THE HOUSE FAMINE IN RUGBY.
NO BUILDING SCHEME TILL AFTER THE WAR.
An interesting discussion on the Dearth of Houses in Rugby took place at the meeting of the Urban District Council on Tuesday, as a result of which it was reluctantly decided that no further steps towards remedying the shortage should be taken at present.
The discussion arose out of the reply from the Local Government Board to a letter from the Council on this question. The Board stated that they were still unable to sanction any loan for the erection of new dwellings, except where additional housing accommodation was urgently necessary in connection with War requirements, and where this was certified by one of the Government departments concerned. If the Urban District Council could furnish evidence of the need for the immediate erection of dwellings from the point of view of the War, the Board would consider whether the case should be submitted to the Ministry of Munitions. The Board also enquired whether, if sanction was given for a loan, which could be raised at the current minimum rate of interest of 5½ per cent., the District Council considered that they could carry out the scheme on an economical basis. Apart from these questions, there would probably be difficulties arising out of the shortage of labour and materials, e.g. timber.
Mr Robbins urged that the matter be referred to the Joint Plans and Estates Committee.—Mr Stevenson supported, and pointed out that practically every county in the country was suffering from a dearth of houses, and even if the War finished at once it was questionable whether the percentage charged for loans would be reduced.—Mr Wise : Is it possible to produce an economically sound and paying scheme at a rate of 5½ per cent ? If it is not it is no use going any further.
Mr Stevenson contended that most house property was paying a rate of 25 per cent, on the original capital outlay. The house in which he lived was formerly let at 4s 6d per week, but he now had to pay 7s 6d rent.—Mr Loverock : What did it cost to erect ?—Mr Stevenson : If 4s 6d per week paid a percentage on the original capital-Mr Loverock (interrupting) : Probably it did not pay.—Mr Stevenson : Certainly it must have done so. You will not find builders building for the sake of building.
Mr Robbins said, in consequence of the interest paid on the War Loan, the interest on money borrowed would remain at the present percentage for some time after the War ; but Mr Seabroke contended that they had not only to consider the high rate of interest, but the also the enormous cost of all building material. In these circumstances he did not see how it was possible to let new houses at a rent which would pay.—Mr Loverock asked if there was any immediate demand for houses at the present time ? They knew that when the War was over people were prepared to build in large quantities, and they also had plans for over 100 houses. If there was no immediate demand, what was the use of considering the matter, especially when they knew that no economical scheme could be produced.—Mr Robbins replied that there was a great demand for houses, and he said last week one of his tenants went to look over a house. She had not given notice to him, but the next day he had had 35 people asking for her house. — Mr Yates supported the motion to refer the matter to the Joint Committee, and said the reason that he had raised the question was that he wished to know in what position they stood with regard to obtaining a loan. He had heard it suggested that other towns were more favourably considered than Rugby, and that in some cases subsidies were being paid. If that was so, he thought Rugby might make a claim for a subsidy, but the Local Government Board did not seem disposed to consider their case favourably. With interest at 5½ per cent, and the high cost of material, it seemed impossible for any scheme to be economically successful. It was a primary consideration that any housing scheme should not be a drag upon the rates, and he for one would not wish to subsidise house building at the expense of other sections of the community. He thought under normal conditions the Council could build better houses than any private individual was disposed to build ; but be did not think at present the Council could put up a good enough case to induce the Ministry of Munitions to sanction a building certificate. Even if such a certificate was sanctioned, he would not be inclined to support the scheme under the present terms, because when the housing scheme was initiated he wished it to have some reasonable prospect of success. — Mr Linnell agreed, and said it would be impossible for some years to build houses at much less than 30 per cent. more than pre-war cost. To build houses similar to those now let at 8s per week they would have to charge 12s per week rent ; and though they might be able to let them at present, he asked what would become of the house after the War was over ?
LOCAL WAR NOTES.
Pte T Kirby, Machine Gun Corps, son of Mrs Kirby, of 24 Sun Street, was wounded in action on July 10th.
After being twice mentioned in despatches, Pte J Hickman, of the South Staffordshire Regiment, has been awarded the Military Medal. Pte Hickman is the son of Mr & Mrs John Hickman, of Harborough Magna.
Sergt Steve Ward (Kilsby), of the South Staffordshire Regiment, has been awarded the Military Medal. The official record states : “ This N.C.O has done consistent good work during the period of preparation for the operations for the offensive near Hill 60. He has on several occasions had charge of detached parties digging assembly trenches under heavy shell and machine fire, and has always succeeded in completing his task. On the night of the 7th-8th June, 1917, his platoon was detailed to dig a strong point near Hill 60, He set a good example by his coolness and great courage, and was of great assistance to his platoon officer.” Before the War Sergt Steve Ward was employed in the B.T.H Tool Stores.
