Watts, John Sidney George. Died 30th Jul 1917

John Sidney George WATTS was born in 1896 in Rugby and registered in the last quarter of that year as Sidney George Watts. He was the middle of the five sons of Albert Edward Watts and his wife Annie Elizabeth (née Bailey). His father, Albert, was born in Newbold and worked as a railway engine stoker on the L & N W railway.

In 1901, he was four years old and enumerated as John S G Watts. His family was living in Old Station Square, Rugby. By 1911 they had moved to 38 Dale Street, Rugby. He was now 14 and enumerated as ‘Sidney George Watts’ and was working as a grocer’s errand boy.

Henry’s Service Records do not survive so little is known of his Service Career. It is not known when he joined up, although he enlisted at Rugby,[1] probably later in 1915, as he did not receive the 1915 Star, and thus there was no embarkation date on his Medal Card. He would not have been 18 years old until just before 1915.

He joined up as a Private, No.28015 in the 10th (Service) Battalion (Bn.) of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment (RWarR). 

The 10th (Service) Battalion was formed in Warwick in August 1914 as part of the Second New Army (K2) and then moved to Salisbury Plain and joined the 57th Brigade of the 19th Division. In March 1915 they moved to Tidworth.

On 17 July 1915 they mobilised for war and landed in France and the Division engaged in various actions on the Western Front. In 1915: the Action of Pietre; in 1916: the Battle of Albert; the attacks on High Wood; the Battle of Pozieres Ridge; the Battle of the Ancre Heights and the Battle of the Ancre. John would have joined with a draft of reinforcements and was possibly involved in some of these but more probably was in action in 1917 in the Battle of Messines. The Battalion would be later involved in the various actions of the Third Battle of Ypres which started on 31 July 1917.

John was probably wounded during the various aftermaths of the Battle of Messines (7-14 June 1917) and during the preparations for the Third Battle of Ypres, probably during the few days before that battle.

The reports in the 10th Battalion War Diary,[2] for the weeks before John’s death, provides the following summary of information:

On 10 July 1917 the Battalion which had been in reserve, was relieved and for a period in mid-July formed working parties until 17 July when further training started. On 19 July there was an inspection by the GOC of 57th Brigade. On 20 July one OR [Other Rank] was wounded during training. At night on 22 July, the Battalion relieved the 7th Bn., Loyal North Lancashire Regiment in the trenches at Roozebeek, Delbske Farm and Denys Wood. They remained in the trenches until relieved on 29 July 1917 when they returned to hutments at Butterfly Farm – the Butterfly was the symbol of the 57th Brigade. During this period of seven days in the trenches, the Battalion was subjected to intermittent shelling, a fairly ineffective gas attacks and particularly heavy shelling on 28 July. There were continuing casualties with ORs killed and/or wounded each day: 23 July – 4 wounded; 24 July – 2 killed, 3 wounded; 25 July – 3 killed, 4 wounded; 26 July – 1 killed, 10 wounded; 27 July – 1 killed, 6 wounded; 28 July – 1 killed, 4 wounded; 29 July – 3 wounded.

During that week of comparative ‘routine’ in the trenches, 34 men were wounded – one of these was probably John Watts – unless he had been wounded some time before, but in that case he would probably have already been evacuated to a hospital further west or even back to England.

He was probably evacuated to an aid post and then through the field ambulance system back to the Convent of St. Antoine in Locre, some 10kms west of the Oosttaverne area, where he had been in action, and some 10kms south-west of Ieper [Ypres]. He was probably at the Convent when he died of his wounds on 30 July 1917.

He was buried in Grave Ref: I. B. 9. in the adjacent Locre (now Loker) Hospice Cemetery. This was in Allied hands during the greater part of the war, and field ambulances were stationed in the Convent of St. Antoine. The Hospice Cemetery was begun in June 1917 by field ambulances and fighting units and was used until April 1918.

John Sidney Watts was awarded the British War and Victory Medals and is also commemorated on the Rugby Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road.

Two payments were made to his mother, Annie Elizabeth, as sole legatee: £15-12-2d owing in back pay on 22 October 1917 and a War Gratuity of £14-0-0d on 4 November 1919.

John Sidney Watts’ brother, Albert Edward Joseph Watts (below left), was also killed in the War. His biography was published in Rugby Remembers on 26 August 1914.[3] He had joined up very early in the war and went to France on 22 August with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, and was killed four days later on 26 August in the Battle of Le Cateau and buried in Fontaine-Au-Pire Communal Cemetery, Plot 1, Row A, Grave No. 3.

