THE POSTPONED BANK HOLIDAY.
The suspension, by Royal Proclamation Whit-Monday as a Bank Holiday to avoid any interruption in the supply of munitions of war was patriotically observed by the public. The sacrifice of outdoor pleasure could not be regarded as serious, as the weather was cold and wet. In conformity with the wishes of the Government there were no holiday facilities on the railways. The weather on Sunday and Monday was characterised by cold winds and rain, which made fires in the house necessary and acceptable. The temperature was about 18 or 20 degrees below the proper level for the date. Such a Whit-Monday has not been experienced since 1891, when snow fell and the thermometer stood at 42 degrees at noon. But that was in May, nearly a month earlier in the season, so that allowing for the difference in time Monday was relatively colder, and it is not surprising that recourse was had to overcoats, furs, and fires—ten days from midsummer ! The bitter conditions affected all the eastern counties, the coast in particular being exceedingly cold, while the west and north were a little better.
LOCAL WAR NOTES.
News has been received by Mrs Watts, Benn Street, Rugby, that her husband, Sergt E Watts, of the 6th Oxon and Bucks L.I, has been wounded in France, and is now in hospital at Bradford.
Lieutenant the Hon Henry S Feilding has been transferred from K.E Horse Special Reserve to the Machine Gun Corps.
Lieut J A Maddocks, son of Mr Henry Maddocks, barrister-at-law, has been killed in action. He was in his twentieth year, and the oldest of six sons. He was educated at Oakfield, Rugby, and also at University College, London.
Miss Dora McLelland, who was trained at the Hospital of St Cross, Rugby—and is still on the staff—has been mentioned in the Birthday Honours for Nurses, first-class Royal Red Cross decoration. Miss McLelland is at present working in the Territorial Force Nursing Service.
R V Wilson (Old Laurentian), son of Mr J G Wilson, York Street, Rugby, has joined the H.A.C Infantry Division. The Old Laurentians have supplied a great many members to this distinguished Company.
The relatives of W H Brain have now received official news from the Admiralty, stating that he was drowned when his ship—the “ Indefatigable ” — was lost in the North Sea Battle.
ST MATTHEW’S BOY IN THE SEA FIGHT.
Mr R H Myers, headmaster of St Matthew’s Boys’ School, has received the following interesting letter from an “ old boy,” P.O Telegraphist E W Penney:—
“ I thought you would like to know that I managed to come safely through our recent battle without a scratch, being luckier than I was at the ‘ Dogger Bank,’ though that was only a picnic compared with the Jutland Battle. As usual, we were in the thick of the fight, which is only natural, seeing that we fly the flag of Vice-Admiral Sir David Beatty and are flagship of the Battle Cruiser Fleet. It is a great pity we did not meet the enemy earlier in the day. Had we done so, I am certain there would have been annihilation for the High Seas Fleet ; but, of course, it is only a pleasure deferred. I can state with confidence that, although our losses were rather heavy, the German losses were much heavier in both material and men, but, unlike us, do not publish the whole of their losses, though we know them just the same. They were very brave at first, when they thought that our Battle Cruiser Squadron was alone, but immediately the Grand Fleet hove in sight they made of at full speed. It was a wretched day, the average visibility being only about 5,000 to 6,000 yards, so, aided by the darkness and mist, they escaped—but they had a good hammering first. All we ask now is to meet them a little further out, as this time they were on top of their own shores. I lost many friends in the ‘ Queen Mary ’ and other ships, but I have the satisfaction to know that they upheld the glorious traditions handed down to us by our ancestors.
“ I have had some rather unique experiences during the War. Some time ago I was fortunate to have a trip to Flanders with a party from the Grand Fleet. I spent four days in the first line trenches at ——,and afterwards we had a tour of the batteries, and spent some hours looking round Ypres, which is a sight never to be forgotten. Our trenches were pretty close to the Germans, so I was able to throw over a few souvenirs in the shape of bombs ; and, of course, the compliment was returned. I did not see any Rugby men out there, but I must say all the troops were very cheerful, and they wondered who we were, as we dressed in khaki, but kept our cap ribbons on.
