2nd Dec 1916. Courage on the Battlefield, Doctors Decorated


One of the doctors who have been recently decorated with the Military Cross is Captain Thomas Ainsworth Townsend, R.A.M.C, the only son of Mr Thomas Sutton Townsend, of Clifton Manor, and 68 Queen’s Gate, London, for many years a magistrate and county councillor for Warwickshire. Educated at Rugby, where he was in the School House under Dr James, and afterwards at New College, Oxford. Captain Townsend then went to Guy’s Hospital, where he took his medical degrees. In 1914 he was sent to Serbia, where he was surgeon under the Red Cross ; and in June, 1915, was given a commission in the 1st London Field Ambulance. In October the same year the War Office sent him to France as medical officer to the 24th Battalion of the London Regiment, whose surgeon had been killed in action, and with which he has been at work ever since.

Captain T A Townsend, R.A.M.C., received the medal for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He displayed great courage and determination in rescuing several men, who had been buried, under heavy fire. On three previous occasions he had done very fine work.


A number of Zeppelins visited North and North-Eastern Counties during Monday and Tuesday night.

The casualties were slight, considering that the enemy craft dropped over a hundred bombs. There was one death—that of a woman from shock—and sixteen persons were injured. The material damage was not great, and no damage at all of military importance was done.

A daring raid on London by a hostile aeroplane was made about noon on Tuesday. Again the material damage was slight, and only nine persons were injured.

As a set-off to this two of the Zeppelins were brought down in flames and totally destroyed, together with their crews, and the aeroplane was accounted for by French aviators on its way home. The two officers on board had in their possession a large scale map of London.


The new official scheme for the co-ordination of relief to British prisoners of war came into operation yesterday (Friday). It will only be possible to send food parcels to prisoners through an authorised packing and distributing organisation or regimental care committee. As this scheme involves certain changes in the conditions under which parcels have hitherto been sent to Rugby and district men by the Rugby Prisoners of War Help Committee, it may be useful to state briefly the reasons for its adoption and its scope. For over eighteen months enough food has been sent from this country to feed a large number of Germans, in addition to the prisoners to whom it was addressed. It has also been proved that while very many prisoners received a dozen or more parcels a week, others received none. Then, too, unskilful packing and insufficient addressing made it impossible for thousands of parcels sent by private individuals to be delivered, the food, and money being consequently wasted. The contents of others were quite inadequate to sustain physical and mental strength. In these circumstances the War Office decided that regulations were necessary to secure for our men an adequate supply of food.

The Central Prisoners of War Committee have been entrusted with the administration of the new scheme, and every organisation must be authorised by them. The aim is to send to every man in German prison camps three parcels of food in the course of every 14 days, each parcel of a gross weight of 10lbs, in addition .to 13lbs of bread. The cost will be about 42s 6d per man per month.

Meetings of the Executive of the Rugby Committee have been held this week, and the Hon Secretary (Mr J Reginald Barker) was able to report that he had completed the necessary arrangements in connection with the local men on their list.

The men belong to 25 different regiments, and the Care Committee of each man’s unit have undertaken to pack and despatch, on behalf of the Rugby Committee, two of the parcels of foodstuffs every fortnight to each local prisoner of war, the third parcel being provided by the man’s regimental committee, until such time as the Rugby Fund is in a position to undertake the complete cost of all the parcels. The parcels will bear the name of the Rugby Committee on a special Red Cross label, and the men will acknowledge the receipt of same to Rugby as in the past. Mr Barker said he would continue to advise the prisoners of the coming of the panels subscribed for by their fellow-townsmen, and also keep the relatives informed of news he has from the men. The best way, therefore, in which relatives and friends can help is by subscribing to the Rugby Committee sums they would otherwise have spent on personal parcels.

The results hoped for from the scheme are that each prisoner shall receive an ample sufficiency of good food, while none goes to enemy destinations ; that the parcels guaranteed by the special Red Cross label shall pass to him quickly, unmolested and in good order, and that none of the great monetary expenditure now being made on behalf of men in captivity shall be wasted or mis-carried. It is essential that everyone interested in the welfare of their own townsmen should co-operate in the scheme. As an example which might well be followed, Mr Barker mentioned that of the staff of the Rugby (L.N.W.R) Erecting Shop. Every Friday for over four months they have had a “ whip round,” and have been able to hand him for the Rugby Fund 18s per week, in addition to an organised effort producing over £10. The employees at the Rugby Steam Shed had also rendered excellent assistance.

The Executive hoped that similar efforts would be made on the part of other works and shops in the town so that a regular weekly income is assured.

Cheques were signed for the payment of the first four weeks’ parcels, and forwarded to the Regimental Care Committees concerned.

The most convenient time for personal calls upon the Hon Secretary is between the hours of 5.30 and 7.30 any evening at his office, 9 Regent Street, Rugby.

It is very essential that he be informed, as soon as news is received, that a local man has been taken prisoner, so that he can make immediate arrangements for the “ first capture ” parcel to be despatched forthwith, as in most circumstances the man is in urgent need of ordinary necessities of existence as distinct from food and drink. The parcel contains one Cardigan jacket, three handkerchiefs, two towels, tin of vaseline, brush and comb, tooth brush, tooth powder, shaving brush, stick of shaving soap, safety razor, tin opener, spoon and fork, housewife and mending materials. Arrangements will,. of course, be also made for the regular parcels of foodstuffs.

This week’s parcel includes : ½lb biscuits, 1lb beef, 1lb cheese in tin, ¼lb tea, 50 cigarettes (Woodbines), 1lb tin jam, 1 tin rations, ½-lb vegetables (cabbage, Brussels sprouts, turnips or carrots), ½-lb milk, ¾-lb sugar, ½-lb margarine, 1 tin sardines.


Second-Lieut G N Sutton, R.F.A, who died on October 14th, was the eldest son of the late N L Sutton, formerly of Bilton, and Mrs Sutton, of 36 Angles Road, Streatham. Historian, musician, and journalist by profession, he received a commission in the Cheshire Regiment, being transferred to the R.F.A in September, 1915.

Lance-Corpl H Mayes, whose parents live at 28 Abbey Street, is in a hospital at Bristol, suffering from wounds in the thigh, arm and hand. Before enlisting in the Oxon and Bucks L.I at the outbreak of war, Lance-Corpl Mayes, who is 20 years of age, was employed as a moulder at the B.T.H. This is the second time he has been wounded.

News has keen received that Pte Ernest Andrew Batchelor, of the Worcester Regiment, was killed in action on October 24th. He was the second son of Mr and Mrs Batchelor, of 35 Worcester Street, Rugby, who have four more sons with the Forces. Pte Batchelor, who was only 29 years of age, was an old St Matthew’s boy, and prior to the War was employed by a firm in Birmingham. An officer of the regiment, in a sympathetic letter informing the parents, added :-“ He was one of our best bombers, and was always cheerful and good-hearted.”

The men employed in Messrs J Parnell & Son’s workshops have presented the firm with a very handsome Roll of Honour, containing the names of 22 men who have enlisted from the yard and shops. The “ roll,” which was tastefully designed and executed by Mr F J R Cole, Rugby, with appropriate and patriotic embellishments, was framed in oak, and the names enrolled thereon are :- Lieut R W Friend, Corpl F Robinson (killed), Ptes A A Ashworth, T Coles, R Collins, C Hobbs, E Gray, W Welsby, G Wood, T E Walden, A Canham, W Tailby, G H Mills, A Adams, J Mann, W Dumbleton, Lance-Corpl W Booth, Ptes H A Eagles, E Lockwood, T Lord, A Coles and F Pickford.


Lance-Corpl John Worrall, R.E. (youngest son of Mr and Mrs Worrall, Queen Street, Rugby), and Pte J Enticott, old scholars of St Matthew’s boys’ School, have been awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field.


ROLL OF HONOUR.—News has reached Barby that Mr Joe Muddiman, who at the time he enlisted was the village schoolmaster, has been killed in action. Death was instantaneous, and was the result of shell fire.


MR T MORTIN, only son of Mr Thomas Mortin, of Wolston, has been promoted to lance-corporal in the 7th Warwicks. He has been on foreign service for a long time, but is now suffering from rheumatics and is in hospital at Stockport.

LIEUT BLUEMEL WOUNDED.—Lieut W Bluemel, only son of Mr and Mrs F H Bluemel,has been wounded, and now lies in hospital at Boulogne. He was an officer in the Heavy Section of the Machine Gun Company, and was in charge of a “ tank.” He went to France in August, and did excellent work until he was disabled. Before the War broke out he was a regular attendant at the Works of Messrs Bluemel Bros, Ltd, of which his father is a large shareholder and director. He is rather seriously injured in both arms and his back, but there are still hopes of his recovery. The parents have the deep sympathy of the inhabitants, of Wolston; and the neighbouring villages, where Mr Bluemel is a friend to every good cause. Lieut Bluemel was wounded by a shell bursting when he was carrying out a duty outside his “ tank.”


To the Editor of the Advertiser.

DEAR SIR,—In your valuable paper of the 11th ult. mention is made of the Rugby farmers’ motor ambulance, and that your informant was probably the only local man in the locality who saw it. I am sure it will interest both yourself and all Rugbeians to know that the ambulance in question must have been seen by scores of Rugby soldiers on the Somme front, where it has done splendid work. With the best of wishes,—I remain, yours truly, OLD MURRAYIAN.

B.E.F, France, November 20th.


The Postmaster General announces that letters and parcels intended for delivery to the troops by Christmas Day should be posted as long as possible in advance of the dates given below :-
`                       Letters.            Parcels.

British Expeditionary Force in
France and Belgium                                                Dec. 16        Dec 11.

Egyptian Expeditionary Force                                 Dec. 2            Nov 25.

Salonika Force                                                         Dec. 2            Nov. 25.

Fruit, perishable articles, bottles, pudding basins, and the like are prohibited. The name and address of the sender must be written on the outside of parcels. Parcels which do not comply with this rule will be refused.


BATCHELOR.—In memory of my dear son, Pte. Ernest ANDREW BATCHELOR, Worcester Regiment, who was killed in action on October 24, 1916.
“ Sleep on, dear son, in a far-off grave :
A grave we may never see ;
But as long as life and memory lasts we will remember thee.
No matter how we pray or how we call,
There is nothing to answer but the photo on the wall.”
—Gone but not forgotten by his loving MOTHER, FATHER, BROTHERS and SISTERS.


DODD.-In loving memory of Company Sergt-Major A. J. DODD. Killed in action in France, Dec. 2, 1915.
-Ever in the memory of Bill.

DODD.-In loving remembrance of my dear son, Company Sergt-Major DODD, who was killed in France, December 2, 1915.
“ In a soldier’s lonely grave,
Beneath France’s blood-stained sod,
There lies my dearest son,
Resting in peace with God.
Though rolling seas divide us,
And he sleeps on a pitiless shore,
Remembrance is a relic
That shall live for evermore.”
—Never forgotten by his loving mother, sisters, and step-father.

EDMANS.—In loving memory of our dear son, Frank, who lost his life on H.M.S. Bulwark, November 26, 1914.—“ Thy will be done.”

Bluemel, Neville Ernest. Died 23rd Sep 1915

Neville Ernest Bluemel was born in 1891, in Romford, Essex. His parents were Ernest Adolphus Bluemel and Harriet Amy (nee Neville).

Ernest and his two brothers founded the Bluemel Cycle Accessory business in Stepney and moved to Wolston to take advantage of the booming cycle industry in Coventry. By 1911 the family were living at Melbourne House, in Hillmorton Road, Rugby.

Neville attended Lawrence Sheriff School and in 1911 his occupation was a worker in Celluloid Accessories, presumably his father’s business. He was aged 19.

Both Neville and his brother Roland Edward joined the 1st Bn, Honourable Artillery Company on 9th November 1914 (They had successive numbers Neville 2533 and Roland 2534). By the time they arrived in France on 1st July 1915, Neville had been promoted to Lance Sergeant.

The Rugby Advertiser of 2nd October 1915 reports what happened:

Mr E Bluemel’s Two Brave Sons

One killed, the other wounded

News has this week been received that Lce-Sergt Neville Ernest Bluemel. elder son of Mr & Mrs E Bluemel, of Penrhos House, Clifton Road, Rugby, died of wounds on September 23rd, and that the younger son, Corpl Roland Edward Bluemel. has also been wounded. Both the brave young fellows were in the Honourable Artillery Company, and were wounded by bursting shells on the day when several other casualties occurred in the same Company.

Mr Bluemel first received a short note from his elder son, obviously written under difficulties, stating that both were wounded in arms and legs, but added that there was “nothing to worry about.” They were then in a field hospital and hoped soon to be removed to the base, and probably to be sent on to England.

The train journey from the front was actually commenced, the brothers being removed together, but on the way down Lce-Sergt N E Bluemel complained of internal pain. His brother enquired of the doctor if all was well, and received a re-assuring reply, but evidently Lce-Sergt Bluemel became worse, and he was taken from the train and placed in hospital at Abbeville, where he lingered a day or two, and then passed away, the official report stating that he died of wounds received in action.

A London gentleman, who also has a son in the H.A.C, writing to express his sympathy, as so many others have done, says :-
“It is sad news indeed to hear that the elder brother had died. He was a brave man, and it may be a little consolation for you to know what his comrade says in his letter to us :-
“N E was awfully plucky, and was the best man in our section.” He goes on to say: “R E was not hit so badly. He was wounded in the arm and shoulder and was quite cheerful about it.”

Corpl R E Bluemel is now at a base hospital. He states in the recent letter that he was separated from his brother in the train, and he had not heard of his fate.
Before enlisting, both sons were engaged at the Wolston Works. Lce-Sergt Bluemel was in his 23rd year.

Neville Ernest Bluemel was buried in the Abbeville Communal Cemetery.

His brother survived the war, being discharged on 19th May 1919. He died in 1950 at the age of 56.