Bale, James William. Died 22nd Jun 1916

James William Bale was born in Rugby in 1891 to James and Emily (nee Payne). He was baptised at St Matthews Church on 22nd Feb. He was the 3rd of at least 5 children. The family lived at 1 Lagoe Place, but later moved to no. 9. He attended St Matthews school and when he left in 1904 he held a prominent place in the school sports

James joined the 2nd Bn., Royal Welsh Fusiliers (service no. 9339) in about 1907 and at the time of the 1911 census was based at Quetta, India. The regiment was transferred to France when war broke out. By the time of his death he had been “mentioned in despatches” and promoted to the rank of sergeant for bravery in the field.

In March 1916 he was awarded a DCM with the following citation:
“For conspicuous gallantry. When on patrol his officer was wounded. Corporal Bale at once sent his patrol in, went back, and brought his officer under fire which was directed at him. This is the second time he has rescued his officer on patrol.”

It was publicly presented to him in Rugby, when he was home on leave a few weeks before his death.

On 22nd June 1916, 2nd Bn, RWF were serving in the trenches near Givenchy, Pas de Calais, when the Germans exploded a large mine destroying 80 yards of the line. This was followed by an hour long bombardment. There were about 100 casualties. James William Bale was one of them.

He is buried in the Gorre British and Indian Cemetery in France.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

13th May 1916. Rugby Soldier Decorated with the D.C.M.

RUGBY SOLDIER DECORATED WITH THE D.C.M.

PLEASING CEREMONY IN THE CALDECOTT PARK.

Sunday was a great day for Sergt Bale, of the 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, whose home is in Lagoe Place, Rugby. Arrangements had been made to present him in Caldecott Park with a Distinguished Conduct Medal, awarded for bravery in France, and the occasion partook somewhat of the character of a civic function, there being present Messrs J J McKinnell (Chairman), W Flint (Vice-chairman), T A Wise, W H Linnell, T Ringrose, H Yates, R W Barnsdale, and W A Stevenson (members of the Rugby Urban District Council). Col F F Johnstone, recruiting officer at Rugby, consented to make the presentation, and the local Volunteer Training Corps paraded, under Company Commander C H Fuller ; also the Royal Defence Corps (late the 5th South Lancashire Regt), with Lieut Gandy in charge ; and the 1st Company Boys’ Brigade, under Capt W F Wood. These formed a “ hollow square ” on the greensward, and cleared a space for the ceremony, which was witnessed by a large concourse of people.

DEEDS OF GALLANTRY.

Colonel Johnstone, in making the presentation, said the medal was given to N.C.O.’s and men of H.M forces performing gallant duties beyond their ordinary duties. The special duty performed by Sergt Bale was that on February 9th, 1916, he was ordered out with a reconnoitring party, consisting of one officer, one sergeant, one corporal, and four men, to ascertain the strength of the enemy’s trenches, what they contained, and what entanglements there were before those trenches. The party proceeded about 9.30 at night, and after they had been out an hour or so the sergeant and one of the privates got wounded. Corpl Bale (as he was then) took these men, one by one, under the enemy’s fire, into a place of safety. The whole patrol then returned to the trenches, and, after a certain amount of rest, Lieut McKay and Corpl Bale volunteered to go out again and finish their reconnoitring duties. When they got up to the wire entanglements, the officer was wounded through the thigh. Corpl Bale went to the assistance of his officer, taking him up, under fire, and carrying him back into the trenches. Now, those acts of bravery really deserved the Victoria Cross (hear, hear). Those deeds reflected very much upon the soldier-like conduct of Corpl Bale, and he had pleasure in pinning the decoration upon his breast. He felt sure all would agree with him in thinking Corpl Bale richly deserved this promotion to the rank of sergeant and also the Distinguished Conduct Medal (applause). Having pinned the medal on the solders tunic, Colonel Johnstone said he trusted the gallant deeds would long live in their memories, and that when the young men present were called upon to do their duty in the face of the enemy they would emulate the example of Sergt Bale (cheers).

MR MCKINNELL’S TRIBUTE.

Mr J J McKinnell, as Chairman of the Urban District Council, congratulated Sergt Bale, in the name of the town, on the great honour he had achieved. They felt that he had conferred lustre upon the name of Rugby, and he wanted Sergt Bale to understand that his fellow-citizens were extremely proud of him (cheers). The town of Rugby, which they all loved so much, had, he thought he might say, with becoming modesty, earned a good name in the last troublous months that we had passed through. He believed Rugby did very well all through the time of recruiting, and he was sure her sons, who had gone forth to fight in the various theatres of war, would acquit themselves creditably, and they sent Sergt Bale forth with their best wishes that his future would be covered with more laurels (applause).

HUMOROUS PREDICTION RECALLED.

Cheers having been given for Sergt Bale, Capt W F Wood made a short speech. It afforded him more pleasure than he could find words to express to be present at that ceremony, especially as Sergt Bale was one of his old boys (applause). It was some ten years since Sergt Bale joined the Brigade, and proved himself to be a hard worker. That morning he had met a soldier and a sailor, who reminded him that at the Llandudno camp some years ago he told Sergt Bale he would live either to be hanged or to earn the Victoria Cross (laughter and applause). He thought Sergt Bale was on the right way to win one or the other (laughter).

Sergt Bale expressed his thanks for the honour that had been done him, and his pleasure to have been so much congratulated during the three weeks he had been on leave. Sergt Bale then reviewed his exploits in France, including the retreat from Mons, and the circumstances under which, in addition to winning the medal, he had been twice mentioned in despatches.

ANOTHER PRESENTATION.

Colonel Johnstone then presented the Donegal Bronze Medal to Corpl Murray, of the 3rd Platoon of the Rugby Volunteer Training Corps, given by the National Rifle Association, for a creditable total of 397 points out of a possible 450, and entitling the holder to take part in the Donegal Competition at Bisley.

Mr McKinnell, addressing the V.T.C., said they had been working now for some months, and he thought they had received very little encouragement from the Government. Their fellow-citizens had, perhaps, regarded them with a sort of kindly curiosity, but they had gone on working steadily; they had given up their evenings and their Sundays in order to train themselves to be of use to their country in any supreme crisis, which they hoped would never come ; and latterly they had turned out of their comfortable beds in the middle of the night in order to help their fellow-citizens. He wanted the Corps to understand that their fellow-citizens thought well of them, and appreciated the work they were doing (applause).

Company Commander C H Fuller, on behalf of the Training-Corps, thanked Mr McKinnell for his kind words.

Cheers were given for Colonel Johnstone, who, in acknowledgment, said he very much appreciated the way in which recruits came forward first of all. There were not so many to come forward now, but under the new system to be commenced he hoped they would have more, and that many others would follow the example of the brave Sergeant and would come back to the country with the V.C. or the D.C.M. (hear, hear).

Sergt Bale was then played back to his home in Lagoe Place by the band of the Boys’ Brigade, and afterwards enjoyed a motor car drive with several friends.

At the Empire Picture Palace on Monday night Sergt Bale was presented by B Morris, on behalf of the management, with a wrist watch.

