24th Jul 1915. Rugby Man Arrested by Sentry



At Bangor, on Saturday, Frank James Hawkins, 59 Regent Street, Rugby, electrical engineer, a visitor to Llandudno, was charged under the Defence of the Realm Act (a) with taking a photograph in the neighbourhood of Menai Bridge without authority or sanction of a competent military officer, with intent to assist the enemy, and (b) with being in possession of photographic instruments in the shape of a hand camera, etc.

Accused pleaded not guilty to the first charge, but admitted the second.

Private Jones, a sentry at the Carnarvonshire end of the Menai Suspension Bridge, said he saw the accused on top of a wall, apparently taking a photograph of the opposite side of the Straits, which included a view of the Anglesey end of the suspension bridge.

Hawkins said he was totally ignorant of the regulations on this subject. He was staying at Llandudno, and on the day in question went on a motor-cycle through the Pass of Llanberis, and came to Carnarvon, and thence towards Bangor, and seeing a road marked “ To Menai Bridge,” he took that road, as he wished to see the bridge. He got on a wall and saw a nice view of the village, and he thought he would photograph it.

The Bench expressed themselves quite satisfied that defendant had acted in ignorance imposed a light fine of 20s.



The Rev F Potter, of St Marie’s College, Rugby, has received an interesting communication from Pte Wm Turner, of the Royal Munster Fusiliers, who formerly worked as a crane-driver at Messrs Willans & Robinson’s Works, and is now a prisoner in Germany. He says :-

“ I am going on quite well, hoping you and all the old country are the same. I am interned in a camp composed of Irishmen and Roman Catholics. Our camp is situated on a hill in the beautiful valley of the Rhine overlooking the city of Limburg on the Lahn. The treatment and the accommodation is all that can or could be desired in this camp. There are also Russian and French prisoners interned here, but separated by barbed wire from us. We do a little light work daily as exercise. You may probably be aware of the object in having all Irishmen together ; we are in the Catholic district.

“ I should like my friends and workmates of Messrs Willans & Robinson to know that I am still alive and well, after ten months on the Continent, but am now, unfortunately, guest of the German Government. They are sure to remember ‘Taffy, the crane-driver,’ as I was known at the Victoria Works. Probably you may have amongst your congregation in or around Rugby some good Samaritan who would like to help the prisoners here by sending a few little comforts, such as cigarettes, tobacco, or food-stuffs, as we depend chiefly on our good peopled for such luxuries. I ask nothing for myself, as my wife, who as you know lives at Ashby, sends me all I require, but for those who have neither relatives or friends. Should any be sent through me, I shall be only too pleased to distribute them amongst the most deserving causes, and will acknowledge all gifts to the best of my ability. We receive a little occasionally from ladies in England, but as the number of men is great (about 2,000), and by far exceed the supply received, the individual quantity is very infinitesimal. I trust that men from Rugby and district now serving at the front are quite well. My prayers and those of my comrades interned here are offered for their safe return to their homes in the near future. I trust you are quite well, and shall be only too pleased to hear from you or anyone wishing to communicate with me. Our treatment is very fair. We have every facility for cleanliness, and the German Authorities supply change of underclothing as required, so we have nothing very much to complain about. Wishing you and all the old country the best of luck and good wishes, and a speedy conclusion to the terrible war. I remain, Rev Sir, Yours very respectfully. No 7242 William Turner, Royal Munster Fusiliers (late crane-driver Victoria Works), Limburg, Lahn.”

The Catholic Chaplain, Father Crotty, Dominican at Limburg, writing to Father Potter about this man, among other things says : “ You may assure Mrs Turner that her husband is being well cared for. Yesterday, with the other prisoners of war, he took part in our grand procession of the Blessed Sacrament through the Irish Quarter of the lager.” This chaplain is an Englishman. Since this above was written, Pte Turner has sent a post-card saying that he has been removed from the above camp.


Mr and Mrs Davenport, of the Home Farm, Lindley Lodge, Nuneaton, have received the sad news that their son, Pte Henry Herbert Davenport, was killed by a German sniper on the morning of June 22nd. At the time he enlisted deceased was working at the B.T.H, and formerly at Churchover, where he was a schoolboy.

The following sympathetic letter from his captain has been received by Mrs Davenport, and we are sure the acquaintances of the young soldier will share the regret expressed by the officer :-“ Dear Madam,—It is with the deepest regret that I have to write and tell you of the death of your son, No 10608, Pte H Davenport. He was shot through the head by a German sniper, and died almost at once. He was buried close to where he fell, just behind the trench, and the spot is marked with a cross. The ground becomes the property of the British Government, and the grave will be well cared for. The Officers and the Company deeply sympathise with you in your great loss, and we all respected your son for his fine character and soldierly qualities. He was killed on the morning of the 22nd.—Yours with deep sympathy, A W T WEBB, Captain.”


Pte Bertie Cecil Mander (Rugby), of the 4th Battalion of the Canadian contingent, has been wounded in action in Flanders.

Mr W J Peddell, auctioneer, Rugby,has been gazetted to a second-lieutenant in in the 10th South Staffs Regiment. Lieut Peddell has arranged with Messrs Tait, Sons, & Pallant to carry on his business during his absence.

Lce-Corpl Stanley Hidden son of Mr and Mrs George Hidden, Moultrie Road, Rugby, late of the Leicestershire Yeomanry, has received a commission as second-lieutenant in the Warwickshire Yeomanry.

Messrs Hoare, Clench, Jones, West, and Reynolds, all employees of the Co-operative Society, Rugby, presented themselves for enlistment at Coventry this week for the 7th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Unfortunately Clench, Jones, and West were rejected for medical reasons, but have signified their intention of offering their services in the manufacture of munitions.


Mrs Snook, of 40 Lodge Road, has received news from the War Office that her second son, Sapper A E Snook, of the Royal Engineers, has been severely wounded in the scrotum and right thigh, and is now in a hospital in this country. Sapper Snook was with his brother and several friends when the shell which wounded him burst ; and although another Rugby man was wounded at the time, the rest had a marvellous escape. Mrs Snook has three sons with the colours. Two have been to the front, and the youngest is expecting to go shortly. All three enlisted at the commencement of the war, when they were employed at the B.T.H Works.


Pte Ernest Luthwaite, of the 1st Hampshire Regiment, son of Mr J Luthwaite, of 39 Lodge Road, Rugby, has been wounded in the right hand and the face. The news was communicated to Rugby by the Rev T L Bruce, chaplain of No. 1 Canadian General Hospital France, where Pte Luthwaite is under treatment as a patient. He is reported to be progressing favourably and to be comfortable and cheerful. Before he enlisted Pte Luthwaite was a glass blower in the Mazda Lamp Factory at the B.T.H Works. He joined the Army on the outbreak of the war, and has been in France about two months. When in Rugby he became a member of the Park Albions, and played at half-back for that club.


Mr E T Burton, of 35 Avenue Road, New Bilton has received an intimation from the War Office that his son, Pte M Burton, of the King’s Royal Rifles, was wounded (shot wound in right leg) on the 8th inst., “ somewhere in France.” He was taken to the 1st Canadian Hospital at Etaples, and has since been removed to the Military Hospital at Edmonton, Middlesex. Before enlisting in September he was engaged in the core-making department at Willans & Robinson’s Works. We understand that he is progressing favourably.

Mrs C H Wood, of 11 Campbell Street, New Bilton, has received intimation from the War Office that her husband, Pte Wood, of the 1st Royal Warwickshire Regiment, was wounded in the thorax by shrapnel on July 8th. Pte Wood, who joined the Army in January, and was previous to that time employed by Messrs Frost as a compositor, has written to his wife stating that he is going on well. He is at present in a General Hospital in France.



