30th Nov 1918. Demobilisation Proceeding

DEMOBILISATION PROCEEDING.

The Ministers chiefly concerned are understood to be most busily engaged in perfecting the plans for demobilisation. It is to be remembered by the impatient that, though the armistice has brought about a cessation of hostilities, the War is not yet at an end. There is a possibility of the preliminary peace treaty (remarks the London correspondent of the “Birmingham Daily Post ”) being signed towards the end of February, but in authoritative quarters the impression is that it would be well not to expect the peace celebration until March. Until peace is absolutely assured it will be necessary to keep up a very large force, while an army of occupation in a portion of Germany may be rendered a necessity by her internal condition. In these circumstances complete demobilisation is bound to be a slow process.

EMPLOYMENT IN THE LOCAL ENGINEERING TRADES.

We are informed that the cessation of hostilities and the suspension of munition work will cause very little (if any) dislocation in local employment, and already the absorption of labour for civil work has removed the possibility of the spectre of unemployment coming out to mar what everyone hopes will be a bright and happy Christmas in Rugby. As a matter of fact, the supply of labour is not equal to the demand, as will be gathered from an advertisement on page 2 of this issue.

Amongst the reconstruction schemes which the Government have under consideration is one covering an extensive programme of large central electricity supply stations for the manufacture of electricity in bulk, so that it can be supplied at low rates to the commuter. The engineering shops of Willans & Robinson and the B.T.H Company are admirably laid out to take care of this class of apparatus required for this scheme, and should secure their share of the contracts resulting from this programme being carried through by the Government.

It is common knowledge that the B.T.H Company are in need of first-class machinists and mechanics of all descriptions, as well as a large number of unskilled labourers. Those Rugby craftsmen who temporarily obtained work away from Rugby should seek employment in Rugby now that there is a slackening of demand for labour in purely munition plants.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Pte J E Grimsley, 2/7 Royal Warwickshire Regiment, whose home is at Harborough Magna, was killed in action by a machine gun bullet on November 1st. In a letter to his wife an officer states : “ He was one of my best men ; in fact, had he come out alive, Capt Chamberlain was recommending him for a decoration. In several fights I always admired his conduct and his pluck.”

The “ Gazette ” announces that Second-Lieut G A T Vials, West Riding Regiment, the Northants County cricketer, relinquishes his commission on account of ill-health, and is granted the hon rank of lieutenant.—His father, Mr G Vials, formerly practised as a solicitor in Rugby.

Pte E P Burden, R.M.L.I., late of 24 Victoria Avenue, New Bilton, died in hospital in France on November 23rd from influenza. Before joining the Colours he was employed by Messrs Willans & Robinson.

Pte A Badger, 9th Battery, R.F.A (Napton), died at Fargo Military Hospital, Salisbury Plain, on Saturday, from pneumonia. He was 25 years of age.

Bombardier Arthur Russell, R.G.A, husband of Mrs Esther Russell, of 6 Benn Street, Rugby, and son of Mr & Mrs W K Russell, died on Tuesday last at Cattrick Bridge Camp. Bombardier Russell, who was a postman at the Rugby Office, had seen two years’ service in France, had been wounded and gassed, and was just convalescent from a broken ankle, sustained by accident while in the lines.

Temp Major C D Miller, the polo player and organiser, is gazetted Acting Lieut-Colonel while commanding a Base Remount Depot.

DEATH OF ROLAND WILSON BROWNE.—Mr & Mrs Browne, of the Book Shop, Station Road, whose three sons have been doing their part in the great War, have received news of the death of their second son Roland, who was killed in action in France on November 4th. He was an Old Murrayian, and on leaving school was apprenticed in the Drawing Office of the B.T.H, where he remained until the time of his joining the 2nd Manchester. Regiment, He was very popular with and held in the highest esteem by his fellow-draughtsmen, and, apart from being quick and clever at his work, he showed great ability in his love and knowledge of art and art subjects. He was a pupil of John Hassell, B.A, and turned out some clever black and white sketches. In water colour he also displayed talent, but seemed especially to excel in oil colour painting. Touching references were made at the Congregational Church services on Sunday last. He was 23 years of age. and had been in the Army less than five months when he met with his untimely end.

