17 Apr 1915. Rugby Territorials Ready For Anything


T Wallace, who is with the Rugby Howitzer Battery at the front, writing to his mother, says they had a lovely passage across the Channel, and then a 24-hours’ journey by rail—after which he made up his mind never to say anything against English railways. He adds : “ We have not seen any Germans yet—only a few prisoners ; but we can hear the guns quite plain. We are in a place where the Germans have been over once and were driven out at the point of the bayonet. . . . I am looking forward to taking my clothes off to-night for the first time since Sunday, and getting some sleep. Don’t forget to send the Advertiser out. There is nothing else I want. We were well served out with clothing before leaving England. We are living in an old chapel—fairly comfortable—for the present. We don’t know how long it will be before our battery has a packet at the Germans—but I don’t think it will be long.”


Four old Murrayians attached to the machine gun section of the 1st-7th Royal Warwicks, at present “ somewhere in France,” have written to their old schoolmaster, in which they say :—“ So far we are all feeling fit and ready for anything. After leaving our training quarters in England we had a very pleasant voyage across the water, except for the fact that we were rather overcrowded in the boat. On landing we spent the first night under canvas, and left the following day for some unknown destination. We were 24 hours in the train, which unfortunately was not quite as luxurious as the old L & N-W Railway. They packed us in cattle trucks ; but still, we made it an enjoyable journey. Since leaving the train we have had various billets, such as barns and empty houses, which have plenty of ventilation, thanks to the German shells. During our short stay in one of the base towns we had plenty of trench digging, which served to keep us fit. We had our first spell in the trenches about five days ago, and spent the best part of Easter there. The Germans evidently did not forget that it was Easter, for they sent, us one or two nice eggs over in the shape of shrapnel. At present we are billeted in a town which is used for resting troops, a few miles behind the firing line. Taking it on the whole, under the present conditions we are enjoying ourselves and getting plenty of good food.”


Rifleman Dodson, of the Rifle Brigade, son of Mr Edward Dodson, of Newbold-on-Avon, who, as reported in the Advertiser last week, was killed on March 24th. Deceased, who was 22 years of age, was working at the Cement Works at the time he enlisted in September. He went to France about six weeks ago. He fell in a battle during which a friend from Cosford, who went out with him, was bayonetted and killed. He was a member of the Newbold II football team, of which he was vice-captain for two years, and he sometimes played for the first team.


Followers of Association football in Rugby and district will hear with regret that George Rice, one of the half-backs of the Rugby Town Club, has been killed in action. Pte Rice, who was a reservist in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and who, previous to being called to the colours, was employed as a polisher at the B.T.H, Coventry, was 28 years of age, and leaves a wife and three children. Rice was a popular player, and a clever half-back, and before, signing on for the Rugby Club he did good service for Lord Street Juniors and Longford, and possessed a handsome set at medals, comprising Winners ; Two “ Midland Daily Telegraph,” one Birmingham Junior, four Coventry and Warwickshire League Championship, two Bedworth Nursing Cup, two Rugby Hospital Cup. Runners up: One Coventry and Warwickshire League, two “ Midland Daily Telegraph,” two Foleshill Nursing Cup, and the Coventry Nursing Cup.


Bombardier A J Vingoe, of the Rugby Howitzer Battery, has written to his wife, residing at 10 Kimberley Road, Rugby, stating that he has been invalided to England and is now in hospital at Southend, as the result of injuries received “ somewhere in France ” on Easter Monday. Bombardier Vingoe was with the advance party of the battery, which was expecting to go into action on the following day, when he fell down some steps in a barn and fractured his arm. Previous to the war, Bombardier Vingoe, who is believed to be the first local Territorial to sustain injuries, was employed as an instrument maker at the B.T.H.


The following have been accepted at the Rugby Drill Hall during the past week :—Royal Warwick Regiment, J Varney, A Farmer, and V G Paremain ; A.S.C, E H Blinco, E Badby, J Bansfield, H S Pemberton, and C Hart. Butchers and bakers are required for the Army Service Corps, and also men for the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.


Dr WHEELER, North Street, Rugby, is serving with the Royal Army Medical Corps, and Dr Grant, of Albert Street, is serving with the Highland Light Infantry.

Harry Douglas, son of Mr and Mrs Douglas, of 87 Cambridge Street, also late of the Rugby Town Fire Brigade, has been invalided home through injuries received while serving in the Royal Field Artillery.

