5th Aug 1916. Rugby Volunteer Training Corps, Swearing-in Ceremony

RUGBY VOLUNTEER TRAINING CORPS.

SWEARING-IN CEREMONY.

An interesting ceremony was performed by Mr J J McKinnell, chairman of the Urban District Council, at the Benn Buildings, on Saturday afternoon, when eighty-seven members of the Rugby Company of the 2nd Battalion Warwickshire Volunteer Regiment were sworn in as soldiers under the new regulations. The proceedings took place in the Assembly Room, and the Chairman was supported on the platform by Lieut-Col Johnstone, Major Glover, Messrs W Flint, T A Wise, S B Robbins, R W Barnsdale, T M Wratislaw, H N Sporborg, T Hunter, and F M Davenport. The company, under the command of Mr C H Fuller (Commandant) and Mr L G Haigh, fell in at the Drill Hall, Park Road, and marched to the Benn Buildings.

The Chairman said, in the first place, he wanted on behalf of the Council and of the town, to give them a very hearty welcome. He thought they would all agree that it was most appropriate that that most important ceremony, which was the administering of the oath to a civic force, should take place in the building which was the centre of the management of the town. He had received apologies for absence from Lieut-Col Hood, Col Lewis, Hon E Parker, Brigadier-General Little, Mr A James, and Mr W L Larke. He would now ask them a short question, to which he wished them to answer “ Yes.” It was : “ Do you fully understand all the questions put to you on the official form of enrolment ? ” The men answered “ Yes ” ; whereupon Mr McKinnell requested them to take their hats off and to answer a longer question, which was in effect the declaration : “ Do you solemnly declare that the answers made by you to the questions set out on page 1 of the form of enrolment are true, and that you are willing, to be enrolled as members of the Volunteer Force of the Warwickshire Volunteer Regiment under the conditions laid down by the Army Council under the regulations for the Volunteer Force framed by them in accordance with the Statute Law relating to that Force ?” An affirmative answer was made, whereupon the Chairman administered the oath as under :-

“ I (–—) do sincerely promise and swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to his Majesty King George V, and that I will faithfully serve his Majesty in Great Britain for the defence of the same against all his enemies and opposers whatsoever, according to the conditions of my service.”

This ceremony over, the Chairman said they were now soldiers, and he was proud to be the first one to congratulate them on behalf of their fellow-citizens. They had joined a very gallant and very noble army. The Volunteers had been unrecognised for months and months past, and at last the Government had thought well to take some notice of them, and to allow that, after all, they might possibly be of some use. Personally, he thought that a great mistake was made right at the very beginning in the nervousness and apprehensiveness of the War Office, who feared that if this Force was made too much of recruiting would suffer. He believed that the contrary would have been the effect. They honoured the Volunteers for plugging away (applause). Despite a great deal of very cheap wit on the subject of their age, despite the Government lukewarmness, and despite thousand and one more hindrances, they had gone steadily on making themselves efficient. He had heard what they had been doing, and he believed they put in a great deal of hard work, and he was sure there was not one among them who was not very glad he had done that hard work.

This question of the Volunteer movement was a very deep and vital one, because the men could, when they were fairly well trained, if the need arose, as it might possibly now arise, take the places of members of the Regular Forces, who would then be able to go and fight in France, Flanders, and elsewhere. In all probability things would get very critical before they had won the War. They were going to win, but it might be a bit of a squeeze, and heaven knew what was going to happen to anyone of them during the next twelve months.

Addressing those who had been ordered by the Tribunal, as a condition of exemption, to join that body, the Chairman said they must not think they were different from any other member of that Force. They were honoured just as much as the others. Those on the Tribunal knew, but others did not, all the reasons which stopped them from joining in the past ; and therefore, he did want to impress upon them that there was no distinction between them and other members of the Force (applause). This Force could do a most extraordinary good work in training those men who might have to be sent for soldiers, and who would then be three-parts trained when they went up. The oath they had taken only bound them to fight the enemy in the case of invasion of this country ; and this recognition by the Government ought to put a new life into their ranks. That swearing-in ceremony ought to be the starting point of fresh vigour both in men and efficiency. There ought to be a lot more men in their ranks, not only men of over military age, but the young men of 17 and 18 years who were employed in the town, and he earnestly hoped they would have a large influx of recruits in the near future.

