Mason, Arthur Thomas. Died 31st Aug 1916

Arthur Thomas Mason was born in Rugby and baptised in St Andrews Parish Church on 9th November 1881. His father was Thomas, a compositor living in Lower Hillmorton Road. His mother was Louisa Margaret. We have been unable to locate a marriage for this couple. Thomas was born in Scotland although his father came from Stretton on Dunsmore and all but one of his siblings were born in Rugby. His eldest brother was born in Gloucestershire.

In 1891 Arthur Thomas was aged 9 and lived with his parents at 20 Railway Terrace. His father was still a compositor and Arthur had a younger sister, Ethel. In 1895 Thomas died at the age of 46, so by 1901 Arthur and Ethel were living with their widowed mother. Arthur was aged 18 and working as a auctioneer’s clerk, probably for his uncle, also Arthur Mason, who lived next door at number 40, an auctioneer and furniture dealer.

On 24th December 1905, Arthur Thomas Mason, aged 24 marred Maud Lilian King, 21, at Holy Trinity Church Rugby. By 1911 they had been married 5 years and had no children. Arthur was working as a storekeeper at electrical engineers. They lived at 61 Grosvenor Road, Rugby.

Arthur must have enlisted early in the war, in the 6th Bn, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (no. 13457) as the Rugby Advertiser of 13th November 1915 reported:

Lance-corporal Arthur Mason, 6th Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, who has been spending eight day’s leave at his mother’s resident 40 Rutland Gardens, Hove, returned to Flanders on November 6th.

On 9th September 1916 it reported that Sergeant Arthur Mason had been killed in action in France, probably in The Battle of Delville Wood. He was buried at Carnoy Military Cemetery.

His widow was living at 72 Park Road at the time, she died in 1931 aged 46.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Fothergill, William Alfred. Died 28th Aug 1916

William Alfred Fothergill was born on 14th December 1896 and baptised at Christ Church in East Greenwich on 31st January 1897. His father, Alonzo Benjamin Fothergill was born in 1897 in Devonport and his occupation was engineer. (Given his place of birth, he probably had a dockyard connection) Alonzo had married Lilley Bailey in Greenwich in 1887.

In 1901 the family were living in West Ferry Road in Poplar. William, aged 4 was the third of five children. A year or so before the 1911 census the family had moved to Rugby, living at 176 Lawford Road, New Bilton. Alonzo was an engineer fitter at B.T.H. William was an Errand Lad, aged 14

At the start of the war Private William Alfred Fothergill was one of the members of the Rugby Infantry Company “who responded with such promptitude to the summons on Tuesday night, about 100 going by the first train and 40 by the next” as reported in the Rugby Advertiser of 8th August 1914. He arrived in France on 22nd March 1915.

A few months later, together with a friend, he sent a letter that was published in the Rugby Advertiser, 7 August, 1915:

“ STILL SMILING ” THOUGH UNDER SHELL FIRE.

DEAR SIR,-We now take the pleasure of writing a few lines to your paper to let the people of Rugby see we are getting on all right. We shall be glad to see old Rugby again. I must say we don’t get the chance to go to The Empire second house. Well, we must not grumble ; we are out here till it is over. I am sorry we have lost a few of the boys, as you have put in your paper a short time ago, and we are all very sorry to lose such good chaps. I am sure we shall get our own back. We have now taken over some trenches. I can tell you we get plenty of shells flying round us ; there are plenty flying about while I am writing this letter. . . . We have been against the Rugby Battery, who I am sure have done some very good work. What we have seen very good. I am sorry to say it has been very wet this last few days. It makes the trenches very bad. Never mind, we still keep smiling, but I must not say we are on a picnic—it is not a very nice game to play.—Wishing you and all at Rugby the best of luck, from two of the boys.

PTE ROY ALAND.*
PTE FOTHERGILL.
“ C ” Co. late “ E ” Co.
1/7th Batt R.War.R.

Private William Alfred Fothergill (Regt. no. 2020) died on 28th August 1916 and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial.

He is also remembered on the Croop Hill Memorial in Rugby.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

* Private Aland (Regt. no. 2236) was wounded on 19th July 1916,suffering multiple gunshot wounds to his arm and right side. After a long spell in hospital he was discharged from the army in November 1917.