There is a story in the family that Albert and John’s mother wore a Royal Warwickshire tie brooch for the rest of her life.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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This article on John Sidney WATTS was researched and written for the Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson with additional material, particularly on his brother, Albert Watts, from Catherine Corley and is © John P H Frearson and the RFHG, July 2017.

[1]       As detailed in Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919.

[2]       The National Archives, WWI War Diaries (France, Belgium and Germany), 1914-1920, Piece 2085/3, 10 Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, July 1915-March 1919.

[3]       https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com/2014/08/26/watts-albert-edward-joseph-died-26-aug-1914/

Cleaver, William Thomas. Died 24th Apr 1917

William Thomas Cleaver was born in late 1885 and baptised at St Andrews Church Rugby on 9th May 1886. His parents were Joseph and Fanny (nee Wright) who had married there on 4th Mar 1884. Joseph was a fireman/driver on the railway and the family lived at 23 East Street, Rugby.

In 1901 William was aged 15 and a billiard marker, but by 1911 he had joined his father working for L & NW railway as a railway servant.

He joined the 2nd/6th Bn Royal Warwickshire Regiment, (Private no. 242260) in June 1916.

In April 1917 the Battalion was involved in the Second Battle of the Aisne, a Franco-British attempt to inflict a decisive defeat on the German armies in France. The objective of the attack was to capture the prominent 80-kilometre-long (50 mi), east–west ridge of the Chemin des Dames, 110 kilometres (68 mi) north-east of Paris, and then attack northwards to capture the city of Laon. When the French armies met the British advancing from the Arras front, the Germans would be pursued towards Belgium and the German frontier. The offensive met massed German machine-gun and artillery fire, which inflicted many casualties and repulsed the French infantry at many points. The French still achieved some substantial tactical successes and took c. 29,000 prisoners in their attacks on the Chemin des Dames and in Champagne but failed to achieve their strategic objective of a decisive defeat over the Germans.

On the 20th April, the 2nd/6th Bn RWR marched from Ugny to Savy.

War Diary of 2nd/6th RWR

SAVY  20.4.17             Battn marched to Savy and became reserve battn to 14th Inf Bde. 10. R. sent to Cooking(?) Class. CO & Company commanders reconnorted line.

21.4.17            Battn rested and CO and Company commanders visited line again.

22.4.17            Battn relieved 2nd Battn Manchester Regt taking over the line from S27 central to S15. d.1.5 (62 B SW) – 184th Inf Bde on our left.

BROWN Line S2 Section
23.4.17            Everything normal during the day – enemy shelled back areas. Battn relieved of part of the line – now holding line from S.21.b.5.0 to S.15.d.1.5 – 2/7th R WAR R relieved battn

Outpost Line
24.4.17            Battn relieved 2/8th Bn R.WAR.R in outpost  line taking over from S6 central to S23. b 9.5 French Army on our right and 184 Inf Bde on our left

The Battalion continued like this until the middle of May when they moved on to Beauvois. No mention is made of casualties, but a report in The Rugby Advertiser on 5th May 1917 states:
Mr Joseph Cleaver, of 17 East Street, Rugby, has received a letter from a chaplain informing him of the death of his eldest so, Pte William Thomas Cleaver, of the Royal Warwicks, which took place in a field ambulance in France on April 24th as the result of severe wounds caused by a shell the previous day. Pte Cleaver, who was 31 years of age, joined up in June last. He was employed on the L. & N-W Railway at Rugby for several years.

William Thomas Cleaver was buried at Foreste Communal Cemetery, situated approximately 14 kilometres west of St. Quentin and approximately 9 kilometres north of Ham. This cemetery was used by the 92nd Field Ambulance in April 1917. The village fell into German hands in the summer of 1918.

The cemetery contains 117 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War. 22 of the burials are unidentified and special memorials are erected to 23 casualties buried by the Germans whose grave cannot be traced.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Pywell, Frederick William. Died 10th Apr 1917

Frederick William Pywell was born in Rugby in 1885 and was baptised in St Matthews Church on 31 May. His parents were Edmund and Sarah (nee Gamble) and Edmund’s occupation was farmer. When they married, in Coventry, on 19th Feb 1881, Edmund was a cab driver from Saddington, Leics and Sarah was a carrier’s daughter from Harborough Magna.

