THE RECENT FLYING ACCIDENT NEAR RUGBY.
URBAN COUNCIL RESENT CORONER’S STRICTURES.
At a meeting of the Rugby Urban Council, acting as a Burial Board, on Tuesday evening, Mr. Stevenson referred to the criticisms which had been levelled against the Council in connection with the charge of £11 for the ground for the burial of a Royal Air Force officer who was killed in a recent flying accident. He said he was sorry to see the remarks which appeared in one of the local papers condemning the Council for its unpatriotic action. In view of the town’s record all through the war he did not think such remarks were called for, and he was also very sorry indeed to see such an educated man as the Coroner using strong remarks, particularly as he had not made himself fully conversant with the whole facts. He also deprecated the Coroner’s action in asking the Press to take up the cudgels and to start a propaganda to slander the Council. No mention had been made of the fact that on a previous occasion a flying corps officer had been interned in the cemetery free of charge, and no request had been made by soldiers or their relatives which had not been granted. Had the gentleman who had impugned Rugby’s patriotism or any of his officers, communicated with the Clerk to the Council on the matter he had no doubt that the Council would have done its duty as it always did.
The Clerk said he regretted that such a thing had ever occurred. The Council would remember that some months ago they decided that a free site should be granted to any Rugby soldier who lost his life whilst serving with His Majesty’s forces, if it was the wish of his friends. This had been carried out, and had been much appreciated by the relatives of the men. Then, about a couple of months ago, a young officer of the R F.C. met with an accident and died in Rugby, and in his discretion he (the Clerk) decided that this case came under the purview of the Council’s resolution and a free internment was granted. It seemed strange that the Military, in their statement concerning the present case, entirely omitted to mention the fact. In the present case the undertaker informed Mr. Foxon, who consulted him (the Clerk) on the matter, that it was desired to bury the young man at Rugby. He ascertained that the death did not take place in the town. He explained the circumstances very fully to the undertaker, who quite understood the position, and telephoned the facts to the Commanding Officer. From that moment until after the inquest he (the Clerk) never heard any more about the matter ; the military never approached him, and so far as he knew the funeral was to be at Rugby, and the day before the funeral they borrowed the Council’s Union Jack. Although at the inquest the Coroner was asked to communicate with him (the Clerk) he had heard nothing from him. He did not wish to say anything which would cause a continuation of any controversy, but he did think if the Military felt so very strongly on the matter they might have put themselves in touch with him, and had they done so he would have used every effort to have met the request for any soldier who had given his life for his country to be buried in their cemetery, even to the extent of providing the fees had it been necessary.
Mr. Linnell said it had always been usual to charge double fees for strangers, but he thought that, to stop the chance of similar occurrences, they should allow any soldier dying in the neighbourhood to be buried at Rugby if his friends wished it. He hoped there would be so few that it would make little or no difference to the number of interments.
Mr. Stevenson suggested that this should be referred back to the Cemetery Committee.—Mr. Robbins supported.
Mr. Yates thought it very regrettable that such a controversy had arisen. They had acted entirely within the regulations, but this was one of the unexpected emergencies arising for which there was no provision made. He supported the suggestion to refer the matter to the Cemetery Committee to see if they could frame a rule or amend the regulations to cover contingencies such as this. They wanted to scrap as much red tape as possible, and if they had officials and there were regulations they could only expect them to carry them out. They could pass no strictures on Mr. Morson although they might blame themselves for not making their regulations elastic enough to cope with such cases.
Mr. Barnsdale agreed that all soldiers whose friends desired it should be allowed a free burial in the Cemetery, but he regretted that this question had cropped up. Much had been said about it which should not have been said.
The Chairman (Mr. McKinnell) also thought it was a great pity that the matter had arisen. The gist of the matter seemed to be that while the Military felt very strongly that this young officer should be buried in Rugby Cemetery they did not get into touch with the Clerk to inquire whether the charge could be reduced or waived altogether. Had the Clerk not felt able to take the responsibility upon himself or to find the chairman of the Cemetery Committee he certainly would have authorised him to give permission for the burial, and he felt quite certain that the Council would have been only too glad to have confirmed his action.
Mr. Hands suggested that a copy of the paper containing the discussion should be forwarded to the Coroner.
RUGBY PETTY SESSIONS.
DESERTER.—Wallace Harper, no fixed abode, was charged with being a deserter from the Mechanical Transport, A.S.C.—He pleaded guilty.—P.S Hawkes deposed that he met prisoner on Saturday morning in Railway Terrace, and as ha was of military age he asked to see his Army discharge papers or rejection certificate. Prisoner replied that he had neither, and that he had not been registered, examined, or called up. He gave his name as James Davis, no fixed abode ; but while he was taking his description at the Police Station witness noticed that he had been recently vaccinated ; and on being questioned about this, prisoner admitted that his name was Wallace Harper, and that he had been a deserter from Norwich since April 27th.—Remanded to await an escort.
A PATRIOTIC OFFER.—Mr Harold Cole, a retired Metropolitan policeman, was sworn in as a reserve constable, and complimented by the Bench upon his patriotism in coming forward.