Hancox, George Hugh. Died 27th Aug 1916

George Hugh Hancox was born at Rock, Bewdley, Worcester, and his birth is registered in the September Quarter 1885 under the Cleobury M. Registration District. His parents were Henry and Emma Hancox, née Savage. George’s father was a bricklayer and George was their first child, born at Rock, Worcestershire. His parents other children were Edgar followed by Hugh, Mabel, Florence and Harold.   On the 1891 census, when George is 5 years old, the family are living at Sutton Common Kidderminster. By 1901 the family are all at 2 Whispering Street, Wribbenhall, Kidderminster, Worcestershire, and George is a Greengrocers Assistant. On the 1911 census George is in Rugby and is living at 79 York Street with the Rogers family and he is Greengrocers Assistant. He was a member of St. Matthews & Brotherhood Choirs and a member of the Early Closes Football Club and was well known and popular the town. George enlisted at Rugby and was with the 6th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He had been in France about 6 weeks and was at the Battle of the Somme when he received his fatal wounds and died 27th August 1916 and was buried at Warloy-Baillon Communal Cemetery. Mr. E. C. Badham gave notice to The Rugby Advertiser of his death. George had been employed by Mr. Badham for between 8 to 9 years and said that George had his home at Kidderminster. Mr Badham was a Greengrocer and Fruiterer at 31a High Street, Rugby. George Hugh Hancox is remembered on the World War 1 memorial at Wribbenhall All Saints Church and appears in the Worcester/Worcestershire Roll of Honour Book for army casualties located in Worcester Cathedral under Wribbenhall casualties with the information: 20274 The Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Under Army Soldiers Effects 5th December 1916 George’s parents received £4 9s 3d and later received a war gratuity for £3 0s 0d sent June 1919

In the Probate Calendar it reads

George Hugh Hancox of Florentine Terrace Wribbenhall Worcestershire Private 7th battalion Royal Warwickshire died 27th August 1916 on active service in France. Probate Worcester 7th November to Emma Hancox (wife of Henry Hancox) and the said Henry Hancox bricklayer.   Effects:- £365 10s 8d.
George received posthumously The Victory Medal and the British Medal.

Private George Hugh Hancox

Service Number 20732

Royal Warwickshire Regiment

1/6 Battalion-Territorial

Buried Warloy-Baillon Communal Cemetery

Grave/Memorial Reference:- ll. A. 1.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Dawson, William Nathaniel. Died 27th Aug 1916

Private William Nathaniel Dawson

Service Number 307611/5958

Royal Warwickshire Regiment

1st/8th Territorial Battalion

Cemetery/Memorial Name: Thiepval Memorial

Grave/memorial Reference: Pier and Face 9 A 9B and 10 B

Private William Nathaniel Dawson was born in Rugby and registered in the third quarter of 1882, and was baptised 12th November 1882 at St. Andrews Church Rugby. William’s parents were John W. and Rebecca Dawson. He was the eldest of 6 children those being George, John, Ellen and Emma.   They were all living in 10 Corbett Street Rugby in 1891 and their father, John is working for the Railway and is only given as a Railway Servant.   By 1901 on the census for that year they are all residing at 46 Claremont Road Rugby, and William is a Railway Clerk, and his father is a Railway Engine Driver, and brother George is an Apprentice Steam Engine Fitter, and the youngest of the brothers John is an apprentice Butcher. On the 1911 census they are all at 114 Claremont Road Rugby, John the father is a Railway Loco Driver, John the brother is now a Butcher’s Assistant, sister Ellen is a Re Lamper, and sister Emma is a Capstan Lathe Operator, William is still given as a Railway Clerk.   According to William’s Army Record he signed a Short Service Attestation 23rd March 1915 and was assigned to the Royal Warwickshire Regiment 23rd March 1916. He was Killed in Action 27th August 1916, aged 33 years, and has no known grave. His name is on the Thievpal Memorial in France, and is recorded on Rugby’s Memorial Gates. On the Army Registers of Soldiers Effects William’s father was sent £2 7s 6d on 3rd October 1916. On the National Probate Calendar of 1917 it says :

Dawson William Nathaniel of 114 Claremont Road Rugby Warwickshire. Private 8th Battalion Royal Warwickshire died on or since 27 August 1917 in France Administration London 7th November to John William Dawson engine driver.   Effects £424 9s 0d. Awarded the Victory Medal and the British Medal posthumously.

