B.T.H AIRMAN KILLED.
News has been received at the B.T.H this week that Second Lieut J E Townsend, R.F.C, was killed while flying near Bristol on January 2nd. Lieut Townsend, who was, until the outbreak of war, employed in the tinsmith department at the B.T.H Works, enlisted in 1914 in the Worcester Regiment, and was subsequently granted a commission and transferred to the Royal Flying Corps. It was stated at the inquest, at which a verdict of accidental death was returned, that Lieut Townsend was under instruction, and had had sufficient experience to fly alone. He was navigating a machine, and Second Lieut Francis Bissicks, a trained pilot, accompanied him. There was nothing in the weather or engine conditions to explain the accident. The machine seemed to lose speed and nose-dive to the ground. Lieut Townsend was killed instantly, and his companion received injuries to which he succumbed at the Bristol Royal Infirmary.
LOCAL WAR NOTES.
Sir Henry Horne, K.C.B, whose home is at East Haddon, Northants, has been promoted Lieutenant-General as a Now Year Honour. The Czar of Russia has also conferred on General Horne the Order of St Vladimir.
“ No more men must be called from the land for military service under present circumstances.”-Mr Prothero’s instructions to Tribunals.
Miss M Cook, of Holmby, Clifton Road, Rugby, has paid over £21 16s 9d from the whist drive held in the Co-operative Hall recently in aid of the Star and Garter Fund.
An oak lining has been placed round one of the pillars of St Peter’s Church by Mrs Duncuff, in memory of her husband, L-Corpl A P Duncuff, who was killed in action in France on August 3rd, 1916.
Captain (temporary Major) Eustace C Brierley, formerly of Rugby, has been awarded the D.S.O.
Temporary Major Leonard Tate, of Swinford Lodge, was mentioned by Sir Douglas Haig in his despatches, and his name appeared in the list published on Jan 3rd.
Second Lieut S E Rogers, of the Somerset L.I, formerly for some years in Rugby, was mentioned in Sir Douglas Haig’s recent despatch for gallant service in the Somme fighting.
Temporary Major Henry Noel Hoare, A.S.C, was one of the recipients of the D.S.O in the New Year Honours list. When living in Rugby some years ago, he was well known as a very capable exponent of Rugby football (on the three-quarter line), hockey, and cricket, playing fairly regularly with the town clubs.
Capt F S Neville, Northampton Regiment, is among the officers mentioned for special bravery in the field in the Commander-in-Chiefs recent despatches. Capt Neville, who was badly wounded early in the Somme Battle, is an Old Laurentian, and was a member of the staff of St Matthew’s Boys’ School when the War broke out.
In his monthly letter in the Parish Magazine the Rector says :— Mr Dugdale has just written home to me to say that he has been appointed Chaplain to the 5th Army Infantry School for Officers and N.C.O.’s, and that he now has a chance of doing “ a permanent piece of work—that chance which one always longs for in a battalion and never gets.” He is anxious to start a regular Institute, with a reading room and a chapel in it.
Amongst the Army Chaplains specially mentioned in Sir Douglas Haig’s despatch relating to operations on the Western front, appears the name of the Rev C T B McNulty, who is well known in Rugby and district. The reverend gentleman has been Vicar of Holy Trinity, Leamington, since 1912. Ordained in 1898, he served as Curate in Edgbaston Parish Church for two years. He left to become Curate of Holy Trinity. Coventry, and in 1905 was preferred the living of Dunchurch, and remained there for seven years.
PROHIBITION OF WOOL SALES.
The first public sitting of the War Losses Commission for awarding compensation in respect of property taken over by the Government under the Defence of the Realm Regulations was held at Spencer House, St James, on Tuesday. The Commission, which was composed of Sir James Woodhouse (chairman), Mr E Shortt, K.C, and Sir Matthew Wallace, has already held over a hundred sittings in private.
The prohibition of the Wool Sales at Rugby last summer formed the subject of an application by Messrs Cropper, Steward, and Cattell, auctioneers, of Rugby, who asked for compensation for loss sustained by reason of the prohibition of their wool sale by the Government. It was stated that the wool was gathered from the farmers in the district, and the sale had been extensively advertised for June 21. On June 8, however, a general order was made prohibiting dealings in wool, and the War Office telegraphed prohibiting the sale.
The Chairman ruled that as the prohibition was in the nature of a general order affecting the whole of the United Kingdom, any loss which had been sustained by reason of such order was outside the warrant of the Commission. They were not authorised to grant compensation for losses sustained in common, and the claim was therefore barred.
Mr Cattell urged that it was rather a hard case.
The Chairman : We have a good many hard cases before us. We cannot act on sympathy.
The firm were allowed their expenses.
A similar application by Messrs Tait, Sons, and Pallant was dealt with in a like manner.
GOVERNMENT SCHEME EXPLAINED AT BILTON.
At a meeting of the Bilton Parish Council held in the Church House, Bilton, on Wednesday evening, representatives from several surrounding parishes attended for the purpose of debating the Board of Agriculture’s scheme for increasing the home production of food as plained by Miss Day, of the Board of Agriculture.
Mr A E Warr (vice-chairman of the Parish Council) presided, and other members of the Council present were : Messrs F M Burton, J Veasey, A T Watson, G H Frost, and E J Smith. In addition there were also present : Mr Graham Patterson and Lady Rowenao Patterson (hom secretaries of the Rugby Sub-Committee of the County Agricultural Committee), Miss Day, Major and Mrs Neilson, Mrs Latouche, Miss Hastings, Mrs J Parnell, Mrs C Nickalls, Mrs P Nickalls, Mr and Mrs W Barnett, Miss Line, Capt Miller Rev W O Assheton, Mr H P Burdekin, and Mr C N Hoare.
The Chairman read a letter of apology for absence from Mr M E T Wratislaw (Chairman of the Council), who was on military duty at the Coventry Tribunal, and he expressed the hope that the Council would give a favourable reception to the committee dealing with the Waste Land Scheme.
Mr Graham Patterson explained that the representatives of Hillmorton, Dunchurch, and Bilton had taken the opportunity of attending that Council meeting, at the kind suggestion of Mr Wratislaw, to ask their advice and assistance in the scheme to bring into cultivation waste lands and vacant allotments there and in the adjoining villages. Time was pressing for the spring planting, and they begged the support of, and suggestions from, the Council to make the vacant plots prolific and productive.
PROPOSALS OF THE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE.
Miss Day then briefly sketched the proposals of the Board of Agriculture for dealing with the pressing need for increased food production. She did not think she was sounding a note of pessimism when she said that the only thing which might lead to an inconclusive peace would be the lack of food to go on fighting. The difficulties of getting food for three or four months hence were very great indeed, and they would have to rely far more on the resources of their own country. Mr Lloyd George saw that the question was one of urgent necessity, and he put a very able man at the head of the Board of Agriculture. She did not suppose that anyone could suggest anyone better for this position than Mr Prothero, who had gone very carefully into the matter. The proposals at present were to make the War Agricultural Committees in every county a sort of Local Board of Agriculture. These committees would have the district War Agricultural Committees under them, and these in turn would, it was hoped, call in the assistance of the Parish Councils, because, if this work was to be done properly it must be done by the people on the spot, who knew the local conditions. It was not suggested that the Board of Agriculture in London should write to any farmer and tell him to grow such and such a crop. That was to be decided by the parish or Rural District committees. Wheat was urgently needed, but if it was undesirable to grow wheat and they could get better crops of other cereals, it was as well to grow the better crops. The question which faced them all was:
“ WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO? AND HOW ARE YOU GOING TO DO IT ?”
It was no use going wildly and madly into any scheme. The first thing to decide was how to bring in more land which was going out of cultivation ; secondly, to reclaim land which had gone out of cultivation during the last five years. This was all they would be able to do for the spring sowing. With regard to the autumn, they would have time to consider what pasture land it would be useful to plough up. If they were to do this work, she supposed the burning question of the moment was labour. Everyone was prepared to do the work if they could only get the labour. They all agreed, however, that the war had got to be won, and that Englishmen were required to win it. She had been asked by farmers in many cases whether they were going to lose the men they had now got. It was absolutely impossible for one to answer that question. It depended on how the war went on. If the Germans could retain Roumania till June, they would get the whole of the Roumanian wheat crop, which would certainly lengthen the war, and it was a question whether the Russians would be able to regain Roumania in that time. The whole matter rested on that. With regard to labour, the Government had at their disposal 10,000 German prisoners who had been employed in agriculture, and there were also large numbers of interned aliens, who were doing useful work. Where one or two men, or any number up to five men were required, she considered interned aliens were more useful the German prisoners, because they did not require a guard. Farmers simply had to apply to the Home Office for them and notify the police when they arrived. The aliens were not allowed to go more than five miles distant from where they lived, and if anything went wrong the farmer could notify the police, who would remove them. The farmer did not have to pay the fares for the men to come or go. They would be paid at the ordinary rates for unskilled labourers. There were also conscientious objectors, but she found that as a rule the farmers preferred aliens to these men.
APPEALING TO WOMEN.
Then there were the women, who could do a certain amount of work, although she did not suggest that they could do the heavy land work. They were now making a stronger appeal than they had ever made before to the girls of the educated class. They were appealing to women who would, naturally, be taking up scholarships at the Universities. Men had given up their scholarships to join the army, and it was only fair that the women should put their scholarships aside for a year or two to help their country. A certain number of soldiers would also be available for the work. Then, too, machinery would be much more used than was the case in the past, and Mr Prothero, immediately on going to the Board of Agriculture, ordered a thousand motor tractors for the use of the War Agricultural Committees. Men were also being trained to drive them. Warwickshire had ordered some, and these would be ready about the third week in January. She thought there would be sufficient to do the work Required in the country.
THE UTILISATION OF SMALL PLOTS.
Dealing with the cultivation of small waste plots, Miss Day said it was suggested that they should get more people to take up allotments, and where, as in some cases had happened, large and small gardens had been allowed to go out of cultivation, it was hoped that arrangements would be made for having these cultivated again. There were also building and other vacant plots which might be used. To do this work they would have to go to the owners, and they wished to do this as gently as they could, and to get as much as possible done by persuasion. If this failed, they could go in by force ; but so long as they did the work peacefully they would got far more done than by putting peoples backs up. She wished to impress on them, and she hoped they would try and teach others, that there was
GOING TO BE A SHORTAGE.
They would have very little difficulty in getting things done if people only realised that things were going to be short, that there would not be sufficient to go round, and that they would be lucky if they were only hungry. This was the problem facing the agricultural population at the moment. Where land or gardens were not being properly cultivated, powers would be given to an accredited body like the Parish Council or Rural District Council to go in and take them over. She thought the Parish Councils would probably be the medium, because that was where they got down absolutely to the parish. To carry this scheme through they would want a small committee in every village. Dealing with the
MOST PROFITABLE SYSTEM OF CULTIVATION.
Miss Day suggested that where vacant plots were concerned, they should obtain expert opinion as to the value of cultivating them or not, so that no time should be wasted. With regard to the digging, she suggested that they should get the clergy or postmen and policemen to help them in their spare time. Digging was too heavy for the average woman. In the towns they could get a good deal of help from the volunteers. If they could not get the digging done in any village, they should refer the matter to the War Agricultural Committee. Machinery might be available for the larger plots. After the digging was done the women, properly organised, should be able to do the planting. She was very anxious that they should grow produce with a certain amount of common sense. She wished them to produce the same variety of vegetables as far as possible, because the Board would be prepared to market their surplus stock. They could not do this, however, if all the produce was of a different variety, because it had to be cooked in bulk. In order to do this, they might get some people who had sufficient ground to grow a number of seedlings for distribution at so much per score.
Miss Day then advocated pig keeping, and said food could be produced more quickly in that way than by any other method. If it was not possible for one person to get enough food to keep a pig, they might have co-operative pigs. She believed if they once started a village piggery they would find it would grow very quickly. The school children should be enlisted to help in various ways, and Mr Prothero himself had approached the head of the Board of Education to try to get as much assistance from the schools as possible, and several counties had requested that the children should be allowed three half-days off per week, such absence to count as attendance if they were working in agriculture. The Board of Agriculture were going to stick at nothing in reason in order to get this food grown, and they were quite prepared to work, and to work hard, but it was quite impossible for the Board of Agriculture or any other Board to say that they should have anyone back who had gone into the army ; but where it was shown that there was a recognised shortage of skilled men they would try to get them back. The munition factories and mines were to be combed, and it was not proposed, as a general rule, to take any more men from agriculture. She quite understood the difficulty ; but it had to be faced, and it would not be satisfactory to the agricultural community of England to feel that an inconclusive peace had to be made, unless they felt that they had strained every nerve to get the food which was necessary for the country.
In reply to Mr Barnett, Miss Day said the Government were considering the advisability of providing artificial manures.—Mr Hoare asked if they would fix the price of seed potatoes, and in connection with this Mr Follows read a letter from Mr Gordon Everitt, of the County War Agricultural Committee, asking the Parish Council to ascertain what seed potatoes were required in the parish. The County Committee would be able to supply these, but they did not know the prices or varieties yet. Not more than 5cwt would be sold to any one man, and the price would be less than £14 per ton.
In reply to Mr Burdekin, Miss Day said where new land was ploughed up, expert advice as to the best crop to be grown could be obtained.
Mr Watson asked if the restrictions as to pig keeping were to be relaxed, and Miss Day said she believed they were to be suspended, provided the pigs were kept clean and to the satisfaction of the sanitary inspector.
In answer to Mr Fellows, it was stated that two men were sent out with the motor tractor.—Major Neilson : Is the ploughing done free, or do people have to pay ?— Miss Day : A charge of so much per acre is made.
Mr Warr assured Miss Day that the Council would do all they could to further the scheme.—It was decided to elect a committee of seven, three of whom should represent the Parish Council. Those elected from the village were Messrs J E Cox, H P Burdekin, W Barnett, and T Smith. The Parish Council representatives chosen were Messrs M E T Wratislaw, E J Smith, and A J Askew, with Mr J J Cripps in reserve in case either of these failed to serve.