INFLUENZA.—The number of deaths from influenza in Rugby district during the past week was six, a decrease of 10 on the preceding week. Since the 14th October no less than 130 deaths from either influenza or pneumonia have been registered locally.

BRITISH CASUALTIES IN THE WAR.
The figures of British casualties during the war are officially given for each theatre of war, and show a total of 3,049,991. They are made up as follows :—Killed and died, 37,876 officers ; 620,828 other ranks ; wounded, 92,664 officers ; 1,939,478 other ranks ; missing (including prisoners), 12,094 officers ; 347,051 other ranks.

POST-PRESENTATION OF A MILITARY CROSS.
At Birmingham on Friday, last week a number of decorations were presented to men who had won them, or their relatives, by Major-General Sir Hy Schlater. Among the recipients was the mother of Colour-Sergt-Major G H Hayes, R.W.R, who was wounded at Neuve Chapelle on October 4th, 1917, and died a few days afterwards. The act for which the Cross was awarded was officially described thus :—

“ The advance was held up by a strong enemy machine gun position, and all the officers became casualties. He took command and crawled under direct fire to a position from which he killed several of the enemy. He then led his men in an attack on the post, which he captured with ten prisoners and a machine gun. He showed splendid courage and initiative.”

Colour-Sergt-Major Hayes was for some time employed at the Great Central Station as a drayman, and afterwards at the B.T.H as a shunter, where he was working when called up. He had been in the “ E ” Co. (Rugby) Volunteers for 16 years. He was also a well-known local footballer, having played with the Penlee, Star, Old Boys and other clubs, by the members of which and his many friends he was much respected.

FOR WAR SERVICE.

The under-mentioned, have been brought to the notice of the Secretary of State for War by the Chairman of the Joint War Committee of the British Red Cross Society and Order of St John of Jerusalem in England for valuable services rendered in connection with the War :— Miss L Court, Kineton Hospital, Warwick ; Miss B Lewis, Clifton Court Hospital, Rugby ; and Miss A O Tiley, Kineton Hospital Warwick.

DUNCHURCH.
RETURN OF A PRISONER OF WAR.—R Burton. son of Mr & Mrs James Burton, Daventry Road, has arrived home from Germany, where he has been a prisoner of war. He went out to France with polo ponies, and was soon in the fighting and was taken prisoner. It is needless to say he received a hearty welcome, and all his old friends were glad to see him looking fairly well.

NEWBOLD-ON-AVON.
PARISH COUNCIL.—At a special meeting on Tuesday evening there were present : Messrs C E W Boughton-Leigh (chairman), J Martin, W Allen, and F Fellows (clerk):—The question of a parish war memorial was raised, and the members were unanimously of opinion that some steps in this direction should be taken as soon as possible.—The Chairman said personally he favoured the erection of a parish hall and reading room, similar to that at Clifton and other villages, provided that they could raise sufficient funds. This would fill a growing need in the parish, and if such a memorial was erected they could have the names of all who had offered their service to the country inscribed on the walls.—On the motion of Mr Martin, who said he agreed with the suggestion of the Chairman, the question was deferred until the next meeting.

CHURCH LAWFORD.
GUN WEEK.—Houses were gaily decorated with flags when the gun visited this village. The quota necessary for Church Lawford and Kings Newnham to obtain a large shell was £1,200, but this sum was exceeded by £250. This result was the more creditable because at the recent estate sale most of the farmers and some of the other residents bought their respective homes and farms.

LEAMINGTON HASTINGS.
DIED IN FRANCE.—A telegram was received by his mother at Broadwell, on Monday afternoon, conveying the sad information that Pte Mark Abbott, of the 7th Dragoon Guards, had died of double pneumonia while with the Forces in France. The deceased had completed his period of service in the Regular Army, having served a good portion of his time in India, from whence he came with the first Indian Forces to France. He was of a genial disposition and popular in the village.

