21st Sep 1918. Suggested Memorial to Rugby Men


Several matters of more than ordinary intent, including a suggestion for Rugby a memorial to local soldiers killed and maimed in the War, was discussed at the monthly meeting of the Urban Council on Tuesday, when there were present : Messrs J J McKinnell (chairman), W Flint (vice-chairman), T A Wise, W H Linnell, R Walker, W A Stevenson, R S Hudson, T Ringrose, C J Newman, F E Hands, S Robbins, and H Yates.


Before proceeding to the formal business, the Chairman, on behalf of the Council, welcomed Lieut C J Newman on his return from active service, and also conveyed to him the sympathy of the Council in the death of his wife. The circumstances were peculiarly sad, and he wished Lieut Newman to realise how deeply his colleagues felt for him in his deep sorrow.—Mr Newman said he was pleased to be back again to do his duty for the public of Rugby, and especially the electors of the Central Ward.


An interesting discussion took place on the consideration of a letter from the Rugby Branch of the National Association of Discharged Sailors and Soldiers, asking the Council to assist them in providing an institute (where they could hold their meetings), a library, &c, for men discharged from the various forces.—The Chairman suggested that the letter be referred to the Estates Committee.—Mr Newman said he desired to raise the question of a war memorial to their local men. So far nothing had been done, except to arrange for a collection of photographs to be placed in the Library.—The Clerk (Mr A Morson, M.B.E) explained that other steps had been taken. Some time ago, at the suggestion of the Council, he invited the relatives of soldiers killed in the War to forward the names to him, and he now had a very long list.—Mr Newman contended that this was not going far enough. They should now consider the question of providing a fitting memorial to those who had been killed or maimed in the War, and a list of their names should be suitably preserved. Rugby did not lend itself to statuary ; and, after all, a statue was only a nine days’ wonder after it was unveiled. He therefore suggested that they should go further than this, and erect some houses, with all the modem conveniences and improvements for discharged soldiers who had been maimed in the War. In connection with this it might also be possible to erect an institute for the discharged soldiers.—The Chairman : It is a huge job.—Mr Robbins supported Mr Newman’s suggestion, and said if they did not aim at something big they would not get anything. Houses for discharged soldiers would be much more useful than a monument.—The Chairman suggested that they should deal with the subject matter of the letter first. If these discharged men had to wait until the Council had raised the money for providing an institute they would have to wait a long time. He proposed that the letter be referred to the Estates committee to see if that body could find suitable premises for them.—Mr Yates said he would like to have more information from the association as to what they had in mind. He had considered the question very carefully, and he was not in favour of providing any institute for setting these men apart from the rest of the civilian population. They wanted these men, when they returned to civil life, to take their part in the reconstruction of society with the rest of the community as far as possible, and they did not wish to set up any class feeling between those men who had been away and those who had not. If they only wanted a place to hold their meetings in it was the duty of the Council to find them one ; but he believed they were well provided for in that respect at present.—Mr Newman said he did not agree with these remarks. A discharged soldier had the right to ask for anything he liked, and why should he not be allowed to do as he liked ? When the War was over the discharged sailors and soldiers would be a force to be reckoned with, and they must do all they could to entertain them and provide them with decent surroundings, and not leave them in the streets to die like dogs, as they had done in the past. This was his sole idea in suggesting the provision of houses and an institute for these men.—The letter was referred to the Estates Committee.

The question of a war memorial was then considered, and the Chairman said he took it that they would desire it to be a Memorial to all who went out to fight for them, whether they came back from the War or not. He thought they would have to set up a special committee to deal with the matter, The first thing, however, was to get the money, and then they could decide what to do with it. He agreed with Mr Newman that Rugby did not lend itself to statuary, and he thought the suggestion that an institute should be provided was a very good one. However, if they had the money now they would not be able to spend it.—Mr Newman : There are ways and means for everything in this world.—The question was referred to the General Purposes Committee.


The Chairman said it would be within the knowledge of the members that since their last meeting a committee of local ladies had been very energetic in making jam for the military and the civil population. They had made 7,350lbs. and he believed that, with one exception, the whole of the work had been done voluntarily. He especially mentioned Mr W Barnett (chairman of the committee), Lady Rowena Patterson, and Mrs Nickalls in connection with this work, and a hearty vote of thanks was accorded to the committee ; also to the gas Company for lending the premises for making the jam, and Mr Alfred Over for providing storage facilities.


The following message was read from the President of the French Republic in reply to the congratulatory telegram sent to him on the occasion of the celebration of France’s Day, July 14th :—

“ The President of the French Republic is very much affected by the congratulations and good wishes which you have sent on the occasion of France’s Day, and thanks you warmly in the name of the French people, who are closely united to the British people in the defence of right and liberty.—R POINCARE.”