Now they were enrolled as soldiers they must have some sort of uniform, arms, and equipment, and he understood they had certain sums in hand. However he would appeal to the public to support their funds with rather more liberality than they had done in the past. He was told they wanted £600. He hoped they would get it ; he thought they would, because they certainly ought to. They were extremely lucky to have such extraordinarily zealous and efficient officers, who worked very hard and also knew their job, and there was no man whom he would rather see as Commandant than Mr C H Fuller.

Major Glover said he hoped the enthusiasm that had been shown that day would not be allowed to evaporate ; but that they would induce others to follow their example. He thought that in a town of the size of Rugby there should be a large number of eligible men who could come forward. He was now Acting Commandant and Regimental and Battalion Adjutant ; and with regard to the first position, he was acting as a warming-pan for Col Johnstone, who, he knew, had received an invitation from the proper authorities to accept that post. He hoped Col Johnstone would accept that post, and then he (the speaker) would step back into the position that he could fill with greater credit to himself-that of Adjutant to the Battalion. In conclusion, he urged them to form a detachment of 250 in the town, so that they could have a company of their own. Hitherto they had been connected with Southam and Harbury, but it was now proposed to get these detachments affiliated to another corps.

Mr C H Fuller, on behalf of the Company, expressed thanks to the Chairman for the part he had played in that day’s ceremony, and to the other gentlemen who had attended. Their requirements could be expressed in two words, “ men ” and “ money.” He understood that men disqualified from service in the Army, who had to remain at home, had great difficulties to contend with, but they must have a certain amount of spare time, and he felt that in the crisis they were now in it was their duty to spend part of that spare time by joining their Corps. They must remember the men at the Front-that vast number that had given up money and everything. They must remember, also, that vast number who would never return, and that probably those present would live to see the final victory and to enjoy the triumphal peace. They had been given clearly to understand that they must not look upon the question of invasion as impossible even now ; and, therefore, it seemed to him that it behoved every man to do what he could to prepare himself for that event. It would very much strengthen their position ; and he hoped it could come about, if they could form a company of their own. He would ask each of them within the next fortnight to get one man who for some reason was unable to join the Regular Forces to join their Corps. There object would then be attained as regarded numbers ; and with regard to funds, he thought they could rely on the public to assist them if they showed they were willing to assist themselves, but could not do so to the full extent required. Eighty-seven men had taken the oath that day, and forms had been completed for 155 men to enrol who for various reasons were unable to be present. There had been a lamentable amount of apathy in that neighbourhood with regard to the Corps, more than in other places. Those eligible people who said the Force was not wanted were seeking an excuse for not joining, and he begged of everyone who was able to do his bit in this position-and it was a serious position they found themselves in—to do his best and join them and prepare to be ready. If they did that no man who was disqualified for active service would have anything to regret at the end of the War. To those who were preparing themselves he would commend as a motto the well-known lines :—

“ He also serves who only stands and waits.

Lieut-Col Johnstone then addressed the detachment, and said it was a great regret to him that, shortly after raising the second Battalion, he had to give up the command because of the other duties which were placed upon him. He had now been asked to take over the command of it again. After considering the matter, he really found that his duties were so heavy at the present time that, although he took the greatest interest in them, he felt he could not do justice to them. But he was going to his best. He accepted it (applause), and he would be glad to be with them again. all he asked was that they would put their backs into it, because if he found any slackers he would not want them. He wanted men who were going to try to do their work and to become soldiers in earnest. They did not know when they would be required. They might be required at any moment, and they must fit themselves for that moment. He thanked them for the kind manner in which they had received his return to the Company (loud applause).

The Chairman : Col Johnstone must be gratified by the way his return has been received.

Cheers for the King concluded the proceedings.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Second-Lieut B B Salmon, Manchester Regiment, killed, was in the football XV at Rugby School.

The numerous friends of Pte W T Satchell (Kilsby) of the Royal Warwicks, will be sorry to hear that he is lying seriously ill in the Canadian Hospital, near Maidenhead. There are every prospects of a final recovery, but it will be a long time before he regains health and strength completely.

SECOND-LIEUT F HUNTER HAS NARROW ESCAPES.

The name of Second-Lieut F Hunter, of the Gordon Highlanders, son of Mr T Hunter, J.P, Elmhurst, Hillmorton Road, appeared in the list of officers suffering from shell shock. The losses of the Battalion were heavy, and Second-Lieut Hunter had a remarkably narrow escape. A shell dropped at his feet and burst outwards, killing the men on either side of him and blowing him for some yards, but happily he was not touched by any of the fragments. He lost the use of his legs through shell shock, and was brought to London, and afterwards sent home to Rugby. Two days before this Second-Lieut Hunter had another narrow escape. He was standing talking to another officer, when they were espied by a German sniper, who shot the officer dead. Mr Hunter stooped to pick his friend up, and a bullet, evidently intended for him, passed through his pack, smashing his hair brush, &c.

