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:

[3]       Record of the 5th (Service) Battalion, 1 August 1915 to 30 June 1916, at:

[4]       The objective lines in bold are shown on the ‘Trench Map’ from National Library of Scotland ‘Trench Maps’ at

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.

9th Sep 1916. Lady Dorothie Feilding Gains The Military Medal



Lady Dorothie Feilding, the Earl of Denbigh’s youngest daughter, is first on the list of the British women military medallists. The honour is awarded for her gallant service with Dr Hector Munro’s Field Ambulance. For months she tended the sick and wounded in the cellar of a house close to the Belgian trenches. The situation became so dangerous the Lady Dorothie and her companions were at last persuaded to move, and ten minutes after they had removed their belongings a German shell crashed on the house and destroyed it. King Albert bestowed on Lady Dorothie Belgium’s highest military decoration, the Order of Leopold. She was also mentioned in a French brigade order for “ giving to all almost daily the finest example of contempt of danger and devotion to duty.” The official account of the present award states that Lady Dorothie “ attended the wounded for over a year with marked devotion to duty and contempt of danger.”

Lady Dorothie Feilding, accompanied by her father, Col. The Earl of Denbigh, was decorated by the King with the Military Medal at Windsor Castle on Wednesday last, and had the honour of lunching afterwards with their Majesties.

The Military Medal is one recently instituted by the King solely for acts of bravery in the field under fire and has as its sole inscription on the back of the medal “ For bravery in the field.”

Lady Dorothie is the first British woman to receive the decoration. She returned to her work with the Munro Ambulance Corps in Belgium yesterday (Friday).


Capt P W Nickalls, Northants Yeomanry, has been gazetted temporary major.

Sergt Harry Beers, 1st King’s (Liverpool) Regt. reported missing on August 8th, has written to state that he is a prisoner of war at Dulmen, Germany. Sergt Beers is an old St Oswald’s boy (New Bilton).

Mrs T Douglas, 87 Cambridge Street, has received news that her eldest son, Pte Frank Belcher, is lying at St Pat’s Hospital, Malta, with malaria fever, contracted in Salonika. He joined the colours on September 2nd, 1914, and after going through several engagements in France was drafted out to Salonika in October, 1915. He is now on the high road to recovery.

A FIGHTING FAMILY.—Few families have a better war record than that of Mr and Mrs Dunkley, of l5 Chester Street, Rugby. There are five sons in the Army, including two who have been reported missing for some time past. William Albert, the eldest, is in the King’s Royal Rifles, and he has a son serving with him at Salonica. Walter Ernest has served his time with the Royal Warwicks, and has just re-joined the Army from Lutterworth, having been drafted into a different regiment. Harry, who joined the Royal Warwicks, has been missing since July 30th ; and Percy John, of the Lancashire Fusiliers, has been missing since July 25th. The fifth son, Arthur Rowland, is serving with the Labour Battalion. A sixth member of the same family (Alfred Thos Dunkley) has been discharged from the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry on medical grounds, and is now employed in a controlled factory. Mrs Dunkley has two brothers serving in France, and two of her nephews are in the Army.


Walter Wilkins, 2nd Battalion Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry, who worked in the Illumination Department at the B.T.H, and was a member of the B.T.H hockey team, has been killed in action. He was only married a few months before the War broke out.

We learn that Transport Sergt F R Spencer, Royal Warwicks, was wounded on August 27th by a bullet which passed through his right leg. By a strange coincidence he was first attended when brought in by his own medical attendant, who is now at the front. Sergt Spencer is now in hospital at Lincoln, going on well. He had been out in France about 18 months.


Pte J H Holmes, a member of the Rugby Advertiser staff, who joined the R.A.M.C in October last, has met with an accident in France, as a result of which he has broken his left leg in two places below the knee. In a letter to a friend he says : “ After spending a few days in three different hospitals in France, I arrived in Southampton from Boulogne on Friday. The thing which struck me most was the excellent arrangements for transporting the wounded. The hospitals, too, contain the most up-to-date instruments. The hospital I am in is a fine place, food and attention being perfect.”