It was decided to have this letter, together with several others, including one from Admiral Beatty, framed and hung in the Council Chamber.


A letter was read from the Rugby Food Control Committee, asking the Council to take immediate steps to provide a cold storage for Rugby District—Mr Robbins : Who has got to pay for it ?—Mr Wise pointed out that at present they had nothing of this kind in the town. He thought such a building would be very useful, and it might even be a paying investment. It was a question as to whether they would get permission to erect such a building, even if they decided to do so ; but he thought at present it was important that perishable foods should be stored in the localities where they were needed, and it would be a great boon to the community at large if such a building could be erected.—Mr Yates moved that the letter be referred to the Markets Committee. He believed it was necessary that they should have a cold storage in the town, because one thing they had learned from the shortage of commodities was the sinfulness of waste : and even when they did get more food it would be necessary to have somewhere to store that portion which was not required for immediate consumption.—Mr Wise promised that the Food Committee would assist the Council with any figures they could obtain from traders likely to use the storage.—The Chairman : If the town grows, as it will do sooner or later, we are bound to have a cold storage.—Mr Stevenson suggested that the letter should be referred to a Joint Markets and Plans Committee, and this was agreed to.


The Baths Committee reported that in view of the great need for economy in coal and light during the winter, the committee propose to further consider the re-opening of the slipper baths at their next meeting, but their present proposal is to open the baths on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays only, instead of the whole week.


Sergt T C Vickers, Yeomanry, Rugby, has been officially reported drowned ; and Pte W Everton, Tank Corps, Rugby, has died of wounds.

Rifleman A V Pitham, Rifle Brigade, Rugby has been wounded and captured by the Germans ; and Pte H Lawley, RW.R, has also been reported a prisoner of war.

Capt J Oscar Muntz, youngest son of Mr F E Muntz, of Umberslade, died of wounds on September 4th at the age of 42.

W F W Satchell, son of Mr & Mrs W F J Satchell, 94 Park Road, Rugby, has been granted a commission as Second-Lieutenant in the Royal Warwickshire Regt.

Pte Lewis Lewis, City of London Regiment, son of ex-P.C Lewis, 35 King Edward Road, was killed in France on August 8th. He was nearly 19 years of age, an old St Matthew’s boy, and an employee at Rugby Post Office. He joined the Army in October, 1917, and was drafted to France in April.

Mrs Hutt, 15 Bridget Street, New Bilton, has received news that her son, Pte J H Lines, Royal Berkshire Regiment, was killed in action on August 27th. He of was 19 years of age, and before joining the Army in July 1917, he was employed at the L & N-W Railway Loco Sheds. Another son of Mrs Hutt was killed in France last year.

Mr & Mrs N Austin, 3 Oliver Street, Rugby, have received official notice that their youngest son, Pte Cecil Austin, 1st R.W.R, was killed in action in France on August 30th. Pte Austin was only 19 years of age. He joined up on February 14, 1916, and went to France the following year. When he had only been there a few weeks he was invalided back with dysentery, and was in hospital five months. He only re-joined his regiment in July, and was sent to France for the second time the following week. His eldest brother, Wilfred Austin, has been serving in Egypt since January, 1915.

Intimation has been received by Mr H C Samson, Hillmorton Road, Rugby, that his son, Second Lieut O M Samson, died of wounds on the 17th inst. Lieut Samson was an assistant master at Rugby School (Army Class). He was an 0 for Blue at cricket, and also played for Somersetshire. At Rugby he was of great assistance to the Rugby Club, with which he frequently played. He also made one of a very successful Rugby hockey team captained by Mr F J Kittermaster for several years.

Corpl H Rogers, M.M, 1st Royal Warwickshire Regt., has recently been awarded the bar to the Military Medal for gallantry. The Major-General of his Division has also written congratulating him on his fine behaviour. Corpl Rogers, who is a native of Flore, Northants, and nephew of Mrs H Miller, 10 Alfred St, Rugby, has been twice wounded, and before the War was employed at Rugby L & N-W Railway Station.

Driver Jack Hillyard, A.S.C, son of Mr Charles Hillyard, 20 Frederick Street, Rugby, was killed on August 22nd. He was 24 years of age, and before joining up in October, 1914, he was employed as a vanman by Mr J J McKinnell. He served three years and three months in France, and only returned to the front a few weeks prior to his death. He was educated at New Bilton Council School. At one time Mr Hillyard had six sons in the Army ; two have been discharged, and three are still serving.

