8th Jan 1916. Pigeons on War Service

PIGEONS ON WAR SERVICE

WARNING AGAINST SHOOTING

Attention is called by the War Office to the fact that a large number of carrier or homing pigeons are being utilised for naval and military purposes, and that recently many of these birds have been shot at and killed or wounded when homing to their lofts.

The public are earnestly requested to exercise the greatest care to avoid repetition of such unfortunate incidents, and are warned that persons convicted of wilfully shooting such birds are liable to prosecution.

Persons who are unable to distinguish with certainty carrier or homing pigeons on the wing from wood pigeons, doves, and the like, should refrain from firing at any birds of these species.

Any person who finds any carrier or homing pigeon dead or incapable of flying from wounds, injuries, or exhaustion is earnestly requested immediately to take the bird to the nearest military authorities or to the police, or if unable to secure the bird he should immediately give information to one or other of those authorities.

Information regarding the shooting of such birds should be given to the same authorities.

LOCAL WAR NOTES

Lieut C T Morris Davies, of Rugby – the Welsh international hockey player, and Captain of the Rugby Hockey Club – who has been in France for about ten months, is now on a week’s leave from his regiment, the 6th Warwickshire. He visited Rugby on Saturday last on his way to his home near Aberystwyth. The hardships of trench life do not seem to have affected his health, as he was looking exceedingly well.

L-CORPL W H ADAMS, OF DUNCHURCH, PRESUMED TO BE DEAD.

This week Mr and Mrs H Adams, of Dunchurch, received a communication from the Government to the effect that as no further news had been received concerning Lance-Corpl William Henry Adams, of the 2nd R.W.R, who has been missing since about October 20th, 1914, it was presumed that he was killed at about that date. The usual letter of condolence was enclosed. Lance-Corpl Adams, who was 24 years of age, had served nearly seven years in the Army, and had secured a first-class certificate for signalling. At the front he acted as a bicycle despatch rider, but had only been in France a week or two before he met his death. Some time ago the parents received news that their son was a prisoner at Gottingen, Germany, but inquiry being made it was ascertained that this was not so.

WELL-KNOWN JOCKEY INTERNED IN GERMANY

Mr and Mrs Davies, of Lower Street, Hillmorton, have since the outbreak of the war been anxiously waiting for news of their son, Fred Davies, who was in Germany in the summer of last year and was interned there. At last a letter has been received from him by his sister, living in Surrey. He is interned at Ruhleben, and writes to acknowledge the safe arrival of a top coat, which he says “fits a treat and is very warm.” At night the coat is used as a blanket for his bed. He adds that he is now all right for clothes, but would much appreciate condensed milk, butter, sugar, a bit of cheese, or a little tin of salmon. As a jockey Fred Davies has done well, having finished second on the list in that country. He was riding for Mr Beit, a Hamburg owner of race horses, when diplomatic relations were broken off between this country and Germany, with the result that, with many others in Germany at the time, he was detained.

OLD MURRAYIAN’S LETTER

Sapper Geo A Golby, a former scholar at the Murray School, and an “Over” Prize man, in a letter to Mr W T Coles Hodges from the front says: “I have been out here since early in October, and have got quite used to the shells, etc, screaming over my head… I look forward to receiving the Rugby Advertiser every week, and am always pleased when I see the name of one of my old school chums in the list of recruits. I think by the number of names I have seen that our school is doing its share to free the world of these barbarians, and I am sure that if those who have not enlisted could just have a glimpse of this country, they would not hesitate for a minute. Only this morning we passed about a dozen old people (all between 60 and 70 years of age, I should think) whom the Germans had shelled out of their homes. It is a sight such as these that make us so anxious to get at the Huns. .. I am pleased to say we are having a spell of fine weather just now, and goodness only knows we want it, as we are nearly up to our knees in mud in some places. This is the only thing to complain of out here; the food is extra.”

Pte George Leach (“Bogie”), another Old Murrayian, who is at present in the Near East, in a letter to his old headmaster, says: It is most interesting to see some of the natives with their garbs and costumes, and their methods of transport with market wares, which vividly remind me of the Biblical times we read about.

FROM AN OLD ST MATTHEW’S BOY

The following extract from letters of an “old boy” of St Matthew’s School to Mr R H Myers, headmaster, will be read with interest:-

