30th Oct 1915. Soldiers Appreciate the Rugby Advertiser



Bandsman B Wilkins, of the Rifle Brigade, in a letter to a friend in Rugby, indicates that those who are in the habit of sending the Rugby Advertiser to men in the trenches are doing a service that is much appreciated. He says : “ I have just had a look at this week’s Advertiser, which one of our chaps had received, so do not trouble to send it this week In it you will see Rifleman Freeman’s photo. Well, I helped to bury him. He was a very decent fellow. I was only joking with him two or three hours before, but I didn’t know he lived at Kineton, so was surprised to see his photo in the Rugby paper. Rifleman Wilkins states that he is quite well, and hopes to come home on leave very shortly.


Corporal E Wiggins, Northants Yeomanry, eldest son of Mr W Wiggins, has, been gazetted to a second-lieutenancy.

Lance-Corporal Esplin, of the 8th Seaforth Highlanders, an employe of Messrs Frost and Son, has been wounded, and is now in hospital at Rubery, near Birmingham.

Mr F G Greenhill, who some years ago held the office of assistant surveyor to the Rugby Urban District Council, and who is an ex-captain of the Rugby Football Club, has received a commission as lieutenant in the Royal Engineers, and expects to proceed abroad immediately.

Official notification has been received by Mr H Newitt, 58 Abbey Street, Rugby, that his son, Pte G V Newitt (Oxon and Bucks) is in hospital at Boulogne suffering from a severe bullet wound in the abdomen. Pte Newitt worked at the B.T.H before enlistment, and has been at the front since May, He was slightly wounded about two months ago.


Rifleman Harold Smith, of the K.R.R, whose parents live at Bilton Hill, has been wounded by shrapnel and is in hospital at Cambridge. Last week he underwent a successful operation. In a letter home, he states that the Rev W O Assheton (Rector of Bilton) has visited him


Official news has been received that Pte W Munnings, R.A.M.C, another employe of Messrs A .Frost & Sons, printers, Warwick Street, has been killed while attending to the wounded. Pte Munnings joined the Army in September, 1914, but was discharged on medical grounds. He entered a hospital and underwent an operation. however, and was then accepted.


Sergt F H Lines, of the Howitzers, son of Inspector Lines, of the Rugby Police Force, has this week been home from the front.—Pte Walter R Clarke, of the Rugby Infantry Co, whose home is at 26 George Street, Rugby, is also on furlough. Both are old St Matthew’s boys, and appear none the worse for their experiences at the war.


Pte W P Clarke, Royal Marines, of H.M.S Shannon, in a letter to his old schoolmaster, Mr W T Coles Hodges, F.E.I.S, says :—“ I see quite a large number of old boys have enlisted, and that several have been laid low. Still, they have died doing their duty, as the rest of us young men are prepared to do. I am very sorry that I cannot tell you what we have done, and what we are going to do, but we have been doing our bit. Our Navy has got the right name, the ‘ Silent Navy.’ We are all longing for the big naval battle to come. I can assure you it is a bit monotonous watching and waiting for an enemy which never turns up. The only thing which they seem to have out in our line is submarines, and they always steer clear of us. Through Mr Sidwell’s tuition I have managed to represent the Royal Marines at Deal, and Chatham, and also two ships, at cricket.”


Although the canvas for recruits has not yet commenced locally, the new appeal for men has had the effect of stimulating business at the Drill Hall, and the number of men who have offered themselves has been higher than for many weeks past. The following have been attested :

J W Shrimpton (driver), G G Batchelor and A E Beech (Royal Engineers) ; F W Anderson, P G Major, A Higgins, L Boyles, F Holder, W R Townsend, E Shirley, A Mathews, W D Reeve, T Walker, E T Dunkley, H A Muddeman, J Moore, E G Marsh, A Newhound, R.F.A ; W Gunn, M.F.P. ; E Waring, Leicesters ; E G W W Hollins, J R Holder, and H E Goodwin, R.W.R ; F R M Lee and G H Neale, R.F Corps ; G T Palmer, 220th Co A.S Corp R.E ; E A Foxon, H Bartlett, H Kendrick, A.S.C ; W. J Payne, R.A.M.C ; J G Gowing, A.S.C, M.T ; A G Hone and E Osborne, A.S.C, H.T.

The following offered themselves, but owing to medical reasons were not accepted: E Eales, T Cleaver, L Painter, W E Summerfield, H C Walden, H W Kennard, and H W Duckett.

Infantrymen are urgently required.




Mr A Adnitt (hon secretary) and members of the Rugby Territorial Comforts Committee have received a number of letters of thanks from the recipients of the cakes which were recently sent to the local Territorial units at a result of the cake competition, held in the Church House. Below we give a few extracts :—


Battery S M George Hopewell, of the Howitzer Battery, writes :-“ Will you please convey to the Rugby Territorial Comforts Committee our heartiest thanks for the splendid gift of cake which we received on Saturday. I received 24 parcels in all, and sent half of them to our drivers at the wagon line and some to the Rugby men who are on the Headquarters’ Staff and in the 4th Battery, so that 160 Rugby, boys had the pleasure of enjoying their tea with cake from HOME ; and I am sure we feel greatly honoured to think that so much time, trouble, and expense has been expended on our behalf by our many generous friends, who we feel, have adopted this very practical way of expressing all their good wishes for our welfare. We were very pleased to see that a good many ladies had enclosed their names and addresses, as it is a great satisfaction to know whose hospitality one is partaking of, and to be able to thank them personally. . . . I am pleased to say that we came through the bombardment without any casualties, and thoroughly enjoyed the extra REAL work which we had to do, and are eagerly looking forward to the next similar occasion, which we hope will be more prolonged, and the last word in this long argument of nations. . . . With the exception of a few colds and other minor ailments, we are all well and in the best spirits.”

Quartermaster-Sergt Painter, of the Howitzer Battery, in a letter to Mrs C P Nickalls, states that his section had the honour of receiving the first and fourth prize winners and two highly commended cakes. He adds :—“ We were fortunate enough to receive them on Sunday morning, and they were much appreciated by the men at tea-time. If the judging had been left to the men, I am afraid they would all have been awarded first prize. On behalf of the members of the Battery I beg to take this opportunity of thanking you and the members of the Rugby Comforts Committee for the various presents which have been sent out to us from time to time.”


Corporal A Branston “ C ” Company, 1/7th R.W.R (T.F), acknowledging the receipt of the cakes, says :-“ On behalf of the men I am to express their thanks to you and the good people of Rugby for their kindness to us. I can assure you that we all enjoyed the cakes immensely. There are only a few articles badly wanted by the men in my section, such as handkerchiefs and housewives, so if you know of any good person who would send us those little articles I should be very grateful.

Quartermaster-Sergt Tomlinson, of the Rugby Infantry Co, 7th R.W.R, also acknowledges the receipt of the cakes in good condition, and says :—“ With the help of Sergt Bryant I have distributed them, and we were able to reach every Rugby man now serving with the Battery, including two men in other companies and one with the second line A.S.C. Everyone was delighted with their change of fare, and scarcely know how to sufficiently thank the kind donors. However may I, on behalf of the company, ask you to convey to all concerned our deep and grateful thanks. I am sure they would have felt somewhat repaid if they could have seen the happy little groups at tea last Sunday. The happiness, too, was extended, as many shared their cake with comrades from other towns. I think our friends who made the good things, and who attached labels, will receive personal letters of thanks from the recipients. With reference to comforts you are so kindly collecting, may I ask you to withhold sending pants for the time being. We have just had an issue of these articles ; this will probably be the only issue we shall get, and wear and tear is very hard, therefore later on we shall be glad of some to replace them. I will let you know immediately the need arises. If I may I should like to suggest the following articles of which many are in need : Razors, jack knives, and enamel mugs. We are in a district where it is almost impossible to buy anything. It is a country district, and the inhabitants have all been cleared, out, and we spend several weeks in or near the firing line.”



DEAR SIR,—As some of your readers may be aware, there is an ambulance which was equipped by the Boy Scouts, and manned by six ex-scouts. This has been doing good service at the front, but the engine is wearing out, and the body has been found unsuitable for getting over the roads near the fighting line, where they are broken up with shell fire.

Sir Robert Baden Powell, as Chief Scout, is anxious, therefore, to provide them with, a new car, and has appealed, to the scouts throughout the country to raise the necessary funds.

It is a stringent rule of the Scout movement that there shall be no touting or begging for subscriptions, and the only way, therefore, scouts can raise money is by working for it.

In asking you, therefore to publish this letter, I am not asking for donations, but only that those of your readers who: are able, will help the scouts to raise the money themselves by providing them with work.

We have set aside the week ending November 6th for this purpose, and I would earnestly ask that any householders who are appealed to by scouts during that time will endeavour to give them some work—grass cutting, wood chopping, cycle cleaning, or, indeed, any odd jobs for which scouts are always prepared. If anyone will write to me offerings any special work, I will see that their requirements are met if possible.

Scouts applying for work should be in uniform, and all money earned by them will be devoted to the above object, being turned in to their scoutmaster, with a statement of the work done and money received.—Yours truly,


Assistant District Commissioner, Rugby Division of Boy Scouts.


WILD WEST EXHIBITION.—Broncho Bill’s exhibition will visit Rugby on Thursday next, November 4th. This exhibition has a reputation because of the originality and realism of the productions. The fact that it has to do with life “ out west ” gives it a fascination which can be rarely exceeded by other entertainments. Pictures of Wild West episodes have been produced with success, and have always appealed to audiences, but to see the real thing one should visit this exhibition. Life on the prairies is represented with striking realism, cowboys, cowgirls, Indians, and fiery prairie mustangs taking part. The scenes will leave vivid impressions in the mind of the visitor. The peculiar expertness so characteristic of a Western “ character ” is displayed with great effect. An idea of the scenes depicted will be found in our advertisement columns. There will be two exhibitions whatever the state of the weather, and arrangements have been made for the convenience and comfort of 10,000 visitors.

23rd Oct 1915. Local Territorials do Good Work


Lance-Corporal W J Boyes, of “C” Company, 1/7 Royal Warwickshire (Territorials), writes to the editor :-


Just a few lines to your paper to let the people of Rugby know our battalion is still going strong out here. In the recent heavy fighting we were in the first line trenches. We did not know until the last moment that the advance was to take place all along the line. Our artillery was busy, and the Rugby Howitzer Battery was well to the front with some deadly firing. For days the roar of heavy high explosives were heard, and there was hardly a moment’s silence. For the first time since we have been out here our trench mortars have been used with great success, and altogether we helped to secure what we fully believe to be the first fruits of a crushing victory. We experienced some bad luck the other night, as the Germans sent over some aerial torpedoes, which unfortunately caused some casualties, but only one of these was a Rugby man.