Mr and Mrs Southern, of 77 Windsor Street, have received a letter from the Commanding Officer of the Regiment notifying the death of their youngest son, Pte S Southern, in action on September 4th. His platoon went forward in the attack over a difficult piece of ground, and when it became inevitable that a message must be sent back he volunteered to carry it. He had very nearly got into safety when a bullet hit him in the head, causing instantaneous death. His loss to the Company (the officer adds) is a very real one. He was doing excellent work, was very popular, and they could ill spare him. Pte Southern was awarded the Military Medal on May 30, 1917. He joined up at the commencement of the War, previously being employed at the B.T.H Works. This is the second son of Mr & Mrs Southern who has fallen in the War.

Pte John James Brookes, R.W.R, eldest son of Mr John Brookes, 41 Lawford Road, New Bilton, was killed in action on August 30th. He was 22 years of age, and was a member of “ E ” Company when war broke out, and was mobilised with them. He had seen a good deal of heavy fighting, and had been wounded three times. Before the War he was a cleaner in the L & N-W Railway Loco Sheds.

Mr William Fleet, 98 Lawford Road, Rugby, has received news that has youngest son, Pte Cyril William Fleet, 6th Dorsets, died of wounds on September 10th. He was 32 years of age, and before joining the Army at the commencement of the War he worked at the Cement Works. He was gassed a short time ago, and only returned to France a fortnight before his death.

Pte Albert Thomas Gibbs, London-Irish Rifles, eldest son of Mr & Mrs A B Gibbs, 14 Kimberley Road, Rugby, has died while a prisoner of war in Germany. Pte Gibbs was employed on the L & N-W Railway. He enlisted about twelve months ago, and had only been in France a short time when he was taken prisoner. He was 35 years of age, and leaves a widow and two children. His younger brother, Flight Cadet David Gibbs, was recently killed in an aeroplane accident.

News has been received at Coombe Abbey that Lord Uffington, the Earl of Craven’s heir, is lying seriously wounded in France, and has had a leg amputated above the knee.

NEWS has been received that Corpl J Seymour, who in last week’s issue was reported wounded and suffering from enteric, has since died. He belonged to the Rugby Howitzer Battery at the outbreak of war, and has served with them since in France and Italy. He leaves a widow and two children, for whom much sympathy is felt.


LIEUT WILFRED COLEMAN WINS THE MILITARY CROSS.—News has just reached Wolston that Lieut Wilfred Coleman has been awarded the Military Cross for gallantry on the banks of the Marne, He is the only son of Mr & Mrs T P Coleman, of Marston Hall. When war was declared he was a member of the 1st, Troop of the Warwickshire Yeomanry. In April, 1916, he went out to Egypt, and from there to Gallipoli where he was wounded. He was afterwards among the Yeomanry in Egypt when so many of them were killed or taken prisoners. He was subsequently sent into training at Cairo for a commission, and was then attached to the 5th Devons with whom he has gamed his present honour. He has now been transferred to the Royal Air Force.

DEATH OF TWO SONS.—Deep sympathy is felt for Mr & Mrs Robert Clarke, who heard in two days of the death of two of their sons. Pte William Clarke, of the Oxon and Bucks L.I, had been missing since March 21st ; but a friend—Pte Harrison—has written to say that he saw him killed. On the next day a notification was received from the War Office that their youngest son—Pte Joseph Clarke, of the Coldstream Guards—was killed on August 22nd. Both sons were respected employees of Messrs Bluemel, and were well known in the district They had been in France for a long time.

KILLED.—Sergt J Major, son of Mr H Major, of Station Cottages, has been killed in action. He joined up at the outbreak of war, being the first recruit from the parish. A memorial service was held in the church on Sunday evening.

MR & MRS H PEARCE, Coventry Road, learn that their son, Pte W Pearce, K.R.R, who was badly wounded and was a prisoner of war, has been repatriated, and is in London, where he has undergone an operation to his head.


HARRY COCKERELL KILLED.—On Saturday official intimation was received by Mr & Mrs H W Cockerell that their only son, Pte Harry Richard Cockerell, R.W.R, was killed in action on the 1st inst.  A sympathetic letter from the chaplain attached to the regiment states that Pte Cockerell fell fighting gallantly in one of the most important engagements of the War, and was killed instantaneously by a shell. The rev gentleman adds: “ He will be much mused.” Before he was called up Pte Cockerell had joined his father in his business as plumber and decorator. He had gained the respect of all, and was greatly beloved by many friends. Sincere sympathy is accorded to Mr & Mrs Cockerell and family in their sad loss.