Sergt Frank Chater, serving with the Nigerian Forces, writes: ” I have now been in the Cameroons some time. When I reached Africa I disembarked at Lagos, caught a train for there the same night, and after two nights and one day on the train, reached Minna. I rested there for a day, then did another day’s train journey to Baro, where I got on a steam boat and went up the River Niger to Lokaja. I stayed a coupe of days at Lokaja, then got on the River Benue and had a fourteen days’ run to Yola. The river journey is the reverse of pleasant, owing to the close proximity of the natives in a small boat. The smell from them and the engines combine to make a most uncomfortable time to be a white man. I remained three days in Yola, and then started on a fifteen days’ trek through the bush, to join the column at a place called Mora in the Cameroons. I rather fancy this is a record journey for a newcomer to the country. I turned out for action the same day that I reached the column, but nothing happened. On the following night we stormed the German position, which is on the top of a mountain. It was a terrible job, but after climbing all night up and over rocks, some of which seemed like the side of a house, we nearly reached the top by daybreak. The Germans gave us a warm reception, and we charged to try and take the fort. We were repulsed, though, and had to retire and take cover behind rocks, where we managed to hold on till dark, being neither able to advance or retire. However, under cover of darkness we managed to get away. I was fortunate to get off safely. One officer was killed and another wounded, and native soldiers were hit all round. We have now given up the idea of taking the place by assault, and are trying to starve them out. .. This scrapping in the Cameroons is not all honey by a long way. Here is a sample of my job. outpost duty in the bush, with 30 native soldiers, no one to talk to, and never knowing when you may run into German sniping parties, and the only water to be had from a filthy old well, which anyone at home would shudder to look at. Just now I am better off, being in charge of a small fort on a hill. We are, however, uncomfortably near to the German position, and they keep potting away if you try to move, so that the only chance of exercise is in the dark.

We are at the end of a range of mountains running down to the coast, and beyond the mountains is Lake Chad, only about three weeks’ trek from here. The people are all pagans, and the hill tribes are rather a poor type of native. All they wear is a goatskin round their loins. They will do anything for the white man, and appear to like the English, but we know that they supply the Germans with food and water so it is no good trusting them.

 

RUGBY FOOTBALL MATCH NEAR THE TRENCHES.

A Rugby football match between “ A ” and “ C ” Companies of the 1st/7th Warwicks was played near the trenches in France recently, which ” C ” Company won by a try. The teams were :—

“ C ” Company : R Edwards ; L Dewis, A Bale, P Hammond, Lance-corpl E Iliffe ; A Loave, Drummer W Newman ; W Arnold, S Cross, G Clarke, A Rose, W Salmons, W Gibbs, F Lombard, I Walden.

“ A ” Company : Lieut Field ; Faulkes, Sergt Atkinson, Redfern, S O Else ; West, Ralph ; Eyden, Corpl Caldicott, Corpl Goode, Prentice, Wykes, Adams, Dunn, A N Other.

MORE DAMAGE BY THE WIND.-On Saturday evening, during a recurrence of the gale, several trees on the Coventry Road between Dunchurch and the Station were blown down, and a great deal of damage was done to the telephone wires. In several places all of them were broken down. At Bilton Grange all the fancy work on the top of the vinery and glass houses for a length of between forty and fifty yards was torn away, doing great damage to the glass. Several trees also came down, and the household were very much alarmed. At Mr. Loverock’s Farm, between Dunchurch and Rugby, a wheat rick was blown over, and several sheaves of corn were carried the length of three fields away. The gale also did great damage to the roof of the wagon hovel.

 

27th Feb 1915. Appeals for more Men.

RUGBY MAN AT THE FRONT APPEALS FOR MORE MEN.

Mr C T Mewis, 44 Bath Street, has received a very interesting letter from a friend, Pte W Gardner, of the 3rd Coldstream Guards, who is at the front. Mr Gardner was formerly a policeman at Rugby, but of late was employed in the Press Department of the B.T.H.

In the course of this letter Pte Gardner recounts his experiences, from the time he first went out, in very interesting manner. He relates that on Christmas night they were sent to the trenches, but found them in such a terrible condition that they volunteered to dig some more. This request was acceded to, but the weather was so cold that their trousers and putties were frozen to their legs and their socks to their feet. During the whole of this time they were under fire, but luckily no one was hit, although some had very narrow escapes, and a bullet passed through a parcel of Christmas dainties which he was carrying in his pack. After recounting further experiences, the writer goes on to say :-

” I was very pleased to hear that the young men of Rugby have rallied round the Old Flag in its time of danger, and I hope that if there are any slackers left they will soon buck up and come in, for every man is wanted out here. They will all get out here in time, for I think this is going to be a long war yet, and every able-bodied man ought to try and do his little bit. But it wants all the single ones to come first ; then, if it comes to a pinch, the married men should get in. If they were to see some of the sights that I have since I have been here they would soon some in, I am sure. Wherever you go you are sure to find some trace of German brutality and destruction—houses and churches burnt to the ground or blown down by shells or bombs, starving women and children walking about without any home, parents, or food. It is awful. There is no doubt but that we shall win, for we are now steadily gaining ground and winning along the line all the time. The Germans do a lot of damage sniping-a game of which they are very fond. It does not take a crack shot to do it with their rifles, which have got telescopic sights on them. They can hide in a wood or house 500 yards a way, and, looking through these sights, see a man’s head through a loop-hole as plainly as if he was only two yards away. We have caught many of them, so this is first hand information. The writer adds that he has seen several Rugby men at the front, including Pte Flavell, of the B.T.H. He states states that he has slept in a number of peculiar places of late, viz. in the trenches, in the road when the mud has been 2 or 3 inches deep, in the gutter when it had been raining and the water was running down it like a young river, in a haystack, on the railway lines, in a cattle truck, barn, stable, ploughed field, cow-shed, workhouse and college, but never in a bed.”