We have just seen a squadron of our aeroplanes pass over the German lines. It was a grand sight to witness the bursting of shells from the enemy anti-aircraft guns, hut not one of our aeroplanes was hit, although there must have been at least twenty of them passing over the German lines.

Everyone is cheerful and confident, and I know when we get orders to drive the Germans back the Warwicks will be ready.

The weather is very rough just now, and there is every prospect of a severe winter.

I know the people of Rugby will not be behind-hand in sending out a few comforts, and the boys are grateful for what they have already done for us. Hoping this will be interesting to the readers of your paper.

Lance-Corpl Boyes has two brothers also serving—one in the Berkshires and the other in the Oxford and Bucks.


Pte J Gayton, 2495, “C” Co, 1/7th Royal Warwicks, writes on October 16th as follows :—

“ Dear Sir,— Please spare me a small space in your paper to thank the people of Rugby who so kindly sent out a consignment of cakes to ‘C’ Co of the l/7th R.W.R. I am a Coventry youth myself, and there are a lot more from there in the above Company and the Rugby boys who are with us very kindly shared the cakes with us. They were a treat—absolutely a luxury for us—and I can assure you and all the good people concerned that we fellows from Coventry will never forget the great kindness shown by the people and the Rugby boys here who shared with us. The day will come, I hope, when we can fully repay them.

Well, I am pleased to say our Company are all keeping well and as cheerful as can be expected ; and, of course, all are looking forward to the end and victory. When the time comes I am certain our fellows will be there, and they will give a good account of themselves. We are out of the trenches at present, but close up to the firing line in case we are wanted. Again thanking the good people of Rugby for their kindness shown,— I am, yours respectfully, (Pte) J GAYTON.”


A number of the recipients of cakes from the recent competition have sent acknowlegments. All of them express much pleasure and make it known, if in different words, that they are ready to face anything for us, and that the feeling that they are in the home people’s thoughts gives them much greater heart.

Messrs McDougall, Ltd, London, also write thanking all tradesmen and others who helped to make their competition successful. The helpers and receivers also wish to add thanks.


Lieut Thomas Ainsworth Townsend, R.A.M.C, who is now at the front in France, has been appointed surgeon to the 24th London Regiment (The Queen’s).

Mr B Whitbread, only son of Mr Charles Whitbread, and Mr Eddy Wilson, youngest son of Mrs E Wilson, have been gazetted to commissions in the 12th Reserve R.W.R.

Two more members of the Rugby branch of the Typographical Association, Mr J Holmes, Advertiser Office, and Mr C Wharton, of Mr Bird’s printing works, enlisted in the R.A.M.C this week.

Sergt D Hamilton, 1st K.0.S.B, who was billeted with Mr and Mrs Haggar, 7 Sycamore Grove, has been recommended for the D.C.M for organising a sniping party which effectively kept back the Turks near Krithia while the British line was being consolidated. He is a native of Clyde Bank, and has been in the Army six years.

The Rugby Prisoner of War Help Committee have received the handsome donation of 18gns, the result of a sale of surplus furniture held recently at Te Hira.

Mr Gilbert (Bert) Howkins, son of Mr G F Howkins, of Crick, has obtained a commission in the Royal Engineers. Previous to joining the Army he was in the Government Valuation Department. All three of Mr Howkins’ sons are now serving with H.M Forces, the others being in the Honourable Artillery Company and the Northamptonshire Yeomanry respectively.

Rifleman A Sansom, of 180 Oxford street, Rugby, has been slightly wounded and gassed. He was formerly a bricklayer, and joined the King’s Royal Rifles Corps. He has been in active service nine months.

Victor Cowley, son of Mr W Cowley, 12 Worcester Street, Rugby, an old St Matthew’s boy, employed by the B.T.H Co, Ltd, in the winding department, joined the 7th Battalion of the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry early in September, 1914. He went to the front “ somewhere in France ” at the end of last month. While sheltering in a dug-out he was wounded by shrapnel in the face by a German aerial torpedo, which came through the roof and exploded, fatally injuring some. All the platoon were more or less wounded. He is now in hospital at Leeds, and going on satisfactorily.


Although official intimation has not yet been received, from the War Office, Mrs Green, of The Laurels, has been notified by Capt E R Mobbs that her husband, Pte Bert Green, was killed in action some three weeks ago—at the time of the British advance. No letter had been received from him for nearly a month, and, Mrs Green being anxious, communicated with the above-named officer, and received the sad news on Wednesday morning. The sympathy of the village is with his wife and three little daughters. At the beginning of the war he was anxious to enlist, and in January last, unable to resist the call longer, he refused the chance of a commission and joined the 7th Northants Regiment. He was attached to the company of footballers and athletes captained by the famous Rugby inter-national footballer, Capt E R Mobbs. This company is known in the Northampton district ” Mobbs’s lot.” Mr Green was looked upon as a good-natured and genial fellow, both in the village and by his business companions. He was an all-round athlete. Several years ago he used to go on a cricket tour annually with the Yorkshire Gentlemen, and has played for first-class teams. He played for both Kilsby cricket and football teams, at one time captaining the former. He also played for Watford and other village clubs, and was a good asset. For the last two or three years he was a member of the British Thomson-Houston C.C. He made some excellent scores for this club, and for two years headed the batting averages. — Sympathetic reference was made to Pte Green’s death by Mr R Dumas at the meeting of the B.T.H Athletic Club on Thursday evening.


Official news has been received that Pte C Kirby, of the 2nd Worcesters, only son of Mr H Kirby, of School Street, Hillmorton, and nephew of Mrs. F Paxton, 73 Murray Road, Rugby, was killed in action on September 26th in the great advance, at the early age of 22 years. The deceased joined the Army in December, 1911, and went to France in August, 1914. He was wounded in the left forearm on the 3rd of November, 1914, and went into hospital. He was back in the firing line on the 30th January, 1915, and has seen much fighting since that time.—The Vicar (the Rev R Lever) alluded to his death in his sermon on Sunday evening last, he having been a boy in the church Sunday School.


Second-Lieut Hugh Digby Marriott, of the 8th Battalion of the Rifle Brigade, who, as reported last week, was killed in action in Flanders on October 9th, was a younger son, of Mr and Mrs Marriott, of Cotesbach, Lutterworth, Leicestershire. He was born on August 5th, 1895, and was educated at Temple Grove and at Bradfield College. He was entered at Brasenose College, Oxford, and was about to take up his residence there in October, 1914. Instead of this, however, he obtained a commission in the Rifle Brigade, and after the severe fighting at Hooge on July 30th-in which his brother Frederick was killed—he went out with other officers, and was appointed to the 8th Battalion.


Some months ago we recorded an incident in which Pte George Eaton (93 South Street) and other Rugby Territorials were attacked at a listening post by about three times their number of Germans. They defended the position bravely, and succeeded in driving off the enemy. Pte Eaton was referred to by the Corporal as being specially heroic. “ Although wounded, he kept on firing. He was a brick, and stuck to it like a man,” was the comment made upon his action at the time. His friends in Rugby will be glad to learn that for the part he took in this midnight episode he has been commended by the commanding officer “ for distinguished conduct in the field.”


Co-Sergt-Major C Favell, of the 5th Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, an old St Matthew’s School athletic championship holder, and well known later as a long-distance runner, has been reported wounded and in hospital.



Rifleman Tom Reeve, who at the time of enlistment resided with his parents at Bilton, and is now in hospital at Guildford, has written to a friend describing how he received his wound and narrowly escaped being killed outright. He says:—

“ It was a nasty, smack right in the middle of the back—shrapnel wound. There isn’t much chance of dodging them, as they burst overhead for a radius of 200 yards ; but I am pleased to say I have no bones broken. The thing that saved my life was my pack. It went clean through that, and made a big hole in my jacket. I had got about 500 yards from the top of our parapet when I received my share. It knocked me down, but I did not feel it much for a few minutes. I got off my equipment the best way I could, and managed to get back somehow—but only God knows how. One of my pals came to bandage me up, and just as he got to me he was shot clean dead. I was then bandaged up by our doctor and put in a dug-out to await stretcher bearers. The Germans were shelling our trenches, and I thought every minute they would drop one on our dug-out—in fact, one dropped five yards from us and killed several. . . . I am glad to say I am making a wonderful recovery.”

In a subsequent letter he describes the wound as being 7ins long and 4ins wide right across the back, so it will take some time to get healed up.

The parents of Rifleman Reeve (who now live at Holbrook Farm, Little Lawford), have received a letter from E B Kerr, one of his comrades, who says that it happened soon after they started on the big charge. They were sorry to lose him, as he was always a great help. The writer was afraid that several of the Platoon who came from Rugby had suffered.

Mr and Mrs J Stibberd, of Bilton, have received information that their son, Bugler G Stibberd, of the 11th Royal Rifles, has been wounded by a shell while in billets, and is now in hospital at Boulogne. It is not a serious wound, and he is going on favourably. He enlisted in September, 1914, and went out in July.

Pte Alf Day, of the Royal Warwicks, is in hospital at Sheffield wounded. His parents now live at Bishops Itchington, but at the time of enlistment he had resided with them at Bilton for some time, and worked as a blacksmith at Church Lawford.


MRS CROFTS, of this village has received a letter from her youngest son, John (who is with the 6th Batt Royal Field Artillery), dated from a hospital and stating that he has been in that institution over six weeks suffering from a cracked shin-bone. It seems he was helping to take the horses to water when the horse in front of him suddenly kicked out and caught him. Later reports state that he is progressing as well as can be expected. The unfortunate young fellow had been promoted to sergeant only a few days before his accident. Mrs Crofts’ three sons have all entered the army. Charles came over with the Canadian contingent and is at the front, a letter recently to hand stating that he had been in the trenches about a week at the time of writing. Her eldest son, William, it will be remembered, lost his life while bathing off Sheerness, about three years ago.


MR ERNEST CHAMBERS KILLED.—Mr and Mrs Ernest Chambers have been notified from the War Office that their eldest son has died from wounds. He was badly hit in the abdomen. He joined the Royal Field Artillery soon after the war broke out, and was then residing with his parents at Sidon Hill, Brandon. The place of death is not mentioned, but he was fighting in the Gallipoli Peninsula. Much sympathy is felt in the district for his relatives.

WOUNDED SOLDIERS.—Mr and Mrs Charles Elliott, of Brook Street, whose son was reported killed in a former issue of our paper, have now received the bad news that two of their nephews have been wounded. One—Fredk Goodwin, of the 2nd Hants Regiment—has four ribs injured, left leg broken, and an injury to his waist, and now lies in a Reading hospital ; while another nephew—Fredk Woolcott—is badly wounded in the arm. Both were fighting in the Gallipoli Peninsula.