Squadron Sergt-Major J R Tait, of the Warwickshire Yeomanry in Egypt, has been mentioned in despatches by General Murray. In the same despatches the name of his cousin, Capt W I Tait, of the Suffolk Regiment, also appears. The latter is the son of the late Mr William Tait of Rugby, who afterwards resided at Leicester.
Miss Child, of Higham-on-the-Hill, has this week received news that her brother, Trooper Child, who was reported wounded and missing since April 11th, has been killed.
Pte Oliver Hipwell, of the Warwickshire Howitizer Battery, an old St Matthew’s boy, whose home is at 73 King Edward Road, has been wounded in the shoulder and thigh, and is now at a hospital at the base.
Sergt F Claridge, instructor at the 1st Army School, France, and son of Mr W Claridge, of 57 Manor Road, has been awarded the Military Medal for “ conspicuously good service in an isolated and heavily bombarded trench ” near Ypres. He held this position for 48 hours without rations. Before enlisting in September, 1914, Sergt Claridge was employed by Messrs. Lavender and Harrison. For nine years he was a chorister at the Parish Church.
Driver S Lamb, of the Rugby Howitzer Battery, has been wounded in France. Driver Lamb is the son of Mrs Lamb, 17 St Marie’s Terrace, and although he is only 19 years of age, he has been in the fighting line two years. His father (who went through the South African war), and his elder brother, are also serving at the front.
AN OLD ELBOROW BOY WINS THE MILITARY MEDAL.
Lance-Corpl W Haggar, son of Mr and Mrs J Haggar, of St Cross, Alexandra Road, Rugby, has been awarded the Military Medal for gallant conduct on June 7th. He is at present in hospital suffering from wounds received in action on that date, and has received a congratulatory letter from his commanding officer, 3rd Worcestershire Regiment. Lance-Corpl Haggar, joined up at the outbreak of war, and, after serving in the 11th Hussars, was transferred to the 3rd Worcesters, being attached eventually to the Machine Gun Section. He has been in the fighting at Ypres, Hooge, Loos, Neuve Chapelle, Vimy Ridge, the battles of Somme, Arras, and Messines. At the battle of Somme he was wounded and received his first stripe for bravery. Previous to the war he was a painter at the B.T.H. and was educated at the Elborow School.
A GOOD RECORD.
The three soldier sons of Mr & Mrs John Wheeler, 135 Abbey Street, have recently been promoted from corporals to sergeants. Sergt E Wheeler, who has served 22½ years in the Army and is now in the 4th Royal Warwicks, has been appointed an instructor in musketry. Sergt A J Wheeler (17 years’ service) has been transferred from the Oxfordshire Light Infantry to a Cycle Division in Salonika as a gymnastic instructor ; and Sergt W B Wheeler (six years’ service), 1st Warwicks, is now a bomb instructor. Sergt W B Wheeler has served in France for two years and seven months. He took part in the first and second Battles of Ypres, and was wounded at Zonebeke in October, 1914. He was subsequently wounded again during the Battle of the Somme, and was also gassed on Whit-Monday of this year.
SERGT. A. GOODE MISSING.
Detective-Inspector Goode, of Rugby, has received news that his youngest son, Sergt A Goode, of the Machine Gun Corps, has been missing since July 10th. The news was contained in a letter from an officer, who wrote : “ The Germans attacked successfully and took a number of our men prisoners, your son amongst them. He was an excellent sergeant, well liked by his officers and men, and from information I have been able to obtain he did everything that could be done before he fell into the hands of the enemy.”
A RUGBY OFFICER’S DECORATIONS.
At an investiture at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday his Majesty conferred the Distinguished Service Order and a bar to the Military Medal on Capt H H Neeves, M.C, Northumberland Fusiliers. Capt Neeves received the D.S.O for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in handling his company during an attack of the enemy position. His skilful leading and determined courage enabled him, in spite of enemy flanking and reverse fire, to get his men to within a few yards of the enemy’s rear position. Owing to many casualties, however, he was compelled to withdraw. On his return he gave his battalion commander a full and lucid report on the situation—the only accurate one received. It was subsequently found that he had been wounded in the lungs early in the attack, and had remained with his men under fire 23 hours after being wounded. He was awarded the Military Cross on January 1, 1917, and the bar to this has been conferred for not only maintaining his own company during a long and difficult advance, but also taking command of another company involved in the front line attack. He set a splendid example throughout. Capt Neeves is the son of Mr S Neeves, of Murray Road, and was employed at the Rugby Post Office. At the commencement of the War he was called up as a trooper in the Yeomanry.