HARRY COOKE GASSED.—Mr & Mrs John Cooke have been informed that their eldest son, Rifleman Harry Cooke, Rifle Brigade, is in hospital in France suffering, from gas poisoning. He was quite blind for three days after the occurrence, but is progressing favourably. His younger brother, Rifleman Reg Cooke, K.R.R, reported missing last May, has not since been heard of.

DR CLAGUE TO REMAIN.—When Dr Clague was medically examined at Coventry in June last he was passed for service in Grade 1. At the end of August he received his orders to join the Army in October. On the 3rd inst. Long Itchington people solemnly protested against being left without a resident doctor. On the 11th inst. Dr Clague underwent a second medical examination at Birmingham, and has now been totally rejected as unfit for military service. His services as a medical man will, therefore, be retained in the village.

OUR MEN.—Cecil Wall has been wounded in the thigh, and is making satisfactory progress ; and Ernest Hall has been gassed, fortunately without very serious effects.

ON TUESDAY morning, Mr & Mrs W Hirons, Coventry Road, were notified that their fourth son, Pte G Hirons, R.W.R, had been killed. He was formerly in the employ of Mr J Johnson, J.P, Thurlaston, and was the finest young man in the village. He was 6ft in height and well-built, although only 19 years of age, and he was much respected by everybody in the parish. Mr & Mrs Hirons have another son—J Hirons—badly wounded in France. They had four sons in the Army till two of them were killed. The two remaining in the Army are members of the Warwickshire Police Force, one having been stationed at Sutton Coldfield, and the other at Shipston-on-Stour.


A letter was read from a milk retailer complaining that she was unable to get a proper supply of milk, and pointing out that unless the committee could help her she would be unable to allow her customers the quantity to which they were entitled.—Mrs Shelley said this was a very hard case. The woman was a widow and an invalid, and was dependent upon her business for a livelihood ; whereas some of the other retailers were employed at the works, and were still keeping their businesses going.—Mr Cooke moved that the whole milk question be re-considered by the Rationing Committee. He believed that the town was threatened with a milk Monopoly, and that the situation was very serious.—Mr Humphrey drew attention to the fact that large quantities of milk were used daily in the canteens at the B.T.H and Willans & Robinson’s, and he suggested that they should use instead either dry milk or condensed milk in barrels. The fresh milk could then be distributed amongst the public.—In reply to Mr Gay, the Executive Officer said the committee had no power to commandeer milk ; but. if necessary, they could take over the whole milk supply of the town.—Mr Gay supported Mr Humphrey’s suggestion, and proposed that the two firms be approached on the matter. The Chairman : We do not want to be trouble with the workmen if we do this ?—Messrs Gay and Cooke replied in the negative.—The Chairman : We do not want it to be said that we wish to rob the workman of his milk.—Mr Gay : With the average workman his wife and children come first. They will be quite willing to forego fresh milk in the canteen in order that the children may have it.—It was decided that the executive Officer should approach the two firms on this question. and that the Rationing Committee should meet to consider the whole question of milk supply.—Mr Stevenson : Will they consider the retail price ?—The Executive Officer : The price will have to be revised at the end of September.

A quantity of second grade bacon has now been received, and it was pointed out that the price of this was 1s 8d per lb straight from the case, and 1s 10d per lb washed and dried.—Both the Executive Officer and Mr Humphrey remarked that this bacon is very nice, almost as good, in fact, as the better quality bacon.—Mr Cripps : Do not praise it too much, or it will be 2s per lb next week.


AUSTIN.—In loving memory of our darling boy, Pte. CECIL AUSTIN, 1st R.W.R., youngest son of Mr. & Mrs. Austin, 3 Oliver Street, Rugby, who was killed “ somewhere in France ” on August 30, 1918 ; aged 19 years. One of the very best.—From Dad and Mother.

FLEET.—Officially reported having died from gunshot wounds in France on September 10th, Pte. CYRIL WILLIAM FLEET, aged 32, youngest son of William Fleet, 98 Lawford Road, Rugby.

LINES.—In ever-loving, memory of my dearest and youngest son, Pte. J. H. LINES, of the Royal Berks., who was killed in action on August 27th “ somewhere in France ” ; aged 19 years.
“ We do not forget him, nor do we intend ;
We think of him daily, and will to the end.
We miss him and mourn him in silence unseen,
And dwell on the memory of days that have been.”
“ In the midst of life we are in death.”
—Not forgotten by his sorrowing Mother, Father, Brothers and Sisters.