News has just come to hand that Lance-Corpl A Lewis, of the 5th Oxford and Bucks L.I. has been killed in action. He was the second son of P.C Lewis, of Rugby, and an old scholar of St Matthew’s School, where he was popular and much liked. Lance-Corpl Lewis joined the Army early in the war, and was several times wounded, on one occasion his life being saved by a cigarette case in his breast pocket, which deflected the bullet.

Pte W Goffin, of the 5th Oxford and Bucks L.I, another St Matthew’s old boy, whose home is at 35 Pennington Street, who was posted as missing after the battle, of Loos last year, is now reported as killed. Pte W Goffin’s brother, Pte H J Goffin, 7th Royal Warwickshire Regiment, has just been wounded for the second time. No less than sixteen near relatives in the Goffin family are now on active service.


NEWS has been received from the War Office that Lance-Corpl John Nicholas, of the Warwickshire Yeomanry, son of Mr and Mrs J Nicholas, Lime Kiln Farm, Stretton-on-Dunsmore. was wounded in action in Egypt on August 5th. His many friends will he pleased to hear his wound is not serious, the bullet having passed through the muscle of his left leg, and he is now progressing favourably in hospital at Romani. He joined at the commencement of the War, and has been in Egypt twelve months. His two youngest brothers, of the Royal Fusiliers, are also serving in France, thus making a total of three sons out of four serving with his Majesty’s Forces.

A DYING SOLDIER’S REGRET.—Our readers will doubtless remember that a few months ago a soldier billeted in the town was fined for being drunk and disorderly and disturbing an open air service of the Salvation Army. News has. now reached Rugby that this man has died from wounds. While he was being carried off the field he asked any member of the stretcher party if they visited Rugby to call at the Salvation Army Citadel and express his regret for the occurrence. The corporal of the stretcher party has since been wounded and sent to England, and on Sunday afternoon he called at the Citadel and gave the dying soldier’s message to the officer in charge.


MASON.—On Sept. 1st, died of wounds, Sergt. Arthur T. Mason, Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry.
“ Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
—From his devoted and sorrowing wife.

WILKINS.—Killed in action on August 24th, Walter Wilkins, 2nd Oxford & Bucks L.I.



The effort on Saturday on behalf of the fund to provide comforts for prisoners of war from Rugby and district was in all respects a great and gratifying success. Following to many Flag days for deserving objects, it may have been assumed that the public were getting rather tired of these appeals ; but the plight of prisoners captured by the Germans and incarcerated in detention camps is such that the well-organised scheme to provide them with regular supplies of comforts, such as that undertaken by the local committee, must commend itself to everybody. Certain it is that the endeavour to raise a substantial sum of money to send weekly parcels to prisoners from this locality met with very enthusiastic support. All previous records were easily broken, and the sale of flags, supplemented by donations, has resulted in approximately £500 being raised. The sale of flags in the town and village produced £211 14s 11d. It will be remembered that for the Alexandra Rose Day about £140 was raised, and this was the highest amount brought in before Saturday by “ flag day ” collections in Rugby.

Anticipating a large sale of flags, the committee secured no fewer than 35,000 for disposal in Rugby and the surrounding villages. The flags were specially made for this effort. On one side were the letters in white on blue ground, “ Rugby Prisoners of War Fund,” and on the reverse side was a picture representing three British soldiers behind a barbed wire barricade, and guarded by Germans, with the word’s, “ Help our men,” printed at the foot.

The Benn Buildings, kindly lent by the Urban District Council, formed the centre of operations, and about 300 people helped in the collection. Some of the flag sellers were astir quite early in the morning, and towards mid-day there seemed a likelihood of the supply of flags giving out, and accordingly small Union Jacks were procured and stamped with the green seal familiar to local shopkeepers ; but by carefully regulating the sales throughout the town it was not found necessary to utilise a great number of these.

