6th Jul 1918. Rugby Yeomen on Torpedoed Transport

RUGBY YEOMEN ON TORPEDOED TRANSPORT
There were six Rugby men—Lance-Corpl Cyril White, Troopers Ellis Reeve, Baker, Labraham, Cox, and Carew (R.T.H.), all of the Warwickshire Yeomanry on board the transport, Leasowe Castle, when she was torpedoed in the Mediterranean on May 27th. Lance-Corpl Cyril White, who is the son of Mr & Mrs Albert White, 155 Clifton Road, has this week returned home on leave, after an absence of three years and three months, having passed through many adventures, some very pleasant and others the reverse.
“ It was very early on Sunday morning—the Warwicks’ unlucky day,” he informed a representative of the Advertiser, “ that we were torpedoed. The sea was beautifully calm at the time, and the moon was shining brightly overhead. ‘ In the old days,’ he remarked, humorously, ‘ we often said, “ ‘What a glorious moon,’” “ but I can tell you we cursed it pretty well that morning after the ship was struck. At the time I was lying on the boat deck asleep. The force of the explosion threw me completely out of my bed, and the sudden rush of water swept my life-belt, equipment, &c, overboard. I was in charge of number 6 boat group, and after the explosion I got my crew together, and we managed to get three boats down. The spirit of the men was admirable, and as they were struggling in the water many of them sang, ‘ Swim, Sam, Swim,’ and other popular songs. While the men were being disembarked from the doomed vessel a Japanese destroyer circled round, throwing out a dense smoke screen, and at the moment when the bow of the vessel finally sank beneath the waves, dragging in her wake many brave fellows, the smoke obliterated the light of the moon, and the effect was most uncanny, the deathly stillness being broken only by the last despairing cries of some of the doomed men. The last I saw of our good old Colonel Col Cheape,” continued Corpl White, “ was just before the ship sank, when he was standing on the bridge talking to the Captain as calmly as if on parade. Sergt Viccars, whose wife lives in Wood Street, was unfortunately drowned. Together with another sergeant, he was attempting to carry an injured man to the side of the ship, when the vessel lurched forward, and he was swept away. The injured man and the sergeant were saved, but nothing more was seen or heard of Sergt Viccars, a very gallant N.C.O.—Corpl White added that the rescued men were taken on board a Japanese destroyer and very hospitably entertained. After a rest in Alexandria they embarked for Italy, and travelled overland to France, everywhere being most enthusiastically welcomed. While at Genoa Station he met a Rugby member of the Royal Warwicks, Mr J A Panther, of Little Church Street, who informed him that all the Rugby men in the R.W.R in Italy were quite well.”

FATAL AEROPLANE ACCIDENT.
PILOT’S MIRACULOUS ESCAPE.

The story of a pilot’s miraculous escape from death was told at an inquest held on Monday to enquire into the death of Air Mechanic Richard Smith, R.A.F (23), son of Mrs Smith, 67 Sturgeon Street, Rishton, Lancs, which took place following an accident on Sunday morning last.

The pilot, Lieut John Joseph McDonald, stated that on the previous morning he decided to make a flight in a scout machine, and as the air mechanic in charge said it was working all right he took off straight away. The engine sounded in good condition in all the cylinders. Air Mechanic Smith asked witness to take him up, but he replied that he was not accustomed to taking passengers. Finally, however, he decided to take him. He started to fly towards the west, and when he was about 50 yards up the engine began to splutter. He tried to adjust matters, but as the engine did not pick up he pulled the throttle right off, and started to turn to the left. The machine began to nose dive ; and witness, seeing that a smash was inevitable, stood up in the seat behind Air Mechanic Smith, and caught hold of him with the intention of keeping him from falling forward on to the petrol tank. When the machine struck the ground witness was thrown clear of the machine, and the passenger was thrown against the petrol tank. Had the machine been 500ft up he would have been able to plane down all right, but there was insufficient depth at the time that he attempted to turn.

Second Air Mechanic James McCarron deposed that he examined the engine of the aeroplane before the flight, and it was then working satisfactorily. The aeroplane went up all right, but after she had been in the air a couple of minutes she began to choke and misfire owing to too much petrol passing into the engine. The pilot tried to turn as if he was returning to the Aerodrome, and the machine then crashed to earth.

Lieut Edward James Allman, R.A.F, corroborated this, and said when the pilot had half-turned the aeroplane the engine spluttered out as if it was choked. The aeroplane then spun round and nose dived to ground.

Surgeon-Major Chester Collins deposed that when he was called to the scene of the accident deceased was sitting in the wrecked aeroplane. He was quite unconscious, and while they were extricating him he had a severe haemorrhage. He was suffering from a fracture of the front of the skull, his right eye was completely destroyed, and his brain injured. He also received other injuries. The cause of death was haemorrhage. Had it not been for this he might have lived for some time, in which case in all probability meningitis would have set in, as it had in other cases investigated locally where the injuries were similar. Death took place an hour and a-half after the accident. Had the pilot been able to hold deceased back as he tried to he would not have received the injuries to the front of his skull. Witness understood that Smith was up for a “ joy ride ” when the accident occurred.

Verdict : “ Accidental death.”

ACCIDENTS IN THE AIR FORCE.—Major Baird (secretary to the Air Ministry), replying to Mr Outhwaite in the House of Commons on Thursday last week, said it was not in the public interest to state how many officers and men of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Air Force had been killed by accident in this country during the past six months. There was no justification whatever for alarm on the ground that there was an undue number of accidents.

THE FATAL ACCIDENT AT RUGBY STATION.

The inquest on the young Australian cadet, Walter Reginald Pick, aged 22, whose dead body (as we reported in our last issue) was found lying on the line at Rugby Station on Friday, June 28th, was conducted by Mr E F Hadow on Monday.

Lieut William Richard Bishop, Australian Flying Corps, deposed that deceased was a cadet in the 6th Officers’ Cadet Battalion, and was stationed at Oxford. He was preparing to take up a commission, and he left Australia in November, 1915.

Fred Percy Clare, 23 Essex Street, carriage shunter, employed by the L & N-W Railway Company, deposed that at about 3.20 a.m. on June 28th, he saw an object which he at first thought was a brown paper parcel, lying across the rails on the up line, but on a closer examination he found it was deceased, lying face downwards, with his head in the 4-foot way. The Preston train had shortly before gone over the rails, and the body could not have been lying there long, or it would have been seen, because a number of people crossed the rails at that spot. He informed the signalman of the discovery, and the train from Carlisle, which was then due, was stopped. With the help of the assistant stationmaster the body was removed. There was no sign of any struggle having taken place. A telephone message was sent through to London, and deceased’s stick and coat were found in a carriage in the Preston train at Euston.

Albert George Whiting, assistant stationmaster, deposed that the platform at Rugby was on the reverse side to that at most stations. After the discovery of the body he sent a message along the line, asking that the train should be searched. The first-class compartments were searched without success at Willesden, and deceased’s possessions were found in a 3rd-class carriage at Euston. No door was found open, and had there been any passengers in the carriage they could have left the train at Willesden. Deceased was travelling in a Caledonian coach, the doors of which shut automatically. There was no means of detecting whether such doors were shut deliberately, or whether they shut through the movement of the train. There was nothing to suggest that deceased fell out of the train ; but from the evidence witness was of opinion that he got out deliberately, and when the train moved off he tried to jump in again, and fell on to the line.

Ernest Wm Lines, 87 Abbey Street, carriage examiner, deposed that he examined the Preston train when it was in Rugby Station, and everything was then in order. No doors were open, and he saw no one outside. From the position of the body, he concluded that three vehicles passed over it.

The Coroner described the accident as a mystery, and said, in his opinion, the theory of Mr Whiting was borne out by the external evidence. It was for the jury to say how the accident occurred, for that it was an accident he thought they were all agreed.

A verdict of “ Accidental death ” was returned, the jury adding that there was no evidence to show how he got on to the line.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Lance-Corpl C O Meates, Gloucester Regiment, of Rugby, has been awarded the Military Medal.

Pte J E Hensman, R.W.R, of Rugby, is reported missing.

Pte A Moore, Leicestershire Regiment, Lutterworth, has been wounded.

Lieut T W Walding, Machine Gun Battalion, son of Mrs Walding, of “ The Limes,” who was recently reported missing, has written stating that he is a prisoner of war in Germany.

Lance-Corpl Cox, of the Military Police, who before joining the Army was stationed at Dunchurch, has been awarded the Military Medal.

Mr J A Phillips, of St Aubyn, Hillmorton Road, has received a letter, dated June 1st, from his son, Second-Lieut K Me N Phillips, 3rd Northumberland Fusiliers, attached 1/5 Durham Light Infantry, who was posted as missing on May 27th, stating that he is safe and well, but is a prisoner of war at Limburg, Nassau. He was in the 50th Division at Craonne.

Capt Rudolph Elwes (Coldstream Guards), second son of Mr Gervase and Lady Winefride Elwes, has been awarded the Military Cross. He was recently taken prisoner after taking part in the glorious 48 hours’ stand made by the Coldstreams from April 12th to the 14th. His company was eventually surrounded and cut off. Mr Gervase Elwes has sufficiently recovered from his recent operation to be able to return to Billing Hall.

We have received a letter from Corpl F Joyce, R.F.A, of Bilton, enclosing a copy of the “ Balkan News ” for June 15th, which contains the announcement that : “ An Old Rugbeian dinner will be held at the Officers’ Rest House, Salonica, on July 2nd. Hon Sec, Lieut W F Hawkins.” In his letter Corpl Joyce says he has been a constant reader of the Rugby Advertiser many years, and he always looks forward to it, as it keeps one “ in touch with things going on in the good old town of Rugby.”

