Brown, Frank Lincoln. Died 3rd May 1917

We recently published the biography of Frederick Louis Brown as the most likely candidate for the F L Brown on the Rugby Memorial Gates. We have now discovered that the man listed should be Frank Lincoln Brown, who was born and lived in Rugby.

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Frank Lincoln Brown was born in Rugby in 1894, the youngest son of Edward, and Sarah Emily (nee Barge). Edward was an assurance agent born in Priors Marston and Sarah was from Wales. They married in Rugby in 1889.

In 1891 they lived at 2 Princess Street and in 1901, when Frank was aged 6, at 3 Newbold Road.

By 1911 Frank was aged 16 he was working as a machinist in a meter factory. The family lived at 33 Stephen Street, Rugby.

Towards the start of the war, Frank Lincoln Brown enlisted at Rugby and joined the 5th Bn. Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry (No. 10444)

He served in France and Flanders from the 20th May 1915. On the 3rd May 1917 the 14th Division, which contained the 5th Ox & Bucks, formed the left flank of the great British offensive at Vis-En-Artois. The attack took place over a twelve-mile front east of Arras with the Ox & Bucks attacking the enemy position at Hillside Work.

The attack commenced at 3.45am in the face of very heavy machine gun and rifle fire. The 5th Ox & Bucks were temporarily held up by an undiscovered enemy trench, which although they were eventually able to capture, they did so with heavy casualties. This obliged them to cease any further advance. At 11am the Germans launched determined counter attack ultimately driving the British back to their original positions.

The action cost the Ox & Bucks 19 men killed, 113 missing and 153 wounded.

Frank was killed in this action, almost two years after arriving in the trenches, on the 3rd May 1917, aged 23, he has no known grave and is today remembered on the Arras Memorial.

There was an announcement in the June 1917 issue of The Pioneer, the Baptist Church magazine that he had been missing for nearly a month. Frank Brown is listed on the Memorial Plaque in Rugby Baptist Church, which reads:

This tablet and the organ in the Church are erected to the memory of those members of this Church who laid down their lives in the Great War 1914 – 1918, whose names are given herewith also as an act of thanksgiving for the safe return of the many others from this Church who served in the war.

On waters deep in the treacherous
On rock bound heights and burning
They poured the offering of their blood
They kept the honour of the land.
A.W. Leeson      

Corporal Frank Lincoln Brown was entitled to the 1914/15 Star, BWM and the Victory Medal.

Sarah Emily Brown died in 1921, she was joined by her husband Edward in 1935.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

 

With thanks to Kevin Pargeter, who brought this man to our notice and provided the information.

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Thompson, Arthur. Died 25th Feb 1917

The A Thompson on the Rugby Memorial Gates was originally identified as being Arthur Thompson listed on the Willans and Robinson Drawing Office Plaque, who enlisted at the start of the war. However without more information, we were unable to research him and record him on the centenary of his death. We have now been contacted by his grandson, who has provided us with enough information to publish this biography on the anniversary of his marriage in 1916.

Arthur Thompson was born on 25th May 1889 at Margetts Road, Kempston, Bedfordshire. His father was Charles Thompson, a maltster and his mother was Amy (nee Slater). Arthur was the sixth child. By 1901 three more children had arrived. (They had eleven children altogether but two had died by 1911) The family were now living at 24 Howard Avenue, Bedford. Charles was now listed as a grocer, but his eldest son, also Charles (25) was a maltster.

By 1911 several of the children had left home, including Arthur. Charles was still working as a grocer, at the same address, 24 Howard Avenue. (According to Google Street View, the property is still a grocer’s shop.) We have not been able to find Arthur in the 1911 census, but he was probably already living in Rugby.

On 5th September 1914, he was listed in the Rugby Advertiser as having signed up with other members of staff from Willans and Robinson.

WILLANS & ROBINSON, LIMITED.
SUPPLEMENTARY LIST, No. 3.
Staff :  A Thompson, W R Gamble, C Haines, T Campbell, G F Lewis, P W Clark, J Hughes, C H Waugh, H M Packwood, H R Ainsley, J R Hayward, L G Higgs, A Gibson, A L Jenkins, J Miller, and J Pethybridge.

