Hewitt, Ellis John. Died 27th Feb 1917

Ellis John Hewitt was born in New Bilton, Rugby in September 1890 and baptised on 13 July 1890 at Bilton parish church.

In 1911 census he was a single general labourer living at 42 Dunchurch Road, Rugby. His father was Thomas, a blacksmith from Long Lawford and his mother Jane (nee Taylor), was born in Hillmorton. His brother Charles Edward was a railway clerk.

Ellis joined 14th Bt Royal Warwicks on 13 May 1915, Private 2772. He landed in Boulogne on 21 November 1915   and transferred to 13 Brigade 5 div on 28th December 1915.

In March 1916 5th Division took over a section of front line between St Laurent Blangy and the southern edge of Vimy Ridge, near Arras. They moved south in July to reinforce The Somme and were in action at, High Wood, The Battle of Guillemont, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Morval and The Battle of Le Transloy. In October they moved to Festubert.

It was there that Ellis John Hewitt died on 27th February. He was buried at Browns Road Military Cemetery Festubert plot 111 .A.1.

His mother paid for the words “Love from Mother and Dad” to be engraved on the headstone.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

 

24th Feb 1917. Parcels for Prisoners

PARCELS FOR PRISONERS.

The following are the contents of thè two recent parcels sent on behalf of the Rugby Prisoners of War Help Committee to local men in German prison camps : (1) 1lb beef, ½ lb vegetables, 1 tin rations, ½lb tin cheese, ¼lb tea, ½lb Nestle’s milk, ¾lb sugar, 1/ lb margarine, 1lb jam, 1lb biscuits, 50 cigarettes, 1 tin sardines. (2) 1 tin sausages, 1 tin herrings, 1 tin oxo cubes, 1lb biscuits, ¾lb tin cocoa, ½lb cooked ham (in tin), ½lb dripping, 1 packet oatmeal, 2oz tobacco, ½lb Nestle’s milk, ½lb sugar, pepper, salt, mustard.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Second-Lieut H N Salter, 4th Leicestershire Regiment, has been gazetted first-lieutenant, dating from October 4, 1916.

Mr E P Lennon, son of Mr J P Lennon, has joined the same regiment.

P.C Bending, who has been stationed for seven years at Rugby-the last two of which have been spent as assistant clerk at the Police Station—has this week joined the Military Police Force. Before joining the Police Force, P.C Bending was a sergeant-instructor in the 21st Lancers.

Pte Harold Hopkins, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, previously notified as missing, is now reported as killed in action on July 14, 1916. Pte Hopkins, whose home was at 99 Victoria Street, New Bilton, was an “ old boy ” of St Matthew’s School, and was only 19 years of age. He had only been at the front a short time before the Somme offensive began, and he lost his life early in the struggle.

Second Lieut James Colin MacLehose, Rifle Brigade, who fell on February 14, aged 19, was the elder son of Mr James MacLehose, publisher to the University, Glasgow. He was educated at Cargilfield Preparatory School, of which he was head, and at Rugby, where he became head of the School House. At Rugby he was keenly interested in the life of the School, and in 1916 won the Crick run, the 12 mile race across country.

RUGBY SOLDIER’S DEAÌH FROM WOUNDS.

Pte J Dunn, Machine Gun Corps, who, as we reported last week, had been seriously wounded-and whose leg was amputated after a transfusion of blood—died on February 13th. Mrs Dunn, his wife, who lives at 2 Round Street, Rugby, has received letter from the Sister and Chaplain at the Hospital, both of whom state that everything possible was done for the unfortunate man, who himself made ever effort to recover, but he was too weak to resist the constant severe attacks. Pte Dunn was 27 years of age, and joined the colours eight months ago. For the last five years he had been employed at Messrs Willans & Robinson’s and for several years he played for Long Lawford Football Club.

Phillips, Eric Sutherland. Died 21st Feb 1917

Eric Sutherland Phillips was born in Stamford Hill, London in 1894. His father was James Alexander Phillips from Glasgow and Elizabeth Sutherland, born in Edinburgh. They married in Greenwich RD, 1892. James was an electrical engineer, in his obituary it states that he installed the electric lighting at Balmoral Castle.