Recruiting at the Drill Hall has been rather better this week, and 21 men have been attested as follows :—D Lilley, C C Wharton, J H Holmes, A Morris, and E G Cloonan, R.A.M.C ; J R Holland, L C Major, and J Stevens, R.F.A ; W Bench, J A Speor, T A Rogers, R J Jackson, A B Webb, E Wood, and J W Wood, A.O.C ; W Richardson, Royal Berks ; W H Gulever and B E Iliffe, R.W.R ; D J Hall R.H.A ; W Southall and D Barnwell, drivers, R.E.

All the units are now open, and men are urgently required for the infantry battalions.

Local arrangements for carrying out Lord Derby’s recruiting scheme are well in hand, and it is hoped that the appeal which is about to be made to the manhood of the town will meet with a ready response. In many towns already the number of recruits had been greatly accelerated, and Rugby, which has so far done exceedingly well, should not now lag behind, as it is clearly understood that any failure in this effort will result in compulsory service. The local Parliamentary Committee is representative of the three great schools of political thought and is composed of the following :- Messrs M E T Wratislaw (chairman), J J McKinnell, H Tarbox, J H Walker W Barnett, L Aviss, C J Newman, G H Rolerts, and Col F F Johnstone, with Mr A Bell and Mr F M Burton joint hon Secretaries.


The persistent and patriotic endeavours made by Pte A Seaton, of Old Bilton, to enter the Army should put to shame those who advance all manner of excuses to avoid service. Although barely of enlistment age and having an impediment in his speech, Pte Seaton offered himself at the recruiting office but was rejected on account of deformed toes, one on each foot.

He enquired whether he would be accepted if he had the toes amputated, and on learning that he would be taken if the operation was successful, he entered the Rugby Hospital and has both his toes removed.

He is now serving in the 7th Royal Warwicks.


Pte W Rainbow, of the 1/7th Royal Warwickshire Regiment, writing to his parents, says :—“ We had a terrible ten minutes the other night in the village, as the Germans started sending shrapnel over, and about a dozen of us were out on ration party at the time. The shells were bursting over our heads, and some of the chaps were running all over the place instead of taking cover. . . . I believe that all the chaps on that party sent up a short prayer that night, as none of us ever thought of coming out of it safe. . . . God must have seen fit to bring us out safe, for many of Kitchener’s got hit the same night. We have had a worse casualty list this few days than any time before in so short a time. You ought to hear the chaps carrying on over people at home wanting to know if we have been in the firing line yet, with chaps getting killed and wounded every day.”


Billingham, Walter Arthur. Died 21st Oct 1915

Walter Arthur Billingham birth was registered in 1895 at Towcester. His parents were Alfred Billingham (a flour miller) born in (Nether?) Heyford, Northamptonshire and Emma (nee Harrison) Billingham born in Northampton, Northamptonshire.

His parent’s marriage on 01 December 1889 was registered in Northampton, Northamptonshire. Walter was one of six children but only five survived according to the 1911 census. He was the eldest son living at home, 2 Pynus Cottages, Blisworth, aged 15, working as a gardener with his brother Frederick aged 12 and his sister Elsie aged 6 both at school and his sister Lily aged 3. His elder brother, Alfred J, aged 21, is not present but was recorded on the 1901 census when the family were living at 13 Chapel Lane, Blisworth in Northamptonshire.

(The name Pynus Cottages came from a nearby field named “Pyesnest”.)

Walter Arthur enlisted in Rugby in Warwickshire as a Gunner joining the Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Field Artillery.

The local newspaper recorded the following:-“BTH Employee Dies of Wounds

News has been received in Rugby of the death from wounds received in the Dardanelles, on October 27th, of Gunner W Bellingham, R.F.A. who at the time he enlisted was employed in the winding department at the B.T.H. Works.”

Walter Arthur Billingham’s British Army WW1 Medal Rolls Index Card states that the theatre of war (3) entered, was Egypt and the qualifying date was 14/07/1915. He joined the Royal Field Artillery as Gunner Billingham, and regimental number 10351. He was awarded the British War Medal, Victory Medal and 15 Star. On his death he was recorded as 10351, B Bty., 59th Bde., Royal Field Artillery.

He died at Suvla Bay, of his wounds.

Walter Arthur Billingham is remembered with honour at Hill 10 Cemetery, Suvla.


Country:-Turkey (including Gallipoli)

Identified Casualties:-549

Location Information

The Anzac and Suvla cemeteries are first signposted from the left hand junction of the Eceabat- Bigali Road. From this junction, travel into the main Anzac area.

Located South West of Azmak and North of the Salt Lake, the cemetery will be found on the left, 21.5 kms from the junction.

Historical Information

The eight month campaign in Gallipoli was fought by Commonwealth and French forces in an attempt to force Turkey out of the war, to relieve the deadlock of the Western Front in France and Belgium, and to open a supply route to Russia through the Dardanelles and the Black Sea.

The Allies landed on the peninsula on 25-26 April 1915; the 29th Division at Cape Helles in the south and the Australian and New Zealand Corps north of Gaba Tepe on the west coast, an area soon known as Anzac. On 6 August, further troops were put ashore at Suvla, just north of Anzac, and the climax of the campaign came in early August when simultaneous assaults were launched on all three fronts.

The aim of the Suvla force had been to quickly secure the sparsely held high ground surrounding the bay and salt lake, but confused landings and indecision caused fatal delays allowing the Turks to reinforce and only a few of the objectives were taken with difficulty.

Hill 10, a low isolated mound to the north of the salt lake, was taken by the 9th Lancashire Fusiliers and the 11th Manchesters on the early morning of 7 August 1915. The cemetery was made after the Armistice by the concentration of graves from isolated sites and from the 88th Dressing Station, 89th Dressing Station, Kangaroo Beach, ‘B’ Beach, 26th Casualty Clearing Station and Park Lane

There are now 699 servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 150 of the burials are unidentified but special memorials commemorate a number of casualties known or believed to be buried among them.

This summary was prepared for the Rugby Family History Group by Janine Fearn in October 2015. Many thanks are due to, Christine Hancock, for managing the project, and for producing the “Rugby Remembers” blog and also to those members of the group who provided data from the local papers.

Research achieved from using the Ancestry and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission web sites.


Busson, Ernest Charles. Died 17th Oct 1915

Ernest Charles Busson was born in 1893, he was baptised on 14 January 1894. His parents were William Edward and Elizabeth Busson. Father’s birth registered in Stow in the Wold, Gloucestershire and his mother’s in Rugby, Warwickshire.

His mother and father married 27 September 1886 in St Matthew’s Church in Rugby. Ernest was one of four children, his eldest brother, William Alfred b. 1887, fought and died in The Great War, 26 August 2014, Mary Ann b 1888, and John Henry b. 1890 who also signed up to fight.

In the 1911 census William and Elizabeth are recorded as being married for 26 years, living at 30 Sun Street, Rugby, and William working as a house painter and John Henry (23) and Ernest Charles (18) as Labourers (brick-layers). Previous census records have transcription errors and record the surname as Burson instead of Busson.

Ernest Charles Busson – photo by permission of Rugby Library

The local newspaper reported that “A second son killed”. “Official news was received on Tuesday that Pte Ernest Chas Busson, of the 5th Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, was killed in action on October 17th. This confirms a report circulated in the town last week as to the fate of the young soldier. Pte Busson, whose home is at 30 Sun Street, Rugby, joined the Regiment when the war broke out, he was 23 years of age, and was employed at the L & N W Erecting Shop. He was brother to Pte Wm Busson, of the 1st Royal Warwicks, who was killed in the retreat from Mons.”

Ernest Charles’ British Army WW1 Medal Rolls Index Card states that the theatre of war entered in was France and date of entry 06/08/1915. He joined the 6th Bn., Oxfordshire and Buckingham Light Infantry as Private Busson, regimental number 11867. He was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal and the 1915 Star.

Edward Charles is remembered with Honour at Rue-Du-Bacquerot No. 1 Military Cemetry, Laventie, Departement du Pas-de-Calais, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France

Rue-de-Bacquerot No.1Military Cemetry, Laventie

Location Information

Laventie is a village in the Department of the Pas-de-Calais, 6 kilometres south-west of Armentieres and 11 kilometres north of La Bassee. Rue-du-Bacquerot No.1 Military Cemetery is 3 kilometres south of Laventie on the north side of the road to La Couture

Historical Information

The Rue-du-Bacquerot runs south-east of the village, from the Estaires-La Bassee road towards Fleurbaix, and the position of this road close behind the Allied front trenches during the greater part of the First World War made it the natural line of a number of small Commonwealth cemeteries. One of these, begun by the Indian Corps in November 1914, was the nearest to the Estaires-La Bassee road and became known as Rue-du-Bacquerot No.1.

The cemetery was used until May 1917, and for short periods in 1918, by the units holding the line. After the Armistice the small Indian plots were enlarged when graves were brought in from the battlefields and from smaller burials grounds.

Nineteen of the Indian graves were brought in from RUE-DES-CHAVATTES INDIAN CEMETERY, LACOUTURE.

The cemetery contains 637 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War. 61 of the burials are unidentified and special memorials commemorate 12 casualties. The cemetery also contains seven German graves.

The cemetery was designed by Sir Herbert Baker.

This summary was prepared for the Rugby Family History Group by Janine Fearn in October 2015. Many thanks are due to, Christine Hancock, for managing the project, and for producing the “Rugby Remembers” blog and also to those members of the group who provided data from the local papers.

Research achieved from using Ancestry and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission web sites.




Davis, Walter. Died 17th Oct 1915

 Walter Davis was born in mid 1872 in Rugby and registered as Walter Smith Davis in Q3 1872. His parents were Francis Smith Davis, b.c.1836 in Welford, Northamptonshire and Emma, née Masters, Davis, b.c.1842 in Walcote, Leicestershire. Their marriage was registered in Lutterworth in later 1863. There were four children: Albert, b.c.1867; Ada, b.c.1871; Walter S., b.1872; and Arthur Davis b.c.1876.

In 1861, Francis had been a groom, the son of an agricultural labourer; but before 1867, the family had moved to Rugby and by 1881, was living at 18 Lawford Road and Francis was working as a ‘horse clipper’. In 1891, his son, Walter, was a ‘cement labourer’ – they were living at 18 New Street – and Francis, had added a further trade and was now a ‘horse clipper and green grocer’, and it was as a greengrocer that Francis was enumerated in 1881. It seems that the greengrocery business was successful as Francis was still in the trade in 1901, but now the family was living at 36 New Street. Walter’s elder sister Ada was a corset maker, whilst Walter had become a ‘mechanic’s labourer’.

