THE FOOD SHORTAGE.
The queue evil reached a climax at Rugby on Friday last when large crowds besieged practically the whole of the provision and butchers’ shops in the centre of the town. An unusually large quantity of margarine, five tons, was received in the town the previous day, and a large portion of this was commandeered by the Executive Officer and distributed amongst about a dozen other shops. Notwithstanding this, however, people were unable to obtain a share, while others by dodging from queue to queue, or sending different members of their families, secured considerably more than their reasonable requirements.
In the afternoon large crowds, estimated at several thousands of persons, including number of locomotive men, assembled in and near the Market Place. These latter were interviewed by Mr T A Wise, chairman of the Food Control Committee, and they also visited the warehouses of several tradesmen to satisfy themselves that there were no large hoards of supplies. The tradespeople did everything possible to satisfy the people, and when the much sought for fats could no longer be obtained a large stock of jam was released. The Police also exercised considerable tact in dealing with the crowd, which several occasions showed signs of exasperation. On the other hand those who were engaged in the difficult task of distributing were impressed with the inconsiderate and unreasonable attitude adopted by many of the people who besieged the shops.
On Saturday, however, the scenes were quite normal again, and in fact there were fewer queues than has been the case for some time.
This state of affairs continued til yesterday (Friday) morning, when large queues had assembled by seven o’clock, and at one establishment the police were sorely pressed to keep a huge crowd from forcing an entrance into the shop.
CULTIVATION OF RAILWAY LAND.—The L N-W announce that they are prepared to allocate plots of vacant land both inside and outside their fences to anyone, whether railway servants or not, who desire to add to the food production at a nominal rent of 1s each lot.
FATAL FALL FROM AEROPLANE.
An inquest was held at the Court House on Friday last week by Mr E F Hadow (coroner), concerning the death of Second-Lieut Harold Griffith Nelson (25), which took place, as reported in our last issue, as the result of an aeroplane accident.
Capt William Hubert Taylor deposed that the deceased officer’s home was in New York. He was a member of the American Air Service, and attached to the R.F.C. He was a learner, but very competent, and had flown altogether 67 hours.
Sergt Eric Jack Robjohns and Corpl William Hunter gave evidence to the effect that the engine and rigging of the machine were in good condition before the flight.
Capt Leslie Randall Wren deposed that he saw decease start off. After he had been up about half-an-hour he pulled the machine into a vertical stall, an evolution by which the machine would be practically “ standing ” on the tail. This evolution was of no practical use. He added that the position would automatically cause the machine to nose dive violently, and it would be out of control for a time. One would want a good deal of depth for such a dive, but 2,000ft. would be quite high enough. While the machine was turning over into the nose dive witness saw the deceased fly out of the machine.—The Coroner: It came round so quickly that it practically “ chucked ” him out ?—A: That is what it comes to ; or, on the other hand, his head might have struck the front of the machine, and during unconsciousness he might have fallen out. The tendency would be for him to fall out if he was not strapped in. Witness added that he immediately went to the machine and examined the belt, but it was not strapped up. It was the pilot’s businesses see that he strapped himself in, and he could not say whether deceased had taken that precaution. There was a possibility, but not a probability, that he might have jerked the belt open by the motion of his arms. Witness had never hoard of such a thing being done.
Second-Lieut G W Curtis gave evidence as to the damage to the machine, which came to earth a-half to three-quarters of a mile away.
Surgeon-Major Collins explained the frightful injuries received by the deceased, who, he said, might have been alive, but would probably have been unconscious by the time he touched the earth. Despite the tremendous impact deceased’s wrist watch, with an open dial, was unbroken, and continued to go without losing a second.
The Coroner referred to the surprisingly few accidents which occurred, in view of the number of flights made daily, and said this appeared to be a clear case of the usual precautions not having been taken.
The jury returned a verdict of “ Accidental death ” ; but added that there was no evidence to prove whether the belt was fastened or not when deceased began the flight.
After the inquest an officer gave a demonstration with the belt, as a result of which the Coroner and Jury expressed the opinion that it probably was fastened up before the flight.
WOMEN LAND ARMY.
EFFICIENCY CERTIFICATES FOR LOCAL WORKERS.
The presentation of efficiency certificates won by Warwickshire women at the Midland test last autumn was made the occasion of a public demonstration at Birmingham on Tuesday, in which between 20 and 30 workers from the Rugby district took part, along with several hundred women from all parts of the county. The majority were wearing the severely practical uniform in which they are accustomed to work, and the cheerfulness of the girls and their healthy and robust appearance were at once a tribute to the wholesome effect which the work, despite trying conditions, has upon spirits and physique. The certificates were presented by the Lord Mayor (Ald Brookes), who said there were now 180 girls employed on farms in Birmingham and Warwickshire, and, in addition, there were 1,400 women in the villages who had registered themselves as willing to give part of their time to farm work.