“ All good wishes to the boys of the old school, past and present.”
ANOTHER EMPLOYEE OF MESSRS FROSTS KILLED.
News has been received that Rifleman A Pullen, of the Machine Gun Section, Rifle Brigade, has been killed in Francs during the taking of a German mine crater. Rifleman Pullen, who enlisted in September, 1914, and was drafted to the Front in July, 1915, was employed by Messrs Frost as a compositor before the War, and lodged at 117 Oxford Street. He is the eight employee of the firm to be killed in the War. A fellow-employee, Rifleman Negus, was killed at the same gun some time ago. Rifleman J Pyne (R.B), an employee of Messrs Frost & Son, is now in the London General Hospital suffering from a wound in the shoulder. He is making good progress.
PROMOTION.—Corpl C Hedgcock, son of Mrs Hedgcock, of Thurlaston, has been promoted to the rank of sergeant.
Mr J Pickering has received the sad news that his son, W J Pickering, had perished on H.M.S. Defence at the naval battle on May 31st. A memorial service was held in the Parish Church on Sunday afternoon and a very large congregation assembled. Special Psalms and hymns were sung by the choir, of which he was a member. The Rector (the Rev R M Bryant) delivered a most impressive and touching address.
ROLL OF HONOUR.—Mr and Mrs W Maskell have this week been notified that their son George was killed when in action in France on May 30.
WOMEN’S WORK ON THE LAND.
A meeting to consider the question of the employment of women on the land was held at the Benn Buildings on Wednesday afternoon. There was a good attendance of ladies, over whom Dr A A David presided, supported by Miss Craig and Miss Day.
The Chairman said there were three difficulties before them in this matter of work upon farms. In the first place, he had found that a rather absurd difficulty had been encountered in the objection on the part of certain ladies to the work as degrading and beneath their dignity. He did not suppose there was anyone present who would sympathise with that opinion, but still there was the difficulty to be faced, although they could rise above it, and they must strive by precept, and more particularly by example, to oppose this absurd notion. The second difficulty was the farmer. The farmer had been abused a good deal lately, and they most not be offended with them if they did not display the enthusiasm some of them might be expected to show at the idea of having women to work for them. The third difficulty was that of organisation. It was obvious that if a number of people continued to get some big thing done, there must be a certain amount of machinery to give them the opportunity for combined effort. This had been solved by the network of organisations all over the country, and which in their county was represented by the Warwickshire War Agricultural Committee. Rugby was represented on that committee by a lady to whom the town owed a great debt of gratitude for the work she had already done, and to whom they would owe a greater debt before this task was over—Miss Whitelaw. A few weeks ago, when they decided at the School to allow boys to go out in squads to help the farmers as they did last year, he wrote to Miss Whitelaw, and pointed out that he was anxious not to get in the way of any organisation for similar employment of women, and the boys were quite willing to stand aside if necessary. Up to the present they had had more applications than they could possibly meet. They would try to arrange with some of the farmers to employ women, even if it came to the point of refusing to let the boys go to a village until the women were fully employed. Whatever they might do, he promised not to stand in the way of the employment of women labour. This call upon women was very clear and urgent, and he was very much impressed by hearing from the farmers of the fearful progress which the weeds were making. He hoped that as the result of that meeting some organisation would be brought nearer, if it was not finally decided upon. There was a considerable danger of a thing like that being taken up warmly at first, and then the people getting tired of it, but, he pointed out, that in this case the work must be kept up until the end of the harvest.
Miss Craig then addressed the gathering on the vital importance of the food supply to the nation. They had been depending too largely upon other countries for their food supply, and the farmers were now being asked to produce more, and not less, food. This was very difficult, owing to the large number of men who were being called to the colours. The land was the nation’s source of wealth, and if it failed to produce to its utmost capacity, it would mean a tremendous increase in the price of food to the well-to-do, and to the poor it would mean poverty and privation such as they had never experienced, and such as they could hardly comprehend. This was the opportunity for women to show their value to the nation. There was only one way for England to be beaten by the Germans. It was not the loss of men, because they had been told that they would fight to the last man ; it was not the loss of money, because they would fight to the last shilling ; but if their ships failed to bring in the supplies, and if the work of the farmers did not go on, if the food fell off, then indeed would their men at the front feel that they had done their bit in vain, and that alone would make them feel they could lay down their arms, having been unsuccessful.
