Robinson, Kenneth Bradshaw. Died 29th Sep 1915

Kenneth Bradshaw Robinson was born on 13 December 1890, and the birth was registered in early 1891 in Walsall, Staffordshire.   He was just four months old on 5 April 1891 for the census. His parents were enumerated as ‘Berry’, actually Benjamin, Robinson, a gardener, born in about 1855 at Calthorpe, Leicestershire, and his wife, Emily née Hirons (1858-1926) from Thurleston, Warwickshire. He had a sister, some five years his senior, Ethel C. Robinson, b.c.1886.

In 1891 the family were living in Wolston, Warwickshire and he was educated at schools in both Dunchurch and Rugby.

In 1911 he was still single, aged 20 and living at 23 Stephen Street, Rugby with his parents. He was then working as a ‘Turner’ at the Cellenloid Works, however, at some date between 1911 and 1914 when he enlisted, he started working for J. Parnell and Son, the well known Rugby builders and would later be listed on their ‘Roll of Honour’ – a list of employees who served in WWI (see below).

His Medal Card provides some details of his military service, but there are no more detailed Service or Pension records. Fortunately, De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour provided considerable additional details which are collated below,[1]

Kenneth Robinson enlisted early in the war in August 1914 and was a Gunner, No.10362 in the Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Field Artillery [RFA]. He embarked for the ‘(3) Egypt’ Theatre of War on 14 July 1915, and in August 1915 would have landed in Gallipoli.

The eight month campaign in Gallipoli was an attempt to force Turkey out of the war, to relieve the deadlock of the Western Front, and to open a supply route to Russia. The Allies had landed on 25-26 April 1915 at Cape Helles, and north of Gaba Tepe, an area soon known as Anzac.

On 6 August, further troops were put ashore at Suvla, just north of Anzac, and this was probably when Kenneth Robinson would have landed. The aim of the Suvla force had been to secure the high ground around the bay and salt lake, but confusion, indecision and delays allowed the Turks to reinforce and only a few of the objectives were taken.

Kenneth was in action on Chocolate Hill, an area of raised ground at the eastern end of the Salt Lake, which had been captured on 7 August 1915, but once taken, no further advance was then made. He was wounded at about 4pm on 29 September 1915 on Chocolate Hill when a high explosive shell, burst in the gun emplacement, and a fragment hit him in the abdomen. He ‘passed away quite peacefully’ from his wounds at about 6.30pm the same day. He was buried by a tree on the west slope of Chocolate Hill.

The full text of the entry in De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour
ROBINSON, KENNETH BRADSHAW, Gunner, No. 10362, A Battery, 59th Brigade, R.F.A., only son. of Benjamin Robinson, of 23, Stephen Street, Rugby, co. Warwick, by his wife, Emily; b. Walsall, co. Stafford, 18 Dec. 1890; educ. Dunchurch and Rugby; was employed at Parnell & Son’s, Builders, Rugby; enlisted in Aug. 1914, after the outbreak of war; went to Gallipoli in Aug. 1915, and died there 29 Sept. following, from wounds received in action at Chocolate Hill the same day. An officer wrote: ‘He was wounded yesterday about 4 p.m. by a high-explosive shell, which burst in the gun emplacement, and a fragment hit him in the abdomen. He passed away quite peacefully about 6.30 p.m. We buried him by a tree on the west slope of Chocolate Hill.   The service was conducted by the Army Chaplain of the 31st Infantry Brigade. Most of the men, in fact all that could be spared, attended, as he was a great favourite with us all and a brave man,’ and a comrade: ‘The whole battery feel the loss very much; he was very popular, a dear kind friend and a’ brave, noble soul.’

The CWGC entry stated that … ‘He was a member of ‘A’ Battery 59th Brigade Royal Field Artillery. He died of wounds on 29 September 1915 and was buried in the Green Hill Cemetery, Suvla, in Turkey’. Green Hill, where the present cemetery is located and Chocolate Hill, where Kenneth died and was originally buried, are adjoining areas of raised ground which rise from the eastern shore of the Salt Lake. The cemetery lies on the east side of the Anzac-Suvla Road.

The Green Hill Cemetery was made after the Armistice when isolated graves were brought in from the battlefields of August 1915 and from small burial grounds in the area. These earlier burial grounds included Chocolate Hill.   The records show that whilst Kenneth’s grave is thought to have been moved and relocated in the Green Hill Cemetery, its actual identity is unknown. He is commemorated on a ‘Special Memorial H.12’, with three other soldiers who were ‘… believed to be buried in this cemetery but whose graves have not been identified’.

Robinson - grave believed etc 3 crop

 

In Rugby he is commemorated on a pillar of the Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road, Rugby.   He is also recorded on the Parnell ‘Roll of Honour’[2] as being killed and being in the RFA – the Royal Field Artillery.

Parnell WWI

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

 

[1]       De Ruvigny, Roll of Honour, 1914-1919, vol.2, p.264.

[2]       The Roll of Honour is held at the Warwick Modern Records Centre and reproduced with their permission.

