RUGBY SOLDIER DECORATED WITH THE D.C.M.
PLEASING CEREMONY IN THE CALDECOTT PARK.
Sunday was a great day for Sergt Bale, of the 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, whose home is in Lagoe Place, Rugby. Arrangements had been made to present him in Caldecott Park with a Distinguished Conduct Medal, awarded for bravery in France, and the occasion partook somewhat of the character of a civic function, there being present Messrs J J McKinnell (Chairman), W Flint (Vice-chairman), T A Wise, W H Linnell, T Ringrose, H Yates, R W Barnsdale, and W A Stevenson (members of the Rugby Urban District Council). Col F F Johnstone, recruiting officer at Rugby, consented to make the presentation, and the local Volunteer Training Corps paraded, under Company Commander C H Fuller ; also the Royal Defence Corps (late the 5th South Lancashire Regt), with Lieut Gandy in charge ; and the 1st Company Boys’ Brigade, under Capt W F Wood. These formed a “ hollow square ” on the greensward, and cleared a space for the ceremony, which was witnessed by a large concourse of people.
DEEDS OF GALLANTRY.
Colonel Johnstone, in making the presentation, said the medal was given to N.C.O.’s and men of H.M forces performing gallant duties beyond their ordinary duties. The special duty performed by Sergt Bale was that on February 9th, 1916, he was ordered out with a reconnoitring party, consisting of one officer, one sergeant, one corporal, and four men, to ascertain the strength of the enemy’s trenches, what they contained, and what entanglements there were before those trenches. The party proceeded about 9.30 at night, and after they had been out an hour or so the sergeant and one of the privates got wounded. Corpl Bale (as he was then) took these men, one by one, under the enemy’s fire, into a place of safety. The whole patrol then returned to the trenches, and, after a certain amount of rest, Lieut McKay and Corpl Bale volunteered to go out again and finish their reconnoitring duties. When they got up to the wire entanglements, the officer was wounded through the thigh. Corpl Bale went to the assistance of his officer, taking him up, under fire, and carrying him back into the trenches. Now, those acts of bravery really deserved the Victoria Cross (hear, hear). Those deeds reflected very much upon the soldier-like conduct of Corpl Bale, and he had pleasure in pinning the decoration upon his breast. He felt sure all would agree with him in thinking Corpl Bale richly deserved this promotion to the rank of sergeant and also the Distinguished Conduct Medal (applause). Having pinned the medal on the solders tunic, Colonel Johnstone said he trusted the gallant deeds would long live in their memories, and that when the young men present were called upon to do their duty in the face of the enemy they would emulate the example of Sergt Bale (cheers).
MR MCKINNELL’S TRIBUTE.
Mr J J McKinnell, as Chairman of the Urban District Council, congratulated Sergt Bale, in the name of the town, on the great honour he had achieved. They felt that he had conferred lustre upon the name of Rugby, and he wanted Sergt Bale to understand that his fellow-citizens were extremely proud of him (cheers). The town of Rugby, which they all loved so much, had, he thought he might say, with becoming modesty, earned a good name in the last troublous months that we had passed through. He believed Rugby did very well all through the time of recruiting, and he was sure her sons, who had gone forth to fight in the various theatres of war, would acquit themselves creditably, and they sent Sergt Bale forth with their best wishes that his future would be covered with more laurels (applause).
HUMOROUS PREDICTION RECALLED.
Cheers having been given for Sergt Bale, Capt W F Wood made a short speech. It afforded him more pleasure than he could find words to express to be present at that ceremony, especially as Sergt Bale was one of his old boys (applause). It was some ten years since Sergt Bale joined the Brigade, and proved himself to be a hard worker. That morning he had met a soldier and a sailor, who reminded him that at the Llandudno camp some years ago he told Sergt Bale he would live either to be hanged or to earn the Victoria Cross (laughter and applause). He thought Sergt Bale was on the right way to win one or the other (laughter).
Sergt Bale expressed his thanks for the honour that had been done him, and his pleasure to have been so much congratulated during the three weeks he had been on leave. Sergt Bale then reviewed his exploits in France, including the retreat from Mons, and the circumstances under which, in addition to winning the medal, he had been twice mentioned in despatches.
Colonel Johnstone then presented the Donegal Bronze Medal to Corpl Murray, of the 3rd Platoon of the Rugby Volunteer Training Corps, given by the National Rifle Association, for a creditable total of 397 points out of a possible 450, and entitling the holder to take part in the Donegal Competition at Bisley.
Mr McKinnell, addressing the V.T.C., said they had been working now for some months, and he thought they had received very little encouragement from the Government. Their fellow-citizens had, perhaps, regarded them with a sort of kindly curiosity, but they had gone on working steadily; they had given up their evenings and their Sundays in order to train themselves to be of use to their country in any supreme crisis, which they hoped would never come ; and latterly they had turned out of their comfortable beds in the middle of the night in order to help their fellow-citizens. He wanted the Corps to understand that their fellow-citizens thought well of them, and appreciated the work they were doing (applause).
Company Commander C H Fuller, on behalf of the Training-Corps, thanked Mr McKinnell for his kind words.