Miss Day alluded to the fact that Lord Selborne, President of the Board of Agriculture, had asked for 400,000 women to help in the food production of the country, and there were several classes whom she thought might assist. First, there were the women who were receiving separation allowances ; they were costing the country about £30,000,000 a year ; she did not begrudge them their money, and she would be the last to suggest that the men should go away and leave their wives in want ; but if they were getting that from the nation it was their duty to do something for the nation, and she thought they could rightly demand their services (applause). They also wanted women from the towns to go out and live in the country and work on the farms regularly, not only at harvest time, but all through the year. If she could get 100 whole-time workers from Rugby she would be able to get them placed with farmers within about a week. They also desired women to undergo a course of training, either on the farms or in colleges for agricultural work, and also to obtain gangs of cyclist workers who could go out one day in each week and work for a farmer under the care of a skilled forewoman. To make this a success, they would desire six ladies to make themselves responsible for a gang one day in each week. Referring to the difficulty mentioned by the Chairman, the fact that some women thought the work was degrading, Miss Day said this could be overcome by women of education coming forward and giving a lead. This would show that whatever work was to be undertaken, provided that it was done to the best their power, was work worth doing.
Several interesting questions were asked and answered and farmers requiring workers, and women desirous of helping, were referred to Miss Whitelaw.
PRISONERS OF WAR HELP COMMITTEE.
A meeting of the Executive of the Rugby Prisoner of War Help Committee was held at the Rectory on Saturday. Mr Wm Flint, C.C, presided.
The Hon Secretary (Mr J Reginald Barker) reported that the receipts to date amounted to £472 10s 4d, the expenditure was £314 17s 1d, leaving a balance in hand of £158 2s 3d.
Mr Barker also stated that he had completed arrangements for despatching a 4lb loaf of “ Dujon ” bread to each prisoner every week. The prisoners of war spoke very highly of this broad, and letters received showed that it arrived in excellent condition. The cost of each loaf, including packing, was 1s.
In view of the fact that the committee were now looking after the welfare of 51 men from Rugby and the surrounding villages, and that the cost of the weekly parcels of food and the special parcels of bread was about £13 per week, the Executive Committee discussed various suggestions for raising funds to ensure a continuance of the weekly parcels.
Mrs Blagden, who is in charge of the parcels sub-committee, said the parcels contained food in accordance with the instructions received from London. The supplies included butter or margarine, sugar, tea, condensed milk, cafe au lait, jam or syrup, bacon or corned beef, shredded wheat or force, soup squares, sardines or herrings, and occasionally cigarettes or tobacco.
Other items were included from time to time, such as tooth-powder and brushes, shirts, socks and under-clothing, and at the special request of a prisoner of war boots were sent.
DEANE.—Killed in action on June 3rd Edmund Bonar (1st Canadian Division), eldest son of Rev. C. H. Deane, M. A., 46 Church Street, Rugby (formerly Vicar of Willoughby).
GOUGH.-James Clecton Gough, 11th Royal Warwickshire Regiment killed by a shell in France, June 2nd, aged 30 years.
GREER.—In loving memory of Pte. Robert Greer, 1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, who was killed in action at Gallipoli, June 18, 1915.—Dearly loved and mourned by all at 12 Argyle Street, Rugby.
HANCOX.—In loving memory of our dear and only son and brother, Charles Hancox, Stretton-on-Dunsmore, who died of wounds received in action June 20, 1915.
“ One year has passed, our hearts still sore,
Day by day we miss him more ;
His welcome smile, his dear, sweet face,
Never on earth can we replace.
We often sit and think of him,
And think of how he died ;
To think he could not say “ Good-bye ”
Before he closed his eyes.”
Deeply mourned by his loving MOTHER, FATHER and SISTERS.
HUGHES.—In loving memory of our son Jack, killed in France, 18th June, 1915.
“ 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 and FATHER.