28th Apr 1917. Eat Less Bread and Avoid Waste


The wheat crop of 1916 was a failure the world over. How intimately that shortage affects this country is obvious when we remember that before the War we imported four-fifths of our wheat supplies. Indeed of all the food we ate we brought three-fifths across the   seas. To-day we are short of food ships to bring our[?] wheat ; hundreds of the vessels which formerly carried food are plying purely in the interests of our Army, and those of our Allies. The keynote of the campaign must, therefore, be ; CONCENTRATE ON THE SAVING OF BREAD. That, first and foremost, is the necessity of the moment.

The mass of the population must have bread. To the poor it is the chief necessity of life, for it to cheap and needs no cooking. Not only people of means, but those who at present are earning high wages, can afford to buy and cook other foods. Let the cheaper foods—cheap rabbits, the cheaper cuts of meat, the more popular kinds of fish—be left for those who cannot afford to buy anything else. The rich can endure breadless days, but the poor cannot.

Another aspect of the campaign is TO CHECK WASTE. Waste of any kind of food is, under the present stress of war, not only selfish and disloyal, but criminal. Before the War, it has been said, the nation could have lived on the food it wasted, and the waste is still very great. Waste of meat, of vegetables, waste in over-cooking or in over-eating-the campaign aims at checking all the forms of helping Germany.

To bring home to the people the enormous losses in the food supply by the apparently trivial waste of food which goes on daily, the Food Controller has issued a series of leaflets, of which the following is an example :

“ I am a slice of Bread.
I measure three inches by two-and-half, and my thickness is half-an-inch.
My weight to exactly an ounce.
I am wasted once a day by 48,000,000 people in Britain.
I am the “ bit left over;” the slice eaten absent mindedly when really I wasn’t needed ; I am the waste crust.
If you collected me and my companions for a whole week you would find that we amounted to 9,380 tons of good bread—WASTED !
Two Shiploads of Good Bread !
Almost as much—striking an average—as two German submarines could sink—even if they had p[?] luck.
When you throw me away or waste me you are adding twenty submarines to the German Navy.”


Probably no result of the War has been brought home to the public generally more emphatically than shortage of paper, due to the great reduction in the quantity of pulp and other materials for making it being imported from abroad. There are, however, in the country vast accumulations of paper which might be used up and re-manufactured if it could only find its way to the mills. Any white paper, whether printed or written upon or not, such as newspapers, letters, old receipts, and other documents too numerous to describe, old account books, magazines, novels, &c, can be utilised ; and in order to facilitate the collection of these materials and have them forwarded to the proper quarters for re-manufacture, an organisation has been formed in Rugby, which, if adequately supported, cannot fail to have gratifying results. In conjunction with Mrs Blagden, of The Rectory, Mr J Reginald Barker has undertaken to receive all waste paper of the kind mentioned, and see that it is properly baled and sent off to certain mills, the owners of which will pay good price per ton for it—much higher than the rates which have usually been paid on waste paper.

All the proceeds will be devoted to Rugby charities, so that no one will make a personal profit, and all who help will know they are gaining a twofold advantage by helping to maintain the paper supply and assisting charity.

Mr W T C Hodges, headmaster of Murray School, and Mr W T Simmonds, headmaster of Elborow Schools, have made arrangements to collect the waste from people’s houses, and a postcard addressed to either of these gentlemen will receive prompt attention.

Those who turn out old letters, documents, account books, &c, are assured that they will be carefully baled, despatched, and destroyed without being subjected to the scrutiny of prying eyes.

All stiff covers should be removed from books before being handed over to the collectors. It is estimated that several tons per month can be collected in Rugby, and a very handsome sum may in due course be available for disposal in charitable objects.


Frank Leslie Hogg, second son of Mr and Mrs George Hogg, of the Eagle Hotel, has passed as a Second Air Mechanic into the Royal Flying Corps, and is now stationed at Farnham.

A PURE BRED BELGIAN HARE rabbit, belonging to Harry Redgrave Lovell, the infant son of P C Lovell, was sold by Mr W Wiggins in Rugby Cattle Market on Monday for the Red Cross Funds, £5 being realised.

Mr T Johnson, High Street, has received information that his son, 2nd-Lieut H T Johnson, of the 129th Field Company, Royal Engineers, was wounded in the shoulder last week in France. He has now been removed to a London hospital.

A letter has been received from Pte Huckle, R.A.M.C — a member of the Rugby St John Ambulance Brigade — whose home is at 14 Spring Street, Rugby, stating that he was on a hospital ship that was recently torpedoed.

Pte T Lane, Durham Light Infantry, of Bridget Street, formerly employed at the Newbold Road Co-operative Stores, has sustained a badly shattered arm and other wounds ; Corpl L G Archer, Bennett Street, has been severely wounded, and his right arm has been amputated ; and Lance-Corpl W Labraham, Little Pennington Street, has been wounded in Palestine. All three are Old St Matthew’s boys.

Lieut R C Herron, of the Second Anzacs Supply Column (whose marriage with Miss Thompson, of Paradise Street, Rugby, we recently announced), has been promoted to the rank of captain and adjutant.

Corpl Bert Wilkins (bandsman), of the Rifle Brigade, was killed on the 4th inst. He was brought up from childhood by Mrs Kempton, 67 King Edward Road, and before joining Kitchener’s Army at the age of 16 was employed at the B.T.H Works, and was a drummer in the 1st Rugby Company Boys’ Brigade. Mrs Kempton’s eldest son has been a prisoner of war in Germany since the Battle of Mons. Her youngest son had been twice wounded, and went back to the front as recently as a month ago.


Corpl Ernest W Hallam of the Railway Section of the Royal Engineers, whose wife lives at the New Station, has won the D C M. Before joining the army he was a platelayer in Rugby Coal Yard.


Mr J J McKinnell has received news that his son, Lieut J J McKinnell, of the R.W.R, has been seriously wounded in the ankle. Some time ago Lieut McKinnell was wounded, and he had only returned to the front a fortnight when he received his present injury.