LOCAL CASUALTIES.

The following young mm connected with the Rugby Baptist Church have been wounded in the great offensive : Will Spaggett (Manchester), Frank Burberry (Netley), Percy Harris (Rawtenstall), Bob Mayes (Leeds), and Corpl Horly (Birmingham).

Pte George Clarke, E Co, R.W.R, has written to his parents, who live at 98 Avenue Road, New Bilton, informing them that he is now in hospital suffering from a bullet wound in the left thigh. He adds that the bullet has not yet been extracted, but that he is going on well.

Mrs Rixom, 108 Claremont Road, has received intimation in letters from the War Office and Major C P Nickalls that her son. Bombardier F W Rixom, Rugby Howitzer Battery, was wounded at the back of the head, with shrapnel on July 29th. He is now in St George’s Hospital, Stockport, and is progressing favourably. This is the second time Bombardier Rixom has been wounded.

Rifleman H G King, of 16 Pinfold Street, New Bilton, who was wounded by shrapnel in the foot on June 26th, as reported in this paper three weeks ago, and was in hospital in France, has had his leg amputated below the knee, the bones being smashed and also poisoned. He is now in hospital at Liverpool, where he has been visited by his friends, who found him going on very well indeed.

TWO B.T.H MEN KILLED.

News was received at the B.T.H this week that Pte Arthur Hipwell, Leicestershire Regiment, son of Mr Arthur Hipwell, of Catthorpe, and Corpl Richards, of the R.W.R, have been killed during the recent fighting. Before the War Pte Hipwell was employed in the Turbine Department, and Corpl Richards was a draughtsman in the Drawing Office for several years.

CAPT C E ANDERSON.

Captain Charles Edward Anderson, the Gordon Highlanders, who was killed in action on July 21st, was the second son of the late William Henry Anderson and Mrs Anderson, of Rokeby House, rugby. He was born in December, 1890, and entered the Gordon Highlanders from Sandhurst in October, 1910, getting his first step in promotion in June, 1912, and his captaincy in April, 1915. He was wounded at the first battle of Ypres in October, 1914, and again slightly on July 14th last, but remained on duty, and was killed by a shell on the early morning of July 21st. Captain Anderson was a keen follower to hounds, and when on leave hunted with the Atherstone and North Warwickshire Hounds.
[Captain Anderson is listed on the Rugby Memorial Gates. His biography will be published at a later date]

SERGT J GILBERT, of BILTON.

Another respected member of the Warwickshire Territorials, Sergt John Gilbert, eldest son of Mr T Gilbert, of Bilton, died from wounds in a Brighton hospital on Tuesday. Sergt Gilbert, who was 32 years of age, was wounded while engaged with a Trench mortar battery on or about July 20th ; and in order, probably, to avoid causing alarm to his wife, who only a fortnight ago gave birth to a child, he wrote home minimising his injuries. On July 26th he was brought to England, and sent to a hospital at Brighton. Unfortunately blood poisoning set in, and developed so rapidly that Sergt Gilbert died before his relatives, who had been summoned by telegraph, could reach the hospital. Before the War he was employed by Messrs Hands, china dealers, Sheep Street. He was a member of the Bilton Working Men’s Club and the Bilton Brass Band. He leaves a wife and four children, to whom, and also his parents, much sympathy is extended in their sad loss.