William’s name is recorded on Thievpal Memorial France and on Rugby Memorial Gates.

Corbey, Ernest. Died 27th Aug 1916

Private Ernest Corbey

Service Number:- 307616

Royal Warwickshire Regiment

1st 8th Battalion

Cemetery/Memorial Name Thiepval

Grave/memorial Reference Pier and Face 9 A 9 B and 10 B

Private Ernest Corbey was born in the second quarter of 1883, and was baptised 4th May 1883 at Withybrook Church. He was the eldest child of Lucy and Thomas Corby, their surname is sometimes spelt with or without the “e”. Ernest was followed by Thomas H., Amy E., John Frederick, Lewis Arthur, Horace, and Edith M. Their father was an agricultural labourer. On the census of 1891 are family are living at The Green, Little Lawford, Rugby and Ernest’s birth place is given as Combe Fields Warwickshire.   By 1901 the family are at Main Street, Long Lawford, Rugby and Ernest is working as a labourer at the Railway Station, he is 17 years old.   Thomas Corbey, the father dies June 1906 and was buried at Newbold-upon-Avon 11th June 1906, leaving Ernest’s mother a widow with 4 grown up children and three younger children.   By 1911 Ernest’s younger brother Thomas is working as a Loco Fireman and according to that year’s census Ernest is a general labourer. They both had joined the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants. Ernest joining in 1905 at the age of 22 and is given as a cleaner. The family eventually move into Rugby and reside at 6 Sun Street. Ernest was in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and was in France at the Battle of the Somme, where he was killed in action on 27th August 1916, aged 33 years and has no known grave.   His mother received £2 6s 3d from his effects authorised 20th October 1917 and later received £3 0s 0d War Gratuity sent to her 28th June 1919. He was awarded the British and Victory Medals posthumously. The only memorial to him is his name on the Thievpal Memorial, at Thiepval, France and on Rugby‘s Memorial Gates.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

26th Aug 1916. Buy a Flag on War Prisoners’ Day

BUY A FLAG ON WAR PRISONERS’ DAY, SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 2.

By so doing you will assist the Rugby Prisoners of War Help Committee to ensure a continuance of the Weekly Parcels of Food and Clothing to our own men.

The men who have fought for you, and are now experiencing the unspeakable hardships of German Prison Camp Life, look to you to help to keep them from starvation.

Here are some of the Messages received from Local Men this week :—

PTE. P. J. COLLOP (Monks Kirby), Suffolk Regt, interned at Friedrichsfeid

“ I now have the pleasure of writing to thank you and your helpers for your kindness to me, which I very much appreciate. The parcels have arrived up to date regularly, and I find them very satisfactory.”

SERGT. B. G. HITCHCOX (Rugby), 28th Canadians, interned at Dulman.

“ I was very surprised and heartily thankful to receive your welcome parcel, which arrived to-day in very good condition. I warmly appreciate your kindness and trust you will not forget me in the future.”

PTE. W. WILTSHIRE (New Bilton), Wiltshire Regt., interned at Osnabruck.

“ Just a line to let you know I am receiving parcels regularly, and in good condition. Again thanking all concerned for the parcels.”

PTE. A. H. DAVIS (Rugby), 8th Beds, interned at Dulmen.

“ The first issue of bread has arrived, for which I beg to thank you very much.”

PTE. J. SMITH (Stretton-under-Fosse), Royal Warwick Regt, interned at Friedrichfeld.

“ Have just received Dujon bread in good condition, with many thanks.”

PTE. T. DOO (Rugby), Suffolk Regt., interned at Doeberitz.

“ Many thanks for the parcels of food and bread, which I received quite safe and in good condition.”

PTE. P. MACE (Hillmorton), Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry, interned at Mannheim.

“ I now have great pleasure in answering your most welcome parcel, which arrived in excellent condition, and, also, the contents were just what one needs in Camp.”

These letters contain an Appeal for Help, to which no British heart can remain unresponsive. The Food Parcels are absolutely essential, and they get there.

PLEASE GIVE LIBERALLY ON SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 2.