Cheers were given for Colonel Johnstone, who, in acknowledgment, said he very much appreciated the way in which recruits came forward first of all. There were not so many to come forward now, but under the new system to be commenced he hoped they would have more, and that many others would follow the example of the brave Sergeant and would come back to the country with the V.C. or the D.C.M. (hear, hear).
Sergt Bale was then played back to his home in Lagoe Place by the band of the Boys’ Brigade, and afterwards enjoyed a motor car drive with several friends.
At the Empire Picture Palace on Monday night Sergt Bale was presented by B Morris, on behalf of the management, with a wrist watch.
Sergt Bale belonged to the 1st Rugby Company Boys’ Brigade for four years, and was a bugler in the band. He left at the age of 16 to join the army, and is one of about 300 old members of the Brigade now serving in H.M. Forces by land or sea. Up to the present there have been few casualties amongst them.
The V.T.C. spent the afternoon in useful exercises in the fields between Hillmorton and Barby, returning at 8.30 p.m.
The 35th meeting of the Warwickshire Territorial Force Association was held on Monday at Birmingham, the Earl of Craven presiding. The War Office letter, dated April 10 last, regarding the administration of the Volunteer Force by the County Association was considered, and on the motion of Colonel Wyley, seconded by Colonel G M Seabroke, a resolution was passed agreeing to undertake the administration of the Volunteer Training Corps in the county on the county basis, and a committee was appointed for the purpose.
Colonel Lewis, Commandant of the Warwickshire Volunteer Training Corps, said they had in Warwickshire five battalions of infantry, a very useful corps of electrical engineers, and a small cycle corps. The 1st Battalion had now the names of nearly 900 members on its books, the second something like 1,500, the third had never been higher than 700, the fourth about 700,and the fifth about 800. Later enlistments had denuded these figures, but he hoped that if an appeal were made the city battalions would have 600 members each to start with, and the county battalions more. In all there were about 1,350 men clothed, armed, and equipped. There was no machinery for maintaining that state of equipment.
It was mentioned that 19 non-commissioned officers and men of the Warwickshire Territorials had received D.C.M. medals, and the payments, numbering 15,525 had been made in respect of separation allowances to wives, children, and dependants of soldiers. The cost of administration was considerably less than the maximum sum fixed by the Government.
Colonel Marsh said there ought to be some arms to be had from Ireland.—Colonel Lewis: The Territorial Force has already applied for them.
The question arose as to the payment and the granting of separation allowances to members of the Volunteer Force in the event of its mobilisation. The opinion was expressed by one member that if the Force was mobilised to repel an invading enemy they would automatically receive the Army pay under the term “ deemed on actual military service.”—Colonel Wyley said the question of pay, allowances, etc, was a matter for future consideration.
LOCAL WAR NOTES.
War casualties among London and North-Western Railway men number 3,683, of whom 725 have died.
Second Lieut K W Lane (son of the Rev F D Lane, formerly Vicar of Clifton) who, as reported last week had been dangerously wounded, is progressing favourably.
Viscount Feilding, D.S.O, Coldstream Guards, son of the Earl of Denbigh, has been promoted to a captaincy.
The following appointments have been gazetted :—South Midland Brigade : Major (temporary Lieut.-Col) F C B West to be Lieut.-Col. 17th December, 1914. Capt (temporary Major) C P Nickalls to be Major. 17th December, 1914.
The Postmaster-General announces that the despatch of matches by post to the troops has resulted in numerous fires which have destroyed a large quantity of mails. It has consequently been necessary to entirely prohibit their despatch to any destination. The friends of Lieut Allan Hand, 81st Provisional Battalion, T.F, will be pleased to hear that he is now well on the way to recovery. He was taken ill with measles near the end of March, pneumonia subsequently developed, and for a time he was in a very critical condition, and had to undergo an operation.
Mr S E Rogers, who has been with the B.T.H Company for many years, and who joined the 5th Warwickshire Howitzer Battery in August, 1914, has been transferred to the 6th Somerset Light Infantry, to which regiment he has been gazetted as Second Lieutenant. It will be remembered that his brother, H G Rogers, of hockey renown, held a commission in the Somersets at the time of his death last June in the Dardanelles. Two other brothers, F G and W J, are also joining the army, the first-named a cadet at the Royal Military College, Camberley, and the latter (also a well-known hockey player) just back from the West Coast of Africa, to enter the London Scottish Regiment.
Several old Rugbeians have recently arrived in England with the Canadian contingents, including Walter Hillyard, a former employe at Messrs Frost’s and an ex-member of ” E ” Company; and the brothers Albert and Walter Francis. A grandson of the late Mr Richard Over, of Rugby, is also with the contingent.
Lieut F J Hadden, Remount Squadron, an old Rugbeian, who died of pneumonia on May 5 in Egypt, was before the war a tea-planter in Ceylon, where he was well known in connection with all sports, notably racing and polo. He was 55 years of age.
CAPT H PODMORE AWARDED THE D.S.O.