Out the 84 Warwickshire girls who entered the tests 70 received certificates. Among them were the following local workers who passed three tests:—Miss Mary Crofts (Long Lawford), Miss Nellie Harrison (Clifton), and Miss Constance Walton (Clifton). Passed two tests: Miss Doris Stent (Pailton), Miss Richards (Clifton), Mrs Lee (Bourton), and Miss Bertha Steath (Clifton). Passed one test: Miss Annie Oven and Miss Kate Foster (Catthorpe), Miss Harriett Dickens (Brownsover), Mrs Edward Eales (Bourton). Others of the Land Army mentioned as doing good work in this district were : Miss Pape (Bretford), Mrs Harry Smith and Miss Robinson (Lawford Heath), Miss Tew (Pailton), Miss Taylor and Miss Smith (Princethorpe), Miss Edwards (Newbold), Miss Allerton (Stretton-under-Fosse), Miss Hunt, Miss Gibbs, and Miss Packer (working near Lutterworth).
There are also many whole-time and part-time workers in the Rugby area who have earned as many as six stripes on their arms for length of service, all going to work on the land. Each stripe represents 1,440 hours’ work.
MORE LOCAL PRISONERS OF WAR.
Four additional prisoners of war have been added to the list of the Rugby Committee. Reported missing since Nov 30, Sergt J R Sacree, 10th Batt. Rifle Brigade, is now known to be wounded with gunshot through the shoulder, and a prisoner of war interned at Soltau. Sergt Sacree, who joined up immediately on the outbreak of war, was an assistant for six years to Mr C T Tew, of Regent Street. He had been previously wounded four times, won the Military Medal and recommended again in September last year.— Rfn W E Boyles, 10th Kings Royal Rifle Corps, whose home is at Bishops Itchington, is a prisoner of war interned at Dulmen. An employee of Messrs Greaves, Bull & Lakin, Ltd. of Harbury, he enlisted in 1914. His firm have generously offered to defray the cost of his food parcels as well as for two other employees of theirs who are prisoners of war in Germany.—Pte A C Neal. Royal Warwickshire Regt, whose home is at Napton, is a prisoner of war at Limburg-a-Lahn.—Pte A E Mumford, Machine Gun Corps, attached Cavalry, is a prisoner of war at Minden. For three years he acted as barman for Mr W Jones, of “ The Barrel,” Market Place. He enlisted in August, 1914, in the Lancers, subsequently being transferred to the 17th Lancers—Mr J R Barker, hon secretary of Rugby Committer, has made the necessary arrangements for the despatch of the standard food parcels and bread to each of the above men.
The financial support given to the Committee has been splendid, sufficient to enable them to bear the whole cost of each man’s food parcels, etc. Every month means a grave increase in the number of prisoners of war and a corresponding increase in the expenditure. Constant help is very necessary to prevent any call upon the funds of the Red Cross. The number of prisoners of war now on the list is 83, and to provide for these men £230 6s 6d has to be found every four weeks.
Pte A King, of the Royal Scots, whose home is at Napton, has been repatriated, but no further news has yet come to hand.
D.C.M. WON BY RUGBY SOLDIERS.
The following further awards of the Distinguished Conduct Medal are officially recorded :—
10764 Pte J H Enticott, Oxford & Bucks L.I.(Rugby).
In spite of heavy machine gun fire, he volunteered to go out and look for wounded, and succeeded in bringing back successfully an officer and N.C.O. He showed complete disregard for danger.
32651 B.S.M H W Evans, R.F.A (Rugby).
When his wagon lines were heavily shelled he promptly organised the clearing of the lines, and removed the wounded to an aid post. All this took place under very heavy shell fire, which killed or wounded six men and 37 horses. By his complete coolness and splendid disregard of personal danger he averted all panic and saved many casualties.
840150 Bty Sergt-Major G Hopewell, R.F.A (Rugby).
When his battery ammunition dump was set on fire by enemy shelling he at once went to the position with his Battery Commander and another officer ; and although under heavy shell fire and in great danger from the exploding ammunition, he collected earth and saved a large quantity of material. Both . officers were wounded whilst performing this gallant act.
A RUGBY MASTER DIES AT SEA.—Second-Lieut Leonard George Colbeck, M.C (R.F.A), reported died at sea on the 3rd January, just after completing his 33rd year, was formerly an assistant master at Rugby School. A fine all-round cricketer at Marlborough when captain of the team in 1903, his batting had not a little do with his side averting defeat from Rugby at Lord’s. Two years later he secured a place in the Cambridge University team. One three occasions he figured in the Inter-Varsity hockey match.
MORE AIR RAIDS.—During an air raid on Monday night over London and the South-Eastern Counties 47 men. women and children were killed and 169 injured—30 of them in the basement of one establishment on which a bomb fell. There was a second raid on Tuesday injured.
THE DUNCHURCH AVENUE.
COUNTY COUNCIL ACCEPTS THE DUKE OF BUCCLEUCH’S OFFER.
OLD TREES TO BE REPLACED BY YOUNG ONE.
The Warwickshire County Council, at their meeting on Wednesday, discussed the question of the future of Dunchurch Avenue, on consideration of a special report by the Dunchurch Avenue Committee, and decided, after a long discussion, in favour of the first of two alternative schemes suggested by the Duke of Buccleuch. Ald J S Dugdale, K.C, presided.
