30th Sep 1916. Further News from Switzerland


Our readers will recall a letter we printed about a month ago from Bandsman C Rowe, of the Welsh Fusiliers, who was a prisoner of War in Germany, and who was fortunate enough to be sent to Switzerland. Mr J R Barker, the hon secretary of the Rugby Prisoner of War Help Committee has this week received another interesting letter from Bandsman Rowe (who is at Leysin, Switzerland), dated September 14. He says :-

“ Last night I received your most welcome letter, and was so pleased to hear you received mine all right.

“ As regards giving you any news to interest your subscribers, about the best news-or I should say the worst—is that if the parcels stop, there is not much chance of our men leaving Germany alive. I was asked in each camp by my comrades not to forget to send a letter to each Fund which sends parcels and thank them on behalf of our lads in Germany. If the people could only witness our poor mens’ faces when they don’t appear on the packet roll which is posted up on the arrival of the mail, I’m positive that your fund would be soon swelled. Many of the men have been through those terrible times in 1914 and early 1915, and I can assure you, sir, that they are a brave lot ; they will face any hardships, but they won’t on any account work on anything connected with ammunition.

“ The men who suffer most are those down salt and coal mines. When they are sick they are placed in a room with no attention given them, and some horrible tales will be told after the war by those men. The parcels you send are just what our men require, but if you hear of a man on Commando, or Working Party, then it would be advisable to send something in place of bread, especially in the months of May until August. You will notice I am going well into next year, but it is best to he prepared. I have had a few letters asking me about the possibilities of the Germans looting our mens’ food. Well, sir, I am sure there is not much chance for that to happen, as the people are so much afraid of the Government. They were begging for bread when I left, so you can see they have put their pride in their pockets.

“ I must conclude now, sir, wishing your fund success, which it really deserves.—With best regards, I am yours sincerely, C ROWE.”


In our last issue we mentioned that the expenses in connection with the War Prisoners’ Flag Day included the cost of 3,500 flags. It should have been 35,000.

The remains of Lieut Rogers, of the Royal Flying Corps, who was killed as the result of a collision between aeroplanes near Rugby in August, were sent to Canada, and the interment took place, with full military honours, at Barrie, Ontario, on September 4th.

Pte J H Fazakerley, Signal Section attached to the R.W.R, who before joining up was a member of the teaching staff of the Murray School, in a letter to Mr W T Coles Hodges says : “ In our last little do—‘ Some Battle ‘ we call it—I had hardly any sleep for several nights, and in the later stages I had to exert will power such as I have never exerted before in my life to make myself run quickly under the fire of shells, machine guns, and rifles from shell hole to shell hole, my limbs being so weary ; and when we were relieved and we had retired behind the firing line—well, you bet we did that with the shells flying about—on a further march, I was not the only one who dropped from the line, an slept the sleep of the just for six solid hours in the sludge.” Pte Fazakerley adds that he received a copy of the School Magazine, “ The Murrayian,” and he had shown this to several friends, who were very pleased with its novelty and contents.


Mrs Cousins, 1 Windmill Lane, has received information that her husband, Corpl F Cousins, of the Machine Gun Corps, was wounded in the big advance on September 15th. His steel helmet no doubt saved his life. The shell, which fell at his feet, made a large hole in the ground, and killed two men of his gun team who stood a few yards away. He is going on satisfactorily in hospital at Shrewsbury.

Colonel and Mrs Wyley, of Coventry, received the sad news on Friday morning that their only son, Lieutenant Wyley, Adjutant R.F.A, had fallen in action. On Tuesday last, September 19th, he was struck by a shell. He was buried in the cemetery at Avebury, near Albert. He was educated at Dunchurch Hall and Balliol College, Oxford, where he steered the college boat in 1911 and 1912, and was a member of the college football XV. His father was also an Old Rugbeian, and has been for the best part of his life associated with the Volunteer and Territorial organisation of the County. He was a very popular officer, and the greatest sympathy is felt for him and Mrs Wyley in their loss.


Mrs Smith of Lower Hillmorton has received information that her son, Pte Reg Bartlett was killed in action on September 17th. Pte Bartlett was an old Elborow boy, and was working at the B.T.H at the time of enlistment in August, 1914. He had previously been wounded four times. His mother has four sons and one son-in-law serving in the army, and one son-in-law has been discharged.


Mrs Anderson, 76 Campbell Street, New Bilton, has received news that Pte John Hirons, of the R.W.R, died of shot wounds on his 21st birthday on September 13th. About a fortnight ago Mrs Anderson received a letter from the Chaplain stating that Pte Hirons was badly wounded, and the card announcing his death said he was quite cheerful up to the last. Pte Hirons, who was a native of New Bilton, and was educated at the Council School, was at the outbreak of the war employed as a road man by the Rugby Urban District Council. He had been at the front some time, and was wounded in May last.


At the end of this week we shall revert to Greenwich time. It will be necessary to put all our clocks and watches back one hour on the night of Saturday-Sunday, just as we put them forward one hour on the night of May 20-21. We have now had a summer’s experience of daylight saving, and although the Act is only a war time measure, the universal opinion is that it has been a great success, that the evils foretold by some regarding its adoption have not come about, and that the advantages, particularly to the workers, have been such that a reversion to the old state of things would be well-nigh impossible.


GREEN.—On the 3rd September, Pte. Albert Green, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, son of Mr. C. Green, of Lilbourne, killed in action in France.
“ 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.”

GRIFFITH.—On the 18th September, at New Zealand Hospital, Amiens, France, Rifleman L. GRIFFITH died of wounds. Aged 19.
“ Could we have raised his dying head,
Or heard his last farewell ;
The grief would not have been so hard,
For us who loved him well.
“ A light is from the household gone.
The voice we loved is still’d.
A vacant place is in our home,
Which never can be filled.”
—From his loving Brothers and Sisters, 74 South St.

LISSAMER.—Pte. WILLIAM ARTHUR LISSAMER, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, youngest son of Thomas and Emily Lissamer, who was killed in action on the 15th September by shell fire.
“ He sleeps not in his native land,
But ’neath some foreign skies ;
And far from those he loved the best.
In a hero’s grave he lies.”
“ Death divides, but memory lingers.”
—From his loving FATHER and MOTHER.

OLDS.—In memory of Pte. G Olds, of Gaydon ; killed in action, August 30, 1916.
“ He gave his life for others.”

SMITH.—Killed in action in France, September 17th, 1916, REG., beloved son of the late W. H. Bartlett and Mrs. Smith, Hillmorton.—Deeply mourned by his loving MOTHER, DAD, BROTHERS, SISTERS, & TRIXIE.


BARBER.—In loving memory of dear FRED, who was killed in action at Ypres on September 25th, 1915
—From his Mother, Sisters, and Brothers

FRANKTON.—In loving memory of our dear brother, Pte. FRED FRANKTON, who was killed in action on September 25, 1915.
“ He sleeps not in his native land,
But ‘neath some foreign skies ;
And far from those that loved him best,
In a hero’s grave he lies.”

GREEN.—In ever loving memory of Private EDWARD (BERT) GREEN, who was killed in the battle of Loos, September 25th-27th, 1915.
—From his loving Wife.

HINKS.—In loving memory of my dear son, Pte. J. HINKS, 10546, Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry, who was killed in the Battle of Loos, September 25,1915 ; aged 24.
“ He sleeps not in his native land,
But ‘neath some foreign skies ;
And far from those that loved him best,
In a hero’s grave he lies.”

POWELL.—In ever-loving memory of our dear boy, Corpl HORACE POWELL, aged 20, who was killed at Loos, September 25, 1915.
“ Lost to sight, but to memory ever dear.”
— From all who loved him.

SNUTCH.—In loving memory of Rifleman H. SNUTCH, who was killed in action at Loos on September 25, 1915.—“ He gave himself for a wounded comrade.”