Rugbeians, past and present, will welcome the announcement which has been made this week that Capt H Podmore, O.R, an assistant master at Rugby School, has been awarded the D.S.O. for conspicuous gallantry in the field. The news was received in a letter from Lieut-Col W T Wyndowe, commanding the 6th Battalion Northants Regt, and which reads : “ We have just got the news that Capt Podmore has got the D.S.O for gallantry and devotion to duty on the morning of the 13th April, when his company, after enduring an intense bombardment, repulsed a raid that the enemy attempted on our front line. Though he had only one, the young officer doing duty with the company, they stuck to their parapets like heroes, inspired by the coolness and entire disregard of danger of their commander.” A really good fast bowler, Capt Podmore frequently assisted the Rugby Cricket Club some two or three seasons ago. His father was a fine Rugby football player, and represented Oxford v Cambridge in the first Rugby match between the Varsities.
ANOTHER ST. MATTHEW’S OLD BOY KILLED.
Notification has just been received of the death of Pte H P Watts, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, who was killed in action on April 5th. The mother of Pte Watts, who lives at 10 Bridget Street, New Bilton, has received a message of sympathy from Lord Kitchener. Pte Watts was educated at St Matthew’s Boys’ School, and is the fourteenth old boy of that school to be killed in action. He was 23 years of age, and was working at the Newbold Cement Works when he enlisted. He left England at the end of October.
B.T.H MEN REPORTED KILLED.
Information has reached Rugby that Bombardier E Cox, of the Rugby Howitzer Battery, was killed by a shrapnel shell on Thursday week. Gunner Cox was formerly a charge hand in the Turbine Department at the B.T.H, and was well known and generally respected in the works. He came to Rugby six or seven years ago as a fitter. Major Nickalls, in a letter reporting Bomb Cox’s death, says : “ I and my officers, N.C.O’s, and men grieve for the loss of not only a grand man and a fearless soldier, but one who had endeared himself to us all by his splendid devotion to duty, his great ability, his untiring energy, and unfailing cheeriness. He set a great example to the Battery, and, speaking as his Battery Commander, I am deeply grateful to him for all his good work.”
Official news has been received at the B.T.H that Pte Bert Blake, of the Wiltshire Regt, who was reported to be missing on June 16th last, was killed in action on that date. Prior to the war Pte Blake was employed in the Purchasing Department of the B.T.H.
Mr and Mrs J Gurney, late of Catthorpe, now living at 67 Cambridge Street, Rugby, have received official intimation of the death of their son, Lance-Corpl John Thomas Gurney, Royal Warwickshire Regt, who had been reported missing since April 25, 1915. He was employed at the B.T.H before the war, and was called up on Reserve.
CALLING UP THE LAST MARRIED GROUPS.
The new proclamation, calling the remaining groups of married men to the colours was posted in Rugby yesterday (Friday). It refers to men in groups 42 to 46, and the commencing date of the call is June 13th. A further proclamation calls up men of group 24 as they attain the age of 19, and the same date applies.
CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR ARRESTED AND RELEASED.
A peculiar situation arose out of the arrest of a conscientious objector named Horace Kingston, gardener, of Hillmorton, who failed to answer a summons to join the Colours on Monday. He was brought before a magistrate (A S Donkin, Esq), and admitted that he was an absentee under the Military Service Act, but added that he was a Christadelphian and a conscientious objector. He would refuse to obey any orders from the Military authorities.-Mr Donkin: You know you are liable to be fined £25 ?—Defendant : Yes, but I can’t help that.-He was remanded to await an escort and fined £2, which was ordered to be deducted from his Army pay.-After the Magistrate had left the Court a sergeant from the recruiting station arrived, and asked for the man’s release, explaining that they had received instructions that he was not to be arrested.-The Assistant Clerk pointed out that the man had already been fined £2, which could not be altered.
THE LATE PERCY HEFFORD.-Mr and Mrs W F Wood have had erected in the cemetery a handsome memorial stone with a double grave kerb in memory of their son, Percy Hefford, second officer of the ill-fated Lusitania. Sunday was the first anniversary of the sinking of the vessel, and flowers were placed upon the grave space by relatives and friends. They included a tribute from the widow, now living in Philadelphia.
BERRIDGE.—In loving Memory of my dear son, George Edward Berridge, Barby, who was killed in action somewhere in France, May 13th, 1915.
“ One year has passed, oh how we miss him.
Some may think the wound has healed ;
But they little know the pain and sorrow
Deep within our hearts concealed.”
—From his loving Mother and Brother.
KEEN.—In loving Memory of our dear son and brother, Arthur William, killed in action, May 9th, 1915.
PORTER.—In ever loving Memory of our dear son and brother George, who was killed in action on May 8th, 1915, at St Elei.
—Sadly missed by his loving Mother, Father, Brothers and Sister.
SLEATH.—In loving Memory of Trooper Sam Sleath, of the Leicestershire Yeomanry, who fell in action, May 13, 1915, at Ypres, aged 22 years.
“ He sleeps not in his native land,
But ‘neath some foreign skies ;
And far from those who loved him best,
In a hero’s grave he lies.”
-From his loving Mother, Father, Sister, and Brothers.