Sergt Bale belonged to the 1st Rugby Company Boys’ Brigade for four years, and was a bugler in the band. He left at the age of 16 to join the army, and is one of about 300 old members of the Brigade now serving in H.M. Forces by land or sea. Up to the present there have been few casualties amongst them.

The V.T.C. spent the afternoon in useful exercises in the fields between Hillmorton and Barby, returning at 8.30 p.m.

WARWICKSHIRE TERRITORIALS.

The 35th meeting of the Warwickshire Territorial Force Association was held on Monday at Birmingham, the Earl of Craven presiding. The War Office letter, dated April 10 last, regarding the administration of the Volunteer Force by the County Association was considered, and on the motion of Colonel Wyley, seconded by Colonel G M Seabroke, a resolution was passed agreeing to undertake the administration of the Volunteer Training Corps in the county on the county basis, and a committee was appointed for the purpose.

Colonel Lewis, Commandant of the Warwickshire Volunteer Training Corps, said they had in Warwickshire five battalions of infantry, a very useful corps of electrical engineers, and a small cycle corps. The 1st Battalion had now the names of nearly 900 members on its books, the second something like 1,500, the third had never been higher than 700, the fourth about 700,and the fifth about 800. Later enlistments had denuded these figures, but he hoped that if an appeal were made the city battalions would have 600 members each to start with, and the county battalions more. In all there were about 1,350 men clothed, armed, and equipped. There was no machinery for maintaining that state of equipment.

It was mentioned that 19 non-commissioned officers and men of the Warwickshire Territorials had received D.C.M. medals, and the payments, numbering 15,525 had been made in respect of separation allowances to wives, children, and dependants of soldiers. The cost of administration was considerably less than the maximum sum fixed by the Government.

Colonel Marsh said there ought to be some arms to be had from Ireland.—Colonel Lewis: The Territorial Force has already applied for them.

The question arose as to the payment and the granting of separation allowances to members of the Volunteer Force in the event of its mobilisation. The opinion was expressed by one member that if the Force was mobilised to repel an invading enemy they would automatically receive the Army pay under the term “ deemed on actual military service.”—Colonel Wyley said the question of pay, allowances, etc, was a matter for future consideration.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

War casualties among London and North-Western Railway men number 3,683, of whom 725 have died.

Second Lieut K W Lane (son of the Rev F D Lane, formerly Vicar of Clifton) who, as reported last week had been dangerously wounded, is progressing favourably.

Viscount Feilding, D.S.O, Coldstream Guards, son of the Earl of Denbigh, has been promoted to a captaincy.

The following appointments have been gazetted :—South Midland Brigade : Major (temporary Lieut.-Col) F C B West to be Lieut.-Col. 17th December, 1914. Capt (temporary Major) C P Nickalls to be Major. 17th December, 1914.

The Postmaster-General announces that the despatch of matches by post to the troops has resulted in numerous fires which have destroyed a large quantity of mails. It has consequently been necessary to entirely prohibit their despatch to any destination. The friends of Lieut Allan Hand, 81st Provisional Battalion, T.F, will be pleased to hear that he is now well on the way to recovery. He was taken ill with measles near the end of March, pneumonia subsequently developed, and for a time he was in a very critical condition, and had to undergo an operation.

Mr S E Rogers, who has been with the B.T.H Company for many years, and who joined the 5th Warwickshire Howitzer Battery in August, 1914, has been transferred to the 6th Somerset Light Infantry, to which regiment he has been gazetted as Second Lieutenant. It will be remembered that his brother, H G Rogers, of hockey renown, held a commission in the Somersets at the time of his death last June in the Dardanelles. Two other brothers, F G and W J, are also joining the army, the first-named a cadet at the Royal Military College, Camberley, and the latter (also a well-known hockey player) just back from the West Coast of Africa, to enter the London Scottish Regiment.

Several old Rugbeians have recently arrived in England with the Canadian contingents, including Walter Hillyard, a former employe at Messrs Frost’s and an ex-member of ” E ” Company; and the brothers Albert and Walter Francis. A grandson of the late Mr Richard Over, of Rugby, is also with the contingent.

Lieut F J Hadden, Remount Squadron, an old Rugbeian, who died of pneumonia on May 5 in Egypt, was before the war a tea-planter in Ceylon, where he was well known in connection with all sports, notably racing and polo. He was 55 years of age.

CAPT H PODMORE AWARDED THE D.S.O.

Rugbeians, past and present, will welcome the announcement which has been made this week that Capt H Podmore, O.R, an assistant master at Rugby School, has been awarded the D.S.O. for conspicuous gallantry in the field. The news was received in a letter from Lieut-Col W T Wyndowe, commanding the 6th Battalion Northants Regt, and which reads : “ We have just got the news that Capt Podmore has got the D.S.O for gallantry and devotion to duty on the morning of the 13th April, when his company, after enduring an intense bombardment, repulsed a raid that the enemy attempted on our front line. Though he had only one, the young officer doing duty with the company, they stuck to their parapets like heroes, inspired by the coolness and entire disregard of danger of their commander.” A really good fast bowler, Capt Podmore frequently assisted the Rugby Cricket Club some two or three seasons ago. His father was a fine Rugby football player, and represented Oxford v Cambridge in the first Rugby match between the Varsities.

ANOTHER ST. MATTHEW’S OLD BOY KILLED.

Notification has just been received of the death of Pte H P Watts, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, who was killed in action on April 5th. The mother of Pte Watts, who lives at 10 Bridget Street, New Bilton, has received a message of sympathy from Lord Kitchener. Pte Watts was educated at St Matthew’s Boys’ School, and is the fourteenth old boy of that school to be killed in action. He was 23 years of age, and was working at the Newbold Cement Works when he enlisted. He left England at the end of October.

B.T.H MEN REPORTED KILLED.

Information has reached Rugby that Bombardier E Cox, of the Rugby Howitzer Battery, was killed by a shrapnel shell on Thursday week. Gunner Cox was formerly a charge hand in the Turbine Department at the B.T.H, and was well known and generally respected in the works. He came to Rugby six or seven years ago as a fitter. Major Nickalls, in a letter reporting Bomb Cox’s death, says : “ I and my officers, N.C.O’s, and men grieve for the loss of not only a grand man and a fearless soldier, but one who had endeared himself to us all by his splendid devotion to duty, his great ability, his untiring energy, and unfailing cheeriness. He set a great example to the Battery, and, speaking as his Battery Commander, I am deeply grateful to him for all his good work.”

Official news has been received at the B.T.H that Pte Bert Blake, of the Wiltshire Regt, who was reported to be missing on June 16th last, was killed in action on that date. Prior to the war Pte Blake was employed in the Purchasing Department of the B.T.H.

Mr and Mrs J Gurney, late of Catthorpe, now living at 67 Cambridge Street, Rugby, have received official intimation of the death of their son, Lance-Corpl John Thomas Gurney, Royal Warwickshire Regt, who had been reported missing since April 25, 1915. He was employed at the B.T.H before the war, and was called up on Reserve.

CALLING UP THE LAST MARRIED GROUPS.

