11th Apr 1919. The War Workers of the School World – from making socks to growing cabbages


An interesting report on the war work of the schools under the Warwickshire County Council is issued by the Education Committee. It states :

The records of school war work make a tale whose web of varied hues has been spun by busy little hands in play time and school hours. Some of the work is that of tiny people from the infants’ departments ; otherwise the workers of this school-world range from the age of seven to fourteen. Countless socks, mittens, scarves and their like have been sent to “ old boys ” in the trenches, to the Red Cross and kindred societies. Treasure bags, too, have been popular ; the girls of one school alone made 1,150, while the little boys of Standards I. and II., unable to sew themselves, gave material for 163 bags. When sandbags were asked for the girls of many schools worked at these.

Ill-content to make only woollen comforts and treasure bags, the girls of certain schools devised more original work. The cookery class at one school for two successive years made a noble Christmas cake, weighing 12lbs., for the soldiers at the local Red Cross Hospital, and when last Christmas brought a scarcity of spice and plums and the making of cakes became difficult, the girls subscribed the money and bought the cake that the soldiers might not have Christmas without one. Another school specialised in the making of slippers with linoleum soles for the wounded of the local V.A.D. Hospital. At a third school the girls have the fine record of 8,925 collars washed and ironed, and 3,020 garments mended, also for the soldiers at the local hospital.

The boys, too, developed certain lines of their own. Members of the woodwork classes helped to make crutches for the wounded, while one school gained local fame for its poster painting and 14 rolls of honour given to Churches of the neighbourhood. Boys of the school gardening classes have done valiant work. Soldiers’ gardens have been dug and planted ; waste ground has been reclaimed ; old people have received help with their gardens ; potatoes have been sprayed and lifted, and allotments measured out under the direction of head teachers. Many schoolboys gave help in harvesting, potato picking, and general farm work during the holidays. Boys and girls combined to send parcels to “ old boys ” and organise collections of many kinds.

The collection and sale of 7,000 jam jars and bottles by one school realised £14 for charities. Two schools united to collect sufficient waste paper to employ a man regularly in “ baling,” and the result has been £105 for local charities. Many schools collected chestnuts, nut-shells, and bones for Government purposes, while in two years 38 tons of blackberries were gathered for Army jam. The £2 10s. received by the children of a country school for their blackberries was divided between the purchase of a large flag for the school and war funds.

Local Red Cross Hospitals were regularly supplied with vegetables, brought by the school children from home gardens, and Warwickshire vegetables were dispatched in large quantities to naval bases ; one school alone collected 18cwt. for this purpose. A show and sale of vegetables in another school brought £16 to provide Christmas gifts for “ old boys ” at the front. If many sailors have unknowingly enjoyed Warwickshire cabbages, very many wounded soldiers have had Warwickshire eggs. One boys’ school has the splendid record of 11,000 eggs collected ; at another school co-operation with outside helpers has resulted in a total of 24,938 eggs and over £97 in money for the National Egg Fund. In yet another part of the county a girls’ school has contributed £25 to the same cause, while 4,335 eggs have been sent from an infants’ school where the tiny people who had no eggs to bring gave weekly halfpennies to help keep up the supply. The school children have all been very devoted workers for the National Egg Collection, and two schools in districts where it was less easy to find eggs sent money collections.

Self-denial and the sacrifice of many “goodies ” are surely responsible in part for the substantial help given to war funds and charities by money collections in the schools. Eighteen schools have sent among them £30 to the Overseas Club ; a single school sent £56 to the Red Cross and Prisoners of War. A big urban school gave a total of £200 to various war funds ; an infants’ school sent £8 10s. to the Blinded Soldiers’ Children’s Fund ; many schools helped with their subscriptions the Y.M.O.A. huts, St. Dunstan’s, the Sailors’ Rests, and Minesweepers’ Funds ; all had collections for the Red Cross. A school entertainment made a profit of £12 to help an “ old boy ” blinded in war. A Christmas collection devoted for the past four years to the French Red Cross ; collections for hungry Belgian children ; a Christmas gift in money sent to local Belgian refugees ; Empire Day collections for the Overseas Club all reveal the children not indifferent to the magic and responsibility of becoming citizens of the world. Thus the 17 schools which have sent an account of their collections have in all raised the sum of £629 9s. for war charities, in addition to the money given to purchase wool and material for comforts. For this latter purpose children have sacrificed their prize money, organised entertainments, held sales of work, and given up their pocket money.