PRIVATE J WARD WOUNDED.—Mr and Mrs T Ward have received news that their son, Pte J Ward, of the Warwicks, has been wounded in the left shoulder and face. ‘Mr and Mrs Ward’s four sons joined up—one, Charlie, has been killed ; Jack has lost the sight of one of his eyes from wounds, and the other son was invalided home. Much sympathy is felt for them in their trouble. Mr Ward himself has been ill for some length of time.



It is very necessary that Generous Support be given to ensure that the Men from Rugby and District who have fallen into the hands of the enemy shall not lack the Food necessary to keep them in Health and Strength.


Colonel and Mrs Mulliner recently offered to lend and to entirely equip Clifton Court as a hospital, and this generous offer has now been accepted by the Military Authorities, who will devote it to wounded officers of the Royal Flying Corps.

Mrs Mulliner will act as commandant, and the voluntary aid detachment will consist entirely of local ladies.

The charming situation and beautiful gardens of Clifton Court make it an ideal place for convalescent patients.


Dear Mr Editor,-—A conference comprising committees appointed by the Urban and Rural District Councils of Rugby, and the Rugby Chamber of Trade, has been formed with a view to framing a scheme for assisting owners of one man businesses in Rugby, in the event of their being called up for military or national service. Will anyone interested in the scheme kindly communicate with the secretary, at the address given below, by Wednesday, the 2nd May ? Yours faithfully, T Wise, Chairman, H LUPTON REDDISH, Secretary, Market Place, Rugby.


PYWELL.—Killed in action, on Easter Monday, Sergt. F. W. Pywell, of London (Middlesex) Regiment, youngest son of E. Pywell, 23 Sandown Road, Rugby ; aged 30.

THORNEY.—Died in France on April 10th of wounds received in action, ALFRED, the second and dearly beloved son of Mrs. Thorney, Rose and Crown, Basingstoke.


DAVIS.—In ever-loving memory of our dear son and brother, Private ROLAND DAVIS, of New Bilton, who was killed in action in France on April 27, 1916.-Not forgotten by his loving FATHER, MOTHER, BROTHER and SISTERS.

GREEN.—In loving memory of Private JOHN GREEN, of Catthorpe, who died in Tidworth Military Hospital on April 16, 1914 ; aged 35 years.—“ His memory is as fresh to-day as the hour in which he passed away.” — Never forgotten by his loving FATHER and MOTHER, BROTHERS and SISTER.

GRIFFITH.—In loving memory of our dear son and brother, HERBERT, who was killed in action at Ypres on April 27, 1915.
“ Two years have passed since Jesus called him ;
As time goes on we miss him more.
His loving smile, his kindly face,
No one can fill his vacant place.
Not dead to those who love him ;
Not lost, but gone before.
He lives with us in memory,
And will for ever more.”

OGBURN.—In loving memory of my dear husband. Pte. CHARLES ROBERT OGBURN, who died April 26, 1916.—“ He is gone but not forgotten.”

OWEN.—In loving memory of our dear son and brother. GEO. ERNEST OWEN (TAS), Royal Warwicks., who fell in action at Ypres on April 25, 1915. — “ He nobly answered duty’s call, and gave his life for one and all.”—Never forgotten by DAD, MOTHER, BROTHERS and SISTERS.

ROBBINS.—In affectionate remembrance of Lance-Corpl. F. ROBBINS, Royal Warwicks., who was killed in action in France on April 30, 1916.
“ Sleep on, beloved, in a far-off grave :
A grave I may never see ;
But as long as life and memory last
I will remember thee.”
—From EM.

Johnson, Albert William. Died 5th Jan 1916

Albert William JOHNSON was born in Harlesden [1911 census], or Willesden [1901 census], London, in about 1894. The two places are only half a mile apart and both in North-West London, not far from the present Wembley Stadium.

He was the only son of Mary Ann Johnson, who was born in about 1862 in Rowley Regis or Dudley, Staffordshire. Johnson is a common name in Rowley Regis, with many of the Johnson families in the area having been ‘chain makers’; her early life has not been traced. However, with three children born in London, she must have lived there, at least between about 1885 and 1901, before coming to Rugby.

Albert had two sisters: an older sister, Alice A Johnson, was born in about 1886 in Paddington, and a younger sister, Grace M Johnson, born in about 1897, also in Willesden. The family had moved to Rugby before 1901.

In 1901, the four of them were living at 185 Oxford Street, but by 1911 they had moved to 110 Abbey Street, Rugby. Mary Anne was now listed as widowed [she had said that she was married in 1901, although there was no trace of her husband] but had apparently been married for 26 years with 3 children, only two of whom were now living. This information was deleted as not required by the enumerator, but is now useful none the less!

It seems that Albert’s sister, Alice, had died, probably in later 1904, aged 18, and recorded as Alice White Johnson.[1]  Albert was now a Power Motor Assembler, and Grace, although only 14 was a Meter Assembler, both at an ‘Electrical works’ with BTH added in pencil.

By searching for this sister, Alice White Johnson, in London in the 1891 census, his mother, Mary, confirmed as born in Dudley, was also found. They were then living at 63 Wendover Road, Willesden, Middlesex.   Mary Anne was recorded as married, although again there was no sign of a husband. Grace was six, and also staying was a visitor, Julia White aged 24, some nine years younger than Mary, and also born in Dudley – she was likely to have been her sister, and this suggests that a maiden name Mary Anne White might be appropriate. To date no suitable marriage has been found with the ‘missing’ Mr. Johnson.

Albert Johnson joined up as No.3382, a Private in the 9th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.   It is not known when he joined up, but the 9th (Service) Battalion was formed in Warwick as part of the First New Army (K1) in August 1914 and then moved to Salisbury Plain and joined the 39th Brigade of the 13th Division. In January 1915 they moved to Basingstoke and then to Blackdown, Aldershot.