LONG ITCHINGTON.

WALTER HART’S DEATH.—A letter has been received from the Commanding Officer of his Battalion, stating that Corpl Walter Hart was killed by a shell on the 6th ult, near Le Catelet. The writer adds that Corpl Hart had done good work for him since he came to his Company, and that he entertained the highest opinion of him.

SERGT F RUSSELL DECORATED.—Sergt F Russell (Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment), who has been spending a few days at home, has received notification that he has been awarded the Military Medal for his gallant conduct on the 14th ult, when heading his men info action. Sergt Russell is fast recovering from his wound received on that occasion, and returned to Halifax on Monday. Besides his new decoration, he already holds the Queen Victoria and King Edward VII Medals for the South African War, and the Long Service Medal.

WOUNDED.—During the last hours of the war Rifleman E G T STEEL (N.Z Rifle Brigade), only son of Mr & Mrs Geo Steel, of this village, was wounded. His company had just taken their objective, and after witnessing the loss of several of his comrades, Rifleman Steele was hit with a bullet in the right arm. He is progressing well. Pte H Windsor (R.W.R) has also been wounded in the forearm.

RETURN OF A PRISONER OF WAR.—On Friday evening last week Pte Sidney Linnett (A.S.C), who has for over six months been a prisoner of war with the Germans, was welcomed home with great rejoicing. Pte Linnett, who is the adopted son of Mr and the late Mrs W Gaskins, of the Model Village, enlisted in September, 1914, at the age of 18, in the Royal Warwicks, and was eventually transferred to the A.S.C. He had seen much service all through the War, and on April 10th last was reported missing, and afterwards found to be a prisoner of war. He was located with others in the zone of danger behind the German lines, and not only worked under these conditions, but also experienced great cruelty from his captors. On the signing of the armistice he was set at liberty, and he and his comrades had to make their way back to the British lines with no food except turnips obtained from the fields. He arrived at Dover on the 19th, and reached Marton Station on the evening of the 22nd. Being unable to walk the two miles to his home, he was driven up. He states that many of his comrades lost their lives by being made to work within range of the British guns. Pte Linnett has grown much thinner during his captivity, and is still suffering from the shock of his experiences ; but the bare mention of the word “ home ” never fails to bring back his former sunny smile.

BRETFORD.
PTE BONEHAM DISCHARGED.—Pte Francis Wm Boneham, son of Mr T & Mrs Boneham, of Bretford, has now returned home. He joined the 3rd Warwicks in 1916, and saw much service in France. He has received a bad fracture of the right knee-cap, and is permanently disabled. He was also badly gassed, from the effects of which he is now suffering. Before joining up he was a respected employee of Messrs Bluemel’s Ltd.

WOLSTON.

Sapper H Smith. R.E.—News has reached Miss Dorothy Smith that her brother, Sapper Harry Smith, of the Royal Engineers, has died of influenza in Italy. He was one of the earliest Wolston recruits, joining up in August, 1914. Before the War he was in the employ of Mr A J Lord as a carpenter. He went through many battles in France, and was wounded on five different occasions, besides being once gassed. His father—the late Mr G Smith—was for many years employed as a signalman at Brandon and Wolston Station. Another brother, who has been in the Marines for 12 years, fought in the Battle of Jutland, and was on the destroyer, Champion Leader. He had also been previously wrecked.

MILITARY MEDAL.—The medal won by the late Joseph Edmans was presented to his father—Mr J Edmans, of Wolston—by Major-General Slater, of the Midland Command. The brave deed for which the medal was awarded was for picking up a live bomb and hurling it out of danger, and thus saving many lives. He, with one of his brothers, went through the Battle of Mons, and so the Mons Star is also due to the deceased hero. Mr Edmans is proud of the Army record of his family, six sons having fought for their country. Two have paid the extreme penalty, and several of the others have been badly wounded, including Sergt Percy Edmans, who received his discharge.