STONE.—In memory of my dear husband, SIDNEY GEORGE STONE, who died of wounds received in action, September 28, 1915.—Not forgotten by his loving WIFE.

23rd Sep 1916. Fatal Accident to a Soldier


As Gunner Edward Brady, R.F.A., was cycling down Spoilbank Hill in the direction of Clifton he collided with Mr Billing, of Caldecott Street, and Miss Hall, of Clifton, who were walking in the same direction. The cyclist was thrown on his head, and sustained a badly fractured skull and other injuries. The pedestrians were also considerably shaken. Assistance was procured, and Gunner Brady was conveyed to the Hospital of St Cross, where he died on Saturday morning. His home is at Edinburgh.

The inquest was held at the Police Court, Rugby, on Tuesday afternoon, Mr E F Hadow was the coroner, and Mr B Patchett was chosen foreman of the jury.

Dr Clement Dukes stated that deceased was admitted to the Hospital of St Cross between 10.30 and 11 on Friday evening last week. He was accompanied by another doctor, who telephoned to witness, stating that he had done all he could for the man, and there was no necessity for him to come to the hospital that evening. Witness saw Brady the following morning, and found he was suffering from concussion of the brain only, but he could not ascertain any fracture. Witness was called to deceased at about a quarter to twelve, and when he arrived found that life was extinct. He was satisfied that the cause of heath was haemorrhage, which might have come on suddenly, making the body rigid, and in that rigidity he died. Such a thing was quite common in the case of concussion of the brain. Deceased was unconscious at the time he came under his care.

Elizabeth Cook, married woman, living at Denstone, Glasgow, identified the body as that of her brother, and he was 25 years of age. He resided in Glasgow until the outbreak of war, when he joined the R.F.A as a reservist, he having previously served three years with the colours. He came to Rugby from Scotland five weeks ago, and when he left the North he could not ride a bicycle.

Elizabeth Mary Sutton, wife of A Sutton, of 23 Charlotte Street, Rugby, said deceased was billeted with them from August 22nd until quite recently. He was a quiet, steady man and a total abstainer. On the 10th of September he left them to go into billets at Clifton, and on the 15th inst she met him in the Market Place, Rugby, and told him to go round to her house to have an injury on the hand bandaged. When she arrived home at eight o’clock he was still there with two other soldiers of the same section. He left about 9.30 with his bicycle. He had not learned to ride long, but he occasionally used a bicycle when he was living with her. When he left the house on the night in question his bicycle was in good condition, so far as she knew, and the lamps were lit. She told him to be careful, and he said he would be all right ; he had every confidence in himself.

Ernest Walter Billing, clerk, of 19 Caldecott Street, Rugby, said on Friday evening he and a young lady were walking in the direction of Clifton. He was pushing a bicycle, and they were walking on the extreme left-hand side of the road. Both his lamps were lit. When they were half-way down the hill near the railway bridge he heard a cry from behind, and almost immediately afterwards something collided with him and knocked him down. It subsequently transpired that it was the deceased man and his bicycle. Witness had not seen him coming, or heard anything of him until the shout. There was not time for him to turn round after he heard deceased. It was simply a “ yell and a smash.” Witness was stunned, and when he came round he found deceased lying on his back in the road, his head pointing towards Clifton, and the bicycle was lying near him. The young lady pulled the bicycle off witness. Deceased was unconscious, and witness and his companion did what they could to restore him. He was bleeding profusely from a wound on his face, and his head was covered with blood. Shortly afterwards a soldier came along, and they carried deceased to the side of the road, and witness sent the soldier for assistance on his bicycle. A motor lorry came along shortly afterwards, and deceased was placed in this and conveyed to the hospital. Witness received an injury to the bottom of the back where he was struck by deceased’s bicycle.

Dora Hall, who was present with the last witness, said she was knocked down on to the grass by the force of the impact, and her head struck the road. She could not tell whether she was knocked down by a bicycle or by one of the men. She was the first to recover, and found both the men unconscious, and the bicycle was lying on her companion. His lamps went out immediately the collision took place. Mr Billing subsequently recovered consciousness, and they then did what they could for Pte Brady.

The Coroner described the occurrence as one of those regrettable accidents which might occur at any time. There seemed to be a suggestion that this unfortunate man was not so expert in riding a bicycle as he might have been.

The jury returned a verdict of “ Accidental death,” and added that they thought the front brake of the bicycle was not sufficiently strong for such a steep hill. They expressed their sympathy with the relatives of the deceased, and the Coroner concurred in this.


A war-marriage of local interest took place on the 14th Inst, at the Wesleyan Church, Ulverston, between Armament-Staff-Sergt Stribling and Hilda, youngest daughter of Mr and Mrs John Ferry, of “ Southgate,” Elsee Road, Rugby. The ceremony was performed by the brother of the bride, the Rev John Wilson Ferry, of Measham. The bride’s simple robe of ivory eolienne was enhanced by a veil of fine point lace. She was given away by her father, and attended by a number of V.A nurses in uniform from Fairview Auxiliary Hospital, of which she is sister-in-charge. All the wounded men in the hospital sufficiently convalescent were present at the ceremony, and formed a guard of honour as the bride and bridegroom left the church. The marriage was by license owing to the bridegroom’s immediate return to the front.


Mr R H Myers, headmaster of St Matthew’s School, has received the following interesting letter from an “ old boy ” who is an N.C.O in the Warwickshire Yeomanry, now on active service in Egypt :-

“ I thought perhaps you might like an account of our recent doings out here during the attack on the Canal by a mixed force of Turks and Germans. They were supported by artillery, but did not manage to being their larger pieces nearer than Katia. I should think the size of the guns captured in front of Romani was equal to our 3-inch, but in subsequent fights they threw 6-inch shells at us.

“ On August 4th we took part in repelling the Turks’ attack on the rail-head, and in the afternoon we led the flank counter-attack. The enemy attempted to bring up reinforcements, but our machine guns got on them, and mowed lines down as they came over the sand ridges. It was during this fight that Lieut Loverock was killed. He was leading his troop round the enemy’s position when a sniper got him through the head. I helped to place him on a horse. He is buried at a place called Pelusium.

“ The next day we attacked Katia. The enemy were entrenched and supported by guns of large calibre throwing high explosive shells. We had no artillery, and were, therefore, compelled to retire ; but the next day a move was made in conjunction with infantry. When we arrived we were surprised and pleased to find Katia evacuated. We were able to chase this enemy as far as Oghratina, returning to Katia, where we rested the next day. I say rested, but there were guards and patrols to do, though no actual fighting. One would like to write an account of the precautions taken, but this is not permissible at present.

“ The next day we made a move to Oghratina, with the object of ascertaining where the enemy had placed their guns. For about five hours we were shelled vigorously, but fortunately not much damage was done, our casualties being chiefly amongst the horses. After occupying Oghratina we moved up to Bir-el-Abd, where the enemy had constructed earthworks and trenches with a view to holding the place. Our artillery served us excellently here, searching the ground systematically for a good distance. The enemy had evidently moved off in a great hurry, as they left quite a lot of stores, &c. There were many of them dead and wounded in front of the position. We searched the battlefield afterwards, and found many groups of dead sitting as if asleep behind bushes or in gun-pits. They were not all Turks, of course ; here and there we came across some of our own men stretched out as if trying to reach the positions, when the end came. We have seen some terrible sights, but one tries to forget the horrible side, and think only of the cause for which we are fighting.

“ We stayed a few days at D-, but as the water was infected with cholera germs we moved elsewhere.

“ The plague of flies is fearful, and has to be seen to make one believe that there could be so many in one place at one time.

“ At Katia there is an ancient well and cypress tree, said to have been where Joseph watered and sheltered on his way in Egypt. The water tasted like milk to us, but we were not allowed to drink it on our return.”