The Gallipoli campaign was in difficulties ‘… a great reinforcement would be required. … during June and July three divisions of the New Army and two Territorial Divisions were sent out from England. Amongst them came the 9th (Service) Battalion of the Royal Warwickshires … On June 17 [or 24], the 9th Royal Warwickshire, … embarked at Avonmouth, and reached Mudros, in the island of Lemnos, on 9 July. Four days later they landed on Beach V. near Cape Helles …’.

 Johnson A W Medal Card

This agrees with Albert’s Medal Card which recorded that he served in the ‘(2b) Balkans’ from ‘13 July 1915’so it would appear that ‘overseas service’ and the associated additional allowances or pay, did not apply until soldiers actually landed in the combat area ‘overseas’ – the voyage it seems was treated as UK service!

The Division – and presumably Albert – was engaged in various actions including: the Battle of Sari Bair, the Battle of Russell’s Top, the Battle of Hill 60, and the last Turkish attacks at Helles.

On July 29, the battalion returned to Lemnos, and on 3 August embarked again for Anzac Cove, where they were to take part in the impending great attack. … The 9th Royal Warwickshire, … landed in the early morning of 4 August. During the first two days … they were in divisional reserve, but … on 8 August they crossed Bauchop’s Hill to the ridge beyond, part going to relieve the 9th Worcester at the head of Aghyl Dere. The crisis of the attack came on 9 August with the assault of Koja Chemen.   Three battalions – the 9th Royal Warwickshire, the 6th South Lancashire, and the 6th Gurkhas – reached the crest, whence they could look down on the waters of the Dardanelles and seemed to have victory in their grasp … when the Turks rallied to a counter-attack our men were forced back to the lower slopes from whence they started. One company of the Royal Warwickshire held on, till they were surrounded, and, as it is supposed, all perished … But the brief space when the men of the Royal Warwickshire looked down on the Maidos road was the nearest approach to decisive victory which the British in Gallipoli were to achieve …’.[2]

On 18 and 19 December, the 9th Warwickshires were withdrawn, ‘the whole party embarking without the loss of a single man.’   After rest at Lemnos, ‘… on 28 December the Royal Warwickshire was sent to help in the evacuation of Helles.   They landed … and marched up to hold the same trenches which they had held five months before, only with rain and mud in place of dust and flies. They were six days[3] in the front line and had six men killed, … though the weather was less favourable … the evacuation was equally successful. On the night of 8/9 January the last troops embarked, and the enterprise of Gallipoli, heroic for endeavour and endurance if not for victory, came to an end.’[4]

A W Johnson war diary

The ‘War Diary’ showed that on the 5 January, ‘O.R. Killed. 5’, as well as ‘Wounded 3. Sick 3’. The other casualty of the six was on 2 January, and searching the CWGC website suggests this was Albert’s colleague, Private Kenneth Marshall No.13237. It seems likely that Albert was one of the five men killed on 5 January during the assistance with the ‘successful’ evacuation.

Albert Johnson was recorded as being killed in action on 5 January 1916. A note in the Rugby Advertiser stated that he ‘… was killed in action at Cape Helles. Pte Vertegans,[5] also of Rugby, who was in the same section, put a cross, which he made himself, with a suitable inscription and verse thereon, at the head of his grave.’

Albert was awarded the Victory and British War medals and the 1915 Star.

It seems that his grave was subsequently lost and Albert Johnson is one of the 20,882 casualties remembered on the Helles Memorial who have no known grave. He is also remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gates and on the list of BTH Employees Who Served in the War, 1914 – 1918, but for some reason he was unfortunately omitted from the BTH War Memorial.[6]



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This article was written for a Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the Rugby Family History Group, December 2015.

[1]       The birth of an Alice White Johnson was registered in Paddington in Q1, 1886 [Paddington, 1a, 75] – the only other Alice Johnson registered in Paddington in that period was an Alice Mary in Q3, 1887.

[2]       http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=63794.

[3]       The War Diary suggests it may have been slightly longer

[4]       http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=63794.

[5]       This appears to be Arthur Vertigans, born 1892 in Fakenham, Norfolk, No.3280, 9th R.War.R., whose medal card shows that he also went to the Balkans on 13 July 1915; his father came from Sculthorpe, Norfolk. He should not be confused with Arthur J Vertigan, born in 1894 in Kempston, whose family lived in Rugby at least for the 1901 census and who served in the 1/7th Battalion R.War.R. as No.1458 and later as No.265092, in France; his father was born in Burnham, Norfolk and the family came from Tatterford, only four miles from Fakenham. Both families thus had close connections to a small area in north Norfolk and may have been related.

[6]     This being the list of names on the BTH War Memorial when it was unveiled, as listed in the Rugby Advertiser dated 4 November 1921.


Johnson, Thomas Frederick. Died 9th May 1915

Thomas Frederick JOHNSON was born on 14 April 1894 in Kirkby Mallory, Leicestershire.

His parents Thomas and Margaret, née Littlefair, Johnson were born in the north of England and then moved south: to Grendon, Atherstone where in 1891, Thomas senior was a ‘coachman domestic servant’; then to Kirkby Mallory in Leicestershire before April 1894 when Thomas junior was born; and then to Street Acton, Warwickshire in the later 1890s.  By 1901, the family was living in Monk’s Kirby where Thomas senior was a ‘coachman and groom’ and by 1911 they had moved to Rugby where he was a ‘coachman domestic’.

Thomas was one of their seven children and in 1911 he was still living with his parents at 76, Lawford Road, Rugby, and was a fitter in the meter department of an engineering works.

When war was declared he joined up as No.751, in the 1/7th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment (RWR).  The Battalion was formed in August 1914 in Coventry and was part of Warwickshire Brigade, South Midland Division.  At some point Thomas was promoted to Corporal.

Despite hopes that it would be posted abroad, the Brigade remained for a time in Essex with the South Midlands Division.  There was some reorganisation in March 1915, which suggested that a move was imminent.  They entrained to Southampton, and crossed the Channel to Le Havre on 22 March 1915.  Thomas Johnson’s Medal card confirms his arrival ‘in theatre’ on 22 March 1915.

