11th Nov 1916. Inspection of Warwickshire Volunteers by Lord French

INSPECTION OF WARWICKSHIRE VOLUNTEERS BY LORD FRENCH.

At 8.45 on Sunday last the members of the Rugby Volunteer Corps fell in at the Drill Hall under Mr C H Fuller, the Commanding Officer of No 2 Company (comprising Rugby, Nuneaton, and Atherstone) of the 2nd Battalion of the Warwickshire Volunteer Regiment, to take their part in the inspection of the Warwickshire Regiment by the Field-Marshal, Lord French, at Calthorpe Park, Birmingham.

In due course the Battalion reached their allotted position, forming, together with the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Battalions, and a Company of Engineers, a Regiment some 3,000 in strength, under command of Col D F Lewis, C.B, Lieut-Col F F Johnstone (Commander of the 2nd Battalion) acting as Parade Commander.

Shortly after the Lord-Lieutenant of the County—the Earl of Craven—had arrived, Lord French, who had been met at the Station and accompanied by the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, entered the Park with his Staff, and was received with a General Salute. Without loss of time Lord French proceeded to inspect thoroughly each Battalion and Company of the Regiment, and afterwards in a clear strong voice addressed the Volunteers in terms which left no shadow of doubt in the minds of his hearers that they had won the appreciation of that gallant soldier and of the Authorities, and that they would be called upon to fill a role in the national defence which would release the more active soldier for services abroad. The discomforts of the pouring rain and the depressing weather were forgotten when words of praise for the soldierly bearing of the whole Regiment fell from the Field-Marshal’s lips ; words backed by his very emphatic statement, “ I mean what I say.”

Immediately after the inspection, and before addressing the Regiment, Lord French sent a special message to the 2nd Battalion, saying how pleased he was with them, and that from the way they stood they might have been soldiers all their lives. To the Rugby men this message was particularly gratifying, for they formed almost one complete Company of the Battalion to whom that message was sent.

The Rugby Corps arrived back in Rugby about 6.31 p.m, every man feeling that he had taken part in an historic event, marking one of the milestones on the road which Volunteers have set out to traverse- the road which shall lead them to be of service to their country whenever she may require it.

Notwithstanding the extremely bad weather, the conduct and general bearing of the men throughout the day was splendid.

The success of the inspection, and the keenness shown by the Rugby men, ought to have the effect of bringing new recruits, and enable the Rugby Corps to form itself into a complete Company.

THE POSSIBILITY OF AN INVASION.

On the same day Lord French inspected Volunteer at Bletchley, Oxford, and Wolverhampton.

In his address following the inspection at Birmingham, Lord French said the more men be saw of the Volunteer regiments the more he realised their enormous value to the country. Unless he had seen it himself, he never would have believed of the existence in this country to-day of such an extraordinary residue of latent military strength.

At Wolverhampton he said that whenever they heard of naval engagements near our coasts, and there was one in the Channel only the other day-it was always possible that behind the enemy ships of war transports might be bringing troops to land in this country at some unoccupied point. The whole history of war taught us that what happened was something that we did not expect. Therefore he wanted them to remember that invasion was possible. He did not say it was probable or imminent, or menacing ; but it was possible. Hence the great importance of the Volunteer movement.

“ OUR OWN DAY.”

£150 RAISED FOR RED CROSS.

All previous Flag Day records in Rugby were eclipsed on Saturday, when £150 8s 8d was collected on behalf of the new auxiliary hospital for wounded soldiers, which is to consist of eighty beds, and is to be located at the Institution Infirmary. About 130 ladies, including 30 Red Cross Nurses, sold flags in the streets, and upwards of 20,000 of these small tokens were disposed of. The arrangements, as usual, were entrusted to Mr J R Barker, and although he had only ten days in which to carry through the effort, his organisation was so complete that everything passed off smoothly, and a good deal of the credit for the success of the effort was due to his experience in these matters. He received valuable assistance from Miss D E Wood, who acted as Hon Secretary, and from members of the Boys’ Brigade, who delivered supplies of flags, etc, to the various sellers, all of whom received their flags on Friday evening. Mr R P Mason, London City and Midland Bank, was the Hon Treasurer, and he was assisted in the counting of the money, which took place at the supply depot, the Benn Buildings (kindly lent by the Urban District Council), by Messrs J Ferry, W G Mitchell, J R Barker, and Miss Dickinson. Throughout the morning Mr Barker visited the various districts, and so complete were the arrangements that it was almost impossible for anyone to escape buying a flag. The efforts organised by Mr Barker during the past sixteen months have produced over £2,000, and we believe few towns of the size of Rugby can show such a result.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Captain Thomas Ainsworth Townsend, R.A.M.C, of Clifton, has been awarded the Military Cross.

There are 200 conscientious objectors in Warwick prison.

Pte A Godwin (South Staffordshires), who, when in Rugby, was engaged at Mr A Dicken’s, hairdresser, Clifton Road, is now a prisoner of war at Dülmen, Germany. He was a member of the Conservative Club.

THE RUGBY FARMERS’ MOTOR AMBULANCE.

An officer belonging to Rugby, now at the front, was recently returning from the firing line when he met a motor ambulance, and on it he saw with pleasurable surprise the inscription, “ Presented by the Rugby and District Farmers’ Association.” The officer is probably the only Rugby man in that locality.

LOCAL CASUALTIES.

MR G F HOWKINS LOSES ANOTHER SON.

Sincere sympathy will be felt with Mr G F Howkins, of Crick, in the fact that his youngest son, Mr Sidney Howkins, has been killed in France. The young soldier, who was about 25 years of age, was formerly employed in the Northamptonshire Union Bank, and when war broke out he joined the Northamptonshire Yeomanry, Going with them to the front in the following November, he was killed on October 30. This is the second son Mr Howkins has lost owing to the war.

WOUNDED.—Pte H Lee, R.W.R, Clarence Road, New Bilton, gun shot in left leg ; Pte A Parkinson, Worcesters, Ringrose Court, gun shot wound and severe fracture of right leg.

PTE W STRATFORD, OF HARBOROUGH MAGNA.

Mrs Davenport, of Harborough Magna, has received official news that her brother, Pte W Stratford, of the R.W.R, died of wounds on October 29th. Pte Stratford, who was a native of Badby, and about 32 years of age, enlisted at the commencement of the war, and had been in France eighteen months.

SUDDEN DEATH OF AN OLD SOLDIER.

An inquest was held by the Deputy Coroner, Dr Day, at the Rugby Police Court on Monday, touching the death of Q.M.S William Henry Jones, Observer Co, which took place suddenly at his lodgings, 4 Frederick Street, on Friday morning. The deceased, who was 45 years of age, was, before he enlisted in September, 1914, a schoolmaster at Birkenhead. He was married shortly afterwards. For some years he had suffered very badly from rheumatism, but had not had rheumatic fever, although on one occasion he kept his bed for two months. He was not allowed to proceed to the front on account of his heart being weak. Since he had been at Rugby he had suffered a good deal from indigestion. His wife stated that at eight o’clock on Friday morning he went to the bathroom and locked the door. She afterwards heard him groaning, and called the landlady, Mrs Louch. A man was also summoned, a panel of the door was smashed, and they found deceased lying on the ground with his head towards the door.

Dr Patrick, who made a post-mortem examination, said the heart was very much enlarged, and one of the valves was diseased. In his opinion death was due to syncope.—Lieut Fergusson, of the Observer Co, said deceased was an old soldier, and went through the South Afrian War. His work was only of a sedentary nature.—A verdict was returned in accordance with the medical testimony, and the jury expressed sympathy with the widow.

The funeral took place on Tuesday afternoon, when, despite a heavy downpour of rain, there was a large number of spectators. The coffin was preceded by a firing party from Budbrooke Barracks, and the deceased’s comrades, of the Observer Company, under Lieut Fergusson, followed after the mourners. The first part of the service was conducted by the Rev C M, Blagden, Rector, and was held in the Parish Church. The coffin, which was covered with the Union Jack, and deceased’s belt and hat, was borne to the grave by his fellow N.C.O’s. After the service three volleys were fired, and the “ Last Post ” was sounded. Beautiful floral tributes were sent by his wife, his mother, and sister; Major B D Corbet and Lieut Fergusson ; from the headquarter staff, No 6 Observer Company, with a card attached, “ Mourning deeply a true and faithful comrade ” ; Mr and Mrs C F Louch ; Howard W Clayton, 11th King’s Regiment ; Harold and Tom ; Sergt-Major Rowland, R.F.C ; a few civilian friends ; Mrs D Barnwell ; J H Lane, Miss Bull, and Mrs F Solomon; and Mrs A Thomas.

RUGBY SOLDIER HONOURED.-Pte J Enticott, Oxford and Bucks L.I, has been awarded the military Medal for bravery shown on September 15th by attending wounded single handed under heavy shell fire. He is the youngest son of Mr A Enticott, of Union Street, and was formerly employed at the B.T.H. Works.

ABSENTEE.—At the Rugby Police Court on Friday morning, before T Hunter, Esq, George Henry Smith, of Rugby, was charged with being an absentee from the R.W.R, and was remanded to await an escort

THE PARCELS sent by the Rugby Prisoners of War Committee to local men who are prisoners of war in Germany this week contained : tea, condensed milk, baked beans, 1lb sugar, grape nuts, fish paste, herrings in tomato sauce, margarine, cocoa, and 2lbs biscuits.

THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME. — A SPECIAL ATTRACTION AT THE EMPIRE.—For six days commencing November 20th, a film giving pictures of the Battle of the Somme — Official War Pictures of the British Army in France, taken by permission of the War Office, 5,000 feet in five reels to be shown at The Empire, Rugby.

EPIDEMIC OF BIGAMY IN WARWICKSHIRE. — At the Warwickshire Assizes on Monday, Mr Justice Bailhache commented on the fact that four out of the seven prisoners for trial were charged with bigamy. He said there seemed to be an epidemic of bigamy in Warwickshire.

IN MEMORIAM

CLARKE.—In ever loving memory of Walter, younger son of the late E. T. Clarke, and of Mrs. Clarke, 19 Temple Street, Rugby, who was killed in action. November 15th, 1915.
“ Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
—Never forgotten by his Mother, Brother, and Sisters

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