By 1911 the family had moved again to live at 61 Victoria Street, New Bilton, Rugby. On enumeration night, 2 April, Walter’s father was lodging in his birth village of Welford as an ‘old age pensioner’, and whilst not required and deleted by the administrator, he had noted that he had been married 46 years and had three of his children ‘still living’. Walter was now 38, still single and a ‘crane driver’, quite possibly at the nearby cement works – and it was thought that he might have been a mechanic there in 1901, however, he is not in the list of early recruits from the Rugby Portland Cement Works in September 1914.[1]

As was the case for a number of local men, Walter Davis joined up, as Private, No:11886, into the 5th (Service) Battalion of the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Ox. and Bucks.).

The surviving Service Records for the Ox. and Bucks. suggest that there was a rapid response to the recruitment drive and the service numbers can be used to make an estimate of the place and date of attestation for other soldiers. With the number 11886, it is likely that Walter joined up in Rugby around 2 September 1914, where No.11874 Smith, only 12 recruits ahead in any queue, is known to have joined up. Walter, who was now about 42, would have been much older than many who joined the Battalion.

A summary of the earlier movements and actions of the 5th Bn. Ox. and Bucks. can be found in the description of the attack on Bellewaarde Farm on 25 September 1915 (see: Rugby Remembers for that date). The 5th Ox. and Bucks. was formed at Oxford in August 1914 as part of Kitchener’s new army and was placed under the orders of the 42nd Brigade in the 14th (Light) Division. They landed in Boulogne on 21 May 1915.

However, whenever he actually ‘joined up’, Walter did not go to France until 1 October 1915, probably with reinforcements, after the heavy losses at Bellewaarde Farm, when the Battalion was withdrawn to regroup and retrain, and the Battalion Diary,[2] noted that the Battalion returned to a ‘Camp near Poperinge’ by 1 October, and that ‘… 46 other ranks were killed, six died of wounds, 249 were wounded and 136 were missing.’ Two days later a draft of 200 NCOs and men, a ‘… very good looking lot of men’ arrived from 9th Bn. to provide replacements.

9th (Reserve) Battalion was formed at Portsmouth in October 1914, as a Service battalion for K4 and placed under orders of 96th Brigade, originally in 32nd Division, but on 10 April 1915 it was converted into a reserve battalion.[3] It seems quite likely that Walter had been initially in this battalion for training and was then included in the reinforcements which joined the 5th Battalion.

However by 13 October 1915, the Battalion Diary[4] indicated that the Battalion was back in the trenches, and relieved the 8th K.R.R.C. in Railway Wood, (see location map on Rugby Remembers – 25 September 1915, and details of the Battalion in Rugby Remembers for 16 October 1915).

The CWGC lists 11 men from the 5th Ox. And Bucks. killed on 16 October (including William Langham – see Rugby Remembers for 16 October 1915) and who have no known grave. Then on the next day the Battalion Diary noted:

October 17th – At 5.15 a.m. the enemy ‘exploded’ a mine under the junction of H.20 and H.21, making a very large crater (about 40 yards in diameter and 30 feet deep), and filling a great part of H.20 and H.21 with earth.

Our mine shaft in H.20 was blown up. It appears to have been a defensive measure only, as no artillery fire was opened and no attack made. The fire-trench at the junction of H.20 and H.21 was destroyed for about 4 bays on either side. A huge amount of earth was thrown up, and forms a long ridge running towards the German crater of the 25th September. About 7 a.m. the enemy made two bomb attacks against the new crater and the Sunken Road. Both were easily repulsed by our bombers at the crater, and by rifle-fire from H.20.   The behaviour of the men was excellent.   As soon as the mine exploded A Company holding H.20 north and south of the Sunken Road, stood up on the fire-step and delivered a very rapid, steady fire against the enemy position, while 2 platoons started to dig out men buried by the explosion. Work commenced almost at once on constructing a trench round the crater. Enemy snipers were busy, and we had several casualties in parties carrying up knife-rests. The C.O. directed field guns to be laid on the enemy crater; large supplies of bombs were got up, and a reinforcement of 1 sergeant and 16 bombers of the 5th K.S.L.I. came to our assistance.   Captain R. O. Logan was killed by a bomb, the last of our Regular or even experienced Company Commanders, and a very great loss. At 12.40p.m. 1 company of the 5th K.S.L.I, was ordered up to reinforce.   During the morning we successfully wired between H.20 and S.20. The night passed quietly, but the Battalion stood-to throughout. 2nd Lieut. A. D. J. Mellis, one of the last of the newly joined officers, was killed in the afternoon by an aerial torpedo in H.22. Casualties during the day: 2 officers and 13 other ranks killed; 31 other ranks wounded; 23 other ranks missing and buried by the mine. Total 69.

36 men were killed or buried alive that day, but there seem to be only five of them with known graves, at various places, including behind lines at dressing stations or hospitals, and they include some who were wounded in earlier actions and died on that day.

Again, it seems that for any who had actual graves, these were probably lost in subsequent actions and shelling. There are some 29 men from the 5th Ox. And Bucks. recorded as dying on the 17 October 1915, and who have no known graves and who are now remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial.

It is likely that Walter Davis was one of those killed or buried alive, in the mine explosion in the early morning of 17 October 1915. He had only been in France for just over two weeks.

Walter’s father, Francis, died in mid 1915 in Rugby shortly before his son. His mother, Emma, died in mid 1921.

Walter was awarded the British and Victory Medals and the 1915 Star, and is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial and on the Rugby Memorial Gates.




= = = =


This summary was prepared for the Rugby Family History Group by John P H Frearson in October 2015.   Thanks are due to other members of the Group for copying data in the local newspaper

[1]       Rugby Advertiser, 12 September 1914.

[2]       Record of the 5th (Service) Battalion, 1 August 1915 to 30 June 1916, at: http://www.lightbobs.com/.

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

[4]       Record of the 5th (Service) Battalion, 1 August 1915 to 30 June 1916, at: http://www.lightbobs.com/.

16th Oct 1915. Dardanelles Hero at Rugby



A remarkably ovation was accorded to Sergt J Somers, V.C, of the 1st Inniskilling Fusiliers, on the occasion of his visit to the town on Thursday evening. The fact that he had won the coveted decoration for conspicuous gallantry at the Dardanelles, and that Mr and Mrs W D Burns, of 16 Corbett Street, Rugby, with whom he was billeted in the early months of the year, were expecting him to re-visit their home this week, became generally known to the inhabitants of the town, and it was only natural, seeing that the young soldier had so greatly distinguished himself since he and his comrades sojourned amongst us, that a welcome worthy of the town and of the man should be extended to him. Definite information as to the exact time of his arrival was not received until Thursday morning, so that the arrangements were necessarily of a somewhat hurried character, and even these had to be modified, partly because of the immense crowds that thronged the thoroughfares, and partly because of the fact that Sergt Somers had to leave the same night by the Irish Mail for Belfast, where he had to report himself yesterday (Friday) afternoon. Still, if the demonstration was impromptu and spontaneous, it was none the less sincere and convincing, and the gallant soldier was evidently greatly pleased at his reception.

It was understood that Sergt Somers would arrive from London at 5.45 p.m, and Mr J J McKinnell, chairman of the Rugby Urban District Council ; Colonel Johnstone, recruiting officer at Rugby, and other prominent townsmen, agreed to meet him at the station, whilst arrangements had also been made for the Steam Shed Band to lead the way, via Railway Terrace, Craven Road, and Cross Street, to his host’s house in Corbett Street, a landau having been chartered for the conveyance of Sergt Somers and others specially interested in the reception.

Those present on the platform to welcome Sergt Somers included : Messrs J J McKinnell (chairman), W Flint (vice-chairman), S B Robbins, A W Stevenson, H Yates, W H Linnell, R W Barnsdale, C J Newman, T Ringrose (members of the U.D.C), Mr A Morson (clerk to the Council), Lieut-Colonel F Johnstone (recruiting officer), Messrs L Aviss, M E T Wratislaw, F M Burton, E H Roberts, and T W Walton (Parliamentary Recruiting Committee). These gentlemen having been introduced to the gallant soldier, they proceeded to the exit gates, where a dense crowd, numbering several thousands, had gathered, and the moment the youthful hero, wearing the small bronze cross, for which a man will risk so much, appeared beneath the arcade, the people raised cheer after cheer, which were repeated with gusto by those at the back when they caught sight of his boyish figure in the landau. Others present in the vehicle were : Lieut-Colonel Johnstone, Mr J J McKinnell, Mr Robert Wilson Somers (Tipperary, father of Sergt Somers), and Pte Wm Divine, of 1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, a part of whose leg had been blown off by a shell. Ropes were attached to the landau which was drawn by a number of stalwart admirers of Sergt Somers, preceded by the Rugby Steam Shed Band under the conductorship of Mr E R Stebbing. Mr and Mrs Burns and several members of the U.D.C followed in Mr C J Newman’s motor-car. To the strains of “ See the conquering hero comes,” the procession started up Station Road, and took the selected route to Corbett Street, the home of Mr and Mrs Burns. The streets were thronged, and it is estimated that fully 10,000 people turned out to do Sergt Somers honour ; and everywhere he was greeted with enthusiastic cheers. In Craven Road the band played ” For he’s a jolly good fellow,” but as they approached Cross Street and Corbett Street, in each of which a number of flags were flying from bedroom windows, they struck up once more, “ See the conquering hero comes.” A small decorated arch had been erected outside Mrs Burns’ house, and streamers were strung across the street, and a motto over the gateway bore the inscription, “ Welcome V.C.”


Mr McKINNELL, addressing the crowd from the landau, said : We are here to pay honour to a brave man-who has achieved the greatest distinction any Britisher could wish to achieve. To get the Victoria Cross is any man’s highest ambition. We are very glad to welcome him home safe and sound, and we hope he may wear that bronze cross for many years to come. Not only do we honour Sergt Somers, but we honour his comrades, who used to pass through our streets in the early months of this year ; and we honour particularly those brave and gallant men who have fallen on the field of battle, and who will never come back again (hear, hear).

Sergeant Somers then entered the house, where a number of friends who had known him during his stay in Rugby were assembled to welcome him, including Pte Nestor, of the same regiment, who is wounded.

Lieut-Colonel JOHNSTONE congratulated the father of Sergt Somers upon having such a brave son.


Mr S ROBBINS said Mrs Burns was anxious to give Sergt Somers a small memento of the occasion, so she persuaded a few friends to spare a little in order to make a present to him to remind him of his stay in Rugby.