They moved to Cassel by train and then on 28 March marched to Bailleul and on 1 April to Armentieres.  The units served an ‘apprenticeship’ in the trenches learning the ‘art’ of trench warfare and when not in the line were billeted in Bailleul.  On 12 April, the 7th Batalion started rotating into the trenches at Douve and Steenbecque, north-east of Ploegsteert (‘Plug Street’) village.  Their first priority was to improve the trenches and make them continuous, however, the high water table caused problems.

The Brigade continued to be ‘eased into trench life in April and May: casualties were low and the weather was warm and dry.’  Indeed, at that date there was an informally operated ‘live and let live’ policy.  Despite the quiet, there were casualties, from sniping, shelling or night patrolling, and ‘… in May the figures were forty-six [killed] and one hundred and sixty-seven [wounded]’.[1]

Sadly Corporal Thomas Johnson was one of those casualties that ‘wilted down the fighting strength of the Brigade’.  He was killed on 9 May 1915.

He was buried in Grave V.C.5. at La Plus Douve Farm Cemetery which was begun in April 1915 by the 48th (South Midland) Division and continued in use until May 1918.

The Cemetery is some 10.5 kms. south of Ypres.  La Plus Douve was a farm which was generally within the Allied lines.  It was sometime used as a battalion headquarters.  It was also known as ‘Ration Farm’ because battalion transport could approach it at night with rations.

Thomas Frederick Johnson was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Although killed on the same date as several other Rugby soldiers who lost their lives in the attack at Auber’s Ridge, this was coincidental; Thomas Johnson and the 1/7th RWR were some miles further to the north, much nearer to Ypres.




This article on Thomas Frederick Johnson 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, June 2017.


[1]      Quotation and general text edited from, Peter Caddick-Adams, By God They Can Fight, A History of the 143rd Infantry Brigade 1908-1995, 143rd (South Midlands) Brigade, 1995.

1st May 1915. News from the Trenches


Letters from members at the 7th Warwickshire Territorial Battalion continue to arrive. One of them says : “ We are having a good time out here, plenty of work, and also a lot of time for amusements. After our last four days in the trenches we arranged a couple of football matches, one between C Company and the Howitzer Battery, which ended in a draw 3—3. The second game between Coventry and Rugby men of C Company ended in Coventry’s favour. Near our billet is a large pond and it is interesting to see out fellows, indifferent to the German shells, fishing for carp. The country-side looks very beautiful in spite of the ruined homesteads, and farmers carry on as usual. We are now back in the trenches and yesterday the Germans shelled a village 200 yards from us, paying special attention to the church, which is practically in ruins. Our gunners soon silenced them, and we have had a quiet day to-day.

A private writes to his wife :—“ We are all happy and enjoying ourselves. I would like you to see us in our little dug-out, we are like gypsies. We do enjoy our meals, though bullets and shells are flying over our heads all the time. We are getting so used to them that we do not take the least bit of notice. The most dangerous work we have to undertake is going to and from the trenches, for no matter how quiet you are the Germans spot you, up goes one of their star shells, and a Maxim gun is trained on you immediately. Then it is a case of laying low till they have finished.

A corporal writes “ I should like some of our friends to have seen us when we were going to the trenches, as we were like the donkeys in Spain, loaded with provisions, and we are looking well now, as we haven’t had a wash or shave for some days, and are feeling a bit ‘grimy.’ We can’t help it, as we can’t get water for washing, but I suppose we have got to put up with it far a while.”


A Rugby Sergeant tells us that on April 19th an exciting football match took place between teams picked from Rugby men (of the late E Company, now C Company) and Coventry men. After a well-contested game, the Rugby men came out winners 2—0. When it is known that the losers had such well-known players as “ Chummy ” Lombard, “ To and From ” Read, “ Cast Iron ” Loake, etc, etc, it will be seen what a good performance was put up by the winners. “ Bleb ” Hill scored the first goal after fifteen minutes’ play. Then “ Knobby ” Clarke scored just before the interval, but was ruled off-side by the referee. Immediately before the call of time Baker scored. Iliff (the Dunchurch pet) was in the thick of the fray all through the match.


Pte L Stewart, of the Advertiser staff, who is with the 7th Warwickshire Territorial Battalion at the front, writes under date of April 26th :—We are situated the same as when last I wrote. The 7th have had another spell in the trenches, without any casualty whatever. They came out of the trenches Saturday night, but Sunday morning found them in the best of health and spirits, and seemingly none the worse for their experiences. They had several narrow shaves from shells—in fact, they had marvellous luck-but a miss is as good as a mile. The weather is really grand, we live practically an open-air life, and early to bed, early to rise, is our motto. I shall be opening the office at six in the morning when I get back, unless a bed makes me revert to the old habits. Time slips by here—every day seems alike ; but I never forget what Friday (publishing day) is with you—all so busy as of old. Sergt Dodson is attached to the Army Ordnance Store just across the road. He was soon over here to get a squint at the old “ R A.” Another private writes:—I will give you a few details of what we have to do. First of all we get here at night and relieve the other regiment who have done their four days. Night sentries are posted and their duties are to warn for any approach of the enemy, who is not very far in front of us. They do two hours on and four off, but that four off is not for rest by any means for we all have to work hard during the night, re-building shelled trenches and improving same. Then there is a party to go and fetch water, about 10 or 12 of us. This has to be fetched from a dilapidated farmhouse about 1 ½ miles away, and we are walking on open the whole of the way, so you see this is a very risky job. We are up all the night and have to stand to at 3.30 a.m for an hour in case of attack, which I am thankful to say has not yet happened. We always have bacon for breakfast and plenty of tea ; we bring a little fresh meat and bread with us. The four days we had out of the trenches were a bit rough, for although we had a little rest in the day time, we were out every night from about 7.30 to 3 a.m making and repairing trenches right in front of the German lines, which is a very much more dangerous position than in our own trenches, for we are not under any cover and the bullets whiz past our ears. Oh ! for a bed. When we go out on Saturday we get billeted in a little better place, for we then have eight days’ rest which will be very acceptable. The Germans are firing at us all day long, and my word they can shoot ; we hardly dare show our caps above the trench else all is over, but I think we have them beaten as regards artillery fire, for we keep shelling their guns and position on and off all day. It is rather a nerve shaking job this night sentry, for one is responsible for the safety of all the regiment and you cannot see many yards in front of you, so before you could say knife the enemy would have cut the wire entanglements and be on you if you did not keep up a good look out.