The new proclamation, calling the remaining groups of married men to the colours was posted in Rugby yesterday (Friday). It refers to men in groups 42 to 46, and the commencing date of the call is June 13th. A further proclamation calls up men of group 24 as they attain the age of 19, and the same date applies.

CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR ARRESTED AND RELEASED.

A peculiar situation arose out of the arrest of a conscientious objector named Horace Kingston, gardener, of Hillmorton, who failed to answer a summons to join the Colours on Monday. He was brought before a magistrate (A S Donkin, Esq), and admitted that he was an absentee under the Military Service Act, but added that he was a Christadelphian and a conscientious objector. He would refuse to obey any orders from the Military authorities.-Mr Donkin: You know you are liable to be fined £25 ?—Defendant : Yes, but I can’t help that.-He was remanded to await an escort and fined £2, which was ordered to be deducted from his Army pay.-After the Magistrate had left the Court a sergeant from the recruiting station arrived, and asked for the man’s release, explaining that they had received instructions that he was not to be arrested.-The Assistant Clerk pointed out that the man had already been fined £2, which could not be altered.

THE LATE PERCY HEFFORD.-Mr and Mrs W F Wood have had erected in the cemetery a handsome memorial stone with a double grave kerb in memory of their son, Percy Hefford, second officer of the ill-fated Lusitania. Sunday was the first anniversary of the sinking of the vessel, and flowers were placed upon the grave space by relatives and friends. They included a tribute from the widow, now living in Philadelphia.

IN MEMORIAM.

BERRIDGE.—In loving Memory of my dear son, George Edward Berridge, Barby, who was killed in action somewhere in France, May 13th, 1915.
“ One year has passed, oh how we miss him.
Some may think the wound has healed ;
But they little know the pain and sorrow
Deep within our hearts concealed.”
—From his loving Mother and Brother.

KEEN.—In loving Memory of our dear son and brother, Arthur William, killed in action, May 9th, 1915.

PORTER.—In ever loving Memory of our dear son and brother George, who was killed in action on May 8th, 1915, at St Elei.
—Sadly missed by his loving Mother, Father, Brothers and Sister.

SLEATH.—In loving Memory of Trooper Sam Sleath, of the Leicestershire Yeomanry, who fell in action, May 13, 1915, at Ypres, aged 22 years.
“ He sleeps not in his native land,
But ‘neath some foreign skies ;
And far from those who loved him best,
In a hero’s grave he lies.”
-From his loving Mother, Father, Sister, and Brothers.

6th May 1916. Remember Rugby Boys on Active Service

REMEMBER RUGBY BOYS ON ACTIVE SERVICE
AND
BUY A FLAG ON
SATURDAY, MAY 20th

This is an opportunity to help the Local Committee to send Comforts to Rugby Sailors, and Soldiers and to show your gratitude to the Rugby men who are fighting for You.

Keep alive warm thoughts of the home town in their hearts.

Offices & Supply Depot: Benn Buildings.

Hon. Organising Secretary : J REGINALD BARKER, who will gladly welcomes offers of help.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Second-Lieut K Westmacott Lane, R.F.A (T), 1st Worcester Battery, is reported dangerously wounded in France.

Lieut Allan Hand, 81st Provisional Battalion, T.F., is at present in hospital at Southend suffering from pneumonia.

Captain Leslie Cheape, of the Dragoons, the famous polo player, who is well known in the Rugby district, has been posted as missing.

Arrangements have, we understand, been made to use Bilton Hall, the residence of Mr Walter Barnewtt, as a Red Cross Hospital in place of Ashlawn, which was closed a short time ago.

Lieut-Colonel C Fane, D.S.O., of the Sherwoods, who was wounded in helping to quell the rebellion in Dublin formerly lived (as Captain Fane) at Brownsover Hall and Newton House, being well known in hunting circles in this locality.

Sergt Pattison, who since August last has been engaged in recruiting work at Rugby Drill Hall, has been ordered to rejoin his regiment, the Royal Warwicks. Sergt Pattison went to the front in the early days of the war, and was severely wounded, but he has now made a complete recovery. During his stay in Rugby he has, by his unfailing courtesy and geniality, made many friends, who will wish him good luck for the future.

FORTHCOMING PRESENTATION.

As already reported by us, Sergt Bale, of the 2nd Batt Royal Welsh Fusiliers, has been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for special bravery in France. We understand Colonel F F Johnstone has been requested to present the medal to Sergt Bale at Rugby, and the presentation will be made at 2.15 on Sunday afternoon next, the 7th inst in Caldecott Park, near the Drill Hall, at which time, and place the Rugby Volunteer Training Corps will parade. There is no doubt this presentation will create a good deal of local interest, as Sergt Bale is a Rugby man and son of Mr J Bale, Lagoe Place.

APPEALS UNDER THE GROUP SYSTEM.

Notices of appeal by attested married men in the Groups up to 41, called up under the proclamation posted last week, must be lodged with the Tribunals for the Rugby area not later than Monday next.

THE TRIBUNALS AT WORK.

RUGBY URBAN DISTRICT.

Held at the Benn Buildings on Thursday evening. Present: Messrs J J McKinnell (chairman), W Flint, L Loverock, and T A Wise. Major Neilson and Mr F M Burton represented the Military Authorities.

The case of an unattested dentist, which had been adjourned four times for an examination by a medical board, was first taken. Mr H Eaden represented appellant, and said the man had been medically examined and passed for garrison service at home. He was informed by the military doctor that the bread with which he would be served in the army would rapidly aggravate his complaint. He would also be given tea, which he now had to forego, and this would, make it impossible for him to go on. Mr Eaden said they would have to take the case on its merits, and he asked for an adjournment. Appellant was in partnership and the ramifications of the business were very widely extended, there being nine branches. Before the war they employed nine qualified men, but these had now bean reduced to three. They had also released several apprentices who had not yet finished their time. Their clients consisted of the lower middle class, who paid by instalments, and when a fair proportion of the money had been paid the work was done and the teeth supplied. Considerable sums were now in hand, and it would take six months to complete this work. His mother and an invalid sister were partly dependent upon him. They had unsuccessfully attempted to get someone to help carry on the work. A highly skilled man was required for this class of Work.—By Mr Burton : All the branches should be open each day, with an operator present, but as things were they had to be worked on a part-time basis.—There was also an appeal by the man’s partner, and he was called in and gave evidence of the difficulty of getting men.—Application refused.

A single plasterer, who had already had one period of exemption, made a further application, and stated that his circumstances had not altered.—Mr Eadon represented appellant, and said at present he employed four married men, three of whom were attested. In the event of this application being granted, he would undertake not to appeal for either of these men.—The Military Authorities had suggested that appellant’s father could carry on the business, but Mr Eaden pointed out that this was quite impossible, owing to his age. Appellant had sub-contracts on Government work, which would extend over several months. It was an absolute impossibility for the business to be carried on if he had to go, and it would fall into the hands of his competitors.—Exemption till 15th June. Appellant was informed that the Tribunal would not be able to do any more for him, and if he took any more contracts it would be at his own risk.

Application for a single baker, aged 20 years, was made by a local baker, who himself had given up his business’ to get employment at a local munitions factory.—The Military recommended that the application be refused, and the employee should return to his business.-Applicant stated that the round now was only a small one, and he went to work on shells in July last.—Refused.

