CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR LOCAL TERRITORIALS.
Mr A Adnitt, Hon Sec of the committee for sending comforts and Christmas gifts to local Territorials on service, has received a number of letters of acknowledgment and thanks. Among them are the following :—
DEAR MR ADNITT,—Will you please convey to the “ Rugby Comforts Committee ” our very hearty thinks for the splendid gift of puddings, socks, and dainties which we have received this Christmas.
We received two parcels of socks, and these were greatly appreciated, as we have had very wet weather lately, and it has been impossible to keep dry feet. We also received the box of books and dainties. The puddings arrived Christmas Day, so we had them for dinner on Sunday and Monday, and greatly enjoyed them.
We are very grateful to our many friends, who have done so much for our comfort, and we had as enjoyable a time as was possible under existing conditions. We should also like to express to the Committee our keen appreciation of the tremendous amount of hard work which they are doing for our welfare and comfort. With best wishes for the coming year, I beg to remain,
G. Hopewell., B.S.M,
(Rugby Howitzer Battery).
Quartermaster A C Tomlinson, of the Rugby Infantry, writes from France, under date Dec 29, 1915 :-
I am pleased to tell you that the puddings arrived safely on Christmas night, disappointing us by one day. However, they were just as fully enjoyed the following day. All the Rugby boys wish me to express their grateful thanks to the Territorial Comforts Committee and donors of puddings for their kindness. It will perhaps be pleasing for them to know that the puddings were the only reminder of Christmas that we had. Other than that, the day was the same as any other. It could not be otherwise. We were on trench duties, consequently nothing could be relaxed. The day passed quietly on our front, except for artillery fire ; this was about as active as usual, intensifying towards evening.
One of our platoons—many of them Rugby men—had the pleasure of mingling with a gun team of the Rugby Howitzer Battery.
Your letter of the 21st overwhelms one with a sense of what the T.C.C. is doing for our comfort, and it is difficult for me to sufficiently express our thanks. The articles you mention will be most useful and very welcome. I will let you know when they arrive, and will do my best to distribute them so that no one is missed. Of course, I cannot reach men who are in hospital or on detached work away from our near neighbourhood.
I cannot close without asking you to express our thanks to Mrs West for her good wishes and interest—not only to ourselves, but to our friends at home.
In a subsequent letter dated the 10th inst. Q.M.S. Tomlinson acknowledges the receipt of the four bales of “ Tommies ” cookers, shirts, socks, sponges, etc, which had been distributed. He adds: “ Everybody is delighted with the cookers and sponges. Both are most useful. Capt Payton, who is in command of our company, was particularly struck with them, and will shortly convey his thanks to the T.C.C. On behalf of my comrades of the old E Company I cannot sufficiently thank the T.C.C. and our good friends of Rugby. I can but say how deeply we appreciate their kindness.”
MOUTH ORGANS AND OTHER INSTRUMENTS WANTED.
DEAR EDITOR,—Just a line or two from a few of the Rugby boys who are doing their bit in France. Although our battalion is not a local regiment, there are a good many boys here from Rugby with us, so you can imagine your paper is well known here. . . . We are having a very rough time of it in the trenches just now, and are experiencing a little of what some of the boys went through last winter. Up to the knees in water and sludge is now getting a common occurrence, but the spirit of the lads in these hard times is wonderful. Small things of this kind cannot help but put a feeling of confidence in one’s mind and foreshadow an optimistic view of what this unconquerable spirit will do when the time for bigger operations comes. However, it is when we are out of the trenches that we need something to take the place of the excitement which we leave behind. The chief thing that appeals to us is, as yon may imagine, music, and never are we so happy as when we are murdering the chorus of some popular song. But what we want most is a few mouth organs, for many of us can play them ; and we should esteem it a favour if you could find room to publish this letter in the good old R.A., in the hope that it will catch the eyes of some kind-hearted readers, who will do their best for us. I am sure that if the good people at home could only see the pleasure that is derived from these generous gifts, they would only be too pleased to grant us this small request,-—Yours truly, Bandsman J GUBBINS, 170, A Co 10th Batt R.B, British Expeditionary Force, France.
OLD ST. MATTHEW’S BOYS ON SERVICE.
The following are extracts from typical letters received from “ old boys ” of St Matthew’s School, by Mr R H Myers, headmaster :—
Writing from Egypt, Lce-Corporal P Labraham, of the Warwickshire Yeomanry, says : “ I dropped across Alfred Baker at Christmas. He had been out on a frontier fight, and had just returned. Our Christmas dinner was reminiscent of old England, consisting of turkey, beef, fruit, etc. Baker and I drank a toast to the memory of our schooldays during the evening. The Museum here is very fine, and redolent of almost everything connected with ancient Egyptian life. There are mummified cats, birds, babies, cows’ heads, and, of course, an infinite number of the ordinary kind. The old Egyptians took an enormous amount of trouble to preserve their dead, some being placed in five coffins, the last of great size, and ornamented with splendid specimens of Egyptian inlaid work. The jewels here are alone worth a day to examine—golden finger-stalls from some mummies, crowns, ear-rings, bracelets, stones, and charms.”