Mrs BURNS then said, on behalf of the friends whom Sergt Somers made during his stay in Rugby, she had great pleasure in presenting him with a wrist watch. They all hoped that he would be spared for many years to serve his King and Country (applause).

Sergt SOMERS, in reply, thanked them very much for their kindness and the splendid “turnout” they had given him that evening. He was rather surprised to see such large crowds out. He wished especially to thank Mrs Burns for her kindness to him, and all who had made him that present, (hear, hear).

A telegram was handed to Sergt Somers by Mr N Mitchelson, a neighbour, who had received it from Sergt Mudd, of the same regiment. This expressed heartiest congratulations and best wishes on behalf of all the Good Templars of the regimental lodges.


Sergt Somers received the V.C at the hands of His Majesty at Buckingham Palace earlier the same day. There were 32 others who received decorations. They were officers chiefly, and his was the only V.C. amongst them. He arrived rather earlier than had been anticipated, and, in a brief interview, explained to a Rugby Advertiser representative the circumstances in which the decoration was won at the Dardanelles.

“ I shot thirty Turks single-handed,” he said, “and knocked over fifty more with bombs. I held the trench, which was full of Turks, for four hours, and hunted the enemy out of the sap trench. When I had no bombs left I threw stones and pieces of clay at them. Eventually Captain Sullivan came up and brought some more bombs, and for this he got the V.C, so you can tell what it was like.”

Sergt Somers was struck by a splinter, which knocked him into the trench and strained his back, and it was in consequence of this injury that he was invalided home. He has been in the army 3 1/2 years, and is only 21 years of age. He is a native of Clochgordon, in Tipperary, and had a wonderful reception on his return home, where he was also presented with a gift of £250. At Londonderry, too, the inhabitants turned out in thousands to greet him, but, in spite of his popularity he is modest and unassuming, and accepts the honours conferred with a quiet, good-natured smile.


Later in the evening a large recruiting rally was held at the Clock Tower, and addressed by Sergt Somers, V.C, and other local speakers. Sergt Somers and his friends were driven from Corbett Street to the meeting-place in a landau, decorated with flags, preceded by the Steam Shed Band, and when this arrived at the Clock Tower, where a crowd of 3,000 or 4,000 was assembled, the young soldier was greeted with roll upon roll of cheering. Flags were flown from several houses around the Square. Mr J J McKinnell presided, and there were also present on the temporary platform. Lieut-Col Johnstone, Rev C M Blagden (rector), Lieut Loverock, Mr R W Somers, Mr and Mrs Burns, Messrs M E T Wratislaw, H Yates, S B Robbins, A Bell, F M Burton, G H Roberts, and several friends of Sergt Somers.

The CHAIRMAN briefly explained the purpose of the meeting, and introduced the hero of the evening to the crowd.


Lieut-Col JOHNSTONE then made a strong appeal for recruits, and pointed out that we were at present fighting in France, Dardanelles, Egypt, Africa, and Persia. Their hands were full, and that was why they wanted more men—and wanted them badly. He urged them to come forward and keep the flag flying-that dear old flag which had never once been hauled down to any nation ; they must not let it now be hauled down to the Germans (applause). He asked them to come forward and do their duty like the brave young soldier, Sergt Somers, had done his (applause), by which he had set such a glorious example to the young men. Col Johnstone remarked that in his early days he was connected with the gallant regiment to which Sergt Somers belonged, and his father once commanded it. It was, therefore, a great interest and honour for him to be the one to more or less introduce Sergt Somers as a soldier to Rugby people after the brave act he had done. Col Johnstone then detailed the great act for which Sergt Somers received the V.C, and said there were 3,800[?] men of military age in Rugby, a number of whom were engaged on munition work. After deducting these, however, there were over 1,000 in the town who could, and should, come forward to defend their country. In conclusion, he appealed to the young men of the town to visit the recruiting office, and called for three hearty cheers for Sergt Somers, V.C.

These were given with enthusiast.


The Rev C M BLAGDEN addressed the gathering, and said he believed all would answer the call of their country when they understood how great the need was. Their responsibilities became greater every day. Unless they had the men they could not possibly go on with the war as they ought to go on with it. They had better say their number was up already. But it was not going to be up ; they were going to respond to the need, and were going to give to the Army all the men it wanted, because, if they did not, there was an end of Britain for ever. They must not suppose that they would be able to get out of this war with any sort of comfort now that they were in it. If they did not win they were going to be beaten all through. However, they had got to win, and win handsomely, so that they would be able to dictate terms of peace. But in order to do that and win the right sort of victory to free their country and the other countries near and dear to them from this standing menace, of Prussia they must have all the men who were capable of shouldering a rifle. Sergt Somers had proved to them what British troops could do, and there was no man who took service in his Majesty’s Army who would not have the opportunity of proving his manhood before the world.

The Rector then alluded to the number of men who had gone from Rugby—some never to return—and said if they did not get the men they would not go forward on the path of triumph which assuredly laid open before them if they got the Armies for the purpose. He urged them to come how, and not wait. Delay was always dangerous ; it would be fatal to the honour of their country now (applause).


Sergt SOMERS, V.C, who met with an enthusiastic reception, said : “ I got rather a surprise when I arrived at Rugby and saw so many young men knocking about-thousands of them. ‘What are you doing ? ’ he demanded. ‘ Are you all asleep ? ’ I have been out to the front twice. I have been to France, Flanders, and the Dardanelles, and am nothing the worse for it. I have got honour, in fact (applause), and I will go out again (renewed applause). I am going to keep the Union Jack flying (applause). Is there anyone coming to help me ? If I am left all alone who is going to back me up ? I have been to London to-day to see his Majesty the King (applause), who presented me with this decoration (here Sergt Somers, amid loud cheers, pointed to the Cross pinned on his breast). I have come down from London to Rugby to see if I can get any young men to back me up. I am going to the front again, and I want someone to back me up (a voice : ‘Have the women,’ and laughter). Unfortunately I am going away to-night. I am going off to Belfast to see what I can do there. ? I am going to see if I can get any recruits there, to see if they will back me up. If no one backs me up here I must go there. There are a lot of you young men working at munition works, and the old men are sitting at home. Why don’t the old men work on munitions and the young men join the colours ? (applause). I know that when young men are asked to enlist they make the excuse that they are working on munitions. I have been told it myself (a voice : ‘Let the women do it,’ Sergt Somers : Hear, hear). We also want the men who are doing nothing, walking about the streets from corner to corner, and lounging about the public-houses. ‘ Is there anyone,’ he asked, ‘ who will back me up ? . Is there anyone in favour of me, anyone coming with me ? ’ I say, ‘ Young men of Rugby, for God’s sake get into khaki if you have a drop of blood in your body. For the honour of your King and country join the Army.’ The gallant speaker mentioned that he saw the Zeppelins dropping bombs in London the previous evening, and that day had seen the damage which was done.

Mr H YATES (secretary of the Rugby Trades and Labour Council) also addressed the meeting, and said he was an out-and-out advocate of the voluntary system ; but if the voluntary system did not find the men he was out for national service and for every man who was physically able to serve (applause). He reminded them that if the Labour party’s scheme failed the only alternative was conscription. He did not want conscription ; he wanted them to win the war with the grand voluntary system, but the war must be won (applause). The call now was for more, and more men.

Mr G H ROBERTS and Mr M E T WRATISLAW having spoken, the meeting terminated with “ God save the King ” and “ For he’s a Jolly good fellow ” ; and as Sergt Somers and his friends drove off to the station the band played “ See the conquering hero comes.”



The following have been attested at the Rugby Drill Hall during the past week 😀 W Press and L C Kendrick, A.S.C (M.T) ; H J Askew, R.E ; D W Bates and S G Eliott, A.S.C ; L E Webb, 220th Company R.E ; A C Dandridge, F J Harrison (gunner), and J Johnson, R.F.A ; H Turney and A Adams, R.A.M.C.—All branches of the service are now open for recruits, and Sergt Patterson, at the Drill Hall, will be pleased to give many information to intending recruits.

So far the result of the great recruiting rally at the Clock Tower on Thursday evening has been nil, but hopes are expressed that when the eligible men have thought the matter over and allowed the stirring appeal of Sergt Somers and the other speakers to sink into their minds, recruiting locally will receive a marked impulse.


16th Oct 1915. Cakes for Rugby Territorials



With a view to obtaining a number of cakes for the members of the Rugby Territorial Units, a cake-making competition was arranged by local ladies and the Territorial Comforts Committee, in conjunction with McDougalls, Ltd, of London. Considerable interest was evinced in the venture, and 138 competitors entered for the handsome prizes which were offered by the firm mentioned above, who also supplied the recipe by which the cakes were to be made. The competition was held on Saturday, in the St Andrew’s Girls’ Schools. Miss Pocock, the Warwickshire County Council cookery instructress, judged the exhibits, the greater number of which were of a high quality. In addition to the cakes entered for competition, 121 were sent “ not for competition,” so that there was a total of 260 cakes to be dispatched to the front.

A large number of persons visited the schools during the afternoon, and the sum realised from the small charges for admission went towards paying the carriage of the parcels to France, which was somewhat heavy.

Shortly before eight o’clock Captain West (of the Women’s Volunteer Reserve) presented the prices as follows :—1st (tea set), Nurse Jay, 53 Hillmorton Road ; 2nd (eiderdown quilt), Mrs Ballantyne, 1 Cromwell Rd ; 3rd (silk umbrella), Miss Prosser, 51 Hillmorton Rd ; 4th (handbag and purse), Miss Slack, 35 Sheep St ; 5th (two) Mrs Beeton’s “ Family Cookery,” Mrs Molcher, 1 William St, and Mrs Cobb, 2 St Matthew’s St. Consolation prizes (three), Mrs Beeton’s “ All About Cookery,” Miss D Jackson, 25 Claremont Rd ; Miss Fox, G.C.R Station ; and Mrs Hedges, Newbold Road.

Miss Fox was also awarded the prize “ Mrs Beeton’s Family Cookery,” for securing the most entries (27) for the competition. The following competitors were highly commended : Miss Lines, 79 Manor Road ; Mrs Newman, 126 Wood Street ; Miss C E Dean, 58 Hillmorton Road ; Nurse Wishey, 58 Hillmorton Road ; Miss Watkins, 17 Caldecott Street, and Miss Ethel Fortnam, 127 Oxford Street.

In presenting the prizes, Mrs West mentioned that the first prize and two honourable mentions went to the same house, but the Judge was quite certain that they were all three of different mixing and were cooked by different people. In the name of the Territorials at the front, she would thank all who had sent cakes. She knew where the Territorials were ; they were ten miles from the nearest town, and had nothing to eat but bully beef and biscuits, so that the cakes would be thoroughly appreciated. She was sure that in making those cakes they all liked to feel that they were helping by doing their bit, and those who had not secured prizes had done their share as much as those who had. She was certain that all the cakes would be very much appreciated, because the men would not know the difference. It might be a rude thing to say, but she had never known a man who knew a good cake when he had eaten it, at least they did not know the difference between a good one and a bad one (laughter).