Capt W F Wood, of the 1st Rugby Company Boys Brigade, has received a letter, dated County Hospital, Huntingdon, July 21st, from Lce-Corpl F H Botterill, of the 1st Royal Warwicks, announcing that he has been wounded, and giving some account of his experiences. We make the following extract from the letter:—“ As an old boy of your Company, I feel I am only doing my duty in writing to my Commanding Officer, and the one who first taught me the duties of a soldier. I have now been connected with the army for 12 years, but there has been far more stirring times this last twelve months than all the other, for I went to France last August. I have been with my old regiment, the 1st Royal Warwickshire, and I am proud to belong to it, for it has seen a lot of service, and we have always done our duty. I have seen very many of my old comrades go never to return, and my life has been spared on several occasions ; but they caught me at last, with a bullet straight in the eye. I am thankful it came out near my ear instead of going through my brain. I have lost my left eye, and it has been very hard to take my food, for I couldn’t open my mouth, but I am pleased to tell you I have had a wonderful recovery. My hearing has got normal also ; I can open my mouth much wider, and can see nicely to write a letter with my sound eye. I have seen a few exciting times, and the work was very hard last August and September. I went through the winter in the trenches, but they gave me a decent “ Easter Egg.” Still, I am very thankful my life has been spared, for the doctors all tell me I must have a “ strong spot,” but I am about “fed up.” This makes the fourth hospital I have been in, and it is rather monotonous after the life I have been leading, for I have never had anything worse than a cold. Still, I mustn’t worry, for I have always been in charge of a section, and I have seen many come and go, and some never to see the dear old home again.”


George Renshaw, captain of Rugby F.C, has had a busy time since he enlisted seven months ago in the Army Service Corps. He has been in France six months, and is engaged in clerical work. In a communication received by his brother on Thursday he states that he is working daily from 4 a.m till 8 p.m, so has little time for letter-writing. The popular Rugby full back is cheerful and well, in spite of the fact that he has not slept in a bed for several months.


Lance-Corpl F Keeley, 4th Battalion of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps has received commendation from his Commanding Officer and Brigade Commander for his conduct in the field with the British Expeditionary Force. Corpl Keeley enlisted in August at Rugby, where he was working as a pattern-maker for the British Thomson-Houston Company. He gained his promotion to corporal, and was transferred from B Company to C Company for his conduct in the second battle of Ypres.


Pte H Holmes, 1664 B Company, 1st Royal Warwicks, serving with the British Expeditionary Force, whose home is at 47 Wood Street, Rugby, has written us stating that there are twelve or more men in the regiment to his knowledge without razors, and if any of our readers have old razors that will shave the men referred to would be glad of them. We understand that all men have razors served out to them as part of their equipment, but apparently the men Pte Holmes refers to have lost theirs. Our correspondent informs us that he went out to France on November 11th last year, and has been in hospital twice. He adds:” We are out of the trenches now for a longer rest. Our regiment took part in that affair on July 6th. We were called up on the night we were going to be relieved, but had to stop owing to the Germans keeping on counter-attacking. The Old Warwicks helped to hold them back well.”


For a father, three sons, and a son-in-law to be serving with the colours is a record of which any family might well be proud. The hamlet of Hill, near Leamington Hastings, has a household that claims this distinction. Mr Wm Cleaver, the father, is in the 7th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, and is engaged in guarding bridges at Rugby. His eldest son is Sergt W H Cleaver, of the 19th Hussars, who went out to the front last August. He was slightly wounded in the foot, and has been home for a short time, but is now back again at the war. His injury was caused by shrapnel, and another piece of the shell became embedded in his cap. Both bits of metal are being retained as souvenirs. The other two sons, Privates A H Cleaver and B J Cleaver, are in the 3rd Gloucester Regiment, to which they have been transferred from the 19th Hussars. They are expecting to leave for the front this week. The son-in-law, Pte John Prestidge,is serving with the South Staffordshire Regiment at the Dardanelles.


The following men have been attested at the Rugby Drill Hall this week :—J A Bryan, Royal Engineers ; Thos Hellier Edward, T H Johnson, and F Proctor, A.S.C ; A Hill and E Brown, A.V.C ; T Stewart, R.A.M.C ; C Denton and T Smith, R.F.A ; M A Adnitt, D Smith, and R Redding, R.W.R ; J Myers, K.O.Y.L.I ; J O’Donnell, 14th Gloucesters (Bantams) ; A Brown, Rifle Brigade.


Sergt-Major Hopewell, of the Rugby Howitzer Brigade, has written to Mr W F Wood, of Market Place, Rugby, giving an account of recent fighting, in which the local Howitzers took part. The letter is dated, July 4th. Referring to the Boys’ Brigade, he says:—

“ I think it is a splendid organization, and the large number of men that we have who are past members of your Company show that the patriotic instinct instilled in them in youth grows up with them in after life. We all hope you will have an excellent camp and the very best of weather to enable you to enjoy it to the full.”

He then proceeds: “ I will just briefly relate what has occurred since I wrote to you last. We did our usual amount of firing up till Sunday, June 6th, 1915, when we had a good day’s “ sport,” which commenced by the Engineers exploding two mines under the German trenches. This was a signal for our artillery and machine-guns being turned on the enemy’s position, which was a network of trenches. In the report of the day’s action, which was issued by the General of our Army Corps, our battery was very favourably mentioned. The enemy made three different attacks since them, each preceded by the explosion of a mine, but in every case the saps were short, resulting in the mines exploding between the trenches instead of under our’s, so the damage to our people was practically nil. They sent over 400 shells in one of these spasms in about an hour, and we also had eight rounds in and about our gun position—one coming through a dug-out and another bursting it the edge of a gun platform. Luckily, no one was hurt, as all the men were at the other end of the gun position. We also had several close to the billet, but with nil results, and another farm near by was burnt down by their incendiary shells. Our observing party were shelled out of their station the other day, about 30 falling all round the place in the morning, and one hit the building in the afternoon, but they were all in the dug-out by then, so no harm was done. The village near to where we were also had a bad gruelling for about three weeks, but it didn’t make the civilians clear out, although a good many of them were wounded. The Germans attacked, very heavily for about two hours a week last Thursday night, and some of their infantry got as far as our trenches, but were repulsed, leaving twenty or thirty dead behind them. We have had a little recreation in the form of a ‘smoker’ now and again, and we also played another battalion at footer and beat them 1—0, and another battalion at cricket, and beat them by 11 runs, so you will see it is not all fighting here. We have very little fear from the gases now, as every man is supplied with a new pattern smoke helmet and respirator, and both have been proved very efficient by actual experiment. We moved from our position a week last Saturday for an alleged rest, so had our final hate in the morning by putting 15 rounds into their trenches, and started on trek in the evening, arriving at our present destination Tuesday night. The march was very interesting, as we saw a good deal of the country, marching from about 6 p.m until midnight each day, and having the days to ourselves except for stables and harness cleaning. We are at present staying in a mining village, which is very pretty, as it is so thickly wooded, and has evidently been part of a large estate at some time or other.

Redfearn, Joseph Charles. Died 21st Jul 1915

Joseph Charles Redfearn was born in Berwick-upon-Tweed around 1880. His parents were John Alfred Goodall Redfearn and his wife Senai Isabella (nee Biggs). John was an engine fitter. By 1901 Joseph Charles, aged 22, was boarding in Hexham, Northumberland and working as a compositor. Later that year he married Margaret Landells and around 1908 they moved to Rugby with their two daughters. Joseph worked at Messrs Frost & sons, printers. They lived at 55 Lawford Road, New Bilton.


Joseph Charles enlisted on 5th September 1914 in the 7th Battalion King’s Royal Rifles (rifleman R/89) and was sent to the front in May 1915.

In a letter which Mrs Redfearn has received it is stated that her husband was out with a small party on 21st July, and five of them entered a ruined cottage to rest, while he sat outside. the house was struck by a German shell, and the men inside, including Rifleman Fidler, Rugby, whose death we recorded last week, were killed instantly. Rifleman Redfearn sustained shocking injuries, to which he succumbed two days afterwards.

(Rugby Advertiser 7th August 1915)

He was buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery. His date of death is given as 21st July 1915. He was aged 35.

He is listed on the Croop Hill memorial as J Redfearn. The Rugby Memorial Gates have him listed as J C Redfern.



Fiddler, Harry. Died 21st Jul 1915

Harry Fiddler was the son of Thomas and Sarah Ann Fiddler born in 1887 at Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffs. On the 1891 and 1901 he was living with his parents, 3 brothers and 2 sisters in Garston, Lancashire. In 1911 he worked in the Machine Shop at the B.T.H. and lived at 15 Plowman Street, Rugby.



He was attested on 1 September 1914 aged 28 years 1 month, number R87, a Rifleman in the 7th Battalion of the King’s Royal Rifles. He was 5ft 6½in tall with a dark complexion. His eyes were grey and his hair dark He embarked on 18 May 1915 and landed at Boulogne. The regiment took part in various actions including Hooge and Harry was killed by the bursting of a shell on the night of 20/21 July 1915.

The 1914/15 Star, Victory Medal, British War Medal and his Princess Mary Gift box (which was awarded to every soldier serving on 24 December 1914) were sent to his father.

As well as the Rugby Memorial Gates, he is listed on the B.T.H. Memorial.



17th Jul 1915. More Reports from the Front


Mr W F Wood, Market Place, last week received a very interesting letter from Pte W H Evans, “C” Company (formerly “E” Company), 1/7th Royal Warwickshire Regiment (son of Mr W Evans, tailor), from which we make the following extracts :—

I must write in sympathy with you in the loss of your stepson. But it must be a consolation to you knowing that he died doing his duty, the death of a true Englishman. He has set an example for all Rugby fellows to follow, more so the fellows out here who belonged to the Brigade and knew him so well. . . . We are now out of the trenches and have marched for four nights, so, of course, are a good way back from the firing line, and it is a real treat to be out of the sound of gun and rifle fire. We are now billeted in a village where the Germans have not been ; so everything is standing and the natives are living their simple life. So you see we are faring well. I often think of the times I had while in your Brigade, and one thing often comes across my mind. That is, while at Conway one year we had to sleep eight in a tent, and we grumbled. You had us in front of you, and talked to us, and said that perhaps some day we should be glad to sleep twelve in a tent. Your words have come true, for we have slept in some “rum places” since we have been out here—cow sheds where the cows have been a few hours before, loft with rats for company, and lots of funny places, but we must not grumble, for it has got to be done, and the sooner this lot is over the better.-The writer then refers in sympathetic terms to the death of Corpl Johnson, which we recorded at the time, and says that he often used to talk with him at the front of the old days with the Brigade. He adds : “ It was a blow to me, for he was my best chum.”—In conclusion, he expresses the hope that the Brigade is up to strength, and wishes it the best of success.

Both Pte Evans and Corpl Johnson were old members together of the Boys’ Brigade, the former being the bass drummer and the latter a side drummer. They both won the Recruits’ Cup for shooting the first year they were in the Territorials.



SIR,-We have read with interest the “ open letter ” published in the Advertiser of last month, and we are sure that the feelings expressed therein are reciprocated by the whole of the 87th Brigade, especially the Border Regiment. It will interest the good people of Rugby to know that those of their late guests who remain of the 87th Brigade are faring pretty well, under the circumstances, thanks to the rotten marksmanship of the Turkish artillery, the shells of which the boys have christened “ Wandering Willies ” and “ Algys.” With regards to the “ Wandering Willies,” they got their name on account of the wandering habits of the gun they are fired from, which after every shot wanders across the peninsula to another position. As regards the “ Algys,” their christening is due to the fact that they are too gentle to hurt. We are of opinion that the gun which fires the “ Algys” is manned by a blind gun crew !

The boys would like to know if there are any vacancies in the B.T.H harriers, as we can recommend the Turks as very good runners—when they see us fixing our bayonets.

The majority of our Brigade have been wounded, but have left the various hospitals and gone back to the peninsula. You will have learnt that our list of killed is rather heavy, but we have the consolation of knowing that the Turkish list is far heavier than ours.

Wishing every prosperity to the citizens of the town that so hospitably entertained us, we conclude with best wishes to all our late landladies from the boys of the 1st Border Regiment.—Sir, believe us to be, Yours, etc,

9973 Pte William E Groom,
8213 Pte W A Little.
9794 Pte S George.
8387 Pte G Weller.
5701 Pte T Grunder.



Sergt E A Mills, 1st Batt Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, writing from Graylingwell War Hospital, Chichester, Sussex, states :—“ After the delightful time we spent in dear old Rugby, we have undergone some trying experiences, which you have read about in Sir Ian Hamilton’s dispatch, and I am sure the people of Rugby feel proud to know of the splendid exploits of the soldiers of the 87th Brigade, who formed a part of the renowned 29th Division. During all those trying experiences all you could hear was ” Roll on, Rugby,” but alas ! many of those splendid fellows will never see that picturesque town again, but those of us who are left will have the consolation of knowing that the people of Rugby will always have our fallen comrades in their minds. I consider myself very fortunate in arriving back in dear old England again, although a Turkish sniper only missed my “Cupid’s dartboard” by half-an-inch, and I am hoping to pay a visit to your town before I go out again to do a little more for King and country and the world’s peace. I must take this opportunity of thanking those ladies who inserted that splendid letter to the soldiers, which I happened to read in your paper, which I receive from my respected friends in Oxford Street. I must conclude now, by wishing every success to all the residents of “Dear old Rugby.”—I remain, respectfully yours, SERGT. MILLS, of the “ Skins.”




Machine-Gunner R S Bartlett, of the 5th Battalion Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, son of Mrs T Smith, of School Street, Hillmorton, has sent home a souvenir of the war, his valise, or what remains of it, for whilst entering the trenches, it was blown off his back by the explosion of a shell, which killed four comrades and wounded two others badly. Gunner Bartlett must have had a very narrow escape, judging by the torn and threadbare appearance of the remnants of the “ rucksack,” as he calls it, which we have had an opportunity of inspecting. It seems almost incredible, from the appearance of the valise, that the wearer should have escaped, yet in letter to his mother, he is able to record that he got off “ without a scratch.” It is not surprising that he adds, “It gave me a ‘oncer’ at the time, and I thought my back had gone.” Home cured ham was in the valise, “ but better that than me,” observes the soldier, “ and I am still in the pink.”

In a letter to a brother, Pte Bartlett gives additional particulars. He says:-“ When we were coming to the trenches on Saturday night they sent a tidy lot of ‘souvenirs,’ I can tell you, and blew my large coat, canteen of sugar and tea, some home-cured ham, cake, and all the sweets ; two bars of carbolic soap and writing-case, water-proof sheet and two sandbags, also a loaf ; and it left just the back of the rucksack on. I went to look for some of it after, but all I could find was an envelope on the parapet. I wondered what hit me for a minute, and I thought my back had gone. Toby Bates got his rucksack cut a bit in front of me. I asked him how he was and he said “ all right.” We started to laugh till we turned to look at the back of us and that did it. We had to pull Ayres out. . . . Billy Chamberlain got wounded coming up, and he was reported missing. . . . It’s the worse “ do ” we have had, but most of us are none the worse for it, and the other poor chaps have done their duty.”



Members of the Rugby Hockey and Cricket Clubs in particular, and the residents of the town in general, will hear with regret that Second Lieut H G Rogers, of the 9th Somerset Light Infantry, has been killed at the Dardanelles. Second-Lieut Rogers, who received his commission in September last, had resided at Rugby for four or five years before the outbreak of the war, and was formerly employed on the staff of the B.T.H and latterly with Mr Ivan B Hart-Davies. He was a fine all-round athlete and especially excelled in hockey. He was a prominent member of the Rugby Club, and had also played for Warwickshire and the Midland Counties, and narrowly missed securing his inter-national cap. Second-Lieut Rogers was also an excellent cricketer, and did useful service for the premier local eleven. Of a most genial disposition, he was very popular with all with whom he came in contact, and his early death will be mourned by a large circle of friends. He was about 24 years of age.

