10th Jan 1919. Rugby’s War Memorial – Ambitious Scheme of Town Improvement Suggested

RUGBY’S WAR MEMORIAL.
AMBITIOUS SCHEME OF TOWN IMPROVEMENT SUGGESTED.
“ VICTORY SQUARE.”
AN OPPORTUNITY FOR DEMOLISHING SLUM PROPERTY.

A special meeting of the Urban District Council was held at Benn Buildings on Tuesday evening to consider suggestions as to what form the proposed local war memorial should take, and after a very interesting discussion the matter was referred to a further meeting of the Council. Mr J J McKinnell (chairman) presided, and there were also present Messrs W H Linnell, R S Hudson, T Ringrose, L Loverock, C J Newman, F E Hands, S B Robbins, and H Yates.

The question was introduced by the Chairman, who said, while he did not think they should be in a hurry in making up their minds, at the same time they did not want to leave the matter too long, because people were apt to have short memories. He hoped they would be able to raise sufficient money with which to erect a proper and adequate memorial to their brave men. Anything decided upon that evening would have to be confirmed by a public meeting of citizens, but the people of the town desired the Council to take the lead in this matter, and he would like some suggestion to go forth from that meeting. If possible he would like any such suggestion to be unanimous. For his own part he thought they might like to erect some permanent memorial, in the form of an obelisk, which it was suggested should stand on the site of the old Whitehall. This should be a simple and inexpensive monument, and upon it should be inscribed the names of all men who had been killed. However, he did not think they should stop there, and in this connection he agreed with the suggestion to provide an institute or club for discharged and demobilised sailors, soldiers, and airmen, because he believed that the men who had laid down their lives would wish the country to honour their living comrades.

The Clerk (Mr A Morson, M.B.E) read several letters containing suggestions as to the form the proposed War Memorial should take. The first, from Lieut Peddell, suggested that houses should be built for disabled soldiers, away from the centre of the town, together with a small factory, which could be linked up with a larger or national scheme. By this means the men would also be able to earn their own living amid pleasant surroundings. Probably, too, some of the villages would desire to co-operate in such a scheme to assist their own wounded men. He suggested that the members of the Council should commence collecting in the various wards.

An anonymous writer made three suggestions : (1) The provision of an institute for demobilised sailors and soldiers. (2) That the Council should purchase Mr Pepperday’s property at the comer of High Street to enable them to round off this very dangerous corner. (3) The erection of a monument in a central position, in conjunction with other councils and corporations, so that a uniform idea could be carried out throughout the country after the fashion of the Martello Towers. It might be possible to combine the third suggestion with either the other two.

Mrs Arthur James, of Coton House, suggested the provision of a suitable building for the local branch of the Discharged Sailors’ and Soldiers’ Association. At present, she said, the branch consisted of 350 members; but after the War there would probably be 6,000 men eligible for membership. A provisional committee, of which she was chairman, had secured rooms for the members at the Eagle Hotel for the next few months, but she thought the most suitable War Memorial would be to provide the branch with a permanent home.

Mr W F Hardiman, Murray Road, suggested the erection of a monument on the Whitehall site. This should consist of a granite pedestal with bronze plates on either side, with raised lettering, commemorating the Volunteers, Conscripts, and members of the 29th Division. This should be surmounted by a bronze statue of Liberty.

Mr. J W Kenning wrote commending the formation of a fund to be called “ The Common Good ” which has already been fully explained in the Advertiser.

Mr T A Wise, who is away from the town and was unable to attend the meeting, wrote enclosing some sketches by Mr C H Samson for a suitable memorial. He mentioned, however, that he thought the idea was a bad one. Who, he asked, in 10 or 15 years’ time would want to turn up a book to see what John Jones or Tom Smith did in the war, or to look at a brass plate of names? He agreed with Mr Yates that they wanted a simple, inexpensive memorial with a simple inscription and no names.