Arthur joined the Royal Engineers, as corporal, number 42242, and arrived in France with 70th Field Coy. on 30th May 1915.

He would have taken part in the Battle of Loos in October 1915. With no surviving service record it is impossible to track his movements, but in June 1916 he was home on leave, or perhaps had been injured. It is not known if he had returned to France in time for the Battle of the Somme. The 70th Field Coy took part in the Battles of:
Albert 1 – 13 Jul 1916,
Poziers Ridge 23 Jul – 7 Aug 1916,
and The Transloy Ridges 1 Oct – 11 Nov 1916

It is known that on the 18 Dec 1916 he was back in Rugby to marry Lilian Walton at Rugby Congregational Church. It is said that Lilian was a tracer in a drawing office. Presumably Arthur had met her at Willans and Robinson. The Walton family came from Crick, but at the time of the marriage she was living at 24 Benn Street, Rugby.

Arthur Thompson at the front, dated 18 Feb 1917

Serjeant Arthur Thompson was Killed in Action on 25th February 1917, near Arras in France. There is no report of any deaths on that day in the war diaries, but the family was told that the artillery was firing over their heads during an advance and a shell fell short and killed him.

He is buried in the Faubourg d’Amiens Cemetery, Arras.

He is remembered on the Willans and Robinson Drawing Office plaque, as well as the Rugby Memorial Gates. He is also remembered on the Bedford, All Saints memorial.

He was awarded the British and Victory medals as well as the 15 Star.

Arthur and Lilian’s son, Aubrey Arthur Thompson was born on 4th March 1917, one week after his father’s death. Lilian later remarried and moved away from the area.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Note: We wish to thank Clive Thompson, grandson of Arthur, for  the use of family photographs in this biography.

Houghton, William Thomas. Died 4th Oct 1917

Omitted from publication on 4th Oct 2017.

William Thomas Houghton was born in the second quarter of 1885 to Joseph and Annie Houghton.  He was baptised at St. Matthews Church, Rugby on the 30th January 1887. His father, Joseph, was a shoemaker and had married Annie Francis the 17th January 1870 at St. Marks Church, Bilton.

In 1871 William’s parents had been living at New Bilton in Lawford Road, Rugby with their eldest daughter Annie Elizabeth, who was born in 1870.  In 1881 Joseph and Annie are with their children, with the exception of Annie Elizabeth, at Back Lane, Bilton, Rugby.  By the time of 1891 census Thomas has been born and is with his parents, his brothers and sisters, Harry, Mary, Emily and Frederick; and they now are at 23 Russell Street, Rugby.  William’s eldest sister, Annie Elizabeth, is not at home.  Harry is working as a Railway Clerk, Mary is a Stay Maker, Emily is a General Domestic, and Frederick is an Errand Boy and William who is only 6 years old at this time.   By the time of the 1901 census, William is working as a servant (Page Domestic) at 4, Hillmorton Road, Rugby.  His parents have only their granddaughter, Lilly Hipwell 7 years old; living with them at 84 Rowland Street, Rugby.  Joseph is still working as a shoemaker.

William’s father died in 1905 and was buried at St Marks Bilton, 22nd March 1905.  At the time of Joseph’s death they were living in Avenue Road, New Bilton, Rugby.

William Thomas married Laura Martha Brown in 1909.  On the 1911 census they are residing in Kilsby, Northamptonshire and William is a Grocery Manager for the Rugby Cooperative Society.  William had also worked at Hillmorton and Bilton as well as Kilsby for the Rugby Co-operative Society.  His daughter, Phyllis, was born in 1912.

William enlisted at Rugby in 1916 and joined the 7th Bn. Royal Warwickshire Regiment on November 1916, no. 202847 and had been in France nine months prior to his death in 1917 and would have been involved in the fighting around Ypres.

