THE CHRONICLES OF 55 SQUADRON
AN ECHO OF WAR TIME AT LILBOURNE AERODROME.
Captain L. Miller, of the R.A.F., now stationed at Cologne, has written a book under the above title—a book which should appeal very closely to members and ex-members of the Squadron. The profits will be handed to a R.A.F. charity, viz., “ The Flying Services Fund,” which is for the benefit of officers, N.C.O.’s and men of the R.A.F. who are incapacitated while on duty and for the widows and dependants of those who were killed or contracted injuries while on duty.
The matter is of interest to Rugby and district, as it will be recalled that 55 Squadron was stationed at Lilbourne during the winter of 1916 and early months of 1917. The Squadron left for France early in March, and during its service on the Western Front took part from the air in the Battle of Arras and Third Battle of Ypres, doing important bombing raids and reconnaissances. Subsequently in October, 1917, it moved down nearer the Vosges sector as the first Daylight Bombing Squadron, of what was afterwards known as “ The Independent Force,” and during its service there was responsible for raids such as those on Mannheim, Cologne, Frankfort-On-Main, Bonn, and in any others, most of which were mentioned in the Press at the time they took place, but of course the identity of the Squadron was not given.
THE DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL has been awarded to Sergt. E. R. Gilbert, R.E., attached to the 18th Div. Sig. Co., of Rugby. The official report says :—“ On October 28, 1918, near Sherqat, Mesopotamia, during an attack when the enemy’s fire was greatly impeding our advance, he was sent up the side of a spur to locate hostile machine guns. On reaching the top he found one gun, which he immediately charged, killing or capturing the entire team. His prompt and daring action materially relieved the situation.”
DEATH OF AN OLD VOLUNTEER.—The death took place on Wednesday in last week at his residence, 8 Earl Street, of Mr. Harry Barnett, aged 49. He was for many years a member of the Old Rugby Volunteer Company, and soon after the commencement of the war he enlisted in the Bridge Guarding Companies. He was subsequently sent to Egypt and India, where his health broke down, and he arrived home on May 1st a physical wreck, only to die three weeks afterwards. The funeral was conducted by the Rev. T. H. Perry (St. Peter’s) in the Cemetery on Saturday afternoon in the presence of a large number of friends and sympathisers. The coffin was covered with a Union Jack, and a firing party was provided by Rugby Volunteers, under the command of Sergt.-Major W. H. Cluett. A number of wreaths were sent by relatives and friends.
WAR MONUMENT AT NEWBOLD.
DESIGN AND SITE ADOPTED.
COMPLAINTS OF APATHY AT PARISH MEETING.
On Friday last a parish meeting was held in Newbold Council School. The object was to receive the report of the War Memorial Committee. The meeting was most disappointing, as excepting the ten members of the committee, only about six villagers were present.
Mr. Martin said if this was representative of the interest taken by the parishioners, it seemed to be a foreboding that the whole thing would be a failure.
In the absence of Mr. C. E. Boughton-Leigh, the chair was taken by the Rev. J. B. Hewitt, who said the design for the monument had been decided upon and a site for it chosen. It was between the church and the road.
Mr J. P. Cox proposed, Mr. Harvey seconded, and it was unanimously agreed that the design placed before the meeting be provisionally accepted.
Alter discussion it was decided, on the proposition of the Rev. J. B. Hewitt, seconded by Mr. E. Dodson, that the meeting be adjourned until some future date, when it is hoped a more representative gathering will be present.
[drawing] Our illustration shows the design prepared for the memorial. The site chosen is in the churchyard, opposite the north porch. The idea upon which the design is founded is that the names of the fallen should be recorded on bronze tablets framed in stonework designed in the Gothic style in keeping with the architecture of the Church, and that the whole should be surmounted by a cross. The base of the structure is octagonal in shape, being divided into four wide and four narrow panels. The latter will be left blank, but the four wider panels will contain the bronze tablets. On three of these tablets will be recorded the names of the fallen, and on the fourth will be an inscription and particulars as to when and by whom the memorial was erected. It is also intended that a text should be incised in the stonework on the band running round near the base. The material proposed is a reddish-brown freestone similar in colour to that of which the church is built. The height of the monument will be about 15 feet. The total estimated cost is between £275 and £300.
The design is the work of Mr. S. J. Oldham, M.S.A., of Rugby.
THE PASSING OF DUNCHURCH AVENUE
EFFORT TO RESTORE A BEAUTY SPOT.
THE SCHEME FOR RE-PLANTING.