Another popular feature was the sale of sprays of lavender, of which between 7,000 and 8,000 were distributed. This idea originated with Mrs Bernard Hopps, of Thurlaston, and so great was the demand that extra supplies were needed. These were provided from the gardens of Mrs Hopps, Mr W Fiint, Mrs Blagden, Mrs Dickinson, Mm Eckersley, and others.

During the day Mr W Flint, the chairman of the committee, drove round the town and through the district in his car with Mr J R Barker, the energetic secretary, and visited the various depots which had been established.

On Sunday evening a special concert in aid of the Prisoners of War Fund was given at the Empire, the promoter being Mr B Morris, the proprietor. Admission was by silver collection, taken by Mrs Cosford and Miss Kimber. Miss Phyllis Morris and the artistes at the Empire gave their services, and a special film was shown. The proceeds of this concert amounted to just under £10.

The whole of the arrangements were carried out by the Hon Secretary, Mr J Reginald Barker, who received considerable assistance in the clerical work from Miss C M Judd.

Mr Barker made full use of the local newspapers in his publicity arrangements, and took advantage of every opportunity to make the cause of the prisoners of war understood and realised by everyone, in Rugby and the surrounding villages ; and this, no doubt, helped largely to bring about such a satisfactory result.


Alfred G Cox, shop manager, Poplar Grove, Rugby ; Ada Teague, 13 Park Road, Rugby ; George A Towers, newsagent, 120 Cambridge Street, Rugby ; Thos Norcross, draughtsman, Lodge Road, Rugby ; and John Henry Lines, Queen’s Head Inn, West Street, Rugby, were summoned for not obscuring lights as required by the Lighting Order.

Mrs Lines appeared for her husband, who was unwell, and said there was only a small light burning for a few minutes while she opened the window to let in some fresh air.—P.S Percival said at 11.15 he saw a bright light shining from the Queen’s Head. The blinds were not drawn, but there was a shade on the wrong side of the light. When he knocked at the door the light went out, but no one answered.—Mrs Lines said the reason she did not answer the door was that she thought it was a drunken soldier, against whom she had previously locked the door.—Fined £1.

A G Cox was summoned in respect of a light at the Co-operative Society’s Furniture Stores. He admitted the offence.—P.S Percival said he saw a bright light shining through the window of the furniture shop.—Defendant said he went in at midnight for the purpose of stock-taking, and switched on the light without thinking to first draw down the blind.—Fined £1.

Mr Towers said the light was showing accidentally.—P.C Lovell said he saw a bright light shining from the bedroom. Defendant’s attention was drawn to it, and he said he was sorry it had occurred. He did all he could to comply with the regulations. Mr Towers said the window was thrown up and the blind was blown outwards by the wind.—Fined £1.

T Norcross also admitted the offence.—P.C Elkington said at 10.35 p.m he saw a bright incandescent light shining from the bedroom window on to the houses opposite. The blind was not drawn.—Defendant said he had only been in the house a week, and the blinds had not been fixed. That was the first time he had used the gas, and that was only for a minute, because he had no candle in the room.—Fined £1.

Mr W Davis, solicitor, Rugby, appeared for Mrs Teague, and pleaded guilty.—P.C Elkington stated that he saw a bright light shining from the back of Mrs Teague’s house. There were two naked lights down-stairs and one upstairs. No blinds were drawn.—Mr Davis stated that Mrs Teague, who took in boarders, had taken down the blinds that night to wash them, and had retired to bed. One of the boarders subsequently turned on the light, not knowing that the blinds had been taken down.—Fined £1.