The family soon settled in James Street, Rugby where Edmund was a domestic groom. In 1901, at the age of 16 Frederick was working as a domestic page. Sarah died in 1902 and sometime after that Edmund joined the London and North Western Railway. In 1911 his occupation was Dining Car Attendant and he was lodging in Bartholomew Road, Kentish Town. Two years later he married Ellen Lavinia Flewitt (or Flawith) and they had a son Frederick Richard Pywell in 1914.

Frederick William Pywell joined the 21st Bn, Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex) Regiment. (Serjeant, No. G/15761). This regiment was formed in July 1915 and landed in France in June 1916. They were involved in action on the Western Front including The Battle of the Ancre in 1916. And in 1917, the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line (March) and the capture of Fifteen Ravine, Villers Plouich, Beaucamp and La Vacquerie (April and early May)

At the start of April 1917 the 21st Regt was employed in mending the Moislains – Nurlu Road. After a day’s rest on the 3rd spent in inspections, bathing and foot treatment, the 4th was spent on the Bouchauednes- Clery road.

On the 5th the whole Battalion was moved to Etricourt and orders were received to take over the front line (Gouzeaucourt Wood). This was done on the 6th and the 7th was quiet with intermittent hostile shelling. They worked on the trenches.

At 6.30 the following morning the enemy opened a “Heavy and accurate barrage on the trenches occupied by B Coy. This continued throughout the day at intervals causing heavy casualties.” At dusk the company dug in new position 100 yards in rear. “Orders received for operation to take place on 9th.” The front line was readjusted.

War Diaries 21st Middlesex Rgt
April 9: At 3.00 pm 2 platoons of C Coy with 1 platoon of D as carrying party went over under moderate barrage. Objective 1 Cross Roads Q.23.c Objective II Cross Roads Q.23.a First Objective was reached with slight opposition at 3.21 pm. Consolidation commenced and one platoon under F S BRYAN proceeded towards second objective soon after coming under fire from three M.G.s causing several casualties. Our artillery failed to locate the guns. The platoon dug in and several attempts were made to reach the cross roads by patrolling round.

4.30 pm Our party of 8 under 2/lieut BRYAN actually reached the road but were wiped out except Lieut BRYAN.

Enemy shelling considerably increased causing many casualties

B Coy on left and A Coy on right had by this time covered the flanks by patrols.

5.10 Patrol of A Coy with Lewis Gun sent to assistance of a patrol of 13th B Yorks which had been heavily engaged by enemy.

5.30 Situation quiet

6.45 New position counter attacked on both flanks. Both L.G.s were out of action and casualties amounted to about 40. Another platoon on D sent up and a local counter attack under Capt Laidlaw which threatened to outflank the enemy caused them to retire.

7.00 Night quiet except for intermittent artillery & M.G. fire.

Line eventually established approximately Q.29b.1.2, Q29.a.8.6. Cross Road Q.23.c, Q.22.b 65-10. Q.22.a.5.1, Q.22.a.2.9. this giving a commanding position on high ground commanding Cross Road Q.23.a.

Communication with Artillery, Right Left Battalions and Battn HQ good.

Communication with Brigade only moderate owing to breaks in the wire. Touch kept through the Artillery.

Casualties
26 other ranks killed,
38 other ranks wounded,
1 wounded and missing *

April 10 Quiet day, Battalion relieved by 20th Bn Middlesex Rgt commencing at 8.30 pm The Corps Division and Brigade Commander send their congratulations on result of the operation of 9th.

* One body since discovered and buried unidentified assumed to be that of missing man 30.4.17

Frederick William Pywell is recorded as dying on 10th April 1917. It is not known if he is the unidentified body, but since his grave is not known, this may be him.

He is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Sinclair, Alfred. Died 9th Apr 1917

Alfred SINCLAIR was born in Crewe in late 1885. His parents were very much older, in 1901 they were living in Prince Arthur Street, Monk’s Coppenhall, Crewe. His father, Robert was 72 and still a working blacksmith; his mother, Harriet née Kettle, his father’s second wife whom he married in 1883, was 61, and Alfred was 15 and an ‘Apprentice Cabinet Maker’.   In 1919 when both his father and mother were dead, there were five step-brothers and two step-sisters still living, both Sinclairs and Kettles, with ages which ranged from 20 to 50.