Mr ADNITT, as secretary of the Territorial Comforts Committee, heartily thanked Mrs Abercrombie and the committee who had so kindly organized the competition. They must have gone to a great deal of trouble to obtain such a fine show of cakes. He thought the men to whom they were to be sent would heartily appreciate them.

The ceremony over, members of the Women’s Volunteer Reserve, who, under Captain Moss (Adjutant) and Captain West, appeared in public for the first time, assisted by a number of members of the Rugby Company of the V.T.C, commenced the task of packing the cakes into parcels, each containing eleven pounds. The work was very expeditiously carried out.

Among those who kindly collected promises of cakes were :—Group 1, Girls’ Clubs of Rugby and friends ; Group 2, Mrs Colbeck, Mrs G Eaton, Mrs Findlay, Mrs Frost, Mrs Hogg, Miss Walton, Miss Watson, etc ; Mr James (Castle Street) and James and Taverner (Cross Street). Others who assisted in various ways were : Mrs Abercrombie, Miss Booth, Mrs Astin, Miss L Fortnam, and Miss D Fox. The door stewards were : Mrs J W Marvin, Mrs A Lines, and Mrs E Astin ; and members of the W.V.R and H.W.C took charge of the exhibits.

The idea of holding the competition originated with several members of one of the Girls’ Clubs in the town, and other small groups, on being approached, promptly fell in with the proposal, with the satisfactory result recorded above. The competition being held on Saturday morning, a number of persons were unable to send their cakes in early enough for judging. Entries were received from several of the villages, and New Bilton sent cakes through Mrs Frost and Mrs Corbett. About 620lbs of cake were received, being about 1lb for each man, and this was packed into 61 parcels and despatched on Monday morning, 23 parcels going to the Rugby Howitzer Battery, 23 to the Rugby men of the 7th Royal Warwicks, and 13 to the Ammunition Column. The balance of the cost of carriage and packing was paid by the Rugby Territorial Comforts Committee, and this body, of which Mr Adnitt is the secretary, would be pleased to receive further subscriptions towards their work. Money is urgently required for meeting the heavy charges for carriage, and also to buy articles required which are not sent in by the public, such as pants and under-vests.



We are asked to state that, the Lord Lieutenant’s appeal on behalf of this fund has met with an inadequate response, and the result is that Colonel Grundy, of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment Old Comrades’ Association, is in great anxiety as to how to continue the parcels to the prisoners. It is obvious that the appeal must have escaped the attention of the generous and patriotic inhabitants of the county or the response would certainly have been much better. Donations should be sent to Mr. S. C. Smith, Lloyds Bank, Warwick.


Gifts of small games and packs of cards, not necessarily new, also second-hand clothing, will be much welcomed, and may be left at the Rectory.

A further list of subscribers is published on page 5, making the total received up to about £150. This will not enable the committee to carry on the work very far, and they hope more subscribers will come forward. Many people are sending in a certain sum monthly, and the committee hope to see this system extended.


The committee wish to thank the following ladies for promising to send puddings :—Mrs Mulliner, Miss Mulliner, Mr W Brooke, Mrs Pyne, Mrs J Gilbert, Mrs E Howard, Mrs Steel, Mrs Fabling, Mrs West, Mrs Ewart, Mrs Hidden, Mrs Hartwell, Mrs C Nickalls, Mrs C Dukes, Miss D Biggs, Mrs Dewar, Mrs Hawkesworth, Mrs Peddell, Mrs Adnitt, and Mrs Jackson.

Up to October 14th no less than 78 parcels and hampers have been sent off.


Company Q.M.S Alf Tomlinson, of the Rugby Infantry Company, in a letter of thanks to Mr Arthur Adnitt for a box of games and magazines, says :—“ These arrived about a week after my return from England. I distributed them as widely as I could, and I don’t think there were many Rugby men who did not participate more or less in the things you sent. The games were a great source of pleasure, especially the draughts. A few further small sets of these would be deeply. appreciated. . . . You kindly ask for our wants. I am sure you cannot do more for our comfort than by sending warm under-clothing in the shape of shirts, pants, vests and socks. Sweaters and gloves will soon be eagerly sought after. Although the weather is fairly open now, it is bitterly cold at night on sentry duties in the trenches, and a dug-out is not the best place in the world to recover from two hours on the listening post or motionless sentry work in the traverse of a trench. Will you please convoy our deep and grateful thanks to the T.C.C and all friends who so kindly think of Rugby’s ‘Terriers.’”

Acknowledgments of a hamper of fruit and a parcel of underclothing have also been received from B.S.M George Hopewell, of the Rugby Howitzer Battery, who, speaking of under-shirts and pants, says :—” I am sending half of each back to the horse lines for distribution among the drivers, and I can assure you that they will be keenly appreciated, note that the cold weather is coming on. . . .I should like to suggest that towels would be very useful, as the Government allowance is one per man, and whilst this is being washed it is rather difficult to dry oneself after washing. Am thankful to say we all came out of the bombardment safe and sound, and are eagerly looking forward to the next round. Hearty thanks to the committee.”


Mr F Tillyard, Birmingham, presided at a sitting of the Coventry and District Munitions Tribunal at the Labour Exchange Office on Friday afternoon. There were present for the employers Mr T Hancox, for the workmen Mr H Dexter (Rugby), together with Mr P E Wilks (clerk) and Mr D G Bolland (assistant clerk).


What was described by the Chairman as a case of a somewhat unusual character was then considered by the Court. John Allen Northfield, Old Manor House, Lilbourne, a mechanical engineer draughtsman, complained that his employers, Messrs Willans & Robinson, Ltd, Rugby, were unreasonably withholding a certificate. He wished to accept a post with another firm, at a higher salary than that which he was receiving. He had been in a drawing office for five years. He was not a workman within the meaning of part two of the Insurance Act, and submitted that he was not a workman within the meaning of Section 7 of the Munitions Act. He submitted the following letter from the Minister of Munitions :-

“ I am directed by the Minister of Munitions to refer to your letter of August 31st, respecting the position of the draughtsmen and other salaried employees, as distinct from workmen, with regard to leaving their employment and obtaining other engagements elsewhere.

“ I am to refer you to the enclosed copy of Section 7 of the Munitions of War Act, and of the order made thereunder by the Minister. From the latter you will see that the provisions of the section apply to workmen employed in all establishments of the classes named whether controlled or not. The Minister is advised that the terms “workman ” should be construed in its ordinary sense as meaning a person who, substantially does his work with his hands or at all events by physical exertion. I am to add that if any employee of the class to which you refer was unable to obtain employment owing to his being unable to produce the necessary certificate under Section 7 he could by applying to a Local Munitions Tribunal obtain a decision as to whether a certificate was in his case necessary.”

In giving his decision that applicant was not a workman within the meaning of the Act, the Chairman said he not wish to create a precedent as they might possibly have a number of young men who were not so highly skilled as applicant, making a similar application. In this case the certificate was not necessary. Applicant’s services might be of more use to the country in the post to which he wished to go.


ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE.—Pte Harry Ingram, of the 2nd Royal Warwicks, was brought before A E Donkin, Esq, at the Rugby Occasional Court, on Friday last week, on a charge of being absent without leave from the regimental headquarters at Parkhurst, Isle of Wight.—P.S Sharp arrested defendant at Brinklow on the previous night.-He was remanded in custody to await an escort.



16th Oct 1915. A Romance of the Battlefield



The sequel to a romantic meeting of an English soldier with a French lady behind the firing-line in France was provided at Holy Trinity Church on Monday, when Sapper Charles Batty, R.E, son of Mr T B Batty, 82 Grosvenor Road, was married to Mdlle Gabrielle Louise Vermeersch, of Armentieres, Nord, France. The ceremony was performed by the Rev C M Blagden, Rector, in the presence of a large congregation. Miss Violet Batty, sister of the bridegroom was the bridesmaid. A reception was held after the ceremony at the house of the bridegroom, and the Rector and a number, of friends were present.

The meeting between the happy couple was of a somewhat romantic nature. The occupants of a humble dwelling at Erquinghem sur la lys, near d’Armentieres, were aroused at 10 p.m one evening in January last by a knock at the door. The father of the lady of the house immediately went to the door, and seeing a man in uniform, standing there, exclaimed in anguish that their visitor was a German. Pte Batty, the visitor in question, however, assured him that he was an Englishman, and asked for a cup of coffee. He was immediately invited inside, and at the entreaty of the lady of the house gladly accepted an invitation to remain there for the night. During the course of the evening he met the hostess’s sister, Gabrielle, who smilingly informed our representative that his subsequent visits became very frequent. The town where this lady dwelt was bombarded by the Germans on several occasions, and in June last, at Sapper Batty’s request, Mdlle Vermeersch agreed to come to England for safety, and await such time as he should be able to obtain leave to come over to marry her. Arrangements Were made for the wedding to take place seven weeks ago, but Sapper Batty was unable to obtain leave, and the wedding was accordingly postponed. On Thursday in last week, however, he arrived at his home, and the wedding took place by special license on Monday, the bridegroom returning to the front on Wednesday.

Sapper Batty, who possesses a number of interesting trophies, obtained on the field of battle, has been in the army for nine years. He originally enlisted in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and spent several years in England. His regiment returned to England in March, 1914, and on the outbreak of war he was drafted to the front, and a short time ago he obtained a transfer to the Royal Engineers’ telegraphic section. He has been in 10 engagements, including the recent offensive.


Corpl Jack Fortnam, of the Warwickshire Yeomanry, who was wounded in the charge at Hill 60, Suvla Bay, and is now in hospital at Netley, writes:-

“ We were all cosy in our little dug-outs, basking in the sun, some writing, some watching our navy barely half-mile away sending shells to the Turks, in exchange for their heavy artillery shells. Everyone seemed greatly amused, and in the best of spirits, taking but little notice of the shells and shrapnel, that occasionally fell amongst our boys. About three o’clock in the afternoon, we had rumours going round that we were going to move. Later on we found the rumour was official. We had our rum issue, and extra rations, ready to fall in at 7 o’clock. It was now getting dark. We moved off along zigzag paths, stumbling over rocks and small bushes, and, making a right-hand wheel around Sulva Bay till we reached Lala Baba, our reserve position, about 2 p.m. Our orders were then to get a little sleep till morning. We were all pleased when morning came. We were nearly perished with cold, but soon got fit again when the sun came out. Making tea was out of the question, so we breakfasted on bully and biscuits, and a limited supply of water. At 2.10 p.m a terrible bombardment began from our battleships, and artillery, which kept up the fire until four o’clock, sending their shells immediately over our heads. The ground fairly shook. Hundreds of shells were sent up to greet the Turks. It must have been absolute death for them in their trenches. No wonder it took the name of “Burnt Hill.” This hill had a fine main fighting position, and caused a great deal of trouble to the V-shape new landing of troops and transport. About four o’clock we had to fall in. We moved off in extended order. On our right were the Gloucester and Worcester Yeomanrys, followed by the Bucks, Berks, and Dorset.