The Battles of Ypres took place between 31st July to 10 November 1917 and it was during one of these in October 1917 that William would have sustained a wound to the neck.  He was then taken to one of the 5 Casualty Clearing Stations at Proven, Belgium.  He passed away in the operating theatre on 4th October 1917 at the age of 31 years.  His widow, Laura received news of his death from the Chaplain of the Clearing Station.  He is buried in Mendinghem Military Cemetery, Belgium, Grave/Memorial V11. B. 29.

According to the records of Soldiers Effects, ( this is money that was owed to William at the time of his death), Laura was sent 11s 1p on the 12th January 1918 and a further 16s 9p on the 23rd March 1918.

Local War Notes   Rugby Advertiser, October 13th 1917
PTE. W. HOUGHTON KILLED
In a letter received this week Mrs Houghton, the Chaplain of a clearing station in France communicates the sad information that her husband, Pte. W. Houghton, Machine Gun Corps, died on October 4th.  When brought in he was suffering from a wound in the neck.  He was in no pain, and quite conscious and cheerful; and in the ordinary way of things it did not appear to be a severe wound.  Unfortunately he died on the operating theatre after an operation had been performed.  Pte. Houghton was 31 years of age, and was the youngest son of the late Mr. Houghton and Mrs Houghton, Queen Street Rugby.  For many years he had been employed by the Rugby Co-operative Society, and was manager successively of the branches at Kilsby, Hillmorton and Bilton.  He joined the Warwickshire Regiment on November 7, 1916 and had been in France nine months.  He leaves a widow and one child, now residing at Eastleigh, Southampton.

Rugby Advertiser   November 10th 1917

DEATHS

HOUGHTON: –   In loving memory of my dear husband, Pte. W. T. HOUGHTON  1/7th R. W. Regiment. Who was killed in action on October 4th, 1917, somewhere in France, aged 32 yrs
“Sleep on loved one in your far off grave;
A grave I may never see as long as life and memory last
We shall always remember thee.”
From his sorrowing Wife and Child

HOUGHTON: –   In loving memory of Pte. W. T. Houghton, 1/7th R. W. Regiment, who was killed in action on October 4 1917.  From his sorrowing Mother, Brothers and Sisters.
“Not dead to those that knew him,
Not lost, but gone before;
He lives with us in memory,
And will for evermore.”

Rugby Advertiser   October 5th 1918

IN MEMORIAM

HOUGHTON:-   In everloving memory of my dear husband, Pte. W. T. HOUGHTON,
1/7 R. W. R., who was killed in action on October4, 1917.
“There is a link death cannot sever
Love and remembrance last forever”
Never forgotten by his loving Wife and Child

HOUGHTON:-  In loving memory of our dear one, Pte. W. T. HOUGHTON, 1/7 R. W. R., killed in action somewhere in France, on October 4, 1917.
“We pictured your safe returning.
 And longed to clasp your hand,
But God postponed that meeting
Till we meet in that Better Land”
From his loving Mother, Brothers and Sisters

Rugby Advertiser   October 3rd 1919

IN MEMORIAM

HOUGHTON:-  In everloving memory of my dear husband Pte. W. T. Houghton, 1/7 R. W. Regt.  who died of wounds October 4th 1917
“Some day our eyes shall see
The face we loved so well
Some day we’ll clasp our hands in his
Never to say farewell”
Always remembered by his loving Wife and Child

HOUGHTON:-  In loving memory of brother Will, who fell at Ypres, October 4th 1917
He answered duty’s call and gave his life for one and all BRO.
F. Houghton, late 6th Batt. Oxon and Bucks.

Rugby Advertiser  October  3rd 1920

IN MEMORIAM

HOUGHTON:-  In loving memory of my dear husband Pte. William Thomas HOUGHTON. Who died of wounds October 4th 1917.
“Christ will link the broken chain
Closer when we meet again”
Never forgotten – by his loving Wife and Child

Rugby Advertiser  October 7th  1921

IN MEMORIAM
In loving memory of my dear husband, Pte.  W. T. HOUGHTON , who died of wounds October 4th 1917
“Not dead to those that loved him
Not lost but gone before
He lives with us in memory
And will for evermore,”
From his loving Wife and Child.

It appears that William’s widow, Laura, died in 1922 aged 36, perhaps of a broken heart. Their daughter, Phyllis, who would have been only ten, was probably taken in by her uncle George Brown and his wife. She is living with them in 1939 at 1 Bennfield Road, Rugby. She married a John Reading in 1947.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Clarke, Charles Edward. Died 20th Aug 1917

This biography of Charles Edward Clarke appears on this blog one year after the centenary of his death in 1917. He is listed on the Rugby Memorial Gates as G E Clarke and has only recently been identified.

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Charles Edward Clarke was born in Barby, Northants and baptised there on 6th May 1894. His father was Joseph, a labourer born in Stretton on Dunsmore and his mother Eunice Hannah (nee Burnell). Joseph and Eunice were married in Southam on 15th Jul 1890.

In 1901 the family were living at 2 Hibberts Cottages in Barby, where Joseph was a farm stockman. By 1911 the family had moved to Pailton. Joseph was a labourer for the County Council and sixteen year old Charles was a farm labourer. Charles had an elder brother James and two sisters Lilly and Sophia plus a younger brother Omer.

When war broke out, Charles Edward Clarke was working for the London and North Western Railway in Rugby. He is listed in the Rugby Advertiser of 3rd September 1914 as one of the many men from the Locomotive Department, who had enlisted.

He joined the 9th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment (no. 4447) but was later transferred to the 2nd Battalion, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry (Private, no. 20233). According to his Medal Record he arrived in France on 6th May 1915.

The Duke of Corwall’s L.I. (D.C.L.I.) served in France, where they took part in the second battle of Ypres, until late 1915. They were then sent to Salonika, arriving there on the 5th Dec 1915 and were engaged in various actions against the Bulgarian Army.

Bulgaria was coming under the control of Germany and Austro-Hungary and French and British troops were sent to the area to protect Serbia from attack. Between December 1915 and July 1916, the British Salonika Force was entrenched in a line of defence about 20 miles from Salonika. They then moved up the Struma valley. The autumn offensive captured over 400 square miles of territory including Karajakois (30 Sep – 2 Oct), Yenikoi (3-4 Oct) Tumbitza Farm (17 Nov and 6-7 Dec) but were unable to capture the Serbian town of Monastir.

The D.C.L.I. spent time road making and building entrenchments before attacking Bulgarian held villages below Seres. Casualties were not great; the main enemies were mosquitoes and malarial fever. In spring 1917 the river flooded and troops retired to the hills. They made frequent excursions across the Struma river and although unable to make a significant impression on the Bulgarian position, they succeeded in their primary objective of preventing enemy forces moving west of the Vardar.

In the whole campaign, British losses were 3,875 other ranks killed or died of wounds, 3,668 died of disease. Private Clarke died of heart failure on 20th August 1917. He had been engaged on transport duties for several months and was found dead in his tent an hour after he had been seen in his usual duties.

His Platoon Officer wrote that he was “one of the most popular men in the Battalion and liked by everyone.”

Charles Edward Clarke was buried in Struma Military Cemetery.

He was awarded the Victory and British War Medals and the 1915 Star.

As well as the Rugby Memorial Gates he is remembered on the Rugby Steam Shed Plaque and the Pailton War Memorial.

Charles’ elder brother, James who died on 25th Sep 1915 is also listed on the Pailton Memorial but not on the Rugby Gates.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

 

Information about Charles Edward Clarke and the Salonika Campaign found at http://www.ww1wargraves.co.uk/ww1_cemeteries/memorials_pailton.asp

Driver, Charles John. Died 31st Dec 1917

Charles John DRIVER, as in the military records – or John Charles DRIVER in civilian life – was born in late 1897, with his birth registered at Rugby in Q1, 1898. He was baptised as John Charles Driver, on 13 February 1898, at St. Andrew’s church, Rugby. He was the first and only child of Reuben Edward Driver [jnr.], b.c.1869 in Market Harborough, a plate layer of 811 Old Station, and Elizabeth Ann née Beers, Driver who had married on 19 April 1897 at St Andrew’s church, Rugby.