The children’s help has also been enlisted in the distribution of pamphlets urging National Food Economy, the need for War Savings, National Service, &c. Food economy, too, has been practised by the children, who no longer reject crusts or sniff at unfamiliar vegetarian diet. At one school all except the weekly ones voluntarily gave up mid-morning lunch when the submarine menace was explained to them.

A War Savings Association, attached to the schools, had in May, 1918, 11,078 members, mostly children, and had then collected £50,116.

Each boys’ school in the county has its roll of honour, and the record of gallantry these represent must be a wondrous one. Twenty schools hare sent in lists of the military decorations gained by their “ old boys.” These include: V.C., 2 ; D.S.O., 3 ; M.C. with bar, 1 ; M.C., 10 ; D.C.M., 25 ; D.S.M., 4 ; M.M. with bar, 1 ; M.M., 34 ; M.S.M., 1; Mentioned in Despatches, 23 ; Croix de Guerre, 6 ; Medaille Militaire, 3 ; Croce di Guerra, 2 ; British Empire Medal for bravery during a fire at a munitions factory, 2. If all schools had made returns, the numbers would, no doubt, be very much higher. A large number of former elementary scholars have obtained commissions of various ranks from that of lieutenant-colonel downwards.


NOTICE has been received that Pte. James Peacock, late 2nd Border Regt., has been awarded the Military Medal for bravery under shell fire at a Lewis gun post.

Pte. HAROLD JOHN RUSSELL, son of Mrs W. Burbidge, Alexandra Road, Rugby, who was reported missing in September, 1918, is now presumed to have been killed on that day. He was employed at the B.T.H., and was an old Murrayian.

POSTUMOUS AWARD.—Mr. G. Hall, of 31 Alexandra Road, Rugby, has just received the Meritorious Service Medal, which was awarded to his son, Lance-Corpl. S. G. Hall, 7th R.W.R., in recognition of valuable services rendered in France. It to a year to-day (Friday) since Lance-Corpl. Hall was killed in action.

RUGBY WAR MEMORIAL.—Donations are steadily mounting up for the War Memorial scheme for Rugby, and, as will be seen from our advertising columns, the hon. secretary, Mr A Morson, M.B.E., is able to announce several additional sums since the last list was published. The total is now closely approaching the £2,000 mark, and it is hoped the townspeople will not be slow to add their quota to the fund.


We understand that a company of about 30 soldiers travelling from Peterborough to Ireland refused to proceed beyond Rugby on Tuesday night. The men had to wait about an hour at Rugby, and when they were ordered to line up to join the Irish Mail they refused. They were apparently under the impression that they were being taken to Russia, and as they considered they had not had a proper leave, they persisted in their refusal to enter the train. They were accordingly billeted in the Church House for the night, returning to the station early on the following morning. On Wednesday an officer in charge of an armed guard arrived, and after holding an inquiry he decided that the men had no case. The ringleaders were arrested and taken to Warwick, and the rest of the men then proceeded to Ireland by the mail train. The men were very orderly throughout, and no disturbance took place.


The 5th Warwickshire (Howitzer) Battery Old Comrades’ Association held a smoking concert at their Headquarters on Friday evening last, about 40 members being present. The chair was taken by Mr. P. Painter. and a very successful programme was rendered. The pianist was Mr. Littler, and the artistes included the following :— Messrs. Jackson, Seymour, Hopewell. J. J. Smith, Read, Owen, Jago, W. Alsop, and Ainsley, with a violin solo by Master L. Turner.