PRISONER’S RETURN.—Lance-Corpl Reader, who has been a prisoner of war in Germany, returned to his home at the beginning of the week. He met with a very hearty welcome from the inhabitants. Lance-Corpl Reader has not fared so badly as many of the prisoners. Thanks to the parcels he received from the Rugby Prisoners of War Fund, he had done fairly well, and is very thankful for them. Mr Reader, who is agent for Mr Udal, is well known and respected, and the inhabitants are delighted to think that he has safely returned to his wife and children.

KINETON
THE FUNERAL OF CORPL HORACE LEE THOMAS, who met with a fatal accident at the Kineton Hospital, took place at Tooting Cemetery on Monday, and was an impressive military ceremony, witnessed by a large concourse of people. The H. A.C provided a firing party, and the coffin was covered with the Union Jack. Over 30 beautiful floral tributes were sent, including several from Kineton. The relatives were deeply grateful for the kindness shown at Kineton.

PEACE.

PEACE, longed-for and fought-for, has at last arrived.

But the plenty of pre-war days will not return yet awhile. Rationing must remain in force for some time.

The International Stores ask their customers, therefore, to accept cheerfully for a little longer those restrictions which the War made necessary.

It will be their earnest endeavour, whatever conditions the future may bring, to maintain the reputation they have built up for High Quality, Low Prices, and Efficient Service.

They are confident that when normal times are restored, their old customers will continue their patronage.

International Stores

THE BIGGEST GROCERS IN THE WORLD

DEATHS.

BADGER.—In ever-loving memory of Bombardier A. BADGER, 235869, A Battery R.F.A., who passed away peacefully from pneumonia, at Fargo Hospital, Salisbury Plain, on November 23rd, aged 25.
“ A light is from our household gone,
The voice we loved is still ;
A place is vacant in our hearts
Which never can be filled.”
—Sadly missed by Mary, Sis, Jim, Fanny, Mr. & Mrs. Cockerill and Family.

BURDEN.—In loving memory of my dear brother, Pte. E. P. BURDEN, R.M.L.I., who died of influenza in hospital in France on November 23, 1918.

BROWNE.—On November 4th, killed in action in France, ROLAND WILSON, second and dearly beloved son of Mr. & Mrs. J. W. Browne, Railway Terrace, Rugby; aged 23 years.

FLETCHER.—On November 8th, at Boulogne, of pneumonia, Driver G. FLETCHER, R.F.A., aged 19 years and 10 months, the dearly beloved son of George and Lettie Fletcher, who passed peacefully away after great suffering, most patiently home.
“ The evening star shines on his grave :
The one we could not save ;
’Tis sad, but ’tis true, we cannot tell why,
The best are the first that are called on to die.”
—From Father, Mother, Sisters and Brothers.

GRIMSLEY.—Killed in action on November 1st, 1918, in France, JOHN EDWARD, the dearly beloved husband of Edith Ellen Grimsley, of Harborough Magna, near Rugby.
“ A day of remembrance, sad to recall,
The loss of our dear one, loved by us all.
We think of him in silence, and his name we oft recall ;
But there is nothing left but his photo on the wall.
Fondly we loved him, he is as dear to us still.
But in grief we must bend to God’s Holy Will.
If we could have raised his dying head, or heard his last farewell,
The grief would not have been so hard for us that loved him well.”
—Too dearly loved to ever be forgotten by his loving Wife, Mother, Father, Sisters and brother Will.

SMITH.—On November 7th, in Italy, of pneumonia following influenza, Sapper HARRY SMITH, Royal Engineers, youngest son of the late George Smith, of Wolston, aged 25 years.—“ Until the day breaks and the shadows flee away.”

WILLIAMS.—On October 30th, killed in action in France, WILLIAM, the dearly beloved husband of Emily Williams, 14 Lawford Road, New Bilton.

WILSON.—In ever-loving memory of my dear husband, Pte. WILLIAM HENRY WILSON, killed in action in France on November 1, 1918.
“ The midnight stars are shining
On a grave I cannot see,
Amid where storms of battle raged
Lies one most dear to me.”
—From his loving Wife.

WILSON.—Killed in action in France on November 1st, 1918, Pte. WILLIAM HENRY WILSON, aged 24 years ; eldest and beloved son of Mr. & Mrs. Wilson, of Bilton.
“There is a link Death cannot sever,
Love and remembrance live for ever.”
—From his sorrowing Father and Mother, Sister and Brothers.

IN MEMORIAM.

COX.—In proud and loving memory of Rifleman E. J. COX (ERN), K.R.R., Bilton, who was killed at Cambrai on November 30, 1917.—Deeply mourned by his Mother, Father, Sisters, Brothers, and Nellie.

PEARCE.—In loving memory of WALTER, the dearly beloved son of H. & C. Pearce, of Dunchurch, who was killed on H.M.S. Bulwark on November 26, 1914.
“ There is a link death cannot sever,
Love and remembrance live for ever.”
—Never forgotten by his Mother, Father, Brothers and Sisters.

RICHARDSON.—In ever-loving memory of Sergt LEONARD RICHARDSON, of the K.R.R. Corps, who was killed in France on November 30th, 1917.
“ Days of sadness still come o’er us,
Tears in silence often flow,
Thinking of the day we lost him :
Just a year ago.
Too far away thy grave to see,
But not too far to think of thee.”
—Never forgotten by his sorrowing Mother, Sisters, Brother, Grandmother and Nell, The Banks, Dunchurch.

WALL.—In loving memory of Corpl. LOUIS HAROLD WALL, M.M., King’s Royal Rifles, reported missing November 30, 1917.—From his loving Father and Mother, Eva and Jan.

 

Browne, Roland Wilson. Died 4th Nov 1918

Roland Wilson Browne was born in Leicester in 1895 and registered as Roland Wilson Brown – without the ‘e’ – in the second quarter of 1895 [Leicester, 7a, 244].

His parents were John William Brown[e], a bookseller, born in Hartlepool in about 1865 and Emily Jane née Wheatley, born in Saltburn in about 1866.  Their marriage was registered in King’s Norton, Birmingham, in the fourth quarter of 1888.  In 1891 they were living in Stockton [on Tees].  Their first son, Archibald Ellmer Browne, was born back in his mother’s home town of Saltburn in about 1892.  It seems the family then moved to Leicester, where Roland was born in 1895, and then on to Rugby, where Basil Cleveland Browne was born in about May 1900, being 11 months old for the 1901 census when the family were living at 31 Abbey Street.  A sister, Hilda Emily Browne was born in about 1903.

By 1911 the family were living at 1 Charlotte Street, Rugby.  The eldest brother, Archibald, was a Clerk in 1911 – the two youngest were still at school – and he remained in Rugby.  Archibald’s marriage with Alice R Duffin was registered in Rugby in the second quarter of 1921.  They had a daughter, Kathleen in later 1924 or early 1925.  He died on 20 September 1964.

In 1911, Roland was a 15 year old ‘Apprentice in Drawing Office’.  He would work in the BTH drawing office until he joined up probably in 1918.  Whilst Roland was working at BTH he had a ‘girlfriend’ Rose Whittaker.  She had an autograph book[1] which contained contributions from her friends and work colleagues: Roland made several contributions which showed his drafting skills: the examples below date from 10 June 1913 and 1914.

It seems likely that Roland did not enlist until later in the war – possibly because his work at BTH would have been considered war related and his skills as a draftsman were necessary for that.

His Medal Card only mentions him being in the Manchester Regiment and that he was entitled to the Victory and the British War Medals only: this also suggested a later date of enlistment.  The UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919, records stated that Roland Wilson Browne enlisted at Rugby as No.49342, in the Leicestershire Regiment.

Other surviving Service Records for the Leicestershire Regiment suggest that Roland may have enlisted as late as May 1918, probably into the 3rd Battalion.  His number 49342 falls between those for Mee: No.48354, and Armiso: No.49963, both of whom enlisted at Leicester on 22 May 1918 into the 3rd Battalion of the Leicesters.  This seems to have been a training Battalion, and it was probably why he was later transferred into the 2nd Battalion of the Manchester Regiment with the new Regimental Number 76326.  The allocation of these numbers cannot yet be precisely dated but the 75743 and 75985 were allocated at Warrington and Accrington on 29 May and 17 June 1918, so he probably did his basic training and was then posted to an active unit.  This would not be incompatible with a contingent of reinforcements which was posted to France and/or Flanders and arrived in the line in August 1918, as suggested by the 2nd Battalion’s War Diaries below.

On the 6 February 1918, the 2nd Battalion of the Manchester Regiment had transferred to 96th Brigade, in the 32nd Division.  In 1918 they were in action on the Somme; in the Battles of the Hindenburg Line and in the Final Advance in Picardy.[2]  The abstracts from the War Diaries below provide some background.[3]

August:  Inspection by the King on the 6th and then moved on to Broves.  9th: moved up the action to near Beaucourt, supported the LFs and attacked Parvillers and Damery Woods, gained three miles and stayed there until the 11th.  18th: moved to Harbonniere, brought up to strength by draft of 300 men,[4] relieve an Australian battalion in the front line.  19th: repulsed a German attack after heavy hand to hand fighting, 17 KIA, 27 wounded and 27 missing.  21st: divisional raids on the German lines took 36 German officers and 1,195 ORs, the German retreat was now in full flow.  The batt was heavily engaged around Vermandovilles, Abincourt and Cizancourt

Quote from the brigade order of the 27th: ‘The work of the 2nd Battalion Manchester Regiment today is beyond praise.  I am proud to have such a battalion in my brigade, and I thank all ranks for their splendid behaviour today.  May good fortune attend them tomorrow.’  However … 16 men KIA, 43 wounded, 2 missing; 30th: moved to Berny for R & R

September 6th: moved to La Neuville.  28th: moved to Vendrelles, crossing the San Quentin canal on the 29th.  30th: moved to Magny-La-Fosse incurring 20 casualties.

October 1st: The batt attacked the enemy system (Hindenberg line) with ‘complete success’ at 4pm with 4 tanks, broke through the Beaurevoir-Fonsomme line after hand to hand fighting, capturing 210 prisoners.  There were then subjected to repeated counter attacks during the night but the 2nd Manchesters successfully maintained their position with the assistance of a company of the 15th Lancs Fusiliers (another local pals battalion).

3rd: withdrawn to Lehancourt with nearly a hundred casuaties.  5th: moved to Handcourt, later to Bohain. 30th: moved to Oise Canal for the attack there, patrolling no mans land prior to the battle.

November 4th: The battalion attacked on the left flank of the brigade meeting intense shell and machine gun fire across the canal north of Ors.  Lt Kirke paddled across the canal on a raft and engaged the enemy with a Lewis gun, (he did not survive but was awarded a posthumous VC) but a bridge was erected and 2 of his platoons crossed but were held by enemy fire and the bridge destroyed.  The remaining troops were sent to another crossing which had been secured by the 1st Dorsetshires.  They attacked the Germans at La Motte farm and achieved their objectives.  The attack continued unabated.

The war came to an end on the 11th November but the part the 2nd Battalion played came to an end on the 6th it went into billets at Sambreton where it learnt about the armistice.

The village of Ors is to the east of Cambrai between Le Cateau and Landrecies.   It was in German hands for much of the First World War but was cleared by the 6th Division on 1 November 1918.  The 2nd Manchester Battalion were part of the 17th Brigade within the Division and, as noted above, the further actions to cross the Oise Canal followed on 4 November.  More details of the action on 4 November 1918 are given below, as the 2nd Battalion included among its officers, the poet, Wilfred Owen.[5]

 

on 4th November 1918 at 5.50 a.m., Wilfred Owen and his ‘D’ Company of the 2nd Bn. Manchester Regiment, lined the bank ready to attempt a crossing of the canal and then to attack the Germans holding the opposite bank (attacking left to right on the photograph – above).  Their objective was in the region of La Motte farm.  The Manchesters’ ‘C’ Company was in position to Owen’s right hand as he faced the far bank and next to them and holding the canal bank and the village of Ors with its canal lock and broken bridge, was the 1st Bn. Dorsetshire Regiment.

… the 206th and 218th Field Companies of the Royal Engineers together with men from the Division’s Pioneer battalion, … was to construct rafts, pontoons and bridges … so that the attackers could first negotiate the wide and deep ditches beside the canal and then get across the canal itself to form a bridgehead on the far bank.

… the Manchesters and the Lancashire Fusiliers north of the [Ors] lock were taking heavy casualties and … their attempts to cross the canal there were not going to succeed.  Orders were given for both these battalions to make their way through Ors village and then to cross the canal by the floating bridge set up by the 206th Field Company R.E. just south of the lock.  By 8.30a.m. they were on the other side of the canal and in action.[6]

It was during these attacks, and the failed attempts to cross the canal north of Ors on 4 November 1918 that Private Roland Browne, aged 23, and Lieutenant Wilfred Owen M.C., aged 25, were both killed in action.

They are both buried in the Ors Communal Cemetery (above): Roland in Grave: A.11., and Wilfred in Grave: A.3.  The village Communal Cemetery is north-west of the village and over sixty WWI casualties are commemorated there.  The great majority were killed in action on 4 November 1918 and were men from the 2nd Battalion Manchester Regiment or the Lancashire Fusiliers.

There is another cemetery, the Ors British Cemetery, about a kilometre north-east of the village.  It was begun in November 1918 and the number of Highland Light Infantry and Royal Engineers graves result from their efforts to cross the canal near the cemetery on 4 November 1918 and the preparatory work on 3 November 1918.

Today there is a Wilfred Owen Centre[7] in Ors run by the Wilfred Owen France Association – sadly Roland Wilson Browne is not so well remembered.  Perhaps this project will help us to remember him, if only by this coincidental association.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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This article on Roland Browne was researched and written for the Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the RFHG, May 2015.

Thanks to Wendy Farthing at the Rugby Art Gallery and Museum for alerting the author to the illustrations from Rose Whittaker’s autograph album and giving permission for their use.

 

[1]      It was displayed at Rugby Museum in September 2014, in a temporary exhibition relating to the 1914-1918 war.

[2]      http://www.wartimememoriesproject.com/greatwar/allied/manchesterregiment2-gw.php#sthash.yNOgyZE5.dpuf.

[3]      http://www.themanchesters.org/2nd%20batt.htm.

[4]      This may have been when Roland Browne joined the Manchesters on active service.

[5]      Wilfred Owen M.C. was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Tom Owen, of “Mahim”, Monkmoor Road, Shrewsbury and a native of Oswestry.  He enlisted in The Artists’ Rifles in October 1915 and was commissioned into the Manchester Regiment in June 1916.  He had already distinguished himself in September 1918 by his courage on the Beaurevoir-Fonsommes line.  Although the CWGC states that he was in the 5th Battalion, it seems that he was in action with the 2nd Battalion.  Seven days after his death, the Armistice was signed, and on that very day Wilfred’s parents received the fateful telegram.  Owen was a poet of repute, although during his lifetime only a few of his poems appeared in print.  The Atheneum of December 1919, nominated Owen’s work Strange Meeting as the finest of the war.

[6]      http://www.wilfredowen.org.uk/virtual-tour/ors

[7]      Details at http://www.wilfredowen.fr/english/.