4th Nov 1916. St Matthews Old Boy’s Story of High Wood


Rifleman R Coles, of the London Regiment (Post Office Rifles), in a letter to Mr R H Myers, headmaster of his old school, writes of his personal experiences of the fighting at High Wood :—

“ It was the first time the ‘ Tanks ‘ were used. I was never more surprised in my life than when I saw them coming down shell holes and over trenches, and rattling out their rations for the Huns. It was great and made one feel proud of England to think we had got something which the enemy had not. On this eventful morning we were all ‘ standing to,’ waiting for 6.00[?] to come, and on the minute the order was given, ‘0ver you go, lads,’ and we were soon over. We got through the wood all right, but at the edge the enemy gave up a very heavy curtain fire. It was awful, but we lost comparatively few, and on we went into the open. It was a grand sight to see all our boys advancing, just like one straight line, as far as you could see. Unfortunately, about 150 yards from the wood, I was shot right through the right foot and right wrist. For a few minutes I lay down, and then I got up to get my rifle and in doing so received another wound in my right thigh, so I had to get to a shell hole. After about four hours some of the boys carried me to one of the German trenches we had taken. I was all right there for a time till we had heavy shelling, and I got buried up to the ears—a sensation I never want again. When they dug me out I was a wreck, but some of my companions were dead when they got them out. It seemed impossible to get stretcher bearers, so I decided to try and crawl back, succeeded after over seven hours crawling. When I got to the dressing station it was 25 hours after being wounded ; but what a relief it was to get there and have my wounds attended to ! Then followed a weary journey on stretchers and motors and jolting on French hospital trains. I was glad to find myself at last at Bristol, and it does seem a treat to be back in dear Old England. Everyone in this hospital is so kind that it is just like being at home.”


Lieut O H Buckingham, of the Leicestershire Regt. who was, before the war, on the staff of the B T.H. has been mentioned in despatches by Sir Percy Lake. Lieut Buckingham served in France before leaving for Egypt and the Persian Gulf, and he served under Gen. Sir Percy Lake’s Tigris Force in the Kut Relief Expedition. On January 7th at the battle of Sheikh Sa’ad he was severely wounded and sent to India, whence he was invalided home in September.


P.C Victor Rollason, who at the outbreak of the war was a member of the local force, and was called up as belonging to the reserve of the East Lancashire Regt. has just been granted a commission in the 17th Manchester Regt.


The names of fourteen men of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment who, after being notified as missing, are now reported as being prisoners of war, are included in the latest casualty lists. The following Rugby men are included : W F College, H McDonald, A Walker, F Nicholls (King’s Own Lancs) ; previously reported killed.



News has been received at the B.T.H Works that Sergt M O’Brien, of the Oxford and Bucks L.I, was killed in action about the 15th October, Sergt M O’Brien, who enlisted at the commencement of the war, was formerly employed in the Foundry Department.



SERGT C DASHWOOD.—The friends of Charlie Dashwood will be pleased to hear that he has now been promoted to Sergeant. He enlisted in the R.F.A at the outbreak of war, but has since volunteered for one of the Trench Mortar Batteries, in which he has obtained rapid promotion. His father volunteered when the South African War was on, and lost his life there.


Field-Marshal Lord French is inspecting the five Warwickshire Battalions of Volunteers in Calthorp Park, Birmingham, on Sunday next. This is undoubtedly a historic event in the present Volunteer movement, and is in continuation of the numerous inspections which Lord French has been making for several weeks past. We understand the Rugby Corps, which forms the larger part of B Company of the 2nd Battalion is turning out in strength.


Military appeals chiefly occupied the attention of this Tribunal at the sitting at St Mary’s Hall, Coventry, on Wednesday evening, when there were present : Messrs M K Pridmore (chairman), W Johnson, jun, P G Loveitt, and K Rotherham ; Military representative, Mr M E T Wratislaw.

The Coventry Military representative mentioned the case of a farm servant named Buckingham, of Combe Fields, it having been suggested that he should be used as a substitute.—Mr Wratislaw thought the man might go into the employ of Mr Corbishly, of Brandon, and an order was made that the man might be so used, it being left with the Military to decide whether the place was suitable or not.

On behalf of Thos Arthur Stephenson, woollen and cotton rag merchant, Newbold Road, Rugby, whose case had been postponed for him to find work of national importance, Mr Harold Baden said the man was to present himself on the following day at the Daimler Works, Coventry—Adjourned for 14 days.

An appeal was made on behalf of Alfred William Elsley (35, married), 70 King Edward Road, Rugby, a manager of grocery stores in Sheep Street.—Mr Wratislaw said the man was in charge of a branch shop, and simply ordered his goods through the head office.—Given to December 31st, to carry him over Christmas time, with the intimation that he would have to be ready then.

Percy John Allen (30, married), boot maker, 131 Cambridge Street, who had been given to October 31, again appealed, mainly on the grounds of domestic hardship.—Mr Wratislaw did not think there was any hardship worse than in many other cases.—Appeal dismissed, the Military to allow 28 days.