During the evening the Chairman outlined the objects of the Old Comrades’ Association, which, briefly, are as follows :—

(1.) It was thought, after the active service the Rugby Howitzer Battery had seen abroad during the war, that members would like to keep more in touch with one another than would otherwise be possible without such an association.

(2.) The association is open to any man who has been a member, either past or present, of the Rugby Howitzer Battery.

(3.) A nominal annual subscription of 2s. 6d. is made to defray minor expenses.

(4.) During the year it is proposed to hold several social gatherings, and once each year an annual dinner.

(3.) The association will be known as the 5th Warwickshire (Howitzer) Battery (Old Comrades’ Association, and its headquarters will be at the Battery Drill Hall, Rugby.

Colonel H. H. Mulliner, J.P.. has consented to act as president of the association, and. amongst others, the following have consented to become vice-presidents :—Major C. P. Nickalls, D.S.O., Major W. R. W. Anderson, the Rev. C. T. Bernard McNulty, and Capt. J. Brodribb. The following committee to act for the ensuing 12 months has been elected :—Secretary, Mr. P. Painter, 65 York Street, Rugby ; committee, Messrs. H. Packwood, C. Packwood, J. Davis, A. Neal, G. Hopewell, and S. Wetherington.

It Is hoped that every man eligible for available membership will avail himself of the opportunity of joining.


A meeting was held at the Infirmary V.A.D. Auxiliary Hospital on Saturday to wind up the special war work of the Rugby V.A.D.’s, Warwick 40 and Warwick 66. Mrs. Brooke Michell, Vice president, and County Director, Mr. E. K. Little, C.B.E., attended, and the members of the Voluntary Aid Detachments present were :— V.A.D. Warwick 40 : Miss Alderson, Miss H. Alderson,. Miss Ashby, Miss Bluemel, Miss Ella Bluemel, Miss Hilda Bluemel, Miss E. Bromwich, Miss Cumming, Mrs. Haigh, Miss Kittermaster, Mrs. Over, Miss Size, Miss St. Hill, Mrs. Thompson, Mrs. Woodworth, Mrs. Yates, Mrs. Hodgson, Mrs. Loverock, Mrs. Simey (Commandant).

V.A.D. Warrick 66 : Mrs. Wharton (Quartermaster), Mrs. Ash, Miss Clarke, Mrs. Currie, Miss David, Miss G. Everest, Miss L. Fortnam, Mrs. Marshall, Miss Maud, Mrs. Pratt, Miss Scott, Miss H. Size, Miss. Steel, Acting Q.M. Miss Townsend, Acting Commandant Miss M. G. Townsend, Miss Thompson, Miss Walker, Miss O. Walrond, Miss O. Walrond, Mrs Whitlock, Mrs Barber, Mrs. Eustace Hopewell, Miss Ivens, Mrs Barnard, Mrs Burdekin (Commandant).

Lady Denbigh, who was unable to attend, sent the following letter :—

“ Your letter followed me to and from Bournemouth, whither I went to recover from a bad attack of the flu. I am here till after Easter, and am afraid I cannot be in Rugby on the 31st. I wish I could. Will you tell Warwick 40 and Warwick 66 how sorry I am, and say how I congratulate them on the splendid work they have put in both at Te Hira and the Infirmary, and especially on the time they have put in at the Infirmary together, at a period when all were beginning to feel the strain, and when so many others fell out or had their hospitals closed. Having had some small experience of other Auxiliary Hospitals. I also think they are much to be congratulated on their mutual assistance and forbearance, and the splendid sinking of any personal opinions in the cause of the one great work of mercy on which they embarked and which they have so successfully carried to conclusion. It has been a great pride and pleasure to me to have been connected with them.”