Lieut J J McKinnell, of the Royal Warwicks, son of the Chairman of Rugby Urban District Council, has been wounded in the leg, and is now in a hospital at Oxford.

The following Rugby men have been wounded :—Sergt E R Bulter, Pte E Ingram, R.W.R, Sapper F Armstrong, R.E, and Pte E Hempstock, Rifle Brigade, Pte W Quartermain and Pte A A Fox, R.W.R. ; Pte J W Dunn, South Staffords ; Lance-Corpls A W Bottrill and H L P Tomlin, Northants Regt ; Lance-Corpl J W Oliver, R.W.R., Hillmorton.

The following Rugby names have appeared in recent casualty lists :—Killed : Pte H Lines, R.W.R, Pte F J Nichols, King’s Own Lancashire Regiment, and Driver P G Major, R.F.A. Missing : Pte G Lock, Norfolk Regiment ; Pte C H Bland and Pte F H Boyes, Royal Berkshire Regiment.

Gunner A J White, of the Rugby Howitzer Battery, son of Mr and Mrs W White, 22 Grosvenor Road, has been severely wounded in the side with shrapnel, and is now in hospital at Manchester. Previous to the War he was a fireman on the L & N-W Railway.



Corpl Poxon, of the Royal Engineers, has been awarded the Military Medal. This has caused great satisfaction not only to his relatives but to the whole of the inhabitants. He is the second son of Mr J and Mrs Poxon, of the Rose and Crown Hotel. He joined the Royal Engineers on the 1st of September, 1914, and is now with a signal section in France, where he has been for upwards of 16 months. He has been in a number of engagements, but with the exception of slight ill-effects to his eyes from a gas attack, has come through unscathed. Like his father, Mr John Poxon, he is well known and respected in the district, and is very popular with his comrades in his Company. He is 23 years of age, strongly built, and very unassuming. Even in writing home to his father he seemed to mention his award as a secondary consideration, for he did not refer to it until towards the end of the letter, and then did not state for what conspicuous act he received it. As a boy, Corpl Poxon was a pupil at Ryton-on-Dunsmore School, where his father then resided. He afterwards attended Bablake School, Coventry. The staff and scholars of both schools will be proud of his success.

WOUNDED.—Private W Drinkwator, Royal Warwicks, son of Mr Joseph Drinkwater, was wounded some short time ago. He received a shrapnel wound in the foot, and was sent to Cardiff Hospital, where he is now progressing favourably.


The higher commands in the new Volunteer Force have already been gazetted, including that of Col D F Lewis, C.B, as county commandant of the Warwickshire Regiment ; and on Sunday last Colonel Lewis attended to inspect the Rugby Volunteer Corps in Caldecott’s Piece, when 100 men were on parade, under the command of Mr C H Fuller. Col F F Johnstone (in command of the 2nd Battalion) and Major F Glover (acting adjutant) were also present.

The Corps was drawn up in line, and after presenting arms, Col Lewis passed down the ranks. The Corps then marched past in column of route, an afterwards in column of platoons, Col Lewis taking the salute. Some Corps movements under Mr Fuller, and afterwards under Mr Haigh (second in command), were then gone through. The platoons and the recruits were also exercised in platoon drill under their Commanders ; and Col Lewis, in addressing the recruits, congratulated them on the progress they were making, and said that he felt sure that they would appreciate the benefit of their training.

Addressing the rest of the Corps, Col Lewis said that he noted a very marked improvement since he last met them in October. Important duties had now been assigned to the Corps in lines of communication, and he was responsible himself for finding the necessary men for this duty. He urged each man to be a recruiting sergeant and increase the numbers. The unexpected was constantly happening, and they must not allow themselves to be taken by surprise. It was silly to say there was no chance of their country being placed in danger ; they must, above all things, be prepared, and he hoped that every man who was able to join the Corps would realise this fact, and become a Volunteer without delay. It would be seen later on how important this matter was in the interests of the country.
Army Service Corps.

An Officer will attend at RUGBY DRILL HALL on MONDAYS between 11.30 and 1 o’clock and 2 to 4.30 in each week until further notice for the purpose of examining men for M.T., A.S.C.
Applicants must be experienced Motor Drivers, Fitters, or Turners.

F. F. JOHNSTONE, Lt.-Colonel, Recruiting Officer, Drill Hall, Rugby:
16th Sept., 1916.

WOUNDED SOLDIERS AT THE EMPIRE.—About 100 wounded soldiers from the “ Te Hira,” Pailton, and Bilton Red Cross Hospitals visited the picture matinee at the Empire on Monday afternoon. This matinee is always free to wounded soldiers from the hospitals.


SHONE.—In loving memory of our dear brother Tom, who was killed in action, September 25th, 1915.
“ He sleeps, not in his native land.
But ’neath some foreign skies,
And far from those that loved him best ;
In a hero’s grave he lies.”
—From FLO and HORACE.

SHONE.—In loving memory of Rifleman Tom Shone, 12th Rifle Brigade, who was killed in action at Loos, September 25th, 1915.
“ We often sit and think of him,
And tenderly breathe his name.
Nothing left for us to look at
But his photo in the frame.
Some day our eyes shall see
That dear face still kept in memory.”

STENT.—In loving memory of Percy Victor Stent, who was killed in action September 25th, 1915.
“ Death divides, but memory lingers.”
-From Mr. and Mrs. HARBAN and Family.

STENT.—In loving memory of Corpl. P. V. Stent, killed 25th September, 1915. Sadly missed.
“ One of the first to answer the call,
For the land he loved he gave his all ;
Somewhere in France, in a nameless grave,
Lies my dear son among the brave.”

Turner, Arthur James. Died 19th Sep 1916

Arthur James Turner was born in 1874 and baptised in Ditchingham in Norfolk on 27th September 1874. His parents were James and Hannah (nee Dodman) who had married in 1868. Hannah died and was buried in Hedenham, Norfolk on 22nd October 1880. She was aged 34 and left a husband and five children. Arthur James was aged only six.

Times must have been hard for the family. James was an agricultural labourer and in 1883 was summoned to the Petty Sessions in Loddon by the School Attendance Officer, for neglecting to send two children to school. He was fined 2s 6d in each case. Perhaps they were need to work in the fields.

We have been unable to find the family in the 1891 census. Arthur James would have been sixteen by this time. Around March 1894 he joined the army. He sent time in India with the Royal Field Artillery and was drafted to England to train recruits during the Boer War. In 1902 he married Lizzie Gertrude Stanley. Their first child, Cyril Arthur Stanley Turner was born in Ireland in 1903 and Leslie Alan followed in 1905 and Vera Evelyn in 1907. The family were living at Bulford Camp, in Wiltshire at the time. Their fourth child, Urban H Turner was born in Rugby in 1912.

Arthur James had been was appointed Battery Sergeant-Major and Instructor in Gunnery to the Rugby Howitzer Battery in March 1910.

According to the report in the Rugby Advertiser 7th Oct 1916

“After the general mobilisation in August 1914, Sergt-Major Turner was appointed to the Divisional Ammunition Column. He finished his term of 22 years in March last, but signed on again for the period of the war, and was transferred to another Division.”

At his death he served in “B” Bty, 95th Bde, Royal Field Artillery (No 3291)

He “was killed in action on September 19th. Mrs Turner has not received official news of her husband’s death, but the Chaplain of the Division to which he was attached has written saying that her husband’s battery had been in action where the fighting was hottest, and he was one of the brave men who had given their lives for his King and country. The Chaplain added that he had read the Burial Service over his grave, near the Battery position. B.S.M. Turner who was 42 years of age, had served 22 years in the R.F.A.

He is buried at Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, west of Longueval, where many of the dead from the Battle of the Somme were buried.

