BILTON PARISH MATTERS.
INTERESTING DISCUSSIONS AT ANNUAL MEETING.
THE WAR MEMORIAL : CAPT. WRATISLAW’S SCHEME ADOPTED.
RIVALRY BETWEEN THE TWO WARDS.
Further evidence of the unfortunate rivalry which exists between the two wards comprising Bilton parish was forthcoming at the annual parish meeting held at the Church House, Bilton, on Tuesday, when several contentious matters, in which the issue was plainly Bilton v. New Bilton, were discussed. Capt. M. E. T. Wratislaw, Chairman of the Pariah Council, presided over a good attendance, and he was supported by Mr. J. H. Veasey (vice-chairman), and Mr. F Fellows (clerk).
THE ROLL OF HONOUR.
In his opening speech the Chairman said four and a half years of war had not only sapped the nation of its strength, but it had also taken some of the very best out of their own parish. At least 77 men had laid down their lives for their country, but the list was hopelessly incomplete, and he appealed to relatives and friends of fallen men to assist the Clerk in compiling his list.
The company then stood while the Chairman read the roll of those killed during the past 12 months.
Dealing with parochial matters, the Chairman said there had been 75 burials in the cemetery during the past 12 months, and the total interments now numbered 212. Unfortunately, water pockets had developed, and the Council would shortly have to consider further improvements in the drainage system. With regard to housing, many people thought parish councils had powers which did not belong to them. They had no power to bring in a housing scheme; that was for the rural council. Through the courtesy of the Rugby Rural Council, however, the plans of the houses had been submitted to the Parish Council, who, with the help of a committee of ladies, had made a few observations on them. But that was the full extent of their powers. The War Savings Committee was still in existence, and the total savings of the whole parish amounted to £2,522. New Bilton, apart from the school, collected £771, whilst the school children collected £600. In Bilton ward the parish collected £1,016, and the school children £135. At Christmas they collected £71 2s. 10d. for soldiers’ parcels, and sent 10s. to each of 116 soldiers, the small balance in hand being dispensed by presents of 10s. each to 7 men who were then at home, 7/6 each to 14 discharged soldiers, and small presents to three widows.
THE COMMON LAND.
The balance sheet of Bilton Common Land showed that £75 11s. 10d. had been expended on coal for 94 recipients, £10 10s. in hospital tickets, and £4 4s. subscription to Nursing Association. There is a balance in hand of £45 19s. 11d. The accounts were adopted, and the auditors, Messrs. J. H. Burton and A. W. J. Clarke, re-elected.
THE WAR MEMORIAL : GRANITE SLABS DECIDED UPON.
The Clerk read the report of the War Memorial Committee (Chairman, Capt. M. E. T. Wratislaw ; vice-chairman, Mr. R. Lovegrove). The following suggestions had been considered : (1) Mrs. West, Celtic Cross ; (2) Mr. A. T. Watson, oak lych gate in each ward, with panels containing the names of the fallen, the parish to have the right to remove the panels if required for a public building ; (3) Mr. A. J. Askew, clock tower on Bilton Green and at New Bilton ; (4) Capt. Wratislaw, rough granite slabs, bearing names of fallen in each ward ; (5) Mr. R. Lovegrove, at New Bilton a Reading Room ; (6) Mr. A. T. Blick, a tablet in each place of worship in the parish, bearing the names of the fallen. The Committee recommended that either the lych gates or clock towers should be adopted. With regard to funds, they suggested a house-to-house collection in each ward, the fund to be kept open as long as possible to allow the residents to subscribe by instalments.—Mr. Foulds inquired whether a suggestion had been made to the effect that the memorial should take the form of some provision for the widows and orphans of soldiers ?—The Chairman said such a suggestion was made at the parish meeting on January, but it was not formally laid before the Parish Council.—Mrs. Assheton said the question as to what form the memorial should take was a very important one, because it would stand for all generations as a token of their gratitude and expression of their taste. No one would like to be responsible for anything unworthy, ugly, or hastily conceived. One or two suggestions had been made by the Committee, and one was rather led to ask “ What is the spirit in which we approach the scheme ?” It had been said that the best way to commemorate the dead was to do something for the living. She did not agree with that to an unqualified extent ; if they were dealing with a large sum of money there would be something to be said for it. These men gave their all, and what they ought to do was to erect something to their memory which was beautiful and durable, and where their names could be clearly inscribed, in order that they could recall at a glance the names of the men of the village to whom they owed so much gratitude. The question of benefitting anyone should be a secondary consideration. She deprecated the suggestion to erect a clock tower, because it seemed that they were looking to get something for themselves, and also because although a clock tower might be suitable for a town, it would be unsuitable for a village. Moreover, many were agreed that a clock tower on the green would be out of place and out of character. This also raised the question of whether the green was the best place for a memorial. It was certainly central ; but it was a place where children played, where people congregated, and where once a year at least gipsy vans and coker nut shies were pitched. If sufficient money could be raised, there were great possibilities in a lych gate, especially if designed by a good architect, in keeping with the old church. and after all the churchyard was the place where they always had and always would raise memorials to their dead (applause).—Mr. Watson said his idea was that the lych gate should be erected at the entrance to the cemetery in New Bilton.
