for his country. We hope that his patriotic example will be imitated.

Some Royal Engineers were waiting at a railway crossing near Bletchley on Monday when a trainload of German prisoners captured in the Hill 60 fighting passed through. The latter, seeing the British soldiers, spat at them from the carriage windows and made insulting remarks. The Engineers disregarded the jeers, and remained standing at attention.


Corpl F M Staines, 2nd Rifle Brigade, a son of Second Officer Staines, of the Rugby Fire Brigade, has been rather badly wounded. In a letter he states that on Sunday, May 9th, after a bombardment, they made a charge, and after they had captured three German trenches he was wounded in the left hip. He got back somehow, but while he was doing so he received another wound through the right thigh. This was at 6 a.m. on Sunday, and he had to lie where he was until 4 a.m on Tuesday before they could carry him in. He is now in hospital at Boulogne, where he states that he is receiving every attention, and where all are most kind. He concludes his letter with a request for the Rugby Advertiser.- A lady writing from the hospital states that Corpl Staines has undergone an operation, and that he is very plucky in bearing his wounds.


It was with very great regret the news was received of the death at the battle of Ypres, on April 25th, of Pte Charles Hancox, of the 1st Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He was one of first from this village to enlist, and the first to fall in the service of his country. He was of a quiet, unassuming character, and was well liked by everyone. Charlie was a native of Long Lawford, and losing both his parents when he was quite a boy, he and his younger brother were taken to and brought up by the late Mrs Clark, of Kings Newnham, with whom they lived till her death two years ago. He proved himself deserving of all her kindness and care.

Before enlisting he worked for Mr W Dunn as a farm labourer. He went into the trenches on February 22nd. On Sunday evening, after the usual service, the Rector (Rev G W Jenkins) invited those who cared to stay to at memorial service in the Parish Church, where he was a most regular worshipper. Part of the Burial Service was read by the Rector, and the hymn, ” On the Resurrection morning,” was sung. The whole congregation remained to pay their last respect to this young soldier. He was 24 years of age. He had a very deep sense of his duty to his King and country. In a letter received from him, written shortly before his death, his concluding words were : ” Don’t worry about me; God knows best, and that is my hope.”


SIR,  – Lord Kitchener has told me that he needs 360,000 more men.

The War Office has asked the town of Rugby to raise a (Fortress) Company Royal Engineers, and a reply has been sent to the Secretary of the War Office to say that Rugby will raise this company.

The members of the recruiting committee, the leaders of the trades and labour organisations, and many others have done everything they can to put full information before the men. We are still short of about 60 men, especially bricklayers, blacksmiths, carpenters, and masons.

There are plenty of suitable men in Rugby who can join, and I ask them to do so at once in order that the training of the company may go on without any delay.

If man has good reasons for not coming himself, he ought to feel justified in asking others to join. If he does not feel justified in asking others to join, then I ask him again to consider the possibility of coming himself.-I am, sir, yours faithfully.


0.C 22th Fortress Company, R.E.

During the past week the recruits have been drilling at the Howitzer Battery headquarters, and by their smartness and general aptitude for their work have surprised and delighted the experienced non-commissioned officers who are training them. It is hoped that the first batch will receive their uniform in the course of a few days.


The following have enlisted during the past week at the Rugby Drill Hall :- E J Baker, A V Herbert, G E Manser, W V Ingram, W F Bloomfield, T H Lang, W T Boyce, W C Carrick, F G Turner, Rugby Fortress Company; T Holman, Staffords; A J Brett, R.A.M.C ;G J T Collier, Hants Regiment ; C A Bird, Leicestershires ; W H Hallam, Lincolnshire Regiment; E Harris, R.W.R ; J Dorman, L J Turner, and G Facer, Mechanical Transport. A.S.C.


SIR,-I received a postcard through the post this morning with a white leather on and the following words: “ Stop playing with little boys ! Be a man ; play the game ; think it over.” It is generally a wise rule to pay no attention to anonymous letters ; but I think, perhaps, that the sender may be sincere, if ignorant, and I therefore propose to answer it.

Firstly, let me say that I spent four years with the Rugby Boy Scouts – years which cost me all my spare time and a considerable amount of money. I fail to see that I am to be condemned for doing voluntary work.

The following facts may possibly enlighten those who concern themselves with other people’s affairs :-

My business was founded by myself twelve years ago on a capital of £10, and has grown steadily owing to personal effort, until to-day we are handling about £17,000 a year in premiums. A year and a half ago a move was made to larger premises, and consequently heavier expenses were incurred. Six months later war broke out. During these eleven years I never had a salary, but have depended entirely on commission. There have been many anxious moments throughout that time, and the future is naturally very uncertain. Nevertheless, I immediately volunteered for active service in the Royal Flying Corps, armoured car section, or elsewhere, stipulating that I should be given the option of leaving the service at the end of six months. This was refused by the authorities. This insurance business is a personal one and dependent on me, and I see no reason I should be driven into bankruptcy, with the consequent dismissal of my staff and the failure of heavy obligation to some of my relatives.