He is also remembered on the Croop Hill War Memorial in Rugby. His widow lived at 64 Victoria Avenue, New Bilton. She died in 1947, aged 76.


Griffith, Llewellyn. Died 18th Sep 1916

Llewellyn Griffith was born in Hillmorton and baptised there on 21st Feb 1897. His parents were John and Sarah Ann (nee Wolfe) who married in Hillmorton Parish Church on 11th Dec 1873. Llewellyn was the youngest of nine children and his father was a railway labourer. Soon after his birth the family moved to 74 South Street, Rugby where John worked on the railway. By 1911 John was employed as a boiler cleaner. Llewellyn, aged 14 was an engine cleaner, like his elder brother Albert. Other members of the family worked for B.T.H including Llewellyn’s sixteen year old sister Lily.

Llewellyn Griffith must have joined the 7th Bn, King’s Royal Rifle Corps (No. R/1651) near the start of the war; perhaps he is the L Griffiths in the list of volunteers from the Locomotive Department of the L & N-W Railway at Rugby published in the Rugby Advertiser of 5th September 1914.

In another report published in October 1915, he writes to Mr Hodges, headmaster of Murray School:
“Rifleman L Griffith, 7th K.R.R Corps, has also written to Mr Hodges, and states that the Rugby boys remaining in the Battalion are quite well. He adds : I am glad to see that the Old Murray Boys have responded well to the call. The Old Boys have not disgraced the school’s name.”
(Rugby Advertiser, 16 October, 1915)

By September 1916 the 7th Bn, Kings Royal Rifle Corps had taken part in many actions, including the Battle of Hooge in 1915, the first division to be attacked with flamethrowers. Now they were at the Somme. At 11.45 pm on 14th September the Battalion “moved up to Delville Wood and took up its position in artillery formation in the front of the wood at 1am” At 6.20 they left their trenches and attacked ” ‘Tanks’

which were used for the first time came up on the Bn’s right flank … but were unable to take their objective owing to M. G. fire on both flanks.” There was confusion on returning to trenches “owing to some of the 42nd IB returning to our trenches and many of the 7th KRR going forward with the 42nd IB.” Heavy shelling continued all day and “they remained until the following evening being shelled the whole time.” At 7 pm they received orders to retire.

Casualties: 12 officers and the Medical officer, other ranks: Killed 21, Wounded 189, Missing 120. “Great Gallantry was shown by all ranks”

This is probably the action in which Rifleman Llewellyn Griffith was injured. He died of wounds on 18th September 1916 at the No 1 New Zealand Hospital and was buried at St Pierre Cemetery, Amiens.

In the Register of Soldiers’ Effects Llewellyn’s sole legatee is named as his sister Lily, perhaps because their father John Griffith had died in 1914. Lily Griffith married John Mawby in 1917. This perhaps led to the confusion in the CWGC record which names Rifleman L Griffith as the son of Mrs Manby, of 74 South Street, Rugby.

He is listed on the Rugby Steam Shed Plaque as well as Rugby Memorial Gates.



Cleaver, Gregory Joseph. Died 18th Sep 1916

Gregory Joseph Cleaver was born in Rugby in 1890. His father was Thomas Howlett Cleaver and Jemima Mary (nee Vickers). Thomas met his wife in Alton, Staffordshire where her father worked at the stone quarry there. Thomas was a clerk and they married in 1870. By 1881 the family was living in Caldecote, near Nuneaton and Thomas was a Builder’s Agent; a job which involved a lot of travel judging by the birth places of his children. By 1890, when Gregory, their youngest child (of nine, two others had died) was born, they were back in Rugby and in 1901 Thomas was a Builder’s Surveyor living at 51 Victoria Street. Gregory Joseph was aged 11.

Gregory Joseph cannot be found in the 1911 census. He would have been with the army in India. His mother had died and is father was a publican at the Horse and Jockey Inn in Lawford Road.

By the start of the war, Gregory Joseph Cleaver returned to England with the 3rd Bn, Kings Royal Rifle corps. They arrived on 18th November 1914 and as a regular soldier probably helped to train the new recruits. He arrived in France in 2nd Feb 1915, private no 7792 in the 12th Bn KRRC.

He was wounded in two different engagements. Perhaps it was while recovering from one of these that he met and married Agnes Daisy Richardson. They married in the Ipswich registration district in the June quarter of 1915. A daughter Zita A Cleaver (named after Gregory’s sister) was born a year later, but died soon after.

In August/September 1916, the 12th Bn, Kings Royal Rifle Corps was in the trenches of the Somme. From the beginning of September they moved from Carnoy to Guillemont, back to Carnoy, then Corbie and Meaulte. On the 15th Sept they arrived in Carnoy again. At 3am on the morning of the 16th they moved up to Waterlot Farm and on the 18th they were in the front line “in front of Ginchy

The War Diary reports that at 2.30 pm:
“Enemy counter attacked in force. “B” Company forced to give way a little but our being reinforced immediately drove enemy back to his own trenches, inflicting considerable loss.”

It is in this action that Rifleman Gregory Joseph Cleaver must have died.

He is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial.

His death was reported in the Rugby Advertiser of 14th October 1916.

“Rifleman Gregory Cleaver Killed.
Mr T H Cleaver, late of the Horse and Jockey Inn, Rugby, has just received official information that his youngest son, Rifleman Gregory Cleaver, of the King’s Royal Rifles, was killed in action on September 18th. Rifleman Cleaver came from India, where he had served six years, after the War commenced. He had been wounded in two different engagements, and had only returned to the trenches a month   when he was killed.”



16th Sep 1916. Round-up for Shirkers at Rugby


On Friday evening last week, and again on Saturday, the local police, in conjunction with the Military Authorities, had a round-up for the purpose of ascertaining how many men are shirking their obligations under the Military Service Act. The Empire, Palace, and the railway stations were visited, and men of military age were challenged to produce their papers. Men were also accosted by police officers in the streets. So thoroughly had the Military Authorities locally done their work, however, that, although a number of men who failed to produce their papers were escorted to the Police Station, they were all able to give satisfactory explanations of their presence in civil life. Both the military and police carried out their duties in a courteous manner, and people generally cheerfully acquiesced on the request, “ Show your papers, please ! ”

TUESDAY. Before Dr Clement Dukes (in the chair), T Hunter, T A Wise, J E Cox, and J J McKinnell, Esqrs.


Grace Anderson, late of Holbrooke Avenue, Rugby, who had been arrested at Woodville, near Burton-on-Trent, was charged on remand with obtaining £2 by false pretences from Agatha Mary West, at Rugby, on August 11th.—On the date named Mrs West was acting as temporary secretary to the local War Pensions Sub-Committee. Prisoner called upon her and represented that she was the widow of Sergt Alec Anderson, of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards, who was killed in action at Loos on September 25th last year. She said she was entitled to a pension, and, believing her story to be true, Mrs West advanced her £2. When enquiries were made of the Officer commanding the 1st Scots Guards it was found that no such man as Sergt Anderson had ever belonged to the battalion. Prisoner had then left the town, and a warrant for her arrest was issued.

The Magistrates’ Clerk said he had seen a letter, in which defendant alleged it was true her husband was killed as stated. If that was so she had better plead not guilty.

Defendant said her husband was killed, and that his name was Anderson, but she gave the wrong number and the wrong battalion, she was not entitled to any more money from the War Pensions Committee.—Mr H Lupton Reddish, solicitor, Rugby, prosecuted.

Mrs West said on the 11th prox. she was acting as secretary temporarily to the local War Pensions Committee of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Families Association. Defendant came to see her, and from information she gave witness filled up the form produced, which defendant signed as correct. This form stated that the pension awarded to the applicant was 10s, and the date of award March 16th. Defendant requested that 10s should be advanced that day, and that the committee would help her to find her a place as cook, which they did. Witness advanced her 10s by way of loan. That afternoon or next day defendant called on witness at Bilton. She said she had got a place, and asked for an advance to get clothing. Witness then advanced her 30s, making £2 in all. She told witness that when she was in service she would not need her pension, and would pay the money back as soon as the pension became due.