In 1911 Alfred was in lodgings, a ‘visitor’, at the home of the Broadhurst confectioner family at 69 Bradwall Road, Sandbach. He was then a ‘Fitter’s Assistant [deleted], Fitter at Railway Works’. It seems likely that as Crewe was a ‘Railway Town’ he might well have worked for the L&NWR in Crewe and later transferred to Rugby. Prior to the war it seems that he had lived with one of his step-sisters, Mrs Francis Ann, née Kettle, Morgan of 62 Windsor Street, Rugby, whilst he was working at the London and North Western Railway Locomotive Sheds.[1]

Alfred’s Military Service Records survive, and include his Attestation Papers which show that he joined up early in the war on 1 September 1914, as a Rifleman, No.Y/535, in the 5th Battalion of the Kings Royal Rifle Corps. He was aged 29 years and 11 days; 5ft 3½in tall, weighed 142lbs, with fair complexion, blue eyes and dark brown hair. He was at Winchester Depot on 2 September 1914 and posted formally to the 5th (Reserve) Battalion, which had been in Winchester since August, on 3 September 1914. As a Depot and Training unit, they moved on mobilisation to Sheerness and remained in that area throughout the war.

However, Alfred was reposted on 30 October to the 14th (Reserve) Battalion. The 14th Bn. was formed at Sheerness in October 1914 for K4 and came under orders of 92nd Brigade of 31st Division then moved to Westcliff-on-Sea and on 10 April 1915 converted into a reserve battalion.   In May 1915 it moved to Belhus Park and in October to Seaford. Before then, on 3 September 1915, Alfred was posted from the Reserve to the B.E.F. (British Expeditionary Force) and went to France to join the 10th Bn..   This is confirmed by his Medal Card.

The 10th (Service) Battalion had been formed at Winchester on 14 September 1914 as part of K2 and came under orders of 59th Brigade in 20th (Light) Division.   They had moved to Blackdown, and then in February 1915 to Witley and in April to Hamilton Camp (Stonehenge). On 21 July 1915 the 10th Battalion landed at Boulogne and the Division concentrated in the Saint-Omer area. They moved to the Fleurbaix area for trench familiarisation. Alfred would have joined them some six weeks after they had arrived in France, probably in time for some of that familiarisation.

During June 1916 the 10th Bn. were involved in the Battle of Mount Sorrel, in the Ypres area responding to a German attack which attempted to take pressure off the British Somme offensive, which in turn was taking pressure off the German offensive against the French at Verdun. The 10th Bn. would later be posted to the Somme and were involved in the Battle of Delville Wood; the Battle of Guillemont; the Battle of Flers-Courcelette; the Battle of Morval; and the Battle of Le Transloy.

From 1 to 4 July the 10th Bn. were in billets in Poperinge, and later were working near the Prison in Ypres. Whilst there four mules were hit by shelling, but there is no record of casualties among the men. However, whilst with the 10th Bn. at about this date Alfred was wounded[2] and posted to the ‘Depot’ on 5 July 1916. His Military Record shows that he was wounded with a ‘SWLLeg’ – that is a Shell Wound to the Left Leg. He returned to UK for treatment and after his recovery he returned via Southampton to Le Havre, France on 8 December, and was posted to the 2nd Bn. on 9 December and re-posted ‘in the field’ to the 9th Bn. on 9 December 1916.

The French had handed over Arras to Commonwealth forces in the spring of 1916 and the system of tunnels upon which the town is built were used and developed in preparation for the major offensive planned for April 1917.

During April 1917, the 9th Bn. was in the Arras area and preparing for the offensive.   They were held in the caves in the old stone quarries under Arras, which had been much enlarged and provided cover.   The extract from the Ox. and Bucks. Diary[3] – they were in the same Brigade – provided information.

April 5th -7th

At Christchurch Cave supplying working parties.    Attack on the ‘Harp’.

The operations now in course of preparation were to take the form of a combined attack to the south of Lens. Elaborate Secret Orders were issued between the 3rd and 7th April, and from the 3rd to the 5th a heavy bombardment was carried out. At 7a.m. on the 7th the following Operation Orders were issued by the 42nd Infantry Brigade:

… The units of the 42nd Infantry Brigade will be distributed as follows at zero on “Z” day: … 9th K.R.R.C.: In Minnow Trench (250 yards). In Perch Trench (300 yards). In Bream Trench (200 yards). In Rudd Trench (150 yards). Total: 900 yards. … 9th K.R.R.C [leaving] … from Christchurch Cave by Exit No.14.E. (G.34.c.90.63). Battalion to be clear of the Cave by 9p.m. on the 8th inst. Route to Assembly Trenches: Rue de Temple – Arras Way and Hunter Street to Old German Front Line – Telegraph Lane and Fish Lane to Assembly Trenches; 200 yards distance to be maintained between platoons. Battalion to be in Assembly Trenches by 12 midnight 8th/9th inst.