Before calling upon the County Director to address the members, Mrs. Brooke Michell said : Our County Director has kindly come here this afternoon to dismiss us at the close of our war work. I hope it will be by no means the close of our Red Cross work, as to which Mr. Little may have something to say to us. I should like to take this opportunity of thanking all those who have given such devoted service to our Red Cross work. Speaking for myself, they have made the office of Vice-president a very easy and pleasant one by their unfailing courtesy and efficiency. I am no speaker, but if anything could make me eloquent it would be the daily example of wonderful and unselfish devotion to duty that I have had before me since the autumn of 1914, when our first Hospital was opened. I say “ wonderful,” because to my way of thinking, it requires an extraordinary degree of grit to carry on such work as yours, in all weathers, through times of discouragement, bodily and mental fatigue, ill-health, and even bereavement. I know that one of you worked till the eve of a serious operation. All this you have done for four years unobtrusively, cheerfully, and without the help of any limelight.

I must thank Miss Maude Townsend, who has so ably seconded Mrs. Burdekin, and shared with her the responsibilities of the Commandant’s work, which she has carried on single handed when the Commandant was seriously ill.

Also Miss Bertha Townsend we must be particularly grateful to for the noble way in which she came to our rescue when the Quartermaster of Warwick 66 was obliged to retire from work. It is no small praise to Miss Townsend to say she has carried on in a manner worthy of her predecessor, Mrs. Wharton.

I must also thank Miss Bromwich, whose work at both Ta Hira and the Infirmary has been invaluable. Miss Bromwich has a genius for discovering the dull, uninteresting jobs and doing them unobtrusively at the top of the house or over hours! Miss David, also, is a devoted worker of the same kind. We also thank those who taught the men to do needlework, cabinet making, knitting, carving, etc.—a work which required much patience and tact. Last, but not least, we owe our cooks grateful thanks for having helped to make our Hospitals popular by their excellent cooking. It is hard enough work to cook in winter, but in the heat of summer it requires more than ordinary courage to face a small kitchen containing several people and two large gas cookers surmounted by steaming saucepans! Our cooks had that courage, and. what is more, the food they turned out was so good that at least one bachelor patient inquired “ whether the cook was married or single !” Out of the Detachments, our most grateful thanks are due to Mr. van den Arend, who has done all our transport work locally, and has even bought an ambulance, in which he has often taken our patients to Birmingham himself, thus giving up whole days of his time. Also we thank the orderlies, without whom we could not have carried on our work. They have cheerfully given up a great deal of their time, and done excellent work. I thank all them and every V.A.D. most sincerely, and hope the experience they have acquired in war time may be made use of in times of peace.

In the course of his address, Mr. Little said now that the curtain was coming down on the first act of Red Cross work, he thought it only right that in congratulating themselves, as they had every right to do, on the success which had attended their work for the sick and wounded, they should remember there was a long rehearsal before the curtain rose. He should always feel that great honour was due to those who pioneered Red Cross work in the year before the war, and laid the foundations of the V.A.D. organisation, which was now a household word in every country. They in Rugby began work among the very first in aiding the troops quartered there, though Te Hira, and then the Infirmary, were not opened until later. In 1918 and 1919 they had 30 hospitals open, and at the date of the armistice 34. Their high water mark of established beds was just over 2,000. Considering that Birmingham was a separate Red Cross one, he thought they could feel that Warwickshire had done well, and held a creditable place among the counties of Great Britain. If they analysed their own county at all, he could truthfully say that no part of it had done better service and shown greater loyalty to the cause than Rugby and its neighbourhood. They must always be grateful to Mr. 7 Mrs. St. Hill for giving up their house so unselfishly and making it possible to provide such an excellent hospital as Te Hira became.

Later on, when, in response to their urgent demand for beds, the help of the Guardians was sought, they not only threw no obstacle in the way, but did, and have continued to do, everything in their power to further the interests of the hospital. The question of future work was now being threshed out by our headquarters. As under the Geneva Convention they were only to work for the sick or wounded in time of war. It was necessary that the scope of the various Red Cross Societies should be enlarged, and an International Conference was to be held 20 days after peace was signed to settle this. All the great nations would be represented. One point he suggested to commandants was that a quarterly lecture of a more advanced kind should be arranged. He expected some of the doctors who had been so good in the past would be equally good in the future, and that they would find suitable subjects to interest those who were ready to learn more of anatomy and other subjects. Then he thought it would be an excellent arrangement that, if possible, their nursing members should put in a fortnight or a month every year in one of the permanent hospitals. All these things wanted working out, but he was sure that the end of the war was only the beginning of a new call on V.A.D. work. He thought everyone agreed that the organisation which had proved so successful during the war should be in every expect maintained in peace. It was only left for him to thank them all, on behalf of the branch, very earnestly and very sincerely for all their excellent work. What they had done was, of course, for the sick and wounded, and they already had their gratitude. But that was no reason why the branch should not also express their appreciation of their loyal support.


