16th Feb 1918. Tank Bank at Coventry


The Coventry Tank Bank was opened on Monday by the Mayor, who was accompanied by the Mayoress, Lord and Lady Aylesford, Lord Leigh, and large a number of representatives of commercial and Labour, interests. Before the Tank arrived the local bond subscription amounted to over £1,000,000, and the new announcements after Monday’s ceremony included the contributions of Courtaulds, Ltd, £100,000 ; the Mayor, £5,000 ; Lord Aylesford, £3,000 ; Lady Aylesford, £1,000 ; and Lord Leigh, £l,000.

Corpl Hutt, the Coventry man who recently received the V.C. appeared on the Tank, and handed the cheque for the citizens’ gift of £l,000, made in recognition of his bravery, to the Tank bank.

The Tank Bank results continue to be very satisfactory. Some big investments were announced on Tuesday, and more are expected.

Employees and workpeople are showing a gratifying realisation of the need to act generously. Coventry Ordnance employees, for instance, invested £33,300.

Farmers’ Day on Tuesday realised £107,303. Thus the opening two days of the Tank Bank produced £509,303.

Wednesday was Women’s Day. The opening ceremony was gracefully performed by the Mayoress.

The Earl of Denbigh, who appeared in uniform as a Colonel of the British Army, was one of the speakers. He spoke with experience of actual warfare upon the menace which faces this country if a peace of “ shreds and patches ” is arrived at.

The figures for the week up to Thursday are :—
Monday . . . . . . . . . £402,000
Tuesday . . . . . . . . . .£107,303
Wednesday . . . . . . . £100,390
Thursday . . . . . . . .. . .£72,038

Total for the four days . . £681,731


The following committee has been formed to help supply H.M. Navy with fruit and vegetables : —Mrs Brooke, Mr Burdekin (hon treasurer), Mrs Dickinson, Mr Gough, Mr A R Taylor, Mrs Paramore, Miss K Whitelaw, and Mrs H C Bradby (hon secretary).

Admiral Beatty writes that fresh vegetables have done much to maintain the health of the Fleet.

Contributions urgently required. Fruit and vegetables may be sent to the old Council Chamber, Windmill Lane (kindly lent by the Rugby Urban District Council), every Monday, between 10 a.m and 6 p.m, beginning February 18th. If contributors are unable to send their fruit and vegetables they should send a postcard to Mr Gough, Eastlands School, Clifton Road, and he will let his boys call for them weekly. Contributions of money may be sent to Mr H P Burdekin, Dalkeith Avenue, Bilton.


During the present week all persons who think they have excessive supplies of food are requested to furnish details to the Local Food Committee. A number of enquiries have already been made at the Rugby Food Office, and in each case the persons have been advised to submit a list of their stock to the committee, several of these have been received but in no case was the quantity excessive.


Previous to Christmas it was given that it was advisable to money instead of parcels of food to soldiers at the front because it had been made possible for them to purchase goods at their canteens at cheaper rates than they could be procured at home ; and, furthermore, the risk of damage or loss was not so great, and it lessened the strain on the transport service. A letter has come to hand from a trooper in the Warwickshire yeomanry, now in Palestine, which shows that the question is affected by the circumstances and locality in which the troops are situated. He writes :—

“ We have come down for a rest, and have received a quantity of mails, letters, papers and parcels, including one of your Christmas parcels. The cake and plum pudding were A1, and we enjoyed them very much indeed ; also the mince pies. Unfortunately some these were soaked owing to the heavy rain, but enough were eatable to remind us that there were still such things. I was sorry to see a letter in the Advertiser, saying that we prefer money ; but I can tell you that nothing pleases us out here more than to receive something from home, and I think it a great shame to infer that we do not appreciate a parcel from home. If these people could see us when the mail arrives I feel sure that their opinion would alter. . Of course, there are some fortunate people who are at the bases and get good food issued, but are never certain, and are frequently on bully and biscuit. It is then that your parcels are doubly appreciated. If things are very short, then we would not mind going without, and would do without rather than take everything from home.”


The funeral, with full military honours, of Lieut F G Smith, R.F.C, took place on Wednesday at Coventry. This promising young officer, a former resident of Rugby, met with a fatal accident while flying on February 8th. Lieut Smith was educated at Rugby School, and Dr David (headmaster of Rugby) with Canon Robinson (Coventry), conducted the Funeral Service. Owing to his widespread popularity, much sympathy is felt for Mr & Mrs Henry Smith. Previous to going to Rugby School he passed by County Scholarship from St. Matthew’s to the Lower School.


Quite a gloom was cast over this village on Tuesday when the sad news was received that Sergt J Webb had died of enteric fever in German East Africa. Sergt Webb belonged to the Rifle Brigade and had seen a lot of hard fighting in France, where he went on 1915. He was badly wounded, and had to undergo several operations, as a shrapnel had to be taken from his stomach. But he made a splendid recovery, and after a rest was called upon once more for duty, this time in German East Africa, where he helped to drive the Germans into Portuguese territory. Here he was promoted to acting Sergt-Major, and was attached to the King’s African Rifles to train natives. Prior to the war he was under-gamekeeper for Mr Leo Bonn, of Newbold Revel.


SOLDIER HONOURED.—Corpl H H Seeley, Signal Section, R.E, has been awarded the Mons Ribbon in France.


THE LATE LANCE-CORPL. WM RAVEN.— Since the official report of the death of Lance-Corpl Wm F Raven, letters have come to hand from his Regimental officer and comrades. Capt A Loader Hall, the officer commanding, writes that he was his own personal runner, and was a man for whom he had the greatest admiration, and he finishes thus : “ This letter is, I am afraid, only a poor appreciation of one of the finest men I have ever had in my Company.” Lieut Burton G Scrase states that his memory “ will live for ever in the minds of all who knew him,” and adds this testimony, “ I have no hesitation in saying that he has never once failed to do his duty as a soldier.” The Chaplain (Rev G C R Cooke) says that was very highly thought of also as a religious man. He was killed instantly by a bullet through the head, so he would not have suffered and I am quite sure he was ready and prepared. L-Corpl Raven’s chum, Pte A Hutton, in returning his Bible to his friends, says he read it every night before going to rest, and used to take pride in doing so.

GEORGE WINDSOR, PRISONER OF WAR.—Good news continues to be received by his parents, Mr and Mrs H Windsor, from Pte George Windsor (R.W), who has been a prisoner of war in Germany since May 3, 1917. He is now located at Gustrow in Mecklenburg. In a recent letter he say: “ I had quite a surprise packet last week. The officer I was servant to in France was wounded and captured the same day as I was, and is in a camp in Germany a prisoner war. He has found out where I am and has sent me 100 marks, German money, to the value about £3 10s English money.”


DANCE.—On Saturday evening a very successful dance was held at the Village Hall in aid of the Red Cross Hospital, Bilton, and amongst the company was a good number of wounded soldiers, who remained till about eight o’clock. There was a large company. Mrs W H Heap and Miss Commons presided at the piano ; while Mrs Powell and Mrs Shadwell had charge of the refreshments.


SMITH.—On February 8th, Lieut. F. G. SMITH, R.F.C, killed while flying ; aged 20 years.—Deeply mourned by all.

WEBB.—On February 6th, in German East Africa, of enteric fever, JOHN HENRY, second son of Mr. & Mrs. W. Webb, of Churchover, aged 24.


CLEWLOW.—In loving memory of Pte. HARRY CLEWLOW, who died of wounds received in action on February 15, 1917.
“ He bravely answered duty’s call,
And gave his life for one and all.”

DUNN.—In loving memory Pte. JAMES DUNN, the dearly beloved husband of Clara Dunn, who died of wounds received in action on February 13, 1917 ; aged 27 years.
“ Somewhere in Belgium there is a nameless grave,
Where sleeps our loved one among the brave.
One of the rank and file, he heard the call,
And for the land he loved gave his all.”

24th Feb 1917. Parcels for Prisoners


The following are the contents of thè two recent parcels sent on behalf of the Rugby Prisoners of War Help Committee to local men in German prison camps : (1) 1lb beef, ½ lb vegetables, 1 tin rations, ½lb tin cheese, ¼lb tea, ½lb Nestle’s milk, ¾lb sugar, 1/ lb margarine, 1lb jam, 1lb biscuits, 50 cigarettes, 1 tin sardines. (2) 1 tin sausages, 1 tin herrings, 1 tin oxo cubes, 1lb biscuits, ¾lb tin cocoa, ½lb cooked ham (in tin), ½lb dripping, 1 packet oatmeal, 2oz tobacco, ½lb Nestle’s milk, ½lb sugar, pepper, salt, mustard.


Second-Lieut H N Salter, 4th Leicestershire Regiment, has been gazetted first-lieutenant, dating from October 4, 1916.

Mr E P Lennon, son of Mr J P Lennon, has joined the same regiment.

P.C Bending, who has been stationed for seven years at Rugby-the last two of which have been spent as assistant clerk at the Police Station—has this week joined the Military Police Force. Before joining the Police Force, P.C Bending was a sergeant-instructor in the 21st Lancers.

Pte Harold Hopkins, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, previously notified as missing, is now reported as killed in action on July 14, 1916. Pte Hopkins, whose home was at 99 Victoria Street, New Bilton, was an “ old boy ” of St Matthew’s School, and was only 19 years of age. He had only been at the front a short time before the Somme offensive began, and he lost his life early in the struggle.

Second Lieut James Colin MacLehose, Rifle Brigade, who fell on February 14, aged 19, was the elder son of Mr James MacLehose, publisher to the University, Glasgow. He was educated at Cargilfield Preparatory School, of which he was head, and at Rugby, where he became head of the School House. At Rugby he was keenly interested in the life of the School, and in 1916 won the Crick run, the 12 mile race across country.


Pte J Dunn, Machine Gun Corps, who, as we reported last week, had been seriously wounded-and whose leg was amputated after a transfusion of blood—died on February 13th. Mrs Dunn, his wife, who lives at 2 Round Street, Rugby, has received letter from the Sister and Chaplain at the Hospital, both of whom state that everything possible was done for the unfortunate man, who himself made ever effort to recover, but he was too weak to resist the constant severe attacks. Pte Dunn was 27 years of age, and joined the colours eight months ago. For the last five years he had been employed at Messrs Willans & Robinson’s and for several years he played for Long Lawford Football Club.

17th Feb 1917. Do not Worry too much about Submarines

Mr and Mrs C Chater, of 7 Plowman Street, Rugby, have received official notification that their son, Pte W T Chater, Royal Warwicks, has died from wounds received in action in Mesopotamia on January 23rd. He was 20 years of age, and at the time of joining up in September, 1915, was employed by Mr W Elliott, mineral water manufacturer. As a footballer, he used to play for St Matthew’s.

Mrs Satchell, 94 Park Road, Rugby, has received notice from the War Office that her son, Pte W F W Satchell, 1/6th Warwicks (Terr), was wounded on February 4th in France, and is now in the 1st Australian General Hospital, Rouen.

As showing the fine spirit of our boys at the front, a member of the R.A.C writes : “ One night we (a party of stretcher-bearers) were awaiting a convoy of wounded. It was raining terribly hard, and one of the boys suddenly started singing, ‘ Adieu, adieu, kind friends adieu,’ when a wag chimed in : ‘Call it a dew, do you ? I reckon it’s raining bally hard !’”

Much regret has been occasioned in Coventry by the news of the death in France, from bronchitis and asthma, of Lance-Corpl W J McGhie, of the Machine Gun Corps(Heavy Section). Born in Rugby and educated in Edinburgh, Mr McGhie went to Coventry 21 years ago on the editorial staff of the “ Midland Daily Telegraph,” and at the time of his enlistment in June last he was joint editor of that journal. An enthusiast in matters musical, his death is a real loss to the musical life of Coventry. He took a keen interest in Association footfall, and assisted to organise the Coventry City F.C when the club first launched out into high-class football. He went to France about three months after enlistment in the Army, and took part in the fighting during the succeeding months, being slightly wounded at Thiepval. He leaves a widow and two children. His mother was a daughter of the late Mr W I Tait, the founder of the Advertiser, and is noteworthy that the death of his cousin, Mr Roland Tait of Rugby, was recorded in the same week.


A Post Office notice states that razors are urgently needed for troops, and will be thankfully received at the Post Office. The condition of the razor is not important so long as there is a blade which can be re-ground—the Cutlers’ Company, Sheffield, having undertaken to put them in proper order.


Mrs J Dunn, 2 Round Street, Rugby, has received information that her husband, Pte J Dunn, of the Machine Gun Corps, has been admitted to a casualty hospital in France, suffering from severe wounds. In a letter to Mrs Dunne, a sister of the hospital says : “ Pte Dunn was seriously wounded in the leg, and suffered from shock and loss of blood.” She added, “ The surgeon specialist said it would be necessary to amputate the leg, but he was in such bad condition that he did not think he could live through the operation, so he tried to stimulate him instead, and to get him into better condition. He asked if someone would give their blood for him, and as usual with these brave men, several offered, and Pte T Carter, of the Royal Sussex, was chosen and his blood was transferred into your husband. After this he was able to stand the operation, and his leg was amputated.” The writer added that owing to the great amount of infection which had gone through the body Pte Dunn was still in a serious condition, but they hoped he would soon be returned back to health again.


In the French newspapers on Tuesday there appeared confident statements by Sir Douglas Haig on the prospects of the Allied offensive. There is no doubt, he says, that the German front in the West—which is, and Will remain, the principal front of operations—will be broken by the Franco-British Armies. This year will be decisive in the sense that it will see the war decided on the battlefield, an event after which Germany will appear defeated militarily. It may be that the year of decision will also be the year of peace, but if Germany cannot be entirely beaten this year we shall not hesitate to carry on the war.


Speaking at Greenwich on Saturday, Captain Hamilton Benn, M.P, read the following message from Vice-Admiral Sir Reginald Bacon :-

“ Do not worry too much about submarines. The Navy will give all the worry they want. The splendid pluck of our merchant seamen will upset the German calculations at the end of the War.”

Dunn, James. Died 13th Feb 1917

James was born in the Registration District of West Bromwich, Staffordshire, to Silas and Maria Dunn, born Ward. They married in Dudley, Staffordshire in the last quarter of 1884. James had an elder brother, Joseph born in 1886.

In the 1891 Census the family are living at 9, Tunnel Road in the Hill Top Ward of West Bromwich, Silas is a General Labourer. Silas died in June 1894 aged 30, in West Bromwich.

In the 1901 Census, Maria is a Boarder, and Charwoman, at 51, Old Meeting Street, West Bromwich, with Rose Harriet Silk as Head of the Household. Joseph, 15 is a General Labourer, James is 12, and a new brother, George is 8.

By 1911 James had moved to Rugby and was working for Willans and Robinson Engineering Works, in Leicester Road, Rugby. He played football for Long Lawford.

He married Clara Sutton in Rugby in December 1914. Clara was the daughter of Amos and Maria Sutton. Her mother was born Maria Burbury. Clara was born in Frankton, Warwickshire in 1889, and baptised at Frankton Parish Church on 13th of October, 1889. . The 1891 Census records Clara living in Frankton with her parents and 4 older siblings. In the 1901 Census, the family are living in Chapel Street, Long Lawford, Amos is a Quarryman at the Rugby Cement Works.

Clara gave birth to a son, Joseph S, his birth is recorded   in the September quarter of 1915, in Rugby.

James’ Service Records have not survived, but information shows that he joined up as a Private in The Royal Warwickshire Regiment service number 20446. The report of his death in The Rugby Advertiser in March 1917 says he signed up for the colours 6 months before his death.

He then transferred to The 196th Company of The Machine Gun Corps (Infantry). Why was this?

At the start of World War 1 each Battalion had 2 machine guns, some were old and unreliable Maxim guns. The Army brought in a programme to change to the Vickers design. And in February 1915 they increased the number to 4 per Battalion. Vickers struggled to meet not only this increase, but the ever-growing number of Territorial Battalions. They agreed to place contracts with American Companies for production under licence.

Following a review of the problems encountered at the First Battle of Ypres, a decision was made to form specialist Machine Gun Battalions. Heavy Machine guns and their crews, four per gun were transferred to the new specialist Battalions, Infantry, Cavalry and Motor. A Vickers Gun could fire 500 rounds per minute, which is the equivalent of 40 trained Riflemen. Concentrating the fire over wide range was copying the technique which had been so devastating to the British Army in the early battles.

To train the Battalion gunners to be part of a much larger Corps of Machine Gunners, a training camp was set up in northern France at Wisques, near to the port of Dunkirk. (In the Second World War a V2 rocket launch platform was sited close to Wisques.)

A team of four were allocated to each gun. It took two men to carry each gun, the gun barrel weighed 28.5 lbs, the water cooled jacket 10lbs and the tripod 20lbs.

A total of 170,500 officers and Men served in the Machine Gun Corps, during the war. 62,049 were killed or wounded. There is a Memorial to the Corps in Hyde Park, London.

The 196th Machine Gun Corps joined the 55th Division on 22nd December 1916.. The Division had relieved the 29th Division in October 1916. For the first half of 1917 the front near Ypres was officially considered to be relatively quiet, if being surrounded on three sides by the enemy can be considered relatively quiet!

In early February 1917 James was wounded and transferred to a French Hospital west of Ypres. He had suffered severe wounds in the leg and was suffering from shock and loss of blood. The surgeon was initially inclined to amputate the leg, but was concerned that the shock of an operation might kill James. He asked for volunteers to donate blood to help James to recover strength. Private T Carter of The Royal Sussex Regiment donated blood. James recovered sufficiently to stand up, but his body had become infected and without modern drugs he died on the 13th of February 1917.

He was buried in The Liyssenthoek Military Cemetery, which is 12 kilometres west of Ypres between Ypres and Poperinge. It is situated between the Allied military base camps and the town of Ypres. The Cemetery has 9,801 graves of men killed in World War 1.

James’ widow, named as Mrs J Dunn was awarded 1s 1d as the value of James’ effects in 1920. She also received his Victory and British War Medals, these were actioned on 25th February 1920.

James’ son, Joseph S Dunn died aged 8 in 1923.



20th Nov 1915. Recruiting at Rugby



So far the results of the recruiting canvass locally have been very disappointing. Only 25 men have enlisted for immediate Service, and of these the percentage from Rugby town is very small.

The number attested under Lord Derby’s group scheme so far is about 300. but of these more than two-thirds are employed at the B.T.H and have only been accepted under the Reserve B scheme, and if these, and a number from Willans and Robinson’s and the Railway Companies are subtracted, the actual total will not be an imposing one.

From the classes which Lord Derby’s scheme was intended to bring in, the response has been most feeble, and unless them is a decided improvement within the next few days, it will have to be confessed that, locally, at least, the scheme has been a failure. If this is so, no blame will attach to those who have the working of the scheme in hand, for from the beginning their labours have been indefatigable. During the past few days a number of ladies have rendered good service in filling up the attestation forms of grouped men. Those who have enlisted during the past week for immediate service are :

C Rhoades, 117 Oxford St, Rugby.
A Smith, 1 St Michael St, Lincoln.

S Collins, Swinberby, Lincoln.

A Marshall, 7 Decon St, Leicester.

G W Coleman, Husbands Bosworth.

F G Shillitoe, 139 Clifton Rd, Rugby.

G W Hook. South Kilworth.
E Brown, Gas Street, Rugby.

A G Dunkley, Watford, Rugby.
H H Curtlin, Thurlaston.
H G King, 34 Campbell St, New Bilton.

A T Hopkins. 223 Hinckley Rd, Leicester.
W E Orton, 243 Coton Rd, Nuneaton.

T Mann. Marton.
P Gibbins, Willougby.

W Arnett, 4 York St, Rugby.
J Thompson. Haddington, Scotland.
A Guiden, 22 Sandown Rd, Rugby.

J Webb, The Green, Long Lawford.
R Edkins, 3 Tank Cottages, Rugby.
O Cleaver, School Street, Hillmorton.

A Coleman, Milcombe, Banbury.
A Hitchman. Milrow Cottages, Bloxly, Worcester.

H Kirby, Ashby St Ledgers.

During the past week upwards of 200 employees of the B.T.H Company have enlisted under the Reserve system applying to munition workers. Many of these are married men, but owing to the ambiguous attitude of the Government-as shown in the House of Commons on Tuesday night—upon the question of single men first, it is doubtful if the appeal to married men will meet with the success which was at first predicted when the situation appeared to be more clear.


Just now many young men are worrying themselves as to which group under Lord Derby’s scheme they should enrol themselves, and whether they will when called up, get into a branch of the service that will be congenial to them.

The 7th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, in which the old E Company of Rugby is embodied, is now in need of recruits, at least 500 being required to bring its respective units up to full strength, and many will perhaps be disposed to think that the local force has first claim upon them.

Enlistment in the Territorial regiments assures a man of having companions with the same associations, the same interests, and the same sentiments.

The terms of enlistment are the same as in any other branch of the forces-three years or the period of the war. There is no undertaking to continue a member of the Territorial force after the war is over.

A recruiting office for the battalion has been instituted at the Benn Buildings, Rugby.

The following local men have recently joined : W F P Colledge, 48 Church St ; H F Flower, 18 Vicarage Hill, Clifton ; W Hickingbotham, 33 Cambridge St ; E Slack, 55 Manor Rd ; E R Ford, 51 Grosvenor Rd ; E H Ford, 51 Grosvenor Road ; A N Dunkley, Newton ; M W Bolton, and H Berry.


The many friends of Mr E R Stebbing will be pleased to hear he received the following letter on the 11th Inst.:

Warwick, 10th Nov., 1915.

SIR,—I am directed to inform you that his Majesty the King has approved of the grant of an Annuity of £10 from the 20th September, 1915, inclusive, together with a Silver Medal to you as a reward for your long and highly meritorious service.

(Signed) J H W SOUTHEY, Major, Staff Captain No 7 District.

The family has a good record of service of over 100 years, and also the following medals : 1 for Distinguished Conduct in the Field ; 3 for Meritorious Service ; 3 for Long Service and Good Conduct ; and 5 War Medals, with 19 Clasps for South Africa.


In Sir Ian Hamilton’s despatch from the Dardanelles, published on Nov 6th, Second Corp Edward L Damant, of the Royal Naval Division, was honourably mentioned. Corp Damant came from South Africa to obtain experience in electrical engineering at the B.T.H in July, 1914. and joined the Royal Naval Division in October 1914. He took part in the naval engagement at the Dardanelles, and took part in the main landing at the Galipoli Peninsula in April.



In a recent issue we mentioned that Sec-Lieut R J Dunn, youngest son of Mr W Dunn, of the Manor House, Kings Newnham, has been missing since September 25th. No further news came to hand till this week, when Mr Dunn received the following copy of a letter which had been written to the officer commanding the Royal Warwickshire Regiment :-

Maryport, Cumberland.
The O.C. Royal War. R.

DEAR SIR,—A wristlet watch has been sent to me by a friend who is now serving with the Cameron Highlanders in France, and who bayoneted a German officer and removed the watch from his wrist, to find that the real owner was an Englishman. The watch hears the name R. J. Dunn, 12th R.W.R., and my friend desires, to enquire about the gentleman’s family. Can you offer any information as to where the family, reside, or the gentleman himself ? I shall be glad of a reply.

The required information was sent to the writer of the letter, and Mr Dunn has received the watch.

Lieut Dunn, who had been in the O.T.C. at Birmingham University three years, joined the Warwickshire Yeomanry at the commencement of the war, and received his commission in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment (12th Battalion) soon afterwards. On July 9th he was attached to the Royal Engineers for special service, and went out on July 12th.


One of the effects of the shortage of labour, in consequence of the war, will no doubt be an increased use of machinery. Apparatus for milking cows, driven by oil engine, is gaining in favour, and is being introduced into a number of dairies in the Rugby district.

GRAMAPHONES GONE ASTRAY.-Will the correspondent who sent a letter from “ The boys of old E Company ” for publication please communicate with the Editor. Name and address was not given in accordance with our rule.

Two members of the clerical staff of the Locomotive Department at Rugby have joined the colours and left this week. Edgar H Ford has enlisted in the 7th Warwicks, and Edgar Jones has joined the King’s Liverpool “ Pals.” Their places have been taken by female clerks, these being the first women employed in the Locomotive Department at Rugby.

In our last issue we reported that Pte Percy Woodhams, of Cambridge Street, Rugby, had been reported missing. The name should have been Woodhouse, and we may also mention that he has two brothers also serving in the forces—one, Arthur, in the Rugby Howitzer Battery, and the other—Alfred—in the Worcester Howitzer Battery.


A Rugbeian, who is serving with the Rugby Howitzer Battery, “ somewhere in France,” has recently written to his father giving an amusing account of an early morning parade at the front.
“ Hi! Hello ! D’yer ’ear me ? Six o’clock ? You lazy devils !” This is the first thing that disturbs you in the morning—the voice of the “ awakener,” if you are lucky enough not to be on night duty ! You give a half-turn, not a whole one—this is only developed after a lot of practice—or you would find yourself on the ground. The bunks are not too broad. A spot of water gently drops cold upon your neck ! This is the first warning you receive that it has been a wet night. . . .
Then you sit up and look at one another, to see which will be the first out to light the fire. I’m very good at the “ looking ” part.
“ Come on, —- It’s about tune you jumped out and lit the fire for me once in your life. We’ve only ten minutes to roll.”
I jump out, catch hold of an old Rugby Advertiser, ram it in the stove, put on some sticks, and light it with one hand, while I struggle with boots and putties with the other, in the first glimmer, of the dawning day.
A shrill blast of a whistle informs us that we now have only five minutes to roll call. Then there’s a rush through mud and over trenches to out hidden place of parade. . . Two more blasts of the whittle. Then our gallant Sergt-Major yells, “ Fall in.” This disturbs the mist, and one can see if one has got both boots still on. Oh! that early morning parade !
It reminds me of some picture I have seen. I think it was called, “ All that was left of them,” or something like that. We look as if we have just come out of a stiff engagement, instead of from a “ good night’s rest.” I am sure some of the men can grow an inch of beard in a night ! It must be the moist air or the rum issue.
“ Battery, ‘shun ! No 1, call the roll !” This is the second order of the morning. Then our noble No 1 catches hold of his moustache with his thumb and first finger—it wouldn’t stand more so early in the morning—and giving a gentle twist so as not to break it, starts calling over the roll.
Perhaps during; this part of the proceedings the Germans will gently drop a shell into the village. Then there is a rush. “ Left section ! Stand to ! Fire No 3 gun.” Another German shell drops into the village ! “ Fire No 4 gun !”
This is a little game we are playing now. Every time the Germans shell our village, we shell theirs. “ Shell for shell,” or, I should say, “ Two for every one of theirs,” for we endeavour to be as generous as possible in the way of shells. In fact, I think if the Major has his way, the Germans would hardly have a village left for us to shell. It reminds one of two old women arguing, both wanting the last word. And it is only since there has been such an increase in munition manufacture that we have been able to beat them at the game.”