The death has occurred in action of Pte L J Young, Section, R.W.R, in France on July 2rd. The deepest sympathy is felt with the widowed mother in her sad bereavement. The deceased, who was 21 years of age, joined up in March, 1916. Pte Young, who was a general, favourite with everybody, was for some time in the employ of Major Hicks Beach, late of Eathorpe Hall, as gardener, and was very keenly interested in the social side of the Marton Recreation Room, being sport secretary in 1915[?].
CASUALTY.—On Tuesday morning Mr and Mrs H Pearce, of Coventry Road, received news that Sergt H Pearce was killed or missing. He and two others failed to return after a raid, and their fate is unknown. Sergt Pearce was the youngest sergeant from Dunchurch, and was much liked by everyone.
Mr and Mrs Alfred Smith have received news that their son Pte Percy A Smith, Hants Regt, was killed in action on April 23. He had previously been reported as missing and hope was entertained that he might have been taken prisoner. Previous to joining the army he was in gentleman’s service near Bournemouth, where he won the affection of all with whom he worked by his bright and genial disposition and cheerful service. He joined the army in May, 1915, and went to France in July, 1916.
RUGBY PRISONERS OF WAR HELP COMMITTEE.
The usual monthly meeting of the Rugby Prisoners of War Help Committee was held at Benn Buildings on Wednesday evening last week.
Mr William Flint, c.c (who presided), extended a very cordial welcome to Mrs Blagden, remarking how pleased the committee were to see her with them once again and to know that she had completely recovered from her long illness.
The Hon Secretary (Mr J Reginald Barker) reported that the donations continued to come in well, and since his previous statement in connection with the recent War Prisoners’ Day effort he had received further sums on behalf of same, amounting to over £50, bringing the total up to over £800. In addition to this, he had received since July 1st 30 individual subscriptions, amounting to £42 8s 5d, and they had now a balance in hand of nearly £700. The cost of the food parcels for July amounted to £91 16s, after allowing for guarantees from Regimental Care Committees, and for August the committee would have to provide over £100 owing to the additional men that had been added to the Rugby list during the past fortnight.
The Chairman remarked that the financial position was most satisfactory, Mrs Blagden observing that, in spite of the recent effort, the interest on the part of the public in the welfare of the local men who were prisoners of war showed no abatement.
Mr Barker informed the meeting that Sir Starr Jameson (chairman of the Central Prisoners of War Committee) had recently issued a statement with reference to criticisms that had been made regarding the administration by the Central Committee. The report of the Joint Committee appointed to enquire into the work carried out at that great establishment at Thurloe showed clearly that most of the discontent aroused throughout the country was due to the rigid War Office regulations, which interfered everywhere with private effort. “ There is no question,” says Sir Starr Jameson, “ that these regulations were necessary to remedy the evils which had grown up, and, where possible, the Central Committee had tried to get them modified.” Then, too, when the first few weeks’ parcels under the new scheme reached Germany there was a breakdown of the German railway and postal services, causing long delays in the deliveries. Thousands of our prisoners, wrote home to complain, and their friends very naturally laid the blame on the Central Committee. It was hardly just to criticise them for what was beyond their control.
NEW SCHEME WORKING WELL.
The Central Committee and the Care Committees all over the country have ample evidence, consisting of reports from the prisoners themselves or their relatives, which all go to show that the scheme has been working well for months past, and that the prisoners’ wants are fully supplied, without overlapping or waste. This statement was, Mr Barker felt sure, very encouraging to the committee ; but it only bore out what he had maintained during the past few months. He had repeatedly brought forward evidence to prove that most of the men who were being cared for by the Rugby Committee were receiving their food parcels safely. The acknowledgments from the men continued to come through splendidly. There was, of course, the inevitable delay between the time a man was taken prisoner and when the acknowledgment was received that he had had his first parcel. It was frequently the case that some weeks would elapse, and during this time the man would be writing home complaining that he was getting no parcels, causing his relatives to think that he was getting neglected or his parcels being stolen.
Mrs. Blagden reminded the committee that since the new scheme came into force last December practically the whole of the work fell upon the hon secretary. There was a very great amount of clerical work involved, and in this Mr Barker has received most valuable help from Miss C M Judd, to whom the committee passed a vote of thanks.