RECRUITING AT RUGBY.

Although there are still hundreds of young fellows in the town and district apparently without any adequate reason for holding back, only four have joined the forces this week, this being the smallest number since the commencement of the war. The total number from Rugby now exceeds 2,200. Those joining this week were:—Royal Berkshire Regiment, A H Sear and F Parker; R. W.R, E H Healey; Leicestershire, A Tyers.

MILITARY CROSS FOR ANOTHER OLD ST. MATTHEW’S BOY.

In addition to Sergt-Major J W Goddard, mentioned in our columns last week, another old St Matthew’s boy has been awarded the Military Cross by the King, after being mentioned in Sir John French’s despatches. The recipient on whom the honour has been bestowed is Sergt-Major F A Nason, of the Army Veterinary Corps, a nephew of Mr T Nason, 130 Railway Terrace.

RUGBY RAILWAY WORKER KILLED IN ACTION.

News has been received that Mr William Dirbin, who formerly lived at 11 Spring Street, Rugby, was killed in action near Soissons in January. The deceased, who was a reservist in the Royal Field Artillery, was for several years employed in the Goods Department at Rugby L & N-W Railway Station, but was transferred shortly before the war broke out. He was called up in August last. The gallant fellow was of a quiet, unassuming disposition, and was a favourite with all who knew him ; and the news of his untimely end has come as a great shook to his wife, with whom much sympathy is expressed, and his friends.

CHEERING NEWS OF A DUNCHURCH S0LDIER.

Mr C J Beard, of Murray Road, Rugby, still receives letters occasionally from his son, Pte Sidney Beard, of the 2nd Warwickshire Regiment, who is detained as a prisoner of war at Gottingen, Germany. At the request of Mr Adams, of Dunchurch, Mr Beard wrote to his son recently, asking if he knew anything of the fate of his soldier son, Pte Willie Adams, of the same regiment. The letter was posted at Paris, and yesterday (Friday) morning Mr Beard got a reply, in which the following gratifying sentence was given :—“ I have spoken to Adams ; he is quite safe.” Private Beard has also asked for food, clothing, soap and other articles to be sent to him

Pte John Richardson, of the Coldstream Guards, the eldest son of Mr W and Mrs Richardson, The Banks, Dunchurch, volunteered for the front at the outbreak of the war, and landed in France on November 12th. He died from wounds received in action on February on 11th. He was one of the smartest of the young men that went from Dunchurch. Up to the present, in addition to Pte Richardson, the following Dunchurch men have been killed :— Lance-Corp E Parker, Lance-Corpl White, Pte R Norman, and Gunner Harry Pearce (on the Bulwark).

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

During the week the troops in Rugby have been exercised in route marching, and on Thursday they joined contingents from Leamington ; while Nuneaton and Coventry men met for similar work.

Captain the Hon E A FitzRoy, M.P. is not yet medically fit for active service, and is doing light work with his regiment.

In the area in Essex over which the German aeroplane raid took place last week-end a number of the Warwickshire Territorials, including “ E ” Company, are located.

Mr W G B Over, formerly of Rugby, who joined the colours in September last, is now engaged as musketry instructor attached to the 10th (Service) Battalion of the 19th Yorkshire Regiment. He holds the rank of Sergeant-Major, and is stationed at Aylesbury.

On Monday last coal supplied by the bag was advanced in Rugby 1d per cwt. On Monday next another halfpenny will be put upon the 4lb loaf, making the price 8d.

PROPOSED ALARM IN CASE OF AIR RAIDS

With regard to the proposal made by the Urban District Council to use the B.T.H hooter for an alarm signal in case of air raids, a correspondent living in Lower Hillmorton Road writes to point out that when the wind is blowing from a southerly direction the hooter is almost inaudible in that district, and therefore would be useless as an alarm. Our correspondent suggests that the new bell at Rugby School should be sounded as well as the hooter in case of air raids. This would ensure that when the wind was blowing from such a direction as to diminish the volume of sound from one of the alarms, it would increase that of the other. It is suggested that a key of the door giving access to the bell-rope should be left either at the Police Station or given to the police officer on duty in the town, and that immediately notice of a raid is received the officer shall make his way to the tower and ring the bell. The suggestion seems to be a good one, and we recommend it to the Urban Council for their consideration.

RUGBY PETTY SESSIONS.

Tuesday.—Before Dr Clement Dukes (in the chair), T Hunter, T A Wise, A E Donkin, and J J McKinnell, Esqrs.

HANDED OVER TO THE MILITARY AUTHORITIES,-Pte George Oliver, of the Scottish Regiment, was charged on remand with stealing a gentleman’s overcoat, of the value of £1, from the doorway of a shop belonging to Tom G Hough, pawnbroker, in Little Church Street, on February 16th.—Application was made by an officer of defendant’s regiment for the man to be handed over to the Military Authorities to be dealt with.— This course was agreed to, and defendant was remanded till next week in the same bail for the authorities to report as to whether he had been dealt with.