Eric was the eldest of four sons and in 1901 the family were living at 55 Esmond Road, Acton.

In March 1899 James had moved to Rugby to work for the British Thomson-Houston Company. By 1911 the family were living at 22 Bilton Road (Gilshaw Lodge). Eric was aged 16 and an engineering student.

Eric Sutherland Phillips enlisted in the Oxon and Bucks L.I. in September, 1914. He was given a commission in the 8th Battalion Border Regiment in November, 1914. He went to France in September, 1915 and was promoted Lieutenant in November, 1915. After being in several actions on the Somme, he was invalided home in September, 1916.

He rejoined his regiment on November 30th, 1916, and was promoted to Captain in December.

He died on February 21st, aged 22 years.

His Colonel wrote:
“He was a most excellent young officer, always willing and cheerful. During the time when he was in charge of the Machine Gun Detachment of the Battalion he did very good work. He was very plucky under fire, and a very good leader. We shall all miss a cheery plucky comrade, and a great favourite in the Battalion.”
(Rugby Advertiser 3 Mar 1917)

He was buried at Pont-de-Nieppe Cemetery, near Armentières

The following words, requested by his family, were engraved on his headstone:
“These laid the world away / poured out / the red sweet wine of youth”
Unusually, no religious symbol was included.

By this time, the family had moved to York House, Clarendon Place, Leamington Spa. James Alexander Phillips died there on 23rd Sep 1923.

Of his other sons, Capt L K (Leslie Kirkwood) Phillips was wounded twice in the war and Lt K M (Kenneth McNair) Phillips was taken prisoner.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

17th Feb 1917. Do not Worry too much about Submarines

Mr and Mrs C Chater, of 7 Plowman Street, Rugby, have received official notification that their son, Pte W T Chater, Royal Warwicks, has died from wounds received in action in Mesopotamia on January 23rd. He was 20 years of age, and at the time of joining up in September, 1915, was employed by Mr W Elliott, mineral water manufacturer. As a footballer, he used to play for St Matthew’s.

Mrs Satchell, 94 Park Road, Rugby, has received notice from the War Office that her son, Pte W F W Satchell, 1/6th Warwicks (Terr), was wounded on February 4th in France, and is now in the 1st Australian General Hospital, Rouen.

As showing the fine spirit of our boys at the front, a member of the R.A.C writes : “ One night we (a party of stretcher-bearers) were awaiting a convoy of wounded. It was raining terribly hard, and one of the boys suddenly started singing, ‘ Adieu, adieu, kind friends adieu,’ when a wag chimed in : ‘Call it a dew, do you ? I reckon it’s raining bally hard !’”

Much regret has been occasioned in Coventry by the news of the death in France, from bronchitis and asthma, of Lance-Corpl W J McGhie, of the Machine Gun Corps(Heavy Section). Born in Rugby and educated in Edinburgh, Mr McGhie went to Coventry 21 years ago on the editorial staff of the “ Midland Daily Telegraph,” and at the time of his enlistment in June last he was joint editor of that journal. An enthusiast in matters musical, his death is a real loss to the musical life of Coventry. He took a keen interest in Association footfall, and assisted to organise the Coventry City F.C when the club first launched out into high-class football. He went to France about three months after enlistment in the Army, and took part in the fighting during the succeeding months, being slightly wounded at Thiepval. He leaves a widow and two children. His mother was a daughter of the late Mr W I Tait, the founder of the Advertiser, and is noteworthy that the death of his cousin, Mr Roland Tait of Rugby, was recorded in the same week.

RAZORS WANTED FOR THE TROOPS.

A Post Office notice states that razors are urgently needed for troops, and will be thankfully received at the Post Office. The condition of the razor is not important so long as there is a blade which can be re-ground—the Cutlers’ Company, Sheffield, having undertaken to put them in proper order.

AIDED BY THE TRANSFUSION OF BLOOD.

Mrs J Dunn, 2 Round Street, Rugby, has received information that her husband, Pte J Dunn, of the Machine Gun Corps, has been admitted to a casualty hospital in France, suffering from severe wounds. In a letter to Mrs Dunne, a sister of the hospital says : “ Pte Dunn was seriously wounded in the leg, and suffered from shock and loss of blood.” She added, “ The surgeon specialist said it would be necessary to amputate the leg, but he was in such bad condition that he did not think he could live through the operation, so he tried to stimulate him instead, and to get him into better condition. He asked if someone would give their blood for him, and as usual with these brave men, several offered, and Pte T Carter, of the Royal Sussex, was chosen and his blood was transferred into your husband. After this he was able to stand the operation, and his leg was amputated.” The writer added that owing to the great amount of infection which had gone through the body Pte Dunn was still in a serious condition, but they hoped he would soon be returned back to health again.

SIR DOUGLAS HAIG’S PREDICTION.

In the French newspapers on Tuesday there appeared confident statements by Sir Douglas Haig on the prospects of the Allied offensive. There is no doubt, he says, that the German front in the West—which is, and Will remain, the principal front of operations—will be broken by the Franco-British Armies. This year will be decisive in the sense that it will see the war decided on the battlefield, an event after which Germany will appear defeated militarily. It may be that the year of decision will also be the year of peace, but if Germany cannot be entirely beaten this year we shall not hesitate to carry on the war.

“ DO NOT WORRY TOO MUCH ABOUT SUBMARINES.”

Speaking at Greenwich on Saturday, Captain Hamilton Benn, M.P, read the following message from Vice-Admiral Sir Reginald Bacon :-

“ Do not worry too much about submarines. The Navy will give all the worry they want. The splendid pluck of our merchant seamen will upset the German calculations at the end of the War.”

Dunn, James. Died 13th Feb 1917

James was born in the Registration District of West Bromwich, Staffordshire, to Silas and Maria Dunn, born Ward. They married in Dudley, Staffordshire in the last quarter of 1884. James had an elder brother, Joseph born in 1886.

In the 1891 Census the family are living at 9, Tunnel Road in the Hill Top Ward of West Bromwich, Silas is a General Labourer. Silas died in June 1894 aged 30, in West Bromwich.

In the 1901 Census, Maria is a Boarder, and Charwoman, at 51, Old Meeting Street, West Bromwich, with Rose Harriet Silk as Head of the Household. Joseph, 15 is a General Labourer, James is 12, and a new brother, George is 8.

By 1911 James had moved to Rugby and was working for Willans and Robinson Engineering Works, in Leicester Road, Rugby. He played football for Long Lawford.

He married Clara Sutton in Rugby in December 1914. Clara was the daughter of Amos and Maria Sutton. Her mother was born Maria Burbury. Clara was born in Frankton, Warwickshire in 1889, and baptised at Frankton Parish Church on 13th of October, 1889. . The 1891 Census records Clara living in Frankton with her parents and 4 older siblings. In the 1901 Census, the family are living in Chapel Street, Long Lawford, Amos is a Quarryman at the Rugby Cement Works.

Clara gave birth to a son, Joseph S, his birth is recorded   in the September quarter of 1915, in Rugby.

James’ Service Records have not survived, but information shows that he joined up as a Private in The Royal Warwickshire Regiment service number 20446. The report of his death in The Rugby Advertiser in March 1917 says he signed up for the colours 6 months before his death.

He then transferred to The 196th Company of The Machine Gun Corps (Infantry). Why was this?

At the start of World War 1 each Battalion had 2 machine guns, some were old and unreliable Maxim guns. The Army brought in a programme to change to the Vickers design. And in February 1915 they increased the number to 4 per Battalion. Vickers struggled to meet not only this increase, but the ever-growing number of Territorial Battalions. They agreed to place contracts with American Companies for production under licence.

Following a review of the problems encountered at the First Battle of Ypres, a decision was made to form specialist Machine Gun Battalions. Heavy Machine guns and their crews, four per gun were transferred to the new specialist Battalions, Infantry, Cavalry and Motor. A Vickers Gun could fire 500 rounds per minute, which is the equivalent of 40 trained Riflemen. Concentrating the fire over wide range was copying the technique which had been so devastating to the British Army in the early battles.

To train the Battalion gunners to be part of a much larger Corps of Machine Gunners, a training camp was set up in northern France at Wisques, near to the port of Dunkirk. (In the Second World War a V2 rocket launch platform was sited close to Wisques.)

A team of four were allocated to each gun. It took two men to carry each gun, the gun barrel weighed 28.5 lbs, the water cooled jacket 10lbs and the tripod 20lbs.

A total of 170,500 officers and Men served in the Machine Gun Corps, during the war. 62,049 were killed or wounded. There is a Memorial to the Corps in Hyde Park, London.

The 196th Machine Gun Corps joined the 55th Division on 22nd December 1916.. The Division had relieved the 29th Division in October 1916. For the first half of 1917 the front near Ypres was officially considered to be relatively quiet, if being surrounded on three sides by the enemy can be considered relatively quiet!

In early February 1917 James was wounded and transferred to a French Hospital west of Ypres. He had suffered severe wounds in the leg and was suffering from shock and loss of blood. The surgeon was initially inclined to amputate the leg, but was concerned that the shock of an operation might kill James. He asked for volunteers to donate blood to help James to recover strength. Private T Carter of The Royal Sussex Regiment donated blood. James recovered sufficiently to stand up, but his body had become infected and without modern drugs he died on the 13th of February 1917.

He was buried in The Liyssenthoek Military Cemetery, which is 12 kilometres west of Ypres between Ypres and Poperinge. It is situated between the Allied military base camps and the town of Ypres. The Cemetery has 9,801 graves of men killed in World War 1.

James’ widow, named as Mrs J Dunn was awarded 1s 1d as the value of James’ effects in 1920. She also received his Victory and British War Medals, these were actioned on 25th February 1920.

James’ son, Joseph S Dunn died aged 8 in 1923.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

10th Feb 1917. Vicar of St Matthews not going to France

VICAR OF ST. MATTHEW’S NOT GOING TO FRANCE.

The Rev C T Aston, vicar of St Matthew’s, who had made full arrangements to work in France for four months under the auspices of the Soldiers’ Christian Association, was notified by the society last week that the Government had withdrawn all permits to civilian passengers to France, so that he will be unable to go, as anticipated. Mr Aston is naturally much disappointed, as he was looking forward to doing useful service at the Front. We understand that the Rev P E Warrington (curate at St Matthew’s), who will be leaving Rugby in a few weeks, had arranged with the Vicar and the Bishop of Worcester to stay in charge of the parish during Mr Aston’s absence.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Major J L Baird, M.P, C.M.G, D.G.O, is announced as Parliamentary Secretary of the Air Board.

Mr F J Paxton, formerly on the office staff of the Co-operative Society, has now been accepted in the Army Pay Corps, and is at present stationed at Warwick. He was organist at Lilbourne and Brownsover, and deputy choirmaster at Crick.

Mr Walter Howkins has received a letter from Sergt H K Marriott, of the Warwickshire Yeomanry, who was formerly a pupil in his office. Writing from Palestine, he gives some interesting particulars of their mode of life, and, referring to some of his comrades, he says young Briscoe from Dunchurch has been badly wounded. Squadron Sergt-Major J Tait is very well, and an excellent soldier. Capt E G Pemberton, of Claybrooke, had been slightly wounded. He adds : “ I am trying to got a commission in the Northampton Yeomanry, and hoped to hear something about it before long.

ANOTHER ST MATTHEW’S OLD BOY KILLED.

Information has come to hand that Pte T Chater, 9th Royal Warwickshire Regiment, was killed in action on January 24th. Pte Chater, whose home was at 7 Plowman Street, was an old scholar of St Matthew’s School, and enlisted early in the war.

VOLUNTEER FORCE.

The first medical inspection for the Rugby Volunteer Corps under the new regulations was held on Sunday afternoon last, when 92 members presented themselves with satisfactory results. Nearly the whole of the men signed on for service for the period of the War, and the recent letter of the King calling on men to join the Force who are over military ago or prevented from joining the Army should have the effect of considerable swelling the ranks of the Corps.

THE VICTORY WAR LOAN.

The indicator on the Clock Tower has commenced its second round, and yesterday (Friday) morning it showed that during the week a further sum of £6,500 had been subscribed to the new 5 per cent Loan or War Savings Certificates. The total, £14,600, represents small amounts from £50 down to 3d paid in either : through the Post Office, the Bureau at the Benn Buildings, or the War Savings Certificates Clubs.

Considerable further amounts have been invested through the local Banks.

Among the amounts published are : Bluemel Bros, Wolston, £40,000 ; Lodge Sparking Plug Co, Rugby, £25,000.

MUNITIONS TRIBUNAL.—At the Coventry Tribunal on Monday, J T Lamb, employed at a Rugby factory, applied for a leaving certificate, which was refused. Lamb had refused to work on until his case was heard, and a month had already elapsed, so that only two weeks remained to complete his six weeks’ waiting time.

TANKS FILM AT THE EMPIRE.—Next week, thanks the enterprise of Mr B Morris, of the Empire, Rugby people will have the opportunity of seeing the Tanks as our brave soldiers saw them going into action against the enemy. The Tank film, which is even more enthralling in its illuminating detail than the Great Somme Film, shows every phase of the great Battle of the Ancre, including the thrilling moment of attack. The Tanks are shown from their start to their triumphant return, and the spectators are able to watch them creeping from their hiding-places and follow them till they cross the trenches and wonder over “ No Man’s Land,” and crush down the German wire entanglements. Everywhere the film has attracted large crowds, and there is no doubt that Rugby people will avail themselves of the privilege of gaining an impression of war conditions in France.

 

Tait, Roland Richardson. Died 9th Feb 1917

Roland Richardson Tait was born in Rugby in 1877 and baptised at St Matthews Church on 7th May 1879, together with his younger brother John Richardson Tait.

Roland was the son of Edwin Tait, an auctioneer; a member of the Rugby firm of auctioneer’s of that name. His grandfather was William Ironside Tait, founder of the Rugby Advertiser

Roland’s mother was Ann Richardson and his parents were married in Aston at the start of 1877. It was Edwin’s second marriage, his first wife Louisa had died in 1875 at the age of 37. She was also a Richardson, perhaps a relative.

In 1881 the family were living at 23 Lawford Street (now Road) and ten years later they were at number 56. By 1901 they had moved to 135 Clifton Road. Roland was aged 23 and working as an auctioneer’s clerk, presumably in the family business. In 1905 he married Mary Maria James from Feckenham, Worcester and by 1911 they lived at 5 Park Walk, Rugby with three young children, a fourth having died. His occupation was auctioneer of cattle etc.

It was stated in his obituary that he had played for both Cricket and Football teams in Rugby and had, for fourteen years, been a member of the Rugby Volunteer Fire Brigade. There is a photograph of him of him taking part in a Gymnastic Club tableau in 1900 on the windowsonwarwickshire website.

R R Tait in 1900

R R Tait in 1900

When Roland Richardson Tait was called up, on 15th Dec 1915, the family was living at the old family home at 135 Clifton Road (Pytchley House), his parents having died by then. Another child was born earlier in 1915.

He was aged 38 yrs and 1 month. He was six feet tall with a chest measurement of 43½ inches. He enlisted in the 7th Worcestershire Regiment, number 3146.

He served as a private at home from 20th Jun 1916 to 22nd Sep 1916 when he was “Discharged on account of his becoming unlikely to become an efficient soldier on medical grounds.”

He returned home and died in Rugby, on 9th Feb 1917, from heart failure and complications.

He was buried in Clifton Road Cemetery with his mother who had died in 1913. His father is buried a few rows away with his first wife.

Since he never served abroad, he received no medals Neither is he listed in the CWGC records.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM