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.

Bathe, William John. Died 29 Oct 1914

Private Bathe. Picture from Rugby Advertiser 19 Dec 1914

Private Bathe. Picture from Rugby Advertiser 19 Dec 1914

William John was the 2nd son of Mary & John Bathe, born 1888 in Warnborough Wiltshire. The family moved to Rugby about 1900 and settled at 41 Sun Street.
William John’s attestation papers state he was 17 years, height 5ft 3 inches. Weight 104 lbs, pale complexion, brown hair and brown eyes. Scar right eyebrow and birthmark left flank.
His former employment in Rugby was as a groom for Mr R Holmes.
William John signed 29th August 1906 for 6 years with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. After 49 days of training he joined 1st Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment. 1st December 1906.
Next of Kin is John Bathe Father & Henry Claude Bathe Brother both of 41 Pinfold Street, New Bilton, Rugby.
In 1911 Private William John Bathe was stationed at South Barracks Gibraltar, now aged 22 years. Maybe on route to South Africa where he spent the next 7 years. He is described as a fine muscular fellow and regarded as one of the best boxers of his regiment. On the outbreak of war the regiment was ordered back to England where he was able to spend a few days with his family in Rugby before proceeding to France at the end of October. Sadly William John died of wounds received on 29th October 1914 at Klen Zelebecke and is remembered on the Memorial at Ypres Town Cemetery Extension, Rugby Memorial Gates & New Bilton.
William John received 3 medals: Victory Medal, British Medal and Clasp.
Disembarkation date 4th October 1914. Died of wounds 29th October 1914 he was in France for 25 days. A sad end after spending 7 years in South Africa.