The proposals made by the Duke of Buccleuch at an interview with the committee at London on January 4th were set forth in the report of the Avenue Committee. His Grace pointed out that his agent’s letter of June 15th last year had not been read or fully reported to the County Council meeting of October 24th last ; that if that had been done it would have made it clear that he himself would have been glad to preserve the Avenue intact ; but that the preservation of the elm trees was impossible because of the rotten and dangerous state of many of them ; and he made an alternative offer which is summarised in his agent’s letter of January 8th, given below. The committee added : We expressed regret to his Grace that any misapprehension should have arisen from the letter of June 15th not having been fully reported or read, and explained that it had been fully read to the County Roads and Bridges Committee, and that the report was in the ordinary course of the Council’s procedure.
THE DUKE’S OFFERS.
The report of the committee continued : Mr Cyprian Knollys, the Duke’s agent, wrote on January 8th : ” I now write to confirm what passed at an interview between the deputation from your Council and the Duke of Buccleuch on the 4th ult. The Duke has always shared the desire expressed by the deputation that the Avenue (which is now about 180 years old) should be preserved. He has had it under observation for some years, and particularly since the gales of December, 1915, and March, 1916, when 74 of the elm trees were blown down. The opportunity which these windfalls afforded for obtaining accurate information as to the state and condition of the trees has convinced the Duke that they have become dangerous, and that even if left the trees, as an avenue, would in the course of a few years practically cease to exist. His Grace is also of opinion that any lopping or pollarding would never be successful, and would only hasten the process of decay. He feels, therefore, that he cannot take the responsibly of leaving the trees standing. In view, however of the importance of maintaining the Avenue for the public benefit in the future the Duke made the following alternative proposals :—
“ (1) That be should himself dispose of the trees standing on the unenclosed land, and after deducting expenses and charges, handover half the proceeds of the sale to the County Council (or other approved body) to be used for re-planting and keeping up the Avenue : or (2) that he should sell to the County Council (or other approved body) the trees standing on the unenclosed land at 6d per cubic foot, which may be considered half their value, on the condition that an avenue it kept up. In either case his Grace will give all his rights over this unenclosed land on which the trees stand.
“ Scheme No. 1 should provide ample money to replant the Avenue as circumstances will permit.
“ Under Scheme 2 the Avenue would belong to the public, but in connection with it there are one or two observations which the Duke thinks the Council may like him to mention for their consideration :
“ If say half the trees are cut, a sufficient sum should be obtained to pay the cost of the purchase, and young trees could then be planted in the vacant spaces. This would, to a great extent, preserve the present appearance of the Avenue. On the other hand, the shade from the remaining trees might injuriously affect the growth of the young plants, and there would be considerable risk of the young trees being injured by the fall of any of the old trees or their limbs. It should also be borne in mind that when trees are grown close, as in an avenue, every tree that is blown down increases the danger of the remainder being also blown. If it was thought desirable to reduce this risk it might be done by cutting down one-half of the Avenue and re-planting it, and then gradually to re-plant the other half.
THE DUKE’S OPINION,
“ From a practical point of view, the Duke considers Scheme 1 to be the best, as though there would be a temporary loss of the Avenue, all danger to the public would be avoided, and there would certainly be a superior avenue in the future, as experience has shown that making up an old avenue is seldom, if ever, successful. And if, as was suggested the Avenue is to be considered as part of the proposed permanent memorial to the 29th Division, it would if newly planted throughout, be in its prime 100 years after the date of his Majesty’s inspection. In making these observations, however, the Duke desires it to be understood that he leaves it entirely to the Council to decide which (if either) of these proposals they would like to adopt ; and I am to add that if the experience and advice of his Forester would be of any assistance to the Council in their consideration of the subject his Grace will be happy if they will avail themselves of it. It was suggested that you would be able to let me hear from you by March 1st.”
“ VERY GENEROUS OFFER.”
The committee proceeded :—
[LONG DISCUSSION BY W.C.C.]
The question was then put to the vote, and the amendment was carried by 32 votes to 10—Scheme No. 1 being, therefore the one accepted.
It was pointed out that a public subscription would be necessary to provide the 29th Division Memorial.
A vote of thanks was passed to the Dunchurch Avenue Committee, and the committee will (it was stated) remain in being.
HERBERT.—In loving memory of Pte. JAMES HERBERT, 6th Northants Regt., eldest son of Mr. & Mrs. Henry Herbert, Yelvertoft ; killed in action January 19th, 1918, aged 38 years.
SMITH.—In loving memory of GEORGE EDWARD SMITH, who was killed in France on January 29, 1917.
“ We have lost him, we who loved him,
And, like others, must be brave ;
For we know that he is sleeping
In a British soldier’s grave.”
—From his loving Wife and Children.
WALDUCK.—In loving memory of our dear lad, ERN, who died of wounds on January 28, 1916.—From his loving Mother and Dad, Sisters and Brothers.