Phipps, Lionel Lush. Died 28th Sep 1915

Lionel Lush Phipps’ birth was registered in the second quarter of 1896, and he was baptised on 16 May 1896 at Hardingstone in Northamptonshire.

His father, Albert Edward Phipps was a solicitor, and his mother was variously recorded as Marie Quita; Mari Zuita (on Lionel’s baptism record); both Margarita and Mariquita (on her marriage transcriptions); and Mariquita (on Lionel’s CWGC record)!   Their marriage was registered in Portsea in Q2, 1890 and they lived in Hardingstone.

At the end of March 1901, aged 5, Lionel and his mother were staying with his aunts, Emma and Amy Lush, at the home of his grandfather, Joseph Lush at Ryde on the Isle of Wight.   Later, Lionel attended Repton School in Derbyshire, and was enumerated there, aged 15, in the 1911 census.

He would probably have been a member of the school cadet training force, and he joined the army ‘straight from school’. He was commissioned soon afterwards into the 7th Battalion of his local Northamptonshire Regiment as a

Temporary Second Lieutenant with effect from 22 September 1914.[1] His younger brother was in the same Regiment.

Lionel Lush Phipps portrait

After his death, a photograph appeared in the local paper.[2]

The 7th (Service) Battalion was formed at Northampton in September 1914 as part of K3 and came under command of the 73rd Brigade in the 24th Division.   They moved to the South Downs and into billets in Southwick between November 1914 and April 1915, and then on to Woking in June 1915.   On 2 September 1915 they landed at Boulogne.[3]

This agrees with Lionel’s Medal Card which recorded that he went to France on 2 September 1915.

 

There is fairly good information on their movements in the Diaries and reported on the Web.[4]

The 7th Battalion was part of 24th Division and had only just arrived in France when it was allocated as Reserve for the offensive at Loos on 25th September.

Already tired from the forced march, though only five men fell out, they were held back too far from the Front line (a decision that was instrumental in Sir John French losing his job) and did not arrive in the line until late on the 25th. Being relatively “unscathed” by the forced marches of the previous days, the 7th Northamptonshires were sent up to the battle before the rest of the division on the evening of the 25th rather than on the 26th like much of the rest of the division.

They were given no instructions at all on reaching the front line and instead they were just told to follow an officer of the 9th Division up to relieve one of the assaulting battalions. Led by ‘C’ Company the battalion crossed the battlefield in full kit negotiating seven trenches before they reached the battalion they were to relieve. They formed a defensive flank between the Hohenzollern Redoubt and Fosse 8 which they held overnight.   On the 26th they were then hit by a German counter-attack against ‘B’ Company trenches which were bombed, but the attack was repulsed. Lt. Morley of B Company would have been recommended for the VC that day, but both he and his senior officer, Colonel Parkin, who had intended to recommend him, were killed. On one occasion the battalion received instructions to retire and had withdrawn most of the way back to their lines before being sent back across 600 yards of ground to take up their positions back in the front line.

On Monday 27th September 1915, ‘C’ and ‘D’ Companies near Fosse 8 were attacked from the rear by Germans using bombs. Captain Mansfield collected a mixed force of men and counter-attacked to relieve ‘C’ Company. A further counter-attack to regain the village at Fosse was cancelled after several senior officers, including General Thesiger were killed by a shell whilst organising the attack.

The battalion held their positions for the rest of the day before being relieved on the evening of the 27th.

A more detailed account in the war diary noted:

27 September 1915: Auchy area: The men of 73rd Brigade holding the positions east of Fosse 8 are in an exhausted condition, having no food, water or sleep for 48 hours.

12.00 noon: Heavy enemy shelling of Fosse 8 and tracks to the North (Trois Cabarets) begins and continues all afternoon and evening.

Heavy enemy shelling of Fosse 8, tracks to the North (Trois Cabarets) and communication trenches leading up to the Hohenzollern Redoubt continues throughout the night.

2.30am: An attack against Fosse 8 by the 1/Royal Berkshires, detached from Carter’s Force, is halted 70 yards from their objective, after crossing half a moonlit mile under fire.

Dawn: German infantry attacks 21st Brigade in Stone Alley, adjacent to Vermelles-Hulluch road, but is beaten off by 2/Wiltshires. Shortly afterwards, an enemy attack in battalion strength hits 73rd Brigade in Fosse and Slag Alleys. (The men of this Brigade holding the positions east of Fosse 8 are in an exhausted condition, having had no food, water or sleep for 48 hours.)

7th Northamptonshires are forced back to cottages at Corons de Pekin, North of the Fosse 8 Dump [a slag heap from a coal mine]. The enemy places a heavy machine-gun on the slopes of the Dump, and brings the area between the Dump and the Hohenzollern Redoubt under fire.

Note: the heaps alongside them [the pits] are called Fosses. Most important areas included the dump at Fosse 8, in front of Auchy, and the Quarries in front of Hulluch.   Both positions were strongly fortified by the enemy, the one at Fosse 8 being called the Hohenzollern Redoubt.

