14th Oct 1916. Horses for the Army



The two last issues of “ The Field ” contain articles by Col Mulliner, of Clifton Court, in which, he discusses the supply and maintenance of horses for the army after the war. It will be remembered that Col Mulliner was responsible for raising the Howitzer Brigade which was formed at Rugby and Coventry, and he was at once met with the difficulty of supplying it with horses. He, found that hiring, whether for their camps or for the local weekly or bi-weekly trainings, was not merely a waste of money, but that the number of horses which could be hired for Saturday afternoons and certain evenings of the summer months was ridiculously small. The absence of proper stabling was also a serious draw-back. To meet the difficulty, Col Mulliner, after investigating various continental systems, finally instituted the boarding-out system, which is now known as the “ Mulliner Scheme.” The success that attended this scheme in promoting the efficiency of units by which it was adopted, combined with greater economy and convenience, is Col Mulliner’s justification for putting forward a vaster and more comprehensive scheme to deal with all, or nearly all, the army horses of the kingdom.

Col Mulliner points out that it is abundantly proved that the horse still remains an absolute necessity in modern warfare, and he takes it for granted National Service in some form will be continued. He calculates that for permanent use, and for periodical training, manoeuvres, etc, something like 300,000 horses is the fewest number which must always be immediately available for monthly trainings in peace, and for mounting the army in time of war.

As to where this number of horses is to be obtained, Col Mulliner reminds us that at the conclusion of hostilities the Government will be in possession of a large number still serviceable, and instead of selling these off at once, or even gradually, most likely at ridiculous prices, he suggests that they should be retained to inaugurate his scheme, and sent to the “ homes ” which will, if the scheme is adopted, have bean arranged for them.

Probably doubts may be raised as to the ability to provide homes for so large a number of horses, but judging from the great success of the scheme in Warwickshire, and if the whole country and towns are properly worked, it may be found that users of horses willing to receive them and board them will be found in fair numbers.

What we have to consider is that whereas the stock of horses actually possessed by the Army at the outbreak of war was something under 25,000, when the war is at an end probably ten times that number will be required to keep the standing army in a state of efficiency. How is this to be done ? Either the State must maintain some 300,000, more or less, or the sane number (less those required at permanent establishments) should be kept and used by individuals while remaining the property of the State. Col Mulliner urges that if the scheme is adopted, the necessary organisation should be taken in hand at once, and not left till the end of the war.


After running on the L & N-W Railway for nearly a year, the passenger engine of the “ Prince of Wales ” type, named in honour of the late Nurse Cavell, was recently brought to Rugby Erecting Shop for repairs. These were completed yesterday (Friday), and before the locomotive left Rugby the idea occurred to Mr J Shaw, the shop foreman, to have it decorated in honour of the brave British lady after whom it was named. The men willingly fell in with the idea, and there was no lack of autumn flowers to adorn the engine. Prominence was given on the side to the motto, “ Lest we forget,” and also to a special wreath subscribed for by those employed in the Erecting Shop. Other wreaths, and also small Union Jacks, were included in the general scheme of decoration, which was carried out in an effective and pleasing manner, the work when finished being greatly admired.

RUGBY NURSE HONOURED.—At the recent investiture held at Buckingham Palace on October 7th, His Majesty the King presented Miss Mabel Allibone, of Charles Street, Rugby, with the Royal Red Cross for valuable services rendered during the war. Miss Allibone, who is a native of Rugby, was called up for nursing services on the outbreak of the war.


When notification is received of probable Zeppelin raids police officers and the special constables for Rugby are called out, and it is part of their duty to patrol the streets and roads, and where lights are showing to request people to extinguish them.

It does not seem to be generally understood that in such circumstances all lights are to be extinguished at the request of the responsible Military or Police Authorities., and neglect or refusal may involve the offender in serious penalties.

It is not in such a case a question of whether only a “ dull subdued light ” is being shown ; but, however weak or small the illumination, a request to extinguish it from the Military Police or Special Constables must be instantly complied with.


R ATHEY, an Old Laurentian, formerly pupil and teacher at the Murray School, who has seen service in the ranks in France, has been gazetted to a second lieutenancy in the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders.

The weekly parcels sent to the 64 local men who are prisoners of war in Germany this week contained tea, tin of milk, large tin of corned beef, large tin of tomatoes, tin of sauce, tablet of soap, ½-lb of margarine, 2lbs of biscuits, and a thick, warm woollen vest.

“ The Rennbahn Church Times ” it the title of a little magazine issued by the British prisoners in the internment camp at Rennbahn. A copy for September has been sent to Mr J R Barker by Pte F A Ward, of the 2nd Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry, a Ryton-on-Dunsmore man, who is interned there. It consists of eight small pages, the first of which contains an illustrated line drawing of the interior of the church. The price is 10 pfennigs, about 1d, or 5s for the home country. The September issue is the first anniversary number, but the editor docs not wish to stay there longer than he can help, so he will not express the hope that the journal will have a long run.


Mrs T Howard, 26 Clifton Road, has received a letter from her son, Pte Samuel L Howard, of the R.A.M.C, dated September 16th, saying he has been wounded by a piece of shrapnel through the right knee. He has been operated upon three times, and is now in Hospital at Rouen.—Pte S L Howard joined the R.A.M.C in September, 1915, and was sent to France in April, 1916.

Gunner Joseph Fenton, of the Rugby Howitzer Battery, son of Mr T Fenton, 9 Pinfold Street, New Bilton, has been rather seriously wounded in the back and shoulder by a tear shell, while asleep behind the lines, and is at present in the Hospital at Ashton-under-Lyne. Gunner Fenton was before the war a ringer at the Parish Church.—Driver H Hughes, another member of the Battery, living at Paradise Street, Rugby, has also been wounded, and is in a hospital in England.


News has been received at the B.T.H that Corpl L Davies, R.E, has been killed in action. Previous to enlistment Corpl Davies, who is a Welshman, was employed in the Chemical Laboratory at the B.T.H. He was about 26 years of age.


The casualty list of St Matthew’s School continues to now at a rapid rate. During the last three weeks the following have been notified :— Lieut W D Wroe, Lincolnshire Regiment, a former member of the teaching staff, killed in action ; old boys—Rifleman F J Green, King’s Royal Rifles, died from wounds ; Rifleman G Norman, King’s Royal Rifles, killed in action ; Pte H Hopkins, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, missing ; Rifleman R Coles, London Regiment ; Rifleman W Harris, King’s Royal Rifles ; Lance-Corpl H Thompson, Oxford and Bucks LI ; Pte G Baker, Royal Warwickshire Regiment ; and Pte J W West, Australian I.E.F, wounded.


The Inhabitants are pleased to hear that Gunner G Redmanyne of the Rugby Howitzer Battery has gained the Military Medal for bravery.

Corpl Walter Ryland, of this village, at present serving with the B.E.F. in the Railway and Canal Troops, has been offered a commission in the Motor Machine Gun Corps, but owing to medical unfitness was unable to accept it.



A service in memory of the late Lieut-Col F C B West, R.F.A, of “ Bawnmore,” Bilton, who was killed in action on September 29th, was held in St Mark’s Church, Bilton, on Friday afternoon, when despite the inclement weather, the church was filled with friends and neighbours anxious to show their respect for the gallant colonel. The members of the family present were : Mrs F C B West (widow), Mrs Bowen Coulthurst (sister), Mrs West (stepmother), Miss West (half-sister), Mr and Mrs Dewar, Capt Michael Dewar, Miss Dewar, Dr and Mrs Sadler, Mrs Bartholomew, and Miss Bartholomew, of Towcester. Amongst others who attended were Col H H Mulliner, of the Howitzer Brigade, Major Hardisty, representing the Warwickshire County Association, Major Mortimore. D.S.O, once adjutant of the brigade, Major Claude Seabroke, Capt Thomas, Rev G M Hardwich, Mrs C G Steel, Mr H P Burdekin, Mr J J McKinnell, Mr and Mrs W Brooke, Mrs Nickalls, Mr H V Wait, Mr A Adnitt, Mr F E Hands, Mrs Assheton, Mr and Mrs S Robbins, Mr A J Ashew, Mr G Whiteman, Mr F Betts, Mr F Fellows, Miss Scott, etc, and also members of the New Bilton Cheerup Club, of which Mrs West is a prominent supporter. The service, which was of a brief, simple, but impressive character, was conducted by the Rector, Rev W Assheton, R.D. At the commencement the organist, Mr J E Boynton, played “ O rest in the Lord.” Psalm cxxi was chanted, and the special lesson was taken from the third chapter of Solomon. The hymns used were “ The saints of earth and those above,” and “ For all the saints who from their labours rest.” At the conclusion of the service the organist played Beethoven’s “ Marche Funebre.”


Arising out of the first case on the list—that of Bertram Henry Waring, 13 Earl Street, Rugby, shepherd and stud-groom in the employ of Mr Chas Wilson, Three Horse Shoes Hotel—discussion took place with reference to the letter circulated by the Army Council to recruiting officers that, subject to certain considerations, no more men from among those now employed in agriculture will be called to the colours till January 1st next.—The Tribunal granted a temporary exemption till December 6th, and Mr Channing asked what about what about the new ruling, the man being engaged in agriculture ?— Mr Wale : He must be fully engaged in agriculture.

