CHRISTMAS ARRANGEMENTS AT THE POST OFFICE.
Christmas is always the busiest season of the year with the Postal authorities, although locally there has not been so much business transacted as is generally the case. So far the busiest day was Monday, the last day for posting parcels to the Expeditionary Force, and a large number of parcels, mostly for France and Belgium, were received on that day.
In order, to cope with the increased business, a number of temporary workers have been taken on, consisting of 13 indoor employees, 13 outdoor men, 12 women letter carriers, and 6 women indoor helpers. The employment of women is an innovation caused by the scarcity of male labour, and it is stated that the fair workers have given every satisfaction up to the present.
CHRISTMAS DAINTIES FOR PRISONERS OF WAR.
The Christmas parcels sent to prisoners of war by the local committee contained a large plum pudding, a cake, packet of “ Force,” a packet of tea, sugar, milk, Oxo cubes, cafe-au-lait, sweets, and some warm clothing, A packet of cigarettes and tobacco was also sent to each man.
LETTERS OF THANKS FROM LOCAL SOLDIERS.
The Editor of the Advertiser has received several letters from local soldiers thanking friends in Rugby and district for sending Xmas parcels, and we append a few brief extracts :—
Lance-Corpl O Wilson, 1st Batt R.W.R, writes from a hospital at Birkenhead :—“ I should be very glad if I could have a small space in your newspaper to express my very best thanks to my Newbold-on-Avon friends for a parcel I have received. I have enjoyed the contents very much. It is a pleasure to know that we are thought of while we are away from our home and village. I have just returned from the front after seven months in the trenches. I have seen some stiff fighting, but I have run through quite safe. I have been sent back to England with lumbago and rheumatism through getting so wet in the trenches. I also thank kind friends for presents and cigarettes sent to me in the trenches. I always look forward to receive the Rugby paper, which I have had every week since I have been away.”
Pte W White, B Coy 6th Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry, wishes to thank the subscribers of Bourton and Draycote for a parcel sent by them to him. He adds : “ We have had it rough while we have been out here. The trenches are full of water, but we have to make the best of it, although it is most trying at times.”
A MELODEON REQUIRED.
Pte A J Curtis, B Coy, 6th Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry, in a letter to the Editor states that there are a large number of Rugby men in his company, and they would be very grateful if someone would send them a melodeon, because several in the platoon can play that instrument, and a little music would brighten up things in the trenches.
TO WIVES OF LOCAL TERRITORIALS.
To the Editor of the Advertiser,
DEAR SIR,—I shall be much obliged if you will kindly allow me, through your columns, to ask the wives of all the Rugby men in the 1/5th Warwickshire Howitzer Battery and in the 1/7th Warwickshire Battalion now serving in France, to be good enough to send their address and the number, age, and sex of their children, to Mrs Nickalls, Brown’s Farm, or to me not later than January 1st, 1916.—Yours faithfully,
AGATHA M WEST.
LOCAL WAR NOTES.
Corpl Horace Neeves, of the Warwickshire Yeomanry, elder son of Mr and Mrs S Neeves, of Murray Road, Rugby, has received a commission. He has been gazetted to the Northumberland Fusiliers, and expects to proceed shortly to Bedford for training. Called up with the Yeomanry at the outbreak of the war, he went out in due time with the signalling troop to the Dardanelles, and took part in the famous landing at Suvla Bay on August 21st. He had a very narrow escape from a bullet, which lodged in a thimble carried among his belongings. Subsequently he developed dysentery, and has been for some time in a military hospital in England, but is now convalescent.
Pte J Farren, 1/7th Royal Warwickshires, has been reported wounded.
Capt the Hon O M Guest, Lothians and Border Horse and R.F.C, who is officially reported wounded, is Lord Wimborne’s youngest brother.
TERRIBLE WEATHER AT SUVLA BAY.
Lieut C H Ivens, of Rugby, writing from Suvla Bay, describes a terrible storm—such as one never sees in England—that burst over the trenches on November 26th. The rain came down in torrents, and the thunder and lightning was terrible. They were quickly flooded out, and blankets, bedding, and loose equipment were washed away. Men were wallowing up to their waists in mud and water. Snow followed, and then severe frost set in, with the result that large numbers of men were frost-bitten. Others were dropping down in the water too weak to stand, in consequence of their long immersion in the water and mud. Eventually they were marched off to a place five miles away.
WITHDRAWAL FROM SUVLA AND ANZAC.
The War Office on Monday afternoon issued the following announcement :
All the troops at Suvla and Anzac, together with their guns and stores, have been successfully transferred with insignificant casualties to another sphere of operations.
In a later announcement the War Office states :
Some further details of the evacuation of Anzac and Suvla have been received. Without the Turks being aware of the movement a great army has been withdrawn from one of the areas occupied on the Gallipoli Peninsula, although in closest contact with the enemy.
By this contraction of front, operations at other points of the line will be more effectively carried out.
Sir Charles Monro gives great credit for this skilfully conducted transfer of forces to the Generals Commanding and the Royal Navy.
REVIEW OF THE OPERATIONS.
The operations in the Dardanelles date back to January last, when a blockading squadron was reinforced by British and French stations, with Tenedos and Lemnos as bases. An attack was made on February 19 on the forts at the entrance to the Dardanelles, and a month later the forts at the Narrows were shelled. The bombardment was resumed on February 25 and 26, but whilst the entrance to the Straits had been cleared, the real defence—the forts at the Narrows—had not been touched. Other attempts followed in March, culminating on the 18th in an attack in force in which two British vessels, the Irresistible and the Ocean, and the Bouvet, of the French squadron, were sunk by mines.
The experience gained by these operations showed that simultaneous naval and land attacks were necessary for success, and the Allied forces, which included the 29th Division that was quartered in Warwickshire for a time, landed on April 25. By almost superhuman heroism a footing was gained at Cape Helles, Sedd-el-Bahr, and the adjacent beaches, and by April 27 the forces had advanced two miles into the Peninsula. Throughout May, June, and July fighting more or less severe took place, and on August 6 the great attack from Anzac (so called from the landing there of the Australian and New Zealand Corps) and Suvla Bay took place. Fighting with splendid heroism, the Australians and New Zealanders gained the summits of Sari Bahr and Chunuk Bahr, but they had to withdraw in consequence of the advance from Suvla Bay not making the progress necessary to consolidate the success. This advance had been entrusted to new contingents, including several yeomanry regiments, of British troops who had only been landed the day before at Suvla Bay.
As the result of efforts during August the British positions were further advanced, after which the operations took on the aspect of trench warfare.
In a recent statement to the House of Commons Mr Asquith stated that the losses in the Mediterranean on land and sea up to November 9 were :
Wounded 2,860 70,148
Killed 1,504 21,551
Missing 356 10,211
These, with disablements by sickness, makes a total of nearly 200,000.