As soon as we come in sight across the open country, on the right of Salt Lake, the enemy opened a deadly shell fire, with shrapnel and explosive shells. One could see nothing but shells bursting around them. We lost many of our boys wounded with shrapnel, and it was quite marvellous to find any alive, as the shells set fire to the small bushes and dry grass where they had fallen, but our stretcher-bearers did fine work there. Onward we pressed, steadily, but firm, as if on parade, taking cover behind Chocolate Hill, where we rested a while and called the roll. Up till now, I had lost half my section of ten—Lce-Corpl Coleman, Lce-Corpl Baulman, Lce-Corpl Wormall, Tpr Luggar, and Tpr Hayward. One shell falling against me knocked over six of the troop, but I was lucky enough in only losing the heel of my boot.

A division of infantry on our right had made a rush for Hill 70, but owing to the enemy’s guns at a short range they had to retire with heavy losses. By this time it was getting dusk. Our division of yeomanry then had orders to move forward, along the northern slope, until we came to advanced trenches. Here we had a check for a few minutes. Then came the order to advance, and every man, alert and eager as one body, charged fearlessly up the hill. Here my officer, Lieut Yorke, was wounded, but on we went straight into the jaws of the enemy’s machine-guns and rifles, losing many boys, but never wavering ; nothing could stop them, finally the top was reached, when the yell wept up that Hill 70 had been taken. This was where I was wounded. It was now quite dark, and I found it a difficult job dragging myself back to a dressing station, only to find that and other stations massed with wounded and lit up by the fires, that burned furiously for miles. I decided to march on, eventually reaching the beach, a distance of four miles, for dressing, at 5 a.m. It was a most awful night, with guns and thousands of rifles keeping up an incessant roar, and groans and cries from the wounded. Since then I find it was advisable for our boys to retire, on account of the enemy’s severe enfilading fire from a northern hill. The country will be proud of the charge by England’s gallant yeomanry.



Corpl Herbert Reynolds, of the Rifle Brigade, son of Mr T Reynolds, of Dunchurch Road, Rugby, in a letter to Mr J W Faulkner, captain of the 2nd Rugby Company of the Boys’ Brigade—in which the writer was formerly Colour-Sergeant—gives a realistic account of the recent capture of German trenches by the British. He says :—

“ On Friday night we went into the assembly trenches, 100 yards behind the fire trench, and lay there all the night. It rained hard all night, so it was a bit uncomfortable crawling around in the mud. At about four o’clock the ‘ fun ’ started. We had to keep our heads pretty low to escape the shells. At six o’clock it really began, The earth trembled and shook, and up went a mine and half of the enemy trench ! My word, it did shift some earth ! Immediately the bombardment started. It was hell itself—one continual burst of high explosives and shrapnel. Then we threw out a smoke screen, and the “ Scotties ” and the Indians charged, capturing the trenches easily. Next our turn came to go over. We lined the fire trench and watched our Captain for the order. He jumped up, waved his stick, ‘Come on,’ he said, and as one man we got over the parapet to face a perfect hell of rifle, machine-gun, and shrapnel fire. At the foot of our barbed wire we lay down in extended order and waited for the next advance. Up and on again ! Down again ! The fire is terrible and we must advance by short 15 yards rushes. The German trench is about 300 yards distant. When we get within about 30 yards we crawl, and then finish up with a rush, and into the trench.

“It is in the hands of our troops, but all the time we are subjected to a terrible enfilade fire. We held the trench for about eight hours, but we could not get our bombs across, so had to give ground before their bombing from the flanks. Men were being blown to pieces, and we were powerless. We hung on to the last and then got the order to retire. You cannot possibly imagine what the shell fire was like, but, believe me, when once you’ve seen in it, well, you are not keen to go again for a bit. The return journey was worse than the outward one, and how I came back whole I don’t know. Just outside the enemy’s trench a piece of shell caught me in the back and ripped a hole in my trousers and pants. It knocked me flying, but it only bruised me a bit. We came back all right though, and lined the support trenches. Then it rained in torrents and we got wet through to the skin. When the news came that we were to go out that night, you can bet we were thankful. The communication trench was knee-deep in water, but we did not mind that so long as every sight of that terrible scene of carnage was left behind.”


Mr W T Coles Hodges, F.E.I.S, headmaster of the Murray School, has received the following letters from old scholars :-

Sapper Alf Brett, R.E., writes :-“ I take this opportunity of a lull in the fighting to describe how things are progressing out here. Of late the fighting has been very heavy. The general offensive was commenced with a vengeance. Previous to September 25th the bombardments were numerous, increasing in severity as the days rolled on. Our guns literally raised a sheet of flame over the German trenches. Shells of various calibre were hurled at their trenches, until in places one could hardly discern their front line. At night it was a glorious spectacle, to see shells bursting, throwing out a brilliant white light, mingled with the star lights, the latter being used for observation purposes. The German losses must have been enormous, and how human beings could live through such a hell of fire is a mystery. Luckily the Germans did not retaliate to a great extent on our trenches. They seem to have a great love for shelling towns and villages. Every place in our neighbourhood is absolutely destroyed ; fine buildings and churches charted and in ruins. Only a short time ago was looking over the remains of a church ; statues of our Lord were lying about in pieces, even a lead coffin from a vault had been hurled into the middle of the church. The roof had fallen in, half of the tower was gone, and one wall had collapsed. Until you actually see such things you cannot realize what a state the country is in. But they are getting full reward for this now. Since the offensive started everyone has been very busy. . . . In the five months I have been out here I have seen a good deal of fighting, although not actually fighting myself. My duty as a telegraphist plays a most essential part in any operation, and very often it brings one into great danger. To sit in a dug-out operating with shells bursting all round you, and expecting one at any minute, to knock the roof in is not a pleasant, position. If one could retaliate, a little satisfaction would be gained. . . . . Although it is a rough and ready life with plenty to do, we can find time for a game of footer or cricket, and we have had a number of exciting games of football. Unfortunately, no one cares for Rugger, the general opinion being that it is far too rough. At headquarters we have a comfortable time. Our dwellings consist of a bivouac built up with sandbags, which serves as dining-room, bedroom, and smoke-room. You can bet we make them as comfortable as circumstances permit. Fights in the air are now a daily occurrence. Our airmen never seem happy unless they are endeavouring to bring down a German Taube, although exposed to the fire of anti-aircraft guns. I have had the pleasure of seeing one German ’plane crash to the ground. . . . I wish all the boys would don the khaki quickly and help their comrades to terminate this business, with Germany crushed and crumpled.

Armr-Staff Sergt H Clarke, A.O.C, attached 7th Kings Shropshire L.I, writes :-“ It is nearly six months since I left the Warwicks to transfer to the Ordnance Corps, and my work now is to look after all the rifles, machine guns, range-finders, and anything in the mechanical line belonging to the battalion. It suits me down to the ground. I don’t think you could beat the team that won the shield without having a point scored against them a few years ago for fighting men, and I hope you still have a team of fellows who will turn tut like they have done, and ready to play the game on a different field to the “ Rec.” The weather out here is getting very cold ; we don’t mind the cold at all, it’s the rain that is the trouble. Things are very funny out here if one has a sense of humour. The best part of all is to hear our chaps trying their French on the people out here. The food is extra so far, and looks like keeping so. The men will fight anything and anybody so long as they have good food.”

Rifleman L Griffith, 7th K.R.R Corps, has also written to Mr Hodges, and states that the Rugby boys remaining in the Battalion are quite well. He adds : I am glad to see that the Old Murray Boys have responded well to the call. The Old Boys have not disgraced the school’s name.


Mr and Mrs. Charles Robinson, of Catthorpe, have received the King’s congratulations on the patriotic spirit which has prompted their five sons to give their services at the present time to the Army.

  1. Gunner Arthur Robinson, Garrison Artillery.
  2. Driver Alfred Robinson, A.S.C.; in France.
  3. Gunner Owen Robinson, R.F.A.
  4. Trooper Sidney Robinson, Derbyshire Yeomanry; at Dardanelles.
  5. Driver Percy Robinson, A.S.C.; in France.


Temporary Second-Lieutenant W G Muriel has been promoted temporary lieutenant.

Two collective letters from the Market Place Wesleyan Sunday School have been sent to the soldiers in the trenches who were formerly connected with the school.

The War Office has notified that Pte W G Attenburgh, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, who previous to enlistment was assistant to Mr Trillo, Station Road, Rugby, was killed in the great advance on September 25th. He was a native of Hinckley, and was 26 years of age, and was much respected by Mr Trillo’s patrons.


Second-Lieut R I Dunn, Royal Engineers, son of Mr W Dunn, of Kings Newnham, has been missing since September 25th. He was last seen in the front trench, in company of two officers of the Cameron Regiment.


The Old Boys of St Matthew’s School serving with the Colours are reported to have been wounded : Corpl Frank Jarvis, of the 5th Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, and Pte Arthur Coles, of the Sherwood Foresters.

Capt and Adjutant A H A Vann, 12th Yorkshires, the Cambridge University hockey player, who recently received the D.S.O, is officially reported to be suffering from gas poisoning and missing. Before the war, Captain Vann was engaged as an assistant master at Mr C G Mallam’s School, at Dunchurch. At that time he played fairly regularly for the Rugby Hockey Club, and also assisted Warwickshire on several occasions. He was also quite a good cricketer.


Corporal Leo Tompkins, of the Northamptonshire Regiment, who was formerly a booking clerk at the L & N.-W. Railway Station at Rugby, has just received a commission as second lieutenant in the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry. Whilst with the Northamptons, he saw a good deal of service in the Ypres district last winter, and was wounded in four places, but is now convalescent.


Mr Charles Marriott, J.P, of Cotesbach Hall, has received information that his son, Second Lieut Digby Marriott, was killed in action recently in France. The sad news was brought by Pte Phillips, who came home on leave on Wednesday. This is the second son Mr Marriott has lost in the war within a few months.