Mr Eaden said one of his clients had received notice not to attend that day, as he was not to be called up.—The Chairman said the Tribunal had received no instructions whatever about the new Army Order.—The Clerk (Mr Nelson) understood the Military proposed to adjourn the case referred to, which would not affect the decision.—The Chairman understood the position was that although the Tribunal might decide that a man engaged in agriculture should go, the Military would not call him up till January, but that had nothing to do with the Tribunal.—This appellant would be given to December 6th, and it was very doubtful if they would extend that, as they thought it was a case where the man might be replaced.


Mr W H Linnell appeared in support of a claim for the exemption of Horace Walter Gilbert (23, single), electrician and wireman, 56 New Street, New Bilton.—He pointed out that the man had only been passed for “ Labour at home.” Before the war they employed about 85 men, and now there were only about 20. This was the only man left in the electrical department, which would have to be closed down if he went.—The Military had appealed against the temporary exemption granted to Mr Linnell, jun, and the Tribunal was informed that he was going into the Army in the following week.—The Chairman : I take it you agree to the Military appeal being upheld ?—Mr Linnell : That it so.—The Chairman : We will give this man to January 1st, as the other has gone. They have done very well, I think.


Absolute exemption was asked for by Mr Cockerill, of Birdingbury (through Mr Harold Eaden), in respect of his cowman, Wm Bethuel Ingram (30, married).—Given till January 1st.


In appealing on behalf of Capt Henry Boughton-Leigh, R.F.A, Brownsover Hall, for Walter Congreve, estate carpenter, Churchover, Mr Worthington mentioned an additional reason for his exemption. Capt Boughton-Leigh had been requested by the War Office to fell about 50 trees on his Northamptonshire estate, and this work would fall upon Congreve, who was now the only man left, with the exception of an aged gardener.—The Chairman said he thought the army could provide its own tree fellers. The man having been passed for general service, there would be no total exemption in this case.—Given till December 6th, and the Chairman said it was extremely improbable that the time would be extended.


“ Please decide my case in my absence, as I am very busy getting ready to join the army,” wrote Frederick Ernest Wm Lowe, grocer, sub-postmaster, etc, 112 Lawford Road, New Bilton. He added : “ As I have rather a large business which I shall have to close down, I cannot waste my time by coming to Coventry.”—The Clerk said appellant only asked for a short time.—The Chairman : Where a man meets as like this, we ought to help him.—Given 21 days.


Temporary exemption to December 1st had been granted by the Local Tribunal to Richard Bruno Meerholz, hairdresser, of 23 High Street, Rugby, who had been passed for labour B, but the Military appealed, Mr Wratislaw stating that there were other hairdressers in Rugby whose businesses had been closed, and who were natural born British subjects, whereas this man was naturalised. In reply to the Chairman, appellant said he had been naturalised eight years.—Given to November 30th, with the intimation that it would not be much use making a further application.


THURSDAY.—Before T Hunter, Esq.

FAILING TO REPORT HIMSELF.—Percy Douglas Elliott, 80 Bridget Street, Rugby, pleaded not guilty to a charge of being an absentee under the Military Service Act since August 17th.—He called A Corbett, Elliott held a War Service Badge Certificate.—It transpired that defendant left the B.T.H Works on July 26th, and was now employed at the Standard Motor Works, Coventry, but was not yet badged.—The Military representative said defendant offered no explanation why he should not join the Army, and the Magistrate said his proper procedure was to have appealed to the Tribunal. He could only fine him £1, to be deducted from his pay, and hand him over to the Military Authorities.


BUSSON.-In loving memory of our dear son, WILLIAM ALFRED BUSSON, who was killed in France on September 26th, 1914 ; aged 31.
“ He gave his life for his country.”

BUSSON.-In loving memory of our dear son, ERNEST CHARLES BUSSON, who was killed in action in France on October 17, 1915 ; aged 23 years.
“ He bravely answered duty’s call,
His life he gave for one and all ;
But the unknown grave is the bitterest blow,
None but aching hearts can know.”

HAWKINS.—In loving memory of Pte. ALFRED HAWKINS, of Harborough Magna, previously reported wounded and missing, May 10, 1915 ; now reported dead. R.I.P.—“ To live in the hearts of those we leave behind is not to die.”

LANCASTER.-Previously reported to be wounded and missing between May 8 and 11, 1915, now officially presumed to have been killed, Major J. C. LANCASTER, ROYAL Warwickshire Regt., elder son of the late Robert Lancaster, of Allesley, Warwickshire, and of Mrs. R. Lancaster, of The Grange, South Nutfield, Surrey, and grandson of the late John Lancaster, M.P., Bilton Grange, near Rugby.

1 thought on “14th Oct 1916. Horses for the Army

  1. Pingback: Linnell, William Henry. Died 8th Apr 1918 | Rugby Remembers

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