23rd Feb 1918. Local Elections Postponed

LOCAL ELECTIONS POSTPONED.
A HINT ON THE SAVING OF PAPER.

A memorandum issued by the Local Government Board to local authorities points out that the Parliament and Local Elections (No. 2) Act which received the Royal Assent last November, provides that the next statutory elections of county and borough councillors, district councillors, guardians, and parish councillors, which would ordinarily take place in March and April, shall be postponed, or in the case of elections already postponed under previous Acts further postponed for a year, and that accordingly the term of office of the existing councillors and guardians shall be extended by one year.

Having regard to the importance of economy in paper, it is desirable that local authorities in any notices, &c, which are issued by them should use as little paper as possible by, for instance, having the matter printed on both sides of a sheet and in as small a type as is convenient. Small envelopes should also be used whenever practicable.

THE DISPOSAL OF SURPLUS PRODUCE.—A Fruit and Vegetable Collecting Society has recently been formed in the county for assisting small growers to dispose of their surplus garden produce. In connection with this local branches or depots will be formed in various parts of the county, and it is hoped that a branch will be started for the Rugby Rural District. Each branch depot will have to employ a local manager, whose duty will be to collect, pack, market, and consign the produce, and a minimum profit of 15 per cent. will be aimed at in all transactions. The nett profits will be used first to pay dividend on the share capital of the society and a bonus will be paid to the members in proportion to the amount of business done through the society. A general manager will be appointed by the County Society to assist local branches with advice or by finding markets for produce.

THE TEMPORARY MARGARINE RATIONING SCHEME.
EXTENSION DECIDED UPON.

At a meeting of the Joint Urban and Rural Food Control Committees, on Monday, Mrs Dewar asked if the period of the temporary margarine rationing scheme would be extended ?—Mr F M Burton replied that when they fixed the period of the temporary scheme at four weeks they had hoped that by the end of that time the permanent scheme would be in operation. Unfortunately, however, this would not be the case, and he had discussed the matter with Mr Fellows, as a result of which asked for power to have a further supply of coupons printed. These would be sent round to the tradesmen, who would issue them to the people when they lodged their last coupons with them. He thought it would take a month or six weeks to get the scheme in force.—This was agreed to.

SUGAR FOR JAM.
SAVING IS NOT HOARDING.

The Director of Sugar Distribution, on behalf of the Food Controller, wishes it to be understood that sugar proved to have been saved from weekly rations will not be regarded as hoarded, and that if the purpose of this saving is for jam-making it is immaterial whether the fruit to be preserved is grown or purchased by the preserver.

COVENTRY’S TANK TOTAL.—The official return of Coventry Tank Week is £1,370,236, representing £10 10s 9d per head of the census population of 130,000. A feature of the week’s subscription is the huge issue of 15s 6d certificates through the Post Office. There were 155,907 transactions, representing £120,827. The Bank of England section of the Tank took £775,265.

HUNTING SEASON TO CLOSE EARLY.

At a largely attended meeting of the M.F.H Association, held at Tattersall’s, Knightsbridge, London, on Thursday, February 14th, it was unanimously resolved :— “ That owing to the short supply of cereals and to assist in economising the stock of provender in the country, this meeting of the Masters of Foxhounds’ Association has voluntarily agreed to stop hunting on Saturday, March 2nd, for this season.”

SUMMER TIME TO BE FIVE WEEKS LONGER.

Summer-time (putting the clock on an hour) is to begin on Sunday, March 24, a fortnight earlier than last year, and to end on September 29, three weeks later than last year.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

The parents of Rifleman Leonard Thompson, Rifle Brigade, who reside at 12 Union Street, have received official intimation that their son, who has been missing since May 3rd last, is now presumed to have been killed on that date. He was only 19 years of age, and was an old St Matthew’s boy.

Mr R E Driver, 137 Newbold Road, has received official notice from the War Office that his son, J C Driver, Air Mechanic, Royal Flying Corps, who has been missing since December 31st, is now believed drowned on the occasion of the sinking of the Osmanieh in the Eastern Mediterranean. Before joining up he was employed in the L & N-W Railway Loco Department, and was a general favourite with his shopmates. He was an old Elborow boy.

BRANDON.

PTE F BLACKMAN WINS MILITARY MEDAL.—Pte F Blackman (of the 29th Division, Essex Regiment) has been awarded the Military Medal for gallant conduct and devotion to duty in the field on the 20th-22nd November, 1917. His name and deeds have been entered in the records of the 29th Division. Pte Blackman is a son-in-law of Mr Horace Amos, of Brandon, and for several years was in the gardens at Brandon Hall. He was wounded twice and gassed once in 1917. He won his present distinction for running with messages through streets infested with snipers, and nor giving in until absolutely exhausted, and thereby greatly assisting the advance. His wife and son are still residing at Brandon.

NORTH KILWORTH.
GERMAN PRISONERS.—About 40 German prisoners arrived here on Tuesday night, and were located in commodious premises in the village secured for the purpose. They are to be utilised in ploughing and agriculture, having been specially selected. They are a small type of men, and comprise Germans, Prussians, and Bavarians. Mr H B Finch (Lutterworth) is in control of the agricultural arrangements for the breaking up of the land and supply of the horses, &c.

CHURCHOVER.
A MEMORIAL SERVICE was held at the Parish Church on Thursday evening, February 14th, for Sergt John Webb, R.B, who died in German East Africa from enteric fever. The service was conducted by the Rev L G Berrington, and there was a good congregation. Hymns 537 and 716 were sung. On Sunday evening the Rector preached a very impressive sermon, in which he referred to Sergt Webb. Mr & Mrs W Webb have received the usual telegram from the Secretary of State expressing the sympathy of his Majesty and the Queen.

IN MEMORIAM

PHILLIPS.—In loving memory of ERIC SUTHERLAND PHILLIPS, Captain, 8th Battalion Border Regiment, eldest son of Mr. & Mrs. J. A. Phillips, St. Aubyn, Hillmorton Road, who died of wounds received in action in France on February 21, 1917 ; aged 22.
“ There laid the world away ; poured out the red
Sweet wine of youth ; gave up on the years to be
Of work and joy, and that unhoped serene,
That men call age ; and those that would have been,
Their sons, they gave, their immortality.”

 

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Driver, Charles John. Died 31st Dec 1917

Charles John DRIVER, as in the military records – or John Charles DRIVER in civilian life – was born in late 1897, with his birth registered at Rugby in Q1, 1898. He was baptised as John Charles Driver, on 13 February 1898, at St. Andrew’s church, Rugby. He was the first and only child of Reuben Edward Driver [jnr.], b.c.1869 in Market Harborough, a plate layer of 811 Old Station, and Elizabeth Ann née Beers, Driver who had married on 19 April 1897 at St Andrew’s church, Rugby.

It seems that his mother must have died, when she was aged 27, in childbirth, towards the end of December 1897, as her death was registered in Q4 1897.   Indeed, because of the time allowed for registration, her death would have had to be registered within five days, but the birth did not have to be registered for 42 days – hence the birth being registered in Q1, 1898 – the following year.

It seems that John Charles’s paternal grandmother took on the task of rearing her grandson. His father Reuben Edward Driver [jnr] remarried with Georgina née Hinks, in about 1900, and in 1901 they were living elsewhere although near his parents and enumerated at 855 Old Station, together with Georgina’s widowed mother. By 1911, they had been married 11 years, and had moved to live at 811 Newbold Road, Rugby, but had had no children. He had remained a plate layer over this time, latterly at least for the L&NW Railway.

In 1901, the 3 year old John Charles Driver was enumerated with his grandparents, Reuben E. Driver [sen.] and Caroline Driver at 1002 Old Station, Rugby.   Reuben sen. was a ‘Loco Railway Labourer’. In 1911, John Charles was again at that address, with his widowed 71 year old grandmother and a younger cousin, his grandfather having died in early 1909.

John Charles followed in the family ‘tradition’ and went to work for the railway, and when war broke out, he enlisted in September 1914 and was included on … ‘The following … list of men from the Locomotive Department of the L & N-W Railway at Rugby …, J C Driver, …’.[1]

There are no Service Records to indicate where John Charles may have served, but his final posting was in the Royal Flying Corps, where he became No.92241, and promoted to be a 2nd Class Air Mechanic in the 56th Kite Balloon Section.

At the end of 1917, John Charles, and other members of his Kite Balloon Section were posted to the Middle East, and due to arrive at Alexandria.

In March 1915, the base of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force was transferred to Alexandria from Mudros and the city became a camp and hospital centre for Commonwealth and French troops. Among the medical units established there were the 17th, 19th, 21st, 78th and 87th General Hospitals and No 5 Indian Hospital. After the Gallipoli campaign of 1915, Alexandria remained an important hospital centre during later operations in Egypt and Palestine and the port was much used by hospital ships and troop transports bringing reinforcements and carrying the sick and wounded out of the theatres of war.

John Charles was travelling on the Mercantile Fleet Auxiliary HT Osmanieh when it was struck by a mine on 31 December 1917, when entering the port of Alexandria. 76 officers and men of the Commonwealth forces were lost.

The ship’s loss was not reported until February 1918,
‘… The Mercantile fleet auxiliary Osmanieh, whose loss, with a large number of lives, in the Eastern Mediterranean on 31 December was officially announced the Admiralty on Wednesday, was the vessel commanded by Lieut-com. D. R. Mason, of Tenby, who lost his life on that occasion.’ [2]

John Charles Driver’s death was also reported in a Coventry newspaper; although it is not yet established what his Coventry connection may have been.
‘Roll of Honour, Coventry and District Casualties, … Missing believed Drowned, … Driver, 92241, 2nd Class Air Mechanic J. C., Coventry, R.F.C. …’ [3]

He is remembered with fellow members of his Kite Balloon Section on the Chatby Memorial, which notes that they were ‘… Drowned at Sea [from H T Osmanieh] …’.

Chatby is a district on the eastern side of the city of Alexandria, Egypt.   The Chatby Memorial stands at the eastern end of the Alexandria (Chatby) War Memorial Cemetery and commemorates almost 1,000 Commonwealth servicemen who died during the First World War and have no other grave but the sea. Many of them were lost when hospital ships or transports were sunk in the Mediterranean, sailing to or from Alexandria. Others died of wounds or sickness while aboard such vessels and were buried at sea. More than 700 of those commemorated on the memorial died when the vessels were torpedoed or mined.

John Charles DRIVER was awarded the British War and Victory Medals, and is commemorated – as ‘C J Driver’ – on the Rugby Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road, Rugby.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM 

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This article on Charles John DRIVER 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, October 2017.

[1]       Rugby Advertiser, 5 September 1914.

[2]       Western Mail, Friday, 1 February 1918.

[3]       Coventry Evening Telegraph, Tuesday, 12 February 1918.