Miss Ivens, M.S.Lond., the daughter of the late Mr. William Ivens, of Harborough Parva, who for the past four years has been surgeon-in-charge of the Scottish Woman’s Hospitals in France, courteously allowed a representative of the Rugby Advertiser to interview her during a recent visit she paid to the town.

“ The Scottish Women’s Hospitals for Foreign Service were started in Edinburgh by Dr. Elsie Inglis at the beginning of the war,” remarked Miss Ivens after our representative had explained the object of his visit, “ and the first fully-equipped hospital unit was sent to France on November 30, 1914. A suitable building was found a few miles from Chantilly, then the seat of the French General Headquarters. In the ancient and beautiful Abbaye de Royaumout, built by St. Louis at the request of his mother, Blanche de Castille, wards for patients were arranged in the great vaulted halls and cloisters. Starting with 100 beds, the hospital accommodation was increased at the request of the French Army Medical Service until 600 patients could be received. When the line moved forward a second hospital of 300 beds was equipped in huts at Villers Cotterets for the 6th Army, and worked until May 30, 1918, when the fighting in its immediate neighbourhood necessitated evacuation. This was fortunately effected during the bombardment of Villers Cotterets with no loss of life to either patients or staff by the women chauffeurs attached to the hospital, assisted by a few American ambulances.”

“ The personnel retired to its base at Royaumont, and work was continued without a day’s interruption for the Foch Reserve Armies, under the command of General Fayolle, and more especially for the 10th Army, under General Mangin. The work became heavier than it had been even during the Amiens offensive in March, and numerous additions were made to the staff. When the armistice was signed Royaumont was still full of seriously wounded cases, and it was not until February 20, 1919, that the last patients could be evacuated, when the records showed that more than 9,000 patients had been treated, and over 7,000 operations performed. The French Military Authorities showed their appreciation of the work of the hospitals by the bestowal of numerous decorations, including a Cross of the Legion of Honour, a Croix de Guerre with palm, 22 Croix de Guerre with star, and 30 Medailles d’Honneur.”

“ What is your impression of the French soldier and the French people as a nation ? ” our representative then asked.

“ I greatly admire the French soldier,” Miss Ivens replied. “ He is a splendid fighter, and also an exceptionally good patient. He does not grumble, and is eminently philosophical. ‘C’est la guerre’ is his invariable response to any commiserating remark. He appreciates to the full any little attention, and his natural charm and politeness won the hearts of his British nurses. Grateful letters invariably arrived from the old patients, and many travelled hundreds of miles to re-visit their hospital. As for the French people, I sometimes wonder if England fully realises what a great nation we have for an ally. I for one certainly did not appreciate their qualities before the war, and was surprised to find them so brilliantly clever and cultivated. Their tenacity and capacity for endurance have been a surprise to themselves.”

“ France has suffered terribly during the war in every way, and no one who has not seen the devastated regions can picture their unutterable desolation. It will be a disaster if she does not get at the Peace Conference the effective frontier line she is demanding. The women of France, too, have shown great patriotism. As soon as the men were mobilised the women quietly took their places, and it was due to their phenomenally hard work that the food supplies maintained such a high level.”


There are in this country awaiting repatriation a number of South African farmers and farmers’ assistants, who will be here for the next three to six months, and desire to utilise the time in getting instruction on well-managed farms. They are in receipt of their Army pay, and Warwickshire farmers are invited to apply for one or more of these men, and to supply them with free board and lodging in return for their help on the farm. Any farmer willing to do so should communicate direct with Capt. F. J. Sutton. South African Force. No; 7 Camp, Perham Down, Wiltshire.