The 9th K.R.R.C. Diary[4] relates that the 9th Bn. were to attack the ‘String’ of the ‘Harp’. Zero hour was 5.30a.m. and their wave set off at about 7.00a.m. under a ‘creeping barrage’. The objectives were successfully gained by about 9.15a.m. However, 6 Officers and 69 men were killed; 17 men were missing; and 4 officers and 118 men were wounded.

Alfred was one of those ‘Killed in Action’ on that Easter Monday, 9 April 1917. His body was not recovered or later identified and he is remembered on a Panel in Bay 7 of the Arras Memorial, located in the Faubourg-d’Amiens Cemetery, to the west of Arras, near the Citadel.

The Arras Memorial commemorates almost 35,000 servicemen from the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand who died in the Arras sector between the spring of 1916 and 7 August 1918, the eve of the Advance to Victory, and have no known grave. The memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

Alfred Sinclair’s Military Records show that his Next of Kin was originally his aunt, Maggie Sinclair, 29 John Street, Crewe, but it seems that his step-sister ‘Francis Ann, née Kettle, Morgan’ at 62 Windsor Street, Rugby, took over the role as she received some unknown ‘effects’ on 7 September 1917 – the record is illegible.   She later received his 1915 Star on 4 March 1919; the British War Medal on 24 January 1921 and his Victory Medal on 9 April 1921.

As well as on the Arras Memorial, Alfred is remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gate and on Rugby Loco Steam Shed Memorial, which is ‘A bronze tablet bearing the names of the dead, mounted on white marble, superimposed on black slate. On either side of the tablet is hung a framed illuminated roll of honour, containing the names of members of the department who served in the forces during the war.’[5]

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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This article on Alfred Sinclair was researched and 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 2016.

[1]       Information from Rugby Advertiser, 5 May 1917.

[2]       Information also from Rugby Advertiser, 5 May 1917;   He ‘… was wounded in July 1916 and returned to France in the following December.’

[3]    Record of the 5th (Service) Battalion, Oxford and Bucks L.I., 1st July 1916 to 30th June 1917, Compiled by Steve Berridge, http://www.lightbobs.com.

[4]       Available to view at www.ancestry.co.uk [subscription site].

[5]       From a report of the unveiling, Rugby Advertiser, 11 March 1921; see also the Rugby Family History Group website at http://www.rugbyfhg.co.uk/rugby-loco-steam-shed-memorial .

29th Jul 1916. Some After Effects of the Great Offensive

SOME AFTER EFFECTS OF THE GREAT OFFENSIVE.

An artillery officer who is in the great offensive writes to a friend in Rugby :- “ For days before the attack we were firing continuously, and on the actual day we got rid of a prodigious amount of ammunition. Fortunately[?], there was a bit of a lull after the attack, and we got some well-needed rest. So tired was one of my Sergeants that a rat gnawed at his face as he was lying in his dug-out. In a sleepy way he brushed it on one side, but it only returned, and finally he slept on, to find his face a mass of blood in the morning.

“ As for my Subalterns, they did nothing but eat and sleep for many days.

“ The Battery did very well, especially —who was complimented on the “ gallantry and initiative ” which he displayed.

“ It was rather sad to see our wounded come back, but they all seemed very cheery, and generally were hugging a German helmet, cap, pistol, or something as a souvenir. We escaped very fortunately in the casualty line, only having one N.C.O and two horses wounded, but on the day of the attack the Bosches fired gas shells at us, which made us all very sick and faint. On the whole, however, our worst enemy is the rain. There have been some extraordinary heavy showers, which have flooded our gun-pits and dug-outs at times. We are experts at mud shovelling, but it takes a lot of work and ingenuity to keep our homes from washing down. Getting out of bed in the morning is a work of fine art. We sleep in bunks in two rows, and the puzzle is, how to get into your boots without stepping on the floor, which, has or three inches of mud. It’s Wonderful how clever one gets at standing on one leg. The trenches are of course, very often waist deep in water, and it is often a choice between staying in and getting wet through, or jumping, out and risking a bullet. All the same we manage to keep merry and bright.”