Pte G Favell, 6th Leicestershire Regiment, writes : “ I spent Christmas Day and New Year’s Day in the trenches, and shall never forget the experience. It was pouring with rain, and we were hard at work shovelling mud out of the trenches. There was no kind of truce this year at Christmas. We always remember that the Germans are enemies, and must be treated as such. They have asked for trouble with a capital T, and they will get more than they bargained for before the ‘lads in khaki’ have finished with them. We opened the year. 1916 by presenting them with a few souvenirs in the shape of leaden pills, which may be all right to look at, but are very indigestible. There is no doubt that we have now got the upper hand in . the West, and we are looking forward to the end of the war in the near future.”
P E .Hughes, Leading Seaman, on one of his Majesty’s ships with the Grand Fleet, writes : “ We are getting it pretty rough at present somewhere in the North Sea, but it does not seem to trouble the boys, who are merry and bright as usual, and still waiting for the Huns. I am afraid there will be nothing doing, as they are getting enough from the boys in the Baltic, who are luckier than we are, though we hope to have the pleasure of meeting them yet.”
LOCAL WAR NOTES.
Lieut-Colonel F Dugdale, C.V.O., from the Warwickshire Yeomanry, is gazetted lieutenant-colonel in the Territorial Force Reserve.—Mr D L Hutchison has been given a commission in the Yeomanry.
The New Year honours include the conferring of the K.C.B. on Vice-Admiral R H S Bacon, C.V.O., D.S.O.
An artillery officer writes to a friend in Rugby that his battery is peculiarly well off with respect to lighting accommodation. The battery is stationed near a coal mine somewhere in France, and, by tapping a wire which supplies current to work a fan in a mine shaft, electric light is obtained in the dug-out.
Mr C J Bowen Cooke, the chief mechanical engineer for the London, and North-Western Railway, who has been gazetted major in the Engineer and Railway Staff Corps, has been connected with the L. and N.-W. R. for forty years, commencing as an apprentice in the Crewe Works, and he is the author of several works on British locomotives.
Messrs H and R S Sitwell, sons of Mrs Sitwell, of the Manor House, Leamington Hastings, and the late Canon Sitwell, were gazetted to lieutenancies in the Derbyshire Yeomanry. At the outbreak of the war both were farming in South Africa, and they at once left their farms in the care of others and joined the force which conquered German West Africa. The former has also had experience with the Germans as a prisoner, as, a few days before the surrender, while carrying despatches he got behind the German lines. Fortunately the captive period was very short, the surrender bringing his release.
“ A CERTAIN LIVELINESS.”
Mr Charles Barnwell, of 56 Manor Road, recently received a letter from his son, who is in the Rugby Howitzer Battery at the front, in which he says :- “ Two mines under the German trenches in — were successfully exploded. Rifle, machine gun, and also artillery fire was opened on the German trenches immediately the explosion took place ; the mountain gun swept the ground behind the crater at a range of 150 to 200 yards. For some time after the explosion nothing could be observed owing to the heavy cloud of dust and smoke. When the atmosphere had cleared it was seen that the corner of the parapet for quite thirty yards was completely demolished. The firing of the Howitzers was particularly effective. They obtained six direct hits on the enemy’s rear parapet, and placed the remaining rounds into the —. Almost immediately after the explosion the enemy replied with rifle grenades from their trenches, and at 10.25 a.m. their guns opened fire upon the edge of a wood, and the paths and roads leading up to our front
LAST CHANCE FOR THE SINGLE MEN.
ADVICE TO RECRUITS.
The following notice, issued by the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee, was posted throughout the country on Saturday :—
Enlistment in groups will reopen on Monday, January 10, and proceed until further notice. All men between 18 and 41, both single and married, who have not attested should do so at once at the nearest recruiting office.
The month’s notice to men whose groups have been called up will commence from the day of their attestation.
Attention is called to the fact that a great deal of labour and inconvenience will be saved to the recruiting authorities if men desiring to attest will, wherever possible, do so in the area in which they have been registered under the National Registration Act. The right to attest in any area is not withdrawn, and attestation will still be accepted in any district irrespective of the area of registration ; but such men as can possibly attest in their own area are asked to assist the recruiting authorities by so doing.
The conscientious objector has already made his appearance. A tall, robust young man walked into the inquiry office at the recruiting headquarters in London on Saturday. “ I have a conscientious objection to fighting,” he began ; “ will you direct me to the proper channel for the utilisation of my services as a non-combatant ?” The young man was passed on so that his request should receive full consideration.
Outside the naval recruiting offices in the Strand chalked on a board is the warning, “ No conscientious objectors need apply.” – on the other side is an exhortation : “ Now then, you single men, don’t let grandpa join first.”
COVENTRY MUNITIONS TRIBUNAL.
ANOTHER LONG LIST OF CASES.
There was a further big batch of cases to be heard before the Coventry Munitions Tribunal on Monday afternoon. Professor F Tillyard presided, and the assessors present were Messrs W C Macartney (employers) and J Roberts (men), together with Messrs P E Wilks (clerk) and D G Bolland (assistant clerk).