The Rugby Master Butchers’ Association wrote asking the Council to register their Bath Chair Charity under the War Charities Act.—Mr Wise drew attention to the fact that a raffle was being held in connection with the fund, and he asked whether the Council were in order in supporting a raffle, seeing that such things were absolutely illegal.—M. Ringrose : It comes within the Lottery Act, doesn’t it ?—Mr Stevenson said he believed this was so, but such things were winked at in Rugby, providing the authorities knew the person who was managing it. The question was, however, was not the Council lending themselves to something which they might wish to get out of later.—Mr Yates pointed out that the Council were not authorising a raffle, but registering a charity. It was no business of the Council how the money was raised, and if the promoters committed an offence they would be amenable to the Common Law.—Mr Robbins expressed the opinion that if the Council made themselves responsible for all these things they would be busily employed. It was difficult to go to any effort on behalf of charity without taking part in a raffle, a “ dip,” or a draw (laughter).—It was decided to register the charity.
RUGBY INFIRMARY V.A.D. HOSPITAL.—Through the kindness of the Commandant and staff, the female inmates of the institution were entertained to supper, and afterwards invited to a soldiers’ concert, on Saturday, under the presidency of Miss Walrond. A very enjoyable programme consisted of songs by Miss F Shilittoe and Sergt Till ; children’s play, “ Brownikins,” by King’s Mssengers ; sailor’s hornpipe by Misses C & H Rushall ; muff dance by the Misses Norris, Squires, and Hazelwood ; and an amusing sketch, “ Mechanical Jane,” in which the characters were taken by Miss Morsen, and the Misses Walrond.—On Wednesday evening Sergt Evans presided over a concert arranged by Mr Hickman, Songs, duets, and part songs were given by Mrs Hickman, Mrs Ward, Mrs Painter, Miss Spencer, Messrs Hickman, Lovett, Bowell, Allison, and Sergt Till ; also two solos on the banjo and mandoline by Mrs Bostock. Every item was heartily appreciated by all present.
WOUNDED SOLDIERS ENTERTAINED.—On Sunday evening members of the Rugby Brotherhood gave a concert to the patients at the St Johns V.A.D Hospital. Mr J Chisholm presided, and the programme consisted of selections by the Orchestra, under the conductorship of Mr A E Alneham ; songs, “ When you come home ” and “ Monarch of the woods,” Mr Phillips ; piccolo solo “ Silver birds,” Mr W Rowley. Cigarettes were distributed amongst the patients, and the concert was much appreciated.
The current Issue of the “ Murrayian,” a smart little paper issued by members of the Murray School, contains several interesting items, including an appreciation of Pte James Irving, London Scottish, formerly an assistant master at the school, who was recently killed in action.
A RUGBY SCHOOL WAR MEMORIAL.—A service of communion plate-the gift of Mr & Mrs W B Gair—in memory of Old Rugbeians who fall in the War was dedicated at Rugby School Chapel on Sunday last. It consists of thirteen pieces, and with one exception the patens are exact reproductions of Seventh Century originals either at St Peter’s, Cornhill, or in possession of the Goldsmiths’ Company. On the obverse of the alms paten appears the motto of Rugby School, “ Orando Laborando,” surmounted by the date of the foundation, 1567, and the coat of arms of the founder, Lawrence Sheriff, flanked by his initials.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR.
SIR.—Many Rugby residents have had leaflets, printed in London, pushed slyly under their doors these last few days, apparently on behalf of the Society of Friends, asking whether it is “ necessary ” to go on with the War.
While respecting that Society’s Christian efforts one detects a connection between this premature peace pamphlet—for it is little else—and the pro-German elements that Rugby and district unhappily still shelters.
The very method of circulating this leaflet is un-English, and reminds one of the pre-war meetings at odd corners, calling for a reduction in the Navy, and similar pro-German tricks.
It must surely disgust the overwhelming majority of Rugby folk that these same people are supporting anything which tends to encourage a premature peace.-Your obedient servant,
July 13, 1917. F R DAVENPORT.
BILTON HALL HOSPITAL.
DEAR SIR,—To prevent any misconception among those who have subscribed so liberally or worked so hard in the interests of the wounded soldiers at Bilton Hall Hospital, I should like to state that, in response to my offer to lend the house until the end of March, 1918, I have this week received a letter from the County Director of the Warwickshire Branch of the B.R.C.S, saying that they do not intend carrying on the hospital beyond September.—Yours truly, WALTER BARNETT.
THE COUNTY OF WARWICK MOTOR VOLUNTEER CORPS.
SIR,—I regret that the account of the efforts being made to form a County Motor Volunteer Corps and a reference therein to the supply of petrol, which have appeared in the Press, has led to misconception as to the intention of the promoters on the part of those who are engaged in the wholly admirable work of transporting the wounded under the Red Cross Society.