POINTS FOR FARMERS.—The War Agricultural Committee have received official information of interest to farmers in the district on the following points :— Sulphate of ammonia can be bought during August and September for 15s per cwt nett cash on condition that it is removed from the seller’s works before September 30th. After that the price will be raised to 15s 6d per cwt. Labour Exchanges are still authorised to deal with applications for soldiers to assist with the harvest.

THE PARISH CHURCH CLOCK.—For the present the church clock will not strike the hours and quarters. In view of air raids, all clocks have to be silent at night, and the churchwardens found it too expensive for the strike to be detached every evening and connected again next morning.

Henton, Cecil. Died 9th Sep 1916

Cecil Henton was born in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, and his birth was registered there in the second quarter of 1896. He was the son of Edward George Henton and his wife, Eleanor. Cecil and his parents moved to Rugby in about 1900 where another son and then four daughters would be born. In 1901 the family was living at 6 Railway Villas, Railway Terrace, Rugby and Cecil’s father was a ‘Goods Agent, Railway’.

In 1911, Cecil when was 15, he was still living with his parents, but they were now at 50 Newbold Road, Rugby. He was already working as a Railway Clerk, as was his father. The family would later move to 235 Railway Terrace, Rugby, which address was noted in the military records.

Cecil enlisted at Southam as a Private, No.16787, in the 15th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. With only the minimum details on his Medal Card and no surviving Service Record, it is difficult to reconstruct Cecil’s service history. His service number can be compared to similar numbers and it seems likely that he joined up in about December 1915. Several men had joined the Royal Warwickshire Regiment from Rugby in November, one of whom had the slightly earlier number 15720.

The 15th Battalion (2nd Birmingham) Royal Warwickshire Regiment had been formed in Birmingham by the Lord Mayor and a local Committee in September 1914. The Battalion moved to Sutton Coalfield and then in June 1915 to Wensleydale to join the 95th Brigade of the 32nd Division and later moved to Salisbury Plain.

On 21 November 1915 the Battalion mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne, and on 14 January 1916 transferred to 13th Brigade in the 5th Division. At this date Cecil was probably still under training. In March 1916, the Division took over a section of front line near Arras, between St Laurent Blangy and the southern edge of Vimy Ridge. When the offensive opened on the Somme on 1 July 1916, the 5th Division was enjoying a period of rest and re-fit and was in GHQ Reserve. However, this restful time was not destined to last and in July 1916 they moved some 50 miles south to reinforce the Somme.

The 5th Division was involved in the attacks on High Wood, which had begun on 14 July and went on until mid-September. Then from 3 to 6 September 1916, the 5th Division was involved in the Battle of Guillemont, a village to the south of Delville Wood, where here was fierce fighting and many casualties.

It seems probable that Cecil was wounded during one of these battles prior to 9 September 1916, and he was evacuated to the British Military Hospital No. 2 at Quai d’ Escale, Le Havre.

During the First World War, Le Havre was the No.1 Base and by the end of May 1917, contained three general and two stationary hospitals, and four convalescent depots. Part of the No.2 Hospital was built above the station on the Quai d’Escale, and another section was in the Casino Lechin, still in all its pre-war grandeur!

The French records note that Cecil ‘died of wounds’ at three o’clock in the evening, on 9 September 1916. He was buried in the nearby Ste. Marie Cemetery, Le Harve, in Grave Reference: Div.3. F.4.   His headstone was later inscribed with the words ‘Thy will be done’.

The Ste. Marie Cemetery is one of the town cemeteries, but it is actually situated in the commune of Graville-St. Honorine, overlooking Le Havre from the north. The first Commonwealth burials took place in Division 14 of Ste Marie Cemetery in mid August 1914. Burials in Divisions 19, 3, 62 and 64 followed successively.

Cecil was awarded the British War and Victory medals, he would have arrived in France too late to receive the 1915 Star.

His father received £3-13-9d on 22 December 1916, and then a £3-0-0 ‘gratuity’ on 6 October 1919.