Phipps - Loos - Fosse 8 - Trenches

Attack on Fosse: 28 September 1915: 9.30am: 85th Brigade of 28th Division, supported by 83rd Brigade, attacked at the Dump and Fosse 8. Many casualties were suffered by both sides in desperate fighting in the confined trenches around the Hohenzollern Redoubt. At around 4.00pm, 2nd Guards Brigade attacks Puits 14 bis, but after suffering very heavy casualties from machine-guns firing from in front of Bois Hugo they are ordered to halt.

There were heavy losses – Battalions at the time had some 650-750 men: the 7th Northamptonshires lost 377, of which 11 officers, including their Lt. Col. A. Parkin, in the attacks around Fosse 8.

For more information go to ‘Battle of Loos’ on Rugby Remembers or for a more detailed report on the Battle of Loos, go to: http://www.1914-1918.net/bat13.htm.

Overall in the Battle of Loos, more than 61,000 British casualties were sustained: 50,000 in the main fighting area between Loos and Givenchy and the remainder in the subsidiary attacks. Of these, 7,766 men died.

A more specific mention of Lionel Phipps is given in a later history of the Battalion.[5]

The casualties had been heavy in numbers, but numbers alone do not represent the seriousness of the loss to the battalion.   … Captain V. D. Shortt, Lieutenant L. L. Phipps, both of whom had already been wounded earlier in the battle, were killed; … What the battalion owed to these officers cannot be expressed in words, but those who served under them or with them cannot hear the Battle of Loos mentioned without recalling their characters to memory with love and pride. … The casualties amounted to 402 all ranks, and included very many of the best of the battalion, and it was not long before rumour reached Northampton that the battalion had been ‘wiped out’, … the Battle of Loos in 1915 from its very newness to all ranks, was the severest trial that the 7th Northamptonshire Regiment was called on to face during four years’ constant fighting in France and Flanders.

Temporary Lieutenant Lionel Lush Phipps, was just one of the 402 who were wounded and died at and around Loos on 28 September 1915. He had been in France and Belgium for a mere four weeks.

He is buried at the Noeux-Les-Mines Communal Cemetery, in plot I. K. 12., and is remembered also on the Rugby Memorial Gates.

He was awarded the British and Victory Medals and the 1914-15 Star. His file is available at The National Archives at Reference: WO 339/14355.

In fact the date of Lionel’s death was never entirely clear. The memorial notice inserted in the local newspaper read ‘Phipps, killed in action in France, on 26th or 27th September … younger son …’.[6] A notice elsewhere in the same newspaper confirmed that he was ‘… educated at Repton and joined the 7th Northamptonshire regiment on leaving school.   He was a very popular young officer and an all-round sportsman. His father is a Captain in the National Reserve, and his brother Ronald was recently wounded in the foot whilst serving in France.’

Whilst Lionel is remembered in Rugby, as yet, no connection with the town has been found!

As noted above, his older brother, Lieutenant Roland H. Phipps, was also a Lieutenant in the Northamptonshires and had been wounded in the foot, a few months earlier.[7] He survived the war and died in 1964, aged 66.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

 

[1]       The London Gazette, 22 September 1914, Issue:28910, Page:7488.

[2]       Northampton Mercury, Friday, 8 October 1915.

[3]       http://www.1914-1918.net/northants.htm

[4]       http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=49720

[5]       H. B. King, M.C., 7th (S.) Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment, 1914-1919, Gale & Polden, Ltd., 1919.

[6]       Northampton Mercury, Friday, 8 October 1915.

[7]       Northampton Mercury, Friday, 6 August 1915.

Bush, John Wheler. Died 28th Sep 1915

2nd  Lieutenant John Wheler Bush

John Wheler Bush was born in 1886 to Robert Francis Evans Bush and Grace Marianne Bush.  Baptised 29th October 1886 in St. Andrews Parish at Holy Trinity Church Rugby.  His father was a schoolmaster and the family, before John was born, consisted of his parents and his elder brothers Paul and Raymond and were living at 23, Hillmorton Road Rugby.  The following year, 1887, John’s father, Robert, died at the age of 32 years.  The family then were living in Goldington Avenue, Bedford in 1891 with Grace Bush given as living on her own means.  On the 1901 census the family is back in Rugby and resided at 17, Warwick Street, Rugby. John and Raymond were attending Rugby School and their elder brother Paul was an engineering Steam Electrical Pupil and their mother was on the staff of NSPCC.   They also have a servant, a cook, Elizabeth Davidson, with them.

John married Hester Francis Cobb in 21st November 1914 at Marylebone London.

He joined the Royal Scots Fusiliers and his wife was living, at the time of his death at 72 Redcliffe Square, Earls Court, London.

There appears to be no known grave for John and his date of death is given as between 25th and 28th September, 1915. His name is on the Loos Memorial , panel 47A.