The 9th (Service) Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, quartered at Blackdown, Surrey, did an exceptionally good performance in the recent musketry course, coming out top of the 13th Division of Lord Kitchener’s New Army. The weather was not conducive to good shooting, and the men had to use the new service rifle, to which they were not well acquainted. In the “ A ” Company of the Battalion, who scored most points in the course, there are a good many Rugbeians.

Pte Clifford, 2nd Grenadier Guards, attached to the 1st Irish Guards, who was serving in the Rugby Police Force when be was recalled to the Colours last August, has been shot through the left hand. Pte Clifford, who has been at the front from the commencement of the war, is the third member of the Rugby Police Force who has been wounded, the others being Pte Higginson, of the 2nd life Guards, and Pte Nicholls, Gloucesters. Pte Clifford, who had resolved to enlist in the army, had only a few days to serve in the Police Force when he was called up.

G P Rathbone, youngest son of Mr W T Rathbone, Hillmorton, who enlisted in the 3rd Birmingham City Battalion in October, has received a commission as second lieutenant in the 11th North Staffordshire Regiment. He is at present undergoing a course of instruction at Leeds University previous to joining the regiment.


Mrs H Anderson, 39 Pinfold Street, has received news that her son, Pte John Elson, of the Northumberland Fusiliers, was wounded by a bullet in the arm, on April 3rd, in the field, and is at present in hospital at Guildford. Pte Elson, who is a reservist, and was employed by a local builder before the war, has himself written to his mother stating that he is progressing well. This is the second time he has been wounded in this war, the first occasion being several months ago, when he sustained a rather serious gunshot wound in the back and side.


The Chairman of the Urban District Council has received a letter from Colonel Browne, commanding the sixth recruiting area, urging that more men for the Royal Warwickshire Regiment are badly needed, and stating that if we are to carry this war through successfully and quickly every man of eligible age ought either to be under arms, making munitions of war, or serving their country in some capacity.

Colonel Browne appeals through the Chairman of the Urban District Council to the small employers of labour to release every available man, and expresses the opinion that if these employers realised the very critical position of the very existence of their business owing to the war they would co-operate in every way.

Colonel Browne acknowledges how splendidly Rugby has done, but urges that more men are still wanted.


There are now upwards of 250 members of this organisation in Rugby, and it is hoped that all the other men who are eligible will come forward and join the Corps. The duties the Corps is now asked to undertake, which were outlined in a recent issue, make it extremely urgent in the national interests that a strong and efficient force should be raised. However urgent a man’s private business is it is desirable that all should recognise that the existence of that business depends upon the safety of the country, and that they should be prepared to devote a small portion of their time in assisting to preserve this safety.


The “ C ” Squadron of the Warwickshire Yeomanry have left their war station for a foreign destination and sailed last week-end.

The Squadron, which includes the Rugby Troop, passed through Rugby Station on Thursday midnight en route for the port of embarkation.

Amongst those on board the Wayfarer, which is supposed to have been torpedoed or mined when off the Scilly Isles, and was subsequently beached at Queenstown, were at least three members of the Rugby Yeomanry Troop-Troopers Farndon, Ellis Reeve, and Biddle. Mr A H Reeve, butcher, of North Street, had a telegram from his son on Monday to say he was safe.

A Falmouth contemporary states that the Wayfarer left Avonmouth with equipment and some men on board. Interviewing one of the rescued yeomen, a correspondent states that at 2.15 on Sunday afternoon a frightful explosion was heard. Steam and smoke rose to a tremendous height, and there was big smashing of glass. The hay which was on board for the horses was blown everywhere. The men took to the boats—one of which contained nearly 50—and rowed about until they were picked up. The men had to get away from the Vessel in what they stood up in and for the rest all was lost, including in some instances a fair amount of money.

The main body of yeomen sailed on another vessel.


A report has reached Swinford that Trooper E R I Powell, son of the Rev J G Powell, vicar of Swinford, has been drowned. It is stated that the boat in which he and others were making their escape from the Wayfarer after the explosion capsized.


According to the April number of the “ L & N-W Railway Gazette,” there were 1,058 casualties reported among L & N-W Railway men with the Forces between February 19th and March 15th. The list includes the following :—Killed: H R Barwick, East Anglian Engineers (Wolverton). Died from wounds: T C Tooth, Bucks Territorials (Wolverton); C Manning, Northamptonshire Regiment (Rugby). Wounded or sick: J W Windsor, 1st Worcester Regiment (Rugby) : F White; 3rd Worcester Regiment (Northampton) ; C J Houghton, 1st Bedford Regiment (Bletchley) ; W Rawlins, Duke of Cornwall’s L.I (Northampton) ; J Taylor, Middlesex Regiment (Wolverton) ; C Rose, Royal Field Artillery (Wolverton) ; W J Cooke, Oxford and Bucks L.I (Wolverton) ; J H Busson, Army Service Corps (Rugby).



SIR,—It is gratifying to read in your last issues Mr R Dumas’ opinion that drinking habits have not interfered with the work of the B.T.H Company. I would claim for the Rugby Land Society a large share in bringing about so satisfactory a result. That society in all their conveyances have prohibited any buildings erected on their plots being used as public-houses, with the result that in all the streets they have laid out the residents are freed from the temptations that are so frequent in the central and older part of Rugby,

It is somewhat curious that in the older parts the licensed houses are to be found in groups of three, and here and there two adjoin one another.

The site of the licensed house in Oxford Street was obtained independently of the Land Society.

April 14th.            J W KENNING.


DEAR SIR,—As a shop-assistant (and grocer, too), may I write in defence of myself and assistants generally and try to show to a certain class of people who are never tired of throwing out silly sarcastic remarks, devoid of all humour, as to why we shop-assistants are not supposed to be enlisting in the numbers that we might. Let me refute that statement, for I know grocery firms in Rugby who have sent 20% and over of their employees to the colours. This means a very serious handicap to the carrying on of “ Business as usual.”

No doubt more could be spared, if certain section of the so-called “ patriotic ” public would be patriotic enough to have a little more consideration for the short-handed tradesman, who, and justly too, is obliged to keep up, if possible, a full staff to deal competently with his customers—the patriotic (?) section, who wave flags, and shout “ Enlist! enlist ! ” to the man who calls for orders ; and then telephones three and four times a day for goods to be “ sent at once ! ” or “ I shall go elsewhere ! ” Is it likely that master men are going to release their trained assistants when they are open to such competition as this ? And do these particularity patriotic persons stop to think if they are giving up themselves half so much as they are expecting these shop assistants to give up ?

How many shop-assistants are being dealt with in the same manner as are the recruits from the Works here in Rugby, who, I believe, receive a third pay (or half-pay, if married), and an open place when they return ?

This is a matter purely for the master-men I know, but it make a vast difference in the quality of our patriotism, and it eases the road to the Drill Hall. Not that I maintain that shop-assistants should be treated in the same liberal manner, but it is, just a point in my argument that should not be lost sight of when sneering at shop-assistants for not enlisting.

I and others often get sneered at by the very people who are keeping us here, who spend enough on one dinner of the week to pay a dozen of we assistants a part of our pay while fighting our battles, and their’s.

Let these people help to send us, we are ready and eager to go, ready to give up not only our positions, but, maybe, our lives. Let us go as their “ special ” soldiers, as they cannot go themselves. If this is too much for them to do, if this is too “ real ” a way for them to show their patriotism for our dear old country, then do not sneer at the shop-assistant, if he also puts self first. Give him a little more encouragement, a little more real help, and show him that you are really patriotic, then you will be surprised at the vast number of shop assistants who are willing to join the army and do their “ little bit.”— Believe me, Dear Sir, Yours faithfully,



10th Apr 1915. Local Casualties


RIFLEMAN G RANDLE, of the 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade, who belongs to Barby, has sent an interesting letter to the Rector, the Rev R S Mitchison. He writes :—“ Just a few lines to let you know we are both quite well and happy ; also to thank you for the last letter you wrote us. Since then we have had quite a long spell in the trenches. We were in from the 9th of March to the 24th. We had rather a hard time of it, but I am pleased to say we got through quite safe. Of course, you have seen in the papers we captured Neuve Chapelle. We were right in the thick of it. I had rather a narrow escape. I had three bullets through my pouches, coat and trousers, but only one caught my leg. It was only a slight wound, and in a few days it was quite well again. My brother got through quite safely. We came across Jesse Foster the other day. He is in our company, but I am sorry to say he has gone into hospital. He has sprained his ankle. Trusting this will find Mrs Mitchison, yourself and all the Barby friends quite well,—Yours sincerely, George Randle.”


General sympathy will he felt for Mr J W Congreve, builder, Churchover, and his family in the death of his son, Lance Corpl Fredk Congreve, of the 2nd Leicestershire Regiment, who was killed in action in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle on March 11th. The news was conveyed to the parents in a letter from Lance-Corpl Congreve’s chum, who also enclosed a letter which was presumably found on the body. The deceased, who was 25 years of age, and was very popular with all who know him. had served in the Army seven yearn, the last five of which were spent in India, from which country he was drafted to the Front in August last. Lance Corpl Congreve was a fine athlete and an excellent Rugby footballer, and possessed a number of medals, including the medal for the “ All-India Rugby Football Tournament of 1913,” which was won by the 2nd Leicesters. He also held a medal for the long jump (21ft 2 1/2ins). The 2nd Leicesters have seen a good deal of heavy lighting, and Lance-Corpl Congreve was in the trench with Pte Reynolds, of Rugby, when he was killed a few months ago. Once he had a very narrow escape, a shell bursting near him and killing nine of his comrades, and tearing the khaki great coat which he was wearing. A piece of this coat, which was blown away, is now treasured by his parents as a precious relic.

On March 31st Mr Congreve received official intimation from the War Office that his son was killed on March 10-13, at a place unknown.


Pte W Underwood (1st Royal Warwicks), of Long Lawford, whose death was reported in last week’s issue, was wounded in action by a shell, and while being removed was struck by another shell with fatal results.


News was received from the War Office on Wednesday last week by Mr and Mrs Adkins that their youngest son, John Adkins, of the King’s Royal Rifles, had been killed in action a Neuve Chapelle, France, on March 16th. No particulars of his death have come to hand, and the only consolation his aged father and mother have is that he died bravely fighting for his country and nobly did his duty. John Adkins, who was 20 years of age, joined Lord Kitchener s Army on September 2nd. previous to which he was employed at the Humber Works at Coventry. He went to France soon after Christmas, and even when invalided to the base hospital with cramp in the stomach he always wrote home cheery and hopeful letters. He re-joined his regiment on March 12th, and four days later met his death as stated. Among the young men of the village he was very much liked, though he was one of the quieter sort. He was a member of both the village football and cricket clubs, in the latter of which he showed considerable promise. Much sympathy is felt for Mr and Mrs Adkins. They will sadly miss the lad, who has always lived with his parents at home.


LANCE-CORPL W Smith, of this Village, who was wounded on October 21st in the leg, has been paying his friends a visit this Easter. He was looking very well, considering he has been in hospital several months. He has now returned to his regiment in the Isle of Wight. No further news has been received from his brother Joe, who is a prisoner of war. A postcard was received two months ago, but nothing has been heard of him since, except a notification from the War Office that he is a prisoner of war at Lille.


General regret will be felt among all sections of the employees of the B.T.H Company with the parents of Pte R L Douglas, of the Liverpool Scottish, who was killed in action on March 19th. The unfortunate young fellow, whose home is at Runcorn, and who previous to the mobilization last August had been employed in the Testing Department for 2 1/2 years, was shot in the head by a bullet coming sideways over the parapet of the trench, and was killed instantly. In a letter to his parents the colonel of the regiment says : ” Your son only joined the battalion on the 16th inst. with the last draft from England. A few extra men to replace casualties were required for duty in the trenches, and your son was one of those who at once volunteered for this work. the manner in which he, and indeed many more, of his comrades came forward was most commendable, and his loss is deeply felt by all his fellow-soldiers.” Previous to coming to the B.T.H he was employed by the Automatic Telephone Company, Liverpool.


We regret to learn that Rifleman W Dodson, 4th Rifle Brigade, son of Mr Edward Dodson, Newbold-on-Avon, was killed in action on March 24th. Rifleman Dodson, who was in his 22nd year, and a member of the Newbold-on-Avon II Football XV, was employed at the Cement Works at Newbold previous to joining the army in September last.


Letters received from the Warwickshire Territorials who are now at the front, indicate that they are close to the fighting, if they are not already in it. One says: “ We have moved again and are not far from the firing line. We had not been here more than half-an-hour before the Germans dropped three bombs, killing one civilian and wounding three others. I am writing this on Good Friday, and to-night we go into the trenches for 24 hours.” Another says : “ We have seen something of the damage done by the shells. The place where we are staying has been shelled all over.”

The Howitzer Battery expected to be introduced to the firing line on Monday last.


All things considered, recruiting at Rugby has been fairly good during the past week, and ten men have been attested, bringing the number who have enlisted at the Park Road Drill Hall up to about 2,250. Those attested this week were :- Royal Engineers, R C Howse and A Miller ; A.S.C, R Coles and C J Hands ; Royal Berks. A Woodley ; Army Veterinary Corps, S Davies ; Royal Warwicks, J W Higgie ; Lancashire Fusiliers, G W H Mills ; and Dorset Regiment, H Manton.