WHITE.—Killed in action in France on July 29th, Pte CHARLES WHITE, 1st Batt. Royal Warwickshire Regt., second son of the late William White, formerly of Willoughby, and Ann White, Carterton, Clansfield, Oxon ; aged 33.


CASHMORE.—In loving memory of our dear brother, Pte. CHARLES CASHMORE, 5th Oxon 7 Bucks L.I.
“ Three years have passed,
No one knows
What was this gallant hero’s end
No wooden cross or mound to show
Where he fell fighting against the foe.”
—From his ever-loving Sister, Nell, Violet, and brother George.

CUFAUDE.—In loving memory of No. 40549 EDWARD HENRY CUFAUDE (Yelvertoft) who fell in action on Hill 70 on September 22. 1917.
“ May we in Thy sorrows share,
For Thy sake all peril dare,
Ever know Thy tender care.

GREEN.— In ever loving memory of EDWARD (BERT) GREEN, who fell at the Battle of Loos, September 23-27, 1915.
—Sadly missed by his wife and children.

GRIFFITH.—In loving memory of LLEWELLYN GRIFFITH, who died of wounds on September 18, 1916.—“ Gone from sight, but to memory ever dear.”—From loving Brothers and Sisters—74 South Street.

HOPKINS.—In loving memory of FRANK, the youngest son of Henry Hopkins, late of Long Lawford, killed in action in France on September 18, 1915.
“ He bravely answered duty’s call ;
He gave his life for one and all ;
But thee unknown grave is the bitterest blow,
None but our aching hearts can know.”
—Never forgotten by his loving Father, Sisters, and Brothers.

NEAL.—In loving memory of Bombardier FRANK NEAL, R.F.A., who died of wounds on September 19, 1916.—Never forgotten by his loving sister Carrie.

THOMPSON.—In loving memory of our dear brother LEVI, who was killed in action in France on September 23, 1917.—Not forgotten by his Brothers and Sisters, Will, Tom, Emma, Fanny.


Austin, Cecil. Died 30th Aug 1918

Cecil AUSTIN was born in Spratton, Northamptonshire in 1898 and registered in Q4 1898 in Brixworth.  He was the younger son of Ned Austin, who was born in about 1874 in Bradford, Yorkshire, and Nellie Benson, née Eagles, Austin, who was born in about 1876, in Spratton, Northamptonshire.  They were married in Spratton on 3 August 1896.

When Cecil was baptised at Holy Trinity church, Northampton on 17 October 1904, his father was working as a ‘boot maker’ and the family lived at 1 Cranbrook Road, Northampton.

In 1901, the family were living at 49 Balmoral Road, Kingsthorpe, Northampton, and Cecil’s father, Ned Austin, was a ‘shoemaker – boot m[aker] worker’.

In 1911, his father was enumerated as a ‘boot repairer’, and the family had moved to Rugby and were now living at 3 Oliver Street.  Cecil was twelve years old.  His parents had been married for 14 years.  Cyril’s elder brother, Wilfred Austin, who was thirteen, was also a ‘boot repairer’.  The boys’ 80 year old maternal grandfather was living with them.

Unfortunately no Service Record has survived for Cecil, but it seems that he joined up in Rugby,[1] and his Medal Card shows that he served as Private, No: 34801, and was latterly in ‘B’ Company, of the 1st Battalion, the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

There is no date on his Medal Card for when Cecil went to France, suggesting this was after the end of 1915, but it would probably be some time after he joined up and he was unlikely to have been sufficiently trained – or indeed old enough assuming he had declared his correct age – to serve overseas until sometime in late 1916.

On 4 August 1914, the 1st Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment was stationed at Shorncliffe as part of the 10th Brigade of the 4th Division, and on 22 August 1914 they mobilised for war and landed in France.  The Division engaged in various actions on the Western Front including during 1914: the Battle of Le Cateau, the Battle of the Marne, the Battle of the Aisne, and the Battle of Messines 1914.  In December 1914, the Battalion took part in the Christmas Truce of 1914.  During 1915 they were engaged in the Second Battle of Ypres.  During 1916, they fought in the Battle of Albert, the Battle of Le Transloy.  During 1917, they took part in the First Battle of the Scarpe, the Third Battle of the Scarpe, the Battle of Polygon Wood, the Battle of Broodseinde, the Battle of Poelcapelle, and the First Battle of Passchendaele.

During 1918, when Cecil was almost certainly with the Battalion, they were involved in the First Battle of Arras, the Battle of Hazebrouck, the Battle of Bethune on 18 April 1918, the Advance in Flanders, and the Battle of the Scarpe – 26 to 30 August 1918.   This would have been part of what developed into the advance, which became known as the Allies’ ‘Hundred Days Offensive’,[2] and pushed back the German Armies along an extended front until the Armistice was declared.