Asked what she had to say, defendant said she would not have done it had she not been hard up. Her papers were at her home in Liverpool, and she had not written for them because she did not wish her friends to know of the case. Her husband was in the King’s Liverpool Regiment, and since March she had regularly received her pension. She came into the Rugby district because she thought a change would do her good.

Supt Clarke said defendant’s proper name was Grace Lester, and she had undergone one month’s hard labour in 1913 for stealing by trick two ladies’ dresses.

Defendant, whilst admitting the conviction, said she was married to Anderson in 1914.—Supt Clarke said he knew nothing of the man referred to in the letter produced, but he had refused to go bail for defendant. The police had interviewed defendant’s parents, who had not seen her for three years, and declined to have anything to do with her.

The Chairman told defendant a very serious charge was brought against her, and she seemed to have a very bad character. They sent her to Warwick Gaol for three months with hard labour.

[Messrs Hunter and McKinnell, being members of the War Pensions Sub-Committee, did not adjudicate in this case.]


Mr W K Pridmore (Mayor of Coventry) presided at the Appeal Tribunal held at the Benn Buildings on Wednesday evening. Others present were : Messrs W Johnson, jun, K Rotherham, and W Hill. Mr M E T Wratislaw and Mr F M Burton were the Military representatives.

Frank Walding, boot and shoe dealer, living at 52 Caldecott Street, Rugby, who had been exempted by the Tribunal till September 1st, made application for a further period on business grounds, but this was refused.—Exemption till January 1st. 1917, was given to Horace William Dale, a coal carter, living at 28 Bridge Street, whose previous exemption had expired.—William Henry Smith, plasterer and fitter, Birdingbury asked for a further exemption, and was refused, as was also the application, on business grounds, of Ernest Archie Bromwich, Newton House Farm, Rugby.— Mr Bromwich : Well, I shall sell my farm up. I will see an auctioneer at once.—The Chairman : Very well ; go now. Don’t stand here.

The Military appealed against an additional exemption which had been granted to Joseph Hill, Pailton, and this was upheld, on the Military promising not to serve calling-up papers until October 15th.—Thomas Watts, Stretton-on-Dunsmore, canal labourer and puddler, appealed on business grounds, and was given conditional exemption.—The Military appealed against the conditional exemption which had been granted by the Tribunal to Arthur Williams, a charge hand and refuse destructor at the Urban Council refuse disposal works. The appeal was upheld, and exemption given till October 14th.

The Military also appealed against the additional exemption till October 1st which had been granted to Horace Walter Gilbert, electrician and wireman, living at 58 Newland Street, New Bilton, and this case was adjourned.—Hercules Castley, 22 James Street, carpenter and joiner, appealed on medical grounds, and against the decision of the Rugby Urban Tribunal. This also was adjourned for the case to again go before the Medical Authorities at Budbrooke.—Joseph George Bennett, carriage builder and wheelwright, 7 Gladstone Street, New Bilton, appealed against the withdrawal of the exemption which had been granted to him, and he was given till December 1st.—Archie Ernest Robinson, tobacconist and off-licensed retailer, living at 1 Abbey Street, appealed against the decision of the Urban District Council, but their decision was upheld.—Evan Harris Lloyd, farmer, Brownsover, appealed against the decision of the Rural District Tribunal withdrawing his conditional exemption, and the case was adjourned for the Military to find a substitute.—Ernest Tomlin, grocer, draper, etc, of Dunchurch, asked for exemption, and was given until January 17th by agreement, this to be final.—The application of Horace Basil Wane, schoolmaster, of Bilton Grange, was refused.—Walter Russell, Whitehall Farm, whose exemption had been withdrawn, appealed against this, but his application was refused, the Military promising not to serve the papers until the 15th October.

Freddie Cooper, Brinklow, labourer and haulier’s carter, whose exemption had been withdrawn, unsuccessfully appealed against the decision.-Sidney George College, bread baker and corn dealer, of Brandon, who had been given exemption till September 15th without further appeal without permission, was now given till October 14th.—William Frederick Brooks, carrier, Flecknoe, appealed for exemption, but this case was adjourned for a substitute to be found by the Military.—The appeal of Edward William Steane, jun, batcher, of Marton, was refused by the Tribunal.—Frank William Goode, shepherd and horseman, of Broadwell, was given one month exemption, final, and, as he was an unattested man, this will carry two months.

MUNITION WORKERS WASTING TIME.—Cecil Winn, apprentice, 12 Railway Terrace, Rugby, claimed through Samuel Winn, his father, a shell turner, from Harry Carter, machinist, 14 Railway Terrace, Rugby, to recover possession of a show Homer pigeon, value 5s, wrongfully detained by defendant.—The case was heard late in the afternoon, and Samuel Winn said his son had been fetched back to work.—Defendant said it was a “ blooming ” neighbour’s quarrel, and the pigeon was a stray one.—His Honor elicited the information that both men were working on munitions, and said they were wasting time by coming into Court over a pigeon worth only 2s 6d or 3s. He awarded the pigeon to plaintiff, with no reflection on anybody, and expressed the hope that this would be the end of the quarrel.

OVERSTAYING HIS LEAVE.—Lance-Corpl Harry Gilbert, who had been arrested at 6 St Matthew Street, Rugby, was charged with being an absentee without leave from the 1st Royal Warwicks. He said he came out of hospital on sick leave, and should have gone back on Tuesday night.—P.S Goodwin said a telegram was received instructing the police to arrest, and when he acted upon it the previous morning he found Gilbert fully dressed and with his bag packed ready to go away.—Defendant said he had a railway warrant to return if he was allowed to do so ; but the Magistrate decided to remand him to await an escort.


Mr L W Eadon, second son of Mr W Eadon, of Hillmorton Road, who enlisted in the H.A.C soon after the outbreak of the War, has been gazetted to a second lieutenancy in the R.F.A.

Mr B C Simmonds, son of Mr W T Simmonds, headmaster of the Elborow School, and Mr Everard Turner, son of Mr E Turner, of 30 Lancaster Road, Rugby, have been gazetted to second lieutenancies in the Infantry Machine Gun Corps. Mr Turner has already seen active service with the Oxford and Bucks L.I. in France.

Mr T Collins, of 37 Stephen Street, Rugby, has received a letter from his second son, Rifleman R Collins, of the Rifle Brigade, stating that he was wounded in a German trench, which had been captured three hours before. He had two wounds in the left thigh, one in the right, and one in the right shoulder. Rifleman Collins, who is now in a Military Hospital at Stockport, is an old St Matthew’s boy, and previous to the War was employed by Messrs Parnell & Son. Although he is not quite 19 years of age, this is the second time he has been wounded, the first occasion being at Ypres over twelve months ago. He enlisted on September 3, 1914.


Mr F H Summers, of Bridget Street, has received a notification from the War Office that his son, Pte F J Summers, Oxford & Bucks L.I, missing since September 25th of last year, is killed. Pte Summers was an old boy of St Matthew’s School, and a prominent, junior footballer and athlete.


Amongst the casualties in the great advance are Gunner F Favell, R.G.A, Rifleman R Collins, Rifle Brigade, Pte E J Hewitt, Royal Warwickshire Regt, and Pte A Barrows, Dorset Regt, all wounded.


Great regret will be felt by employees at the B.T.H at the news that Corpl Frank Thistlewood, of the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, has been killed in the recent advance. Corpl Thistlewood, who was 35 years of age, enlisted in September, 1915, prior to which date he had been employed for several years in the Cost Statistics Department. He was a native of Leamington.