Writing to a friend in Rugby from the Dardanelles, under date of June 21st, the late Second-Lieut Rogers said :—“ I landed a month ago and was attached to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers—a topping crowd, who did awfully well in the landing. Well, from the first we have not been out of shell-fire ; even landing they shell the beach, and it is perfectly beastly. Leman von Sanders must be told to stop it. Three other Somerset men came out with me, and, thank God, we are all here still, although we have lost since we landed about eight officers and 300 men—quite enough ! Still things are very merry and bright. We have only had two real scraps—one on the 4th, when we had to attack up a nullah, which was not pleasant, and then on top a couple of days in some perfectly rotten trenches, which held all right. Then lately we had five days in the trenches. I had a perfectly lovely bit, jetting out at right angles to our main line and with the Turks only about forty yards away on two flanks. The trench had only just been taken from the Turks, and was in an awful state, dead all along the bottom less than an inch down, and built into the sides all over the place. Well, we had a beastly time for three days and nights. I averaged three hours’ sleep per 24 hours, and then not consecutive hour’s all five days. Then, on the night of the third day, at 8.30 p.m, they attacked us in force on both sides, throwing any number of hand-bombs (awful things), and eventually, about 5.30 a.m, they got half the sap, but we drove them out again by 6.30, and still hold the trench. A wounded man, who gave himself up, said that 500 men had come up specially for the attack, and only three got back. I was ‘severely’ wounded. I was sitting on the parapet firing my revolver at the brutes ten yards away, when one of their bullets just took the skin off my first finger. I tell you I did not stay sitting there long ; it was lucky. We are just at the end of our rest and expect to go up to-night, so will have an exciting time again.”


Sad news has been received by Mr and Mrs Martin, of 4 Addison Terrace, Bilton, concerning their son, Sergt D C Martin, of the 7th King’s Royal Rifles. The official communication is to the effect that he has been wounded in action, but the officers’ letters carry the tidings beyond this, and there seems no doubt from what is learnt from this and other sources, that the unfortunate soldier has been killed. Sergt Martin joined the forces on the outbreak of the war, and received quick promotion. At the time he enlisted he was employed at Messrs Willans & Robinson’s, and previously he worked for a number of years at the Rugby engine-sheds; first as a cleaner and subsequently as a fireman. He was popular and much liked amongst his associates, and being fond of football he assisted both the Village Club and the Elborow Old Boys. Amongst the latter he had several intimate friends, and joined the army with them. For a number of years Sergt Martin belonged to the Rugby Infantry Co, so he was not unfamiliar with military matters when he enlisted in the King’s Royal Rifles.

Major Geoffrey St Aubyn, in a letter to the parents, says: “I regret to inform you that Sergt Martin was killed in action on 1st of July, 1915. Please accept my sincerest sympathy in your great loss. Your son promised to be a really good soldier. He had been in my Company since he joined the army, and his promotion was very quick because I thought so well of him. Please allow me to convey to you the sympathy of his comrades in the Company, both officers and men.”

Another letter which was much appreciated by the parents, has been received from Lieut G H Gibson. It is dated July 10th, and it as follows : “ Dear Mr Martin,—Just a line to tell you as best I can, how sad and sorry I am to lose your son. He died a soldier’s death, and I should like you to know how highly we all thought of him. I knew him very well, and I feel a sense of great personal loss. You have my very deep sympathy. May God give you strength to help you through. We have one consolation, that he died doing his duty. Would that he could have been spared, but God willed otherwise.—With my sincere sympathy, Believe me, Yours sincerely, G H Gibson, Lieut.”


Mr and Mrs Maddocks, of Bilton, have received news that their son, Pte Cyrus Underwood (aged 22), who enlisted in the 1st Royal Warwicks on December 4th, was killed in action on July 9th.

In a letter conveying the sad news to Mrs Maddocks, a chum of the late Pte Underwood says:—“ I can assure you he died without any pain, as he was shot through the forehead by a sniper. He lived about half-an-hour after, but never regained consciousness. You have my deepest sympathy. I have already missed him very much, not only me but a good many more in our company, as I don’t think he was disliked by anyone. He was killed in the early hours of Friday morning, July 9th, I was with him in a dug-out all day on Thursday, and we had some fun together. I can hardly realize his old cheery face has left us for ever.”

Lce-Corpl J Dark confirms the regrettable news, and says deceased was a bomb thrower, and it was while throwing bombs at the Germans that he was killed. He adds: “ Your son was respected by all his comrades and we deeply mourn the loss of him.”

For several years Pte Underwood was employed at Bilton Grange as a footman.


J H Watts and Arthur Massey, both of Long Lawford, and Bertie Howard, of Dunsmore Stud Farm, have enlisted in the 3/7th Batt Royal Warwickshire Regiment, which is in training at Wedgnock, near Warwick.

F C E Rendall, B.A. has been appointed to a second-lieutenant in the 13th Service Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He has been selected to attend a class of instruction at Fort Purbrook, Portsmouth, and Saturday, July 17th.

Leslie K Phillips, second son of Mr J Phillips, of St Aubyn, Hillmorton Road, Rugby, has received a commission as second-lieutenant in the Royal Marine Light Infantry (Portsmouth Division), stationed at Gosport. He was a pupil at “Oakfield” School, and is also an Old Rugbian. His elder brother, Eric S Phillips, is a second-lieutenant in the 8th Battalion of the Border Regiment.

Second-Lieutenant A K Bennett, son of Mr A Bennett, of Elmdon House, Rugby, who some months ago was detailed from the 9th Battalion Warwicks to the Divisional Cyclists Corps, sailed with his Division a fortnight ago to join the Mediterranean Force. In his letters home he refers to the splendid accommodation on the troopship, and the excellent health and spirits of all on board, notwithstanding the great heat they were experiencing during the voyage.


News has been received by Mrs C Batchelor, of 16 Pinder’s Lane, that her son, Pte A J Batchelor, who enlisted in the 5th Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry at the commencement of the war, was wounded in the hand on June 24th, and is now in the Cumberland Hospital at Carlisle, where he is doing well.

News has been received by Mrs W Sansome, of 5 Gas Street, that her son, Lance-Corpl Samuel George Barnett, of the 5th Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry, was wounded in the back in France on June 16th. He has now been discharged from hospital and admitted to a convalescent home.


The following have been accepted at the Rugby Drill Hall during the past week :—E Hartopp and F Coleman, Leicester Regiment ; A W Ades and J Harvey, Royal Sussex Regiment ; G Holloway and F S C Pickering, R.W.R ; F Rogers, Army Service Corps ; F Bull, Worcester Regiment ; E F Mack, East Kents.

It has been decided to accept for enlistment in the Infantry not only men who are fit for service in the Field, but also those who are fit for garrison service abroad, or for home service only.

In future no man will be rejected provided he is free from organic disease and is fit for duty in garrisons at home or abroad.

Men enlisted “ Fit for home service only,” although enlisted for general service, who are at the moment only fit for garrison service, will not be taken for service in the Field unless they become fit.

In future men will be enlisted as follows :-

(a) Service in the Field at home or abroad.

(b) Garrison service at home or abroad.

(c) Home service only.


July 14, 1915.             Recruiting Officer.

Barnwell, George Thomas. Died 15th Jul 1915

In 1879 James Crofts Barnwell married Ann Elizabeth Elliott. Ann was a widow with a young son and she and James went on to have several other children. Their youngest child was George Thomas Barnwell, born in 1892 in Hillmorton, where James was a house painter. By 1901 the family had moved to 35 Claremont Road, Rugby and James was now a painter of railway signals. In 1911 George Thomas was aged 18 and living with his parents. He was working for B.T.H. as a switch board wire man.