The idea of sending me a white feather marks the sender as a fool. No one knows until he faces the great crisis whether he is coward or not. So far, any rate in the minor adventures of life, my nerve has not troubled me.

Finally, let me express my disgust at the action of a Rugby inhabitant who is capable of sending such an epistle through the post on a card. My only reason for dealing with the matter at all is to save the feelings of others to whom, no doubt, similar documents may be sent, I am not ashamed of my reasons, hence this letter, which I shall be glad to explain further if the sender has the courage to call at my office or write to me under his or her correct name.


3 Albert Street, Rugby, May 17th.

[Note: Lieutenant Hart Davies of the Royal Flying Corps was killed on 27 July 1917]

Davies, David Claud Graham. Died 15 May 1915

David Claud Graham Davies was born in Llanrwst in 1892. His parents were Thomas John Davies and Annie Louisa (nee Graham) who married at Weston Point in Cheshire in 1890. A younger son James Reginald was born in 1893 and it is possible that Thomas John died in 1894, aged 46.

In 1901 census Annie L Davies head, widow, aged 35 was a Boarding house keeper at 25 Albert Road, South Manchester. She was born in Birkenhead. David was aged 9 and James 8, both born Llanwrst One of several lodgers was Hynek Zaloudek, a ladies tailor, born in Bohemia.

Later that year Annie married her lodger and by 1911, she was living at 72 Mostyn St, Llandudno, N Wales. Two children, Robert and Herbert were listed, and stepson James Reginald Davies an engineering student aged 18. Hynek Zaloudek cannot be found. David (listed as Claude) was boarding with Alfred William Smith at 23 Charlotte Street, Rugby. He was aged 19 and, along with three other young men, was an electrical engineer at British Thompson Houston Co.

By the time the war started Claud Davies was charge hand in the Electrical Laboratory at the B.T.H Works. During his stay in Rugby, he distinguished himself as an athlete. He was a very useful member of the Rugby Hockey Club; he was a motor cyclist, and also distinguished himself as a runner, winning numerous prises at the B.T.H and other sports. He was very popular among his numerous friends.

David Claud Graham Davies. Photo from Rugby Advertiser

Whilst going through an electrical course at Bangor University, he joined the Officers’ Training Corps there, and got his certificate as a lieutenant. On coming to Rugby he, of course, gave up his connection with the corps; but early last year (1914) he received a communication from the War Office asking if he would care to join the Officers’ Reserve. He agreed to do so, was re-examined, and accepted. Subsequently he was gazetted as a second lieutenant, and was called to Woolwich early in September. He went to the front on December 11th, being attached to the 1st Siege Battery.

David Claud Graham Davies 2nd Lieut 1st Siege Battery Royal Garrison Artillery died of wounds in the field hospital. He was buried in the Town Cemetery, Bethune.

A report in the Rugby Advertiser of 22nd Mar 1915 states:

Previous to receiving his fatal wounds, Lieut Davies had several hair breadth escapes. Comrades had fallen all around him; his food even had been shot away, and he had had to subsist for a day on concentrated tablets. In his letters to friends he had expressed amazement that he should have escaped, but the communications to his mother were more guarded in tone. With the sad tidings of his death on Saturday came a letter, written on the 13th inst, stating that he was very busy and had had little sleep. He described a good meal that had just been provided, and said he expected to be fighting right through the night, and then would have a long sleep – a prediction that has unfortunately proved only too true. Second Lieut Davies was 23 years of age. He has a brother who is also at the war, but attached to a different battery.

He was awarded Victory medal, British War Medal and 15 Star.

David Claud Graham Davies appears on the BTH Memorial, as well as the Rugby Memorial Gates

His mother appears in early Rugby directories as Mrs A L Zaloudek, later as Mrs Davies of 15 Holbrook Avenue, Rugby.






