31st Mar 1917. Local War Notes


Mr F W Young, Hillmorton Road, Rugby, who joined the Army Veterinary Corps six months ago, had been given a commission, and has been posted to a second-lieutenancy in a Regimental (Devon) Labour Unit.

L-Corpl E G Hastings, of the Mechanical Transport Section, who died of pneumonia in France on March 4th, was a brother of Mr H C Hastings, Chief Rheostat Engineer at the B.T.H, and was himself employed in the A.C Engineers Dept. A native of London and educated at Finsbury Technical College, L-Corpl Hastings was employed for about three years in the Test Dept, and for a similar period in the A.C Engineers. He joined the army in August, 1915.

This week’s casualties include the following :- Acting Lance-Sergt L V Locke (Rugby), and E J Hewitt (Rugby), Royal Warwickshire Regt.

Mr and Mrs Salibury, of Manor Road, Rugby, received news of their son Wilfrid’s death at sea last week-end. Wilfrid Salisbury was a wireless operator, and he was engaged on a trawler sweeping up a mine field when the vessel struck a mine. All the crew were lost. He was one of the most promising youths of the Baptist Church, and he was much liked by all who knew him.


LEWIS-PACKWOOD.-On March 20th, at Market Drayton, GEOFFREY, 2nd Lieut., R.F.C., second son of Mr. and Mrs. Lewis, Merthyr Tydvil, to CICELEY EDITH, fifth daughter of Mr. and Mrs. C.J. Packwood, Rugby.


CHEDGEY.-On March 2nd, PERCY JAMES CHEDGEY, Sergt., Queen Victoria’s Rifles (9th London Regiment), second son of Mr. and Mrs. W. Chedgey, of Bitteswell, Lutterworth. Killed in action in France. Aged 24.

Montgomery, Herbert. Died 27th Mar 1917

Herbert was born in 1877 at Ashby St Ledgers, Northamptonshire, son of Dennis and Harriet Montgomery. He lived at home with his parents in Ashby until his marriage. This took place on 12 June 1905 at Great Creaton. He was 26, a stockman, and his bride Kate Mary Johnson was 21 and born in Hollowell. They were living in Ashby in 1911 with their two daughters, Violet and Gertrude. Herbert probably worked for the Ashby estate which owned most of the village.

His service record has been destroyed, but he joined the Essex Regiment, 1/5 Bn, service number 251731, probably as he had a family after conscription was introduced in early 1916. This battalion had formed part of the 161st (Essex) Brigade which was sent to Gallipoli where it landed in August 1915 to try to restart the campaign there, but was withdrawn to Alexandria that December, and remained in the Egypt/Palestine theatre.

Early in 1917 the Brigade crossed the Sinai Desert to take part in the Palestine Campaign. The First Battle of Gaza took place on 26 March 1917.

The Battle was the first attempt by the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) to invade the south of Palestine in the Ottoman Empire. Fighting took place in and around the town of Gaza on the Mediterranean coast when infantry and mounted infantry from the Desert Column, a component of the Eastern Force, attacked the town. Late in the afternoon, on the verge of capturing Gaza, the Desert Column was withdrawn due to concerns about the approaching darkness and large Ottoman reinforcements.

The Essex Brigade was ordered to take Green Hill towards the end of the day. Despite heavy fighting, it was a complete success, but they were then ordered to withdraw. The Turks had not reoccupied the position overnight. Patrols were sent out but a Turkish counter-attack finished the battle. There were 228 casualties on Green Hill.

It seems that Herbert was wounded in this fighting, and died the next day

Gaza War Cemetery from the CWGC website

He is buried in Gaza War Cemetery together with a number of other men from his regiment. His outstanding pay of £2 2s and a war gratuity of £3 were sent to his widow Kate, the sole legatee of his will. He was awarded the Victory and British War Medals.

He is commemorated on the War Memorial at Ashby St Ledgers (Three of the six names on the memorial are Montgomery), but it is not absolutely certain that this is the man whose name is on the Rugby Memorial Gates, although he seems the likeliest candidate of all the men named H Montgomery on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.

The whereabouts of his family after the war is unknown.




Sources: Census returns, parish registers for Ashby St Ledgers & Creaton, and Register of Soldiers Effects on Ancestry, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, wikipedia

Horswill, Algernon Sidney. Died 26th Mar 1917

Algernon Sidney Horswill was born 2nd March 1892 to Charles and Fanny Horswill at Coventry, Warwickshire and was baptised 26th December 1892 at Holy Trinity Church Coventry. The family were living at 4 Irby Terrace, Foleshill Road, Coventry and his father occupation is given as clerk.   Algernon’s parents were married 18th September 1890 at the Parish Church of St Thomas Coventry.   Algernon’s mother‘s maiden name was Burton. On the census of 1901 Algernon is the only child and his father, Charles is working as a clerk in the cycle trade and they are all living at Palmerston Road Coventry in the Parish of St. Thomas Coventry.

By the time of the next census, 1911, Algernon and his parents are living in Rugby at 48 Craven Road. Algernon is a teacher for the Warwickshire County Council and his father is a bookkeeper at engineering works.

Algernon went as a student to St Marks College Chelsea and where on the 21st October 1912 he signed an Attestation form to serve in the Territorial Force, he was then aged 20 years 7 months and his number on the form was 1319.

His Battalion was formed at Stamford Brook September 1914

Moved to Staines November 1914 and joined the 201st Brigade 0f the Welsh Division

Moved to Cambridge and Transferred to Welsh Border Brigade, of the Welsh Division

Moved to Bedford May 1915

Unit renamed 160th Brigade and the 53rd Division 13th May 1915

Mobilised for war 18th July 1915

Landed at Sulva Bay, Gallipoli 9th August 1915 and was engaged in the action and were also at the Battle of Scimitar Hill. Due to heavy losses from the fighting and the severe weather conditions they were evacuated to Egypt December 1915

In November 1915 the Rugby Advertiser reported a letter Private A. S. Horswill, a former member of Murray School Staff wrote to Mr. W. T. Coles Hodges from a “dug out” in the Mediterranean theatre says:-

“We landed on August 9th three weeks after leaving England, and proceeded straight to the firing line under shrapnel fire.   We saw life for four days. Talk about snipers! They were up in the trees, absolutely surrounding us; they were the chief cause of the casualties. Fortunately they were more or less indifferent shots; otherwise we should have come off worse off than we did. Since then we have had various trips to firing line, interspersed with spasms of “fatigue” work, unloading lighters, filling water-cans for the firing line, and digging. We see some glorious sunsets out here at times; also some very fine play of light on various islands. I myself never believed the deep blue sea theory till we came out here. In the Mediterranean you get a lovely ultra-marine in the day, which gradually darkens to deep indigo in the evening.”

He saw action at the Battle of Romani 4th – 5th August 1916 and was involved in the Second Battle of Gaza 17 – 19 April 1917, by this date he had been reported missing and was listed as having been killed in action 26th March 1917.


Algernon’s service number was changed from 1319 to 290110, and in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records he is also under service number TF/290110 2nd/10th Bn. Middlesex Regiment and with that last service number CWGC gives the place of his memorial. In the Forces War Record Algernon is under 290110 (late 1319) and he is given as being in the E. E. F. Signal Section and is given as missing 26th March 1917 but with no place of a memorial in their records, under TF/290110 he is given as being killed in action 26th March 1917 and the record names his parents and their address 48 Craven Road Rugby.

Algernon’s name is on the Jerusalem Memorial, panels 41 and 42, for those who have no known grave and also on the Rugby Memorial Gates. He was 25 years of age at the time of his death and had never married and was the only child of Charles and Fanny Horswill.

Algernon was awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.



Salisbury, Wilfred John. Died 25th Mar 1917

Bristol/Z/9620/Telegraphist   Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve

Wilfred was the youngest surviving child of Edwin and Emma nee Taylor, born on 21 April 1898.   His father was born In Barby, his mother in Hillmorton, where they married on 18th May1881.

At marriage Edwin was a labourer, but spent a short time in Camden, London where his eldest child James was born in 1883, although he soon returned to Hillmorton where children Elizabeth, Emma, Harold and Wilfred were born. By 1901 Edwin had become a fishmonger, living in Lower Street, Hillmorton, and had a further child, Wallace, who died in infancy. In 1911 he was still a fishmonger and also a greengrocer, but living in Rugby at 65 Manor Road, assisted by his wife.

Wilfred was probably conscripted at his eighteenth birthday in 1916, and joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, becoming a wireless operator.

He was serving on HM Trawler “Evangel”, sweeping a minefield in the English Channel when the vessel struck a mine. All the crew were lost.   Wilfred sadly never reached his nineteenth birthday.

As well as on the Rugby Memorial Gates, he is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, and in Rugby Baptist Church, where according to a report in the Rugby Advertiser on 7 April, he was a “most promising youth …. liked by all”.

Rugby Baptist Church

The memorial in the church reads: “This tablet and the organ in the Church are erected to the memory of those members of this Church who laid down their lives in the Great War 1914 – 1918, whose names are given herewith also as an act of thanksgiving for the safe return of the many others from this Church who served in the war.”



24th Mar 1917. Medical Examination of Men of Military Age


At the Rugby Urban District Tribunal on Thursday evening the Chairman announced that all men of military age, whether they had been granted exemption or not, must be medically examined, otherwise they would be taken as passed for general service.


Wednesday was the first day of spring, but it was marked by wintry weather. Snow squalls occurred during the day, and at night a heavy fall covered the country to a depth of 2 or 3 inches. A bitterly cold wind from the North prevailed, and it is to be hoped that the old saying that where the wind is on March 21st it will remain for a lengthy period will be falsified. Very severe weather is being experienced in the North of England.


It is thought the time has arrived for the creation of a Rugby War Memorial Fund, having for its objects : (1) The erection of a permanent memorial at Rugby of Rugbeians who have fallen in the War ; and (2) provision for enabling the sons of Rugbeians who have fallen or been incapacitated in the War to be educated at Rugby. While it is thus proposed that the first object shall be the erection of a worthy memorial at Rugby, it is intended that the bulk of the fund shall be devoted to the second object. It is hoped that at least £50,000 will be contributed. A meeting for the consideration of the scheme will held in London shortly.


In response to an appeal for more doctors for practice at the Front, the Advisory Committee, after consultation with the medical gentlemen of the town, have arranged for Dr Gauld to go.


Pte J R Sacree, Lewis Gun Section, Rifle Brigade, has been awarded the Military Medal. He was assistant to Mr C T Tew, hosier, etc, of Regent Street, Rugby, for about two and a half years before the war broke out, and was one of the first to enroll in Kitchener’s Army. He has been serving in France about two years, and wounded no less than three times.


The V.C has been awarded to Sergt E J Mott, of the Borderers, who was with the regiment when it was billeted in Rugby before going to the Mediterranean. He received the honour for most conspicuous gallantry and initiative when, in an attack, the company to which he belonged was held up at a strong point by machine-gun fire. Although severely wounded in the eye, Sergt Mott made a rush for the gun, and after a fierce struggle seized the gunner and took him prisoner, capturing the gun. It was due to the dash and initiative of this non-commissioned officer that the left flank attack succeeded. Sergt Mott is also in possession of the. D.C.M, being oner of the first to earn it in Gallipoli, where he was wounded. He is very popular in the battalion, and his comrades are very proud of him.


Lieut Joe Greenwood, of the 6th Northamptonshire Regiment, son of the late Mr W Greenwood, of Newbold, has undergone a successful operation to his shoulder and arm. He is now going on satisfactorily, although progress will be slow, and it is not expected he will be able to leave the hospital for some months. In an appreciative letter, the Colonel of the Regiment speaks highly of the excellent and gallant services rendered by Lieut Greenwood whilst on active service.


BENCH.-Pte J. BENCH, 10th Royal Warwicks, the beloved and youngest son of Mr. T. Bench, 16 Sun Street, Rugby, died in Hospital in France of acute bronchitis, on March 5th.

GURNEY.-Killed in action on July 30, Pte H. GURNEY, R.W.R., eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Gurney, Church Lawford.
“Gone from the dear old faces
To a soldiers lonely grave—
A grave we may never see-
Beneath France’s blood-stained sod
There lies my dearest son.
Could I have raised your dying head,
Or heard your last farewell,
The grief would not have been so hard
Far those who loved you well.”
-From Mother, Father, Sister, Brother.


DALE.-In loving memory of FRANK DALE, Easenhall, who was killed at Ypres, March 22, 1915.
“ Oh, for a touch of the vanished hand,
And a sound of the voice that is still.

DODSON.-In loving memory of our dear son WILLIAM, died of wounds in France, March 24, 1915.
“ Two years have passed since Jesus called him,
As time goes on we miss him.
His loving smile, his kindly face,
No one can fill his vacant place.”
-From Mother, Father, Sister, Brothers.

FOX.-Sacred to the memory of our dearly loved son, NORMAN H. FOX, who was killed by sniper, March 21, 1915.
“ Though Thou, did’st call us to resign
The one we prized, he ne’er was ours –
We only yield Thee back Thine own :
Thy will be done.
-Still sorrowing : Mother and Father, Brother and Sister.

INGRAM.—In loving memory of PERCY W. F. INGRAM, the precious, the darling only son of Mr. and Mrs. W. H. H. Ingram, of Withybrook, who laid his life down at Albert in France, March 23, 1916.
“ He died unnoticed in the muddy trench-
Nay, God was with him, and he did not blench :
Filled him with holy fire that nought could quench,
And when He saw his work below was done,
He gently called to him :
‘ My son, my son, I need thee for a greater call[?], a nobler work than this.’ And together they climbed into a home above.
-From an ever broken-hearted Father and Mother and only baby, Sister Dorothy, who loved him better than life.

INGRAM.-In loving memory of my beloved, my only nephew, PERCY W. F. INGRAM, of Withybrook, also darling and only grandson of Mrs. Fred Smith, of Pailton, who was killed by sniper at Albert in France, March 23, 1916.
Ah soon we shall see his smiling face in a better world than this. We shall meet to part no more.
—From his living Auntie Cissie and Grandma, Hednesford.



Golby, George Arthur. Died 22nd Mar 1917

George Arthur GOLBY, was born in Paddington, London, in about early 1895, the son of Arthur John Golby, a painter, and his wife, Emma née Hamer, who was born in Marylebone, London. Arthur and Emma’s marriage had been registered in Greenwich in Q2 1894. Whilst George was born in Paddington, it seems likely his mother had been visiting her parents.

The family seems to have been established in Rugby, where Arthur John Golby had been born in about 1868 in Hillmorton, his father in turn having come to Hillmorton from Oxfordshire, before the 1880s, to work as a bricklayer.

George was christened at Hillmorton on 14 April 1895 and his sister was born in Rugby in about 1897.   By 1911 the family were living at 5 Paradise Street, Rugby.

George attended Murray School, where he was the ‘… winner of the Over Prize – which is offered annually to the boy who, in the opinion of his fellows, shows the best example of true manliness – in 1907.’[1] By 1911, when George was 16, he was a Clerk for an Electrical Engineers, and living with his parents and younger sister. He is not mentioned on the British Thompson Houston memorial, so must have worked for another firm in Rugby.

There is some confusion over George’s military service. His death notice suggested that he was a ‘…L-Corpl … of one of the Rifle Corps …’, however, his Medal Card and the CWGC describe him as Sapper No.95858 in the 89th Field Company Royal Engineers [RE]. His Medal Card also stated that he went to France on 30 October 1915, although there is no specific mention of reinforcements arriving with the 89th around that date in the War Diary.

The 89th Field Company were attached to the 14th Division which had been in action in August and September 1916 at Hooge, Delville Wood and Flers-Courccelette. It seems likely that George was part of the general reinforcement during the ‘quieter’ winter period as between 30 October and George’s death on 22 March 1917, the 14th Division and hence the 89th were not in any major actions, although they would later be actively involved in the battles at Scarpe in April 1917.

George wrote a letter to W T Coles Hodges which was published in the Rugby Advertiser in January 1916.[2]


Sapper Geo A Golby, a former scholar at the Murray School, and an “Over” Prize man, in a letter to Mr W T Coles Hodges[3] from the front says: “I have been out here since early in October, and have got quite used to the shells, etc, screaming over my head … I look forward to receiving the Rugby Advertiser every week, and am always pleased when I see the name of one of my old school chums in the list of recruits. I think by the number of names I have seen that our school is doing its share to free the world of these barbarians, and I am sure that if those who have not enlisted could just have a glimpse of this country, they would not hesitate for a minute. Only this morning we passed about a dozen old people (all between 60 and 70 years of age, I should think) whom the Germans had shelled out of their homes. It is a sight such as these that make us so anxious to get at the Huns. … I am pleased to say we are having a spell of fine weather just now, and goodness only knows we want it, as we are nearly up to our knees in mud in some places. This is the only thing to complain of out here; the food is extra.”

However, George was killed ‘… by a stray shell …’ on 22 March 1917 which was a month before the battle of Arras, when he was involved in work just to the south of Arras making the preparations for that battle.

The 89th Field Company’s War Diary[4] relates that in later February 1917 the Company had been strengthening defences in Arras, working to prepare Advanced Dressing Stations, strengthening cellars, preparing Trench Mortar positions and signal stations. From 18-20 March 1917 they were working on bridging trenches and were subjected to heavy shelling by the Germans. Then on 21 and 22 March …

21 March – … Nos. 3 and 4 Sections with two parties of 80 men each from 41st Bde, clearing main road through Beaurains.

22 March … Work the same as 21st. … No.4 Section caught by shellfire in Ronville … casualties, Lce Cpl Mitchell, Lce Cpl Golby, Saprs Anderson, E Durston, J Jones, Little, killed, …

Three more of the Engineers in that working group were wounded and two concussed.

George was buried at Beaurains Road Cemetery, Beaurains in grave ref: 1 C 21. His mother chose the inscription, ‘Lord we asked of thee life. But thou hast given him life everlasting’. The cemetery was near where he had been working on the southern outskirts of Arras. The five other men from his Field Company who were killed by the same shell were buried beside him in graves C18 to C23.

The cemetery was only begun a few days before Beaurains was captured by Commonwealth forces on 18 March 1917 [just four days before George’s death]. It was a month before the Battle of Arras began, and the Germans were still in nearby Tilloy-les-Mofflaines. The cemetery was used (sometimes under the name of Ronville Forward Cemetery) until the beginning of June by the 14th (Light) Division Burial Officer and by fighting units.[5]

George was awarded the Victory and British medals and the 1915 Star. He is remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gate. The Rugby Advertiser noted that ‘… all the Over prizemen, who are of military age are actually in the firing line, and that two have made the great sacrifice, the other being Corpl Barnwell.’[6]

After the war, his mother was writing to the CWGC from 202 Ducane Road, Shepherd’s Bush, London, and it seems that Emma and George had moved to London – George’s death was registered in Hammersmith in 1927.



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This article on George Arthur GOLBY was researched and written for a Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the Rugby Family History Group, February 2017.


[1]       From a notice of death in the Rugby Advertiser.

[2]       Rugby Advertiser, 8 January 1916.

[3]       Wm Thos Coles Hodges of 17 Gainsborough Street, Rugby, was headmaster of Murray School from at least 1906.

[4]       Royal Engineers, 14th Division: Piece 1889/3: 89 Field Company Royal Engineers (1915 May – 1919 Jun). Also available at www.ancestry.co.uk.

[5]       CWGC, http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/…

[6]       Lance Corporal George Thomas BARNWELL, No.3026, 1st/6th Bn South Staffs, was killed on 15 July 1915. He was the son of J and E Barnwell of 35 Claremont Road, Rugby and buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery. See https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com/2015/07/15/barnwell-george-thomas-died-15th-jul-1915/.

17th Mar 1917. High French Honour for Miss Ivens


The French Government has awarded a gold medal, the Medaille des Epidemies, to Miss Mary Hannah Frances Ivens, medical superintendent of the Auxiliary Hospital No. 301 Royaumont Abbey. Miss Ivens, formerly of Harborough Parva, holds the degrees of Master of Surgery and Batchelor of Medicine, and is curator of the Museum and demonstrator in practical pathology at the Royal Free Hospital, and a Fellow of the Obstetric Society of London. Silver, silver-gilt and bronze medals have also been awarded to several nurses at the Royaumont Abbey Hospital.-“ Paris Daily Mail.”


The “ British Weekly ” for last week contained the following :- “ Warm sympathy is expressed for Mr James Maclehose, the distinguished publisher to the University of Glasgow, who has lost his elder son in the War. The young officer was only 19, and he was killed in France on St. Valentine’s Day, 1917. His short career was full of promise and od performance. He was head of the School House at Rugby, where he was a cadet officer in the Rugby Officers’ Training Corps.”


Pte Arthur K Reeve, 13th Royal Berkshire Regiment, died in Queen Alexandra Hospital, Dunkirk, France, on Sunday, March 4th, from spotted fever after two days’ illness. Before joining the Army he was employed by Mr Hollowell, builder, and lived at 16 Cambridge Street. He leaves a wife and two children. Pte Reeve was the third son of Mrs Reeve, 168 Murray Road, and was 41 years of age and an old St Matthew’s boy. The Captain of his Company, in a letter to Mrs Reeve, says her husband’s illness was quite short, and he died after being in hospital two days. The writer adds : ” Your husband was a good soldier and liked by all who knew him. I trust you will find consolation in the fact that he died whilst doing his duty and fighting for King and country, just as much as if he had died in the firing line.”


In response to a request by the President of the Local Government Board and the Director-General of National Service, a committee has been formed by the Urban District Council to conduct the National Service recruiting campaign in Rugby. The Rev T F Churlich and Mr J T Clarke have been appointed joint honorary secretaries, and the headquarters of the committee will be at the Benn Buildings.


Second-Lieut B F McMurtrie has recently been promoted to Lieutenant and transferred to the Headquarters Staff of the Division.

Mr Wm Howkins, of Hillmorton Grounds has received from the War Office an expression of the King’s appreciation of the services of the late Lieut Maurice Howkins, of the Royal Field Artillery, who was mentioned in a despatch from Sir A Murray in October last year for gallant and distinguished service in the field. The letter adds : “ His Majesty trusts that their public acknowledgment may be of some consolation in your bereavement.” Lieut Howkins, it will be remembered, was killed in Egypt.

Second-Lieut Maurice Lewis George Richardson, South Lancashire Regiment, attached to the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, who was killed in action on the 28th ult., was the only son of the Rev Lewis Richardson and Mrs Richardson, of Binley Parsonage, Coventry, and was 19 years of age. Lieut Richardson, who was educated at Oakfield, Rugby, and St. Edward’s School, Oxford, received his commission in June, 1915, and went to the front a year later. For good work done as a bombing officer in January of this year he was mentioned in Despatched.


ELLIOTT.-Killed in action on February 12th, L.-Corpl. HARRY JOHN ELLIOTT, Rifle Brigade, second son of Henry and Ann Elliott, of Bubbenhall.

REEVE.-On March 4th, in the Queen Alexandra Hospital, Dunkirk, France, ARTHUR KIMBALL REEVE, Royal Berkshire Regiment, beloved husband of Frances Amanda Reeve, 16 Cambridge Street, Rugby ; aged 41 years.


ATKINS.-In ever-loving memory of our dear son, who was killed at St. Eloi, France, March 16, 1915.
“ Dear son, we miss thy hand-clasp ; we miss thy loving smile.
Our hearts are broken, but wait a little while,
And we shall pass thy golden gates.
God, comfort us, my son ; God, help us to wait.”
-Ever in the thoughts of his MOTHER & DAD.

ATKINS.-In ever-loving memory of our dear brother, who was killed at St. Eloi, France, March 16, 1915.
“ Had we but one last fond look
Into his loving face,
Or had we only got the chance
To kneel down in his place,
To hold your head, dear brother,
While your life’s blood ebbed away.
Our hearts would not have felt so much
The tears we shed to-day.
So ready to answer the call to the brave,
Altho’ you now rest in a far distant grave.
More or better could any man give
Than to die for his country that others might live.”
-From his loving SISTERS and BROTHERS.

SKINNER.-In loving memory of Pte. GEORGE GAULD SKINNER, 19th Canadians, who was killed by a sniper “ somewhere in Belgium,” March 14, 1915.
“ Oh ! just to clasp your hand once more,
Just to hear your voice again.
Here life to me without you
Is nought but grief and pain.
Could I have raised your dying head,
Or heard your last farewell,
The grief would not have been so hard
For me who loves you well.”
-Sadly missed by his sorrowing wife, CHARLOTTE.

STEEL.-In loving memory of our dear son, EDWARD, who was killed in action somewhere in France, March 16, 1915.
It would ease our hearts to know
How he met his fatal blow ;
But we know he was doing his share
For King and country in the foreign land over there.
-His ever loving father, Mother, Sister & Brothers.

Hastings, Edwin George. Died 14th Mar 1917

Edwin George HASTINGS, was born in Kensington, London in late 1886. He was the son of Hammond Hastings, a carpenter, and Eliza née Rowbottom, whom he had married in 1871, of 1 Roseford Gardens, Shepherds Bush, London,

Edwin was educated at Finsbury Technical College, and by 1901, aged 14, he was an Office Boy for an Architect and living at home at 1 Roseford Gardens, with his widowed mother. This may have been an error as in 1911 she was again married to Hammond Hastings and still at that same address!! Indeed, it seems that he lived until he was 75, and did not die, in Islington, until 1923.

Before 1911 and probably in about 1909, Edwin moved to Rugby and in 1911 was lodging at 100 Railway Terrace, Rugby. He was still single and an Electrical Engineer. He worked at BTH, for three years in the Test Department and then for a similar period in the AC Engineers Department, where his brother Hammond Charles Hastings, who had also moved to Rugby, would become Chief Rheostat Engineer.[1]

Edwin enlisted in Birmingham and joined the army as No. M2/118627 in the Mechanical Transport Section in August 1915, and he served in the 283rd Mechanical Transport Company, Army Service Corps and was promoted to [acting] Lance-Corporal.

Edwin’s Medal Card has no indication of when he went to France, but he did not receive the 1915 Star so it was probably not until 1916 at the earliest.

The 283rd Mechanical Transport Company was one of the Army Service Corps Motor Transport Companies attached to the Royal Garrison Artillery as an Ammunition Column. It was formed in March 1915 and was the Ammunition Column for the 19th Brigade RGA [Royal Garrison Artillery].   Although slightly after the date of Edwin’s death, the HQ of 283rd Company was at Boisleux au Mont just south of Arras (from 15 May 1917 and until 31 May). The 283rd were also Corps Troops for the Corps Siege Park. However this was probably the area where he was working, probably moving ammunition ready for the heavy guns during Arras Offensive.[2]

He died in France on 14 March 1917, not in action but from illness, possibly brought by the conditions or gas. According to the ‘Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects’, Edwin was evacuated to 2/1st Northumbrian Casualty Clearing Station at Doullens. He died there of pneumonia and was buried in grave ref: V. E. 70. at Doullens Communal Cemetery Extension No.1.

Doullens is north of Amiens and south-east of Arras. From the summer of 1915 to March 1916, Doullens was a junction between the French Tenth Army on the Arras front and the Commonwealth Third Army on the Somme. The citadel, overlooking the town from the south, was a French military hospital, and the railhead was used by both armies. In March 1916, Commonwealth forces succeeded the French on the Arras front and the 19th Casualty Clearing Station came to Doullens, followed by the 41st, the 35th and the 11th. By the end of 1916, these had given way to the 3rd Canadian Stationary Hospital (which stayed until June 1918) and the 2/1st Northumbrian Casualty Clearing Station which is mentioned on Edwin’s records. From February 1916 to April 1918, these medical units continued to bury in the French extension (No 1) of the communal cemetery.

Probate was granted to his father, ‘Hammond Hastings, carpenter’, who indeed was still alive, on 5 November 1917, in the sum of £375-11-9d. Edwin’s back-pay of 14/11d was paid to his father as Administrator on 14 December 1917 and his gratuity of £6-10s was paid on 17 October 1919.

Edwin was awarded the Victory and British medals, and is listed among the BTH Employees who served in the War and he is remembered on the BTH War Memorial, and on the Rugby Memorial Gates.



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This article on Edwin George HASTINGS was researched and written for a Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the Rugby Family History Group, December 2016.


[1]       General information from obituary notice in the Rugby Advertiser.

[2]         http://www.1914-1918.net/ASC_MT.htm also 7 Corps, TNA ref: WO 95/817 – Corps Troops; WO 95/817/6 – Corps Troops: Corps Siege Park (283 Company A.S.C.).


Sear, Arthur Henry. Died 10th Mar 1917

Arthur Henry Sear was born in Frankton in 1880 and was baptised there on 15th February. His father Levi George (known as George) Sear was a coachman born in Berkshire or Buckinghamshire. His mother was Ellen Pacey born in Norton Lindsey, Warwickshire. They married in Leamington on 18th August 1873.

Arthur had an elder brother Ernest Frederick Walter (born 1875) and a sister Gertrude Ellen (born 1876)

By 1891 the family were living at 30 Union Street, Rugby. George, aged 40 was listed as Ret(ired) and, in the disabilities column “Invalid”. He died in early 1892. By 1901 Arthur was living with his widowed mother and sister at 24 Round Street. He was aged 21 and a domestic gardener. Gertrude married in 1906, and by 1911 George was living alone with his mother at the same address. He was a jobbing gardener. Ellen Sear died in 1913.

Arthur Henry Sear joined the Royal Berkshire Regiment in February 1915 as a private, number 16879. The Rugby Advertiser of 27th Feb, reported that he was one of only four recruited that week. The total number from Rugby had passed 2,200.

He arrived in France on 23rd Jun 1915, shortly after the regiment had fought in the Battle of Festubert, with many casualties. He would have taken part in the Battle of Loos in autumn 1915. In 1916 came the Delville Wood and the Battle of the Ancre.

At the start of March 1917 the Royal Berkshires were camped at Poziers, moving to the front line on the 4th. They were relieved and some men were on fatigue duties at night. It was quiet, there was snow on the 7th and on the 9th preparations were made for a forthcoming attack.

War Diary of 1/R Berks Regt:

10/3/17 Front Line Nr IRLES

At 5.15. am the Batln attacked GREVILLERS TRENCH in conjunction with the 1st K.R.R.C. on the left. The trench was captured at once and a line of posts established in front, to facilitate the digging of a new assembly trench for a future attack. A Company were on the right and established a defensive flank. 100 prisoners (including 1 Officer) 3 Machine Guns and 2 Light Trench Morters were captured.

Casualties Lt BRAZIES killed, 2/lt LAYERS and 2/lt DENHAM wounded.

Other Ranks 10 killed, 83 wounded and 1 missing.

The enemy commenced shelling the captured line at about 12 noon and continued throughout the day, but made no effort to recapture the position.

Shelling continued the next day and the battalion was relieved that night and returned to billet in Albert about 4am on 12th March

Arthur Henry Sear was “killed in action” on 10th March 1917. He must have been one of the 10 other ranks killed. He is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial.

His sole legatee was his sister Gertrude who had married Albert John Mann.



10th Mar 1917. Rev R W Dugdale awarded the Military Cross


Local Churchpeople will be pleased to hear that the Rev R W Dugdale (Curate-in-charge of Holy Trinity Church), who is acting as temporary chaplain to the Forces, has been awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry at Beaurcourt. The Rev R W Dugdale rendered most valuable assistance to the wounded under very heavy shell fire, without the slightest regard to his own personal safety.


Bandsman H Fisher, of the Inniskillings, who was billeted with Mr Wetherington, 13 Windsor Street, has been awarded the Serbian Silver Medal also bar to Military Medal for gallantry and distinguished service in the field/

Sir Spencer Maryon Wilson, Bart., has kindly lent his residence, “ Fitz-Johns,” on the Barby Road, which will be fitted up by Mr Arthur James, of Coton House, as a Military Auxiliary Hospital.

The deed for which Edwin Welsh, of the Machine Gun Corps, son of Mr E Welsh, 23 Oxford Street, has been awarded the Military Medal has been described to his father in a medal from an officer at the front, who says that on February 4th, during an intense enemy barrage, which was followed by a raid, Welsh kept his gun firing all through. In spite of the fact that the team had suffered very severe casualties, he bravely fought his gun, causing a great number of casualties. The writer adds :   “We of the —- Machine Gun Company wish to congratulate you on the behaviour of your son, who has brought honour to himself, pride to his people at home, and distinction to his company.”

At the Coventry Munitions Tribunal on Tuesday complaints were made against – Claridge, 57 Manor Road, Rugby, that he left work without leave, and also left his machine running with a heavy shell not properly clamped in the machine. The foreman said that had the shell worked out a little further the consequences to the men and to property would have been serious. Claridge was fines 30s.


HEWITT.—ELLIS JOHN (JACK), R.W.R., killed in action, February 26th, youngest and dearly beloved son of Mr. & Mrs. Hewitt, Dunchurch Road, Rugby.

PRATT.—In loving memory of Pte. F. C. PRATT, Oxford and Bucks L.I., of Bilton, Rugby, who died of wounds (received in action) at a Military Hospital in France, March 1st ; aged 20 years.

RICHARDSON.-On February 28th, MAURICE LEWIS GEORGE RICHARDSON, Second- Lieutenant South Lancashire Regt., attached Royal Warwickshire Regt., only son of the Rev. Lewis & Eva Richardson, Binley Parsonage.

SOLOMON.—Killed in action, in German East Africa, on January 17, 1917, SIDNEY JAMES, eldest son of the late Josiah Solomon, of Truro, and of Mrs. Solomon, Vicarage Road, Rugby, in his 42nd year.


FIDLER.-In loving memory of Pte. W. G. FIDLER, 1797, R.W.R., who was killed in France, March 7, 1916.

“One year has passed since Jesus called him,
How we miss his cheerful face ;
But he left us to remember,
Never on earth can we replace.”
-From his FATHER, MOTHER, SISTERS and BROTHERS, Harborough Magna.

FIDLER.-In loving memory of my dear hubby, WILL killed in France, March 7, 1916.

“Had I but one last fond look
Into his loving face,
Or had I only got the chance
To kneel down in his place,
To hold his head, Dear Hubby,
While your life blood ebbed away.
My heart would not have felt so much
The tears I shed to-day.
So ready to answer the call to the brave,
Altho’ you now rest in a far distant grave
More or better could any man give
Than die for his country that others might live.”
-Ever in the thoughts of his loving wife, EDNA, 24 Woodbridge Road, Moseley, Birmingham.