The 1st Battalion War Diaries are to be found with the within the records of the 4th Division at The National Archives and on-line.[3]  The events recorded in the Diary, for the last few days before Cecil was killed are summarised below.

26 August – Very wet day … Battalion is to carry out training for the attack … At about 2.30pm a ‘Warning Order’ … to be prepared to move that same night … to proceed by march route at 7pm to MONT ST ELOI area, a distance of about 16 miles …

27 August – Fine day. Battalion rests after the march. …

28 August – Wet day.  Orders … to relieve the 5th Bn Canadian Mounted Rifles at night in front of VIS-EN-ARTOIS.  Battalion embus at MONT ST ELOI at noon & procede to ARRAS, [about 6 miles] … then marches to assembly area at FEUCHY CHAPEL [about 5 miles from Arras, and the same to Vis-en-Artois] … at 6.30pm Coys. move forward … keeping MOINCHY LE PREUX on the north … and relief is gradually carried out.  Hostile artillery is very severe … & we suffer casualties. Relief complete about 2.30am. 

29 August – Fine day.  Enemy artillery continues very active … Battalion is ordered to clear REMY village with artillery cooperation.  … At 8pm a ‘Warning Order’ for the attack is issued. …

30 August – … Battalion is to move forward into assembly positions S.E. of REMY WOOD & VILLAGE.  Coys dribble forward, but the movement is observed & a heavy Machine Gun & Artillery barrage is put down.  B & C Coys are much disorganised & suffer severe casualties. … Our artillery is asked to shell opposite ridge & hostile fire is considerably reduced. … D Coy … get into position with only a few casualties.  At noon the C.O. … receives instructions to attack at 4pm, … Orders are issued, but it is impossible to promulgate these effectively.  Capt Mauncell M.C. takes his Coy & elements of A B & C. forward … They have to cross a steam & swamp, some of the men wading through waist deep in mud & water.  Line of 2nd objective is reached without much opposition on the part of the enemy, a number of whom were shot down as they attempted to run away. … Owing to delay in crossing river & swamp, the artillery barrage gets too far ahead.  This … prevents 3 objectives being taken.  Capt. WGB Edmonds MC collects about 60 stragglers & takes them up to reinforce … At midnight orders are received that the Battalion is to be relieved … before dawn. …. Relief is completed about 4.30am, the Battalion comes back into support …

31 August – Coys are reorganised … Owing to reduced strength of the Battn. …

During the three days, 29-31 August, the Battalion lost 2 officers and 21 O.R.s killed and 5 officers and 157 O.R.s wounded, with 24 O.R.s missing. 

Among those O.R.s ‘Killed in Action’ during the attack on Rémy on 30 August, was Cecil Austin.  He was 19 years old.

Cecil was originally buried, together with another unknown soldier from the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, probably near to where they fell when attacking the village of Rémy.  The concentration record showed that they were both named on a single cross on a joint grave located at map reference: ‘O 18 C. 4. 7.’  This earlier record also suggested that he was killed two days later on 2 September 1918 – this may have been the burial date after the two bodies were found as the advance continued.  The map reference showed that the location of the original grave was at the south-west corner of Rémy Wood, which confirms Cecil’s presence in the attack on the Rémy Wood area on 30 August, when both his ‘B’, and also ‘C’ Company were ‘… much disorganised & suffer severe casualties.’

When smaller burial grounds and battlefield graves were later ‘concentrated’ – the bodies exhumed, moved and reburied in larger cemeteries, which could be better maintained – the two soldiers were buried in separate graves.

Cecil is now buried in Plot V. F. 25. in the Vis-en-Artois Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.  His former ‘grave-mate’ is buried next to him in Plot V. F. 26.

Vis-en-Artois and Haucourt are villages on the road from Arras to Cambrai, about 10 kilometres south-east of Arras.  The Vis-en-Artois Cemetery is west of the village of Haucourt.  Vis-En-Artois and Haucourt were taken by the Canadian Corps on 27 August 1918.  The cemetery was begun immediately afterwards and was used by fighting units and field ambulances until the middle of October.  It consisted originally of 430 graves (in Plots I and II) of which 297 were Canadian and 55 belonged to the 2nd Duke of Wellington’s Regiment.  It was increased after the Armistice by the concentration of graves from the battlefields of April-June 1917, August and September 1918, and from the smaller cemeteries in the neighbourhood. … The cemetery was designed by J R Truelove.[4]

His parents had the inscription ‘A Loving Son Tender and Kind, A Beautiful Memory Left Behind’, engraved on his gravestone.