Mr C J Packwood, of St Matthew Street, Rugby, has recently received a letter from his son, Driver C W Packwood, of the Rugby Howitzer Battery, now in France. He describes the place at which the battery is stationed as “ very slow.” The men living in the vicinity appear to be indolent, the women and dogs doing the bulk of the work. Driver Packwood states that the members of the battery are in excellent health, and they are always thankful to receive letters and parcels from friends at home.

In a letter dated April 25th, which arrived on Thursday, Driver Packwood says:—“ At the present time I am on observation duty. There is an officer and three men, myself included. We are right up in the front trenches with the Infantry, We watch the effects of our shells and report on same, being connected with the Battery by field telephone. The German trenches are only 200 yards away. We can see them in the trenches quite plainly. We have got quite familiar with their snipers. One we call Fritz, another Ginger, and another Peter. Fritz shot one of the infantry clean through the head last night. He is a crack shot. The scenes round here are really wonderful, and are a sight worth seeing. There is not a house standing-they all are absolutely blown to bits. Yesterday I went for about two miles along the first line infantry trenches, and observed the German trenches through a periscope. This letter I am sending by the man who brings our rations. He is just coming, so I must close now.



The Warwickshire Yeomanry, which left Avonmouth for foreign service three weeks ago, before they left received the following telegram from the King :—

“ I am glad to hear that the 2nd Midland Division is about to leave for the front, and much regret not to have been able to inspect the troops. I feel confident, after these months of training at home, the division, wherever employed, will give a good account of itself. Please assure all ranks that they will constantly be in my thoughts and prayers, and convey to them my best wishes for success.”

The horses belonging to the regiment, which were on board the Wayfarer when it was torpedoed, have now been taken over by the authorities and distributed, so it is understood, among other regiments. The Warwickshire Yeomanry have thus been deprived of mounts to which they had become very closely attached, and the loss will be keenly felt by the men. The men from the Wayfarer who were fortunate to escape will join their regiment at the earliest possible moment.

About 160 men were detailed off for duty on the Wayfarer, and had charge of about 1,000 horses and mules. On leaving port the officers were informed of the presence of two enemy submarines, and were warned to keep a close watch. They failed to escape the danger.


The 1st Warwickshire Yeomanry Reserve Regiment left Warwick on Monday for Cirencester Park

It has transpired that in all five men from Warwickshire were killed by the explosion on the Wayfarer. Three horses were drowned.

Harold M Over, son of Mr Samuel Over, and grandson of the late Major S Over, has been gazetted second-lieutenant in the 20th Battalion the Royal Fusiliers, He has been Musketry Instructor to D Company of this Battalion, in which position he has shown exceptional ability.

Pte W Gardner, 3rd Coldstream Guards, an ex-police-constable from this neighbourhood, writes he is now in England wounded, lying at Longshawe Lodge, Derbyshire (lent by the Duke of Rutland for British). He was wounded in the head, back, and right knee at the Battle of Le Bassee, where the Coldstreams and the Irish Guards made their famous charge. He was in hospital in France for a time, and then was sent to hospital in Sheffield, and from thence to the convalescent home.

Driver Johnson, of the Army Transport Section, who was wounded at Ypres on December 18th, and is still in hospital, spent last week-end at his home, 20 West Leyes, Rugby. Driver Johnson was wounded in the right hand, but his horse laid on him for 24 hours before he was found, and as a result of this he has lost all power in his left aide. Although the medical authorities are sanguine that he will in time regain the use of his injured limbs, they all agree that a considerable time will elapse before he does so—probably 12 months. Driver Johnson, who was one of the earliest to enlist from Rugby, was before the war employed by Messrs Willans & Robinson as a driller.



The decision of the Urban District Council to raise a Rugby Fortress Company of the Royal Engineers, as reported in our last issue, has met with general approval in the town, and the hope it expressed on all hands that the number of men necessary to complete the unit will be speedily obtained, so that the name of Rugby may be associated with another company at the front. In addition to commissioned officers and sergeants, only 94 men are required for the company, vis: Corporal (mounted), 1 ; lance-corporal (mounted), 1 ; shoeing and carriage smith, 1 ; drivers (including batmen), 15 ; blacksmiths, 9 ; bricklayers, 12 ; plasterer, 1 ; slater, 1 ; carpenters (including joiners), 20 ; clerks, 2 ; draughtsman (architectural), 1 ; electricians (field), 2 ; engine drivers (field), 3 ; fitters and turners, 4 ; harness maker, 1 ; masons, 7 ; platelayers, 2 ; plumbers (including gas fitters), 3 ; surveyor, 1 ; wheelwrights, 2 ; miscellaneous, 5.

The company must be raised on a regular basis, and the enlistment must be for three years or the duration of the war, and must be carried out at a regular recruiting office. The age for enlistment is between 19 and 38 years.

The pay of all ranks will be at the some rate as that prescribed for the Royal Engineers ; and the company, when raised, will have to be clothed, housed (by the hire of buildings or billeting only), and fed at rates approved by and to be paid for by the War Office. It is stated that the company will remain at Rugby during the initial training ; and that men, if they so desire, may be billeted in their homes. In this connection the War Office point out that unmarried soldiers necessarily living at their own homes, and not messed by their units, will draw a consolidated allowance of 2s per day. If living at home and messed by their units, they will draw a lodging allowance of 9d per day.

The expense of raising the company will for the most part, it is hoped, be provided in the town. The War Office points out that money expended by municipalities, communities, and individuals authorised to raise local units on advertisements, posters, concerts, bands, and similar items in connection with recruiting has in many cases been found by local funds, but that where this is not the case the Army Council are prepared to refund expenditure actually incurred in this direction up to a maximum of 2s for each recruit raised. In addition to these expenses, there will, doubtless, be other items which will have to be met by a local fund ; but, according to Mr J J McKinnell, to whom belongs the honour of initiating the idea of raising a local company, the total sum required should not exceed £50. Rugby has responded so liberally to all patriotic appeals during the last few months that we are sure that the promoters of the company will not find their activities crippled through lack of funds.

The Army Council will allow the sum of £8 15s for the equipment of each dismounted man, and £9 15s for each mounted man, but these sums are believed to be rather below the actual cost of equipment, and any balance will thus have to he made up out of local funds. It is hoped to commence recruiting at the Park Road Drill Hall on Monday next.


The following have been attested at the Park Road Drill Hall during the past week —Royal Warwickshire Regiment, T Morriss ; A.S.C, H J Merrick ; R.E, J W foster and G Clarke ; Bedfords, H Seaton, H Pegg, P Cleaver, and A W Leeson ; Reserve Signal Co, R.E, A J Brasher ; Rugby Fortress Co, R.E, T H Hands, J Wise, and E G Smith.


Quite a number of the men from the Rugby Post Office staff have joined the colours, and those remaining are working at high pressure. Amongst those who have recently enlisted in the Royal Engineers, where their duties will consist mainly of telegraph work, are : Messrs J T Healey, A Miller, R J Sheldon, A E Goldfinch, and A J Brasher. The latter left Rugby on Monday, and another member of the staff (Mr G D Tennant) expects to take his departure next week. To cope with the situation, a number of postmen are now doing indoor work, and other vacancies are being filled by women and girls, female labour being almost entirely used in the instrument-room.

6th Feb 1915. Narrow Escapes and an Opinion of the German Troops


Thursday’s papers contained in the list of soldiers wounded at the war the name of Pte H Goode, of the Lancashire Regiment. Pte Goode is the son of Detective-Inspector Goode, of Rugby, and when the war broke out was called up as a reservist, being at the time foreman cleaner in the locomotive engine-sheds. He went through several of the earlier engagements of the war, and his friends in Rugby hope his wounds are not serious.


Driver F H Johnson, 115th Heavy Battery R.G.A. of West Leyes, Rugby, who enlisted in Lord Kitchener’s Army at the outbreak of the war, is at present in a hospital at Sheffield, suffering from wounds received at the front. In a letter to his friends he states that he got up last week for the first time since he was wounded-eight weeks ago. His hand and arm are nearly well, but he cannot use his fingers yet. At the time he was hurt his horse had its head blown clean off. Driver Johnson had a marvellous escape, as the horse fell before he could clear himself from the saddle. The horse rolled right over him, injuring his hand and back terribly. He really thought he should never see Old England again.


Bombardier W Hudghton, Royal Field Artillery, of 21 Jubilee Street, New Bilton, who is at present in Lincoln Hospital suffering from injuries received while acting as a dispatch rider about a fortnight ago, passed through a very unpleasant experience, from which he was only extricated by his own coolness. From a letter written to his wife, it appears that he was carrying a message from one General to another, and while he was galloping across a ploughed field his “ old friend,” his horse, received three shots, and “ the poor beggar died.” Bombardier Hudghton was pinned under his horse, and two Germans, observing this, and presumably thinking that he was incapacitated, advanced towards him. They, however, failed to perceive him take his carbine from its place, and he managed to shoot one. The “ other bloke ” then pointed his rifle at the New Bilton man, but the latter got his shot home first, thus accounting for the pair. Bombardier Hudghton is now suffering from injuries to the knee caused by his horse falling with him.



A member of the Rugby Police Force, who was called up to his regiment on the outbreak of hostilities, paid a brief visit to Rugby this week, and in an interview gave a few of his experiences to our representative. He took part in the initial fighting round Mons and the glorious retreat, and also in subsequent engagements, and thus has an interesting story to relate.


He saw a very brave act performed by a German. The Company to which he belonged charged a German natural trench and took the enemy by surprise. The bulk of the Germans threw up their hands in token of surrender, while others ran away, but were immediately shot down. One man, however, fought on, and an Englishman went for him with a bayonet. The German seized the bayonet with one hand, and when another man went for him he took hold of his bayonet with the other hand. A third man came up, however, and with a well-directed thrust accounted for him ; the German, grinding his teeth, made use of a few choice expressions as he fell. Upon searching this man they found him to be in possession of the Iron Cross.


As has already been reported, the opposing troops fraternised together on Christmas Day at various parts of the line, but at one point an exceedingly unfortunate incident occurred. The Rugby man, thinking he had some friends in the Monmouthshire Regiment, walked along to their trenches, and there saw a sergeant who had been mortally wounded while trying to fraternise with the Germans. It appears that the sergeant had advanced unarmed towards the German trenches, carrying a box of cigarettes, and motioned to the enemy to come the remainder of the distance, but they refused to do so. He, therefore, returned to his trench, but shortly afterwards started off again, intending to go the whole way this time. When he got half across, however, a shot was fired, and over he went, but, although he was mortally wounded, he managed to get up again and run to his own trench, not, however, before one of his mates had accounted for one of the Germans, who were sitting outside their trenches, so that it was “ a life for a life.” Firing went on as usual then for a time, but, subsequently a better spirit prevailed, and the Germans apologised to the Monmouths for shooting their sergeant, explaining that it was an accident.

The Rugby sergeant’s Christmas dinner consisted of chicken, boiled cabbage, and potatoes and splendid plum-pudding. He explained that it was only with the Saxons that the English fraternised. These men were far more gentlemanly than any other German race, in fact, they “ played the game.” The Prussians, who, with the Uhlans were mainly instrumental for the outrages, did not believe in that sentiment


The sergeant’s opinion of the German troops was that they were first-class soldiers ; they were very clever and had their share of pluck. One advantage the British had ; the Germans were not so good at pushing home an attack as the British were. As an illustration he stated that on one occasion the Germans were massed in preparation for an attack, but they were observed by the British just in the nick of time, and a heavy rifle and Maxim fire was directed upon them. They could hear the German officers, who were at the rear of the men, urging them on in very strong terms, but without avail, and the enemy soon turned and fled, whereas the British would have pushed the attack home at all cost. At the commencement of the war they leaned to the opinion that the German infantry were not good shots, but they had since learned, differently ; and they had discovered that the Germans had corps of snipers who were deadly. While the German officers were fine men, who knew their work, the British officers were the bravest men in the world. As an example of coolness and pluck, he stated that he was one day in a building with a captain, when a shell came hurtling through the roof. They both escaped via the window, and almost before the masonry had ceased to fall, the captain had whipped out a camera and obtained a snap-shot. Speaking of the German artillery, the sergeant’s experience was that its bark was worse than its bite. Whereas the British only fired when they had a target, the Germans were continually blazing away whether there was a target or not, and they must have wasted a great quantity of ammunition in this way.


After relating to our representatives stories of outrages on women, and the manner in which three British cavalrymen were done to death and mutilated by the Uhlans, the sergeant stated that the British had had a great number of there stretcher-bearers shot by the Germans. At the commencement of the war they always put the Red Cross flag in a prominent place upon the buildings, which were used for treating the wounded, but it was found that the flag only drew fire, and the hospitals were invariably shelled. Now, instead of putting the flag in a prominent place it was simply stuck in the ground near the hospital, to show the troops where to take the wounded.




A meeting of the Warwickshire War Relief Fund Committee was held at the Shire Hall, Warwick, on Wednesday, Lord Algernon Percy presiding.

The Organising Committee reported that the conditions of trade throughout the area of the County Committee seemed good, and very little distress existed up to the period ending January 30th, the number of civil cases of distress dealt with by the local committees was 66, the total sum thus expended in relief being £112 12s 9d. Further grants amounting to £185 had been made to local committees. This brought the total amount of the grants made to local committees to £325.

The Hon Treasurer reported that the balance at the bank was £6,083, including £500 already ear-marked for the Warwickshire Branch of the Red Cross Society. It was decided to send £3,275 to the Prince of Wales’s Fund as a second instalment.

Mr Batchelor, the chairman of the Belgian Refugees’ Sub-Committee, reported that the number of refugees at present in the county area was about 1,300, excluding the large towns. The question of employment had proved to be a most difficult problem. A few farmers had applied for agricultural labourers, but in most cases they could not undertake to find accommodation for the families, which was essential. The question of whether refugees, receiving hospitality and earning wages, should contribute towards their maintenance, had been much discussed, and finally the Birmingham Committee, in conjunction with managers from various homes, had agreed to recommend that refugees should be asked to contribute one-third of their wages towards their maintenance, and that they be advised to bank as much as possible of the remainder for the day of repatriation.


On Saturday, Mrs H H Mulliner and Mr F van den Arend visited the Alexandra Palace, London, to select more refugees for Newton House and “ The Beeches ” Clifton. From the 4,000 refugees in this building they chose the following :- Aloysuis Ogiers, cabinet-maker, Buoght, and his wife and seven children ; and Andrie Avaerts, coachman, Antwerp, and his wife and four children. They also brought away a tailor and his wife and child, for the Welford Refugees’ Committee ; and Sidoni Buylaert, the wife of a soldier, her five children, and brother, Henri Torfs (who has volunteered for service but been rejected), for the Barby and Kilsby Committee, who have provided an excellently furnished house for their reception.

On Wednesday, Mr Van den Arend fetched another family, Edward Hoeyendonck, railway worker, his wife and four children, for “ The Beeches.” This family comes from the neighbourhood of Malines, and left on August 24th, since when they travelled from place to place, reaching London a fortnight ago.

We are informed that there are now 83 Belgian refugees working in the town, who are not receiving the hospitality of any committee, and these are all registered by the Board of Trade at the office of the Newton House War Refugees’ Committee, which is regarded by the authorities in London as the official committee in Rugby. We understand that the Newton House Committee only provides funds for the refugees there, which, with those at “ Beeches,” now number 102, and that they will shortly apply for financial assistance from the residents of Rugby. Money has been sent by several people, including a very acceptable cheque for £75 from Mr W Wiggins, part of the proceeds of the sale of a sheep in Rugby Market.


The past week has been one of the slackest experienced at the Drill Hall for same time. The following have been attested :- A.S.C : F H West, E S Watts, A Turrall, and A V Brown. R.W.R : W F Woolfe, A F Brown, W Warland, and E W Nicholls. Oxon and Bucks L.I : R Megson. Coldstream Guards : C R Lee. 16th Lancers : J H Toomey. R.F.A : W F Hessey. R.M.A.C : John Clarke.

2nd Jan 1915. Christmas Celebrations


To the Editor of the Advertiser.

SIR,—As Newton House now accommodates 50 refugees (as many as it will contain with comfort), the committee have accepted Mrs Buzzard’s generous offer in placing The Beeches, Clifton, rent free, at their disposal.

All available money will be wanted for purchasing food, so I venture to appeal for the loan of such articles of furniture as are necessities. At Newton House the furniture has been lent by members of the committee and their friends ; but as this source of supply is nearly exhausted, we are compelled to make a public appeal for the requirements of The Beeches.

Accommodation is urgently needed for further families, rendered homeless by the devastation of their country. Many of the expected guests at The Beeches will be friends and relations of those now at Newton House, and it will be understood how eagerly their arrival is looked for. It is only lack of the necessary furniture which delays the house being opened.

The committee realise that the total requirements (sufficient for 40 inmates) can only be obtained in small lots. No doubt in Rugby there are many who will spare something ; the loan of one bed or blanket, or one chair, &c, will be of help.