A telegram was read from Major J L Baird, M.P, as under : “ Strongly urge that War Memorial should take form of Institute for Discharged Sailors and Soldiers.”

Mr Ringrose expressed approval of the Chairman’s suggestion, and Mr Robbins favoured Mrs Arthur James’s scheme.

THE GAS STREET SLUMS.

As an old Rugbeian, Mr Linnell said he hoped whatever was done would be done well. He reminded the Council that about fifteen years ago he brought forward a proposal for abolishing the Gas Street slums, but it was not possible to do this then. This was a real slum district, and his idea was to do away with them and form a large square, to be called “ Victory Square.” This would be three times as big as the Market Place, and citizens could assemble there without interfering with the traffic. It could also be used in the future as the market. They could also build a memorial hall facing the square and Clifton Road. Independent of the war memorial, he thought the Town should carry out this improvement as soon as possible. They would be able to acquire the property at a low figure, and would be able to recoup themselves for some of the expenses by the sale of frontages, which would be very valuable owing to the improvements.

BILTON.
WAR MEMORIAL.—Capt M E T Wratislaw presided at a recent special meeting of Bilton Parish Council to consider the question of the parish war memorial.—After discussion, it was decided that the Parish Council resolve itself into a committee (with power to co-opt other members) to collect subscriptions and to consider suggestions which will be invited from a parish meeting to be held on January 24th.

NEWBOLD-ON-AVON.
WHIST DRIVE AND DANCE.—A whist drive and dance were held in the Council School, promoted by a committee of villagers and the proceeds are to be given to Mrs A Allen, whom Husband, Pte A Allen, was killed in the last stage of the war. Upwards of 120 persons were present, 26 tables being used in play. Prizes were presented by Mrs J Clarke, the successful players being : Ladies, 1 Miss Battson, 2 Miss Shone, 3 Mrs Over ; Gentlemen, 1 Mr T Gibson, 2 Mr F Round, 3 Mr T Archer ; consolation, Miss Cave and Mr J Hayward. Mr P West was the successful competitor in a guessing competition. After an interval for refreshments dancing was indulged in. Miss Dadley presided at the piano.

WAR PRISONERS’ MEMORIAL.
The proposal to use the balance of the Prisoners of War Fund to endow a bed at the Hospital of St Cross in memory of prisoners of war who have died in captivity has met with general approval. A sum of £1,000 is required to endow a bed, and towards this there was a balance of £800. A further £135 has been received during the past two or three weeks, leaving only £65 to be raised. Among the latest donations is a cheque for ten guineas from Major Claude Seabroke, who in an accompanying letter says : “ I have read with admiration the ceaseless work accomplished by the Rugby Prisoners of War Fund, and of your scheme for the application of the balance, which is sure to meet with unanimous approval.” Further donations will be gladly acknowledged by Mr J Reginald Barker, Hon Organising Secretary, Rugby Prisoners of War Help Committee, and should be addressed to him at 9 Regent Street, Rugby.
It is hoped that the small amount still required will be quickly raised.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR.
PERMANENT MARKING OF WAR GRAVES.

SIR,—The Army Council have asked this association to assist in bringing to the notice of the relatives of those Warwickshire officers and men who have fallen in the present War the work that has been done by the Imperial War Graves Commission. For this purpose a report in considerable detail has been prepared, giving the policy which has now been adopted by the Commission for the permanent marking of war graves abroad and the work of reconstruction in the cemeteries. A limited number of copies of the report referred to have been obtained by this association, and if those interested will apply to the undersigned a copy will be sent to them.—Yours faithfully,

W HARDISTY (MAJOR),
Secretary, Territorial Force Association, Warwickshire.
46 High St., Warwick,. Jan 7, 1919.

THE DISCHARGED MEN.
ASSOCIATION’S DOINGS IN RUGBY AND DISTRICT.
[A few notes under this heading will appear weekly in our columns.]