It seems that his mother must have died, when she was aged 27, in childbirth, towards the end of December 1897, as her death was registered in Q4 1897.   Indeed, because of the time allowed for registration, her death would have had to be registered within five days, but the birth did not have to be registered for 42 days – hence the birth being registered in Q1, 1898 – the following year.

It seems that John Charles’s paternal grandmother took on the task of rearing her grandson. His father Reuben Edward Driver [jnr] remarried with Georgina née Hinks, in about 1900, and in 1901 they were living elsewhere although near his parents and enumerated at 855 Old Station, together with Georgina’s widowed mother. By 1911, they had been married 11 years, and had moved to live at 811 Newbold Road, Rugby, but had had no children. He had remained a plate layer over this time, latterly at least for the L&NW Railway.

In 1901, the 3 year old John Charles Driver was enumerated with his grandparents, Reuben E. Driver [sen.] and Caroline Driver at 1002 Old Station, Rugby.   Reuben sen. was a ‘Loco Railway Labourer’. In 1911, John Charles was again at that address, with his widowed 71 year old grandmother and a younger cousin, his grandfather having died in early 1909.

John Charles followed in the family ‘tradition’ and went to work for the railway, and when war broke out, he enlisted in September 1914 and was included on … ‘The following … list of men from the Locomotive Department of the L & N-W Railway at Rugby …, J C Driver, …’.[1]

There are no Service Records to indicate where John Charles may have served, but his final posting was in the Royal Flying Corps, where he became No.92241, and promoted to be a 2nd Class Air Mechanic in the 56th Kite Balloon Section.

At the end of 1917, John Charles, and other members of his Kite Balloon Section were posted to the Middle East, and due to arrive at Alexandria.

In March 1915, the base of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force was transferred to Alexandria from Mudros and the city became a camp and hospital centre for Commonwealth and French troops. Among the medical units established there were the 17th, 19th, 21st, 78th and 87th General Hospitals and No 5 Indian Hospital. After the Gallipoli campaign of 1915, Alexandria remained an important hospital centre during later operations in Egypt and Palestine and the port was much used by hospital ships and troop transports bringing reinforcements and carrying the sick and wounded out of the theatres of war.

John Charles was travelling on the Mercantile Fleet Auxiliary HT Osmanieh when it was struck by a mine on 31 December 1917, when entering the port of Alexandria. 76 officers and men of the Commonwealth forces were lost.

The ship’s loss was not reported until February 1918,
‘… The Mercantile fleet auxiliary Osmanieh, whose loss, with a large number of lives, in the Eastern Mediterranean on 31 December was officially announced the Admiralty on Wednesday, was the vessel commanded by Lieut-com. D. R. Mason, of Tenby, who lost his life on that occasion.’ [2]

John Charles Driver’s death was also reported in a Coventry newspaper; although it is not yet established what his Coventry connection may have been.
‘Roll of Honour, Coventry and District Casualties, … Missing believed Drowned, … Driver, 92241, 2nd Class Air Mechanic J. C., Coventry, R.F.C. …’ [3]

He is remembered with fellow members of his Kite Balloon Section on the Chatby Memorial, which notes that they were ‘… Drowned at Sea [from H T Osmanieh] …’.

Chatby is a district on the eastern side of the city of Alexandria, Egypt.   The Chatby Memorial stands at the eastern end of the Alexandria (Chatby) War Memorial Cemetery and commemorates almost 1,000 Commonwealth servicemen who died during the First World War and have no other grave but the sea. Many of them were lost when hospital ships or transports were sunk in the Mediterranean, sailing to or from Alexandria. Others died of wounds or sickness while aboard such vessels and were buried at sea. More than 700 of those commemorated on the memorial died when the vessels were torpedoed or mined.

John Charles DRIVER was awarded the British War and Victory Medals, and is commemorated – as ‘C J Driver’ – on the Rugby Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road, Rugby.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM 

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This article on Charles John DRIVER was researched and written for the Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the RFHG, October 2017.

[1]       Rugby Advertiser, 5 September 1914.

[2]       Western Mail, Friday, 1 February 1918.

[3]       Coventry Evening Telegraph, Tuesday, 12 February 1918.