On receipt of a postcard our energetic and most capable Hon Secretary (Mr van den Arend, King Street, Rugby) will send to fetch anything which is offered ; he will also acknowledge its receipt, and include it in the inventory, and have it labelled wherever possible. Further, he will do his utmost to ensure the safe return of everything to the lenders when this cruel war is ended.

Loans will also be acknowledged in the columns of the Advertiser.—Yours truly.


President of the Newton House Committee.

P.S.—The principal items required are 40 beds (some being cots), 120 blankets, 80 sheets, about 100 chairs, some tables and chests of drawers, as well as cooking utensils, china, knives, forks, spoons, lamps, and candle stands.

It has been suggested that the employees of firms in the town and neighbourhood might wish to equip a room complete, to which the name of the particular firm could be given for the time being. The Advertiser staff, acting on this suggestion, has undertaken to furnish one room, by lending articles they can spare and subscribing the necessary funds to purchase the remainder.


The wounded British and Belgian soldiers who are being cared for in Rugby School Sanatorium were not forgotten during the festive season, and arrangements were made for them to celebrate the day in a fitting manner. Each man was the recipient of a suitable present, and a Christmas tree was also provided, and furnished with acceptable gifts for their delectation. Later in the day a number of friends visited the soldiers and gave them a pleasant entertainment, which included French songs and recitations, and altogether a most enjoyable time was spent.


The Belgians who are the guests of the Fellowship Committee at 39 Albert Street were specially provided for on Christmas Day. As their seasonable gift the committee presented each adult with a pair of new boots, and two well-wishers in the boot trade provided the children with slippers. Special Christmas fare was also arranged for by the catering sub-committee, and a friend having given a Christmas tree, one or two others set to work and had no difficulty in getting sufficient toys, &c, with which to adorn it, so that the young people sojourning at the house had as happy a time as could be wished.


The Women’s Co-operative Guild provided their annual children’s evening in the Large Hall on Tuesday. Nearly 400 attended, including many of the Belgian refugees in the town, who, with their children, were specially invited. After an excellent tea (dispensed by members, including Miss McClure), a varied programme was gone through. Mr C Bockin (chairman of the Educational Committee) presided, supported by Mrs J T Franklin (vice-president of the Women’s Guild). Instrumental selections were given by Masters Hough, Watson and Allen, and Miss Lily Barnett ; songs were rendered by the Misses Vann, Wilson, and Maizie Hammond, also Eric Sheffield. Some good dancing was done by the Misses Mewis and Thacker, and by Miss MacKay. Belgian children also sang National Anthems ; Maizie Hammond and Phyllis Hayes recited ; and all the performers acquitted themselves creditably. Then came a lantern entertainment, the narratives being related by Mr W S Read, whilst Mr A E Holdom manipulated the lantern. After the children had retired the adults remained for a little dancing, in which the Belgians joined.


The following shows how Christmas was spent at Witham:—

December 25.—9.45 a.in, church parade ; 11 a.m, Marathon race, about four miles, 25 competitors, won by a man of H Company, Pte Bale (E Company) being one minute behind him, and Pte Harris (E) was fourth ; 1 p.m, dinner to troops in the various halls, schoolrooms, &c, lent by the inhabitants of Witham. The food was cooked by the inhabitants, who also came and waited upon the men during their dinner. The menu included roast beef, vegetables, and plum pudding, with beer, mineral waters, and cigarettes. These extras were provided by subscriptions which wore kindly sent by the Mayors of Coventry, Leamington, Warwick, Nuneaton, and others. In the evening the men were allowed the use of the halls, &c, again for concerts held by the companies, and the men were provided with refreshments.

Dec 26.—The Right Half Battalion played the Left Half Battalion at Rugby football, and in the afternoon at Association, the Left Half winning in the morning and the Right Half in the afternoon. At 6 p.m a tea was provided by the inhabitants of Witham in the various halls, &c, at which concerts were again held in the evening.

Lieut-Col Elton, officers, non-commissioned officers, and men of the 7th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, Witham, wish to thank all those who have so kindly contributed towards their Christmas fund. The great kindness of friends at home has been very much appreciated by all ranks at this season, and they beg to tender their very grateful thanks.


Owing to the number of players who have joined the colours and financial considerations, Rugby Town Association F.C have resigned from the Northants League.


George Renshaw, captain of Rugby F.C, has enlisted in the Army Service Corps, and left for headquarters at Aldershot yesterday (Friday). G W Grubb, a Rugby forward, and C G Dadley, captain of Newbold Second XV, have also joined the same branch of the service.


During the past week about 40 men have enlisted in Rugby. This is the best record for some weeks past.


It is very satisfactory to learn that the efforts of the Rugby Urban District Council to secure the billeting of soldiers in the town has had effect, and unless anything unforeseen happens we shall have, on or about the 10th or 11th of the month, two battalions (about 1,600 men), which are journeying from India, billeted in the town. The troops are the 1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers and the 2nd Battalion Royal Fusiliers.

Captain Erskine-Murray, from the Headquarter Staff of the Southern Command, Salisbury Plain, visited Rugby on Thursday morning, and had a long interview with the Chairman of the Urban Council, Mr J J McKinnell, and the officials, with whose help the town was divided into two sections—one for each battalion. These sections were sub-divided into quarters, in each of which about 200 men will be billeted. It is expected that the men will be here for about a month.

There is no doubt that Rugbeians, with their usual open-handed generosity, will give the soldiers a right royal welcome ; but we are asked to urge upon all the advisability of refraining from treating the men to alcoholic liquors.


News has been received that Driver Fred Johnson, R.F.A, of West Leyes, has been wounded at the front. Before leaving to join the colours, Driver Johnson was employed as a driller at Messrs Willans & Robinson’s. Driver Johnson, who is in a Belgian Hospital, is wounded in the right hand, and is unable to write home. A fellow patient has communicated with Mrs Johnson, and informed her that they had a fine time at Christmas, and each man, on waking, on Christmas morning, found a stocking filled with good things on his pillow, a happy thought, which, as he remarked, reminded them of “ childhood days.”