We wonder if ALL the people of Rugby know there is an Association for Discharged Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen ? There is one, and their institute is at the Eagle Hotel, Market Place, Rugby. We wonder if there are any discharged men who are not already members. If not, why not, as their interests will be studied very minutely in the future, and that is what we must look forward to. Join, and assure that you do not have a repetition of the after-effects of the last war.

The annual general meeting of the association will be held on Sunday next. The general meetings are held on alternate Sundays.

The Public Library Committee held a War Trophies Exhibition this week in their Museum, when a collection of interesting relics were exhibited by the association. The proceedings of the exhibition, it is understood are to be handed over to the association.

Can anyone help in a similar way, as funds are required to carry on the various schemes and good work of the association ? We understood on good authority that they will take a permanent position in the local social circle. Can they be repaid for what they have borne for us ?

Is it generally known that the D.S.S.A Association have a first-class football team, and have qualified for the final for the Rugby and District Challenge Cup, which takes place on the Eastlands Ground, Clifton Road, on Saturday, January 18th, at 2.30 p.m. Mrs Arthur James has kindly consented to present the cup to the winners. Tickets are being bought quickly, and you should get yours at once, price 6d. Roll up and see them play as well as they have fought.

Will discharged men living in the villages please get amongst their friends to interest themselves in the formation of branches of the D.S.S.A Association, and communicate with the Secretary, Eagle Hotel, Rugby, as a Propaganda Committee has now been formed, and commences this week to make a tour of the villages ?

We are pleased to note that wounded soldiers from the various hospitals are making use of the Institute, which has supplied a long-felt want.

We understand the Information Bureau is in being, and the two representatives of the association who are on the Local Pensions Committee will be pleased to meet members at the Institute between the hours of 8 and 9 p.m. every Monday in the committee room, and give advice relative to any questions respecting their pensions &c. The committee have been able to get into direct touch with the Pensions Authorities, and many grievances coming to members, widows, and dependents are at present under consideration by the Ministry. A list of employers is in course of preparation for obtaining posts for discharged men. Their names are required to make the list a substantial one. Already quite a number of men have been placed, and in good positions too, which is as it should be.

Intending members should note this important point : “ Unity is strength ” ; and who can look after your own interest better than your own comrades ?

One good feature of the Association is its aloofness from politics or party.

RETURNED PRISONERS AND WOUNDED SOLDIERS ENTERTAINED.
HAPPY DAY AT B.T.H.

On Saturday afternoon about 200 repatriated entertained by the employees of the B.T.H Company. The arrangements were made by a representative committee drawn from the offices and shops, and the entertainment was one which will long be remembered by all who were privileged to be present, especially in view of the fact that, as one of the guests remarked, this was the first public greeting which had been extended to repatriated prisoners in Rugby.

The gathering was held in the new canteen off the Brownsover footpath—a building which, by reason of its spaciousness and facilities for cooking, is admirably adapted for such a purpose. The walls and rafters of the canteen were decorated with flags, bunting and evergreens, and as one entered by the main door one’s eye was at once attracted to a large streamer, bearing the one word, “ Welcome.”

The guests were welcomed on behalf of the hosts by Messrs H H Sporborg and R Dumas.

The former explained that that gathering had been arranged because the employees of the company, appreciating to the full what the soldiers’ share had been in carrying through the great war to victory, desired to entertain them and to express the great admiration they felt for them and the way in which they had done their duty. They all realised the important part electricity had played in the War, and he referred with pride to the part the employees of the company had taken in providing the necessary munitions of war, but even so they all realised that the part of the soldiers was a far more arduous one, and it was on this account that that entertainment had been arranged.

Mr R Dumas said that all connected with the works realised that while they had been carrying out a necessary and essential part in the War by providing the soldiers with munitions and apparatus, still of necessity their part had been a less arduous one, a less risky one, and a less meritorious one than the part which they, as soldiers, had fulfilled. They, therefore, thought it was up to them to show their appreciation of the soldiers by trying to give them a good time in every respect, and it was for this reason that this entertainment had been arranged.