DISCHARGED SOLDIERS.—The number of discharged soldiers in the different districts is as follows:—Rugby 443, Alcester 138, Atherstone 287, Brailes 30, Coleshill 85, Coventry 406, Henley 57, Kenilworth 104, Kineton 39, Leamington 429, Solihull 135, Southam 91, Stratford 157, Sutton Coldfield 241, Warwick 236.
RUGBY URBAN DISTRICT COUNCIL.
LOW FLYING OVER THE TOWN.
In reply to a letter to the Military Authorities asking that low flying in aeroplanes over the town should be stopped, Capt King, the officer commanding, wrote :— “ It is impossible to eliminate all low flying, as present War conditions make a certain amount of low flying essential. Flying has to be carried out when the clouds are very low, and, consequently, the machines have to fly underneath the clouds. I will, however, try as far as possible to keep the machines from flying low over Rugby.
FIRST LADY DRIVER.
A hackney carriage driver’s license was granted to Miss Ida Cooper, of 83 Winfield Street. This is the first license that has been granted to a lady locally.
THE RECENT EXPLOSION.
In presenting the Electric Committee’s report, Mr H Yates expressed the gratitude of the Committee to the B.T.H. staff & workmen for the very speedy manner in which they effected the repairs after the recent accident at the Power House. When he visited the scene of the accident with Mr Shenton, and saw the extent of the damage done, he was surprised that they should attempt to get the supply renewed for the evening. He thought the achievement reflected great credit on the staff and workmen who worked so hard to get the supply assured by eight o’clock. He therefore moved that a letter of appreciation be sent to the B.T.H.
Mr T A Wise seconded, and said the speed of the repairs was really wonderful. He did not see the damage, but those who had seen it told him that they never believed it possible that the work could be done so quickly. Praise was due also for the extraordinary presence of mind of two workmen—Messrs Smart and Newitt—who took steps immediately the accident occurred to eliminate all chance of a further explosion. Had it not been for them, he understood much more serious damage would have been done.—This was carried.
ROLL OF HONOUR.
In reply to a question, the Clerk said he had received a long list of names of Rugby men who had fallen in the War, but they were not nearly complete yet, and he hoped that friends and relatives of fallen men would communicate with him at once.
LOCAL WAR NOTES.
The following Rugby soldiers, all belonging to the Oxford and Bucks LI., have been reported missing:—Ptes W Chamberlain, F Lenton, H Slatcher, and Corpl W F C White. Rifleman Pitham, 10 Earl Street ; Pte W H Mitchell, Worcester Regt, son of Mr and Mrs David Mitchell, Lodge Road, and Pte H Facet, Leicester Regt, have also been reported as missing.
Pte A G Shilbock, Gloucester Regt, 41 Abbey Street, Rugby, who has been reported as missing, is believed to have fallen into the hands of the Germans as he was last seen in a small group which was cut off by the enemy on March 24th. He was a fine swimmer and won three certificates at the Rugby Baths. He had been in France 12 months.
Mr. and Mrs. Bland have received news from the War Office that their eldest son, Private W Bland, of the Somerset Light Infantry, has been missing since March 21. This is their second son who has been reported missing. A third son is now in France.
Mrs. Freeman, Bennett Cottage, Bennett St., has received news from her husband. Sergt. J. Freeman, R.W.R, an old member of E Company that he is a prisoner of war in Germany. He was officially posted as missing on March 22nd.
D.C.M. FOR RUGBY SOLDIER.
Sergt J Webb, 1st Warwicks, Dunchurch Rd, Rugby, who, as we announced last week, was congratulated on his fine behaviour by the General commanding the 4th Division, has been awarded the D.C.M. for gallantry in the field.
RUGBY PRISONER OF WAR’S STORY.
Transferred to Holland after more than three years in Germany as a prisoner of war, Sergeant H Collins, of New Bilton, Rugby, writes: “ I must tell you about my last three days in Germany, just to give you an idea of the starvation out here. Three days before leaving Germany for Holland we were sent to an exchange station on the German frontier, a town called Aaken. When we arrived at the station there and marched through the streets, hundreds of children followed us begging us to give them bread and among them also were many women. Of course we had food with us from our parcels, and at our billets we threw the empty meat and jam tins away. My God, it was painful to see crowds of these women and children dash for the empty tins.
DESERTER.—On Monday, before Mr. A. E. Donkin, Driver William Henry Jones, 24 Kimberley Road, pleaded guilty to being a deserter from the Mechanical Transport, A.S.C., since April 7.—P.S. Hawkes deposed that prisoner was in plain clothes when he arrested him at his residence. He was unable to produce any Army discharge papers, and he admitted that he was a deserter.—Remanded to await an escort.
DR POWELL has heard that his son, who was reported missing, is wounded and a prisoner in Germany.