Hon. Secretary and Offices :
J. REGINALD BARKER, 9, Regent Street, Rugby. Supply Depot: Benn Buildings.

THE parcels sent by the Rugby Prisoners of War Help Committee to local men in Germany contained this week ¼ lb tea, tin milk, tin tomatoes, tin pineapple chunks, 1lb sugar, tin cocoa, tablet of soap, tin tongue, tin health salts, and 4-lb loaf of bread.

SOLDIERS’ & SAILORS’ COMFORTS’ COMMITTEE.

A general meeting of this committee was held on Monday.—The Hon Secretary informed the committee that, in reply to the advertisement asking for particulars of men serving, with the date of enlistment, she had only received 150 names of men who had enlisted or been called up between August and December, 1914.—It was resolved to make a start with these 150 names as soon as possible.—After some discussion and the inspection of samples, it was decided to send out to each man a parcel containing a 2-lb tin of best boiled sweets, a pair of socks, and a small packet of boracic powder. Each parcel will also contain a card, bearing the town arms and a suitable couplet, and the name of each man will be written thereon. It is hoped that towards the end of the month the parcels will begin to go out to our splendid men abroad.

 

THE SOLDIER’S LOT COMPARED WITH THAT OF THE MUNITION WORKER.

A correspondent writes :—

In a letter from the front to his father a member of the Warwickshire Regiment remarks :— “ As you say, the news in the paper is good : ‘ Slow, but sure.’ It looks all very well in print, but you want to be in it to understand what a mile or two advance means. I can’t understand the munition people being praised so much for foregoing their Bank Holiday. It proves how much the people of England know what war is. Do they realise that the men out here do seven days every week, and often twenty-four hours a day ? Some have been doing that for two years now. When the munition workers do finish they have a home and a bed to go to, not forgetting that in their spare time they can please themselves what they do.

“ What about this side of the water ? One is lucky to have a barn with a roof on, and if there is any clean straw it is hotel-de-luxe ! They ought to try a 16-mile march with a full pack on. It would do them a lot of good ; and then, when their clothes are saturated with perspiration, let them sleep in the open with only an overcoat to cover them. After that, if they were asked which they preferred—the Army or munition—I wonder which they would prefer ! What annoys me is, they seem to think they are little ‘ tin gods.’”

RUGBY CASES AT THE MUNITIONS TRIBUNAL.

At Coventry Munitions Tribunal, on Friday last week, Thomas Fishwick, Rugby, asked for a discharge certificate on the ground of his wife’s health, it being necessary, he said, that she should live elsewhere. He also carried on the business of tobacconist, hairdresser, and furniture dealer.—Mr Carmichael : You have your hands full.—Applicant : No, because I have managers. He wished his discharge so that he could then dispose of his businesses.—The Court refused the application.

J Mulhern, Rugby, was said to have lost time and was fined £2.

Mr Carmichael presided at the sitting of Coventry Munitions Tribunal, held on Monday afternoon, and the assessors present were Mrs Givens for the men and women, and Mr A H Niblett for the employers. The list contained 25 cases, 10 being from Rugby.

Miss A Botterill, lamp operative, 94 Bridget Street, was summoned for absenting herself without leave. She sent a letter from Llandudno explaining her reasons for staying away, these being ill-health and the belief that the works were going to close down for the August-holidays. It was said by the firm that she took the holiday, though told she could not have the time. Her absence delayed several thousand lamps per week on a subsequent operation.—The Court imposed a fine of 15s.

A G Hanks, 2 Russell Street, was summoned for being absent from work in the Bank Holiday week. He was fined 10s, the Court taking into account that he was usually a good timekeeper.

S Fisher, 10 Chester Street, was summoned for absenting himself from work on various dates. He said he obtained permission on one day to spend it with his brother ; on the rest of the dates he was ill with his back. He was fined 5s.

F A Clewlow, handyman, 30 Sycamore Grove, was also summoned for being absent from work on one day. He received permission, it was stated, to stay out one day to attend a marriage, and remained out the next day as well. Fined 15s.

H Williams, fitter, Market St., was similarly charged. He said he had been with the firm for 13 years without a break, and sent a letter to the shop explaining his absence. He met with a cycle accident, and was hurt at the works.—The firm’s representative said the man was an old and good employee.—Defendant was fined 15s.—The Chairman said it was not fair to the other workers that certain men should take French leave.