During the earlier part of the afternoon selections were played by Mr J T E Brown’s orchestra, after which the following programme was given :—Duet, “ life’s dream is o’er,” Mrs L Turnbull and Mr G Maley ; song, “ A chip of the old block,” Mr H Birkett ; musical sketch, “ My marriage,” Mr C T Mewis ; song, “ Plum stones,” Mrs J Hutton ; song, “ Mountain lovers,” Mr T C Thompson ; humorous song, “ The rest of the day’s your own,” Mr C T Mewis ; duets, “ The battle eve ” and “ Watchman ! what of the night ? ” Mr T C Thompson and Mr H Birkett ; song, “ Angus Macdonald,” Mrs Turnbull ; song, “ The floral dance,” Mr H Birkett.

An excellent tea followed, after which a cinema film, arranged in the form of a brief tour through the B.T.H Works, was shown. Scenes in the various shops and bays were thrown on the screen, and the film, besides proving very interesting and entertaining, gave the guests a very clear conception of the great and manifold activities of the company. A laughable Charlie Chaplin film, entitled “ At 1.0 a.m.” kindly lent by Mr. R Morris, of the Empire, was also shown.

Then came the event of the day—the Christmas dinner. The menu was an excellent one, including. as it did, roast turkey, gosling, chicken, vegetables, Christmas pudding, mince pies and sauces, and sweets of all descriptions, admirably served up by Mr Brownsward and his assistants. The guests were waited upon by lady friends of the organisers, &c, and the plentiful repast was thoroughly enjoyed.

After dinner Lieut Basil Parker, on behalf of the repatriated prisoners of war, expressed gratitude to the promoters and workers who had given them such a splendid entertainment. President Wilson himself could not have had a more hearty welcome than that which had been accorded to them. The prisoners came back, not knowing what was going to happen to them, and, so far as he knew, this was their first public greeting in Rugby, but it would be impossible for any other to surpass it.

Sergt-Major Harris and Sergt Cox supported on behalf of the wounded soldiers.

Mr Dumas, in response, said if the guests were pleased that was the best thanks the committee could have.

STRIPPING THE CHRISTMAS TREE.

The next item on the programme was the stripping of the huge Christmas tree, which had been prettily decorated with a multitude of many-coloured electric bulbs, and from which each guest received a handsome and useful present.

In the evening a number of the female employees of the company attended by invitation, and dancing to music supplied by the B.T.H Band was kept up until about 10 o’clock.

MAJOR BAIRD VISITS THE MERRY SCENE.

During the afternoon Major J L Baird, M.P, paid a brief visit to the party, and a telegram wishing the guests an enjoyable time was received from Lance-Corpl Vickers, V.C, and Sergt-Major Blythe.

The committee consisted of Messrs G Ralph (chairman), A S Kettle (treasurer) J E Smith (secretary), G Allford, J Atkinson, H Birkett, A Cannon, G Cooke, J Disney, W I Fells, M Henson, J S Heap, A Lord, G Maley, J T Porter, J Sharples, F Starmore, and H Yates.

DEATHS.

ABBOTT.—In loving memory of Gunner WALTER JOHN ABBOTT, fifth son of Mr. A Mrs. Middleton, of Watford (late of Rugby), who died in France on January 5, 1919, from injuries received in a train accident while coming home on leave, after four years’ service ; aged 38 years.—“ Thy will be done.”

CHATER.—On October 8, 1918, Pte. ARTHUR E. E. CHATER, dearly beloved son of Mr. & Mrs Chater, 7 Plowman Street, who was killed in action in France.

GAMMAGE.—On November 18th, Pte. JOSEPH GAMMAGE, the dearly beloved son of Mrs. Gammage, Kilsby, of dysentery, in Belgium aged 28 years.—From his sorrowing Mother, Brother and Sisters.

 

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