MEMORIAL TO THE GALLANT 29th DIVISION.
The question of the reinstatement of the famous Dunchurch Avenue is again cropping up. It was in 1917 that the lord of the manor, the Duke of Buccleuch, found it necessary to take action with a view to safeguarding the traffic along the famous road. The elm trees, many of them planted so long ago as 1740, were becoming increasingly dangerous, and finally, after a negotiation of several months’ duration with the Warwickshire County Council, the menace was removed by the felling of the trees, and the beautiful old avenue reduced to the naked unwonted appearance it now bears.
We have called attention to the matter in the Rugby Advertiser several times, and suggested that, seeing that the King on March 12, 1915, reviewed the immortal 29th Division on the London Road, in the parish of Stretton-on-Dunsmore, shortly before they went to become heroes at Gallipoli, there was an opportunity of erecting a lasting monument to the brave fellows who fell.
Since then the project has developed, and a committee has been appointed, consisting of the Chairman of the Warwickshire County Council, Lord Algernon Percy, Capt. Oliver-Bellasis (chairman of the County Roads and Bridges Committee) ; the Mayors of Coventry, Leamington, Nuneaton, Stratford, and Warwick ; County Aldermen the Hon. H. Arden Adderley and Mr. T. Hunter ; Capt. Wratislaw ; Messrs. Harry Smith, J. J. McKinnell, C.C., James Johnson, C.C., and F. R. Davenport, C.C. The Mayor of Warwick (Mr. Austin Edwards) is acting as treasurer and hon. secretary to the fund.
This body has been actively engaged in considering re-planting proposals, which are as follow :—
Commencing at the Coventry end of the Avenue, to plant the trees on the unusually wide margins of the road in the following order :—
Canadian poplars, 29.
Red chestnuts, 53.
Montana elms, 143.
Scarlet oaks, 149.
Scotch pines, 90.
The trees will be planted about 50ft. apart except that the last 40 or 50 (Scotch pines) will be arranged in clumps.
The full length to be planted is 8,753 yards, and the total number of trees 546, with 78 extra as a reserve against failures.
For this important work, together with the provision of a monolith as a memorial to the men of the 29th Division, the sum of £5,000 is required. That sum will be spent thus :—
Alterations to road……………. £500
Re-planting trees……………… £2,500
APPEAL TO THE RUGBY PUBLIC.
When the matter of a permanent memorial and organised action was first mooted Mr. A. E Donkin appealed to the people of Rugby on behalf of the scheme, and himself got up a concert in the Temple Speech Room in aid of the fund. As a result he was able to forward £35, but there was such apathy in the matter among the public generally that the town has done nothing more. The opportunity now recurs, for our contemporary —the “ Midland Daily Telegraph ”—has opened a subscription list, and has given a donation of £25. The Rugby Advertiser is sending five guineas to the fund.
If any of our readers would like to be associated with this public-spirited movement, and would care to send donations to the Editor of the Rugby Advertiser, he will see that they are forwarded to the proper quarter and duly acknowledged.
In helping forward this project for re-planting, the public will be aiding a worthy cause in a two-fold way. They will ensure by reason of the restoration of the Avenue that coming generations will enjoy a similarly delightful scene ; they will also be taking part in the provision of a memorial to the heroes of the gallant 29th Division.
A calculation over a considerable portion of the distance, and counting both sides of the road, shows that 20 trees to every 100 yards have been felled. At this rate some 1,000 trees have taken from the famous Avenue, but the figure can only be very roughly estimated.
LEAMINGTON RAISES £589.
At a meeting at Leamington, re the Dunchurch Avenue Fund, for the purpose of supplying a suitable memorial to the 29th Division, Mr. S. C. Smith, the hon. secretary, reported that there was a balance in hand of £589 19s. 5d.
Application has been made to War Office for two German guns captured by the 29th Division, which would form part of the Memorial. Delays have occurred in preparing the site for the memorial owing to the shortage of labour. Mr. Bridgman, of Lichfield, the architect appointed, attended, and the question of adding some wide stone steps to the memorial was discussed. It way decided that Mr. Bridgman should submit models of the memorial, with and without the steps, and then a discussion could take place as to which form the memorial should take.
MONEY IN WASTE PAPER.
HOW RUGBY BOYS HELPED TO WIN THE WAR.
41 TONS COLLECTED.
The final meeting of the Rugby Waste Paper Committee was held on Monday, Mr. J. J. McKinnell, J.P., presiding.
The Hon. Secretary (Mr. J. Reginald Barker) outlined the work accomplished during the 18 months’ activities of the committee. Over 41 tons of waste paper have been collected, the greater part being through the efforts of the boys of Murray and Elborow Schools. Messrs. Willans & Robinson, Ltd., had disposed of their office waste to the committee, devoting the proceeds to local charities ; and the boys of St. Oswald’s School, New Bilton, under the direction of Mr. W. A. Sheppard, and Bilton C.E. School had also assisted in the collection. A number of private purchases had also been made from persons who had given the money to charity. From time to time the committee had met and voted grants, including the following :— Rugby Prisoners of War Fund, £44 4s ; Hospital of St. Cross, £10 ; District Nursing Association, £10 ; St. John’s Ambulance, £10 ; Hamilton Home, £10 ; Rugby Town Red Cross Society, £10 ; and Willans & Robinson, Ltd., £10. They had had to purchase three trucks, but had sold one. There remained a disposable balance of £28 and two trucks, both having been recently repaired, painted, and put into quite new condition. Mr. Barker proposed that, in recognition of the services of the boys of Murray and Elborow Schools, the committee give these trucks to the schools, and upon being carried, Mr. W. T. Simmonds and Mr. Coles Hodges expressed their thanks, remarking that they would be extremely useful to the boys in many ways.
A discussion arose as to the best means of disposing of the balance in hand ; and the Hon. Secretary having stated that the Bilton collections had been made with a view of helping their local war memorials, the committee unanimously decided to give £10 to New Bilton per Mr. Sheppard, and £3 to Bilton per Mr. J. W. Higgie for that purpose. Other grants made were : £5 to Rugby Nursing Association, £5 to Hamilton Home, and £5 to Messrs. Willans & Robinson for any charity they cared to name.
The Chairman expressed his thanks to all who had helped in making the collections financially successful, not only to the advantage of the local institutions, but the nation also during the serious paper famine. He specially referred to the work of the boys of the schools under the supervision of Mr. Simmonds & Mr. Coles Hodges, and asked these gentlemen to convey to their boys the great appreciation of the committee for all they had done.
Mr. Coles Hodges said it had been very hard work for the boys, and he doubted if anyone other than those actually concerned in the collection realised what a vast amount 40 tons of loose waste paper represented and the work entailed in handling same.
On the proposition of Mr. Simmonds, a hearty vote of thanks was accorded to the Chairman.
CONOPO.—In affectionate remembrance of our dear son and brother, WILLIAM CONOPO, who lost his life on H.M.S. Queen Mary, in the Battle of Jutland, May 31st, 1916.
“ Three years have passed since that sad day,
When one we loved was called away.”
Gone from our home, but never from our hearts.
—From his loving Father, Mother, Brothers, and Sisters.
GRANT.—In proud and ever-loving memory of our two sons, HARRY GRANT, Rifleman, 4th Batt. Rifle Brigade, “ missing ” during the night of the 8th-9th May, 1915, whilst out on advance post duty near Ypres, since presumed to have been killed in action on that date, and now in absence of any further news, confirmed, third son of George and Elizabeth Grant, of Newbold-on-Avon, aged 22. Also, on the 12th August, 1916, ERNEST GRANT, Acting Corporal, 3rd Batt. Rifle Brigade, previously wounded, killed by a sniper whilst out at night digging advanced trench with his section at Guillenmont, near Cobbles, second son of George and Elizabeth Grant, aged 26.
“ So they passed on, out of the warfare of the world into the peace of God.”
“ Their lives were perfect in loving unity,
And in their death they were not divided.”
E’en as they trod that day to God, so walked they from their birth,
In simpleness and gentleness, in honour and clean mirth.”
HALE.—In loving memory of my dear husband, PTE. A. G. HALE, killed in action May 28th, 1918. Gone, but not forgotten by his loving wife.
INGRAM.—In ever loving memory of my youngest and dearest son, PTE. LEONARD INGRAM, who died from wounds in France, May 29th, 1918. Never forgotten by his broken-hearted Mother and Brothers Joe, Arthur, and Val.
“ Forget him, No ! we never will ;
We loved him here and we love him still ;
Nor love him less because he’s gone
From here to his eternal home.”
“ God in His tender care His loved one keepeth,
And softly whispers to our hearts, ‘ He is not dead, but sleepeth.’”
SHARMAN.—In ever loving memory of PERCY J. SHARMAN, son of S. and F. Sharman, Queen Street, Rugby, reported missing 21st March—1st April, 1918, now presumed to have died on or about that time. He paid the big sacrifice and left his friends mourning.