He enlisted as a lance corporal in the South Staffordshire Regiment (1st 6th (T.F.) Battalion), The regiment was formed in August 1914 and on 5th March 1915 arrived in France. George Thomas Barnwell died on 15th July 1915 and was buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery.

His death was reported in the Rugby Observer on 30th July 1915:

“Died Bravely”

Tributes to a Rugby man’s pluck.

Mr. and Mrs J. C. Barnwell of 35, Claremont Road, Rugby, on Wednesday morning received official intimation of the of the death in action of their son, Lance Corporal George Barnwell of the 1st 6th Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment. As reported in last week’s issue of the “Observer” Mr and Mrs Barnwell had previously received the sad intelligence through a number of letters sent by comrades of the deceased but until Wednesday morning they clung to the hope that a mistake might have been made.

   The late Lance Corporal was prominently identified with the Rugby Baptist Church and at a memorial service on Sunday, the Pastor (the Rev. J. H. Lees) made touching reference to his Christian character and to the loss the church had sustained in his death. The deceased, who was 21 years of age, was engaged to Miss Elsie Flowers, of Dunchurch.

   Acting adjutant Langley, writing to Mr. Barnwell says “I very much regret to tell you that your son died of his wounds in hospital at 9.30 p.m. on July 15th. My colonel instructs me to convey to you his extreme sympathy at your loss. It may seem to you in a regiment of about 1,900 men, it is not possible for the Commanding Officer to know and recollect every man by name. But that is not exactly the true view. Through his Officers he gets to know the men, and I can say with truth that the death of your son is a personal loss to him. He was engaged in a gallant enterprise, he died bravely, and it is upon such men that my Colonel relies for the strength of his regiment, as does England for her security. My Colonel’s sympathy for yourself is as generous as his gratitude for your son’s good service and brave sacrifice.

The Company Commander has written “The injury, consisting of bullet wounds to the head, was sustained whilst he was carrying out his duties in the firing line and, although the wound was a very severe one, we hoped that there would have been a chance of recovery. Corporal Barnwell will be much missed by his comrades and by the Officers of “A” company, for he was always cheerful and energetic in his duties, and I should like to extend the sympathy of all of us to you in your bereavement.”


George Thomas Barnwell is also remembered on the Rugby Baptist Church plaque and on the family grave in Clifton Road Cemetery.



10th Jul 1915. Belgians Charged with Theft – The Trial


Two Belgian workmen, Petros John Van Wezer, 15 Rowland Street, Rugby, and Gabriel Joseph Peeters, 65 Pinfold Street, New Bilton, were charged on remand by John Ward, on behalf of Messrs Willans & Robinson, Ltd, with stealing 21lbs weight of metal, of the value of 17s 6d, on July 1st.

Mr H Lupton Reddish, solicitor, Rugby, prosecuted, and Mr Harold Eaden, solicitor, Rugby, defended.

Mr Reddish, in opening the case, said where stolen goods were found in the possession of a person the presumption was that person had stolen them, but in this case (if it was decided to have it dealt with by the Bench) their Worships would be dealing with the case as both judge and jury, and a jury in a charge of stealing was always told if the evidence was not sufficient for them to justify a conviction on that charge could bring in a conviction of receiving stolen goods ; and it would be for their Worships to decide in this case which of the two courses would be the more applicable. They were aware of the unfortunate plight in which Belgian refugees came to England. Most of them were destitute and homeless, and whatever they possessed certainly would not include pieces of metal such as would be produced in this case. Both the defendants had worked for a short time at Messrs Willans & Robinson’s (one for a day only). These petty pilferings were always going on at these large works, and the Company had felt compelled to bring the case forward.

John Ward, foreman millwright at Willans & Robinson’s Works, living at Lawford Fields,, identified the metal as the property of the Company.—By Mr Eaden : He did not think it possible for a man to carry a parcel of metal (like that produced) unobserved from the works, and he thought the pilfering had probably been going on for weeks. He had no reason to suspect Van Wezer. They had a man in their employ named De Herdt. who lived in one of the houses erected by the Company. De Herdt would have equal access to the brass as the other men, if not better access.

P.S Brown deposed that on Thursday last week he received certain information, in consequence of which he made enquiries, and saw the two defendants in the Market Place. He told them he was making enquiries about some metal which they had offered for sale, and asked them to show him where it was. Wester said, “ De Herdt gave us the metal,” and conducted witness to certain licensed premises, where he produced a parcel from a shelf under the counter in the bar. Witness found the parcel contained the articles of brass produced. In the presence of the defendants the landlord said Wezer left the parcel. The officer said he was present when Mr Ward identified the metal as the property of Messrs Willans & Robinson, Ltd. Its weight was 21lbs, and its value was stated to be 17s 6d. When charged with the theft Peeters said, through an interpreter, “ He has told the truth this morning ” ; and Van Wezer replied, “ I am not guilty.”

The evidence of the witnesses was interpreted to defendants by Mr Delvaulx.

Mr Eaden asked Sergt Brown if he had been able to find out who stole the metal. The officer replied that he knew no more than he had stated, but he reckoned the two defendants stole it. He heard the men had been offering the metal for sale, and had taken it to a public-house. The landlord did not tell him whether Peeters was with Van Wezer when he took the metal into the house.

The licensee of the public-house in which the metal was found, said Van Wezer went into the bar on Thursday, July 1st, and, speaking in broken English, asked if he could leave the parcel in question. He had known defendant as a customer for about six weeks, and, acting on witness’s advice, the man left the parcel under the counter. Witness did not examine the parcel nor handle it in any way. Van Wezer called for a glass of ale, and asked if his friend—whom he took to be Peeters—had been in, and he replied that he had not.—By Mr Eaden : He had other Belgian customers, but did not know De Herdt by name, though he might know him by sight. He did not remember another Belgian with his wife and daughter coming in on the Tuesday. Van Wezer’s act was perfectly open, and the story the men told to the police was perfectly truthful, there being no attempt to deceive.

Victor Delvaulx, civil engineer, said he was at present acting as interpreter between the Belgian workmen employed at Messrs Willans & Robinson’s and the Works Management. He was present when the two defendants started work, and also when they were charged with stealing the metal by Sergt Brown, the police evidence on the point being correct.

Defendants elected to be dealt with by the Bench, and on their behalf Mr Eaden pleaded not guilty.

Mr Eaden, addressing the Bench in defence, said his submission was that the two defendants were entirely the innocent tool of De Herdt, and that their act right through was the act of innocent men. There was no suggestion that they endeavoured to secrete the parcel or to deal with it as one would expect a criminal to deal with it. The men knew De Herdt, who had a wife and daughter, and last Tuesday was removing from Worcester Street to a new house, and defendants offered to give him a hand. In the course of the morning one of them picked up a rather heavy parcel, which was ostensibly a parcel of clothing. One of the men remarked that the parcel seemed very heavy, at which the De Herdts smiled, but nothing was then said, because other people were present. In the evening of the same day they went to a public-house, and when outside De Herdt said : ” I have a job for you. I will tell you what we were smiling about. That heavy parcel inside the clothing contained a lot of scrap copper, which I have been collecting from the Works.” De Herdt invited Van Wezer to sell it for him as his agent. He did not say definitely he would not do this, but replied : ” I don’t like the job ; I am afraid of it.” De Herdt pressed him still further, and then he absolutely declined to touch it. Next day the men had occasion to go to De Herdt’s house, because Peeters was rather skilled as a bootmaker, and he had some repairs to do for the De Herdt family. Van Wezer was again asked to sell the metal, but he refused. On the following day he was again asked by Mrs De Herdt to sell the metal. She seemed to have over-persuaded him. He took it away, and on her instructions went to a shop and endeavoured to sell it. The deal did not come off, and Van Wezer took the parcel to the public-house, and left it there for De Herdt to take it away. De Herdt did not tell him that the property was stolen and he would be guilty of no offence in taking it. His submission was that the proper person was not before the Bench that day. There was no evidence on the part of the prosecution that these two men took the metal from the Works, and, so far as Peeters was concerned there was no evidence that he ever handled the metal. At most the offence alleged against him was that he was at certain times in the company of Van Wezer, who, it was admitted, took the metal to the public-house. There was not even the suspicion of a case against Peeters of having stolen or received this metal, and he submitted that defendant was entitled to be acquitted as an innocent man, and so far as Van Wezer was concerned, he submitted there was no, case against him, for the reason that he was over-persuaded.