The Chairman announced that at the committee meeting the members were equally divided between the clock tower and lych gate suggestions.
Mr. Foulds said most of the discharged soldiers with whom he had talked seemed to think there would be enough war memorials about in the shape of men with one leg or men on crutches. He, therefore, suggested that the memorial should be as cheap as possible and the remainder of the money be used for assisting the widows and orphans He moved a resolution to this effect. This was seconded.
Mr Watson pointed out that this was a question for the Government rather than for the parish.—A soldier’s wife denied that the Government were doing this effectively. The allowance for the eldest child of a soldier ‘s wife was 10s., but the child of a widow was only entitled to 6/8. Moreover, the separation allowance for a woman and two children was 32s., but a widow with two children only received 25s 5d.—The Chairman : That is a question entirely for Parliament, and not for a parish meeting. The only way you can do anything is by impressing your views on your member.
Mr. Burton suggested the erection of a marble wheel on a granite base, bearing the names of those who had fallen, and also all who had served in the forces.
Mr. J. Cripps proposed that a granite slab be erected in each ward.—Mr Barnett seconded.
Mr. Ashew said his idea was that the names of the fallen should be inscribed on the clock tower, and also that the striking bell should be available as a fire alarm.
Mr Barnett said he felt the persons most intimately concerned—viz., the parents and relatives of the fallen—would prefer that the memorial should be erected in the churchyard. Many of their dead were buried in France. Others had no grave, and it was only right that people should have some place which they could look upon as a memorial to their dead, and that place was the churchyard.
The second ballot was adopted for voting, and at the first show of hands the figures were :— For lych gate, 23 ; clock tower, 13 ; provision for widows, etc., 27 ; Granite slab, 44.
Second vote :—Lych gate, 19 ; provision for widows, 29 ; and granite slab, 58.
In reply to questions, the Chairman said it was decided at the previous parish meeting that whatever form was decided upon for the memorial it should be duplicated in each ward.
Some discussion then took place as to the site of the memorials, and Mr. Flowers suggested that at Old Bilton it should be erected in the churchyard.—Mr. Watson also urged that at New Bilton the site should be inside the cemetery, where the memorial could be properly looked after by the caretaker.—Mr. Foulds opposed this, and suggested that the memorial should be erected in the churchyard at New Bilton. This was nearer the centre of the parish than the cemetery.—Mr Watson : Very few people visit the churchyard, but on a Sunday afternoon in the summer use will see hundreds visiting the cemetery.—Mr. Veasy : In a few years the cemetery will be in the centre of the parish. If the parish grows it will grow towards Bilton.
On votes, being taken, it was decided to erect the slabs inside Old Bilton churchyard and New Bilton cemetery.
The Rev. W O. Assheton then suggested that only the Old Bilton names should be inscribed on the Old Bilton memorial, and the New Bilton names on the New Bilton slab—Mr. Watson differed from this view. They were all comrades together, he argued, and they should all be commemorated together.—Mr. Flowers : It will cause disappointment in future if all the names are not commemorated on each tablet.
Mr. F M. Burton said he should he very sorry indeed if the resolution was carried. They were all in one parish. Although he lived in New Bilton, he was proud of the Old Bilton boys who went to school with him ; and the same was true of many ; they lived in one ward and their friends in the other. He would be very sorry if the tablet erected at New Bilton did not bear the names of a very dear nephew of his, who laid down his life because he would not surrender.
The resolution was defeated, after the Chairman had pointed out that the Parish council and the previous parish meeting favoured all the men being commemorated on each slab.
The Chairman announced that Rugby wished New Bilton to be included in their scheme for celebrating the signing of peace, and this was agreed to. The members of the No. 2 Ward, with power to add to their number, were appointed a committee to make the arrangements for the Bilton celebrations.