15th May 1915. Rugby Victims of Poison Gas


Pte A Angell, 1st Royal Warwicks, son of Mrs Angell, of 17 Little Pennington Street, Rugby, is at present in a hospital at Lincoln suffering from the effects of the ghastly German poison gas. In a letter to his mother, written on May 9th, he says: “ I have been poisoned by that gas which the German murderers use. I went into action three weeks ago. After marching two days and two nights we arrived within 50 yards of the German trenches, and when we halted they opened fire on us.” The writer then goes on to tell of the losses suffered by the Battalion, and said that of five Rugby men who went into action he was the only one left. They were forced to retire, and he and 20 others took shelter in a “ Jackson hole.” Five of the party were unwounded, one died in the writers lap, and the others were suffering terrible agony. They were only 100 yards from the German trenches, and had to remain in the shelter from 4.45 a.m to 8.30 the following evening, and numerous shells dropped all around them. “ After this we were in the trenches for nine days. The Germans were not satisfied with our losses, s they poisoned us out of it. We must have lost many more men by this means. I am a very lucky chap. I was picked up half unconscious by a Frenchman in the centre of Ypres, on the main road. I wonder what the English people would think if   they could see Ypres as it is—burnt down to the ground.” Pte Angell concludes with the hope that he will be home on leave shortly.


W Cooke, son of Mr H M Cooke, has written home to his parents. His letter is dated May 6th, and he says :-“ A few lines at last I I’ll bet you have been worrying at not hearing from me, but I am all right. We have been advancing and I could not write until now. I dare say you will see in the papers that our Regiment has been cut up, and we have only a few hundreds left. We have been relieved now, and it will be some time before we take any active part again. We have been through hell this last eight days, and I never want another time like it. The German shelling is awful, but I thank God we are back out of it now. Alf was wounded in the leg, and Hancox is among the missing. I would not mind if they would fight fair, but the dirty dogs have been using that gas on us. One has to fight with a wet cloth over one’s nose and mouth, and I have seen some of our fellows go raving mad. My nerves are a bit shattered now, but otherwise I am all right, so don’t worry. We have not had any letters while we have been advancing, so I expect I shall have a few from you, Mother, altogether. Write me along letter soon.”

(The Alf mentioned in the letter is Alfred Day, of Bishops Itchington, who enlisted with W Cooke, and before enlistment worked as a blacksmith at Church Lawford. Charles Hancox was a labourer from Kings Newnham.)



Two trains, each containing two hundred wounded, passed through Rugby (L & N-W) on Sunday evening between six and eight, and were supplied with refreshments by the Rugby Town Red Cross Society. The men had been fighting as recently as Sunday last, and had crossed the Channel on Sunday morning.

News has come to hand that wounded soldiers belonging to the different regiments which were billeted in Rugby and took part in the invasion of Gallipoli are now in hospital at Malta.

A movement is being organised in Warwickshire to secure the services of more transport drivers for the Army. An appeal is to made to motor-car owners in Warwickshire to release their men wherever practicable.

Mr and Mrs William Matthews, of Churchover, received news on Monday that their son, Pte John Matthews, of the Rifle Brigade, was wounded on May 5th by a shrapnel bullet in the leg just above the knee. He is at present in hospital in Manchester. Pte Matthews, who is 21 years of age, joined the army early in September, and was drafted to the front on April 1st. He was for some years footman at Mr B B Dickinsons’ boarding-house in Rugby.

Driver Harry Batson, of the Rugby Howitzer Battery, writing home to his sister at 35 Bridget Street, Rugby, states that he has been on duty at observation posts in the trenches, which were knee deep in mud and water. When traversing the trenches it is necessary to keep well down to avoid being seen by the enemy’s snipers. The trenches were only 50 yards apart. The enemy’s guns had been very active round here of late, and had succeeded in setting fire to some ruined farms close to.

Mr Charles Henry Lister, a grandson of Mr Henry Lister, 105 Clifton Road, Rugby, was an engine-room artificer on H.M.S Maori, which was lost off the Belgian Coast through striking a mine on Saturday. The friends of Mr Lister have received intimation that he is a prisoner of war at Doebritz, Germany. Mr Lister’s brother, Rifleman Herbert Edward Lister, who joined the Rifle Brigade on the outbreak of war, is now in a hospital in London, suffering from a bullet wound in the left hand.

Second Lieutenant H J Gwyther, attached to the 2nd Manchester Regiment, now with the expeditionary force in France, has been wounded. Mr Gwyther, when engaged at the B.T.H Co, Rugby, was a prominent playing member of the Rugby Hockey Club.

In Saturday’s “ London Gazette ” appeared the announcement that the late Lieut Michael FitzRoy, son of the Hon E A FitzRoy, M.P, and Mrs FitzRoy, had been gazetted captain. He was selected by his Colonel for the command of a company shortly before the battle of Neuve Chapelle, in which, unfortunately, he was killed. The late Lieutenant was nearly the youngest officer in the regiment, being but nineteen years of age and he had only been in the army six months.