Official news has been received at the B.T.H that Pte Newell, of the Royal Fusiliers, has been posted as missing since August 7th last, and his parents have received private intimation that he was killed on that date. Pte Newell enlisted early in the year, and was formerly employed in the B.T.H Drawing Office. He was a native of Nottingham, and was well known in B.T.H athletic circles.

Sergt J D Sutton and Lance-Sergt A J L Moore have been wounded—the latter seriously and the former in the stomach with shrapnel. Both were natives of Loughborough, and enlisted in the same battalion of the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, as Corpl Thistlewood, in September, 1914. Sergt J D Sutton was employed in the Accountancy Department, and Sergt Moore, who was visited by his mother in France, in the Cost Department.


MR & MRS HENRY BARNETT, of Brandon, have received news that their son, Corpl Wilfred Barnett, of the K.R.R, has been wounded. His escape from death was lucky, as the missile happened to strike a cigarette-case he had in his pocket, and deflected it on to his head. His brother Albert, some few weeks ago, was struck in 90 places by shrapnel, but is now recovering.


CASUALTIES.—Pte W Wilkes (Mill Street), of the Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry, has been wounded in the foot and leg, and is in hospital at Halifax, going on fairly well ; and Sergt C T Hedgcock, of the 22nd Brigade, Machine Gun Company, has been wounded in the head.


PTE FRANCIS COMPTON, nephew of Mr W Compton, of Brinklow, has been awarded the Military Medal for bravery on the field.


Mr James Morton, the sub-postmaster here, has been called up, and it now in the Durham L.I.


WOUNDED SOLDIERS.—Pte W Barker, Royal Warwicks, has been wounded in the arm and is in hospital. He is the second son of Mr N Barker.—Pte J E Flowers, the second son of Mr John Flowers, of Brook Street, is in hospital at Newport, Mon., having had one of his fingers blown off. He has been in France about 18 months, and has been in a number of engagements at Ypres with the Rifle Brigade.
NEW ATTENDANCE OFFICER.-Mr Gumbley, of Warwick, is now school attendance officer for the district in place of Mr A J Poxon, who is in training with the Royal Naval Flying Corps. He is an old soldier, and has six sons serving their King and country, three of whom are at present in France.

THE PARCELS sent this week by the Rugby Prisoners of War Help Committee to local men who are prisoners of war in Germany contained :- ¼lb of tea, 1lb sugar, 1 tin of herrings in tomatoes, 1 tin of condensed milk, 1 tin of baked beans, ½-lb of butter, 2-lb box of biscuits and one pair of socks.



BARNETT.—In loving memory of Lance-Corpl. Samuel George Barnett, of the 5th Oxon and Bucks, killed in action, September 25th, 1915 ; aged 21.
“ We often sit and think of him,
And tenderly breathe his name ;
Nothing left for us to look at
But his photo in the frame.
Some day our eyes shall see
That dear face still kept in memory.”

HOPKINS.—In loving memory of Frank, the beloved and youngest son of Henry Hopkins, of Long Lawford, who was killed in action in France, September 18th, 1915.
“ He sleeps, not in his native land,
But ‘neath some foreign skies,
And far from those that loved him best ;
In a hero’s grave he lies.”

MASON.-In loving memory of Sergt. Arthur T. Mason, beloved and only son.—From his sorrowing MOTHER and SISTER, 40 Rutland Gardens, Hove, Brighton.


Pebody, Robert Baden. Died 16th Sep 1916

Sergt. Robert Baden Pebody
Service No. 206118
Regiment Machine Gun Corps (Heavy Branch) 4th “D” coy
Cemetery/Memorial Name A.I.F. Burial Ground, Flers
Grave/Reference III. J. 12

Robert Baden Pebody was born about 1896. In the census returns for both 1901 and 1911 Robert is living with his aunt and uncle John Thomas and Margaret Ann Pebody and he is 5 and then 15 years of age, giving his place of birth as Rugby Warwickshire, but no birth or baptism record can be traced and if Robert is adopted no evidence has been found, so we do not know his parents names. He, his aunt and uncle are at 58 Oxford Street Rugby in 1901 and at 50 Hillmorton Road Rugby in 1911 and John Thomas Pebody is an Overseer at the Post Office. Robert attended Lawrence Sheriff School from 1907 – 1912, unfortunately in 1914 Robert’s Aunt Margaret died.   I have not found when Robert enlisted, but he enlisted at Coventry, according to Daventry District Remembers, and Daventry Remembers give John Thomas and Margaret as his parents living at 58 Oxford Street Daventry, (same names as his aunt and uncle and similar address on the 1911 census only at Rugby). Also Daventry Remembers states that John Thomas is living at 24 Stephen Street Rugby at the time of Robert’s death.

Robert belongs to those who crewed the first tanks in September 1916.   On the Somme Roll of Honour it reads Robert Baden Pebody, Tank D14 Company, Died of Wounds the 16th September 1916, age 21. Rest in Peace. A.I.F Burial Ground Flers.   From the Military History Forum is the following:-

In memory of Sergeant Pebody. Sergeant Pebody was 2 i/c of tank D14 commanded by 2nd Lieutenant Gordon Court which had not been in action on the 15th September but was attached to 41st division for the second day of the attack on Flers. The objective was mainly the German held Gird Trench and Gird Support in front of Guedecourt. D14 was heading down what is now Grass Lane towards Guedecourt branching off and heading over a piece of higher ground when the tank was observed to come to a halt and then suddenly explode with a shattering roar. The tank was subsequently found to have been blown to bits and Lieutenant Court and 5 of the crew were killed in the fire, Sgt. Pebody and Lance corporal Upton Army Service Corps died of wounds. It seems likely that Sgt. Pebody and Lance Corporal Upton got out of the tank perhaps to examine what had halted the tank when a German Shell hit the tank itself. Lance Corporal Upton is also buried with Robert Pebody at A.I.F. Burial Ground whilst the other members of the crew of D14 have no known grave and are commemorated on the Thievpal Memorial.

Robert Baden Pebody is remembered on the Memorial Gates Rugby and on the War Memorial at Holy Cross Churchyard, Daventry on Abbey Street. I could not find any memoriam to him in any local newspapers, only that his uncle was informed of his death.

Robert is an enigma. His service number does not lead to any other records. The original grave registration entry was for Paberny Sergt. R. 16721 Machine Gun Corps altered in red ink to read “Pebody, 206118, 4T/C” printed cemetery registers volume state “4Bn Tank Corps” CWGC.



Course, Alfred Leslie. Died 16th Sep 1916

Sergt. Alfred Leslie Course
Service No. 25927
Regiment     Durham Light Infantry
10th Battalion
Cemetery/Memorial Name: Thiepval Memorial
Grave/Memorial Reference: Pier and Face 14A and 15C

Alfred Leslie Course was born 24th February 1894 at Slapton, Northamptonshire and was baptised 21st April 1894 at Slapton Church. His parents were Alfred and Mary Augusta Course, and Alfred’s father was a miller. Alfred was the first son to Alfred and Mary having two older daughters Frances and Gladys, to be joined later by George, Violet, Mildred, Kathleen and Philip. On the 1901 Census the family are living at Mill House, Slapton, Northamptonshire, by 1911 the family are at 25 Manor Road, Rugby, also on the censuses Alfred is named by his second Christian name Leslie, obviously that is the name the family used for him. By 1911 Alfred has become a Grocer’s Assistant and his brother George is a clerk at the B.T.H. At the start of the war Alfred enlisted in a Hussar Regiment and was transferred to the Durham Light Infantry when he went to France in August 1915. He was wounded at Ypres and spent some time in hospital. Alfred became a sergeant just before his death. The announcement of his death is in the Rugby Advertiser 7th October 1916 under War Notes

“Sergt. A. L. Course killed. Mr Alfred Course of 25 Manor Road, Rugby has been informed by a letter from the front that his eldest son was killed. Sergt. Albert Leslie Course of the Durham Light Infantry was killed in the battle of the Somme last month while in charge of a machine gun section.   Sergt. Course, who was 22 years of age, prior to the war was employed at Messrs Lavender & Harrison’s, with whom he had been five years. He enlisted in a Hussar Regiment at the commencement of the war and was transferred to his present regiment when he was drafted to France in August last year.   He was wounded at Ypres in March last, and was nine weeks in a hospital. He also received a card from the Major-General commanding his division, in recognition of his distinguished and gallant conduct in the field in February 1916.   In letter announcing his death, the officer says “He was a splendid fellow, and had just been promoted Sergeant.   He gave all his heart to his work” He was a native of Slapton Mill near Towcester.”