Mr & Mrs H Colston, 82 York Street, Rugby, have been notified that their elder son. Pte Ernest H Colston, Royal Berkshire Regiment, was killed in action on June 19th. Pte Colston, who was only just 19 years of age, had been in France since last December. He was an “ old boy ” of St Matthew’s School, where he was very popular, and was head boy when he left to enter the L & N-W Railway offices at Coventry. He was a member of the St Matthew’s XV, which won the Schoolsa’ Union Shield in 1913. He had been in St Matthews’s Church Choir for eight years. In a letter of sympathy to his parents his officer speaks of him as a young soldier of the highest promise.

Mr & Mrs Alfred Eyden, “ Denaby,” St Matthew’s Parade, Northampton, have been advised that their younger son, Lieut Maurice V Eyden, 2nd Northants Regiment, reported missing on May 27th, is a prisoner of war in Germany and quite well. His only brother (Royal Engineers) was killed in France on May 19, 1918.

Mrs Ingram, 61 Victoria Avenue, New Bilton, has received a letter from the Captain of the Company to which her son Leonard, who died from wounds on May 29th, belonged. The writer says : “ He was wounded on the 29th by a machine gun bullet in the right side under the ribs. . . Your son was a splendid fellow, the ‘ life and soul ‘ of my Company, and was always so cheerful and full of good humour under the most trying circumstances. He was a very gallant soldier, and in the heavy fighting we had here for the first three days—April 12, 13 & 14—he did most excellent work for me by taking urgent messages to the Battalion Commander, running through an absolute hell to deliver them. This he volunteered to do when I had lost my Company runners. His were deeds of gallantry I shall never forget.”

IN ENEMY HANDS.—Subscriptions to the Rugby Prisoners of War Fund during the past week have shown a marked improvement, £120 being received from all sources. The knowledge that in the absence of local support the men would become a charge on the funds of the British Red Cross Society has, no doubt, stimulated interest. To continue to provide in full for the Rugby and district men in enemy hands £400 per month has now to be raised for this branch of Red Cross work. Fortunately no additional names have been reported to the Rugby Prisoners of War Help Committee this week. There are now 130 Rugby and district men prisoners of war in Germany.

WAR BONDS.—During the week ended June 29th, Rugby contributed £1,030 to National War Bonds. The weekly quota for the town is £10,870.

ON THURSDAY (Independence Day) the Stars and Stripes were flown from several buildings in the town.

INFLUENZA is now very prevalent in the town, several hundred cases having occurred.

DUNCHURCH.
MRS H WEBB, Coventry Road, has received news from the War Office that her husband, Pte H Webb, of the Warwicks, is missing.—Pte P Grant, Mill Street, has been wounded in the leg, and is at St John’s Hospital, Barby Road, Rugby.

MRS W RICHARDSON, The Banks, has received news that her second son, Sergt L Richardson, of the K.R.R, has been killed. This is the second son Mrs W Richardson has lost. Sergt Richardson was a member of the Dunchurch Brass Band, and one of the best performers. He was very much respected in the village, where the news of his death has caused deep regret

LEAMINGTON HASTINGS.
MISSING.—Mr F Isham has received official news that his son, Pte David Isham, of the Royal Devons, has been reported missing in France since May 26th. He has been previously reported missing, but proved to be away from his unit.

LONG ITCHINGTON.
GASSED.—Sergt C T Tiff, Royal Shropshire Light Infantry, is in a base hospital suffering from gas poisoning.

STRETTON-ON-DUNSMORE.
WOUNDED.—Information has been received by Mrs Fell that her husband, Corpl E T Fell, of the Machine Gun Corps, has been wounded severely by a shell in the thigh. He is now progressing favourably in hospital in Italy. It is just twelve months ago since Corpl Fell had a narrow escape and received very bad shell shock in France.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR.
SCHOOLBOY LABOUR ON THE LAND.

To the Editor of the Advertiser.
DEAR SIR,—A considerable number of boys of 14 and 15 are anxious to help on farms during the holidays. They are too young for the ordinary camps, but capable of doing very useful work locally. If local farmers will let me know of their requirements I shall be pleased to pick out suitable boys. Only one reply was made to my former letter, and there, I understand, the boys did valuable work.—Yours faithfully,
Lower School. Rugby,
S R HART.

IN MEMORIAM.

ASTILL.—In loving memory of Pte. HERBERT ASTILL, who died from wounds received in action on June 29, 1915. “Gone, but not forgotten.”—From his sorrowing Mother.

BLAND.—In loving memory of our dear son, Pte. C. BLAND, killed in action on July 1, 1916.
“ God takes our loved ones from our homes.
But never from our hearts.”
—From his loving Mother and Father, Brothers and Sisters.

COLLINS.—In loving memory of our dear son, Pte. H. E. COLLINS, who was killed in action in France on July 3, 1916.
“ Days of sadness still come o’er us,
Tears in silence often flow.
Thinking of the day we lost him :
Just two years ago.
Too far away thy grave to see.
But not too far to think of thee.”
—Never forgotten by his loving Father, Mother, Sisters & Brother, of 45 New Street, New Bilton.

COOPER.—9178 Sergt, JOHN COOPER, Yorks & Lancs. Regt., killed in action in France on July 1, 1916.
“ Sleep on, dear brother, in a far-off grave,
A grave we may never see ;
But as long as life and memory lasts
We will remember thee.”
—From Mother, Sister and Brother.

EADON.—In ever-loving memory of Pte. GEORGE EADON, of the 1st Royal Warwickshire Regiment, who was killed in action in France on July 1, 1916.
“ Some where abroad our dear one sleeps,
A hero laid to rest.”
—Never forgotten by his loving Father, Mother, Sisters and Brother.

SEENEY.—In loving memory of Signaller BILLY SEENEY, killed in action on July 2, 1916 ; aged 18.
“ Sleep on, dear one, in your foreign grave :
A grave we may never see ;
But as long as life and memory lasts
We shall remember thee.”
—Sadly missed by his Mother, Sisters and Brother.

WATSON.—In loving memory of Pte. ARTHUR JAMES (JIM), dearly beloved son of Thomas and the late Harriett Watson, 51 Pinfold Street, New Bilton, who was killed in action on July 2, 1916.
“ He bravely answered duty’s call ;
He gave his life for one and all.”
—From his Father, Brothers and Sisters.

WHITE.—In loving memory of ALBERT JAMES, dearly beloved husband of Ethel Maud White, and eldest son of Mr. & Mrs. James White, of 70 Murray Road, who gave his life for his country on June 30, 1917.

29th Jun 1918. Rugby Aeroplane Week

RUGBY Aeroplane Week begins next MONDAY

 IF, during the week beginning next Monday, the subscriptions from Rugby for National War Bonds and War Savings Certificates reach the total of £50,000, the authorities will give to an Aeroplane the name of our town.

 Think of our civic pride if we read in an Official despatch that

 the Aeroplane “ RUGBY ”

 has carried the war into German territory and harried the lines of communication of the foe—perhaps that it has saved Rugby men from the deadly attack of the Hun, enabling them to return unharmed to their wives and children.

 Do your duty during Rugby Aeroplane Week

 Have your Money ready for Monday—ready to buy National War Bonds and War Savings Certificates— ready to help in making Rugby Aeroplane Week a triumphant, a record success.

 Get your Pass Book. See how much money you have in the Bank. Draw the cheque and have it ready to give Rugby’s effort a flying start on Monday morning.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

The Order of the British Empire has been conferred upon Lieut-Col R Godfrey Aston, Royal Engineers, grandson of Mrs Aston, of St Matthew’s Vicarage.

Mr G H Simpson, assistant Master at Rugby School, and son of the late Dr Simpson, of Rugby, has been gazetted to a commission in the Grenadier Guards.

Second Lieut B V Bickmore, R.W.R., son of the late Mr A E Bickmore, of 25 Leicester Street, Leamington, is seconded for duty under the Forestry Directorate. He was mentioned in Sir Douglas Haig’s despatch of April 7th.

The following military appointment is announced: Territorial Force, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, Lieut C W Iliffe to be Captain. Captain Ilife is the son of Dr C W Ilife, Coroner for North Warwickshire, and an alderman of Coventry City Council.

The Hon Mrs A V Baillie has been awarded the “ Medaille de la Reine Elizabeth ” by the King of Belgium in recognition of the kind help and valuable assistance she has personally given to the Belgian refugees and Belgian soldiers during the War.

Pte W White, 4th South Staffs, only son of Mr R White, 214 Lawford Road, New Bilton, has been wounded. He is 19 years of age, and has been in France four months.

Pte J W Purdy, Dorset Regiment, son of Mr J W Purdy, Craven Road, who was wounded in the thigh on June 11th, formerly worked for the L & N-W Railway Company as parcel porter.

Among those on whom the Military Cross has been recently conferred are the following :—Second-Lieut, C G Darby, R.H.A, who for over a week displayed the greatest determination and capability in keeping the guns supplied with ammunition, though on several occasions he had to bring up his teams through a heavy barrage. He has at all times displayed the greatest coolness under fire. (Lieut Darby is the son of Mr John Darby, of Hillmorton.)—Lieut the Hon J H P Verney, Lancers (son and heir of Lord Willoughby de Broke), who, though heavily shelled and attacked from several directions and in imminent danger of being cut off, held a position against greatly superior numbers, and covered the withdrawal of other troops. He showed splendid coolness and determination.

The names of the following Rugby men have appeared in the recent casualty lists :—Killed : Corpl of Horse W H Waspe, Guards M.C.R. Trooper J Campbell. Wounded and missing : Pte C H Edmonds, Oxon and Bucks L.L. Missing : Lance-Sergt W Usher, Gloucester Regiment.

AUSTRALIAN CADET KILLED AT RUGBY STATION.

After the Preston to London express had left Rugby yesterday (Friday) morning at 2.40 the body of an Australian cadet was found on the line, with evidence of the wheels of the train having passed over him. The deceased had evidently travelled by the train, which had a stop of ten minutes at Rugby, for he was travelling from Llandudno to London. From the position of the body, he had got out on the opposite side of the train to the platform, and probably in endeavouring to re-enter the carriage he fell under the wheels. He had no hat or tunic on. From papers on him it was ascertained that his name was Pick. He joined up at the commencement of the war as a private, rising to the rank of sergeant, and had passed all his examinations for a commission.

DUNCHURCH.
ANOTHER son of Mr J Cleaver, postman, The Heath, Dunchurch, has joined up. All his three sons are now in the Army.

FATAL ACCIDENT TO A RUGBY FLYING OFFICER

Second-Lieut Douglas Lavington Little, R.A.F, eldest son of Mr & Mrs W G little, of 30 Vicarage Road, was unfortunately killed while flying near South Kilworth on Friday afternoon last week. From the evidence given at the inquest on Monday it appeared that Second-Lieut Little and three other officers were flying in two machines from one aerodrome to another one in the Eastern Counties, and lost their bearings.

When near South Kilworth two of the officers descended to ascertain their whereabouts, Lieut Little and another pilot meanwhile circling round. Suddenly, for some reason which could not be explained at the inquest, Lieut Little’s machine commenced to spin, and being too low down for the pilot to right it, it crashed to earth. Death was instantaneous. A verdict of “ Accidental death ” was returned.

Second-Lieut Little, who was 19 years of age, was educated at Rugby School. He entered the Royal Flying Corps as a cadet in September, 1917, and received his commission in February last.

The funeral took place with military honours in Rugby Cemetery on Thursday afternoon in the presence of a large number of sympathisers. The coffin, which was covered with the Union Jack, was conveyed on a gun carriage, drawn by six black horses, and was preceded by a firing party from the Rugby School O.T.C, under Capt C P Evers. A detachment from the Volunteer Corps, under Lieut C C Wharton, followed behind the mourners’ coaches. Six of deceased’s brother officers acted as bearers. The first part of the service was conducted by the Rev D E Shorto and the Rev C T Aston in the School Chapel. A large number of choice floral tributes were sent by : The family ; friends ; members of the Town House ; B.T.H Accountant Department ; brother officers, Staff, No. 1 T.D.S, R.A.F ; his Commanding Officer ; late colleagues in the B.T.H. Electrical Laboratory ; and shopmates at the B.T.H.

RUGBY PRISONERS OF WAR COMMITTEE.

The monthly meeting of this Committee was held at Benn Buildings on Monday evening, Mr Wm Flint, C.C, presiding. There were also present : Mrs Blagden, Mrs Lees, Mrs Anderson, Mrs Wilson, Mr A E Donkin, J. P, Mr J H Mellor, Mr G W Walton, Mr F Pepper, and the Hon Organising Secretary, Mr J Reginald Barker.

Mr Barker reported that during the past month the receipts from all sources amounted to £125 17s 6d, whilst the expenditure on food parcels was £264 16s 9d. The expenditure, large as it was, was not quite so heavy as he had anticipated, owing to a number of the new prisoners of war not becoming a charge upon the Committee until about the middle at the month. They would have to provide at least £350 for the July parcels, and by August it would cost £400 per month to feed the present number of prisoners, owing to the rise in the price at commodities and materials. There were now 128 local men in the care of the Rugby Committee, an increase of 35 men during the month, but unfortunately parcels could not be sent to several of these men as their addresses had not been definitely established.

Referring to the financial support, Mr Barker said the amount compared very favourably with the average in the past, but that, today, was quite inadequate, as they now had twice the number of prisoners to maintain, and greater support must be given to the fund in future. He said it could not be too fully known that the work of the Committee was in itself Red Cross work, and he hoped this would be borne in mind by everybody, so that the undertaking could be carried through successfully, not only for the credit of the town and district, but to prevent any of the men becoming a charge on the funds of the Red Cross Society. The abundant proofs received of the value of the food parcels emphasised over and over again the absolute necessity that they be regularly despatched to keep the men in physical and mental health, so that they would eventually return home fit to take their places as responsible members of the community.

The question at securing added and continued support to the fund was discussed at considerable length.

Mr Mellor argued that whilst fetes, dances, and concerts brought welcome addition to the funds, it must not be forgotten that to raise such a huge sum as £400 a month from their district was a very serious undertaking, and he felt it could only be done by people promising regular weekly or monthly contributions according to their means. He hoped some scheme could be devised whereby a canvass of the town could be made, to see what promises of regular support would be forthcoming.

Mr Barker said this was already being done in a number of the villages, and he had hopes that most of the districts would be able to raise sufficient money to provide for their own village men. He referred to the excellent support being given by Messrs Greaves, Bull, and Lakin, at Harbury, who were providing for four men ; the employees at Messrs Bluemel Bros, of Wolston, who were also providing for four of their men ; and the excellent support that was being given by the employees at the L & N.-W Railway in maintaining five of their former workmates. He should like to see similar enthusiasm from other sources, which would go far to relieving the strain on the fund. One or two of the people had undertaken to pay the full cost of their relatives’ food parcels, and others had promised varying amounts, but unfortunately there were many cases where the Committee could not expect any financial support.

Mr Pepper said there was some doubt as to the genuineness of certain persons collecting for the funds and in reply Mr Barker said that every collecting box issued bore the authorised label of the Committee and the name and address of the collector. The collecting cards were also specially printed and numbered, and had the name and address of the authorised collector. Any person collecting without the special box or card was unauthorised, and he would be glad to have particulars of any such cases that came to the knowledge of the members of the Committee or the public.

ROAD TRANSPORT BOARD.

A preliminary meeting of the Warwickshire County Area Road Transport Committee, which has recently been inaugurated by the Board of Trade, was held at the office of the area secretary, Mr S L Wansbrough, 33 Earl Street, Coventry, when duly appointed members from various parts of the county were in attendance. The committee’s operations practically cover the whole of the County of Warwickshire, excluding Birmingham.

Briefly, the main objects of this committee is to secure the strictest economy in the use of petrol and horse fodder. In order to effect this object all petrol-driven vehicles and all horse-driven good-carrying conveyances (carrying capacity over 15cwt) will be compulsorily registered and permits issued for their use. Very wide powers under the Defence of the Realm Act are vested in the Road Transport Board, and any breach of regulations issued by them will entail heavy penalties.

The Road Transport Board is anxious to avoid, wherever possible, putting their powers into force, but will not hesitate to do so in case of necessity. The Warwickshire County Area Road Transport Committee, therefore, invite traders to establish such co-ordination and co-operation in transport as will, if not entirely banish the considerable amount of overlapping and running empty which unfortunately now prevails, at least reduce it to the minimum possible. The powers of the Board will be used to enforce, it necessary, any scheme of co-operation for the economy of transport which has already been voluntarily adopted by the majority of members of any one trader or group of traders.

When it is thoroughly understood that this is a highly important war measure, aiming at a decreased consumption of petrol and the avoidance of the unnecessary use of fodder by reducing the number of horses on the road, there will, doubtless, be a ready desire by all traders to come into line and assist the committee and their secretary in every way possible.

Under the auspices of local tribunals various schemes are now being brought into existence with the object of preserving the businesses of those traders who have been, or may be, called to the Colours, and, inasmuch as delivery is often an essential part at such businesses, the Warwickshire County Area Committee will co-operate with all tribunals now engaged on similar work in order that traders may be spared from overlapping of authorities and that tribunals and the committee may join in exercising their powers for the general good.

THE “ RUGBY ADVERTISER.”

Readers of the Rugby Advertiser should place a regular order for the paper with their newsagent if they have not already done so, as newsagents will not now have supplies for chance customers. If any difficulty is experienced in obtaining the paper, kindly communicate with the Manager, Advertiser Office, Rugby.

DEATHS.

COLSTON.—In loving memory of Pte. ERNEST H. COLSTON, of the 5th Royal Berks Regiment, the very dearly beloved elder son of Mr. & Mrs. H. Colston. 82 York Street ; killed in action in France on June 20th, 1918 ; aged 19 years.
“ Greater love hath no man than this :
That a man lay down his life for his friends.”

LITTLE.—In loving memory of DOUGLAS LAVINGTON LITTLE, Second-Lieut., R.A.F., killed in a flying accident on June 21, 1918 ; eldest son of William Gibson and Laura Lavington Little ; aged 19 years.

IN MEMORIAM.

BIRD.—In loving memory of our dear son and brother, Pte. BERT BIRD, 1/4 Lincolns, who died of wounds received in action in France on July 1, 1917.
“ We pictured his safe returning,
And longed to clasp his hand ;
But death hath postponed our meeting,
‘Twill be in a better land.”
—From loving Mother, Brother, Sisters and three Brothers in France (Leicester).

CHATER.—In affectionate remembrance of Rifleman W. H. CHATER, 12th Rifle Brigade, killed in action at Ypres on June 30, 1916.—“ To memory ever dear.” —From Ada.

CHATER.—In ever-loving memory of our beloved and only child, Rifleman W. H. CHATER, 12th Rifle Brigade of Dunchurch, who was killed in action at Ypres on June 30, 1916.—“ To-day brings back our grief anew.””—Never forgotten by Father and Mother.

GREER.—In loving memory of Private R. GREER, 1st Royal Inniskillings, who was killed in action at the Dardanelles, on June 18th, 1915. Never forgotten by his friends at 12 Argyle Street. “ To live in hearts , we leave behind is not to die.”

 

Colston, Ernest Henry. Died 20th Jun 1918

Ernest Henry COLSTON’s birth was registered in Q3, 1899 in RugbyHe was baptised on 9 August 1899 at St. Matthew’s church, Rugby.  He was the eldest son of Henry Colston, who was born in about 1867 in Rugby, and Emily Flora, née Wheeler, Colston, who was born in Yelvertoft in about 1874.  When Ernest was baptised, his father was working as a ‘builder’s machinist’.

In 1901, his father was still a ‘machinist (woodworker)’, and the family were living at 30 Stephen Street, Rugby.  Ernest had now ‘arrived’ and was one year old.  In 1911, when Ernest was 11, his parents had been married for 12 years, and were still living in Stephen Street, but now at number 27, which may have been a renumbering by the Post Office, rather than a change of home.  Ernest now had a younger brother, Dennis William Colston, who was born on 10 September 1903, and was now seven.  Their father was still in the same type of job and was a ‘wood work machinist’ for an ‘electrical engineer’.

Ernest had attended ‘… St Matthew’s School, where he was very popular, and was head boy when he left to enter the L & N-W Railway offices at Coventry.  He was a member of the St Matthew’s XV, which won the Schools’ Union Shield in 1913.  He had been in St Matthews’s Church Choir for eight years.[1]

Unfortunately no Service Records have survived for Ernest, but it seems that he joined up in Rugby, initially as Private, No: 40386, in the Somerset Light Infantry.  He later served as a Private, No: 48555, latterly in ‘A’ Company, 5th Battalion, Princess Charlotte of Wales’s (Royal Berkshire) Regiment, more usually known as the Royal Berkshire Regiment.

The 5th (Service) Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment was formed as part of the First New Army (K1) in Reading on 25 August 1914 and joined the 35th Brigade of the 12th Division and then moved to Shorncliffe.  In January 1915 the Battalion moved to Folkestone and then, on 1 March 1915, to Malplaquet Barracks at Aldershot.  On 31 May 1915 they mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and then engaged in various actions on the Western Front including: During …

1915: the Battle of Loos.

1916: the Battle of Albert; the Battle of Pozieres; and the Battle of Le Transloy.

1917: the First Battle of the Scarpe; the Battle of Arleux; the Third Battle of the Scarpe; and the Cambrai operations.

1918: on 6 February 1918, they transferred to the 36th Brigade,[2] but were still in the 12th Division and continued to fight on the Western Front in the Battle of Bapaume; the First Battle of Arras; the Battle of Amiens; the Battle of Albert; the Battle of Epehy; and then took part in the Final Advance in Artois.

There is no date when Ernest went to France, but it would probably be some time after he joined up and he was unlikely to have been sufficiently trained – or indeed old enough to serve overseas – until sometime in 1917.

Whilst it was fairly quiet at the start of 1918, Ernest would have continued to be involved in the routine of trench warfare, and the front was comparatively quiet prior to 21 March.

However, an attack by the Germans had been anticipated and on 21 March 1918, they launched a major offensive, Operation Michael, against the British Fifth Army and the right wing of the British Third Army.  The German artillery targeted command and communications; then, the destruction of artillery; and then the front-line infantry.  The artillery bombardment began at 4.40am on 21 March 1918, and hit targets over an area of 150 square miles, the biggest barrage of the entire war.  Over 1,100,000 shells were fired in five hours.

The Battalion War Diary until January 1918 is filed under the 35th Brigade,[3] and then from February onwards it is filed under 36th Brigade.[4]  A summary of the Battalion’s movements and actions during Ernest’s last few months is given below.

In late December 1917 the Battalion was training in the Merville area, and on 21 January 1918 relieved the 7th Bn. Royal Sussex Regiment and then on 29 January they were relieved by the 7th Norfolks, and soon after transferred to the 36th Brigade.

In February they were variously at Rouge de Bout and Fleurbaix, where the trenches were ‘very quiet’.  On about 10 March they were relieved and were at Nouveau Mond and Rely from 22 to 25 March.  Then on 24 March they marched to Burbure and went into billets in Warloy.  On 24 March they marched overnight carrying Lewis guns and ammunition and on 26 March they were constructing defences east and south of Martinsaut.  On 27 March an attack was in progress – Germans were seen advancing and rapid fire was opened – several Germans were seen to drop.  There were later a number of casualties.  The enemy was now at Aveluy.  On 28 March an attack was repulsed and the Battalion was relieved on 30 March by the 23rd London Regiment.

On 1 April the Battalion was working at Worloy under the Royal Engineers at night.  Then from 2 to 7 April they relieved the 7th Border Regiment in front of Albert.  During the earlier period they sustained 12 officer and 243 Other Rank (OR) casualties – killed, wounded or missing.  8 April was a ‘quiet day’.  Then on 9/10 April they relieved the 9th Essex in the Corps Line and on 11 April were relieved by the 15th Welsh and went back to billets in Worloy – marching via Contay to Mirvaux – and were accommodated under canvas for training.

On 23 April they returned to the front line in the Beaumont Hamel sector until the end of the month when a strong enemy attack was repulsed.

In May they were in the front line until 13 May, then went to Acheux and provided working parties and practised for a raid.  This took place on 24 May and resulted in 4 officers wounded, 12 ORs killed, 2 died of wounds, 73 wounded, and 19 missing.  21 prisoners and six machine guns were taken.  On 25 May they proceeded by bus to Beauquesne – and further training.

In early June the Battalion was training and in reserve.  On 16 June they were again at Beauquesne, and had a Church Parade, and prepared for the line.  On 17 June the Battalion started to march to the front line at 9.30a.m.  They were east of Harponville until 10p.m. when they marched to take over Front Line System Left Sector in Bouzencourt Section.   ‘A’ and ‘B’ Companies were in the Front Line.  ‘All line in bad shape and very muddy and wet.  Trenches badly undercut.’

On 19 June a ‘Chinese Bombardment’[5] on the left led to ‘… heavy retaliation on our trenches … we suffered casualties’.  On that day 1 OR was killed and 7 wounded, and then on 20 June 5 ORs were killed and 7 wounded.

On 20 June, still in the Bouzincourt Sector, work continued on trenches and many trench shelters began.  It seems that ‘A’ Company had still been in the front line as on 21 June ‘Work continued. … ‘A’ and ‘B’ Companies relieved by ‘C’ and ‘D’ Compaanies in front line.’

Ernest Henry Colston was killed in action on 20 June 1918, presumably in a continuation of the ‘retaliation on our trenches’ noted above.  He was 19, and killed with several other members of his Battalion who are now buried besides him.

He was buried in the Bouzincourt Communal Cemetery Extension in grave reference: IV. B. 12.   

Bouzincourt is a village 3 kilometres north-west of Albert on the road to Doullens (D938).  The Communal Cemetery is on the northern side of the village.  It is some five kms. south-west of the Theipval Memorial.

Bouzincourt was used as a field ambulance station from 1916 to February 1917.  It was in German hands for a few days in the spring of 1918.  Bouzincourt Communal Cemetery was used for burials in 1916 and again from April to June 1918.  The adjoining Cemetery Extension was begun in May 1916 and used until February 1917.  The extension was reopened from the end of March 1918 until the following September and used largely by the 38th (Welsh) Division.

Later, when a permanent gravestone replaced the temporary cross, probably in the 1920s, it included his family’s message, “Greater Love hath no man that he gave his Life for his Friends”. 

His Medal Card showed that he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.  He is also remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gate

A notice of his death was published in the Rugby Advertiser.

Mr & Mrs H Colston, 82 York Street, Rugby, have been notified that their elder son. Pte Ernest H Colston, Royal Berkshire Regiment, was killed in action on June 19th.  Pte Colston, who was only just 19 years of age, had been in France since last December. He was an “old boy” of St Matthew’s School, where he was very popular, and was head boy when he left to enter the L & N-W Railway offices at Coventry. He was a member of the St Matthew’s XV, which won the Schoolsa’ Union Shield in 1913. He had been in St Matthews’s Church Choir for eight years. In a letter of sympathy to his parents his officer speaks of him as a young soldier of the highest promise.[6]

His mother, as his sole legatee, received his monies owing of £3-17-1d on 21 October 1918, and his War Gratuity of £3 on 5 December 1919.  His parents lived latterly at 82 York Street, Rugby.  His father died in 1940 and his mother in 1947.

 

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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This article on Ernest Henry COLSTON was researched and written for a Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the RFHG, February  2018.

[1]      Rugby Advertiser, 6 July 1918.

[2]      This does mean the Battalion War Diary has to be found in two separate files under the two Brigades.

[3]      UK, WWI War Diaries (France, Belgium and Germany), 1914-1920, Various Infantry Brigades, 12th Division, TNA ref: Piece 1850: 35 Infantry Brigade (1915 – 1919).

[4]      UK, WWI War Diaries (France, Belgium and Germany), 1914-1920, Various Infantry Brigades, 12th Division, TNA ref: Piece 1856: 36 Infantry Brigade (1915 – 1919).

[5]      A ‘Chinese Attack’ was the term given to a faked attack upon enemy trenches.  A preliminary artillery bombardment would be carried out.  This normally meant that an infantry assault was probable once the bombardment lifted.  However in a ‘Chinese Attack’ no infantry attack followed the lifting of the bombardment; and after allowing time for enemy to return to their trenches, the bombardment would recommence, the intention being to catch large numbers of men while they were in the open.  Chinese Attacks were also used to test reactions to a more seriously intended raid.  Ref: http://www.firstworldwar.com/atoz/chineseattack.htm.

[6]      Rugby Advertiser, 6 July 1918.