News reached Mr J Lintern, of Clifton, from the War Office, on Wednesday last of the death of his son, Bugler Wilfred Lintern, of the 12th Battalion Rifle Brigade, who fell in action on September 25th, at the great advance. Deceased was employed before he enlisted as a turner at the B.T.H Works, and was a Patrol-Leader of the Clifton Court Scouts.


Mr and Mrs E Sleath, of Manor Farm Cottages, Clifton, on Tuesday received official intimation from the Record Office that their son, Rifleman Richard William Sleath, was killed in action on September 25th. This is evidently a mistake, because since that date Mrs Sleath has heard three times from her son, the last letter being written on October 10th ; but the family have been rendered very anxious, inasmuch as another son. Rifleman Fredk Walter Sleath, of the same battalion, has not been heard of since the advance ; although his brother, who is reported killed, has written to say that he has heard that he was wounded in the leg during the charge, would be sent to England. In view of the fact that nothing more has been heard, the family have been forced to the conclusion that there is simply a mistake in the name and number, and that it is Frederick who has been killed. The two brothers enlisted in the 12th Battalion Rifle Brigade, on September 7th, 1914, with Rifleman Lintern, whose death we record this week.

[note: CWGC records the death of Frederick Walter Sleath on 25th Sep 1915]

Lance-Cpl Arthur H Hunt, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, whose parents live at 172 Cambridge Street, Rugby, was wounded in the thigh and knee during the great charge at Loos. He is now in hospital at Lincoln, going on satisfactorily. Lance-Corpl Hunt, before enlistment, was employed at the B T H, and was a playing member of the Park Albion Football Club.


WOUNDED IN ACTION.—The following men from this village are reported to be wounded :— Pte G Loydall, E Cox, and G Adams.

Langham, William. Died 16th Oct 1915

William Langham was born in about 1887 in Rugby.

He was the son of John Langham who was born in Rugby, c.1860. In 1881, John, described as a labourer and, with Sarah and a baby John, was living in a very crowded ‘licensed lodging house’ at 58 Gas Street, Rugby. On 25th July 1881 John Langham married Triniti Fletcher at St Paul’s Church, Warwick. When baby John was christened later that year on 7 October 1881, at Holy Trinity, Rugby, his mother’s name is recorded as ‘Tranette’, presumably a mistranscribed Trinity Langham, who would be recorded as John’s wife on all subsequent occasions.

Whether the Sarah named in the census was the same person as Trinity is unknown, it does not appear to be just a mistake name as the age and birthplace is different! Of course, it is possible that the enumerator made a gross error and he entered someone else’s details. Also, since this is a lodging house, the relationship of this family is just given as lodger. Sarah could be a relative of John, who was looking after the baby.

However by 1891, John Langham was with his wife, Trinity, who was born in Banbury, c.1865. He seems to have moved about in the intervening years, judging by the birthplaces of the children, and without obtaining birth certificates, it is uncertain who was the mother of the next three.   Louisa was born in Leamington in 1883; Richard Langham was born in Coventry in 1885 and William Langham was born back in his father’s home town, Rugby in 1887.   A John William died in 1887 A further child, George Henry Langham was Christened on 23 August 1889 at St Andrew, Rugby, the mother recorded as ‘Tranett’, presumably a mis-transcribed Trinity! George Henry died aged one in later 1890.

By 1891 the family were living at 11 Riley Court and John was a bricklayer’s labourer.

A further son, Albert Edward Langham was christened on 7 February 1896 at New Bilton, but died very soon afterwards, his death registered in the same quarter

By 1901 there were eight living children. The four youngest were all born in Rugby: Arthur Langham in about 1891; Lizzie Langham in 1893; Harry Langham in 1897 and Lillian Langham in 1899. The three eldest brothers, including 14 year old William were now all labourers at the cement works and the family was living at 18 New Street, New Bilton, Rugby. In 1901, William’s sister, Louisa, who was now 18, was no longer at home, as she had married William Burborough earlier in the year, he was also a labourer at the cement works, so may have been introduced to her by her brother and his workmate, William Langham.

In 1908, John Langham died, aged 53 (his death being registered in the first quarter). Very soon afterwards, and registered in the third quarter , his widow, Trinity Langham, married William Welsby in Rugby.

For the 1911 census William; his mother – still listed as ‘Mrs Langham’! – and his elder brother, Richard, had moved to live at 14 New Street, New Bilton. Not being familiar with the census rules, she has noted correctly that she was married, and that she had been married for three full years, which is indeed correct for her second marriage. However, she then incorrectly filled in the number of children from her first ‘marriage’, which whilst not needed and was struck through by the enumerator. However, it states that she had eleven children and that seven were still living.   It seems there are still some to identify!

In 1911, William, now 24, was still working as a ‘Labourer Cement Works’, this being at the Rugby Portland Cement Works as confirmed by an announcement about those joining up in the Rugby Advertiser.[1]

As was the case for a number of local men, including Walter Davis who would die a few hours later than him (see Rugby Remembers – 17 October 1915), William joined up, as a Private, No:11755, in the 5th (Service) Battalion of the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Ox. and Bucks.). William was with ‘A’ Company when he was killed.

In summary, the 5th Ox. and Bucks. was formed at Oxford in August 1914 as part of Kitchener’s new army and placed under the orders of the 42nd Brigade in the 14th (Light) Division. The surviving Service Records for the Ox. and Bucks. suggest that there was a rapid response to the recruitment drive and they can be used to make an estimate of the place and date of attestation from the service numbers of other soldiers with surviving records.

With the number 11755, it is likely that William joined up on or before 2 September 1914, on which date Smith, No.11874 was ‘attested’ in Rugby. This date is further confirmed by a list of those who had joined up from the cement works in the local paper dated 12 September 1915.[2]

A summary of the earlier movements and actions of the 5th Bn. Ox. and Bucks. can be found in the description of the attack on Bellewaarde Farm on 25 September 1915 (see: Rugby Remembers for that date). They landed in Boulogne on 21 May 1915, however, whenever William actually ‘joined up’, he did not go to France until 1 October 1915, probably with reinforcements after the heavy losses at Bellewaarde Farm, when the Battalion was withdrawn to regroup and retrain, as mentioned in the Battalion Diary.[3]

The Battalion returned to a ‘Camp near Poperinge’ by 1 October, ‘… 46 other ranks were killed, six died of wounds, 249 were wounded and 136 were missing’. Two days later a draft of 200 NCOs and men, a ‘… very good looking lot of men’ arrived from 9th Bn. to provide replacements.

9th (Reserve) Battalion was formed at Portsmouth in October 1914, as a Service battalion for K4 and placed under orders of 96th Brigade, originally 32nd Division, but on 10 April 1915 it converted into a reserve battalion.[4] It seems quite likely that William had been initially in this battalion for training and was then included with the reinforcements.

However less than two weeks later they were in the trenches, as extracts from the Battalion Diary[5] indicated:

October 13th – Relieved the 8th K.R.R.C. in Railway Wood, Sector H.20 to A.2. (see location map on Rugby Remembers – 25 September 1915) … The shelling was still very heavy, and it became necessary to take shelter under the canal bank west of Ypres until 9p.m. As the shelling still continued, the C.O. decided to push on via the Dixmude Gate and Menin Road. At about 11.30p.m. the shelling ceased, and the relief was completed by 2.30 a.m. (14th).   Only one man was wounded.

October 14th – Fairly quiet. Enemy did some damage to our parapet with trench mortars, and there was a little sniping and hand-grenade throwing during the day.

October 15th – Much the same situation as yesterday. The mornings are generally foggy now, and the men can go on working as long as the fog lasts. In the afternoon there was a good deal of shelling. 1 man killed.

October 16th – Quiet morning. Between 3 and 4 p.m. a good many whizz- bangs and crumps were fired into Railway Wood. The men work all night, as there is much repairing to be done.   Casualties. 1 man killed and 7 men wounded.

It might be supposed that this one man who was killed was William Langham, whose grave, if any, must have been subsequently lost.

However, the CWGC lists 11 men from the 5th Ox. and Bucks. who were killed that day and have no known grave. This raises the question of accuracy of the casualties in the above account – or the dating by the CWGC – or whether some of the Battalion were, in fact, in action elsewhere. There is additional complication of the mine that was exploded under their position the next morning, which left the casualty count as 2 officers and 13 other ranks killed; 31 other ranks wounded; and 23 other ranks missing and buried by the mine. (see greater detail in tomorrow’s Rugby Remembers – 17 October 1915 and the loss of Private Walter Davis).

William had only been in France for just over two weeks. He was awarded the British and Victory Medals and the 1915 Star. He is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial and on the Rugby Memorial Gates.




This summary was prepared for the Rugby Family History Group by John P H Frearson in October 2015.   Thanks are due to other members of the Group for copying data in the local newspaper

[1]       Rugby Advertiser, 12 September 1914.

[2]       Rugby Advertiser, 12 September 1914.

[3]       Record of the 5th (Service) Battalion, 1 August 1915 to 30 June 1916, at: http://www.lightbobs.com/.

[4]         http://www.1914-1918.net/oxbucks.htm

[5]       Record of the 5th (Service) Battalion, 1 August 1915 to 30 June 1916, at: http://www.lightbobs.com/.

Haines, Charles Lionel Richard. Died 10th Oct 1915

Charles Lionel Richard Haines was born on 9th September 1891 in Otterbourne, Hampshire. His father, Charles James, was an engineer at the waterworks there. Charles James had been born in Bermondsey, London and married Amelia Emma Adams on 14th July 1888 at Newington Parish Church. Charles Lionel Richard had a younger sister, Millicent Ethel Haines

By 1911 Charles Lionel Richard was living in Balderton, Nottinghamshire. He had been apprenticed to James Simpson and Co of Newark, a manufacturer of steam engines and pumps for waterworks. He was a student and then teacher at Newark School of Science and Art. He was a member of Newark Hockey Club and the Rowing Club there.

By the start of the war he was working in the drawing office at Willans and Robinson in Rugby and signed up at the start of September 1914, together with many other staff members and men from the company. He joined the Royal Engineers as a sergeant (No. 43159). He arrived in France on 10th July 1915 and took part in the Battle of Loos, where so many Rugby men lost their lives. He was hit by shrapnel and died in Netley Hospital two weeks later of pneumonia. He was buried in Putney Vale Cemetery.

Haines memorial, Putney Vale Cemetery

Haines memorial, Putney Vale Cemetery

By this time his parents had moved back to London and lived at “Rogate, 76 Worple Road, Wimbledon. Charles Lionel Richard Haines was aged 24.

As well as Rugby Memorial Gates, he is remembered on the Willans & Robinson plaques. In Newark he is listed on the Rowing Club Memorial, Newark Cemetery War Memorial and the Borough of Newark Roll of Honour at St Mary’s Church.