Everett, Frederick Stanley. Died 16th Dec 1917

Frederick Stanley EVERETT was born in 1897 in Daventry, the son of Charles Frederick (born 1869, Marsh Gibbon, Buckinghamshire) and his wife, Edith Annie, née Wall, Everett who were married on 18 July 1895 in Daventry, Northamptonshire. They moved to Narborough in Leicestershire in about 1899 for two or so years, before moving to Rugby at some date before 1901.

In 1901, the family were living at 118 Abbey Street, Rugby, and in 1911 the family were at 42 Claremont Road Rugby, a six room house. Frederick now had six younger siblings and was working as a ‘junior railway clerk’. His father was also a ‘railway clerk’.

Frederick attended the Murray School and in 1909 was highly commended in a competition to make a model dog kennel,[1] and in 1910 when in Form ‘St. VII’ received an Attendance Prize.[2] ‘He was at one time a teacher in the Murray Sunday School and secretary of St Andrew’s Guild Cricket Club. He was also a member of St Peter’s Church Choir, …’[3]

Frederick had been employed as a Goods Clerk by the L & N-W Railway Company at Berkswell and Hampton.[4]

He joined up when he was aged 18 in January 1916,[5] into the Army Service Corps as No.DN2/155017. When he went abroad is unknown, but it was probably after training, later in 1916. He went to Mesopotania and was part of the 971st MT [Motor Transport] Company.   At some date he was promoted to Lance Corporal.

In 1914, Baghdad had been the headquarters of the Turkish Army in Mesopotamia. It was the ultimate objective of the Indian Expeditionary Force ‘D’ and the goal of the force besieged and captured at Kut in 1916. On 11 March 1917, the British entered Baghdad … The British Indian Army played a significant role … but the position was not fully consolidated until the end of April.

Amidst the confusion of the retreat a large part of the Ottoman army (some 15,000 soldiers) was captured.[6] Given the continually depressing news in France and elsewhere, this was a significant and newsworthy achievement. British forces (and Russians, advancing from the north and east) closed in on the Turks throughout the autumn of 1917.[7]  Baghdad became the Expeditionary Force’s advanced base, with two stationary hospitals and three casualty clearing stations.

By 18 November 1917, the distribution of the Mesopotamia Expeditionary Corps,[8] suggested that the No.971 Mechanical Transport Company was equipped with Ford vans and was on the Tigris Front and they were in the Basra or Baghdad Garrison as Army Troops in the 18th Division which had just begun to be formed, although the bulk of the units (most of which were to come from India) had not yet arrived in Mesopotamia on that date.

The supply lines had become overlong and General Maude had died of cholera on 18 November 1917. He was replaced by General William Marshall who halted operations for the winter.

‘… conditions in Mesopotamia defy description.   Extremes of temperature (120 degrees F was common); arid desert and regular flooding; flies, mosquitoes and other vermin: all led to appalling levels of sickness and death through disease.   Under these incredible conditions, units fell short of officers and men, and all too often the reinforcements were half-trained and ill-equipped. Medical arrangements were quite shocking, with wounded men spending up to two weeks on boats before reaching any kind of hospital. These factors, plus of course the unexpectedly determined Turkish resistance, contributed to high casualty rates. …’[9]

11012 killed,
3985 died of wounds,
12678 died of sickness,
13492 missing and prisoners (9000 at Kut),
51836 wounded.’[10]

Frederick Everett died on 16 December 1917, aged 21. He was one of the very many who ‘Died of Sickness’ in the base hospital at Basra. He was buried in the Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery in Plot III. G. 11. His gravestone bears the wording, ‘Father in Thy Gracious Keeping, Leave we now our Dear One Sleeping’. 

Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery is today located in a very sensitive area in the Waziriah Area of the Al-Russafa district of Baghdad. … The North Gate Cemetery was begun in April 1917 and has been greatly enlarged since the end of the First World War by graves brought in from other burial grounds in Baghdad and northern Iraq, and from battlefields and cemeteries in Anatolia where Commonwealth prisoners of war were buried by the Turks.[11]

When news of his death reached Rugby in December 1917, after the service at St Peter’s church on Sunday evening ‘… the ‘Dead March’ in Saul was played to honour his memory.’[12]

Frederick Stanley EVERETT was awarded the British War and Victory Medals, and is also commemorated on the Rugby Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road, Rugby.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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This article on Frederick Stanley Everett was researched and written for the Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the RFHG, October

[1]       Rugby Advertiser, 6 November 1909.

