Beard, Cecil James. Died 24th Apr 1915

Private Cecil Beard 24328, 13th Bn, Canadian Infantry

Cecil James Beard was born on 28th March 1894 in Brushbury in Wolverhampton, Staffordshire. His parents were Cornelius James and Gertrude Alice (nee James). Cornelius was a telegraph clerk and shortly after Cecil’s birth the family moved to Rugby. In 1901 they lived at 30 Charlotte Street. In 1911 Cecil was boarding with the Bradley family at 36 Windsor Street. He was a loco fitter’s labourer The rest of the family were at 46 Murray Road.

By the start of the war, Cecil (now known as James) was in Canada and signed up to the 13th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Highlanders of Canada, on 23rd September 1914. He was 5ft 6in tall with brown eyes and dark brown hair. He had a tattoo of clasped hands on his right forearm. On 3rd October 1914 the unit sailed for Europe.

“A telegraphic message was received on Saturday night by Mr. C. J. Beard of 46 Murray Road to the effect that his son Pte. Cecil Beard of 13th battalion of the Canadian Regiment had been killed in action. Mr Beard’s son went out to Canada and there joined a territorial force.   His employer volunteered for active service when the war broke out and Pte. Beard followed his example. He came over with the first batch of Canadians and went to the front with them. Another son of Mr. Beard, who is in the army has for some time past been a prisoner of war in Germany, and he is having by no means a pleasant time.”
Rugby Advertiser 22 May 1915

He died on 24th April 1915, probably in the Battle of Gravenstafel (22–23 April 1915), part of the Second Battle of Ypres. It was during this battle that the German Army used Chlorine gas for the first time. The battalion suffered 3,058 casualties on the 24th.

Cecil James Beard is remembered on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Second Battle of Ypres – Apr/May 1915

The Second Battle of Ypres started on 22nd April 1915 and lasted until 25th May. It was fought for the control of the strategic town of Ypres after the First Battle of Ypres that had been fought in autumn 1914.

It marked the first use of poison gas by the Germans.

The German Army released 170 tons of chlorine gas at around 5pm on 22nd April at Gravenstafel a hamlet north-east of Ypres. Cylinders were opened by hand and the wind carried the gas towards a 4 mile section of the allied front, held mainly by French troops. There were 6,000 casualties most of whom died within ten minutes. Chlorine gas combines with water in the lungs and eyes to form hypochlorous acid. Most died of asphyxiation or were blinded.

The operation was more successful than the Germans had foreseen but they were unable to take proper advantage of the gap created in the front line, due to a lack of reserves. The British lines began to collapse but the flank was defended by Canadian troops. Soldiers urinated into their handkerchiefs and put them over their faces, to counter the effects of the gas.

Canadian troops successfully counter attacked later that night, but over the following days the allied front line was driven back, closer to Ypres.

More information Here

 

German casualties from 21 April – 30 May were recorded as 34,933.
British casualties were 59,275.
The French had around 18,000 casualties on 22 April and another 3,973 casualties from 26 – 29 April.
Canadian casualties from 22 April – 3 May were 5,975 of whom c. 1,000 men were killed, the worst day being 24 April when 3,058 casualties were suffered during infantry attacks, artillery bombardments, and gas discharges.

 

James Beard, from Rugby, who was serving in the Canadian army died on 24th April and several Rugby men from the Royal Warwickshire Regiment died on the following days.

 

Another Canadian who took part in the Second Battle of Ypres was John McCrae. He was a gunner and medical officer. On 2nd May he had to conduct the burial service of a close friend and noticed how quickly poppies grew around the graves. The next day, sitting in the back of an ambulance, he wrote the famous poem: “In Flanders Fields”

 

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

 We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

 Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

27th Feb 1915. Appeals for more Men.

RUGBY MAN AT THE FRONT APPEALS FOR MORE MEN.

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

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

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

RECRUITING AT RUGBY.

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

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

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

RUGBY RAILWAY WORKER KILLED IN ACTION.

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

CHEERING NEWS OF A DUNCHURCH S0LDIER.

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

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

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

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

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

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

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

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

PROPOSED ALARM IN CASE OF AIR RAIDS

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

RUGBY PETTY SESSIONS.

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

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

19th Dec 1914. Post Early for Christmas

CHRISTMAS AND THE POST OFFICE

In view of the great strain on the officials of the Post Office at holiday time an official announcement has been issued giving hints to the public to facilitate the delivery of Christmas cards, postal packets, and letters. The following are among the recommendations: Letters, &c, should be posted early in the day on December 21, 22, 23, 24, and 31 ; Christmas cards should be posted not later than the morning of Wednesday, the 23rd ; supplies of postage stamps should  be purchased beforehand.

RUGBY POST OFFICE & THE WAR.

From the Rugby postal district 24 sorting clerks and postmen have joined the colours, and it has been necessary to fill the vacancies by assistants who have had experience in some office, as well as retired female sorting clerks, who are now married. The places of postmen who have left for the war are being occupied by temporary men obtained through the Labour Exchange, and who are now getting somewhat accustomed to the work. At the same time, there is no doubt during the Christmas season the staff, both indoor and out, will have to be extended to its utmost capacity in order to deal successfully with the exceptional pressure.

RUGBY POSTMEN AND CHRISTMAS BOXES.

In previous years the postmen at Rugby have made a collection of Christmas-boxes ; but this year, in consequence of the war, the men have decided not to adopt this course. At the same time, if any generous townspeople care to “tip” the postmen during the forthcoming festive season, they will naturally be grateful to receive such acknowledgement of their services to the public.

MORE BELGIAN REFUGEES ARRIVE AT RUGBY.

Twelve Belgian refugees, who have recently reached England from Holland, arrived in Rugby on Wednesday evening as the guests of the Fellowship Relief Committee, and are now comfortably housed at the home furnished for them at 39 Albert Street. A member of one of the families—a baby—is ill, and has been left behind in hospital ; but will join the party later. The guests are of the artisan class, and are apparently of just the type the committee were hoping to be able to entertain. There are two families. One consists of a man, his wife, and four children, with whom is also attached a single man. The other family consists of a man and his wife and two daughters. One of the latter is married, and has a little boy. The two groups were brought over to London from Holland on Sunday and Tuesday respectively. One of the men is an engine driver, and the other is a tailor. Two lady members of the committee accompanied them from London ; others met the guests at the railway station, and gave them a cordial greeting, conducting them to the home, where the refreshment committee had an appetising meal in readiness, the house looking warm and inviting. The refugees have already settled down happily in their new quarters. A large number of townspeople have assisted in gifts or loans of furniture and in many other ways, and the committee desire to publicly thank all who have afforded those responsible for the arrangements so much support and practical encouragement.

The guests of Holy Trinity Church Relief Committee, 11 in number, were sent down from London to Rugby on Saturday. They consist of three families, the men being a dock labourer, a fireman in a factory, and a carpenter respectively. They are refugees from Antwerp, who at the time of the bombardment fled into Holland. At Rugby Station they were met by the Rev R W Dugdale, Mrs St Hill, and Mr Marple ; whilst other members of the committee prepared tea at the house that has been furnished at 67 Albert Street. Some of the refugees visited the Empire on Thursday night, and greatly enjoyed the entertainment.

RECRUITING AT RUGBY.

During the past week the figures for recruiting in Rugby and district have shown a distinctly upward tendency, 15 having been drafted to the various depots and 30 others are waiting for final approval. In order to meet the convenience of intending recruits who do not wish to leave home until after Christmas the majority of the men now coming in are only put through the primary examinations and will come up for final approval after Christmas.

The Parliamentary Recruiting Committee census paper, so far as Rugby is concerned, has been very successful, and men are coming in every day. Of those who signified their desire to serve, if necessary, quite half were married men. Most of the recruits enrolled at Rugby this week have come in from the country districts.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Mr E G Roscoe, Clifton-on-Dunsmore, is No 1 of a gun crew in the Anti-Aircraft Corps, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.

One wounded Belgian and six wounded English soldiers were brought to the Red Cross Hospital at Rugby on Tuesday, coming by train from Birmingham. One was a bad amputation case, and to convey this man to the Hospital the “ Mary Wood ” ambulance was used.

Mr H K Ault, of Lloyds Bank, has joined the Public Schools’ Battalion.

RUGBY SOLDIER A PRISONER IN GERMANY.

Pte Sidney Beard, son of Mr and Mrs C J Beard, of 46 Murray Road, who belongs to the 2nd Royal Warwickshire Regiment, is now a prisoner of war at Gottingen, near Hanover. Writing to his parents on November 30th, he says : “ It is nearly six weeks since [missing] and during that time I have written five letters two being addressed to you. For some reason or another, I haven’t received a single answer from anyone.” There is very little information given in the letter, for obvious reasons, but the request for “ cake, cheese, jam, butter, tea, cocoa, sugar, and milk, in fact, anything to eat,” seems to indicate clearly that incarcerated British soldiers in the enemy’s hands are not faring at all sumptuously.

ST MATTHEW’S BOYS’ SCHOOL, RUGBY.

Amongst those badly wounded in recent engagements, and now in hospital, are the following St Matthew’s “ old boys ” :—Lance-Corpl Frank Chater, 7th Dragoon Guards ; Pte A W Botterill, 1st Coldstream Guards ; Bandsman John Milne, 2nd Scottish Rifles ; and Sergt H Dougen, 3rd Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Sergt H Lee, 2nd Royal Warwickshire Regiment, has also been wounded, but is recovering, and is now in Rugby.

Second-Lieut F S Neville, 6th Northamptonshire Regiment, formerly assistant master at St Matthew’s Boys’ School, has been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant.

B.T.H RESERVIST KILLED IN ATLANTIC BATTLE.

Amongst those killed on the recent naval battle off the Falkland Islands in which the British sank four German cruisers, was Walter John Kind, of the Royal Marines. Mr Kind, who was 29 years of age, was a naval reservist, and prior to the war he was employed in the power station at the B.T.H., where be was very popular among his fellow workers. The news of his death was conveyed to his father, who resides at Wellington Street, Leicester, on Saturday ; but no details were available. A sad feature of the affair is that the unfortunate young man was engaged to be married to a Rugby lady.

Midshipman Lawlor who died of typhus fever on board his ship while engaged in the transport of camels in the Persian Gulf. He was a grandson of Mr J Lawlor, a Rugby Guardian, and formerly stationmaster at Marton, where he was well known.

CLIFTON MAN REPORTED KILLED IN ACTION.

Mrs W J Hutt, of Church Lane, Clifton, recently received a letter from a friend of her husband’s at the front, stating that the latter, Pte W J Hutt (7698), Northamptonshire Regiment, had been killed in action on November 5th. No official news, however, has been sent to Mrs Hutt, who is staying with friends at Canons Ashby. Pte Hutt, who was a reservist, had been employed for some years by the B.T.H Company, and was in the winding department when he was called up. He has resided in Rugby and Clifton for some years.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR.

CHRISTMAS AND OUR WARWICKSHIRE TERRITORIAL BATTALION.

DEAR SIR,—I have received a letter from Colonel Elton, officer commanding the 7th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, appealing for funds to enable him to give the men under his command a good time on Christmas Day, and asking me, as chairman of the Council, to make an appeal for subscriptions from Rugby to carry out his proposal. The number of men stationed at Witham belonging to the 7th Battalion, and which includes our own Rugby Company, is about 900. I shall be extremely glad to receive subscriptions for this purpose, and any sent to me at the Benn Buildings will be acknowledged, and I will see that the amount goes to Col Elton.—Yours faithfully,

J J McKINNELL, Chairman U.D Council.

Benn Buildings, Rugby, Dec 17.