Nothing can be further from the intention of the promoters than to hamper or restrict the excellent work of those owners of motor-cars who have so generously taken part in this errand of mercy. But I would point out that there is nothing incompatible to those so engaged in joining the Warwickshire Motor Volunteer Corps. Large numbers of members are already giving their services to the Red Cross Society ; and, indeed, we lay it down as one of our duties that, when not employed on military service, we shall place our organisation at the disposal of those who require assistance in the removal of wounded soldiers.
Mr F van den Arend may, therefore, rest satisfied that the representations that are being made as regards the renewal of petrol licenses are not intended to affect the supply of petrol for the Red Cross Society, or for cars already engaged in work of national importance.
In the event of national emergency the Government may decide to commandeer all private cars which, in their opinion, might be used to better advantage elsewhere. It is the object of the Motor Volunteer Corps to organise this Corps before such an emergency arises in order that they may be available at once for the service of the Government.
Therefore, I repeat that the fact of a private car being engaged in Red Cross Society work, or any similar work, should not debar the owner from joining the Motor Volunteer Corps.
Permit me to add that Lord Leigh has allowed himself to be nominated for the command of the Corps, which already embraces two heavy sections and two light sections, consisting of over 300 lorries and cars, collected from Birmingham and the county, and that the scheme has the entire approval of the Regimental Commandant, Colonel D F Lewis, C.B.-Yours faithfully,
(Signed) FRANK GLOVER, Major,
Headquarters : 2nd Batt. Warwickshire Volunteer Regiment, Clarendon Place, Leamington.
COPE.-In loving memory of our dear son, Gunner PERCY LESLIE COPE, who died of wounds in France on June 21st.—“ Sleep on, dear one, till we meet again.”—From his loving FATHER and MOTHER.
WHITE, ALBERT J., aged 31, the beloved eldest son of Mr. & Mrs. J. White, Murray Road, Rugby, and dearly beloved husband of Ethel M. White. Killed in action in France, June 30th.
WILSON.—Killed in action, in France on July 10th, THOMAS, third son of Mr. & Mrs. Wilson, Gate Farm, Bourton ; aged 25.
BERRY.—In loving memory of Lance-Corpl HARRY BERRY, 2/7 R.W.R., who died (prisoner of war) from wounds received in action on July 19, 1916.—Not forgotten by his pals, T. ADAMS, D.G. and T.H.
DICKEN.—In ever-loving remembrance of Lance-Corpl. SIDNEY HAROLD DICKEN, who died of wounds in France on July 20, 1916,—“ We miss him most who loved him best.”—From his loving FATHER, MOTHER, SISTERS, BROTHERS, and ELSIE.
DICKEN.—In loving memory of our dear brother, Lance-Corpl. SIDNEY HAROLD DICKEN, 14th Gloucester Bantam Regiment, who died of wounds on July 20, 1916 ; aged 22 years.
“ A little time has passed, and friends around us
Think the wound is almost healed ;
But they little know the sorrow
Deep within our hearts concealed.”
—Fondly remembered by BROTHER and SISTER, WILL and AMY.
HIPWELL.—In ever-loving and sweetest remembrance of our dear son, Pte JOHN HIPWELL, Lilbourne, M.G.C., who died of wounds on July 23, 1916. Interred in Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt, France.
“ He fought for his country,
He answered duty’s call ;
His home, his friends, his comforts,
He sacrificed them all ;
But he won the admiration
Of Britain’s glorious name.”
“ Peace, perfect peace.”
—Never forgotten by his loving FATHER, MOTHER, SISTER and BROTHERS.
LENTON.—In loving remembrance of our dear brother, Pte. W. H. LENTON, who died of wounds in France on 19,1916.—Ever remembered by FRED in France, and ERNE, ETHEL and FAMILY, 64 Wood Street.
LENTON.-In loving memory of WILL, dearly beloved son of the late Mr. & Mrs. T. Lenton, Wood Street, who was killed in France on July 19, 1916.
“ Greater love hath no man than this,
That he lay down his life for his friends.”
SMITH.—In ever-loving memory of Pte. T. W. SMITH, of Swinford, who was killed in action at Beaumont Hamel on July 21-22,1916.
WHITE.—In loving memory of Sergt. WILLIAM HARVEY WHITE (2/7th Batt., R.W.R.), dearly beloved son of Mr. & Mrs. Geo White, Dunchurch, who died a prisoner of war in Germany on July 19,1916 ; aged 19.