7th Mar 1919. Wounded Men on Camels


An interesting letter has been received from Lieut. Edward B. Bloxam, of the 1st Cape Corps, written from Cairo, on October 1st last. It gives an excellent idea of the conditions of service in the Palestine fighting. Lieut. Bloxam is a son of Mr. Roby Bloxam, of Christchurch, New Zealand, a nephew of Miss Bloxam, Bilton Road, Rugby, and a great nephew of the late Mr. M. H. Bloxam, the well-known antiquarian. He writes :—I presume you received an official cablegram notifying you that I had been wounded. My right tibia is fractured, and the two wounds where the bullet went in and out are small and clean. The doctor says that I shall be in bed for eight or ten weeks, and that it will be four months before I rejoin my unit. I got pipped in the big advance which you will have heard about. It started on the 18th, and I was hit on the morning of the 20th. Up till then we had had no heavy fighting. On the night of the 18th two Companies took and held a hill called Square Hill. That was the original objective of one Company, D. A and B Companies had already taken their positions and consolidated. My Company, C, had to go through D Company and take and hold three knolls 600 yards beyond and north of Square Hill. We had only three platoons, and were given a knoll each to take. My platoon consisted of 9 men. The others were laying wire, and the Lewis gun team nine men. As it was daylight before we took Square Hill, and C Company were required to help consolidate our original objective was abandoned. This was fortunate, as it took two battalions to take the three knolls the next day. On the night of the 19th I took my platoon out and brought in a Turkish gun which we had fired upon during the day. On the morning of the 20th, whilst acting as right flank guard to two Companies I had to charge across a flat valley 600 yards. Not many of my men got across, as we were exposed to both frontal and enfilade fire, and there was no cover. The enemy fire was very heavy, but I managed to get within about 50 yards of the other side when I got hit in the leg. That was about 6 a.m., and we did not finally get the objective till five in the afternoon, as Johnny counter-attacked, and the hills had to be retaken. I had to play possum the whole day, as if I moved at all half a dozen snipers had a pot at me. About sundown the stretcher bearers came out, and they were kept busy for some time. From the Regimental dressing station we were sent on camels, two patients per camel, one on either side, in specially made baskets, about two miles to a brigade station. Here we were dressed again and immediately moved off again in a two-wheeled ambulance, about four miles. There we slept the night, and next morning were put in a four-wheeled ambulance. In this we travelled eight hours. It was an awful trip over very rough roads, and we were very thankful to get to our destination, Mary’s Cross. There we were dressed again and sent by motor ambulance to Ram Allah. Next morning we moved on by motor ambulance to Jerusalem, A day was spent there, and then we were put in a Red Cross train. The final night we stopped at Gaza, the second at Kantara, on the Suez Canal. We then came on here, arriving on September 25th. My wound was all right then, but they have since had to operate on it and remove a piece of dead bone. This is a very good Hospital, and the winter season here has just started, so the weather is good. There are six officers of the Cape Corps in various Hospitals here, but I am the only one in this Hospital. Out of 13 who went into action, six were killed and six wounded.  I have just received copies of congratulations. General Allenby wires to the Mayor of Cape Town that the Cape Corps fought with the utmost bravery, and rendered splendid service. Brigadier-General Pearson, of the 53rd Division, writing to the C.O., says :—“ I desire to thank you and your very gallant regiment for all you have done since joining my Brigade. It is no idle remark to say that the whole army was astounded at the splendid performance you put up during the recent operations.” The Brigadier-General, Royal Artillery, 53rd Division, writing to Brig.-General Pearson says that it gives the gunners the greatest satisfaction to be able to support such magnificent infantry. The gallantry displayed by the Cape Corps Battalion was of the highest order and beyond praise.


Claud H. Hammond, a Private in the Northumberland Fusiliers, was charged with unlawfully wearing the ribbon of the military medal.—Pleaded guilty.

Detective Mighall deposed that he visited a house in Oxford Street. He went to the front and P.S. Hawkes to the back. When witness knocked at the door, prisoner, without waiting to see who it was, bolted out of the back door, and was stopped by P.S. Hawkes. He was wearing a brooch with the ribbon of the Military Medal and the Mons Ribbon. He also had three wound stripes. Prisoner admitted to him that he had no right to wear the Military Medal ribbon, but he said he was entitled to the Mons ribbon.

Addressing the Bench. prisoner said : “ I have been very foolish. I only had it on two days. I had no intention of doing any harm. It was simply ‘ a bit of swank.’ ”

Superintendent Clarke said prisoner had been sentenced to six months’ imprisonment for illegally wearing an officer’s uniform, six months for false pretences, and he had also been convicted for giving false information. He was not entitled to the Mons Star, and he had only been wounded once. It was pointed out that the military authorities looked upon this as a serious offence, and they were anxious to put a stop to it, for the sake of the men entitled to wear such decorations.

The Chairman (addressing Hammond) : You are one of those scoundrels who try to make out that you have done your best for your country, and that you have been in the very thick of the hardest fighting of all at Mons, and then you come here and say you were swaggering. You are one of the worst types of scoundrel, and we send you to gaol for six months, with hard labour.


On Sunday, 23rd ult., the Volunteer Company paraded at the Headquarters, Howitzer Battery Drill Hall, to be photographed prior to disbandment, and the members of No. 1 Platoon seized the opportunity to present Lieut. Yates, the Platoon Commander, with a silver Queen Anne coffee set. The presentation was made by Platoon-Sergt. Weobley, who, on behalf of the N.C.O.’s and men, and two former N.C.O.’s (Lieut. S. Brown and Lieut. Pywell), referred to the respect and goodwill all felt towards Lieut. Yates. When he was appointed to the Command of the Platoon on April 1st, 1917, the remark was made “ We are lucky to get such an officer,” and time had proved the truth of this, for they had always found him an efficient officer, a thorough sportsman, and a gentleman. They all wished him good health, and hoped he would live many year, to enjoy the use of their present.—In reply, Lieut. Yates thanked the members for the forbearance they had extended to him, and the cheerful and willing way in which they had tackled the work set them. He could not wish to be associated with jollier and more zealous comrades than those he had the honour to know in No. 1 Platoon.

A presentation was also made to 2nd Lieut. C. C. Wharton by Sergt. S. O. Watson, on behalf of the N.C.O’s and men of No. 2 Platoon, as a small token of their appreciation of the immense amount of work he had put in on behalf of “ B ” Company and No. 2 Platoon in particular. They hoped he would accept it as a symbol of their association during the most exacting period of the world’s history. Second Lieut. Wharton, in returning thanks, referred to the loyally and discipline which the platoon had always shown. He had joined them in the early days as a private without any idea of being promoted to such a position. When he was selected for promotion it meant going over the heads of others who no doubt were eligible and equally qualified ; but it was a source of much personal gratification that there had been no resentment, but, on the other hand, nothing but loyal co-operation. He had learnt much during their association together, as he was sure they had all done, of the beneficial results of all working and pulling together with a good will and for a common object, and he hoped they would not forget the great lesson they had learned.

Platoon Sergt E. R. Briggs, acting commander of No. 3 Platoon, was also presented with a pipe and pigskin tobacco pouch by Sergt. Gauntley, on behalf of the members of the platoon.


At the close of the parade, Colonel Johnstone, addressing Capt. Fuller, the officers, N.C.O’s and men, said although of late he had been prevented by rheumatism from seeing as much of their work as he would have liked, he had always been interested to learn of their progress.

Captain Fuller had handled the Company with military knowledge, firmness, and tact, by the exercise of which he had done a very great deal to bring the Company to that state of excellence which caused Inspecting Officers to speak so well of them. He also wished to thank those officers and N.C.O’s who had by their readiness to take courses of instruction contributed greatly to the efficiency of the Company.

Referring to the commencement of the Volunteer Force, he said he regretted that in those days his duties as Recruiting Officer prevented him giving more of his time, but he complimented them on the sense of duty and loyalty which had caused them to stick to their work in spite of earlier lack of official recognition and encouragement. The Rugby Company had, by discipline and readiness to learn, made themselves the smartest Company in the Battalion. The times of stress which had led to the formation of the Volunteer Force were now over, but he hoped that, should the necessity for such a force again arise, every one of them would once more come forward to do his duty.

SOLDIER’S WELCOME HOME.—A hearty and successful welcome home to those who have returned from the army has been held to the schools. The welcome, which was organised by the War Memorial Committee, consisted of an elaborate spread of roast pork, ham, tongue, pork pies, and sweets of every variety. A packet of cigarettes was presented to each man by Mrs. T Meredith, and thanks are also due to the Northampton and Leamington Brewery Companies for their gifts of beer. After supper a smoking concert was held, Mr. L. Lister Kaye being in the chair. The usual toasts were drunk and songs were given by soldiers and others. Mr Leeson, of Coventry, presided at the piano, and added much to the pleasure of the company by his humorous items. It is hoped to repeat this welcome at some future date when the remainder of the men have returned. Towards defraying the cost of this entertainment the sum of £10 12s., being the proceeds of two dances recently held for this purpose, was handed to the committee by the ladies who organised the dances.


THE INFLUENZA.—During the past week 16 deaths from influenza and pneumonia have been reported in Rugby against 20 in the preceding week.

THE Mercantile Marine Service Association are making an appeal to which it is to be hoped the public of Rugby will readily respond. It is to help the men and dependents of the men who made victory possible—the heroes, the obscure heroes of the Mercantile Marine An advertisement elsewhere in this edition goes into details of the appeal, which we heartily commend to our readers.

The first meeting of the Rugby War Memorial Committee was held on Thursday evening, when Mr. A. Morson, M.B.E., reported that he had had some handsome donations offered, among them one of £500 and another of £300.


BARROWS,—On Monday, Feb. 24th, at the Military Hospital, Belfast, Sapper HARRY DESTER, R.E., the youngest and dearly beloved son of Mrs. Barrows, 16 Bennett Street, aged 37. Interred at Rugby Cemetery, Saturday, March 1st.


BENCH.—In fond memory of our dear brother, Pte. J. BENCH, who passed away in France, March 5th, 1917.
“ But oh ! for the touch of a vanished hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still.”
—From his loving Father, Sisters, & Brothers.

FIDLER.—In fond and loving memory of Pte W. G. FIDLER, of Harborough Magna, who was killed in France on March 7, 1916.
“ Could we have raised his dying head,
Or heard his last farewell,
The grief would not have been so hard
For them that loved him so well.”
—From Dad, Mother, Sisters & Brothers.

REEVE.—In memory of my beloved husband, ARTHUR KIMBELL REEVE, who died in France on March 4, 1917.—Never forgotten by his loving Wife and Daughters.

REEVE.—In memory of my dear son, ARTHUR KIMBELL REEVE, who died in France on March 4, 1917.—Always in the thoughts of his loving Mother, Brothers and Sisters.


5th Jun 1915. Alien found with camera


Agnes Louisa Richard teacher, 2 New Street, Rugby, was charged on remand with being an alien, and unlawfully having in her possession one camera, three dark slides, three boxes of plates, nine printing frames, two packets of printing paper, and two negative holders, contrary to section 22 (h) of the Aliens Restriction (Consolidation) Order, 1914 at 2 New Street, Rugby, on May 28th.-She admitted having the camera.-Detective Mighall deposed that he received information on May 27th that defendant had a camera in her possession, and on instructions from Supt Clarke, he obtained a search warrant, and went to the house with P.C Wakelin, and found the camera produced and the other photographic requisites that were mentioned in the charge. There were also several finished photographs, but all of these were of a harmless character.-Defendant said she did not know that she ought not to have a camera. She only thought the ought not to photograph, and she had not done so outside the house since the outbreak of war. She did not know that she ought not have a camera in her possession.-By the Chairman : She had received no warning that she ought not to keep a camera.-The Chairman, addressing defendant, said everybody knew her in Rugby, and although she was an alien, instead of looking upon her as an enemy they looked upon her as a friend. However, she had broken the law, and rendered herself liable to a fine of £100. The Bench agreed with what she had said that it was want of knowledge which prevented her from registering this camera, and they would take that into consideration and inflict a fine of 10s 0d only. She had better register her camera. It was important in these terrible times through which they were going that she should keep as strictly to the law as she possibly could.-On the application of Supt Clarke, the camera was ordered to be forfeited until such time as defendant could obtain permission to have same.



The following Army order has been issued :-

The Secretary of State for War desires to place on record his warm appreciation of the gallant conduct and devotion to duty displayed by Major R A Richardson and the officers,non-commissioned officers, and men of the 1st Warwickshire Yeomanry on the occasion of a torpedo attack the transport Wayfarer, on April 11, 1915. Through the prompt action of Major Richardson and the marked efficiency of the officers and men under his command only five lives were lost out of a total of 189 men, and all the horses (763 in number) were brought safely to shore. The Secretary of State for War is proud of the behaviour of the troops, and regards it as a good example of the advantages of sub-ordination and strict discipline.


On Tuesday last news came to hand that Gunner James Leslie Dunbar, of the Rugby Howitzer Battery, youngest son of Sergt J Dunbar, gymnastic and drill instructor at Bilton Grange, was killed in action on May 27th. The sad news was conveyed in the following letter from Major C Nickalls, the officer commanding the Battery :-

“ DEAR MR DUNBAR,-I have a very sad duty to perform, and that is to tell you that your son Leslie was killed in action yesterday. He was on billet guard at the time, and we had just finished firing when the Germans fired eight rounds in the vicinity of the billet. One fell about four yards from your son, and a shrapnel bullet hit him in the head. He was hit at 8 p,m, and died in the field hospital two hours later, I got a doctor to him immediately, but nothing could be done. He was unconscious all the time. He was buried to-day at 2 p.m by the Rev Bernard McNulty in the field opposite where he gave his life for his country, and was lowered into his grave by the men of my Battery from Dunchurch and myself. Please accept the sincere sympathy of the officers and men of the Battery in your sad loss, which we share equally with you. Your son was a general favourite with us, and he had endeared himself to us all by his cheery disposition and his readiness at all times to take on any job that was wanted. His grave has been beautifully decorated by the men. and it will be carefully looked after by us all.”

The Rev B McNulty, who is with the Brigade as chaplain, also wrote a long and sympathetic letter to the bereaved parents, which they much appreciated, and he added: “ It is a real grief to me, for I have known him for so long.”

Leslie Dunbar was an apprentice in the erecting shop at Willans & Robinson’s when the war broke out, and he joined the Battery at the latter end of August. He was 20 years of age. Deep sympathy is felt with Mr and Mrs Dunbar in their bereavement. Mr Dunbar has not only served his country with the famous Worcestershire Regiment, but has two other sons on active service-one a staff-sergeant in the A.S.C and the other is an artificer on a submarine.

Driver O’Coy, of 36 Essex Street, with the Rugby Howitizer Battery, also writes home with intimation of the death of Gunner Dunbar “ the first casualty.” He adds: “ I am all right. It’s a bit cold to-day for a change. We get sunny weather here-red hot one day ; cold the next ; rain the next.”



“ The bravest act a man can perform under fire ” were the word written by his officer to Mrs Hammond, of Northend, in conveying the news of the death of her son, Private C D Hammond, 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards. For five years Private Hammond’s home was at Welford, and he was employed by Messrs Colebrook, fishmongers, Rugby. He joined the Rugby Howitzer Battery (Territorials), but before the outbreak of the war he enlisted in the 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards. His death took place on Empire Day (May 24th). On Friday last week his mother received the following letter from Second-Lieut Lionel Parsons, dated May 25th :-“ As troop officer of your gallant son, I feel I should like to express my sympathy to you for his loss. I witnessed him perform the bravest act a man can perform under fire. He carried a wounded soldier across open ground swept by shell fire, and saved his life. No man could have done more, or have behaved in a more gallant way in the whole British Army. I am proud to have had him in my troop.”

A further letter was received from Sergt H F Allaby, A Squadron, 4th (R.I) Dragoon Guards, as follows :-“ regret to have the unpleasant task of writing to tell you that your son was killed yesterday in action. Please allow me, on behalf of the squadron, to express our deep regret and sympathy in the loss you have suffered. His death was painless and instantaneous, and followed a few minutes after him performing one of the bravest acts anyone would wish to see. In your loss please think always he died in a good cause and well doing his duty.” The deceased only attained his 18th birthday last year.

Mrs Hammond’s eldest son is now serving at the front with the Rugby Howitzer Battery.


Leslie Wood, of the Rifle Brigade, has this week written home to his parents. Mr and Mrs J Wood, of 85 Oxford Street, Rugby, stating that he is wounded, and was taken a prisoner by the Germans on May 10th. He mentions that he was hit by a shell, and his wounds are not serious. He adds: “ We have been treated very well up to the present, so don’t worry about me,” Referring to the battle, he says it was too awful to speak about. It will be remembered that a fortnight ago we reported that Rifleman Leslie Wood was missing, and his friends will naturally be glad to learn the young soldier is still living, although in the hands of the enemy. Reference is made in the letter to Rifleman Keen, of 2 Winfield Street, who was reported last week amongst the missing. He is stated to have been wounded in the head, and his companions cannot say what has become of him.


In the list of killed under date May 28th appears the name of Lieut C Bourns, 4th Rifle Brigade, formerly a master at Bilton Grange.

Seaman Charles Hall, Royal Naval Brigade, who was a clerk in the office of Mr Harold Eaden, solicitor, Rugby, has been wounded in action in the Dardanelles.

So far no news has been received of Mr W H Cranch, 37 New Street, New Bilton, who was on H.M.S Majestic when she was sunk in the Dardandles ; but as his name did not appear in the list of missing issued by the Admiralty this week, it is hoped that he has been saved.


Gunner W J Durbin, of the R.F.A, an employee of the L & N-W Railway, lately residing at 11 Spring Street, Rugby, writing to his wife at Old Bilton, says :-

” We are in a very important position here, as this is supposed to be where the Germans are trying to force their way in to Calais. We are a few miles behind the firing line, and we have some very exciting moments. It is a bit of fun to see us sometimes, but the worst of it is when the Red Cross motors come by us with the poor men in, we see some awful sights at times. There were about 200 or 300 poor fellows suffering from gas lying in the next field to us, rolling about in agony and pain. Some of them have died. There is quite a little churchyard in the same field of the poor chaps who have died. If only the people at home could see the poor men suffering they would see to it that there was not a single chap left at home who is fit for service. I do not mean the married men ; keep them at home to look after the dear ones left behind. I wish sometimes I could get home for a bit ; but it is no use to talk about it as long as I keep safe and get home before the summer is over I do not mind ; but I am afraid it will not be so if they at home do not put their best effort to the call, and the others keep at work in getting plenty of ammunition out to us.” Gunner Durbin goes on to say that he is keeping A1 and getting plenty of food, and wishes to be remembered to all his old friends at Rugby, whom he hopes to have the pleasure of meeting again very soon.


On May 13, the day of the great attack upon our cavalry, the London Rifle Brigade did marvels. Only 278 men were left in the battalion, and during the day 91 of those fell. In one trench Sergt Belcher commanded four survivors of his regiment and two Hussars, whom he had picked up. His trench was blown to pieces, and he had to face a German attack which, by accurate and rapid rifle fire he succeeded in repulsing. No more heroic game of bluff has ever been played, and it saved the whole right of the 4th Division. Sergt Belcher is a nephew of Mr and Mrs J J Smith, of Kenilworth House, New Bilton.



News has just been received by Mrs Farndon, of 9 Russell Street, Rugby, that her son, Trooper Fred Farndon, of the Rugby Troop of the Warwickshire Yeomanry, has met with a regrettable accident.

“ While waiting to embark again and re-join my regiment after an exciting experience on the Wayfarer,” he wrote, “ I have been unfortunate in getting my left arm fractured from a kick from one of my officer’s chargers. I was visited by the veterinary officer, and on hearing that we were sailing again, I asked if I could go ; and, after consultation with my doctor, I was refused, much to my disappointment.”

Trooper Farndon wrote from the General Hospital at Bristol, where wounded soldiers who had been in the fighting around Ypres were under treatment. The men are chiefly suffering from shrapnel wounds, and state that it is the big guns possessed by the Germans that are doing all the mischief.

Since writing the above letter Trooper Farndon has been transferred to the Red Cross Hospital at Clevedon, Somerset, and his Rugby friends will wish for him a speedy recovery.


The following have been recruited at Rugby during the past week :-E Barber, J H Bagworth, J Knight, J Lewin, C R Holmes, and G A Fuller, Rugby Fortress Company, R.E ; J R Wilson and W Clarke, Royal Engineers ; L W Taylor and J H Enticott, Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry ; F Gardner, F Massey, and H P Watts, R.W.R ; E Franklin, K.R.R ; P Nebb, 13th Battalion Glocestershire Regiment ; W W Walker and F Gardner, Northants Regiment ; C E Payne, A.S.C (Horse Transport) ; W H Martin and P M Ashwin, Grenadier Guards ; W E Flavell, 3/4 S.M Howitzer Brigade ; W Spraggett, J Woodhouse, B E Bates, and L Thompson, Rife J Brigade. Horse transport drivers between the ages of 40 and 45 and good wheelers are required for the Army.