Two further letters have just been received by Mr and Mrs C J Packwood, of St Matthew’s Street, from their son, Charles, who is serving at the front with the Rugby Howitzer Battery, and   from these we make the following extract :- “ Things go on just about the same. We have a sort of shelling competition between ourselves and the Germans. It is their turn now. They are shelling a ridge. I expect they think we are there, but we are not. I expect later on we shall have our go, and we always register the most points. All the ‘bhoys’ are ‘in the pink’ ready for earthing.”


A hot dish of curried fowl or a hot beef-steak and kidney pudding, are luxuries not usually found on the battlefield, but these and a host of other appetising dishes, may now be enjoyed by the aid of a new invention just put upon the market by Messrs, Crosse and Blackwell. This unique and valuable adjunct to the soldier’s kit is known as the “Joffrette” Heater, and costs but 1s. 6d. complete. Its construction is so simple and yet so effectual that a tin or bottle of preserved food can be thoroughly heated is a few minutes by simply lighting the cake of solidified alcohol supplied with the Heater (additional cakes costing but 3d. each). It is without doubt one of the cheapest yet one of the greatest boons which can possibly be suggested for use in trenches.

The Heater cannot explode or get out of order, the flame is invisible and impervious to wind, and while it is of peculiar utility at the present time, it is equally serviceable for boating parties, picnics and household use where a hot maid or a cup of tea or coffee is quickly required. The “Joffrette” Heater is stocked by all the principal Grocers. Ask your Grocer for one.



SIR,—Though Rugby may contain few, if any, enemy Aliens, it is surely essential that Mr Merttens, although naturalized, should resign immediately his seat on the Bench, which he appears to have vacated during wartime.

The idea of even a naturalized German sitting in judgment on Rugby citizens after the war is repugnant, and especially one with views such as Mr Merttens has in the past expressed. If he has not already resigned, Rugby will expect his fellow Magistrates to see that he does so.-Yours truly, CITIZEN.

Izzard, Edgar. Died 13th May 1915

Edgar Izzard’s birth was registered in the third quarter of 1895 in Rugby. He was baptised on 5 January 1896 at St Mark’s Church, Bilton.

In 1901 he was aged 6 and the family was living at 43 Bridget Street.   His father William was born in 1852 and was a Stationery Engine Driver. His mother Harriett (née Duckett) was born in 1857. His siblings were Ethel aged 21, Amy aged 16, Horace aged 12 and Dennis aged 1.

In 1911, Edgar now a painter aged 16, was still living with the family at 43 Bridget Road Rugby. His father was an “Engineer, Grinding Cement”.   His sisters Ethel 31 and brothers Horace 21 and Dennis 11 were also living at home. His sister Amy had married in 1905.

Sadly Edgar’s father William died in the third quarter of 1913 aged 61.

Edgar joined the 1st Battalion of the Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort’s Own) as Private Z/758. On his Medal card, the date of disembarkation to war in France, was stated as 11 January 1915. During his short service he was awarded the Victory, British and 1915 Star Medals.

It is known that the 1st Battalion of the Rifle Brigade was involved in the Battle of Auber’s Ridge on 9 May 1915 and it is likely that he was wounded on that day and subsequently died on 13 May. He is remembered on the Ypres Menin Gate, panel 46, 48 and 50 (see below), as were other Rugby men who served with the Rifle Brigade at Auber’s Ridge.

Izzard pic 1

Edgar is remembered on the Grave Registration Document of the Commonwealth War Graves:

Izzard pic 2

The UK Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects found on Ancestry.co.uk shows that in 1919/20 his mother was awarded £3 as a war gratuity.




Upperton, Joseph Henry. Died 9th May 1915

Joseph Henry Upperton was the third child of 11 children, born in 1884 in the St Pancras area of London to Samuel and Sophie Upperton. Samuel was a Draper’s Porter.

In the 1901 census the family lived at 60 Pancras Square.

Joseph married Grace Elizabeth Anderson in the fourth quarter of 1906 in St Pancras, London. His wife was born in Rugby.

In the 1911 census Joseph was 27 years old and living at 10 Holmes Road, Kentish Town, London. He was a porter working for a ladies underclothing manufacturer. He and Grace had a daughter also named Grace.

Joseph joined the Rifle Brigade (date unknown) and was killed in action on 9 May 1915 at the Battle of Aubers Ridge, aged 31. His service number was Z/260. His Commonwealth War Grave record states he was in the 2nd Battalion of the Rifles.

He is remembered on Panel 10 of the Ploegsteert Memorial, Comines-Warneton
Hainaut, Belgium.

Upperton memorial

Joseph’s medal card shows award of the Victory, British and Star medals, and that he landed in France on 16 March 1915.

Upperton medal card