IN AND AROUND RUGBY.
THE NATIONAL EGG COLLECTION FOR THE WOUNDED is bringing the work of its voluntary helpers to a close on March 31st.
LIEUT. E. R. MARSHALL, Coldstream Guards (Rugby), who has served in France, Belgium, and Germany, has returned safely to England. He carried the colours of his battalion on the triumphal march of the Guards through London last Saturday.
MEMORIAL WINDOW.— A stained glass window of two lights, portraying scenes from the Raising of Lazarus, has been placed in St. Matthew’s Church this week as a memorial to the men of the parish who have given their lives in the war. A brass tablet, recording the names of the men commemorated, will be added at a later date. So far, about 33 names have been received, and others can be added. This is the first general local war memorial to be carried through to a successful issue. The principal and scholars of Oakfield also propose placing a window in the church in memory of old Oakfield boys who have fallen.
CLOSING OF THE INFIRMARY HOSPITAL.
PRESENTATION TO THE COMMANDANT.
The last remaining V.A.D. Hospital in Rugby, the Infirmary, which was opened on January 1st, 1917, will close down at the end of this month, and in this connection a pleasing ceremony took place at the Hospital on Saturday, when, on behalf of the present patients, Sergt. Wheeler presented the Commandant, Mrs. H. P. Burdekin, with an album with a beautifully illuminated frontispiece.
A breaking-up party, to which past and present patients, the Staff, and all who have helped since the opening of the Hospital, was held on Thursday evening. An excellent programme was provided, the artists including Mr. Worrall, a well-known Birmingham humorist, Miss Janet Cranmore, dancer, and Miss Roberta, vocalist. Selections were also given by the Rugby Male Voice Choir. Refreshments were served in one of the wards, which had been tastefully decorated.
LIGHTENING THE PRISONER’S LOAD.
THE ORGANISATION OF A USEFUL RUGBY FUND.
PRESENTATION TO MR. J. REGINALD BARKER.
A few weeks ago it was suggested that some tangible mark of appreciation should be made to Mr. J. R. Barker in recognition of his success in raising money during the war in the town and district for the Rugby Prisoners of War Fund and other national objects. A fund was accordingly opened, and a presentation was made to Mr. Barker at a meeting of the committee responsible, held under the chairmanship of Mr. W. Flint, C.C., on Thursday evening in last week.
The Chairman said they had met that night to show their appreciation of the good work done by Mr. Barker in providing comforts for our prisoners of war.
Mr. McKinnell said it gave him the greatest possible pleasure to make the presentation, and felt it a very great honour that he had been asked to do to. They wished to make some small acknowledgment to Mr. Barker for all the work that he had done in raising funds during the war. When they had to get money month after month, year after year, it was no good simply issuing an appeal to the kindly feelings of the people, starting a subscription list, and let it go at that. The only way to achieve success was to take the hard course Mr. Barker did and put their back in it and work hard at it month in and month out. In connection with the many official flag days, Mr. Barker took the whole of the responsibility and made the whole of the arrangements and he was most certainly entitled to the whole of the credit. They were very lucky in having a gentleman of Mr. Barker’s ability with the will to work as he had, and the result was that they did wonderfully well for the prisoners of war. He hoped Mr. Barker would feel to the end of his life that many a poor starved Britisher and many a poor starved Warwickshire man was indebted to his efforts for some mitigation of the awful conditions which prevailed for years among the prisoners of war in Germany. As regards the other work he did for national causes, he hoped Mr. Barker would also feel that many poor creatures in the various nationalities were helped and given fresh hope and inspiration. It was now his duty to present to him a cheque for £54 3s. 6d., and a very handsome solid silver rose bowl, which would always remind him of the work he had done in that connection. The rose bowl was inscribed : “ Presented to James Reginald Barker by the citizens of Rugby in recognition of his untiring energies as Hon. Organising Secretary of the Rugby Prisoners of War Fund and other charities, 1914-1919, March 20th, 1919.” Mr. McKinnell also thanked Mrs. Barker for the help and sympathy she had shown in the work her husband had undertaken, and he asked her acceptance of a pair of solid silver flower vases.
