18th Dec 1915. The Recruiting Rush in Rugby



The final days for recruiting under Lord Derby’s Group System were marked by large numbers of recruits attending at the Rugby Drill Hall to enrol themselves. The rush which set in on Wednesday and Thursday was continued till the very last, and on Friday nearly a thousand men were attested, but owing to the large numbers presenting themselves, the medical examination in many cases had to be postponed. Recruits were being attested up till twelve o’clock that night, and some of the workers did not leave the Drill Hall until 3 a.m on Saturday morning.

On Saturday, which was fixed as the final day for attestation, the Drill Hall was crowded from an early hour, and by nine o’clock there were more than a hundred either receiving attention or in waiting. As the time passed on, the crowd grew in volume, and by ten o’clock the Hall was filled by potential recruits, and a queue, four deep and of considerable length, stood outside the entrance. Medical examinations were entirely dispensed with and, as the men entered at one door and left by another, there was no congestion.

A large number of voluntary workers were on duty, and, thanks to their help, the work proceeded rapidly, and considerably over a thousand men were attested, although probably this number will be somewhat reduced by the medical examinations, which will take place later. The numbers on Sunday were also good, although no rush such as marked the preceding days was experienced.

The military officials and the representatives of the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee cooperated splendidly, and this fact doubtless contributed to the smooth working of the machinery during the great rush.

General satisfaction is expressed locally at the numbers who have come forward, but inquiries at the Drill Hall elicited the fact that the married men were in a substantial majority, and that large numbers of single men have refused to answer the call. Of the single men who have attested, a good proportion were munition workers, and if these are subtracted, the numbers would be negligible.

Amongst the recruits for immediate service was a Scotsman, who stated that he had given up a good berth in the United States to come to England to enlist because he had had two brothers is killed in the war. He joined one of the Highland Regiments.


All men who have been attested, whether they have passed the doctor or not, will be supplied with armlets upon producing their white cards at the Drill Hall.

Armlets were issued to a number of men on Sunday, but none were given out on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, however, the authorities recommenced issuing them to men who had been attested and pronounced medically fit, and on Thursday a new order was received to give them to all men who have attested, whether they have been medically examined or not.

So far several hundred armlets have been issued.


A soldier’s gift day is to be held at the Baptist Church in order that parcels may be sent for the New Year to members of the congregation serving with H.M Forces.

Mr Steel Maitland, M.P, went specially to Birmingham on Friday night to enlist, and in ten minutes he was fully attested, received his 2s 9d, and left for London by the midnight train.

Capt Philip Collins (O.R.), 7th Battalion the Rifle Brigade, for a number of years hon secretary of the Hockey Association, who was killed in France or Belgium on July 30, aged 30, has left property of the value of £8,346 15s, of which £8,340 9s 6d is net personalty. The testator gives £200 to the Rugby Clubs, Notting Dale, and £50 to the Old Rugbeians’ Society.

The whole of the postmen and the male clerks on the staff of the Rugby Post Office have attested, under Lord Derby’s scheme, with one exception.

About thirty Christmas parcels have been despatched from the Rugby Congregational Church to soldiers formerly belonging to different church organisations. They included confectionery, writing materials, cigarettes, and other articles likely to prove acceptable.

Information has reached Rugby that Mr D J Thomas, who joined the Royal Engineers, and went out to the Dardanelles, has been wounded. Mr Thomas was employed at the B T.H. Works, and for a time acted as Joint Secretary to the Literary and Debating Society at the Congregational Church. The news has come through a relative. and as the soldier is able to write his own letters, it is hoped his wound is not serious.

THE greater proportion of the Australians in Gallipoli, who saw snow falling for the first time in their lives, viewed the storm with intense interest, and though unused to winter conditions, the indications are that, owing to their splendid physique and resourcefulness, they will stand the severe weather yet to come even better than their British comrades.

Pt A E Sapwing, 15th R.W.R, in a letter to his old schoolmaster, Mr W T Coles Hodges, says :
“ We are getting plenty of excitement here, and it is nearly a daily occurrence to watch our aeroplanes being shelled by the enemy. It appears that the Germans have got some fair comedians in their trenches, for they shout across, ‘ Have you got any Birmingham fellows there ?’ If you shout back ‘ Yes,’ they throw a high explosive shell over with a shout ‘ Well, share that amongst them.’ 0f course two can play that game, and this last week the machine gunners of the 1st Birminghams bagged four of their bombers who camp across in the dark to drop their ‘ cards ‘ in our trenches.”


Information was received at the B.T.H Works on Thursday that Lieut F J P Keane was killed in action on November 25th, near Baghdad. Before going to India he was in the Test Department, and subsequently in the Export Department.


Mr W J Torrance, of Warwick Street, has received intimation that his son, Corp Sydney Torrance, of the Saltley College Co, 8th R.W.R, attached to the grenade section of the 1st R.W.R. is in hospital at Rouen, suffering from shrapnel wounds received on December 8th. Corp Torrance, who only returned to the front after a short leave about a month ago, has been wounded in the foot, ankle, and hand. Previous to this he had been at the front for 12 months without sustaining any injury. Another son of Mr Torrance has been at the front with the Worcester Regiment from the commencement of the war, and a third son is on a destroyer.


News reached the B.T.H on Thursday of the death of Lieut James Forbes, who at the time he enlisted in the Royal Engineers was employed in the Test Department at the Works. Lieut Forbes was one of three Scotsmen who on the outbreak of the war did not hesitate to join the Forces as privates, and afterwards received commissions.