The Chairman announced that the Bench had decided to dismiss the case against Peeters.

Mr Reddish submitted that the two men were acting together at the time, but the Chairman said there was no evidence of that, and that was the feeling of the Magistrates on the matter.

On the decision of the Bench being communicated to Peeters, he fainted away.

The Court then adjourned for an hour.

When the Court resumed, Mary Anderson, the landlady of De Herdt’s in Worcester Street, gave evidence of the removal of the goods, and said only one man, who usually wore blue overalls, assisted. The goods consisted of two very large boxes, which contained all the family’s belongings, and these were removed in two journeys. She did not see a bundle taken away, and she did not remember having seen Van Wezer before.

Madame Christine De Herdt said their goods were removed in two boxes and one parcel. The latter contained soiled linen, and was not a heavy bundle. The wife of Van Wezer helped her, and whilst they were moving Van Wezer and Peeters were at the house in Worcester Street, also at the huts, where they were now living. Van Wezer had been to the huts about three times since they had removed there.—By Mr Eaden : The large parcel was tied up in bedclothes. Mrs Van Wezer took up the parcel alone, but witness offered to help her, as she had a free hand. After the removal, her husband, Van Wezer, and witness went together to a public-house, and there conversed on the war. On the following day Peeters and Van Wezer went to their house about some boots he was repairing. Van Wezer and Peeters also went on the next day, but neither of them took anything away from the house.

Germaine De Herdt, daughter of the last Witness, said when they removed from Worcester Street, there was a parcel containing washing clothes, wrapped up with cloth. On the following Thursday morning Peeters and Van Wezer went to the huts, but neither of them took anything away.—By Mr Eaden : She could have easily carried the parcel alone. Peeters and Van Wezer helped to carry the big boxes.

Defendant, giving evidence on oath, said he helped the De Herdts to move, Peeters being with him. The bundle was wrapped up in a counterpane, and when they got to the fence in front of the huts, he threw it over. De Herdt protested, and said it was dangerous. He added : “ My wife knows what is in it, and if she does stupid things she must take the consequences.” Later in the day, De Herdt spoke to him privately. He said I have a job for you ; will you do it ? ” We asked what it was, and De Herdt said he had at home a parcel containing little pieces of copper, which he had been collecting. Defendant replied: “ I have nothing to do with this. Why do you come to me for this job ? ” De Herdt told him the copper was in the bundle of dirty clothes. Next day De Herdt asked why he refused to take the copper away, because it was not stolen. He still declined to have anything to do with it. On Thursday morning Mrs De Herdt called him inside the house and asked him to sell the contents of the parcel for her husband. She asked him not to be afraid, as the copper was not stolen, and he could use the name of her husband. Peeters then went into the house and saw De Herdt’s daughter give him the parcel. He took the copper to a shop-keeper, but he refused to take it, and, fearing to keep the parcel any longer, as it might get him into trouble, he took it to the public-house, asking the landlord to keep it until another man (meaning De Herdt) came to fetch it away.—By Mr Reddish : De Herdt did not tell him the copper came from the Works, but he said he could get some more. When De Herdt told him he had a job for him, he explained that it was to sell the copper. He had got the idea there was something wrong about it, and so he refused to have anything to do with it, knowing that bits of copper were not picked up in the street. When, on the Thursday, Mde De Herdt asked him to take the copper away and sell it, she told him not to be afraid, as he should have some of the money. He never had any conversation with De Herdt about sharing the money if he sold the copper.

Mr Reddish enquired what defendant said to the shopkeeper when he offered him the copper ? —Defendant said he asked : “ Do you want this?” and the shopkeeper said : “ No; not enough.” Thereupon he left the shop.

Peeters was called to corroborate the statement of Van Wezer as to receiving the metal from Miss De Herdt, but his evidence was not taken, and the Chairman intimated that the Bench thought there might be a charge of receiving the metal knowing the same to have been stolen, and Mr Eaden was invited to address the Magistrates

Mr Eaden said his client was over-persuaded on the third day to take the metal away. It was perfectly clear there was no bargain struck. Van Wezer tested the matter by taking it to a shop. He might have had some slight guilty knowledge when he did this ; but taking the metal to the shop opened his eyes, and he left the metal at a public-house, telling the landlord another man would call for it. Therefore he submitted there was not the guilty knowledge which was essential to the charge of receiving this property. He was not satisfied at the time he took the metal to the shop that it had been stolen. Afterwards, when he was satisfied, he parted company with it. That, he submitted, was evidence of the man’s innocence—it was burning his fingers and he wanted to get rid of it at once.

The Chairman said the Bench were not satisfied that defendant had guilty knowledge that the metal was stolen. Therefore, the case against him was dismissed.

Addressing the interpreter, the Chairman said the Magistrates wished to thank him for his great kindness and ability. He had a very difficult task, and had been a great assistance to the Bench and the advocates.

Mr Reddish said both Mr Eaden and himself concurred in what the Chairman had said, as without an interpreter they could not have got along.

10th Jul 1915. News from the front – Missing and Killed


News has been received that Pte G W Coleman, of the 5th Battalion Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, son of Mr Walter Coleman, a carpenter in the employ of Messrs Foster & Dicksee, living at New Bilton, is missing. The message came from a friend of Pte Coleman, who writing to his own father, asked that Mr Coleman should be informed that his son did not answer to the roll call when the Company left the trenches on a recent date. This is corroborated by another correspondent, who states that when coming out of the trenches Pte Coleman was killed. The young fellow was one of the many who enlisted from the B.T.H Works and had only been at the front a few weeks.


Writing to the parents, on July 1st, Captain Webb, the officer commanding the Company, states:—“ I very much grieve to say that your son, Pte W G Coleman, is missing since a charge we made on the night of the 22nd. While in the cases of one or two missing men, they have been found wounded in various hospitals which they reached from the battlefield, I think it would not be wise or just to yourself to build on the hope that such is the case of your son. I fear he is killed, and I am more than deeply sorry for you. It is a terrible thing, and the suspense is awful. We made a charge and were driven back. Countless deeds of bravery were done, and all the wounded were brought in and some of the dead. Still, several men are missing, one an officer, and I’m afraid we must give them up for dead. Perhaps, when we again advance we shall be able to clear the matter up, and I will at once let you know if I am spared. The officers and men offer you their deepest and sincerest sympathy, and will do all in their power to put an end to your suspense.”

Mr Coleman has also received a communication from the Infantry Record Office at Warwick, dated July 5th, stating that a report had been received from the War Office to the effect that Pte W G Coleman was posted as “missing ” after the engagement in France on June 22nd.



Mr and Mrs Williams, Newbold, have received a communication from the War Office that their son, John Williams, a private in the 4th Battalion Rifle Brigade, is missing, nothing having been heard of him since the 10th of May. Rifleman Williams joined the army at the commencement of the war, and was drafted to the front about twelve weeks ago. He was 20 years of age, and previous to joining the army was employed at the Newbold Works of the Rugby Portland Cement Company.


THE ROLL OF HONOUR.—Another young man, the third from the village, has given his life for his country. News was received by the parents of Charles Hancox, of the London Road, some days ago that he was dangerously wounded, and was lying in the base hospital in France. This was soon followed by news of his death. He was a good-natured lad, and was much liked by his companions. Great sympathy is felt for his parents in their trouble. A memorial service was held in the Parish Church on Sunday last, at which there was a full congregation. Suitable hymns were sung, and a touching, inspiring address was given by the Vicar.