A Rugby butcher appealed on behalf of a single slaughterman, aged 23. The Military Authorities recommended that the application be refused, and added that co-operative arrangements must be made, if necessary by the Tribunal.—Mr A H Reeve, President of the Master Butchers’ Association, was also present, and said this man was included in the nine slaughtermen referred to at the last meeting.—Appellant said this was the only man he had, and he also assisted another butcher by doing all his slaughtering.-Exemption till October 1st. The Chairman expressed the hope that the Butchers’ Association would go into the matter, and really try to work with each other and release some of these men.—Mr Reeve said they would do so. He did not like appealing for these single men. He thought they all ought to go, and it was not their wish to keep him.—The Chairman asked if it would be possible to work with butchers outside the Association, such as the Co-operative Society. These were not normal times.— Mr Reave answered that there were so few men to do the town work.

IRISH REBELLION CRUSHED.

REBEL LEADERS SHOT.

Monday night’s official news from Ireland indicated that the rebellion there had been crushed. All the rebels in Dublin had surrendered, and the city was declared to be quite safe. In the country districts the discouraged remnants of the ” Irish Republican Army ” are giving themselves up to the mobile columns hunting them down. About 1,500 prisoners have been brought to England.

The Press correspondents were on Saturday morning enabled to make a tour of the troubled districts. It was found that the only real damage to the city has been done in Sackville Street, the lower part of which has been laid in ruins. Shells, bombs, rifle fire, incendiary fires, and wanton damage have all contributed to the general destruction with a terrible completeness. Great gaping spaces mark the spots where the fine Post Office another famous buildings once stood.

Mr Asquith announced in the House of Commons on Wednesday afternoon that three of the signatories to the proclamation of an Irish Republic — P H Pearse, Thomas J Clarke, and Thomas MacDonagh – having been tried by court-martial ans found guilty, were shot that morning. Three of the other prisoners were sentenced to three years’ penal servitude.

Mr Birrell tendered his resignation of the Chief Secretaryship for Ireland on Monday. The resignation was at once accepted. He confessed in the House of Commons on Wednesday that he had made an ” untrue estimate” of the possibilities of the Sinn Fein movement.

IN MEMORIAM.

CLIFTON.—In ever loving Memory of our dear son and brother Tom, who was killed in action on May 9th, 1915, somewhere in France.

“ One year has passed, our hearts still sore
Day by day we miss him more;
His welcome smile, his dear sweet face
Never on earth can we replace.
” We often sit and think of him,
And think of how he died;
To think he could not say good-bye
Before he closed his eyes.”
—Sadly missed by his loving mother, father, brother, and sisters.

STEBBING.—In loving memory of our dearly beloved son, Sydney Reginald, died of wounds in France, 4th May, 1915. Buried in Hazebrouck Cemetery.— From his lonely Mother, Father, Sisters & Brothers.

The twelve months’ old wound is still open, and our hearts bleed daily for the loss of one so dear to all.

25th Mar 1916. Two Anniversaries

TWO ANNIVERSARIES.

WHAT A K.O.S.B. THINKS OF THE CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR.

Friday. March 17th, was the anniversary of the day in 1915 on which the K.O.S.B, and other regiments which were billeted in Rugby left their quarters to proceed to the Dardanelles. They formed part of the 29th Division, which earned immortal fame by their brave and arduous fighting at the landing at Gallipoli in the following April, and onwards through that ill-starred campaign. Of that Brigade, which left Warwickshire 20,000 strong after being reviewed by the King on the London Road at Stretton-on-Dunsmore, we are informed only about 1,000 sound men remain. The remnants of the K.O.S.B are at their depot in the North of England, and one of them—a sergeant—writing to a friend in Rugby, says :—

“ I am writing this so that it will reach you on Friday, 17th, the anniversary of ‘The Day’ we left Rugby to do a bit of ‘strafing.’ What a lovely time we had in Rugby. The two months we were there will always remain in the minds of the remaining members of the 1st Battalion The King’s Own Scottish Borderers, as the happiest time they have spent during their years of soldiering. One can scarcely believe that a battalion arriving straight from India to England, with perhaps a tendency to run wild owing to the majority having been away for years, could have been fostered and cared for, and our every comfort looked to, amongst utter strangers, in the kindly and homely manner in which you people of Rugby did. To sum the whole lot up, it was absolutely home. After our own homes, Rugby took second place in our thoughts whilst on service, and we came to the conclusion that both places were the finest in the world and were worth scrapping for. What do you think of the Conscientious Objectors ? It is hardly believable that there are such THINGS calling themselves men in this world. Let them take a look into the jungle, and they will very soon find that it is natural for all things, great or small, living in this world, to defend to the death their homes and families, and especially if the Conscientious Objector makes any attempt to harm or interfere in any way whatsoever, he will jolly quick find out that his presence and interference are objected to by another sort of Conscientious Objector, who is quite willing to fight and if need be, give life itself in the protection of its offspring. Just fancy any man saying it would be against his conscience to assist any person wounded by the explosion of a bomb from a Zep. That means to say, that if his own mother or sister, and if he be married, perhaps his little infant son or daughter, were lying wounded with a main artery severed, he would stand there heedless of their cries, watching them die, when a very little attention on his part would help to stop the bleeding till a doctor came, and perhaps be the means of saving their lives. On other hand, if he himself was wounded by same bomb, what would become of him if all the doctors were Conscientious Objectors ? He would lie there howling and shouting for all manner of curses and evil things to descend upon and make the life intolerable for the doctor who professes Conscientious Objection. Others say that they object to killing of any kind, going so far as to say they refrain from eating anything that has been bled or killed to supply his food. How many times have they eaten eggs, thereby killing the fruit of flesh and blood, and also killing what would eventually have matured to a thing of flesh and blood. Let them go across to Flanders or to Egypt and Mesopotamia. There they will find hundreds of thousands of the right sort of Conscientious Objectors, whose conscience pricks them very sorely to think that they are out fighting whilst a lot of COWARDS who call themselves Conscientious Objectors are doing their utmost to dodge their duty. Whilst carrying on this way, they secretly pray that Tommy will be able to keep the enemy back from them. The British soldier does not mind in the least fighting for the Conscientious Objector’s sisters, his mother, father, or small brothers, but he conscientiously objects to fighting for the Conscientious Objector himself. The Conscientious Objector who has taken religion on as his excuse has, I am afraid, kept the Bible more often on the shelf than on his lap open, or he would have come across various passages which are against him.”

The writer concludes :—“Dear Mr —-, You might have this put in the Rugby paper if you think fit to let all the people of Rugby know that the ‘ Jocks’ haven’t forgotten their kindness to them, and also what a member of the ‘Immortal 29th Division’ thinks of the ‘Conscientious Coward.’”

THE 7TH WARWICKS.

It was a year on Tuesday last when the 1/7th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment (Territorials) landed in France, having left England on the preceding day. Since then they have had their full share of work in the firing line, and have fully sustained the prestige of their county. We have from time to time published interesting letters from members of the Rugby contingent, and this week we received the following, dated March 14th :-

DEAR SIR,—Perhaps your readers will be interested in the doings of the 7th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment and the old E Company boys. They are all in the highest of spirits, and are looking the picture of health despite the terrible hardships they have all endured through the trying winter months in mud and water ; and have made themselves feared by their neighbours the Huns.

They have also been very highly praised for their splendid work out here by their Commander, and he hopes when the time for them to get to grips with the enemy arrives, they will still maintain the name they have made for themselves since they have been out here.

We are getting some sports up this afternoon among the officers and men. We enjoy ourselves when we come out for these short rests, after being in and out of the firing line for a month at a stretch. Hoping you will publish this in your paper, we remain—THREE OF THE OLD RUGBY COMPANY BOYS.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Staff-Sergeant W A Simpson, 21st Lancers, who has been awarded the D.C.M for going to the rescue of a comrade and an officer, and holding back the enemy with a revolver, is a Daventry man. He is a son of Mr P W Simpson, and grandson of the late Mr T Simpson, for many years manager of the Daventry Gas Works.

An ex-champion Public School boxer, Capt Ian D Dewar, son of Lord Dewar, one of the Scottish Lords of Session, has been killed in action. He had previously been wounded in August and September of last year. Capt Dewar when at Rugby won the Public Schools Lightweight Championship at Aldershot in 1911, and he captained the Boxing Club at Oxford.

Mr G H I Cowley, of Hertford Street, Coventry, solicitor, has joined an Officers’ Training Corps on the nomination of Colonel Courtenay, C.B, and during his absence his practice is being looked after by Mr Charles Martin, of 18 Hertford Street. Mr Cowley was educated at Rugby School, and is a member of a family having large landed interests in Northants, and is a grandson of the late Rev Charles Thorold Gillbee, M.A, D.D, for many years incumbent of the joint family livings of Barby and Kilsby.

Lance-Corpl Jack Bird, 12th K.R.R (son of Mrs Harris, 41 Now Street, New Bilton), is at present in Christ Church Hospital, Hants, suffering from a fractured collar bone and bruises, sustained as the result of the explosion of an aerial torpedo in the trenches. This is the second time that Lance-Corpl Bird has been wounded.

News was received on Monday that Pte Albert W Johnson, 9th Batt Royal Warwickshire Regt, and only son of Mrs Johnson, of 110 Abbey Street, Rugby, a widow, was killed in action on Jan 6th at Cape Holles. Pte Vertegans, also of Rugby, who was in the same section, put a cross, which he made himself, with a suitable inscription and verse thereon, at the head of his grave.

The number of men being called up locally has shown a considerable increase during the past week, and about sixty men have been passed through the Rugby Drill Hill. Of these only a small number were conscripts.

A notice about the “ starring ” of munition workers was issued by the Ministry of Munitions on Thursday night. In future men will only be exempted from military service if they are actually engaged on war work and can show that they are eligible for War Service badges ; not if they are engaged on private work and may be required for munitions work.

RUGBY TERRITORIAL ACCIDENTALLY KILLED.

Mrs Fidler, of Harborough Magna, has received intimation that her son, Pte William Fidler, was accidentally killed in France on March 7th, Pte Fidler was an old member of the E Company, and until quite recently he was attached to the Horse Transport Section. About a fortnight before his accident, however, he was transferred to the Warwickshire Infantry Brigade Machine Gun Company, and on March 7th he started out with a team of horses, which had recently arrived from a Remount Depot, and a wagon. Ten minutes afterwards he was found lying unconscious in the snow by the side of the load. He was taken in a motor ambulance to a field hospital which was close by, but, he only regained consciousness for a few minutes, and died in the evening. He was a quiet, reliable, and steady soldier, and will be much missed by his comrades. A sad feature is that he came home from the front on leave at Christmas to be married.

SERGT BALE TELLS HOW HE WON THE D.C.M.

The following letter has just come to hand from Sergt W J Bale. 2nd Royal Welsh Fusiliers, the St Matthew’s “ old boy,” whose home is in Lagoe Place, and who was included in the last list of recipients of the Distinguished Conduct Medal :-

“ On the night of Feb 8th I proceeded on patrol towards the enemy’s trenches, with one officer and six men. The duty of the patrol was to go and find out the condition of the enemy’s wire, and also to find out the strength of the enemy in a part of their trench called Mad Point. Everything went on all right until we were about twenty yards off their wire, when we were spotted by a German sentry, and heavy machine-gun and rifle fire was at once opened on us, and two of the patrol were slightly wounded. After it had got a bit quiet, we managed to get the patrol to safety, and following a short rest the officer and I went forward again to carry out the duty. We managed to get right up to the German wires, but after lying there for half an hour the officer got spotted and shot through the thigh, so that he was unable to move. Now I had my work cut out to get him and myself safely into our lines. I managed to get him on my back ; then I had to start and creep with him, which I can assure you is not an easy thing ; but after an hour’s struggle I got back to the lines with the officer. I received commendation for this, the second time in a month, and on March 16th, General Munro presented me with my D.C.M. medal ribbon.”

RUGBY SOLDIER REPORTED KILLED.

Rifleman F Pee, aged 19, who has been missing since July 30th, has now been reported killed in action on that date. His home was at 391 Clifton Road, Rugby, and before war broke out he worked in the machine shop at the B.T.H. He enlisted in the Rifle Brigade the beginning of September, 1914, and went to France the following May. He was in the liquid fire attack at Hooge on the 30th July, and was not seen afterwards. His name has been put on the Hooge Memorial.

BRAUNSTON.

INTERESTING LETTER FROM THE BALKANS.-An interesting letter has been received by his friends from one of the sixteen Braunston boys belonging to the 7th Royal Berkshire Regiment, who are now serving with the Salonika Force. After explaining how they were bivouacked on the side of a mountain in nice little dug-outs, and two in a hole, he says :-We are still getting lovely weather, and the hills are covered with wild crocuses, so you can tell it is warm. We get the papers you send, and although the news is a bit old when we get them, we sometimes read them over two or three times when we can’t get any books. I wonder how the Braunston Armlet men will like soldiering. I bet they get a surprise when they start ; but I am pleased they didn’t stay till they were dragged, although they stayed long enough. It is very interesting out here to watch the natives in their mountain villages. They are just as you read about them in the Bible—the old bullock waggons, and shepherds with their crooks, and the women carrying their water pitchers on their heads and shoulders. The men squat about in baggy trousers, and never seem to do any work. They seem quite satisfied to remain as they are, and I shouldn’t think they have advanced a bit for a thousand years.

The Prince of Wales’ National Relief Fund.—WASTE NEWSPAPER DEPARTMENT.—The organisers of the old newspaper scheme desire to draw the attention of householders and others in Rugby and surrounding districts to the collections of old newspapers which are being organised by the Boy Scouts Association in aid of the Prince of Wales’ National Relief Fund. Communications should be sent to Geo R Payne, Hon Sec Rugby Scouts Association, 13 Park Road, Rugby ; parcels to either Murray School between 9 a.m and 4 p.m, or B.T.H Troop Room, Lodge Road, 7.30 p.m to 9 p.m, Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Only morning, evening, weekly, and Sunday papers are required, Coloured paper is acceptable, but must be bundled separately.

IN MEMORIAM.

DODSON.—In loving Memory of our dear son William Ernest, who died of wounds in France, March 24th, 1915.
“ No loved one stood beside him
To hear his last farewell ;
No word of comfort did he leave
For those he loved so well.”
From his loving Father, Mother, Sister, and Brothers.

FOX.—In everlasting love and sweetest remembrance of our dear son, Norman Harry Fox, who fell in action on March 21st, 1915.
“ One year has passed, oh ! how we miss him.
Some may think the wound has healed ;
But they little know the pain and sorrow
Deep within our hearts concealed.”
His sorrowing Father, Mother, Brother and Sisters.

 

18th Mar 1916. The War Tribunal – Local Appeals

THE WAR TRIBUNAL.

LOCAL APPEALS.

RUGBY RURAL DISTRICT.—Thursday. Present: Mr J Johnson (chairman), Rev F Challenor, Messrs C E Boughton-Leigh, H Tarbox, J H Walker, and H Flowers. Messrs M E T Wratislaw and F M Burton represented the Military Authorities.

The Vicar of Marton supported an application for exemption by the village postman, who has 3 brothers serving, leaving appelant, whose parents were dead, to keep his sister.-Application refused.

A Newbold farmer, occupying 381 acres, obtained a 2 months’ exemption for his stockman. A single man, who occasionally helped with the milking.-The Military representatives opposed on the ground that there was sufficient help on the farm.

The proprietor of general stores at Wolston applied on behalf of the manager of his stores at Brinklow on the ground that he could not find a substitute, and the man had four brothers in the army.-The man said he was married, and had attested believing that every single man possible would be called up first.—Mr Flowers : Do you think Lord Derby has broken his pledge ?—A He does not seem to be getting on with it very well.—The manager said he had four brothers at the front ; one was a prisoner of war in Germany, and one was maimed for life.—The Chairman : That is a fine record for one family.—Application refused.

A further postponement was asked for the assistant overseer, the Clerk to the Parish Council, and school attendance officer at Wolston, who had already been put back ten groups. When he first offered for the army he was rejected, but since then he had been passed by the doctor.—A belated appeal had been received from the County Director of Education, stating that it was in the national interest that the attendance at school should be enforced, but this could not be considered.—The personal application was refused.-Undersized, and with defective eyesight, a cellarman and manager at a Newbold public house appealed, chiefly on the score of ill-health. He had attested because he thought it the duty of every Englishman to do so, and he thought he might do something of a non-combatant nature.—A medical certificate was produced, stating that the man was suffering from nervous debility, and at present was unfit for service abroad. Refused.—The bailiff at Princethorpe Priory claimed on behalf of the ladies there that a trap horseman, luggage carter, etc, was indispensable. Nearly 200 acres of land are occupied, 70 being arable. This man was said to be very useful in attending to farm stock in general.—Exemption refused.—On the grounds of “ national interest ” and “ certified occupation,” a working farmer at Frankton appealed. He had previously been “ starred ” by the Tribunal,-and had not attested, so now renewed his application.—Conditional exemption.—Described as a shepherd and cowman, and doing general skilled farm work, a single man from Bilton appealed as being indispensable to the welfare of the farm on which he is employed.—Refused.

CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR MAKING SHELLS.

Although a shell turner, engaged on high explosive shells, a young man living in Lawford Road, New Bilton, asked for exemption on conscientious grounds, and also on the ground of financial hardship. If he was called for military service great strain would be put upon his mother, sister, and young brother who was gifted as a scholar. He had conscientious objections to combatant service, and hated the thought of taking life. He regarded it on a duty to allow people to live as long as God willed, and thought a good Christian should help to relieve sickness, distress, and suffering.—Mr Flowers : Does not your consciences prick you a bit when you are making these shells ?—A : When I went to the works I could not make a choice of my job.—In reply to the Clerk, applicant said the reason he did not want to go to the war was because he objected to killing men.—Mr Walker : Would you like to join the Corps to make holes to bury the dead ?—A : No, I should not. I have never seen a dead man yet.—The Clerk : Have you any objection to help the wounded ?—A : I could not say “ no ” if a man happened to be wounded or injured.—Mr Walker : How long have you had this kind of a conscience ?—A : A long time.—The application was refused.

THOUGHT NO APPEAL WAS NECESSARY.

Permission was granted for an interview by a Welsh farmer, living at Draycote, who had been called up under the Military Service Act, and who said he thought as a farmer he was exempt. He applied too late for his papers to send in an appeal. He occupied 215 acres, of which 50 were arable, and he had since January only had a lad of 14 to help him. He had 63 head of cattle and 80 ewes, of which 50 had yet to lamb.—The Clerk said in the case of a man who had good reasons for the delay, the Tribunal had power to deal with such an application.—The Chairman said he was sure it was a genuine case, and applicant was told to till up the form, which would be dealt with by the Advisory Committee, who would probably recommend an exemption.

RUGBY CHAMBER OF TRADE & MILITARY SERVICE.

On Thursday a deputation from the Rugby Chamber of Trade, consisting of Messrs C H. Rowbottom, E H Bennett, and H Lupton Reddish, waited upon Colonel Johnstone, Recruiting Officer for the Rugby district, and laid before him the following points in regard to attested members of the Chamber :—

That it seems unfair that single men should be allowed to shelter themselves from Military service by entering controlled establishments.

That one of the grounds of appeal by an attested man is that serious hardship would ensue if the man were called up for Army service, owing to his exceptional financial or business obligations or domestic position.

That the skilled workman admittedly puts his brains and ability into his work. The man who has a retail business also does this, and, in addition, puts in his capital, and maintains and increases his business by constant personal thought and attention.

That it is a custom in certain retail trades to make large purchases in advance, e.g., spring and autumn goods are often purchased six months beforehand.

That serious hardship and loss will, in many cases, ensue to attested retail tradesmen, both single and married, by their being called up for Army service.

That attested men now employed in controlled establishments should be released for military service.

That attested single and married men having retail businesses should be given the opportunity of entering controlled establishments to take the place of single men released for military service, a portion of each day, or week, or in any case leaving them free to attend to their businesses during the remainder of each day or week.

That attested men, in order to qualify for work in controlled establishments, would be willing at once to give up some portion of each day to learn the work, so that, when their group is called up, they will be in a position to effectively take up the work without delay.

That failing this, attested single and married men, having retail businesses, be trained for military service in Rugby, or some town near, for a portion of each day, or week, to attend to their businesses. This would be on the lines of what was done in the case of the Rugby Fortress Company.

IN CASE OF AN AIR RAID.

A meeting, convened by the Chairman of the Rugby Urban District Council, has recently been held to agree upon joint action in the event of a hostile air raid. It was the opinion that the two essentials to be aimed at to secure protection from damage were darkness and silence, and that arrangement should be made with the Superintendent of Police, when the presence of Zeppelins is notified, to warn by telephone the Fire Brigade, Special Constables, V.T.C., Boy Scouts, O.T.C., and St. John Ambulance, to each of whom duties will be assigned to get the two essentials promptly observed by the inhabitants ; and also to render aid in the event of casualties, fires, or damage being caused.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

The casualties reported amongst L. & N.W.R. men serving with the Forces are estimated at 3,520.

Mr James Renshaw, of the Black Horse, has received a copy of “ The Balkan News,” an English newspaper published, at Salonika, containing an account of a football match (Association) between the Main Supply Depot (Army Service Corps) and the 28th Divisional Cyclists Corps, which ended in a draw, 3-3. Sergt G Renshaw, captain of the Rugby Club, played for the A.S.C, scored one of the goals, and gained honourable mention.

ANOTHER ST MATTHEW’S OLD BOY HONOURED.

Amongst the awards for gallantry on the Western front just announced is the name of Corp (now Sergt) W J Bale, 2nd Royal Welsh Fusiliers, who has gained, the Distinguished Conduct Medal. Sergt Bale has been previously “ mentioned in despatches,” and was recently promoted for bravery in the field.

A number of conscripts have been passed through the Drill Hall this week, and several married attested men have joined before the calling up of their group.

Conscientious objectors passed for non-combatant service are to be formed into Non-Combatant Companies with the distinctive letters on their caps, N.C.C. They will not bear arms of any kind.

IN MEMORIAM.

Atkins.—In loving memory of our dear son, who was killed at St. Eloi, in France, March 16th, 1915.

“In a far and distant land,
Where the trees and branches wave,
Lies a dear and loving son,
One we loved but could not save.
Just one year since Jesus called him,
How we miss his cheerful face ;
But he left us to remember,
None on earth can fill his place.”
Silently mourned by his loving Father & Mother.

ATKINS.—In loving memory of our dear brother, who was killed at St. Eloi, in France, on March 16th, 1915.

“ One year has passed, our hearts still sore,
Day by day we miss him more ;
His welcome smile, his dear sweet face,
Never on earth can we replace.
We often sit and think of him,
And think of how he died ;
To think he could not say good-bye
Before he closed his eyes.”
—Still sadly missed by his loving Brothers & Sisters.

[This is Rifleman John Sheasby Atkins of Stretton on Dunsmore.
CWGC gives his date of death as 15th March]

JUDD.—In loving memory of our dear son and brother, Rifleman G. Judd, who was killed at Neuve Chapelle, March 17th, 1915.

 

APPEALS, ACKNOWLEDGMENTS, ORDERS, Ac.

As the space available for news, etc., in the reduced size, which it is necessary to adopt, is greatly curtailed we cannot insert gratuitously any Volunteer Orders for the week, appeals for gifts or subscriptions, acknowledgments of gifts, official notices, musical successes, short-hand successes, and so forth.

SCALE OF CHARGES : 4d. per line of 8 words, with a minimum of 1s.

12th Dec 1914. Rugby’s Splendid Example

THE NEED FOR MORE MEN.

Few districts can boast of such an excellent record as Rugby with regard to the response to the call for men to join the colours. Since the outbreak of hostilities upwards of 2,000 men (two battalions) have joined Lord Kitchener’s Army, and there is no doubt that, had it not been for the cold water thrown on recruiting by the War Office during the boom these figures would have been considerably enhanced. Rugby’s 2,000 compares very well with the figures of any other district in the United Kingdom, and had all districts done as well as this pro ratio to population, Lord Kitchener would already have secured more than his two million men, and there would have been no necessity for the household census and the persistent talk of conscription. Not only have the numbers from Rugby been good, but the men themselves have been excellent, and commanding officers of the depots to which they have been sent have spoken in high terms of their fitness and respectability. Since the advent of the engineering works to the town, a large proportion of the population has consisted of young men, and it the very cream of these who have responded to the country’s call-fine, clean, healthy, fellows, for the most part, who, we confidently believe, will, if they have the opportunity, nobly maintain the honour the town of their birth or adoption. The recruits have been drawn from all sections of society, and the members of the local trades unions have responded remarkably well. No less than 345 members of the unions affiliated to the Rugby Trades and Labour Council have enlisted, and this figure is very satisfactory considering that many of the members are over enlistment age, and also that the members of the largest union, the N.U.R, are not allowed to enlist.

Then, too, the villages in the district have nothing to be ashamed of in this respect, every man having enlisted from some of the smaller communities. The 2,000 recruits for Lord Kitchener’s Army, however, does not exhaust Rugby’s contribution to the national forces, as when the Army and Navy were mobilized, several hundreds of reserves were called up, notably from Rugby and New Bilton.

The Rugby Howitzer Battery and E Company R.W.R have volunteered for foreign service practically to a man, and hope to leave England very shortly.

Now that the figures from Rugby have passed the two thousand mark, it may be of interest to give a list of the regiments which the Rugby men have entered. The King’s Royal Rifles are easily ahead. With regard to the Royal Warwick Regiment, a considerable number attributed to that regiment joined at the commencement of the war for general service, and may thus have been transferred to other units. The reason that the number from Rugby joining this famous regiment is comparatively small is that it was quickly filled up, and local men had to choose other infantry regiments, the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, which has recently suffered considerably, being the most popular of these. The figures are :-

King’s Royal Rifles  466

Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry  315

Royal Warwickshire  275

Royal Field Artillery  249

Royal Engineers  130

Cavalry (including 35 in Hussars, and 34 in Lancers)    87

Army Service Corps    56

Royal Berkshire Regiment   50

South Staffordshires    38

Worcestershire  31

Royal Amy Medical Corps  28

Royal Garrison Artillery  24

Rifle Brigade 19

Guards (6 Coldstreamers, 12Grenadiers)  18

These figures do not include men who enlisted prior to August 20th, and a number who were accepted for miscellaneous units. Many men in the Rugby recruiting area have also enlisted at other recruiting offices.

Other regiments chosen by local men were : Remounts, Army Ordnance Corps, Gloucesters, North Staffs, King’s Own Scottish Borderers, Royal Wiltshires, Royal Fusliers, Northamptonshire Regiment, Northumberland Fusiliers, Dorsets, Norfolks, East Yorks, East Lancs, Royal -sh[?], Seaforth Highlanders, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, Life Guards, Dragoons, Leicestershires,and Birkenhead Bantams.

Although Rugby has done well, however, it can do better still, and we feel certain that there are hundreds of young fellows who have no ties, whose duty it is to answer to the call of the country in her hour of need. The whole of the infantry regiments are now open to receive suitable recruits, and also the R.A.M.C, the A.S.C, cavalry of the line (except the 1st and 2nd Life Guards), and the Royal Engineers.

All who wish to enlist should apply at the Drill Hall, Park Road (at the earliest possible date), where they will be promptly attended to by Co.-Sergt Winchcombe. and advised as to the best arm of the service for them to join.

The figures for the past week are better than have been experienced for some time, and 28 recruits have been accepted at Rugby. This number includes 11 from Priors Marston, who enlisted on Wednesday afternoon. Among this party were four brothers named Haynes, of whom three, W J, W F, and A F were accepted and one rejected ; and the patriotic mother of these lads remarked to the recruiting officer: “ If I had a dozen sons I should feel it my duty to let them all go.” Two of their cousins also enlisted. Sergt Handley, Coldstream Guards, has been assisting Colour-Sergt Winchcombe during the past week, and has already rendered very useful service.

RUGBY SHUNTER PROMOTED ON THE FIELD.

Thomas Loveridge, who before joining the Royal Warwickshire Regiment was employed as a shunter on the L & N-W Railway at Rugby, has been promoted to the rank of sergeant on the field for saving the Welsh Fusiliers at a critical moment. His portrait appeared in “ The Daily Sketch ” yesterday (Friday).

LOOKING FORWARD TO THE SHELLS AGAIN.

A lance-corporal, in the Welsh Fusiliers, writing to his parents in Rugby under, date November 27th, says :-“We are having a well-deserved rest for eight days ; then we go back again to the trenches. It has started to thaw a bit, and it makes the roads and trenches awfully muddy and very hard to bring the guns into action. I am writing this in a cafe which has been wrecked by the Germans. They have looted all the large shops-anything that is no good they burn. The shelling is not so severe ; but the snipers are still active. They are mostly all crack shots. We are in a large town now. The Germans keep flashing their searchlights on the town to see if reinforcements are coming. Many of our chaps have got colds caused by the wet trenches. The Indian troops are doing some good work. They are so hot-headed they want to charge the Germans all the time. It has gone a little warmer, but we still long for a good    fire. This town is crowded with refugees. They can tell you some awful stories of the Germans wrecking their homes. We go back to the trenches in five days, and shall look forward to the shells again.”

“ A SPLENDID SIGHT.”

Pte J Bale, 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, who is with the Expeditionary Force, has written to his parents, residing at 2 Lagoe Place, Rugby, and says: “You saw in the Rugby Advertiser what was going on during the 16 days up till the time that lance-corporal out of our Battalion wrote to his mother. He and I are the only two in the 2nd Battalion who come from Rugby, and I can tell you it was all perfectly true. Both of us have had our comrades shot down beside us ; we have both been very lucky, and we have not stopped a bit of shell or a bullet from a German sniper. They fire at us at a very short range,and some of them are excellent shots with their rifles, and I am certain they must say the same about us, for as soon as any one of them shows a little of himself out of the trench he goes down like a log of wood. One Saturday night during last month they made several attacks on us, but as soon as they showed themselves out of the trenches to make a fierce attack we let them have it. We fired into them as fast as our rifles would let us, and it was raining to make things worse : but when it was day light the result was a splendid sight-from the German trenches to ours was a thick line of Germans, all stiff and cold ; some of them had got up to our barbed wire, and they were lying across it like ‘ dirty washing.’ All this happened during the 25 days we were in the trenches, without a rest, wash and shave, and brush up. The result of these 25 days to the Battalion was about 300 killed and wounded. We had three days’ rest after that, and now we have taken up some different trenches, where the fighting is not quite so fierce. We are all happy and singing all day long.”

In another letter Pte Bale says :- “I was pleased to see that the good old St Matthew’s School is still thinking of the ‘old boys.’ There are a lot of names of ‘ old boys ‘ that I know on the programme, but I don’t think many are out here yet. . . At present I am sitting in my trench, which is not very pleasant, as we had snow a few days ago. It has been freezing ever since, and I can assure you we are nearly frozen out. The fighting now is pretty calm, but the weather is cold.”

AN ENJOYABLE PICNIC.

Pte A Bottrill, 1st Coldstream Guards, son of Mr H Bottrill, 94 Bridget Street, who, as we reported recently, is an inmate of a hospital at Versailles, suffering from wounds, has written home. He says : “This last month in Belgium has been so hot that it was been as much as we could do to look after our lives, fighting day after day and night after night, and no sleep. It has been like a nightmare, and at times I thought I should go mad, with dead and dying men on all sides. When I got hit I didn’t think I should get away alive, as there were shells on all sides, and the Germans had got through one part of our line.

Several times I had to lie down because the bullets were coming so thick, and I thought escape was impossible. That is how I kept going until I took cover in a wood, where I found several dead Frenchmen and horses ; but, thank God, I am alive. We have had some losses, but there is one consolation : we have made those infernal Germans squeal more than once, and if they have warmed us up we have done in about ten times as many. But they have got to know us now, and they say we Coldstreamers are ten times worse than hell-and that’s hot enough. On Oct 29th we fought back to back, and on the day I got hit we finished up after a most adventurous and enjoyable three picnic (I don’t think).” Further on Pte Bottrill says : “ When my chum, who is in here wounded, rode a cow from the firing line you would have laughed. The general and home staff officers were watching his antics from a farm building, and had a good laugh over it. My friend says he didn’t care ; it was quicker than walking if it did make him sore.”

HAPPY AT THE FRONT.

Pte F Collins, of the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, in a letter from the front to his uncle, Mr T Wilson, of Spring Street, received on Wednesday morning, states : “You cannot understand how much a letter will cheer us Tommies up at the front, especially when no news is forthcoming. You will be pleased to hear that I am quite well and in the beet of health, and I must tell you that we are all very happy up at the front in spite of all hardships. They will not discourage us one little bit. One would think we were out here for sport, and not for the war, according to the spirit of the troops. We have been provided with new warm clothing, &c, since we have been back in billets, having a well-earned rest after coming out of the trenches. This regiment has evidently been in for some severe fighting. A casualty list published on Tuesday contained the names of no less than 55 men killed.

WAR CASUALTIES.

OLD MURRAYIAN’S NOBLE DEATH.

In reply to a letter from a local gentleman asking for details of the death of Gunner Thrasher, son of Mrs A Henson, 6 Charlotte Street, Rugby, Major C C Robertson, 11th Battery R.F.A, writes :- “ This man was killed in action whilst gallantly serving his gun under fire, his death being instantaneous and without suffering. He was shot by a bullet through the heart. Please convey my sincere sympathy to his mother, and say that she may be proud of the conduct of her son, who was doing his duty manfully and well. It will be a comfort to her to know he was spared all suffering and pain.” Gunner Thrasher, whose death we reported recently, was only 20 years of age and a late pupil of the Murray School, which may well be proud of numbering such a gallant lad among its “ old boys.”

NEW BILTON MAN KILLED IN ACTION.

Much sympathy will be felt for Mrs C Dagley, of 11 Bridget Street, New Bilton, who on Saturday evening received official intimation that her third son, Pte Charles Jackson Dagley, 2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen’s Boys), had been killed in action on October 31st. Pte Dagley, who was only 22 years of age, was the son of the late Mr Charles Dagley, and had been in the Army nearly five years. Previous to enlisting he was employed at Messrs Willans & Robinson’s. His elder brother is at the front with the Coldstream Guards.

OLD ST MATTHEW’S BOY SEVERELY WOUNDED.

Mr F J A Sparks, “ Oakville,” Stephen Street, Rugby, has received a postcard from one of the hospitals at the front, stating that Bandsman J Milne, of the Scottish Rifles, has received a severe wound of the spine, causing paralysis. His condition is grave, but there is no immediate danger. Bandsman Milne is an old St Matthew’s boy, and his father, the late Colour-Sergt Milne, was for many years an instructor to the Rugby School Officers’ Training Corps.