The Coventry Evening Telegraph published a note on 4 October 1918,

… THE ROLL HONOUR.  Coventry and District Casualties.  The following are included the latest casualty lists: Killed.  Austin, 34801, C. (Rugby), R.W.R.[5]

His Medal Card and the Medal Roll showed that he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.  He is also remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gate and on the Rugby Baptist Church Memorial Tablet above the Minister’s vestry – although the latter with his name spelt – or transcribed – incorrectly,

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.

– AUSTEN Cecil.

On waters deep in the treacherous mud.
On rock bound heights and burning sand.
They poured the offering of their blood.
They kept the honour of the land.[6]

After the war, Ned and Nellie Austin had moved to live at 11 Bridget Street, Rugby.



– – – – – –


This article on Cecil AUSTIN 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, April 2018.

[1]      Info from: UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919

[2]      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Battle_of_Bapaume.

[3]      UK, WWI War Diaries (France, Belgium and Germany), 1914-1920, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, 4th Division, Piece 1484/1-7: 10 Infantry Brigade: 1 Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment (1914 Aug – 1919 Jun)

[4]      https://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/79200/vis-en-artois-memorial/.

[5]      Coventry Evening Telegraph, Friday, 4 October 1918.

[6]      https://www.rugbyfhg.co.uk/rugby-baptist-church-plaque.


1st Jan 1916. Unseasonable Weather for Christmas



Heavy rain occurred on several days before Christmas, and with the barometer at a very low reading there seemed little prospect on Christmas Eve that more enjoyable conditions would prevail. On Christmas Day the weather was as unseasonable and depressing as it could be. Drenching rains, accompanied by sharp winds, set in about noon, and continued without intermission till after dark.

There was a rapid rise of the barometer during the night. Keen dry winds on Sunday improved the condition of the roads somewhat. But more heavy rain on Sunday night had prepared people for an unpleasant Boxing Bay—how unpleasant few could have anticipated. During the night and in the early hours of the morning drenching rain fell, and a wet holiday appeared inevitable. Then, however, there came a change. The rain ceased, but the wind blew with redoubled energy, and walking became exceedingly difficult.

The gale, which blew without ceasing throughout the day and into the night, developing at times into a hurricane, damped all enthusiasm for outdoor entertainment, and those who decided to “ keep the home fires burning ” had much the best of the argument.

Many trees in the neighbourhood were blown down, and roads were blocked in several places. A large elm tree in Miss Elsee’s garden, Bilton Road, and another at Westfield—about 200 yards further along the road—were brought down, and the thoroughfare was quite blocked to vehicular traffic till about seven o’clock in the evening by which time some of the obstructing limbs had been removed.

Great havoc was caused to the trees forming the avenue on the London Road between Dunchurch and Knightlow Hill. A great many of the trees were blown down, and the telegraph wires which pass along each side of the road suffered badly, being broken down in many places. During the evening a motor car ran into the dis-placed wires near the junction with the Fosse Road, and before it could be stopped the wires had diverted its course into a ditch. Fortunately the occupants were unhurt.

At Bilton four large elm trees on the north-west side of the village were uprooted, and one of them, falling across the Lawford Lane, completely blocked it for several days till the Duke of Buccleuch’s estate men from Dunchurch, who were fully occupied on the London Road, were able to turn their attention to it. A substantially-built summer house in an exposed part of the grounds of Mr F Merttens, Bilton Rise, was lifted bodily over the hedge into the adjoining field and deposited upside down.

On the morning following the storm the Rugby Post Office was cut off for a time from the London trunk telegraph service, and communication by either telegraph or telephone was found impossible with Welford, Lutterworth, Dunchurch, and quite a number of places in Northamptonshire, including the county town. This was due to the snapping of wires caused by the falling branches of trees.

During the gale the auctioneers engaged in selling gifts for the British Farmers’ Red Cross Fund experienced much difficulty in keeping their position on the planks from which they were selling. Indeed, one exceptionally strong gust lifted Mr B H Cattell and his booking clerk clean off their feet and deposited them amongst the people. Mr T Tait, while selling in another part of the market, had a like experience.

The framework of an outside blind at Mr Edward Grey’s shop in Bank Street was shattered shortly before three o’clock, and the pole crashed through a plate glass window, smashing it to fragments and exposing the millinery displayed therein to the mercy of the boisterous wind the window could be boarded up by a local builder.

Several large trees in the School Close’ were blown down and fell across the fencing on the Dunchurch Road, but fortunately without any serious result. Several trees on the Barby Road were also destroyed, some being broken off close to the base, and others uprooted. A hoarding and wall in Chapel Street was blown down, and a wall dividing two front gardens on the Clifton Road shared a similar fate. The flag-staff on the Parish Church was broken off, and other cases of minor damage are reported from the town and district.

At Dunchurch, in addition to the havoc to trees and telegraph wires on the London Road, considerable damage was caused to roofs, chimneys, and fowl-houses. A very large elm tree near Mr Arkwright’s house was levelled, and a gate was pulled up with the roots. At Bilton Grange much damage was done to the wood fencing round the gardens.


Before A E Donkin and C G Steel, Esqrs.

HELPING HIMSELF TO FALLEN TIMBER.— Alfred John Bathe (16), 93 Lawford Road, New Bilton, was charged with committing wilful damage to timber to the amount of 5s in the School Close on the 29th December, the property of Messrs Travis and Arnold, timber merchants, Rugby, also with assaulting P.C’s Lovell and Bryan while in the execution of their duty.—Defendant admitted taking boughs, as other people were also doing, and that he kicked the police in struggling with them.—P.C Lovell said at 2 p.m on the previous day he received a complaint from Mr Herbert, manager to Messrs Travis and Arnold, find went to the School Close, where he saw defendant cutting off limbs from a fallen tree with a saw. He had sawn through a bough a foot thick, and had started on another 10 inches thick. Defendant told witness he had got permission, and eventually complied with the officer’s request to come into the road. Defendant refused to give his name and address, and used bad language. He kicked P.C Bryan. Witness arrested him, and in the struggle was also kicked several times.—P.C Bryan corroborated, and said defendant kicked him in the stomach.-Defendant said there were several people in the field getting the wood, and one of them was given permission to do so.—Wm Herbert, manager for Messrs Travis and Arnold, said he had never seen defendant before, and did not give him permission. His firm were taking away the fallen timber from the School Close, and there was considerable labour involved. He felt he was justified in complaining to the police, and backed them up in the charge. People had been taking away the timber for two days, and the firm had lost more than they would get.—In reply to the Magistrates, witness said he gave one man leave to take away the brushwood.—The boy’s mother said no one tried to bring up children better than she had done.—The Chairman told defendant he had no business to cut big limbs of trees nor to use bad language or kick the police. For the damage he would have to pay 3s, for the assault on the police 4s 6d,—The boy’s mother protested that she would not pay a halfpenny, and that the fine ought to be stopped out of the boy’s pocket money.—A week was allowed in which to pay.

THURSDAY.—Before A E Donkin, Esq.

DRUNKENNESS.—Frederick Bidmead, millwright, 52 King Edward Road, Rugby, pleaded guilty to being drunk at Rugby at 9.45 p.m on December 29th.—P.S Goodwin found him helplessly drunk in James Street. He could not tell the officer where he lived, and he was locked up for his own safety.—Fined 1s 6d.

A CHARGE OF DESERTION.—Wilfred Rainbow, living with Mrs Kendrick at 30 Worcester Street, Rugby, was charged with being a deserter from the Royal Warwickshire Regiment since December 8th, 1914.—Defendant, who denied that he was a deserter, had a fit whilst in the dock, and had to be removed from the Court.—Superintendent Clarke said he received a telegram from the commanding officer asking him to arrest defendant.—Detective Mighall said defendant had re-enlisted in the Worcestershire Regiment, but was now employed at one of the works.—Remanded in custody to await an escort.

SERIOUS ACCIDENT IN THE PARISH CHURCH.—On Tuesday afternoon in last week as Richard Clarke, the assistant verger at the Parish Church, was working in the belfry he became giddy, and fell from the ladder upon which he was standing, through a trap door, a distance of about 30ft. As a result he broke his arm and severely injured his legs and face. There was no one in the church at the time, and although he was suffering great pain, the unfortunate man succeeded in reaching Mr George Over’s shop in Market Place, from whence he was conveyed to the Hospital of St Cross. After his injuries had been attended to he returned to his home. Clarke, who is nearly 70 years of age, has been employed at the Parish Church for about 40 years, and is well known to all who worship there. Despite his age, he is making good progress towards recovery.

FIRE IN A FANCY SHOP.—At about 5.30 on Tuesday afternoon a fire broke out in the window of Mr Austin’s fancy shop, 31 Chapel Street. The alarm was given by a lady who was passing, and Mr Austin fortunately succeeded in extinguishing the flames before a great deal of damage was done. The window was full of Christmas fancy goods, which burned very quickly, and the heat was so intense that the plate glass window was broken. The damage is estimated at about £10. The cause of the fire is unknown.