Rugby Advertiser 16th October 1915

BUSH – Killed in action in Flanders, September 28th, 2nd Lieutenant John Wheler Bush, 2nd Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers aged 29.  Youngest son of the late Robert Francis Evans Bush of Rugby, and Mrs. Bush, a dearly loved husband of Hester Frances Bush.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

 

Frankton, Walter Frederick. Died 27th Sep 1915

Walter Frederick Frankton

Service No.  21537

Private   3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards

Killed in action 27th September 1915

Walter Frederick Frankton was born in Rugby in 1876 to George and Elizabeth (Betsy) Frankton, living at 7, Little Elborow Street, Rugby and was baptised 34th April 1881 at St. Matthews Church Rugby.  He appears on the censuses for 1881, 1891, 1901 with his mother, father brother and sisters.  He was at school in 1891 and by 1901 he is a labourer.  He married Alice Maud Reynolds in 1904, and on the 1911 census they are living at 20 Lawford Road Rugby, with their two children Frederick, born 1906, and Maud born 1911.  Frederick, as he seems to be called by the family, rather than Walter, is working as a grocers carman for UDCR.  He was killed in action at Loos, his wife, Maud, and sisters, Sarah and Polly and once by his brother William, remembered him every year, in the memoriam column of the Rugby Advertiser.

“In loving memory of Private Frederick Frankton Grenadier Guards of Lawford Road killed 27th   at Loos.

“Could we have raised his head or heard his last farewell,

The grief would not have been so hard For those who loved him well

A light is from the household gone

A vacant place in our home which never shall be filled”

From loving wife, children and Mr. & Mrs Reynolds.”  Rugby Advertiser 7th October 1916

 

“In loving Memory of our dear brother Private Frederick Frankton who was killed in action 28th September 1915. “  He sleeps not in his native land but ‘neath some foreign skies And far from those that loved him best In a hero’s grave he lies”  From sisters Sarah and Polly and brother Will.” Rugby Advertiser 30th September 1916

He appears to have no known grave as his only memorial on panel 6 of the Loos Memorial.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

 

25th Sep 1915. Local War Notes

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Mr Sydney Hall and Mr J Hoare, servers at St Andrew’s Mission Church and members of the Brotherhood of St Ardan, have enlisted in the R.W.R.

Capt A D Coates, of the 9th Warwickshire Regiment, which has figured prominently in the Dardanelles fighting, has recovered from his illness, and is now at Cairo in charge of the Turkish officer prisoners.

Sergt Donnithorne, of the 1st Border Regiment, who was billeted with Mr and Mrs Lane, 79 Manor Road, has been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, for ‘ a bit of work I have done out here ’ (the Dardanelles), as he puts it in a letter to his friends in Rugby.

On Monday afternoon the wounded soldiers from Ashlawn Hospital were entertained at the picture matinee at the Empire through the kindness of Mr B Morris, the proprietor. Cigarettes, &c, were handed round to the visitors, who spent a highly enjoyable time.

Mrs Stokes, wife of Farrier Q.M Sergt Stokes, informs us that the rumour which has been circulated regarding her husband’s supposed death is quite untrue. He is in hospital suffering from a general breakdown, which has affected his eyesight. A letter received from him on Wednesday, however, contained favourable news.

Pte James Plumb, of the 10th Royal Warwicks, and an old scholar of St Matthew’s Schools, has written to his mother, who resides at 21 Union Street, Rugby, to state that he has been wounded, but not seriously. He was out sniping on September 13th, when he was struck in the calf of his leg by a bullet, which passed out at the knee. He is now in a base hospital at Boulogne, where he is very comfortable and going on well. When Pte Plumb enlisted he was working at the Rugby Gas Works. He joined in September, 1914, and went over to France about three months ago. His father is also serving in 2/7th Royal Warwickshire.

NEWS OF A RUGBY YEOMAN.

Included in a number of wounded soldiers from the Dardanelles who arrived at “ Ashlawn ” Red Cross Hospital on Monday, was Trooper Ambrose Cole, of the Warwickshire Yeomanry, who brought cheering word to Mr Albert White, chief clerk at the L & N.-W Erecting Shop, respecting his son, Trooper Cyril White, whom he left quite well and in the best of health.

LETTER FROM AN OLD MURRAYIAN.

Sapper Tuckey, of the 78th Field Co, R.E, an Old Murrayian, has sent a number of interesting views showing Ypres before and after the bombardment to his old schoolmaster. We give a few extracts from his letter :—“ It is a terrible sight to see glorious architecture, such as the Cathedral of St Martin, the Cloth Hall, and other such places lying in heaps of ruins ; but still, one takes little notice of such things, for human nature gets surprisingly hard-hearted out here. . . . . No one will ever be able to say that the Old Murrayians were found wanting. I receive the local paper every week, so naturally I am well acquainted with the news, and watch with great interest everything concerning Old Murrayians. I met some of the old-timers a few days ago while behind the lines, and I do not think any of us look the worse for our Continental tour. There is rather a strange thing in a desolate village ‘somewhere in Belgium ’—a small church in ruins, but the crucifix is standing untouched and the inscription on the remains of the tower, ‘Suceedo Combustis,’ which is rather appealing to the passing troops, don’t you think ? ”

RUGBY SAWYER CONGRATULATED BY THE KING.