Motor Lorries.
The Board of Agriculture announce that as more motor lorries become available sales will be arranged in the provinces, at which farmers will have an opportunity of purchasing them. At present the small number of vehicles available are being sold in London.


SIR,-In reply to “The Sailor’s Plaint,” it is, perhaps, some consolation for him to know that someone else is in the same position. I was discharged from the Army six months ago, and am no nearer obtaining a house now than then, and, so far as I can see, the interest taken by the local authorities in the matter is not likely to assist me in getting one this side of the grave.

Would it not be possible for them to obtain some of the Army huts to tide them over the difficulty ? I would not object to living in one of these. But probably they would be considered an eyesore to Rugby.

You should bear in mind, “ Matlow,” that the war is practically over now, bar a bit of flag-wagging and what the authorities were prepared to do when you were an honoured member of his Majesty’s Forces, and now you are a “ civvy,” are two different matters. One has only to hark back to the South African War for a similar state of things.

I am with you all the way, “ Matlow,” in regard to the reward business. Personally, I cannot convince myself that the persons offering them have served in the Forces. If so, presumably they did not belong to the rank and file.

I second your suggestion to the Rugby property owners with avidity, and if there are any of the gentlemen referred to who would care to fall in with it, and will reply to that effect through the medium of this paper, I will gladly send them my name and address, and thank them heartily for their kindness.—Yours, &c.,
Rugby, 8th April, 1919.


BATES.—In memory of Corpl. THOMAS BATES, killed in France on March 31, 1918.
“ We little thought when leaving home
That he would ne’er return ;
That he so soon in death would sleep,
And leave us here to mourn.”
—From his Mother, Father, and Sisters.

BLUNDELL.—In loving memory of GERALD JAMES BLUNDELL, who died at Salonika on April 11, 1917.
“ Two years have passed since that sad day,
When one we loved was called away.
God took him home, He thought it best,
But in our hearts he liveth yet.”
—From his Sisters.

BURTON.—In memory of MONTAGUE (MONT), only son of Mrs. & the late E. T. Burton, killed in action in France on April 10, 1917. Interred at Tigris Lane Cemetery, Wancourt.—“ Though lost from sight, in memory ever dear.”—From his loving Mother, Sister, and Albert.

BUSHILL.—In loving memory of my dear husband, Pte. GEORGE BUSHILL, who died from wounds received in action at Abbeville on 11th April, 1918.—The Lodge, Dunchurch.

COLES.—In ever-loving and affectionate remembrance of Lance-Corpl. GEORGE BERTRAM, the dearly beloved son of Mr. & Mrs. T. Coles (late of Old Lodge, Binley), who was shot by a sniper at Arras on April 10, 1917.
“ Had we but seen him at the lase,
And watched his dying bed,
Or heard the last sigh of his heart,
Or held his drooping head ;
Our hearts, I think, would not have felt
Such bitterness and grief ;
But God ordered otherwise,
And now he rests in peace.”
—Never forgotten by his loving Father and Mother, Sisters and Brothers.

COLING.—In loving and affectionate memory of our darling PHIL, who died of wounds in France on April 10, 1918, aged 24 years.—“ A devoted son, a loving brother.”—From Dad &t Mam.

COLLEDGE.—In loving memory of WALTER EDWARD COLLEDGE, who was killed at the Vimy Ridge on April 9, 1917. Also HERBERT HENRY COLLEDGE, who died on February 20, 1919.—“ At rest with the Lord.”—From their loving Mother and Brother and Sisters.

ELSON.—In loving memory of ALFRED WM. ELSON, who died of wounds in France on April 6, 1918.
“ In health and strength he left his home,
Not thinking death so near.
Death came without a warning given,
And bade him meet his God in heaven.
His King and country called him ;
The call was not in vain.
On Britain’s Roll of Honour
You will find our loved one’s name.”
—Sadly missed by his loving Mother, Wife, Brothers and Sisters.


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