Pleading that the man would be responsible to the landlord for the rent of the farm next March, and had a large amount of capital invested in stock, Mr Harold Eaden asked for conditional exemption for Fred Green (26, married), Castle Farm, Woolscott.—As he would not be called up till January 1st, the Tribunal unanimously agreed to dismiss the appeal.

Temporary exemptions granted to two members of Messrs Foster & Dicksee’s staff were appealed against by the Military. They concerned Herbert Watson, 20 Arnold Street, and James Henry Pennington, 54 Lawford Road, both of whom were married men and had been passed for service abroad. Mr Watson, who is acting secretary to the Company, put in a written appeal from the firm, stating that the business would be greatly dislocated by his loss as a cost clerk.—Mr Harold Baden represented Mr Pennington, who, he said had been with the firm 22 years, had two children, and heavy financial liabilities. He had also an appointment to present himself this week at H.M Factory at Queen’s Ferry, with respect to taking a post there.—The Chairman pointed out that Mr Watson was an attested man, and the Tribunal thought, therefore, that they must leave him. The Military appeal in this case was dismissed.—In the other case it was allowed.

In regard to Fredk Foster (26), coal carter, Barby, in the employ of the Rugby Coal and Coke Co, the amount of wages paid (25s weekly) evidently weighed with the Tribunal in their decision to uphold the Military appeal against a temporary exemption till November 15th.—Mr Wratislaw said another employee had left and gone to the Co-operative Society, where he received 30s weekly, and 2s war bonus.—Mr Brereton, who represented the Company, produced a copy of a futile advertisement for another man.—The Chairman : We are unanimous that a man earning 25s a week cannot be indispensable, and we allow the appeal. We give you 28 days.

Exception was also taken by the Military to the temporary exemption granted to Percy Leeson (25, single), 48 Chapel Street, Rugby, engaged chiefly in the delivery of parcels for Messrs Sutton & Co.—Mr Wratislaw said they sent as a substitute a reliable man on October 6th, and he was told they did not require him.—Mrs Lesson, mother of appellant, said she fully explained to the man who came the nature of the business, and he said he would not think of taking such a responsible post.—Mr Wratislaw : He came back to the recruiting officer and said you told him you didn’t require anyone.—The Military appeal was allowed, but 28 days was given, and Mr Wratislaw promised that the same substitute should be sent again, or they would try and find another.

Exemption to January 1st had been granted to Thos Wm Durham, carter and horsekeeper (30, married), 13 Campbell Street, New Bilton, on the ground that his occupation was principally that of carting flour from Rugby Station to bakers, and also the carting of hay, oats, etc, to the remount departments.-The Military had appealed, and Mr Wratislaw said almost next door was a carter named Lowe who had been sent into the army, and it was not fair that one should be taken and anotherbleft.—Mr Worthington said lest month Mr Durham carted 293 tons of flour, and the carting for the remounts was 24 tons a month.—On Mr Wratislaw offering to find a substitute, the case was adjourned for 14 days.

Thos Mm Alfred Arnold, firewood and hardware dealer, 54 Avenue Road, New Bilton, appealed, through Mr Harold Eaden, for the temporary exemption granted by the Local Tribunal to be confirmed, but that it might be varied so as not to be made final.—In this case a munition order, subject to the approval of the substitution officer at Rugby, was granted.

S Mackaness, Cestersover, appealed on behalf of his son, Chas Henry Mackaness (19, single), described as a shepherd, on a farm of 940 acres, of which 130 were arable. In reply to Mr Wratislaw, appellant said he had four sons, neither of whom was in the army.—The Chairman : You will get to the 1st of January. We shall dismiss the appeal.

ABSENTEE.—At the Rugby Police Court on Monday, before J. E. Cox, Esq, Ellis John Hewitt, of Dunchurch Road, Rugby, pleaded guilty to being an absentee from the R.W.R, and was remanded to await an escort.


DEAR SIR,-This Society is a company of ladies who make wind-proof waistcoat linings for our soldiers and sailors out of old gloves. Some friends in it have asked me to find out if Rugby will help them with old gloves of any kind of skin or fur ; woollen gloves are not used. Any such gloves, so long as there is a square inch of sound skin in them, will be gratefully received at 10 Moultrie Rood, or at Mr S Overs, 19 High Street, and will be sent to the Society and promptly used.—Yours faithfully, W H PAYNE-SMITH.


DYKE.—Killed in action in France, on October 12th, 1916, CORPL. OTHELLO DYKE, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, the dearly beloved brother of Mona Barrett, of Bilton Grange, aged 34.

HOWES.—The beloved wife of Pte. J. C. Howes, died suddenly, October 20th, 1916, aged 26 years.


PARKER.—In loving memory of EDWARD JOSEPH, the beloved son of Mr. and Mrs. T. Parker, of Dunchurch, died of wounds received in action on November 3rd, 1914.
— Not forgotten by Father, Mother, Brothers, and Sisters.-“ At Rest.”

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