This article on Cecil Henton was researched and written for a Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the Rugby Family History Group, September 2016.

Green, Frederick John. Died 7th Sep 1916

Frederick John Green was born in 1890 at Headington, Oxford, the oldest of five children of Frederick Green (b 1857 in Oxford) and Louisa Greenfield Green, née Palmer (b 1866, Bowerchalke, Wilts and died 1916 in New Bilton), his wife. Frederick sen. was an iron foundry worker who after several moves around the country, was in 1911 residing at 4, Gladstone Street, New Bilton.

Frederick John Green was educated at St Matthews School, Rugby, and followed his father into the foundry business. He was shown in the 1911 census returns as residing with his father and employed as a bore maker in an iron foundry. However by the the time he joined the army he was working with the Humber Motor Company in Coventry.

Frederick John Green enlisted on 2nd September 1914 in the 12th Battalion, Kings Royal Rifle Corps as a rifleman, regimental no. R/1855, and was sent to France on 23 July 1915. During the 1916 Battles of the Somme, he was sent to the No.21 Casualty Clearing Station at La Neuville where he died of his wounds on 7 September 1916. He was buried at the nearby La Neuville British Cemetery where his grave is one of 866 that is maintained by the CWGC. A single man, he was survived by his father and four siblings.

In addition to being remembered on the Memorial Gates, Whitehall Road, Rugby, he also features on the New Bilton War Memorial.



Lee, Charles Robert. Died 6th Sep 1916

Charles Robert Lee was born in 1879 in Rugby and was baptised 20th Feb 1880 at St Andrews Church Rugby. He was the son of Mary Ann Lee (nee) Batchelor who was born in Rugby in 1859 and Henry Lee who was born 1857 in Derby and died circa 1880.

In 1881 he lived at 34 Railway Terrace Rugby, the home of his grandparents John Batchelor and Sarah Jane Batchelor (nee Brooks). Also at this address were his mother Mary Ann Lee and his brother Thomas Henry (who was born in 1877 in Derby), together with six of Mary Ann’s siblings.

In 1891 he lived at 18 Gas Street together with his mother Mary Ann who had now remarried James Barnett, a bricklayers labourer. His brother Thomas was living there too, together with two sons of James Barnett aged 3 and 3 months and Mary Ann.

Charles enlisted in the Coldstream Guards and served as Private No 876 in the 5th Battalion in the South Africa War. He served at the Belmont and Modder River and was wounded in eight places in his arm in the 2nd Boer War at Magersfontein on 11th Feb 1899. Following this he was partially disabled and received a pension.

In 1901 His mother Mary Ann was widowed again and a laundress. They lived at 11 Gas Street Rugby together with his brother Thomas (a brickmaker’s labourer and three step brothers, James Barnett born 1889, Frances Barnett born 1894 and Samuel Barnett born 1895. They had a lodger too, Walter Sansom born 1880 in Thornton Heath Surrey, a groom. Charles’ mother Mary Ann married Walter Sansom later that year.

On 13th August 1904 Charles married Elsie Rose Maltby, born in Daventry in 1882 and died in Rugby in 1944. The marriage was at St Andrews Church Rugby. They went on to have five children: Henry Thomas Lee born 1905, Winifred Lee born 1907, Rose Ann Lee born 1908, Daisy Lee born 1911 and Francis James Lee born 1912, all in Rugby.

He was a well known Rugby footballer and played for the Star New Bilton, Britannia, Rugby First, Northampton, Coventry and represented the Midland Counties.

He offered to rejoin his old regiment again in the First World War and served with the Coldstream Guards for eighteen months. He was admitted to the Hospital of St Cross in Rugby and died there following an operation on 6th September 1916. He is buried in Grave K279 at Clifton Road Cemetery Rugby together with his stepfather James Barnett. His stepbrother Samuel Barnett who died in the First World War on 25th September 1915.

Charles was awarded the Victory & British War Medals.