Pte Ernest Tomlinson, son of Mr and Mrs E Tomlinson, of 20 James Street, Rugby, is lying in Norwich Hospital suffering from a scalp wound, caused at the front by shrapnel. He was employed as a fitter at the B.T.H Works, and enlisted on September 2nd in the King’s Royal Rifles. He was sent to France in May, and within three weeks, whilst trench digging, was rather badly injured by a shrapnel shell. He has lost, for the time being at all events, his speech, and the use of his right hand, so that the news received by his parents has come through other sources, a soldier in an adjoining bed having sent particulars. It is gratifying to learn that Pte Tomlinson is improving, and hopes are entertained that in time his speech will be restored. He is understood to be suffering from shock as well as from wounds. Mr and Mrs Tomlinson have a younger son, William, serving his country at the front, also in the King’s Royal Rifles, but attached to a different battalion. He has been in the fighting line for some weeks now, and his last letter, received on Monday, stated that he was quite well.


News has been received by Mr and Mrs Hayward, of 43 Lodge Road, that their son, Pte George Hayward, of the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, has been wounded and having been in hospital for some time is now at a convalescent home at Hampton-in-Arden. Pte Hayward was for 11 years a member of the 1st Rugby Company the Boys’ Brigade, and when he enlisted in August was employed at Messrs Willans & Robinsons Works. He was shot in the fighting in Flanders, one bullet entering his cheek, injuring his jaw and affecting his eyesight, and another lodging in his hip, after passing through the water-bottle that formed part of his equipment.



The painful task of travelling from the front to break the news of his brother’s death this week befell Gunner George Sutton (Newton), of the Rugby Howitzer Battery. From what we can gather, the Howitzer Battery recently returned to a rest camp, and on Sunday evening it was reported that a man had been shot. Gunner Sutton, proceeded to the spot to see who was the victim, and was horrified to find his younger brother, William, a driver in the Ammunition Column, lying dead. As the result of an enquiry it was established that death was due to accident, and Gunner Sutton was graded several days’ leave of absence to convey the sad tidings to his parents. The circumstances were detailed in a letter from Capt Saunders, of the Ammunition Column, which Gunner Sutton brought home :-“ It is with much regret that I have to inform you that your son, William Sutton, was found shot at about 10 p.m on the 4th of this month. A Court of officers enquired into the circumstances very carefully, and from the evidence decided that death was due to accident, and that there was no question at all of foul play. The funeral was conducted by an Army Chaplain of the Roman Catholic Church, and a cross is being provided with an inscription suitably worded. The N.C.O’s and men of the Ammunition Column are ordering a wreath and the grave will be well cared for. It has been arranged for your other son to proceed home on leave to-day, and I hope this will help to comfort you in your loss. Please accept the sympathy of officers of the Ammunition Column, in which your son was serving.”

Driver Sutton, who was the second son of Mr Wm. Sutton, was 21 years of age, and had been a member of the Battery about two years. Previous to the war he was employed by Mr Scott Howkins, and was very popular, and highly respected by all who knew him.


Sympathy will be felt with Mr and Mrs Pegg, of 1 Addison Road, New Bilton, in the death, on Thursday, from septic fever, at Felixstowe Military Hospital, of their son Harold, the youngest of three who had responded to their country’s call. Deceased was a printer’s apprentice, in the employ of Mr George Over, and about two months ago enlisted in the Bedfordshire Regiment He was only 19 years of age, and expressed a liking for the military life so far as he had become conversant with it. He was very popular with the men in Mr Over’s printing office, and all have signed a letter of sympathy with Mr and Mrs Pegg in their sad bereavement.


Driver C W Packwood, of the Rugby Howitzers, now serving in France, son of Mr C J Packwood, of St Matthew Street, in a recent letter home states that after three months in the firing line the section of which he belongs is now in a rest camp, the change being appreciated, especially the privilege of sleeping once again in a bed. Driver Packwood also says that the Rugby Battery has been very highly complimented on their accurate firing by the officers they have come in contact with, and the word of praise has naturally had a cheering effect upon the men.


L J D Pepperday, son of Mr J H Pepperday, of High Street ; P Morson, son of Mr Arthur Morson, of Newbold Road ; and Neville and Roland Bluemel, sons of Mr C Bluemel, of Moultrie Road, were included in a draft of 150 who volunteered for the front to fill up gaps in the 1st Battalion of the Hon Artillery Company. The draft left for France on Thursday last week.


Trooper E Amos, youngest son of Mr W Amos, farmer, Dunchurch, writing home from Alexandria, says :- We go out for bugle practice every morning at 6, mounted. This gives us a good chance to have a look round. We see the corn crops growing, chiefly maise, all in bloom now (middle of June) and six feet high, any amount of tomato fields, and the plants seem loaded ; then you see the fig trees and the banana trees. We also see a tremendous lot of cotton coming down the Nile in barges, pulled by men instead of horses. We have had a job this last week unloading wounded off the ships from the Dardanelles. There are thousands of them, mostly Australians, but there are a lot of soldiers who were billeted in and around Rugby. There are a lot of fine hospitals here, and that is why they keep bringing so many wounded.


The “ Yorkshire Observer ” records a plucky act recently performed by Lance-Corpl Arthur Gibson, now in training with the Royal Engineers at Salisbury Plain, who was until he enlisted on the staff at Messrs Willans & Robinson’s Works, being employed in the drawing office. It appears that Lance-Corpl Gibson was on a visit to a sister at Morecambe, when he noticed that a boy, who was bathing, was in difficulties. Promptly divesting himself of his tunic, he plunged into the water ; and although the tide was running strongly, he brought the lad safely to shore. He was complimented on his bravery at the time, but quickly disappeared, and it was not until some time later that his identity was established.

It will be remembered that whilst Mr Gibson was at Rugby he assisted the Football Club as a wing three-quarter. He also took part in Association six aside matches played on Willans’ Athletic Ground, being included in the team that represented the Drawing Office, and assisted Messrs Willans & Robinson’s side in their inter-firm football with the B.T.H representatives. Mr Gibson’s old comrades at Rugby will be interested to learn of his plucky rescue, and glad it has not been allowed to escape public attention altogether.



A preliminary drill took place on Wednesday last, Messrs Baker, Highton, Robbins, and the Central Garage Company lending cars, and a number of Boy Scouts attended. Everything worked smoothly, and it is hoped that fires (if any) caused by a raid will be speedily extinguished.

It is desirable to have motor-cars, because those already engaged may not be available at the moment.

The Chief Officer hopes that at least four more cars will be offered for a preliminary drill on Thursday 22nd inst., at 8 p.m. More scouts are also required, and only one drill is necessary.


The following have been accepted at the Drill Hall, Park Road, during the past week :—W J Hirons and H W Appleton, 220th (Rugby) Fortress Company, R.E ; C A Davis, R.W.R ; G J Smith, Cheshire Regiment ; H J Ford, Oxon and Bucks L.I ; T W Ingram, Royal Inniskilling Fusliers ; F Hawkins, Seaforth Highlanders ; W J Holliday, Royal Berks ; R W Cave, Army Veterinary Corps ; D A Leist, A.S.C ; A Townsend, Military Mounted Police ; J P Betts, Royal Engineers.


Docker, Leonard George. Died 7th Jul 1915


Private 13106 2nd Bn Coldstream Guards

Killed in action 7 July 1915, buried Cambrin, Pas de Calais, France

Rugby Advertiser 24 Jul 1915

Rugby Advertiser 24 Jul 1915

Leonard was the youngest son of Oliver Atkins Docker and his wife Martha nee Freer, who were married at Rugby St Andrew on 8 Jun 1881 when both were of Dale Street, Oliver being a railway fireman.  Leonard was born 7 Jul 1896 and baptised at St Andrew 11 October 1896, his father was still a fireman, living at 144 Oxford Street.  He had four older brothers, Ernest Frederick b 1882, William John b 1883, Arthur Oliver b 1887 and Albert Edward b 1889.  All the children were baptised at St Andrew.