H Page, 17 Essex Street, was similarly summoned. The condition of his health was the reason he gave for staying away.—Fined £1.—Defendant : Don’t stop any next week because I have got a short week.

A Smedley, 3 Market St., summoned for being absent, said he was absent with leave, and went with his wife and family to Old Colwyn.—The firm’s representative said that no holidays were allowed in Bank Holiday week.—Defendant said he had a day and a-half to cancel his arrangements after he had paid £1 on account of his holidays.-The representative said he never had leave, there only having been a preliminary inquiry with regard to holidays throughout the workshops. The man was a good worker and timekeeper.—The Court adjourned the case for a fortnight, as they would like to see the charge-hand and foreman.

W Bott, 22 Newland Street, New Bilton, was summoned for being absent without leave on Monday, August 7th, to Saturday, the 12th, inclusive; and was fined 15s.

G Hardy, turner, 67 Windsor Street, Rugby, was summoned for being absent without leave on August 11th and 12th and the morning of the 14th ; also with absenting himself from August 3rd to August 10th with a doctor’s certificate for diarrhoea. The firm produced written evidence from a fellow-workman, who had seen Hardy very much under the influence of drink on Friday, August 4th.—Another witness said that he stopped Hardy in the Market Place about 8.20 on Monday, the 7th inst, and informed him that he had had “ more than was good for him.” He appealed to his patriotism to go home, and go to work the next morning.—Evidence was also given to the effect that on August 8th, at 11.15 a.m, Hardy was served with drink in a local hotel.—Fined £3, to be paid by weekly instalments of 10s.

AN ABSENTEE.—At the Rugby Police Court, on Wednesday, before A E Donkin, Esq, Frank Reilly, 1 Lodge Road, Rugby, pleaded guilty to being absent without leave from the Gloucester Regiment.—Sergt Ghent stated that, as the result of a telegram from the O.C the Battalion, he saw defendant at No. 1 Lodge Road, and he then admitted that he should have returned the previous day.—Remanded in custody to await an escort.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

In an account of the fighting round Thiepval the special correspondent of the “ Morning Post ” lays stress on the achievements of the Warwicks.

Mr F Stimpson, of Rugby, had three nephews serving on the Falmouth, which was sunk in the North Sea at the beginning of the week. Fortunately all of them were saved.

Gunner G Jones, son of Mr and Mrs M Jones, 49 Claremont Road, is progressing slowly but favourably in the Wellington Military Hospital, Liverpool, where he was admitted on August 5th suffering from shock. He had been at the front one year and nine months, having enlisted on August 26, 1914, in the 119th H.M R.G.A., and was drafted to the front in November of the same year.

AWARD FOR GALLANTRY.

The following is an extract from Divisional Orders by Major-General Colin Mackenzie. C.B, commanding the — Division, in which awards of the Military Cross for gallantry were set out :—

“ Captain Evelyn Penn Lucas, 2/4 Battalion Royal Berks Regiment, at Ferme du Bois, on the night 13-14 July, 1916, after careful organisation and training of the raiding party, of which he was in command, for the organisation of which he was solely responsible, proved himself a cool and capable leader ; and though himself wounded early in the attack, led his party up to the enemy wire, and continued to encourage his men to renew their efforts to attain their objective ; he kept communication with his Commanding Officer, and refused to come back to our own lines until he had seen the whole of his men who could be brought in back in safety, he himself being the last to re-enter our lines.”

Capt E P Lucas is son-in-law of the Rev R S Mitchison, of Barby, and this was the attack where Corpl Doyle, of Erankton, lost his life in behaving so gallantly bringing in the wounded.

LOCAL CASUALTIES.

Mr J Brooks, 41 Lawford Road, New Bilton, has received an intimation that his son, Pte J Brooks, of the Royal Warwicks, was wounded on the 1st of August. He was hit in the leg by shrapnel, and sustained a fractured bone. He is at present in hospital at Nottingham, where he is progressing favourably.

RIFLEMAN COLBRAN, of CLIFTON.