Willans and Robinson, Rugby, complained that Frank Hancox, press tool setter, Rugby, had absented himself without leave. Defendant said he was unfit for work, and it was stated that he had not gone back to work yet. Hancox said he was 29 years old, and earned 30s a week. The Chairman : Tool setters seem to be cheap in Rugby.—Defendant: They are.—The Chairman said that, taking into consideration that his wages were not high, defendant would be fined 10s.
Nearly all the others were Coventry cases.
PAPER FAMINE PROBABLE.
DIFFICULTY OF OBTAINING RAW MATERIALS.
Many industries have been hampered by reason of the war, but it is doubtful whether any trade has faced more difficulties than the paper industry. The outlook is stated to be so serious that if the present condition of affairs continues for long there must be a paper famine in this country. Paper is made principally from three classes of materials—namely, rags, esparto (a strong fibrous grass grown in North Africa and on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea), and wood pulp. Rags are used in the manufacture of the best class of hand-made paper, but that material does not play an important part in the trade difficulties now experienced. Esparto is an important ingredient, and before the war large quantities were imported into Scotland. There is now a great difficulty in obtaining supplies, and this is one cause of the present shortage of paper and the consequent high prices. Shipping freights have increased enormously. The present rate is between 30s and 40s a ton, as compared with the pre-war rate of 2s 6d to 5s. The Scottish manufacturers of paper are considerably handicapped because of the shortage of railway trucks to carry the raw material from the ports of entry to the. districts where the paper mills are situated, while, in addition, there is a great shortage of labour at the manufactories.
Chemical dyes for colouring paper are practically unobtainable. The limited supply available is sold at a very high price ; in some cases the cost is 40s to 50s a pound, as compared with 2s before the war. Bleaching powder is largely used by manufacturers, but the bulk of this material has been commandeered by the Government. Wood pulp is mainly imported from Scandinavia. As the Germans are unable to obtain an adequate supply of cotton for the manufacture of explosives they are large buyers of wood pulp, which is said to be a good substitute for cotton. Consequently the imports of wood pulp to this country are much below the normal ; while, as in the case of other commodities, the price is very high. With the exception of rags, there are no raw materials in this country with which to make paper, and the present shortage of all kinds of paper is due to this fact. “ I have been to Scotland on three recent occasions,” said a Birmingham paper manufacturer to a newspaper representative, “ and I find the word ‘famine’ is in the mouths of all the manufacturers there. Some of the mills are standing idle because supplies of raw material cannot be obtained, and also because of the scarcity of labour.”
Germany used to send considerable quantities of paper to this country, principally vegetable parchment. That supply ceased on the out-break of war. The supply of flint paper from Belgium has also ceased, while grease-proof paper from Scandinavia is sent over in very limited quantities. It may be found necessary shortly to abandon the use of coloured paper for wrapping purposes, and shopkeepers are advised to exercise the greatest economy in the use of paper bags. Thin bank paper and super-calendered papers are very scarce.
THE NEW LIGHTING ORDER.
THE EFFECT IN RUGBY.
In Rugby on Monday night, the inhabitants both in the business and residential parts of the town, showed a general disposition to comply with the new regulations, which require a more drastic reduction of external and internal than hitherto.
The publication of the regulations in the columns of the Rugby Advertiser enabled householders to get a definite idea of the extent to which illumination must be reduced, but the methods by which results entirely satisfactory to the authorities could be obtained, were not so easy to devise. While in some cases lights were not completely shaded and a good deal of illumination found its way on to the roadway, in the main there was little to complain of, and perhaps in many instances people went to the other extreme, and the “ dull and subdued light ” permitted by the regulations was eclipsed altogether.
Many tradesmen, especially in the centre of the town, closed their places of business altogether at six o’clock, being under the impression that the streets would be so dark that customers would not venture out. But the public lamps were lighted as usual almost without modification, and the illumination they gave, combined with the light from the new moon, was sufficient to enable people to walk or ride through the streets with little or no danger of collision.
With regard to street lamps, we understand there are to be further modifications. Superintendent Clarke has commenced a tour of the town, and is ordering the extinction of lamps except at points where he considers, them to be absolutely necessary for the safety of the public, and in a few days the town will probably wear a much more sombre aspect at night than it did on Monday.
In some instances, where shopkeepers had not gone far enough to suit the requirements, further restrictions were ordered.
Speaking generally, there has been an honest attempt on the part of tradespeople to meet the requirements of the Order, but the results on Tuesday night, when police officers made an inspection of some of the principal streets, showed that quite a number of shopkeepers had not shaded their lights sufficiently. When this was pointed out to them they displayed a willingness to meet the wishes of those responsible for the carrying out of the new Order. Isolated cases of obstinacy may have been found, but these proved the exception to the rule, and suggestions to further reduce the light were in nearly every case promptly acted upon. These consisted of advice to extinguish altogether certain lamps, to close doors, to entirely draw down the blinds, or to change the colour of the shading material from red to dark green or blue.
In some: cases electric globes of the required colour have been adopted with good effect.