The interment took place at the Parish Church, Bilton, on Thursday afternoon, the remains having been brought from Brighton on the preceding day. A large number of parishioners assembled at the church to show respect to the deceased and his family ; and although it was not possible to arrange for a military funeral, the wounded soldiers at Bilton Hall Red Cross Hospital supplied, as far as they could, the honours due to a departed comrade. A detachment of about 35 preceded the cortege from deceased’s former home at Bilton Hill. They lined the path to the church, and additional pathos was imparted to the scene when each one saluted, as well as wounds would permit, the coffin, covered with a Union Jack and the cap, tunic, and belt of the deceased, as it passed by. The Burial Service was read by the Rector, the Rev W O Assheton, R.D. Among those who assembled in the church and at the grave-side were : Mr T A Wise, J.P, Mrs West (Bawnmore, Mrs W Barnett, Mrs Assheton, Mrs F E Hands and Mr J Lee (Rugby), Miss Wilson (Bournemouth), Messrs G Wilson and W Wilson, Mr and Mrs F Betts and Mrs Elsom, Mrs Yates, Mr and Mrs H Freeman. Mrs E Smith, Mr and Mrs Manning, Messrs H J Hughes (representing the Working Men’s Club), G Evans, J Cripps, sen, G Birch, J Burton, and others. A number of beautiful floral tributes were sent by relatives and friends, including the members of the Working Men’s Club ; Mr Bedford’ ; Brass Band, of which deceased was formerly a member ; the Bilton Brass Band ; and the wounded soldiers who had collected flowers and made up a handsome cross, upon which they placed the inscription, “ From Wounded Comrades at Bilton Hall.”

DEATH.

HAYES.—On July 19th (killed in action). Signaller Frank Hinde Hayes, aged 19 years, youngest son of Mrs. Hayes, 86 York Street, Rugby.
“ The Lord gave, the Lord hath taken away ;
Even so His servants are tried.
Blessed be the Name of the Lord.”

BOUCHER.—On the 25th July, in hospital, of wounds received in action on 14th July, Captain Alan Estaeurt Boacher, Leicestershire Regiment, dearly loved younger surviving son of the Rev. Canon and Mrs. Boucher, of Frolesworth Rectory, Lutterworth, aged 21.

DICKEN.—July 20th, died of wounds in France, Lance-Corporal Signaller Sidney Harold Dicken, youngest dearly loved son of St. and Mrs. W. Dicken, Claremont Road, Rugby. Aged 22 years. Deeply mourned.

GILBERT.—Died from wounds received in France, Sergt. John T. Gilbert, the beloved Husband of Edie Gilbert, and eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. T. Gilbert, Bilton. Aged 32 years.

HIPWELL.—On July 23, 1916, Pte. John Henry Hipwell, No. 10,816, 6th Leicester Regt. (died of wounds), eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Hipwell, of Lilbourne, aged 23 years.
“ He gravely answered duty’s call,
His-life he gave for one and all.
But the unknown grave is the bitterest blow :
None but aching hearts can know.”
— From his loving father, mother, sister, & brother.

SMITH.—Killed in action on July 22nd, 1916, Eric-Arthur Rae Smith, Second Lieutenant, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, aged twenty-seven years. Youngest son of Arthur E. Smith, Pencarrow, Enfield, Middlesex, and late of Clifton-on-Dunsmore.

WHITE.—On the 19th or 20th July, killed in action, Sergt. W. H. White, 2nd 7th Batt. Royal Warwickshire Regiment, aged 19. Dearly beloved son of Mr. and Mrs. George White, of Dunchurch.

WHITE.—Killed in action in France, July 3, 1916, William Samuel, second son of Thomas and Many Sophie White, of 46 Manor Road, Rugby and grandson of the late Thomas Clarke, of Glencoonera, Irviaestown, Co. Fermanagh, Ireland, who was for 31 years, a well-known member of the Royal Irish Constabulary.
“ No useless coffin endowed his breast,
Nor in sheet nor in shroud they wound him ;
But he lies like a warrior taking his rest,
With no martial cloak around him.”

IN MEMORIAM.

ARIS.—In loving remembrance of Lance-Corpl Mark Aris, killed in action August 6, 1915.
“ Some day we hope to meet him ;
We know not when.
We shall clasp his hands in the Betterland,
Never to part again.”
—Ever in thoughts of his loving SISTERS & BROTHERS, (SID in France).

HOLLIS(Frankton).—In loving Memory of our dear son and brother “ Bert,” who was killed in action at the Battle of Chunuk Bair, August 10, 1915—Sadly missed.
“ For still for him high service waits,
Tho’ earth’s last fight is fought;
God did not give that martial soul
To end at last in nought
That stedfast soldier-heart was not
For this brief life alone;
‘Tis as a soldier he will stand
Before the Great White Throne.”

WOODWARD.—In loving memory of Lance-Corpl. A. Woodward, 7th S. Stafford Regiment, killed in action at Chocolate Hill, Gallipoli, August 7th, 1915.
“ He bravely answered duty’s call,
His life he gave for one and all,
But the unknown grave it the bitterest blow ;
None but aching hearts can know.”
-From his loving wife ; also father and mother.

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