[2]       Rugby Advertiser, 5 November 1910.

[3]       Rugby Advertiser, 29 December 1917.

[4]       Rugby Advertiser, 29 December 1917; also info. given in Birmingham Daily Post, Friday, 28 December 1917.

[5]       Rugby Advertiser, 29 December 1917; also info. given in Birmingham Daily Post, Friday, 28 December 1917.

[6]         https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesopotamian_campaign.

[7]         http://www.1914-1918.net/mespot.htm.

[8]         http://www.314th.org/Nafziger-Collection-of-Orders-of-Battle/917BKMA.pdf.

[9]         http://www.1914-1918.net/mespot.htm.

[10]     Data from ‘Statistics of the Military Effort of the British Empire’, London: HMSO, 1920.

[11]         https://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/57303/baghdad-(north-gate)-war-cemetery/.

[12]     Rugby Advertiser, 29 December 1917.

Morris, Richard. Died 30th Nov 1917

Richard W MORRIS was born at Newbold in 1894, the son of Richard W Morris (b.c.1862 at Harborough Magna, Warwickshire,) and his wife, Fanny, née Walker, Morris, who had married at St Andrew’s church, Rugby on 7 October 1886, when he was living at 780 Old Station, Rugby, and she was also living in ‘Old Station’.

By 1901, when Richard was 7 years old, the family had moved to live at Newbold and his father was a labourer at a ‘cement works’. By 1911 the family was living at 86 Abbey Street, Rugby.   Richard’s father was now a ‘Blacksmith’s Striker’ at the ‘BTH Works’ and Richard was the fourth of six children aged between 13 and 24, who were all living at home – three of his siblings had died before 1911. Richard was a ‘labourer’ and like his father was also at the ‘BTH Works’.

There are no extant military Service Records, only Richard’s Medal Card which shows that he went into the French ‘theatre of war’ on 16 June 1915. He had joined up as No.Z/258, Rifleman R. Morris in the 11th Battalion [Bn.] of the Rifle Brigade.   However he doesn’t appear to be under that name or number in the December 1915 to January 1916 Roll Book.

The 11th (Service) Battalion of the Rifle Brigade was formed at Winchester in September 1914 as part of K2 and came under command of the 59th Brigade in the 20th (Light) Division. They moved to Blackdown, going on in February 1915 to Witley and then in April to Hamilton Camp (Stonehenge). On 21 July 1915 the Battalion landed at Boulogne which appears to be a month or so after Richard is recorded as having arrived in France – maybe he was initially in another unit.

On 20 November 1917, after having taken part in various actions earlier in the Battle of 3rd Ypres, the 11th Battalion were part of the British Third Army which launched an attack towards Cambrai. The method of assault was new, with no preliminary artillery bombardment. Instead, a large number of tanks were used in significant force. However, having started well, with large gains of ground being made, the German reserves brought the advance to a halt. Ten days later, a counter-attack regained much of the ground.

It was probably during this German counter-attack that Richard Morris was killed in action on 30 November 1917. His Medal Card declares that he was ‘Acc[epted] as Dead’ as his body was either never found or never identified. He is remembered with his fellow Riflemen on Panels 10 and 11 of the Cambrai Memorial which is located an elevated terrace in the Louverval Military Cemetery, Louveral, France, 11 kms north of Arras. The monument commemorates more than 7,000 servicemen from Britain and South Africa who died in the Battle of Cambrai and whose graves are not known.

Richard MORRIS was awarded the British War and Victory Medals and the 1915 Star. He is also commemorated on the Rugby Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road, Rugby; on the BTH List of ‘Employees Who Served’; and on the BTH War Memorial.[1]

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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This article on Richard MORRIS was researched and written for the Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the RFHG, October 2017.

[1]       The List is that published in the Rugby Advertiser, 4 November 1921.