Deceased came to Rugby from Greenock about four years ago. From the outset he associated himself with the life of the Baptist Church, and became a most earnest Sunday School teacher.

In September last, previous to going out to the Dardanelles, he visited Rugby for a weekend, and took his Sunday School class as usual. He was a man of fine appearance, with soldierly bearing, and in disposition was manly, brave, resourceful, and Christlike. One remark may be quoted as characteristic of his inner life. As he was leaving the Sunday School on his last visit to Rugby, somebody said to him, “ Goodbye, Mr Forbes, and good luck ” He turned to the speaker and said, “Good luck! We need something more than good luck.”

The news of his death has naturally caused grief to those who were associated with him at the Baptist Church.



Rugby Territorials serving at the front must be very grateful to the local committee who are supplying them with comforts. A parcel has been forwarded this week to each man (as far as funds will allow) which should afford the greatest satisfaction. It includes an aluminium saucepan, an aluminium cooker stove, with tin of solid methylated spirit, and a re-fill tin of solid methylated spirit, in addition to a pair of mittens, a sponge, and “ Oxo ” cubes.

The Rugby Territorials Comforts Committee, who are undertaking this good work, find themselves rather hampered for want of funds. To supply each man with the articles enumerated above will cost about £45. The sum collected at present is £30, so that another £15 is required to carry the scheme through and ensure that each of the Territorials from Rugby serving at the war will receive this very useful New Year’s gift.

Tradesmen supplying the articles have done so at cost price, thus ensuring that the expense will be kept as low as possible. Mr Arthur Adnitt, secretary to the committee, would be glad to hear from anyone willing to contribute towards the balance needed to carry the laudable project to a successful issue.

A Rugby gentleman has, we understand, just sent six thousand cigarettes to members of the Rugby Infantry Company.


The hospital is now full, six fresh patients having arrived last Saturday.

Visiting days for the general public are Wednesdays and Saturdays, between the hours of 3 and 4 p.m. Application for tickets must be made by intending visitors at the hospital on Tuesdays and Fridays, between 12 and 1 p.m, as the number of tickets for each day is limited. Relations of patients may visit on any days except Tuesdays and Fridays.


“ Shop Assistants.”—We have received a letter from six shop assistants with reference to the members of the Chamber of Trade deciding to close their shops for Christmas from Friday night till the following Tuesday morning, and to keep open on the Wednesday afternoon before Christmas. They are apparently v aggrieved because it was decided to take their “lawful Wednesday half-day ” from them, and do not seem to be aware that the local closing order under the Shop Hours Act empowers shop-keepers who close on Christmas Day and Bank Holiday to keep open either on the half-closing day preceding Christmas or the half-day following. The assistants cannot, therefore, claim it as a “lawful Wednesday half-day.” Moreover, it has always been the custom of local tradesmen to keep open on the Wednesday afternoon before Christmas for the convenience of the public, and to enable them to cope with the heavier demands incidental to the season coming within a shorter week.

Perhaps our fair correspondents will, on second thoughts, come to the conclusion that, in this time of stress, when everyone is anxious to be doing a little more, they will be doing their bit by working with a good will next Wednesday afternoon.—Ed. R.A.



The Postmaster-General calls attention to the difficulties with which the Post Office will be confronted during the approaching Christmas season. This year 50,000 trained men from the Post Office are on military and naval service. Their places have been filled temporarily by comparatively inexperienced persons, while, owing to the shortage of labour, it is impossible to obtain the extra Christmas temporary assistance usually available.

The Postmaster-General appeals, therefore, to the public to assist him by posting such packets as must be sent by post earlier than usual, and by withholding from post during the period of pressure all articles, whether Christmas greetings, gifts, parcels, or trade circulars, the dispatch of which can for a time at least be dispensed with. Those which must be sent should be posted well in advance of Christmas, the earlier the better, if possible during the morning or afternoon, and in any ease not later than the morning of Wednesday, December 22nd.


TUESDAY.—Before Dr Clement Dukes (in the chair), T A Wise, J E Cox, and W Dewar, Esqrs.


Arthur Henson, cab driver, 64 Sandown Road, Rugby, was summoned by Capt C Coventry, 1/6th R.W. Regt, for unlawfully interrupting the free passage of the highway of James Walters and others at Rugby on the 4th inst.

Defendant pleaded guilty to driving through the troops, but said owing to the rain beating in his face he did not see the soldiers until he got up to them, and then there was no time for him to pull up.

Corp James Walters stated that he was in charge of a party of troops who were marching on the road leading from Railway Terrace to the London and North-Western Railway Station. He was informed that there was someone behind, and he gave the order “ Left incline,” and held up his hand for defendant to stop, but he did not do so. He drove through the guard, and even then refused to stop. It was raining at the time, but not very fast.

The Magistrate’s Clerk pointed out that the offence was committed upon private property, and he did not think that the charge covered such a case.

Capt Coventry said it was very difficult in the Army Act to make the offence clear, but in dozens of cases, especially in London, owners of vehicles were brought before the Court for attempting to break the ranks by driving through troops.-Mr Seabroke said all the roads in London were public highways.

The Chairman told defendant it was a most disgraceful proceeding on his part to drive through the ranks when he saw soldiers in front of him, but unfortunately they could not punish him because it happened on private property, so that he got off.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s