The casualty list on Thursday contained the name of Rifleman F Colbran, King’s Royal Rifle Corps, among those killed. Rifleman Colbran, who was about 22 years of age, was employed on Clifton Court Farm, where his father was bailiff, when the War broke out, and he enlisted in the K.R.R towards the end of 1914. He was a quiet young man, and generally respected by those who knew him.

SECOND-LIEUT A E RAINBOW KILLED.

Second-Lieut Albert E Rainbow, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, who was killed on July 23rd, was an assistant at St Matthew’s School, Rugby, and afterwards an assistant master at Richmond British School when war broke out. He enlisted in the Royal Fusiliers before receiving his commission. The Commanding Officer, in a letter to his mother, said : “ Lieut Rainbow was with his company advancing through a village under heavy shell fire, and the conditions were trying enough to have caused even the bravest man, however old, to have faltered. But he displayed no hesitation, and his conduct was a fine example and real help to his men.”

LONG LAWFORD.

MR & MRS S Howard, of Long Lawford, have received news that their son, Pte Stephen Howard, died of wounds on August 1st. He was the third son to join the Army, and had only been in France a fortnight. He was 23 years of age.

NEWBOLD-ON-AV)N.

DEATH OF RIFLEMAN ERNEST GRANT.—Mr and Mrs Grant, Newbold, received the sad news on Saturday last that their son, Ernest, was killed on the 12th inst. Rifleman Dick Collins, writing to deceased’s brother, Alfred, who had been serving at the front, but was sent home disabled about twelve months ago, said : “ The company was on night work ; they were spotted, and machine guns and artillery played on them. Ernest received a number of wounds from machine gun fire.” The writer adds: “ Well Alf, it is another terrible blow for you all, and I am sure I myself will miss him. He was my best friend out here, and we always did all we could for one another. All his section liked him, and you can take it from me that he will be missed by all. According to the nature of his wounds, he died an instantaneous death. We were both talking only the night before of what we hoped to do when we got home, and now we are not able to do so. It has upset me, and I feel I cannot write more just now. I know almost the exact place where he was buried, and I know everything that could have been done for him has been carried out. We are in a hot place, and you yourself only too well can understand what it is like. Well, Alf, I hope you will accept mine and all the boys’ deepest sympathy in the death of so good a soldier, and you have one consolation—he died doing his duty.” Corpl Arthur Parks also writes :- “

Dear Mrs Grant,—I expect that by now you have received the bad news that Ernest has passed away while doing his duty to God, King and country. I should not he surprised if he was doing something to protect one of his men, or working in what he new was a dangerous place where he would not let one of the men go. He was always doing that—looking after his men first and last—and not bothering about himself, strong was his faith in God. I know the chaps are very sorry, for he was liked by all. He was a fine fellow in every way.” Rifleman Ernest Grant was 26 years of age, and belonged to the Rifle Brigade. He was employed at the time of his enlistment in Kitchener’s Army on September 3, 1914, at Messrs Willans & Robinson’s. He was a member of the Church Choir and a bell-ringer ; also a playing member of the Newbold Football Club. He had numerous friends, and all who knew him could not help admiring his manly principles. This is the second son Mr and Mrs Grant have lost during the War, and a third has been sent homo disabled. Much sympathy is expressed by all with Mr and Mrs Grant and family in their sad trouble.

BRANDON.

WEST KENTS.—It will be of interest to many people in the district to hear that Pte Horace Watts was amongst the number of the West Kents who, although surrounded, kept the Germans at bay for two days. He had previously been wounded in the War, but had returned to active service. He is the youngest son of Mr and Mrs G Watts, of Brandon Wood.

IN MEMORIAM.

FOREHEAD.—In memory of Lance-Corpl. T. W. Forehead, who died of wounds in Gallipoli on August 24, 1915.—From his loving WIFE, DAUGHTER, FATHER-IN-LAW, MOTHER-IN-LAW, and FAMILY.

GOODMAN.—In loving memory of Pte. W. G. Goodman, 1st Royal Warwicks, killed in action between Cambrai and St. Quentin, August 27,1914, aged 29 years.
“ Father in Thy tender keeping
Leave we there our dear son sleeping.”
—From FATHER & MOTHER.

THE FATAL ACCIDENT TO TWO AVIATORS.