Mr Frederick Branston, a sawyer, in the employ of Messrs Travis & Arnold, of Rugby, and living in Chester Street, has this week received the following letter from the Privy Purse Office at Buckingham Palace, dated September 20th, 1915 :-

“ SIR,—I have the honour to inform you that the King has heard with much interest that you have at the present moment four sons and two sons-in-law serving in the Army and Navy.

“ I am commanded to express to you the King’s congratulations, and to assure you that his Majesty much appreciates the spirit of patriotism which prompted this example in one family of loyalty and devotion to their Sovereign and Empire.—I have the honour to be, sir, your obedient servant,

“ F M PONSONBY,

“ Keeper of the Privy Purse.”

We may explain that Mr. Branston has five sons serving with the colours (not four, as mentioned in the letter), and that he is himself employed on Government contracts.

OLD MURRAYIAN GASSED WHILE AT RESCUE WORK.

Driver S G Smith, 41, 3/4th Warwickshire Battery, an Old Murrayian, has written to his old schoolmaster, informing him that he has been gassed, and adding the following particulars :— “ I thought I would like to see a little more life than I did with the Battery, so I went to do a bit of mining and sapping under the German first line trenches, and found what I went for. For about a week all went well, but we could hear the Germans working over the top of us ; therefore it was a case of who should get there first. We could hear them talking when everything was quiet. One Sunday evening at about five o’clock I was in the dug-out, when all of a sudden the whole place was shaken ; and, knowing something was the matter, we jumped up. We were ordered to fall-in and hurried to the firing trench. Then we found that the Germans had blown our sap in. We could not go down for a time because there was so much gas ; but after we had worked and had got some air in, they asked for men to try to get our comrades out. I was one who volunteered, and we went down, but could not stand it long. -We found five dead at the bottom of the shaft. We worked hard for about four hours, and then there was a big rush of gas, and I don’t remember any more until I came round in the dressing station.” Driver Smith adds that he has been in several hospitals, and is now nearly well again.

A LAWFORD MAN KILLED.

Mr Henry Hopkins, of the Sheaf and Sickle Inn, Long Lawford, has received intimation that his son, Pte Frank Hopkins, of the 6th Dorsets, has been killed.

Capt Courtenay Dutton, writing to convey the intelligence, says :” I regret to have to inform you that your son was killed early this morning by a shell bursting on the parapet. His death was practically instantaneous, and he suffered no pain. Curiously enough his own officer was killed by a bullet about two hours previously in the same place. Your son was a good soldier, and in expressing my sincerest sympathy, I would add that you may be to a certain extent comforted in your grief by the knowledge that your son died the most honourable death a man can die.”

Sergt J Jeacock, of the same Company, has also written to inform the parents, and adds :” He was at his post when he was hit. We had a hot time of it for about a quarter of an hour. I am very sorry to lose my old chum like that. We used to work together and we joined together. He was one of the best we had out here.”

Pte Hopkins was employed at Bluemels when he enlisted about twelve months ago. He was an active member of the Lawford Football, Cricket, and Rifle Clubs, and was much liked and respected in the village.

WOUNDED SOLDIERS’ OUTING TO STANFORD PARK.

Recently, when Lord and Lady Braye entertained wounded soldiers from Leicestershire hospitals at Stanford Hall, the men at the Ashlawn Hospital, Rugby, although invited, were unable to be present because, his Lordship was informed, vehicles were not available to convey them to the rendezvous.

Lord Braye kindly repeated his invitation, and Mr F van den Arend undertook to arrange the motor transport. The Leicestershire men have had several successful tours, and one of the features that has contributed largely to the success of the outings has been the enthusiasm which has been shown to the gallant men when passing through the different places. The villagers decorated their houses, and showered cigarettes, chocolates, and fruit upon the wounded in the cars.

The Ashlawn men are going to Stanford Hall to-day (Saturday), September 25th, and we are asked to mention that they will start from the hospital at 2.0 o’clock, pass through Dunchurch, down the London Road to Stretton-on-Dunsmore, then turn off through Wolston and Church Lawford to New Bilton.

The cars will line up opposite the Rugby Portland Cement Works. Here they will be met by the B.T.H Military Band about 2.35 p.m, and will pass in procession through New Bilton, Warwick Street, High Street, Market Place, Church Street, Clifton Road, Clifton, by St Thomas’ Cross (Newton), Catthorpe and Swinford to Stanford Park.

On the homeward journey they will start at 5.30 p.m, and travel via Yelvertoft, Crick, and Hillmorton.

We have so doubt people on the routes indicated will be glad of the opportunity of showing enthusiastic appreciation to these gallant defenders of the Empire.

HOW THE WARWICKSHIRE YEOMANRY FOUGHT AT THE DARDANELLES.

LOCAL MEN WOUNDED, BUT NOT SERI0USLY.

“ I am writing this from my little ‘ hole ‘ in the hill,” says Sergt-Major Tait, of C Squadron of the Warwickshire Yeomanry, now at the Dardanelles. ” We left our base on August 17th, and arrived here ‘somewhere at the front’ on the 20th or thereabouts. I have lost count of time since we have been in the real thing. We had our baptism of fire as soon as we landed, being shelled by the Turks for about five minutes. Fortunately no one was hit, and we reached our bivouac without mishap. We had a few casualties while in bivouac, as we had to go to the shore for water, and the Turks or Germans, knowing or being able to see when the men went to draw water, sent some shrapnel over them, and succeeded in bagging one or two. They used to send us one or two ‘haters ’ at meal times just to pass the time of day—sometimes they burst and sometimes not. They seat 14 at us one morning, but did no damage. We are on the side of a hill about — miles from the coast, and when our ships shell the enemy the shells come right over us, and make a terrific noise. It was funny at first to see the men ‘ duck ‘ when one came over ; but it was only natural, and I suppose I was one of the ‘ duckers.’ They are getting used to it now.

“ Our shells have been making terrible work in the enemy’s camp trenches, according to reports of men who have been in the first lines. They say they found Tucks or Germans mixed up together in heaps of 10 or 15. They asked for an armistice to bury their dead, but this was refused, because the last time they had one they did not bury the dead, but moved their big guns to the rear and set them up in other positions ; so our fellows had the job of burying their dead when they had taken their trenches. Since we landed they have been pushed back about —— miles. Perhaps you will have heard of our doings by the time you get this, but you may not have got details.

“ We left our base at 4.20 p.m. on Friday, the 20th. with orders to join the Division by 7.30 p.m. All went well until we got about two miles on our journey. We had cross a large extent of perfectly flat country to our objective and covered with patches of gorse. We must have made a good mark for the enemy’s guns, for as soon as we got to the edge of the gorse they opened fire on us with shrapnel, high explosives, and incendiary shells. They had got the range, and officers and men began to drop. For three-quarters of an hour they rained shrapnel upon us, and it is marvellous how any of us came through the storm alive.

“ My squadron lost 27 killed and wounded. We were the luckiest of the lot, and lost the least men being on the right of the column. Men were going down in one’s and twos every time a shell burst, and, to make matters worse, the devils set fire to the gorse.

“ After being under fire for about a quarter of an hour we had the order to double, but we could only go about 100 yards, and had to walk the rest. This was the time the casualties were heaviest.

“ We eventually reached the foot of the hill to the accompaniment of the cheers of those who had watched us from the hillside. When the roll had been called we found we had lost about 70 in the regiment, but several walked in afterwards only slightly wounded.

“ When we reached our objective we thought we had finished, but after half-an-hour’s rest we were told, to advance to the reserve trenches one and a-half miles to the front. Fortunately by this time it was getting dark. We were taken over the top of the hill and down the other side, where we again came under fire—this time from machine guns and snipers. We had a few more casualties, but only wounded, no one being killed and finally we got to the trench where we threw of our packs, said a fervent prayer, and tried to go to sleep. But the excitement of the past events made this impossible.

“ We have since heard of fellows having marvellous escapes. One officer had the back of his helmet shot away, and also the collar of his coat, but did not get wounded. Several men can show holes in their clothes and helmets. I was hit with a bullet on one of the pouches, and it knocked three clips of cartridges out, but did not hurt me. I came through without any other mishap, so I offered up a prayer of thankfulness to the Almighty for bringing us through what can be literally called ‘ hell on earth.’

This is the only time any troop have been brought across the open since operations commenced in this part of the seat of war, and everyone who saw our advance says that the Yeomanry have earned a name for themselves.

“ The only thing that is a bit of a trouble is the water. It is only issued twice a day. and as bully beef and biscuits make one thirsty, it is trying—put the water is good when we get it. The men in the firing line are looked after first, which is as it should be—the men in the reserve trenches forming fatigues for getting food and water to the first line, and they do it cheerfully day and night. It is really wonderful how the fellows have adapted themselves to circumstances.

“I am feeling quite fit and well, with the exception of a slight cold. It is very hot in the day, and gets cold towards early morning. We expect the rainy season to commence shortly.

“ When you see Mr J E Cox tell him his two sons are in the next dug-out to me. They are both all right, and came through without a scratch. Bert White’s son was left at — camp to look after the horses—if he only knew what a lucky fellow he was.

“ We do not get a very good service post here, and have had no letters since we left the base. We are now pretty ‘cosy,’ not over-worked, and plenty of bully and tea.

“ I hope you will be able to read this, as it is written in rather an uncomfortable position, lying on my back in the dug-out whilst the shells are coming over.

“ We are rather troubled with snipers, but the Australian bushmen are dealing with them. One chap lives close to me, and he says he has shot 17 since he has been on the job. They got three yesterday—one dressed in a K.O.S.B uniform. They say the snipers are principally Kurds.”

“ A LIVING SHEET OF FIRE & BULLETS.”

Corpl Horace Neeves, of the Signal Troop of the 1st South Midland Mounted Brigade, has written to his parents, Mr and Mrs S Neeves, of Murray Road, Rugby, giving an interesting account of his experiences in the fighting on Hill 70, following the landing at Suvla Bay at the Dardanelles. He was working on the staff at Rugby Post Office, when at the outbreak of war the Rugby Troop of the Warwickshire Yeomanry, of which he had been a member for six or seven years, was mobilised. Having been for, some months at Alexandria, he went with the South Midland Mounted Brigade (with which his troop is incorporated) to the Dardanelles, and experienced some heavy fighting in the advance from Suvla Bay, the last stage of which, he says, was “like going through a living sheet of fire and bullets.” He felt one or two bits of stuff, probably dirt, thrown up by shrapnel, hit him in the face ; but he remarks that otherwise he came through quite safely. However, on returning to hospital, suffering from a severe attack of dysentry, it was found that Corpl Neeves had had a narrow escape. A shrapnel bullet had entered his haversack, had passed through four folds of the housewife it contained, and had become embedded in a thimble which was crumpled up and possibly saved his life. We understand that Corpl Neeves has been invalided home, and is now on a transport ship on his way to England.

 

RECRUITING AT RUGBY.

The following have been attested at the Rugby Drill Hall this week :—E Imeson and S O’Donnell, Gloucester Bantams ; K W Smallwood R.E, Telegraph ; W Courtman, R.G.A ; W E Hughes, T W Hughes, and H Panter, R.F.A ; T Cleaver and J E Newman, 220th Fortress Co, R.E.

COVENTRY MUNITIONS TRIBUNAL.

MORE PROCEEDINGS.

A sitting of the Coventry And District Munitions Tribunal was held at the Labour Exchange offices, at which Mr F Tillyard, of Birmingham, presided. There were also present : Mr T Clarke (employers), Mr J G Chater (employees), together with the Clerk (Mr P E Wilks) and Mr D G Bolland {assistant clerk).

SLEEPY WORKER.

The allegation against James Cullen, turner, of 93 Winfield Street, Rugby, an employee of the British Thomson-Houston Co, Ltd, was that he had been found asleep on two separate occasions whilst engaged on important Government work.

Prior to the hearing of the case Cullen asked for an adjournment on the ground that his trade union secretary, and a witness were not present, but the Court decided to proceed with the case.

Mr J Bale, foreman, stated that at 4.25 a.m on the 8th inst. he found Cullen asleep by the side of his machine. After taking his name and number he walked down the shop, and when about half-way down he heard Cullen’s machine running again. Cullen’s explanation was that owing to the nature of his work the breakfast half-hour had been re-arranged, and that the time when the foreman came up was his breakfast time, 4 a.m to 4.30, half-an-hour later than usual.

Launcelot Wakelin, in charge of the shop, said that on the 9th inst. he saw Cullen lying full length across the floor near the machine, fast asleep. When asked for his name and number Cullen was abusive, and refused to give them. He had watched Cullen for fully ten minutes to make sure he was asleep.

Cullen admitted lying down, but emphatically denied being asleep, and stated that it was customary for men to lie down and watch the material running through.

After consideration, the Chairman announced that the Court had come to the conclusion that Cullen was not “diligently attending to his work,” which was an infringement of the Munitions Act. The first case had been withdrawn, and a fine of £1 was inflicted for the offence on the 9th inst.—Cullen : If I did wrong once I did wrong twice.—The Chairman : You are being fined on your own admission that you were lying down at your work.—Cullen : I refuse to pay a halfpenny until see my solicitor.—The Chairman : There is no appeal to this decision.

GOVERNMENT CARRIER PIGEONS.

A WARNING.

The Press Bureau issues the following announcement :—

“ Notice is hereby given that carrier or homing pigeons are being used for certain purposes in connection with his Majesty’s Service, and attention is called to the fact that anyone who shoots or kills a carrier or homing pigeon whilst on passage renders himself liable to prosecution.”

Snutch, Herbert John D. Died 25th Sep 1915

Herbert was born in the fourth quarter of 1896 in Rugby Warwickshire

In the 1901 census Herbert was 4 years old and shown as grandson living at 80 The Locks, Hillmorton, Rugby with his grandmother Kate aged 56, born 1845 in London, and his grandfather David aged 52, born in 1849 in Arnesby Leicestershire, who was a Stationary Engine Driver, and also their elder son Frederick George Snutch, born in 1878 in Hillmorton who was 23, and was a Bricklayer’s labourer.

Herbert’s father Edward D, born 1874 and mother Sarah Elizabeth (nee Greenhill) born 1871 were living at 3 Oxford Street in Rugby and had with them Herbert’s one month old brother called Frederick W L Snutch. No doubt Herbert was “farmed off” to grandparents for an evening or so!

In 1911 Herbert was an Errand Boy for a Builders business. His father was the caretaker of the Wesleyan Church. He and his parents and brother were living at 6 Elborow Street Rugby. Herbert’s grandparents still lived at The Locks Hillmorton, Rugby and his grandfather was “looking after engine pumping water”.

Details from Herbert’s Short Service Attestation and Medal Card show that he joined up to the King’s Royal Rifles, Regiment No S1580, at the age of 19 in 1914, in Winchester, for the Duration of War.   His service record said he had been employed by Walton and Sons for 6 years. His trade was entered as Plumber.

The Kings Royal Rifle Corps 12th (Service) Battalion was formed in Winchester as part of the Second New Army (K2) on 21 September 1914, then was moved to Cowshot, Bisley to join the 60th Brigade of the 20th Division. In November 1914 it moved to Blackdown and then to Larkhill, Salisbury Plain.

The Corps was mobilised for war on 22 July 1915 and landed at Boulogne and ended in various actions on the Western Front.

Herbert’s Medical Record shows he was admitted into hospital during 1915 for “Boils”.

His parents were living in 17 Northcote Road Rugby in 1915.

Herbert was killed in action 25 September 1915, aged 19, and had served for just over one year. Herbert had not married.

His name is recorded on Panel 10 Ploegsteert Cemetery Comines-Warneton Hainault Belgium.

 

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Powell, Horace. Died 25th Sep 1915

Horace POWELL was born in Long Eaton, Derbyshire and his birth was registered in Shardlow at the end of 1895. His father, Henry, was born in about 1862, in Coventry and was a machine tool maker. His mother, Alice, was born two years later in Emscote, Warwick. The family appear to have moved around, indeed, Horace’s elder sister, Alice, was born in Germany in 1891, although his eldest sister was born in Coventry in 1885.

In 1901, Horace was only five years old, and the family were living in Coventry. By 1911, the family had moved to 106, Craven Road, Rugby and Horace, now 15, was working as a ‘turner in iron industry’ ‘engineering’.   It is assumed that he was already working at BTH, where he is known to have been working in the BTH Tool Room prior to enlisting.

He joined up as a rifleman, number Y/531, in the 9th Bn. Kings Royal Rifle Corps.

The 9th (Service) Battalion of the Kings Royal Rifle Corps was formed at Winchester in August 1914 as part of K1 and came under orders of 42nd Brigade in 14th (Light) Division. They moved to Aldershot, going on to Petworth in November and in February 1915 returned to Aldershot.

The 9th Bn. landed at Boulogne on 20 May 1915, although it seems that Horace did not arrive until slightly later, as his medal card showed that he arrived in France on 13 August 1915.

The Battalion had fought in the action at Hooge Crater, being in the first Division to be attacked by flamethrowers. ‘The loss of the Battalion in this short action was 17 officers and 333 other ranks. … The Battalion took no further part in any important fighting until the Battle of Loos on September 25th, where they again experienced very hard fighting, lost heavily, but won further credit for their gallant services.’[1]

On 25 September 1915, the 9th Bn. were in action in one of the main diversions for the Battle of Loos, the Second Attack on Bellevarde [see separate article in Rugby Remembers]. Bellevarde Farm was only about 500m north of Hooge. On this day, another eight Rugby men, from the 5th Battalion of the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, were killed in action, with none having a known grave. The 9th Kings Royal Rifle Corps were in action to the left of the 5th Ox. and Bucks.

Before the date of his final action, Horace was promoted from Rifleman to acting Corporal, but was reported missing, presumed killed, on the first day of the attack on Bellevarde Farm, on 25 September 1915.

Horace was originally buried as an ‘unknown soldier’, probably near where he fell as the given Map Reference: 28.I.11.b.15.49. was near Railway Wood, some 500 yards north-west of Bellevarde Farm. His unnamed body was recovered after the war and he was identified by his ‘titles and boots, stmp. [stamped] 531’, and that part of his boot was ‘forwarded to base’.

 Powell - map-exhumation-railway

 Above: Map with 25 yard square I.11.b.15.45 (marked in green), locating the small cemetery. The site of Horace’s exhumation, 28.I.11.b.15.49, would be a few yards immediately north of the green square on the map, and thus probably part of that same small battlefield cemetery in the disused railway cutting.

The marked square on the trench map was the location of a small battlefield cemetery to the west of Railway Wood in the middle of the disused railway cutting – it is today the route of the N37 Zuiderring road from Ypres to Zonnebeke, near where it crosses Begijnenbosstraat.

Several soldiers were buried initially in this cemetery, including, notably, the alleged youngest casualty of WWI, the fourteen year old John Condon, who was killed on 24 May 1915, and who was reburied in Poelcapelle Cemetery, where his is the best known and most visited grave of any soldier who died in the Great War, although some researchers now suggests that Condon was actually 20 years old, and indeed it is argued that his body may have been misidentified and a completely different soldier, Patrick Fitzsimmons, who had the same number in another regiment, may well be buried there![2]

Horace Powell was also reburied in Poelcapelle British Cemetery, in Grave Reference: LIV. F. 7. This cemetery is located some ten miles north of Bellewaarde, and was built after the war, and many individual burials and the burials in several smaller cemeteries were concentrated into the Poelcapelle British Cemetery, which is located 10 Kms north-east of Ieper town centre on the Brugseweg (N313), a road connecting Ieper to Brugge in west-Vlaanderen.

Horace was awarded the British and Victory medals and the 1915 Star.

[1]       http://www.pmb.ox.ac.uk/sites/default/files/library/Documents/archive/chaplin_krrc_extract.pdf

[2]       http://www.jackclegg3.webspace.virginmedia.com/Condonevidence.htm

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM