12th May 1917. Food Economy Campaign

FOOD ECONOMY CAMPAIGN.—In connection with the Food Economy Campaign in Rugby a series of cookery demonstrations has been arranged. A central establishment will be opened very shortly in High Street, where demonstrations will be given during the afternoons and evenings. This will probably be followed by local demonstrations in other parts of the town. A scheme for the establishment of communal kitchens for Rugby is also well in hand.

AN ALLOTMENT HOLDERS’ ASSOCIATION for Rugby is in course of formation (see advt).

THE KING’S PROCLAMATION urging the necessity of economising in food consumption was read at various places of worship at Rugby on Sunday last.

NEW BILTON.

A COMMUNAL KITCHEN.—The War Economy Food Committee having applied for the use of the Wesleyan. Schoolroom at New Bilton as a communal kitchen, the trustees met on Monday night to consider the matter, and unanimously decided to place the school at the disposal of the committee, subject to certain details to be arranged by the stewards.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Second-Lieut E Wilson, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, son of Mrs Wilson, of Bridget Street, is in hospital at Rouen suffering from a broken leg.

Second-Lieut H H H Lister, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, only son of Mr and Mrs H L Lister, Clifton Road, Rugby, is reported missing on May 4, 1917.

Pte Longney, writing from France, says :—“ By a curious coincidence, it was my pleasure, when passing down the street of the town where I am stationed, to see the Red Cross ambulance car presented by the Rugby and District Farmers’ Association. It is doing a splendid did work, and looks in good condition.”

Mr R George Hudson, son of Mr R S Hudson, York Street, who has been with the Artists’ Rifles in France for the past twelve months, has been given commission, and posted to a Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. News has since been received that Second-Lieut. Hudson, who is an old St Matthew’s boy, has been severely wounded.

Rifleman J C Smith, K.R.R, the eldest son of Mr J C Smith, has been admitted to hospital with gun-shot wounds in the right shoulder.

Capt T Marriott, son of the late Mr J Marriott, of Stanford-on-Avon, who was recently awarded the Military Cross, has been promoted to the rank of Major. He is an “ old boy ” and former member of the staff of St Matthew’s Boys’ School.

The relatives of Pte F H Watts, of 21 Cross Street, Rugby, have received intimation that he was wounded on April 25th for the third time. On this occasion he received injuries in the thigh, arm, and chest through an accident. He is now in the General Hospital, Birmingham, and is making favourable progress.

Official news has been received by Mr T H Cleaver, late of the Horse and Jockey Inn that his son Joseph V Cleaver has been killed in action in France on April 11th. Before the war he was employed by the Leamington Brewery Company. He was one of the first to join up under Lord Derby’s Group System. This is the second son Mr Cleaver has lost in action, and two more, George and Austin, were wounded earlier in the War.

Evan P Biddles, gunner in the R.F.A, youngest son of the late Mrs John Biddles, Newton, Rugby, and of Estancia Loma-Pora, Villa Concepeion, Republic del Paraguay, South America, has died from wounds in France. Less than a year ago he returned to England to enlist after giving up an important post as Majordomo for the Paraguay Land and Cattle Company, and in December last crossed to France, and has practically been in action ever since. His age was 22.

News has just been received by Mr and Mrs Bull, 49 Manor Road, Rugby (late of Lower Shuckburgh, near Daventry), that their only son, Bombardier Bull, was killed in action on the night of May 3rd. At the age of 16 he joined the Warwickshire R.H.A in November, 1915, and went to France in the following May, where he has been in the fighting line ever since. A letter was received on Wednesday morning from his Officer, who writes :-“ Your son, Bombardier Bull, was gallantly doing his duty under heavy shell-fire, and a 4.2 shell just caught him and another man, Fitzgerald. You can be perfectly certain that his death was quite instantaneous and completely without pain. I have known your son since he was under me in the 3rd Warwick Battery, nearly two years ago. He showed signs of being a very fine soldier then, and has since very fully redeemed that early promise. I cannot say how deeply your son is regretted both by officers and men.”

NEWS FROM A RUGBY OFFICER REPORTED KILLED.

Capt S E Jones, of the 10th Yorkshire Regiment, formerly a bank manager at Rugby, who was officially reported killed on February 27th, is evidently a prisoner of war in Saxony. Mr Mason, his successor at Rugby, has just received a card from him stating that his eyes are getting better (so that he was apparently wounded in the face), and adding: “ Do send us food and clothing.”

RUGBY & DISTRICT WAR PRISONERS’ DAY, Saturday, June 2nd.

There are sixty-seven men from Rugby and district who have fallen into the hands of the Enemy, and they are still calling for food.

For nearly two years the Rugby Committee have organised funds by means of which beyond any shadow of doubt many of these men have been saved from starvation.

To ensure they do not lack the food necessary to keep them in health and strength, further funds must be raised at once.

THE RUGBY PRISONERS OF WAR HELP COMMITTEE therefore appeal to you to assist their efforts by sending a Donation now to the Hon. Organising Secretary,
Mr. J. REGINALD BARKER,
9 Regent Street, Rugby,
who will gratefully acknowledge same.

NEWBOLD-ON-AVON.

WOUNDED.—Mrs Parr at the Three Horse Shoes, Newbold, has received official information that her husband, Private F Parr, Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry, has been wounded in France, and is in hospital at Rouen.—Mrs T Harris of Newbold learns that her husband, Pte Thos Harris, belonging to a Northampton Regiment, had been wounded in the head and right arm on April 23rd in Egypt, and was lying in hospital seriously ill.—Mr and Mrs West of Rugby (late of Newbold) have also received intimation that their son, Pte C West, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, has been wounded in France.

LONG LAWFORD.

Mr and Mrs Elkington, Long Lawford have received the following official note concerting their son :- “ The Major-General, 20th (Light) Division, has received a report of the gallant conduct of R G Elkington, K.R.R.C, on April 4, 1917, in courage and personal bravery in the storming of the village of Métz, and he wishes to congratulate him on his fine behaviour.” This is the second occasion that Sergt Elkington has been mentioned for his conduct in the field, the last time during a night attack, on August 23, 1916, at Guillemont. His parents have been pleaded to learn that he has received the ribbon for the Military Medal from the General Commanding.

BRANDON.

MAJOR D C M BEECH.—The many friends of Mr Douglas Beech, the only surviving son of Colonel R J Beech, J.P, D.L, will be pleased to hear that he has been acting as Brigadier Major and is on Foreign Service.

RUSSIAN FLAG DAY AT RUGBY.
A SPLENDID RESULT.

Rugby’s effort on behalf of the Russian wounded on Saturday last was crowned with success ; and, despite the fact that this time the appeal was made only in Rugby and New Bilton, upwards of 25,000 flags were sold, realising £110 16s 6d—the highest sum ever obtained by a flag day restricted to the town. The effort was held under the auspices of the Rugby Urban District Council, and the organisation was again ably carried out by Mr J R Barker, who, at the special request of the Chairman of the Council, has consented to organise all official flag days in Rugby. He was assisted by a willing band of 150 fair vendors, and by means of a system of relays sellers were to be found in the streets all day. The Council placed the Benn Buildings at the disposal of Mr Barker for a depot ; and here Mrs B B Dickinson and Mrs J R Barker rendered yeoman service in handing out fresh supplies and receiving the collecting tins as they were retained. Mr R P Mason, manager of the London City and Midland Bank, again undertook the duties of treasurer, and supervised the counting of the money, in which he was assisted by Mr J Ferry and the Hon Organiser. The £110.16s 6d was made up as under :- Coppers, £76 19s (the largest sum, received in coppers on a flag day) ; silver, £32 17s 6d ; and one Treasury note for £1, .which was placed in the box of Mr Barker’s daughter. The highest amount (£2 15s) was collected by Miss G Woods in the B.T.H district, and she was closely followed by Miss Sparkes (£2 14s 2d), of the same district.

DEATHS.

BIDDLES.—Died of gas poisoning just behind the lines in France, April 22nd, from wounds received in action same day, EVAN P. BIDDLES, gunner in the R.F.A., youngest son of the late Mrs. John Biddles, Newton, Rugby, and Estancia Lomapora, Villa Concepcion, Republic del Paraguay, S. America ; aged 22 years.

BULL.—Killed in action, on May 3rd, in France, THOMAS HENRY BULL, late of Shuckburgh ; aged 18.
“ Sleep on, dear brother, in a far-off grave ;
A grave we may never see ;
But as long as life and memory lasts
We will remember thee.
—From FATHER, MOTHER, and SISTERS.

HINCKS.—Lance-Corpl. E. W. HINCKS, Middlesex Regiment, youngest son of Mr and Mrs. Marlow Hincks, Southam Holts, officially reported killed in action in France on 12th April ; aged 20.—Deeply mourned.

ROBINSON.—In loving memory of OWEN, the dearly beloved son of Mr. and Mrs. C. Robinson, Catthorpe, who died from wounds received in action on March 28th. Laid to rest in the British Military Cemetery, near Arras,-“ Loyal to duty even onto death.”

IN MEMORIAM.

MASON.—In loving remembrance of ARTHUR ALEC MASON, of Long Buckby, who was lost on H.M.S. Goliath in the Dardanelles on May 13, 1915.—“ Till the day breaks and the shadows flee away.”

SMITH.—In loving memory of Trooper WILLIAM SMITH, son of James and Elizabeth Smith, of Lutterworth, reported missing May 13, 1915,—“ Greater love hath no man than this.”

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Knight, William Albert. Died 13th May 1917

Albert as he was known in the family, was born in 1895, and baptised at St Paul’s Church, Northampton on 2 June. His parents, George Walter Knight and Sarah Dudley Markham, were married in Northampton Registration District in September Quarter of 1892. George was born in Wilby Northants and Sarah in Buckingham.

They had three other children, George Walter jnr born 1893, Ernest James born 1897, and Dora Elizabeth born 1899. All four were baptised at St Paul’s; their father was a labourer, and the family were living first in Burleigh Street, Northampton when their eldest child was born, then at 6 Richmond Terrace where Albert was born. They were still there in 1901.

By 1911 they had moved to 107 Winfield Street, Rugby. George snr was unfortunately now an invalid, but his three sons were all working, George jnr and Albert at an electrical works (British Thompson Houston) and Ernest an errand boy for a boot shop. They must have thought work opportunities to be greater in Rugby than Northampton.

107 Winfield St, Rugby

Albert enlisted at the outbreak of war at Rugby as William Knight, and joined the 1st Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment, No 18263. He was sent to France on 4 December 1915, qualifying him for the 1915 Star as well as the British War and Victory medals. This is confirmed by the report of his death in the Rugby Advertiser on 2 June 1917.

The South Staffs formed part of the 7th Division which saw action all through the Battle of the Somme in 1916. In 1917 they fought throughout the German retreat to the Hindenberg Line during the Arras offensive.

On 13 May 1917 the Regiment along with the Australians was ordered to attack the heavily fortified village of Bullecourt. It was believed to be weakened by days of heavy bombardment but this was not so, and a vicious battle ensued. The Regiment was caught in crossfire at a location known as the Red Patch. After three days Bullecourt was taken with the loss of 2 officers and 37 men killed.

It was probably during this action that Albert was killed aged 22, but he may have been wounded and died later, as Achiet-le-Grand Communal Cemetery where he is buried was occupied from April 1917 by two casualty clearing stations.

Achiet le Grand cemetery entrance

The list of Soldiers Effects records that he “died in the field” rather than was “killed in action”.   His mother as his sole legatee received his back pay of £8.18s.11d, and War Gratuity of £12.10s. His father had died in 1914.

He is commemorated on the BTH memorial in Rugby (as A W Knight) as well as the Memorial Gates.     The above notice of his death also records “He enlisted at the outbreak of war, and prior to that was employed in the BTH Winding Department. He had been in France a year, and some time ago distinguished himself by saving the life of an officer at great personal danger to himself”.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Boyer, Thomas William. Died 10th May 1917

Thomas was born in 1897, the eldest child of his parents Herbert Alfred and Agnes Pegg (nee Wiltshire) who were married in Peterborough Registration District in December quarter 1896. Both had been born in Peterborough.

We first find the family together in 1901 at 3 Hope Grove, Hendon in Middlesex. They became well travelled, not surprisingly as Herbert worked as a railway wagon repairer. After their marriage and Thomas’s birth in Peterborough, they moved to Fletton, Huntingdonshire where their daughter Maud was born (1899), and then to Cricklewood where two more daughters, Winifred (1901) and Daisy (1903), were born. Another daughter, Agnes, was born (1907) in Sandiacre, Nottinghamshire.

In 1911 Herbert and Agnes with their four children (Winifred had died in infancy) were living at 9 Gladstone Street, New Bilton, Herbert still a wagon repairer, and Thomas William aged 13 also working for the railway as a wagon painter.

Thomas’s army record has not survived, but Soldiers of the Great War records that he had joined the 10th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, no 16083, enlisting at Rugby, and risen to the rank of Corporal. He was awarded the Victory and British War medals.

Thomas was killed in action on 10 May 1917, he was 20 years old. The Regiment was at this time near Ypres, and the Regiment’s War Diary for that day reported that there had been an intense enemy barrage at 3.30am.   When it ceased, it was found that one of the gun posts with six men had been destroyed, and it seems that William was killed in this action. Altogether losses reported that day were 2 killed, 6 missing and 12 wounded.

His death was reported in the Rugby Advertiser of 9th June 1917:
PTE WILL BOYER.
 Considerable regret has been caused in local Baptist circles by the news of the death in action of Pte Will Boyer, only son of Mr & Mrs H Boyer, late of Poplar Grove, Rugby. Pte Boyer, who was a lad of many fine qualities, was formerly a member of the Bible School and the Boys’ Life Brigade.

There was also a report in “The Pioneer” (Baptist publication) of June 1917:
With great sorrow news has come to hand of the death in action of Will Boyer. While I was away in France the Boyers moved to Leeds, but distance from us does not diminish in the least our sympathy for them in the loss of their only lad. He had the qualities that were extremely lovable. When Mrs. Lees and I last visited Mr. and Mrs. Boyer in their home in Poplar Grove, they showed us much of Will’s handiwork in the house: he had learned early to love his home and to help contribute to its’ brightness. He was a member of the Bible Class when he left for the Army. I wrote him last week little knowing that he was then beyond the reach of human ministries. Will gave promise of a good and useful life, and what he was to his parents and sisters we know who knew them and him. God bless them in their sorrow.

Thomas is buried at Railway Dugouts Burial Ground, also known as Transport Farm, at Zillebeke, 2km from Ypres. It is so called because the railway line passed nearby on an embankment overlooking the small farm known by the troops as Transport Farm. Advanced Dressing Stations had been established in the dugouts and farm since the previous year. 1700 graves in the Cemetery were known and marked at the Armistice.

Thomas’s effects of £8.1s.6d, and a War Gratuity of £6 were sent to his father Herbert as next of kin.   His gravestone states that his parents were then at 17 Rutland Grove, Sandiacre.

 

Sources: CWGC; 1910 & 1911 censuses; GRO indexes; medal card; Soldiers Died in the Great War; War Diaries of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment WO95/2085/3 p263 on Ancestry.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Webster, Robert George. Died 9th May 1917

Robert George Webster was killed in action 9th May 1916. He was born in the second quarter of 1896 in Newbold on Avon, Warwickshire. His parents were Edith and William Wheeler Webster. He was the eldest of their children. On the 1901 census Robert, his parents and younger brother Percy William are all living at 36 Grosvenor Road Rugby. Robert’s father is working as a Carrier. By the time of the 1911 census Janet Cecilia and Rupert Wheeler have joined the family and they are living at 42 Regent Street Rugby.   William, the father, is now a Florist (Shopkeeper), Robert is a Shop assistant and Percy and Janet are at school.

Robert enlisted in Rugby and joined the Army in 1915 and was in the Royal Army Medical Corps, Service Number 66141, and served in both France and Greece.

Rugby Advertiser 26th May 1917
News was received on Friday last week, by Mr. W. W. Webster, of Kenilworth, and formerly of Regent Street Rugby, of the death, at Salonika, of his eldest son Pte. Robert George Webster, of the R.A.M.C. The official message simply stated that Pte. Webster had been killed in action.   He joined the army in August 1915. A month later or so he was sent to France and in December of the same year was transferred to Salonika. From the time he joined the army Pte. Webster did not have the privilege of visiting his home.

Rugby Advertiser 26th May 1917
On May 9th killed in action at Salonika, Pte. Robert George Webster, R. A. M. C., eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Webster, Fairholm, Kenilworth (late 42 Regent Street, Rugby); aged 20 years.
“Not now, but in the coming years;
It may be in the better land:
We’ll read the meaning of our tears;
And there, up there we’ll understand.”

Roll Of Honour
Kenilworth War Memorial

Priv. Robert George Webster
Private 66141 80th Field Ambulance Royal Army Medical Corps. Served in France and Salonika. Killed whilst carrying a wounded comrade to safety, 9th May 1917, aged 20. Buried in Dorian Military Cemetery Greece. VI. C. 16.   Son of William Wheeler and Mrs. Edith Webster of 42 Warwick Road Kenilworth. Native of Rugby.
(From the book of “Kenilworth and the Great War” complied by Susan Tall and Betty Sunley.)

Robert is buried in the Dorian Military Cemetery, Greece, Grave Reference VI. C. 18.

Under the Registry of Soldiers Effects £6 5s 1p was sent to Robert’s mother 27th December 1917 and later on 21st October 1919 £8 0s 0p was sent to his mother Edith.

Robert was awarded the Victory Medal, the British War Medal, and the Star Medal.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Evans, Horace John. Died 9th May 1917

Horace John EVANS was the son of Eli Henry (b.1866 Pulloxhill, Bedfordshire – 1939) and Agnes Harriet née Attfield Evans (1863–1947). Their marriage was registered in Ampthill in later 1889, a village some five miles from where Eli was born. It seems the family moved about somewhat, but Surrey was the family’s home for many years.

Horace’s birth was registered in Guilford, Surrey in 1894. He was baptised at St John the Evangelist, Stoke next Guildford, on 1 April 1894 – when he seems to have been miss-recorded as the son of Eli and Elizabeth Evans. By then the family lived at 4 Elm Terrace, Stoughton Road; Chertsey. Eli was then a ‘carter’.

In 1901 Eli was working as a ‘Relayer [deleted, ‘Plate’ substituted] on Railway’, and the family lived in Gas Works Lane, Chertsey. In total Eli and Agnes had nine children. By 1911 his eldest sister Gladys had moved to work as a servant in Shepperton. Horace, now aged 17, was the eldest of the eight children still at home[1] at No 1 Floral House, Railway Approach, Chertsey, Surrey. Horace was working as an Assistant Clerk at the Wholesale Newsagent, W H Smith. His father was then a ‘gasman’.

Eli and Agnes and probably most of their family moved to Rugby, probably at some date between 1911 and the war – probably for work, possibly on the railways. They later lived at 14 Newbold Road, Rugby. Indeed, they lived there until the ends of their lives as did some of their children.

Horace was certainly in Rugby when he married Annie M Terry and their marriage was registered in Rugby in the third quarter of 1916. This might suggest that he had moved to Rugby sufficiently previous to that date to court and marry her!   However, as later, after Horace’s death, she returned to live at 47A Guildford Street, Chertsey, Surrey, this suggests that she was probably someone he had known from the time the family was also living in Chertsey. Horace joined up in Rugby, quite possibly after he had married.

He enlisted at Rugby as a Private, No.21774, in the 15th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. The number is misquoted in some sources as 201774 [on Register of Effects].

With only the minimal details on his Medal Card and no surviving Service Record, it is difficult to reconstruct Horace’s service history. His service number – No.20174 – can be compared to similar numbers and a William Jarvis, No.22396, appears to have joined up on 30 October 1916. Whilst this is well into the war. He may have planned to marry, in part, as at the outbreak of war married men were not conscripted.[2]  However, in June 1916, possibly even before his marriage, the conscription of married men started.

The 15th Battalion (2nd Birmingham) Royal Warwickshire Regiment had been formed in Birmingham by the Lord Mayor and a local Committee in September 1914. The Battalion moved to Sutton Coalfield and then on 15 June 1915 to Wensleydale to join the 95th Brigade of the 32nd Division and later moved to Salisbury Plain.

On 21 November 1915 the Battalion mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and on 14 January 1916 had transferred to 13th Brigade in the 5th Division. In March 1916, probably still before Frederick had joined up, the Division took over a section of front line near Arras, between St Laurent Blangy and the southern edge of Vimy Ridge.   When the offensive opened on the Somme on 1 July 1916, the 5th Division was enjoying a period of rest and re-fit and was in GHQ Reserve. However, this restful time was not destined to last and in July 1916 they moved some 50 miles south to reinforce the Somme.

It is unlikely that Horace had received sufficient training to have been involved on the Somme, but in October 1916 the Division had left the Somme and was holding a quieter line near Festubert and this may have been when newer recruits would have joined the 15th Battalion as reinforcements. Whilst there was a constant threat from enemy artillery and sniper fire, in comparison with the Somme it was a relatively tranquil period that lasted until March 1917.

In early April 1917 they moved to Arras for the various phases of the Battles of Arras, starting with the attack on Vimy Ridge from 9-12 April 1917; and then three Battles of the Scarpe, 9-14 April; 23-24 April 1917; and 3-4 May 1917; and the subsidiary attack on La Coulotte on 23 April 1917.

There appear to be conflicting Diaries for the period – indeed there are two separate handwritten entries for 9 May which give varying accounts.

On the day before Horace died, 8 May 1917, the 15th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment was ordered to attack the German-held village of Fresnoy [in full Fresnoy-en-Gohelle], which was about 8 miles north-east of Arras and west of Vimy.

The Battalion War Diary records that preparations did not go smoothly. The men were ordered forward to a forming up point several hours before the attack, from where they would launch their offensive. Unfortunately, orders were issued, countermanded and reissued, and the men were moved forlornly around the forming up area, all the while artillery fire. Time passed, and eventually the attack was cancelled for that day and postponed until 0200 on the 9th. Sadly, the delay and confusion meant that the Warwicks were held in the jump off zone for several hours, coming under German artillery fire and sustaining casualties of six other ranks killed, 18 wounded.[3]

Terry Carter provided a summary of the 9 May attack in his book The Birmingham Pals:

Before the men even got to the German positions many casualties were caused by shellfire catching them whilst crossing No Man’s Land. Despite these early losses men of the 15th Royal Warwicks reached their objectives in and around Fresnoy, but because they were now weak in numbers and both flanks in the air, the remaining men had to pull out and return to the jumping off line. During this failed attack the Battalion lost 206 men; sixty of these were killed. Once back in the jumping off trench, the 15th Royal Warwicks were relieved by the 16th, who then suffered four days of concentrated artillery bombardment, in which twenty five men lost there [sic] lives.[4]

Another soldier in the 15th Battalion, Private Ernest Powell, No.22718, who died the day before Horace, …

… died whilst engaged in a fight for the nearby village of Fresnoy in which 104 men were killed. A colonel commanding the battalion wrote a report of the “disaster” of 8th May and concluded that the men were “attempting to hold an impossible salient as a defensive position”, that there was no aerial or artillery support and the appalling weather turned the area into a sea of mud with “visibility being NIL”.

Horace was ‘Dth psmd’ i.e. ‘Death presumed’ and he was formally reported as ‘Killed in Action’ on 9 May 1917. His body was not found or identified and he is remembered on Bay 3 of the Arras Memorial

Horace was awarded the Victory and British war Medals.   His widow Annie received his Gratuity of £3-10-0d on 6 January 1920, by which date she had returned to Chertsey.

Horace John EVANS is commemorated on the War Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road, Rugby.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

– – – – – –

 

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

[1]       Gladys Linda Evans, would have been 19 in 1911. Those at home were: Horace John Evans, 17; Wilfred Osman Evans, 15; Leonard William Evans, 13; Victor Lewis Evans, 11; Daisy Lucinda Evans, 9; Agnes Marion Evans, 7; Phyllis May Evans, 4; and Hilda Blanch Evans, 2.

[2]       Conscription during First World War began when the British government passed the Military Service Act in 1916. The act specified that single men aged 18 to 45 years old were liable to be called up for military service unless they were widowed with children or ministers of a religion. Married men were exempt in the original Act, although this was changed in June 1916.   The age limit was also eventually raised to 51 years old

[3]         http://www.frontlinelivinghistory.com/#!social–blog/c1muy.

[4]       Terry Carter, The Birmingham Pals, at http://www.frontlinelivinghistory.com/#!social–blog/c1muy

Bromwich, Frederick. Died 8th May 1917

Frederick Bromwich was born in Rugby in about 1879. His father was Edwin Bromwich, who was born in Rugby in 1852. He married Mary A. [née Sharp] Bromwich, who was born in Middlesex, in Rugby in 1875. In 1881 Edwin Bromwich was a shoemaker, living at 26 Ploughman Street, Rugby; in 1891 he had become a football maker, now at 21 Plowman Street – although this may have been the same house renumbered by the Post Office.

By 1901 the family had moved to 5 Round Street, and Frederick’s father was now working as a boot-maker, whist Frederick had started work as a groom.

In early 1909, Frederick married Fanny Hodges in Rugby. She was some six years his junior. By 1911, Frederick, now 32, was a ‘vanman’, and the couple lived at 39 Temple Street, Rugby. At some date they moved to Chapel Street, Long Lawford, Rugby.

At some date after the outbreak of the war, he enlisted at Rugby as a Private, No.22391, in the 15th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

With only the minimum details on his Medal Card and no surviving Service Record, it is difficult to reconstruct Frederick’s service history. His service number can be compared to similar numbers and a William Jarvis, No.22396, only five different, appears to have joined up on 30 October 1916.   Whilst this is well into the war, it must be remembered that at the outbreak of war Frederick was already 35 and married,[1] but the conscription of married men had started in June 1916.

The 15th Battalion (2nd Birmingham) Royal Warwickshire Regiment had been formed in Birmingham by the Lord Mayor and a local Committee in September 1914. The Battalion moved to Sutton Coalfield and then in June 1915 to Wensleydale to join the 95th Brigade of the 32nd Division and later moved to Salisbury Plain.

On 21 November 1915 the Battalion mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and on 14 January 1916 had transferred to 13th Brigade in the 5th Division. In March 1916, still before Frederick had joined up, the Division took over a section of front line near Arras, between St Laurent Blangy and the southern edge of Vimy Ridge. When the offensive opened on the Somme on 1 July 1916, the 5th Division was enjoying a period of rest and re-fit and was in GHQ Reserve. However, this restful time was not destined to last and in July 1916 they moved some 50 miles south to reinforce the Somme.

It is unlikely that Frederick had received sufficient training to have been involved on the Somme, but in October 1916 the Division had left the Somme and was holding a quieter line near Festubert and this may have been when newer recruits would have joined the 15th Battalion as reinforcements. Whilst there was a constant threat from enemy artillery and sniper fire, in comparison with the Somme it was a relatively tranquil period that lasted until March 1917.

In early April 1917 they moved to Arras for the various phases of the Battles of Arras, starting with the attack on Vimy Ridge from 9-12 April 1917; and then three Battles of the Scarpe, 9-14 April; 23-24 April 1917; and 3-4 May 1917; and the subsidiary attack on La Coulotte on 23 April 1917.

However on the date that Frederick died, 8 May 1917, the 15th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment was ordered to attack the German-held village of Fresnoy [in full Fresnoy-en-Gohelle], which was about 8 miles north-east of Arras and west of Vimy.

The Battalion War Diary records that preparations did not go smoothly. The men were ordered forward to a forming up point several hours before the attack, from where they would launch their offensive. Unfortunately, orders were issued, countermanded and reissued, and the men were moved forlornly around the forming up area, all the while artillery fire. Time passed, and eventually the attack was cancelled for that day and postponed until 0200 on the 9th. Sadly, the delay and confusion meant that the Warwicks were held in the jump off zone for several hours, coming under German artillery fire and sustaining casualties of six other ranks killed, 18 wounded.[2]

Terry Carter provided a summary of the 9 May attack in his book The Birmingham Pals:

Before the men even got to the German positions many casualties were caused by shellfire catching them whilst crossing No Man’s Land. Despite these early losses men of the 15th Royal Warwicks reached their objectives in and around Fresnoy, but because they were now weak in numbers and both flanks in the air, the remaining men had to pull out and return to the jumping off line. During this failed attack the Battalion lost 206 men; sixty of these were killed. Once back in the jumping off trench, the 15th Royal Warwicks were relieved by the 16th, who then suffered four days of concentrated artillery bombardment, in which twenty five men lost there [sic] lives.[3]

Another soldier in the 15th Battalion, Private Ernest Powell, No.22718, who died on the same day as Frederick, was buried in the same cemetery.

… he died whilst engaged in a fight for the nearby village of Fresnoy in which 104 men were killed. A colonel commanding the battalion wrote a report of the “disaster” of 8th May and concluded that the men were “attempting to hold an impossible salient as a defensive postition”, that there was no aerial or artillery support and the appalling weather turned the area into a sea of mud with “visibility being NIL”.

Frederick was ‘Killed in Action’ on 8 May 1917. He is buried in the Orchard Dump Cemetery, Arleux-En-Gohelle in Grave Reference: I. E. 4. The cemetery is about a kilometer west of Arleux-en-Gohelle, which is about two kilometers west of Fresnoy.

The Orchard Dump Cemetery was only begun in April 1917, to serve the new front opening with the Battles of Arras, and it was used by the units holding that front until the following November. The original burials are in Plot VI, Row K, and Plot I, Rows A to F which latter plot includes Frederick’s grave. He was one of the first casualties to be buried there, in the seemingly less regimented area, now surrounded by the more orderly ranks of graves.

The cemetery was greatly enlarged after the Armistice by the concentration of graves, mostly of unknown soldiers, from the neighbouring battlefields and from other burial grounds. During the 1939-45 War, the cemetery was used again by a casualty clearing station. The site was given by the widow of a Captain in the French 72nd Infantry Regiment, killed in action in August 1914.

Frederick Bromwich does not appear to be related to John George Bromwich who is also commemorated on the War Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road, Rugby.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

 

– – – – – –

 

This article on Frederick Bromwich 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, July 2014.

 

[1]       Conscription during First World War began when the British government passed the Military Service Act in 1916. The act specified that single men aged 18 to 45 years old were liable to be called up for military service unless they were widowed with children or ministers of a religion. Married men were exempt in the original Act, although this was changed in June 1916.   The age limit was also eventually raised to 51 years old

[2]       http://www.frontlinelivinghistory.com/#!social–blog/c1muy.

[3]       Terry Carter, The Birmingham Pals, at http://www.frontlinelivinghistory.com/#!social–blog/c1muy

5th May 1917. Increased Number of Tramps

RUGBY BOARD OF GUARDIANS.
INCREASED NUMBER OF TRAMPS.

The Master (Mr W Dickens) reported the number in the Institution to be 83, compared with 112 on the corresponding date last year, and 141 in 1915. Vagrants relieved during the fortnight numbered 41 ;corresponding period last year, 13 ; 1915, 20.

The Master said 27 of the men who passed through the tramp wards gave their occupation as labourers, but not agricultural labourers—at least, they did not seem able to dig. Two men gave their occupations as painters. There was also a gardener, a groom, a printer, a miner, etc. Of The men he could only recognise eight “ old hands,” many of the others seeming new to the road. He tried to ascertain the reason for their being on the road, and was informed by some that employers told them they were not allowed to employ anyone between the age of 18 and 69, whilst others said in places where there was plenty of work about they could not get lodgings. He was also told that people did not give to casuals as they used to do, and so they were obliged to enter the casual wards. From personal observation, there were very few of the men whom any farmer would employ, if their work in the garden was any criterion of their ability. The majority could not, or would not, handle a spade properly. To his mind there were only two bona fide working men in the whole lot. Rugby had held the record of having the lowest number of tramps in any institution in Warwickshire for the last two years, and he did not wish to have that record spoilt, so went carefully into the reason for the increase.—The Chairman said one reason for the increase might be that as the weather was now getting warmer and food was being rationed, some of the casuals thought they would look outside, and so were roaming about.

Mr Rowbottom said he was glad to hear the public had stopped giving to the tramps, which was the object of the work of the Vagrancy Committee. There was a reduction of 7,400 in the number of tramps in the county last year, and during the past three months the decrease had been 2,518. Last quarter Rugby lost its position in regard to the number of tramps passing through the wards. The Master said he had been rather worried about the increased number of tramps, as for the past four years they had been comparatively free at Rugby, and he wanted to know the reason why the numbers had so much increased.—Mr Eaton suggested that the Board should communicate with the manager of the Labour Exchange, or should send the tramps there to inquire for work.—The Master said he had watched the men working in the garden closely, and he did not think any farmer in the district would give such men the minimum wage, because they were not worth it, if their work in the garden was any criterion. One man of 60 told him he had never touched a spade in his life before, to which he (the Master) replied that he ought to to ashamed to himself.

RUGBY PETTY SESSIONS.
A WARNING.—Fredk Louch, blacksmith, 25 Russell Street, Rugby, was summoned for failing to deliver to the Recruiting Officer at Rugby a statement of all male persons of 16 years of age or over employed by him contrary to the Defence of the Realm Act.—Defendant admitted the offence ; and Lieut Wratislaw, for the Military, stated that in the middle of March Major Neilson went to defendant’s premises, and saw there the old Form DR17, setting out a list of his male employees between the ages of 18 and 41. Major Neilson asked defendant if he had sent a copy to the Recruiting Officer in accordance with the directions, and he replied in the negative. Major Neilson also pointed out that the form was obsolete, and a new form had been issued. He informed him that he must make out this new form, and send a copy to the Recruiting Officer. On March 21st Louch was again before the Appeal Tribunal in respect of his son, and he was then asked about sending in the form, and was reminded that he must do so. On April 21st Insp Lines visited defendant, and asked why the form had not been sent in ; and defendant replied that he was not aware that he had been warned. This case was taken to make it public that these forms had to be prepared and sent in, and defendant was selected because he had been warned, and had then refused to comply.—Defendant did not admit that he was warned ; at least, he said he did not understand that this was so. Major Neilson, assistant recruiting officer, having given evidence in support of Mr Wratislaw’s statement, the latter said the penalty was six months’ imprisonment or a fine of £100 ; but they did not wish to press the case, except that he neglected to send the form in after he had been warned.—Insp Lines also gave evidence.—The Chairman said the Bench would take a lenient view of the case, because the Military did not wish to press it, but it must be made perfectly clear that these forms had to be sent in. Recruits could not be called upon unless this was done, and there was now an urgent need for men. If employers neglected to do this it was a serious matter.—He would be fined 15s, including costs.

ALLEDGED THEFT BY A SOLDIER.—Wm. Warne, gunner, R.G.A, Portsmouth, was charged with stealing from a box in bedroom in a house at Clifton, between 2 p.m on April 14th and 6 p.m on April 24th, six £1 Treasury notes, £5 in gold, and £6 14s in silver, the property of Edith Rollin, Clifton.—Defendant pleaded not guilty.— Prosecutrix stated that she lived at Clifton with her mother, and on April 14th she had £31 in a box in her bedroom. At 6.30 p.m on April 24th she went to the box to get some money, and she then found that £17 had gone. She had known defendant since October, when he was billeted at Clifton. He visited her house frequently, and he had heard her mother say that she had some money. One Saturday night she changed some gold for him, and defendant then saw one of the boxes where she kept her money. At six o’clock on April 16th, when she came home, she saw defendant in the house, and she understood that he had been there since four o’clock. On Wednesday, April 18th, she and defendant were at a friend’s, and defendant informed her that he had no money, and did not know when he would have any.-Cross-examined, witness admitted that her cousin stole 5s from her five weeks ago, but a fortnight ago the money, in respect of which this charge was taken, was quite safe.—Mrs Rollins stated that on April 16th defendant visited her house, and asked her to post a letter for him. She did so, and left him alone for ten minutes. On another occasion she left Warne alone while she went to fetch some water.-Lilian Holman stated that on April 15th defendant informed her that he had no money.—Detective Mighall said he arrested defendant as an absentee, and informed him that he was enquiring about the money. Defendant denied all knowledge of it, but on searching him witness found he had £4 in notes in a book and a receipt for £1 16s which he had sent to a tailor.—In defence, Warne said he had had money in his possession ever since he had been in the district. He did not tell the previous witnesses that he had no money. He brought the £4 from camp. Some of this was what he had saved from his Army pay, and the other represented his winnings at cards.—Violet . Rose Cashmore said when defendant came into the district early in April he informed her that he had some money. She had been keeping company with him, but had never seen him with any money.—The Chairman said the Bench felt that there was a very strong suspicion against him but for lack of evidence the case would be dismissed.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Corpl L G Archer, K.R.R, of 13 Bennett Street, and an old St Matthew’s boy, was wounded in the big advance, and his arm has been amputated.

2nd Lieut. J P Angell, R.F.C, eldest son of Mr and Mrs J Angell, 166 Lawford Road, has been awarded the French Military Medal for Distinguished Service while he was Sergt. Major, and has received congratulations from His Majesty the King. Mr Angell has two other sons serving with the Colours.

THE LATE LIEUT AUBREY CHAPLIN.

Mrs Chaplin. “ The Firs,” Bilton Road, Rugby, has received the following telegraphic message from the Keeper of the Privy Purse in reference to the death of her son, who was killed on April 8th :—“ The King and Queen deeply regret the loss you and the Army have sustained by the death of your son in the service of his country. Their Majesties truly sympathise with you in your sorrow.”

LOCAL CASUALTIES.

Pte F Heath, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, is in hospital at Gloucester suffering from several wounds and shell shock.

Pte Charles Batchelor, of the Royal Warwicks, whose parents live at Addison Terrace, Bilton, was killed in action on April 11th. He was 19 years of age and had only joined up about four months. He was formerly in the Turbine Department at the B.T.H., and was an active member of the Bilton Working Men’s Club, and the Cricket Club.

Trooper E J Reeve, of the Warwickshire Yeomanry, son of Mr A H Reeve of North Street, Rugby, has been wounded.

Mr S Neeves of Murray Road has received official intimation that his son, Captain H H Neeves, of the Northumberland Fusiliers, has been admitted to Hospital with gun shot wounds in left shoulder.

PTE ALFRED SHORNEY.

Another member of Murray School, Pte Alfred Shorney, died of wounds received in action on April 10th. Pte Shorney was a grandson of the late Mrs Hillgrove, of the Squirrel Inn.

RIFLEMAN M BURTON.

Rifleman Montague Burton, K.R.R, son of Mr and Mrs E T Burton, 35 Avenue Road, New Bilton, was killed in action on April 10th. Rifleman Burton was educated at St Matthew’s School, and was afterwards employed at the B.T.H Works. He enlisted at the outbreak of the War, and was sent to the front in 1915. Last year he was wounded and invalided home, where he remained for several months, and since his return to France he has been through much severe fighting.

BROADWELL.

KILLED IN ACTION.—On Tuesday Mrs Walter Green received official intimation that her husband of the Royal Warwicks had been killed in action. Deceased was the youngest son of Mr Henry Green, and leaves one child.

DEATHS.

BATCHELOR.-In loving memory of Lance-Corpl. C. BATCHELOR, of 7 Addison Terrace, Old Bilton, who was killed is action in France on April 11, 1917.
“ Sleep on, dear brother, in a far-off grave :
A grave we may never see ;
But as long as life and memory last
We will remember thee.”
—From FATHER and MOTHER, SISTERS and BROTHERS.

BOLTON.—Pte. R. F. BOLTON, 8th Canadian Battalion, son of Mr. and Mrs. R. H. Bolton, Staverton, officially reported killed in action on April 2nd ; aged 24.

BURTON.—Rifleman M. Burton, K.R.R.C, dearly beloved and only son of Mrs. E. T. Burton and of the late E. T. Burton, of 35 Avenue Road, New Bilton, killed in action in France on April 10, 1917.— Deeply mourned by his MOTHER and SISTER.

COLEMAN.—Killed in action on April 10th, at France, Lance-Corpl. G. B. COLEMAN, the dearly beloved son of Thomas and Sarah Coles, Binley ; aged 23 years.
“ 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, our own dear son,
While 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,
Although you now rest in a far distant grave.
More or better could any man give
Than die for his country that others might live.”

CLEAVER.—On April 24th, in France, WILLIAM THOMAS CLEAVER, eldest son of Joseph Cleaver, of 17 East Street, Rugby ; aged 31.
“ Somewhere in France there is a nameless grave,
Where sleeps our loved one among the brave ;
One of the rank and file, he heard the call,
And for the land he loved he gave his all.”

COX.—On April 20th (died of wounds in Palestine), FREDERICK WILLIAM, Corporal in the Warwickshire Yeomanry, aged 23 years ; second son of Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Cox, of Lodge Farm, Lawford Road, Rugby.

GOODYER.—Died in France on April 4th of wounds received in action, MAURICE EDGAR, eldest son of Mr and Mrs. Goodyer, The Gardens, Long Itchington, aged 20 years.

LIDDINGTON.—Died in hospital in France on April 26th from wounds received in action, WALLACE, second son of F. W. and Kate Liddington ; aged 31.

SCOTTON.—On April 9th (on active service), FRANK SCOTTON, third son of Theophilus Scotton ; aged 25.

SHORNEY.—Died in France on April 10th of wounds received in action, ALFRED, the second and dearly beloved son of Mrs Shorney, Rose and Crown, Basingstoke.

IN MEMORIAM.

DEMPSEY.—In loving memory of Sergt. P. DEMPSEY, K.O.S.R, who died of wounds in France on April 30, 1916.

STEBBING.—In affectionate remembrance of SYDNEY REGINALD, our dearly beloved son, who died of wounds in France on 4th May, 1915. Buried in Hazebrouck Cemetery.
“ In health and strength he left his home
To fight in lands afar ;
But it pleased the Lord to bid him come,
And before His throne appear.”
—From his still sorrowing FATHER, MOTHER, SISTERS & BROTHERS.