Rugby Advertiser 14th October 1916 under Deaths

On September 16th 1916 killed in action Sergt. A. L. Course the beloved son of Alfred Course 25 Manor Road Rugby aged 22 years.

Rugby Advertiser 22nd September 1917 under Memoriam

Course: In loving memory of our dear son and brother Sergt. A. L. Course who was killed in action in France September 16 1916.
“Farewell, dear son in a soldier’s grave
A grave we may never see,
But as long as life and memory lasts
We will remember thee”

From the Army Registers of Soldiers Effects Albert’s father received £19 1s 9d and later received a gratuity of £11 10s.

Alfred Leslie Course has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thievpal Memorial in France and on the Rugby Memorial Gates Hillmorton Road Rugby.



Lissamer, William Arthur. Died 15th Sep 1916

William Arthur Lissamer was born in 1893, and his birth was registered in the third quarter of 1893 in Rugby. He was the son of Thomas and Emily Lissamer.

In 1901, the family were living at 36 Winfield Street, Rugby. William’s father, Thomas, was a railway signalman, and William’s elder brother was 14 and already at work. William also had an elder sister Emily and a twin brother, Albert Edward.

In 1911, William, now 18, and was a shop assistant at the Co-op, single and living at home, now at 105 Claremont Road, Rugby. His father was now a ‘railway, brakesman’ with the London and North Western Railway.   His sister, and his brother, now a ‘clerk, engineers’, presumably at BTH, were also still at home. It seems that William also later went to work at BTH, in Rugby. Indeed three Lissamers from BTH served in WWI: Lissamer A E (William’s brother); Lissamer A J (not traced); and Lissamer W A. Only William A Lissamer lost his life and is listed on the BTH War Memorial.

As was the case for a number of local men, including Walter Davis (see Rugby Remembers – 17 October 1915), William joined up in the 5th (Service) Battalion of the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Ox. and Bucks.). He became Private, No:10750.

With the number 10750, it is likely that William joined up on or before 2 September 1914, on which date Smith, No.11874 was ‘attested’ in Rugby. The ‘UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919’ confirmed that William enlisted at Rugby. The approximate date is further confirmed by a list of those who had joined up from the BTH workforce between 27 August up to and including 2 September, entitled ‘Rugby’s Magnificent Response’ and published in the Rugby Advertiser dated 5 September 1914.[1]

In summary, the 5th Battalion of the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Ox. and Bucks.) was formed at Oxford in August 1914 as part of First New Army [K1] of Kitchener’s new army. The surviving Service Records for the ‘Ox. and Bucks.’ suggest that there was a rapid response to the recruitment drive. They soon moved to Aldershot where they were placed under the orders of the 42nd Brigade in the 14th (Light) Division and then moved to Cranleigh, Guildford. In February 1915, they moved to Salamanca Barracks, Aldershot.

They landed in Boulogne on 21 May 1915, and William’s ‘Medal Card’ shows that he went into the French Theatre of War on 20 May 1915, so he would have been with the main battalion landing, after which they were engaged in various actions on the Western Front.   These would have included the action at Bellewaarde Farm on 25 September 1915 (see: Rugby Remembers for that date), during which the Battalion had very heavy losses, after which it was withdrawn to regroup and retrain, as mentioned in the Battalion Diary.[2]

The Battalion returned to a ‘Camp near Poperinge’ by 1 October 1915, ‘… 46 other ranks were killed, six died of wounds, 249 were wounded and 136 were missing’. Two days later a draft of 200 NCOs and men, a ‘… very good looking lot of men’ arrived from 9th Bn. to provide replacements.

However, less than two weeks later they were in the trenches, as extracts from the Battalion Diary[3] indicated, and in 1916, the Battalion was in action during the Battle of the Somme, at the Battle of Delville Wood, from 15 July to 3 September 1916; and the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, from 15 to 22 September 1916.

It would seem therefore that William was probably killed during the start of the latter action. The Regimental Diary provided a summary of the operation orders issued from 14 September for the 42nd Brigade in the 14th Division.

What the Battalion went through must be remembered:

‘On the 14th all day preparations for the operations, equipping and marching to the rendezvous, with at the most four hours’ sleep. On the 15th advancing some 2½ miles over heavily shelled ground, fighting, and digging in’.

The ‘Objective of 4th Army’ ….

‘… to attack enemy’s defences between Morval and Martinpuich, with object of seizing Morval, Lesboeufs, Guedecourt, and Flers, and thus breaking through enemy’s system of defence. (The capture of … Guedecourt to the 14th Division; and Flers and beyond to the 41st Division and New Zealand Division). … 42nd Infantry Brigade, the remainder, … and the final objective being allotted to 9th K.R.R.C. and 5th Oxford and Bucks.

‘At zero hour (6.20 a.m.) the Battalion moved off in a N.N.E. direction. Before reaching Delville Wood the battalion had to split to avoid several batteries of field guns, and joined up again when the wood was reached. Just inside the wood the leading man of A Company was shot dead by a German who had previously surrendered. The German was shot.


‘The Battalion in the same formation, almost without a halt, continued its march up to the Switch Line [see map above[4]] between about T.1.c.25 and T.l.d.13, … The Battalion extended and continued its advance, with Colonel Webbin the centre of the second line still directing, until Gap Trench was passed between about T.1.a.43 and T.l.b.51, and a line about 300 yards short of Bulls Road, N.31.b.50 to N.32.c.65, was reached about 9.10a.m., when the Battalion halted. … At about 3 a.m. (16th instant) we were relieved by the 43rd Brigade, and went to Montauban. At the time when the Battalion was relieved it had destroyed in Bulls Road, one mitrailleuse, and had control of eight 7.7 mm. guns in the same place.

‘I mention these points to show how the 14th Division became isolated, and I may add that, in spite of its isolation, it succeeded in holding on to all the ground gained. It received special congratulations because it went farther than any other Division; it cleared the north east corner of Delville Wood which had been reoccupied by Germans while we were in rest; and, by capturing Switch and Gap Trenches, opened the way for the attack which took place ten days later.   …

‘Night of 15th/16th no rest possible, and on relief a march back of about 3½ miles over bad ground. On 16th could not settle down until 9 a.m., and turned out between 3 and 4 p.m.’ … Then came the counting of the casualties, which included Colonel Webb, Captain Maude, 2nd Lieuts. Atkins, Beaver, Brooks and Turner wounded; other ranks, about 30 killed and 120 wounded.

The remainder of 1916 was uneventful for us, as we did nothing beyond holding quiet trenches in front of Arras, furnishing working parties, training, etc., most of the time being spent at Dainville, Agny, Gouy-en-Artois, Dernier, Sars-le-Bois, and Arras.

Sadly it was not ‘uneventful’ for William. He was ‘Killed in Action’ on 15 September 1916. He was 23 years old. Normally it is virtually impossible to know where and when a soldier was killed. However, in William’s case, his body was recovered long after the battle, during the concentration of cemeteries, individual graves and recovered bodies. The ‘Burial Return’ (below) showed that he was found – he was probably never buried as he still had his equipment – at map reference: 57c. T.1. b.2.2., (near Gap Trench – see map above) which was probably where he was killed.