LATEST NEWS OF OUR SOLDIER BOYS.—News is now to hand that Pte Sidney Linnett, Army Cyclist Corps, previously reported missing, is a prisoner of war at Limberg. He was captured on April 9th last.—Pte Frank Lane, Grenadiers, is now reported missing. He is son of Mr & Mrs Joseph Lane, and his brother Arthur, also of the Grenadiers, was killed on March 29, 1916.
RIFLEMAN W BUTTON, 7th Batt. Rifle Brigade, has sent word to Mrs Day, of Newbold-on-Avon, that he was taken prisoner about two months ago, and is now at Langensalza, Germany. Rifleman Button resided in the village for several years, and before joining the Army in September, 1914, was employed at the Cement Works.
SILVER COINAGE MUST NOT BE HOARDED.
The prohibition of the hoarding of silver coinage and the sale or purchase at more than its face value, in Ireland, announced on Tuesday morning, is now extended to the whole of the United Kingdom. The Regulation provides that after next Monday “ no person shall retain current silver coins of a value exceeding that of the amount of silver coinage reasonably required by him at that time for the purposes of the personal expenditure of himself and his family and of his trade or business (if any).” Contravention of the Regulation constitutes an offence against the Regulations, and the burden of showing what amount of silver it is “ reasonable ” for a person to have it placed on the person charged. The Regulation also provides that any person who sells or purchases, or offers to sell or purchase, any current coin for an amount exceeding the face value of the coin, or accepts or offers to accept any such coin in payment of a debt or otherwise for an amount exceeding its face value, shall be guilty of an offence.
FARMERS WANT PROTECTION AGAINST POLITICIANS.
At a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Farmers’ Union on Tuesday, in London, progress was reported in respect of the proposed Council of Agriculture, which is to represent owners, occupiers, and labourers to watch the interests of agriculture generally against urban interests, which one member said cared only for votes and how to get the cheapest food. It was hoped the Council would protect farmers against politicians, who set party against party, and class against class. It was agreed to send a resolution to Mr Prothero and Lord Rhondda, asking for a revision of food prices, in view of the greatly increased cost of production.
“ It is curious one can buy a live rabbit without a coupon, but not a dead one. You ought to have bought a live one and wrung its neck,” said Mr. H. Jackson, the clerk at West Ham Police Court.
WHITSUNTIDE BOOKINGS.—Although the number of persons travelling during the holidays was not so large as in pre-war days, the bookings at the G.C.R. Station on Saturday showed an advance on last year’s figures. On Whit-Monday, too, the numbers were high, but in most cases tickets were taken to Willoughby or stations within easy reach of the town. On the L & N.W. Rly. the traffic was quite normal, and although no extra trains were run passengers were not unduly crowded except in a few cases. The countryside was looking at its best last week-end and presented great attraction to those who could by any means of locomotion get out a few miles to enjoy the vernal surroundings. Most of them adopted the wise precaution of taking their lunch and tea rations with them.
SCHOOLBOY LABOUR ON THE LAND.
APPEAL TO PARENTS, HEADMASTERS & BOYS.
To the Editor of the Advertiser.
DEAR SIR,—The military situation has necessitated calling-up of a large number of agricultural labourers, which will seriously deplete the available labour during the coming hay, corn, and potato harvests. It is of vital importance that the harvest of these crops should be successfully secured this year. This success will depend largely upon boys at public and secondary schools who have reached an age that will enable them to do useful work on the land.
The extent to which farmers are counting on their help is shown by the fact that demands for over 17,000 boys have already been received at the Ministry ; and there is no doubt that these numbers will be largely increased when the full effect of the calling-up for military service has been appreciated by the farmers. Of these numbers not less than 3,000 will be required during June and July, and a further 3,500 are needed for October for potato lifting if suitable accommodation can be arranged.
In view of the above facts, I am reluctantly compelled to appeal to schools to release during term-time such groups of boys as may be necessary for getting in the harvest. This is a time of national crisis, and the ordinary considerations of education have not the same force as in normal times. As I have pointed out, it is necessary to provide men for the Army, and it is necessary to provide labour to take their places on the farms and I must urgently appeal to parents, headmasters and boys to give all the help they can.
In view of my representations as to the urgency of the national need, the President of the Board of Education concurs in this appeal, and is issuing a circular on the subject to secondary schools in England and Wales.
All offers of service must be made through the headmasters of the schools. Headmaster who have not already received the regulations, and who can offer boys of 16 and over, should communicate with this Ministry.—I am. your, faithfully.
(Signed) A C GEDDES.
Ministry of National Service, Westminster, S.W.1.
DODSON.—In loving memory of Trooper GEOFFREY H. DODSON, 10th Australian Light Horse, son of Armourer-Staff-Sergt & Mrs. Dodson, 4 St. Matthew’s Street, who was killed in action in Palestine on May 2nd, 1918 ; aged 25.
HUDSON.—In ever-loving memory of my dear husband, HENRY JOHN HUDSON, who died at Chatham Naval Hospital, May 20, 1917.
With patience he suffered, his troubles were sore.
But now it is ended, he suffers no more ;
He sleeps, we will leave him in silence to rest,
The parting was painful, but God knoweth best.
—Sadly missed by his loving Wife and Children.