Mr. Barker, in responding, said he had had a few hard tasks to perform during the past four years in connection with the various war charities in Rugby, but the hardest task of all was to adequately express his thanks to his fellow-townsmen for the handsome manner in which they had shown their appreciation of the services he had rendered to their prisoners of war and other causes connected with the war. When he undertook this work he had no thought of reward. Everybody had to do their bit ; someone had to look after the prisoners of war in each town, and it fell to his lot to do so. Someone had to organise flag days. That also fell to his lot, and it was a duty he was only too glad to have been able to carry out. The success which had attended his efforts, and the many expressions of thanks he had received personally from so many prisoners of war brought with it its own reward. He thanked them all very much for all they had done to acknowledge his work, and said the rose bowl would serve to remind him continually of the generosity of his fellow townspeople.
Mrs. Barker said she had been glad to assist her husband end encourage him in his work. She thanked them very much for her charming present, which she would always appreciate and think a lot of.
The Chairman extended to Mr. R. P. Mason the thanks of the Committee for the work he had done in connection with the testimonial fund, and in reply Mr. Mason said the work had given him the greatest pleasure.
The presentation committee consisted of Messrs. William Flint, C.C. (chairman), J. J. McKinnell, J.P., C.C., F. R. Davenport, A. E. Donkin, J.P., C. J. Newman, G. W. Walton, and R. P. Mason, hon. secretary and treasurer.
Driver P. Kimberley, son of Mr. J. Kimberley, arrived home on Saturday evening from Brighton from a Military Hospital, after bring absent from home for 3½ years, serving in the British Balkan Force. He paid a visit to his old school on Monday, where he was warmly welcomed by the scholars and headteacher.
ODDFELLOWS’ WAR MEMORIAL..—The second dance was held on Friday last at the Oddfellows’ Hall. There was a large attendance. Mr. Armstrong acted as M.C. for the first part, and Miss Amos for the second part. Mr. Joseph Howatt, of Binley, was an efficient accompanist, and Mrs. Blackman superintended the refreshments.
Sergt Silas Poxon, second son of Mr. John Poxon, of the Rose and Crown, has received his discharge and returned home. He joined as a private in the Royal Engineers, and went out early in 1915 to France, where he has seen much service, but was one of the few in the district who went through without a wound. For his bravery on the Somme in 1916 he was awarded the Military Medal. He could have received a commission, but preferred to stop as a sergeant.
WAR MEMORIAL GIFT.—A meeting of parishioners was held in the schoolroom on Monday evening to consider the subject of a War Memorial. Mr. F. A. Morris was elected Chairman, and he offered a beautiful clock on condition that a suitable place could be found for it. It was agreed that the triangle in the centre of the village would be the best place. It was further proposed that a design should be obtained. A working committee was appointed to carry out the work.
CHAMBERS.—In loving remembrance of our two dear sons, Pte. CHARLES CHAMBERS, killed in action on March 21, 1918, and Sergt FRED CHAMBERS, who died from wounds on April 4th. 1918.
“ The rolling stream of life flows on,
But still the vacant chairs
Recalls the love, the voice, the smiles
Of them who once sat there.”
—Never forgotten by their loving Dad and Mother, Brothers, Sisters, and Amy.
KEATES.—In loving memory of BERNARD KEATES (1st Wiltshire Regt.), who died of wounds received in action on March 26, 1918, the dearly beloved son of Mrs. Keates, 29 New Street, New Bilton.—From his loving Mother, Brothers, Will and Jack, sisters Mary and Diana, and Grandma.
MATTHEWS.—In loving memory of JOHN MATTHEWS, who died of wounds in France on March 25, 1918.
“ Gone is the face we loved so dear,
Silence his voice we long to here ;
His gentle hands, his loving face,
No one can take our dear one’s place.”
—From his loving Father, Mother, Brothers, Sister, and Brother in-Law (Churchover).
SALISBURY.—In loving memory of our dear son, WILFRED JOHN SALISBURY, killed in action on March 25, 1917.
“ Gone from our midst, so young, so fair,
But Father knoweth best ;
He called him from a world of care
To Heaven’s eternal rest.”
—From Mother and Father, Brothers and Sisters (17 Clifton Road).
TABOR.—In loving memory of ALEC JOHN TABOR, who was killed in France, March 26, 1918.
“ There is a link that death can’t sever,
Love and remembrance live for ever.”
—From his loving Mother, Brother & Sisters.
WALL.—In loving memory of Corpl. LOUIS HAROLD WALL, M.M., King’s Royal Rifles, reported missing November 30, 1917, at Cambrai, now presumed killed on that date (of Stockton).
“ God’s will be done, though hearts may break ;
‘Twas His to give, it was His to take.
We pictured him safely returning,
We longed to clasp has hand,
But God has postponed the meeting
Till we meet in the Better Land.”
—From Dad and Mother, Eva and Janet.