His body was recovered, and the records were dated 1925, although he may have been found earlier.   He was originally ‘unknown’, but was later identified by: ‘Khaki, boots and titles (in pocket)’. There were also named and numbered identifiable effects’ which were ‘forwarded to base’: ‘Piece of W/proof ‘FF’ sheet ‘W. Lissamer’, 10150(?), piece of Equipt. ‘4/13’’.

He was reburied in Grave Reference: III. C. 5., in the Cerisy-Gailly Military Cemetery at map reference: 62d. Q.2. d.5.3., some 20 miles to the South-East of where he fell. His gravestone was inscribed, ‘He died that others may live’, and his next of kin, in 1925, was recorded as his mother Mrs. Emily Lissamer, of 105 Claremont Road, Rugby. Possibly his father was unwell, as he died soon afterwards in 1927.

Cerisy is a village 10 kilometres south-west of Albert. Gailly was the site of the 39th and 13th Casualty Clearing Stations during the early part of 1917, and of the 41st Stationary Hospital from May 1917 to March 1918. … Cerisy-Gailly Military Cemetery (originally called the New French Military Cemetery) was begun in February 1917 and used by medical units until March 1918. … The cemetery was increased after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the battlefields of the Somme and several smaller cemeteries – however, the dates and backgrounds of these suggest that William was brought in as an individual from the Somme battlefield and as shown above, the map reference where he was found suggested that his body was found close to where his battalion had been in action – on the Gap Trench.

William was awarded the British and Victory Medals and the 1915 Star. He is remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gates and the BTH War Memorial and list of those who served.




[1]       Rugby Advertiser, 5 September 1914.

[2]       Record of the 5th (Service) Battalion, 1 August 1915 to 30 June 1916, at: http://www.lightbobs.com/.

[3]       Record of the 5th (Service) Battalion, 1 August 1915 to 30 June 1916, at: http://www.lightbobs.com/.

[4]       The objective lines in bold are shown on the ‘Trench Map’ from National Library of Scotland ‘Trench Maps’ at http://maps.nls.uk/view/101464777.

Martin, Lawrence Alfred. Died 12th Sep 1916

Lawrence Alfred Martin’s birth was registered in the third quarter of 1894, although the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) records suggested that he was 33 when he was killed, which made searching for him somewhat more challenging! He was reported by CWGC to be the son of ‘John Martin, of 12 Jubilee Street, New Bilton, Rugby’.

Initial searches could not identify him in the censuses and it was thought possible that the family moved to Rugby after the 1911 census. However, examination of war memorial records, particularly for his father’s home village, New Bilton, and at St. Marie’s Catholic Church, suggested that he had a brother ‘J. Martin’ who was also killed in WWI, and that possibly some of the family worked at BTH, although again perhaps there was a discrepancy in the records – this time with initials!

At first there also seemed to be no obvious birth or other records for a Lawrence Alfred Martin!   However, having found both his parents’ and his brother’s names, it was possible to locate the census records.   It seemed that Lawrence [or Lawrance in one transcription!] had been born in Dublin, Ireland.

In 1891, the Martin family was living at 18 Chapel Street, Rugby. Lawrence’s father, John Martin, had also been born in Ireland.   Lawrence’s mother, Ellen née Oldham, was born in Long Lawford. They had married at St. Andrew’s Church, Rugby, on 11 November 1888. Their eldest child, George Henry had apparently been registered in Rugby in Q3 1888, before his parents’ marriage, however, the 1891 census return gave an unusually and unnecessarily ‘precise’ age of 23 months, which was presumably intended to suggest that his birth was later, after their marriage, in about May 1889! The next son, John Joseph jnr was registered in Q3 1890 – and he was ‘10 months’ old for the April 1891 census.

The family must then have moved back to Ireland, where three more children were born including Lawrence in 1894, and two daughters, Mary and Anne (or Christina Annie) in about 1886 and 1888.

They moved back to Hillmorton, and in 1901, Lawrence’s father, John Martin, was a groom at a Livery Stables, and the family was living at 39 School Street, Hillmorton. Their youngest son, Wilfred, was born in about 1902.

In 1911 Lawrence was still living with his family, now at 12 Jubilee Street, New Bilton, and was working in the Lamp Department at BTH in Rugby. However, the list of BTH employees who served in WWI included only: Martin J; Martin T; and Martin T E E; – there was no Martin L A. Had Lawrence moved on? – or was there another error?   The brother Martin J, and Martin T E E are known, although a Martin T is not obvious.

Searching the CWGC records for further Martins with Rugby connections found a Sergeant John Martin, Service No:5275, who died on 25 June 1918,[1] aged 28, who served with the 10th (Prince of Wales’s Own Royal) Hussars.   Most importantly, he was also the son of ‘John and Ellen Martin, of 12, Jubilee Street, New Bilton, Rugby’ – and thus Lawrence’s elder brother, born in about 1890.

Unfortunately Lawrence’s service records have also not survived so his date of enlistment and any personal details therein are not available. However, the ‘UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919’ record showed that Lawrence joined up at Rugby, as a Private, No:11109, in the 6th (Service) Battalion of the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (‘Ox. and Bucks.’). In due course, he was promoted to Lance-Corporal.

In summary, the 6th (Service) Battalion of the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry was formed at Oxford in September 1914 as part of Kitchener’s New Army, K2 and then moved to Aldershot to be placed under the orders of 60th Brigade in 20th (Light) Division and in March 1915, moved to Larkhill, Salisbury Plain. On 22 July 1915 they mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne. Lawrence’s ‘Medal Card’ indicated that he went into the ‘France and Belgium’ theatre on that date, 22 July 1915, so he was with the main mobilisation.

After trench familiarisation and training, they were engaged in various actions on the Western Front.   This included periods in the trenches and periods behind the lines in reserve, when there was training, marches and various other fatigues. Then in 1916 they were involved in the Battle of Mount Sorrel near Ypres, Belgium, from 2 to 14 June 1916. They were also involved in various early actions in the Battle of the Somme, including the Battle of Delville Wood from 15 July to 3 September 1916; and the Battle of Guillemont, from 3 to 6 September 1916; and after Lawrence’s death, the Battle of Flers-Courcelette from 15 to 22 September 1916.

Whilst these are summary dates, there was on-going action associated with these ‘battles’ in the trenches and elsewhere. Exactly where Lawrence was on 12 September 1916 when he was ‘Killed in Action’, aged about 23, not 33, was unknown, indeed, his death was only ‘officially accepted as on or about 12.9.16 France’. His body was not recovered or identified, and he has no known grave, and is therefore remembered on Pier and Face 10 A and 10 D of the Thiepval Memorial.

The Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916. The memorial, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, was built between 1928 and 1932 and unveiled by the Prince of Wales, in the presence of the President of France, on 1 August 1932.

He is also remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gates, on the St. Marie’s Church Memorial and the New Bilton War Memorial. Also on all three, is ‘J Martin’, and the fact that they were both on St. Marie’s memorial and thus Roman Catholics, first supported the assumption that Lawrence and John were brothers. Lawrence is also remembered on ‘Ireland’s Memorial Records 1914 – 1918’.

Lawrence Alfred Martin was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, and the 1915 Star.

The Register of Soldiers’ Effects, showed that his father, John Martin, received £6-9-8d on 21 June 1917, and then a war gratuity of £8-10-0 on 10 October 1919.

His brother, John J Martin, had been a soldier from before 1911, but was, as noted, ‘Killed in Action’ on 25 June 1918. His story will be told in Rugby Remembers in due course.



[1]       He is buried in Grave Reference: B. 3. at the Wavans British Cemetery.