In 1901 Leonard was aged 4, living with his parents and three brothers (William had died as an infant) at 50 Oxford Street.  His father by now was an engine driver, born at Exhall on the outskirts of Coventry.  In 1911 the family was living at 155 Grosvenor Road, Oliver was employed by the LNWR, still as an engine driver.  Only Albert and Leonard, then aged 14 and a winder at an electrical works, were still living at home.

His obituary in the Rugby Advertiser of 17 July notes that Leonard attended Murray School, and had sailed for Canada at the end of March 1913 on the SS Dominion, stating he intended to take up farming, and settled at Brissevain in Manitoba.  On the outbreak of war, as he was too late to join the Canadian Contingent, he immediately came back to England aboard the SS New York, arriving at Liverpool on 8 October 1914, and enlisted straight away at Birmingham.   He arrived in France on 27 Apr 1915, went to the Front in early May and was killed by a shell on his nineteenth birthday in July (de Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour 1914-1919).

Four other members of his regiment were killed with him and his parents were informed that all five were buried at the time in the same grave.   Indeed, four other men from the same Battalion are buried at Cambrin, although dates of death given by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission are between 6th and 10th July.

Leonard was granted the three medals, Victory, British War and 1915 Star.



Benford, Alfred Thomas. Died 6th Jul 1915


Rifleman No R/81 7th Btn King’s Royal Rifle Corps

Killed in action 6 July 1915, buried Ypres Town Centre Cemetery extension

A T Benford

Rugby Advertiser 17 Jul 1915

Alfred was born in Northenden Cheshire in 1883, the son of Thomas Benford and Elizabeth nee Chadwick.  His father was the station master at Northenden, he was living at the station with his family in 1881, wife, three daughters and his mother in law Mary Chadwick.  Sadly both Alfred’s parents died in 1890, so the children returned to Claybrook Leicestershire, their father’s birthplace, where they were taken in and brought up by their father’s sister Clara Perkins and her husband John, a blacksmith.

In 1901 Alfred was 17, boarding with Walter Perkins, a railway blacksmith, and his wife Sarah (b Claybrook) at 161 Abbey Street, Rugby (RG13/2917/16 p23).  Walter was John Perkins’s brother.  By 1911 he was 26, a clerk to a corn merchant, Mr William Pridmore, boarding at 15 James Street with George Harrison, a church caretaker.  His obituary in the Rugby Advertiser of 17 July 1915 says he had worked as head clerk and traveller for Mr Pridmore for six or seven years.  He was well known as a cricketer, playing for the Rugby Club Second XI, and the previous year had been elected captain of the Rugby Early Closers Athletics Club of which he was a prominent member.

He joined the army on 3 September 1914 and embarked for France on 18 May 1915.  He had only been at the front for a week before he was shot through the heart by a shrapnel bullet during a heavy bombardment.   Lt Forster of the KRR wrote to Alfred’s sister “I cannot say how sorry I am to lose such a good man, and one who was so reliable in every way”.

Alfred is buried at Ypres Town Centre Cemetery Extension.  He was awarded the Victory, British and 15 Star medals.



3rd Jul 1915. Belgians Charged with Theft


Yesterday (Friday), at the Occasional Court, before A E Donkin, Esq, two Belgians – Petre John Van Weser, 15 Rowland Street, Rugby, and Gabriel Joseph Peeters, 65 Pinfold Street, New Bilton – were charged with stealing 21lbs weight of metal, of the value of 17s 6d, the property of Messrs Willans & Robinson, Ltd, on July 1st. – Sergt Brown gave evidence of the recovery of the metal and the arrest of prisoners. Weser stating that the brass articles were given them by another man. – Prisoners were remanded in custody till Tuesday.


SATURDAY:-Before T Hunter & J J McKinnell, Esqrs.

HIS THIRD APPEARANCE.—George Le Clerg, a Belgian labourer, lately lodging in Lower Hillmorton Road, was charged with being drunk and disorderly on June 25th. – P.C Field said at midnight he went in the company of P.C Wakelin to the Lower Hillmorton Road, and there found prisoner very drunk and excited. Witness said the defendant gave more trouble in the town than all the other Belgians put together. On the night in question he had been fighting with his landlord, who had put him into the street, and it was with difficulty the officers got him to the Police Station.-Inspector Lines said this was defendant’s third appearance at the Court for drunkenness this year. – Mr Hunter suggested that prisoner’s employers should be informed of the facts, and asked to get some of the other Belgians to speak to defendant and become responsible for his good behaviour – Defendant was fined 6s, and was warned that if he did not keep himself straight he might be sent back to Belgium.


Mr T Hunter, J.P, C.A, of “ Elmhurst,” Hillmorton Road, has four sons serving in his Majesty’s Army.

S A Hunter, the Midland Counties’ footballer, is in the 4th West Riding Howitzer Brigade, and has been promoted from second-lieutenant to lieutenant. He has about completed a month’s gunnery training on Salisbury Plain, and will then take up his duties again at the depot at Otley, Yorkshire.

The next son, Wilfred Hunter, who was in the Rugby Howitzer Brigade, passed the Sandhurst examination in February, and has been transferred to the Royal Military College, Woolwich. After completing his course there, he will be gazetted to the Royal Garrison Artillery.

L J Hunter, who went out to the front with the Northamptonshire Yeomanry in November, was given a commission in April in the Army Service Corps, and is now at a supply depot at Newcastle-on-Tyne.

F Hunter, the youngest son, who is only 18 1/2 years, passed out of Sandhurst on April 17th, and was gazetted second-lieutenant in the Gordon Highlanders. He was attached to the Royal Flying Corps in May, and on June 11th gained his pilot’s certificate.


Pte Ernest Jas Jackson, of 18 Old Station Square, Rugby, is in hospital at Havre, suffering from the effects of poison gas. He was on the way to the trenches on June 19th when a gas shell burst quite near him. Two men were killed by it, three were wounded, and Pte Jackson and another were affected by the fumes, which have injured the former’s eyes. He enlisted with other old Elborow boys in the 5th Battalion of the Oxford and Bucks light Infantry on September 1st last year, and after a course of training was sent to the front about six weeks ago. Previous to Joining the Army Pte Jackson was employed at the B.T.H Works.


Thirteen recruits have been accepted at the Drill Hall, Park Road, Rugby, during the past week. Their names are :—W Muddiman and J W King, Northants Regiment ; R Graham, Connaught Rangers ; H E Moon, G Ellerton, W Hobley, 220th (Rugby) Fortress Co, R.E ; C Freeman, 216th (Nuneaton) Fortress Co, R.E ; W J Barrett and G Wallace, A.S.C ; G Fairbrother, J A Richards, J A Cresswell, P G G Rose, Corps of Military Police.



The new war loan is being taken up very well indeed locally by small investors through the Post Office. The £5 multiples are the most popular form of investment, the demand for scrips of smaller amounts not being so great as might have been expected. At the Rugby Post Office the staff have done quite a good amount of business in relation to the loan this week, the amount subscribed running into some hundreds of pounds, and quite a substantial sum has been transferred by depositors from the Post Office Savings Bank.

At a meeting on Wednesday the Directors of Willans & Robinson decided to subscribe for £15,000 of war loan, and made application for it following day.


In response to the appeal of Col G M Seabroke (chief officer of the Rugby Fire Brigade), published in our last issue, for six owners of motor-cars to offer the loan of their cars for the conveyance of first-aid appliances in case of an air raid, and for 24 Boy Scouts to volunteer their services in such an eventuality, we are informed that Mr G F Brown, fruiterer, has already offered the loan of his car, and the following members of the 1st Rugby Troop of Scouts have volunteered for duty :-J Andrews, A Anderson, R Smith, C Fenley, W Bailey, A A Cordall, R Hartley, and S Davis.