The adjourned inquest on Lieut George P Rogers and Second-Lieut Cyril de Frece, R.F.C who were killed by the collision of two aeroplanes on August 10th, was held on Wednesday.

Second-Lieut W S F Saundby, who stated that he was a qualified pilot, deposed that he went up in a machine with a mechanic, and engaged in manoeuvres—which he described in technical detail—with another and more powerful machine, which was being flown by Lieut Rogers, a skilled pilot, with Lieut de Frece as his passenger. Both machines were in perfect condition, and were flying well. When at a height of about 2,500ft Lieut Rogers was manoeuvring for close formation over the top, and witness dived down about 500ft. Lieut Rogers also came down, and was apparently endeavouring to pass over him to the front. Witness saw that if he continued at the same speed his machine would have caught the undercarriage of the other. To give Lieut Rogers time to get clear in front he reduced the angle of his descent and slackened speed, but his propellor struck the tail or fusilage of Lieut. Rogers’ machine and cut the whole of it off. It then became unmanageable, and dived to the ground. Meanwhile witness spiralled his machine safely down.

In reply to the Foreman of the Jury, witness said the rule of the Aeronautical Society used to be that machines were not to approach within 100 metres of each other, but it was found necessary to repeal it, and there was now no rule as to distance. They had to use their own discretion when in the air.

A senior officer who witnessed the occurrence said it struck him that the machines were flying too close together to be safe, and he intended to mention it when they came down, but there was no regulation as to distance. A pilot had to judge what was a safe distance from the next machine. He thought the actual proximity of Lieut Saundby’s machine must have been obscured for the moment from Lieut Rogers’s view by the wings of the machine he was flying.

The Foreman expressed the sorrow of the Jury at the loss of such a brave pilot as Lieut Rogers was admitted to be, because at such a time the nation required all the skill they could get. The Jury felt the loss of these brave fellows, who risked their lives in the air for the good of their country.

The Coroner concurred, in these sentiments, and extended sympathy to all concerned.

The Jury returned a verdict of “ Accidental death,” and added that no blame was attached to anyone.

Hodge, Percy Henry. Died 24th Aug 1916

Percy was born in 1890 at Stroud in Gloucestershire, the third of the four children of William Henry Hodge and his wife Annie nee Holmes.   The other children, William, Mabel and Elsie, were all born in Bath as was their mother, and in all three censuses listing the family they are living in Bath, on the eastern outskirts at Twerton, south of the river Avon. William Hodge was a steam engine maker/turner in 1891 and living at 32 Brook Street with his family which also included his wife’s sister Fanny Holmes.   Annie’s birth was registered as Hannah Maria, the name under which she married William in 1880 in the Barton Regis registration district which covered St Georges Bristol where they were living in 1881. In 1901 she is named as Anna, and in 1911, when she signs the census form herself, she is called Annie.

William died at the end of 1900, but his family remained in Twerton, although they had moved to 36 Triangle by 1901, and to 54 Ringwood Place by 1911. At this time Percy is an engineer’s pattern maker in an iron foundry, which would probably have been the reason he moved for a greater opportunity to Rugby to work in the pattern shop of British Thomson Houston (BTH) as recorded in the Rugby Advertiser at his death.

According to Soldiers Died in the Great War, he lived in Bath but enlisted in Rugby in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, No A/2811. When he died he was a Corporal in the 8th Battalion which was sent to Boulogne on 15 May 1915, seeing action at Hooge in July 1915 and the second attack on Bellewaarde in the same year. The Battalion was involved in the action at Delville Wood during the Battle of the Somme in July 1915, Percy was killed in action the following month aged 26, and is commemorated on the memorial at Thiepval as well as on the BTH Memorial in Rugby.

The Rugby Advertiser of 23 September records his death among the local casualties, saying that he enlisted at the start of the war when he lived with his brother at 183 Oxford Street. His Commanding Officer wrote “He was in the front line with his squad of bombers preparatory to an attack on German trenches when a big shell landed on the trench killing him and two or three others.   He was buried where he fell.”   The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists 51 men of the 8th Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps who died on that day and are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial as well as 79 men from other KRR Battalions.

Percy was awarded the British and Victory medals as well as the 1915 Star, having been drafted to France in May 1915. His effects (£9.16s) and a War Gratuity of £10 were awarded to his mother Annie.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM