13th Feb 1915. Plum Puddings and Football


Learning that troops billeted in the town had had no Christmas fare, the portion of the Fellowship Relief Committee managing the Soldiers’ Club at the Friends’ Meeting House decided to hold a “ plum pudding night ” on Saturday, at which a free distribution of plum pudding, mince pie, &c, should be made amongst all soldiers who cared to attend. For the occasion a marquee was hired and erected on the grass at the back of the Meeting House. This was illuminated be electricity and suitably furnished. Forty plum puddings, several of which had been reserved for birthdays, were given by friends interested in the scheme, in addition to hundreds of mince pies, celery, &c. Tea and coffee were dispensed ; a well-wisher from a distance sent a box of fine cigars ; the committee provided cigarettes ; and as something like 200 soldiers attended, and everything passed off well, the event was voted a great success. The Meeting House was too crowded for games after the spread, and so an impromptu concert was arranged by Mr John Gibson, the energetic and affable secretary. The Misses Mochrie, Miss Ward, Sergt Pools, Mr W Crooks, and Mr H W Edmundson rendered songs, and there was a little Christmas music. An amusing item was a recitation by Mr T Wilson. The President of the Club made a speech on ” The two kinds of religion in the world “ the false and the true .” Cheers were given for the soldiers, for the President, and for the committee, who had worked so hard to make the night such an unqualified success. As all the provisions sent in were not consumed. It was decided to have an “ aftermath spread.”



As was expected, the meeting of the Irish and English Regiments stationed in the town to decide the destination of the Rugby Hospital Cup, on Saturday, produced a strenuously fought match on the Eastlands ground on Saturday, when, despite the wretched weather, there was a crowd of between 2,000 and 3,000 people, including a good mustering of men in khaki. From beginning to end the match, which resulted in the victory by 3 – 0 of the Irishmen, was remarkably, well fought out, and, although the treacherous state of the ground made accurate play difficult, both teams proved themselves masters of the game. As is usual when soldiers’ teams are opposed to one another, there was a good deal of vigorous play, but fouls were of very infrequent occurrence, and were much less common, in fact, than is often the case when two civilian teams meet. The English Regimental Band had arranged to play selections during the afternoon, but owing to the unpropitious weather this treat had to be foregone.

Mr T Arrowsmith carried the whistle, and the teams were :-English Regiment : Sully ; Redhead and Prosser ; Harker, Cowley, and Brown ; McMullen, Fitton, Chapple, Sheerer, and Riley. Irish Regiment : Leaming ; McGie and Skinner ; Sinclair, Ward, and Beswick ; Rice, Thacker, Collings, Bishop, and Lough.

At the commencement the English team, playing with rare dash and enthusiasm, did most of the pressing, and on several occasions they came very near to scoring, but Leaming was a safe goalie, and dealt with some difficult shots in a convincing manner. After about a quartet of an hour’s play the scene was transferred to the other end, where, after several ineffectual efforts, the Irishmen went ahead, Ward, their skipper, beating Sully with a peculiarly placed shot. The lads from the Emerald Isle returned to the attack and for a while gave the English defence a very anxious time. The defenders put up a stiff fight, however ; Prosser distinguishing himself again and again by his lightning returns. Sully also figured prominently in goal, and once, rushing out, saved a fine shot at the expense of a fruitless corner. Once or twice the Englishmen broke away, but they only threatened the Irish goal for very brief intervals, owing to the inability of their forwards to press home the attack and the excellent tactics of the Irish defenders. Just before half-time the indefatigable efforts of the Irishmen met with success, and Beswick beat Sully with a beautifully placed shot, at a terrific speed, which gave him no chance whatever, and the interval arrived with the Englishmen two goals down. The rain, which had cleared off for a while during the first half, again commenced in the second stage, and added considerably to the difficulties which each team was experiencing, and to a certain extent robbed the game of much of its interest. As in the first half, the Englishmen began the attack, and forced a corner. The ball dropped dead in the mouth of goal, and it looked for a second as though the lead would be reduced, when one of the defenders relieved with a mighty drive. Lemming was tested on several occasions, but proved safe at each time of asking. At the other end the Irishmen missed a fine chance of scoring, Thacket shooting over the bar with only the goalie to beat. A few minutes afterwards Sully cleared splendidly for the same player, and Collings hit the crowbar, and from the rebound sent by. The Irishmen continued to have the best of the play, and Thacker put the result beyond doubt with a good shot. This was the extent of the scoring, and the Irishmen will hold the cup for the coming year.


Immediately after the match the cup was presented to Ward, of the Irish Regiment, by the Officer commanding one of the regiments. In doing so, the gallant Colonel expressed the opinion that the cup had been richly deserved by the Irish team (applause}. Both teams had played a most sporting game under very exceptional circumstances, and it spoke well for the excellence of the football on both aides that the crowd had stopped, in such wretched weather, till the end. He remarked that each of the 22 men would receive a medal, which, if they wanted anything to remind them of Rugby, would do to. But the kindness they had received at Rugby was such that they could never forget. They would often look at those medals on even muddier, and, perhaps, bloodier, fields, and they would then think of their friends in Rugby (applause). He thanked the committee who had made those games possible.

Cheers were then given for the two teams, the gallant Colonel, and the residents of Rugby, and the hearty manner in which the military section gave the last-named, was proof of their appreciation of Rugby’s treatment of them.

We are informed that the meeting of the two soldiers’ teams on Wednesday, February 3rd, and again on Saturday, February 6th, was the direct outcome of the energies of the Rugby Hospital Cup Committee. The Hospital Cup is run by an independent committee, and the suggestion to invite the Town Club as well as teams from the soldiers billeted in Rugby was made by one of the members of this committee. The arrangements for the short, but very successful competition, were entirely carried out by Messrs Gordon, Pett, Pratt, Arrowsmith, Dunkley, Rogers, and Nightingale (acting hon secretary).


News has been received that Rifleman William Sheppard, of the King’s Royal Rifles, son of Mr T Sheppard, of 26 Corbett Street, has been seriously wounded at the front, presumably by shrapnel. Rifleman Sheppard, who went to the front with the Expeditionary Force from India in November, is in a military hospital at Boulogne, his injuries consisting of a shattered thigh.

Shoeingsmith A Wood, R.F.A, of Rugby has written to a friend at Bicester, stating that he has recovered from his wounds received in December, and returned to the fighting line.

Driver Jack Bonnick, A.S.C, of Wellesbourne, near Warwick, whose wife is staying at Bicester, Oxfordshire, was officially reported killed on Sunday morning. The War Office communication, which contained the usual sympathetic message from their Majesties, stated that his death took place on December 2nd. A similar communication (sent to a later address) was received on Tuesday. Evidently a mistake has been made, as Mrs Bonnick has received letters almost every week from her husband before and since December 2nd. By the same post that she received the first intimation of his death she also received a letter from him, enclosing a French money order. Enquires are being made. He has a brother, Mr George Bonnick, residing at Rugby.


Pte A H Nickolls, of the Gloucester Regiment, who previous to the war was a police constable at Rugby, paid a visit to the town last week. Pte Nickolls, who went to the front at the commencement of hostilities, has seen fighting at Mons, the Aisne, Ypres, and la Basse, and was wounded at the last named place in the abdomen and foot in December. He is now making good progress towards recovery.


Another old St Matthew’s boy, Pte Arthur W Kendall, son of Mr W Kendall, of 40 Rowland Street, has been wounded at the front. In a brief but cheerful letter home he states that he was wounded by shrapnel in the right thigh on February 2nd, and spent the whole of his 21st birthday, February 3rd, in a Red Cross train. He does not believe his injuries to be severe. Pte Kendall, who has been in the 3rd Coldstream Guards for two years, has been at the front from the commencement of the war. This is his second spell in hospital, the first occasion being the result of an accident.


A military court martial was held at Rugby Police Court yesterday (Friday), the prisoner, Lance-Corpl Edward Wharton, of one of the departmental corps stationed at Rugby, being charged under section 15 of the Army Act with being absent without leave while on active service, at Rugby, on the 6th to 8th February.

Mr Harold Eaden, solicitor, Rugby, appeared for the defendant.

There were three other cases end the proceedings had not terminated at the time of going to press.


About eighteen men have enlisted at Rugby this week. They are :-Army Service Corps : E W Elkins, W A Farndon, J Freeman, and J Daniels. R.F.A : A C Gilks, R W Payne, E J Read, and H A Dyson. R.A.M.O : J Clarke and W T Wilson. Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry : H T Morby and W Usher. Royal Engineers : D S S Foxley and W P Cleaver. King’s Royal Rifles : B L Paxton, Coldstream Guards : E J Gill and F Harris. R.W.R : W Warland (enlisted in 4th South Midland Howitzer Reserve Brigade since January 18th), J Turner, P Durrant, F Dale, G Walley, C Dashwood, R E Ingram, W Dale, A E Smith, A G Towill, C Rule, E W D Walton, C W Knight, A E Payne, and W J Allen.