WOLSTON.

AT CONTALMAISON.—Pte T Webb, writing to a friend says : “ Just to let you know I and the Wolston boys are still in the pink after a few days with the Germans. No doubt you have been having good news of the ‘boys’ this last few days. I shall never forget it. Talk about the Loos and Neave Chapelle battles, this was the worst I have ever been in. It was on July 8th when we had orders to get ready and stand-to. For five hours our artillery, with all sorts of shells, bombarded the village of Contalmaison, till there was hardly a wall or house left standing. The time came, and over we went with fixed bayonets and bombs. We had about 250 yards to go. We got there, and what a game we had chasing the Germans in and out of cellars and dug-outs. After holding on to the village a little time we had to retire owing to shells and machine gun fire from the Germans, but a little later on we made again for the village, and secured it this time. It was a sight to see the Germans lying about. We made 60 prisoners, and they seemed glad to be taken. One of them, who could speak rather good English, said they had just come from Verdun for a rest, and then the English started on them. One chap had the chance to get back to his lines, but refused to do so. They were rather tall, but only old men and boys, 16 or 50. We were up to our knees in mud and water, but they could not shift the Worcester sauce, which was a bit too strong for them. We hung on until we got relieved by another division the next night. We have pushed them back a few miles this time. It was a treat to look round their dug-outs. One I went down was about 40ft under the ground, fitted up with several compartments. It was more like an hotel, with spring beds, tables, and everything for use. On the walls were all sorts of photos and picture postcards from relatives and friends from Germany. The kitchen took our eye most ; it was fitted up with cooking stoves, boilers for making soup, and pots of all sorts. I think they were there, as they thought, for the duration of the War ; but we caught them napping, and use their hotel for ourselves now. We are having a quiet rest, and hope to be with them again very soon.”

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Mr Evan Percy Biddles, of Clifton, who has been in Paraguay, South America, for four years, his given up a good post there, and has returned home to serve his country.

Second-Lieut S A Miller-Hallett, South Wales Borderers, killed on July 11th, was in the Rugby School Cricket XI in 1908 and 1909. He was the second son of Mr A Miller-Hallett, of Chelsfield, whose XI provided very good club cricket in Kent some years ago.

Lieut A H Hales, Wiltshire Regiment, killed on July 5th, was a versatile athlete. Educated at Rugby and Corpus, Oxford, he gained his rowing Blue, and was at No. 3 in the Varsity crews of 1904 and 1905. As a Rugby footballer he was in his School XV in 1900, and afterwards played for the Harlequins and Monkstown. He was awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry in March, 1915.

Tuesday was the last day for unattested men who had not received calling up papers to report under the Military Service Act, but, probably owing to the thorough manner in which the calling-up process has been gone through locally, only one man reported at Rugby Drill Hall.

Mr Harry Hoare, so well known a few years ago in connection with the Rugby, Football, Cricket, and Hockey Clubs, now holds the rank of Major in the Army Service Corps, and Acts as Senior Supply Officer to the 38th Welsh Division.

SERGT J SOMERS, V.C, WOUNDED.

Sergt James Somers, of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, formerly billeted with Mrs Burns, Corbett Street, Rugby, who gained the Victoria Cross in the Dardenelles, was wounded for the third time in the great advance, and is at present in hospital at Newcastle.

LOCAL CASUALTIES.

The following Rugby men, belonging to the Rifle Brigade, have been reported wounded :—Rifleman J F Earl (5556), Rifleman J Hughes (235), Rifleman F P Liddington (751), Acting-Corpl A Packer (1283), Rifleman H Fulham (8), and Rifleman T C Smith (2426).

Corpl P Hammond, of E Co, R.W.R, son of Mr W D Hammond, 1 Kimberley Road, was wounded in the face on June 19th, but has now recovered and returned to the firing line.

Mr and Mrs W Aland, of 30 Arnold Street, received news on Sunday that their son, Pte Roy Aland, of the Warwicks, had been severely wounded by gun shot, the head, shoulders, back, and both arms and both legs being involved. The parents went over to France to see their son without delay. Pte Aland was employed as a foreman at Rugby when he enlisted, and has spent sixteen months in the trenches.

William Ewart Davenport, only son of Mr and Mrs A Davenport, of Harborough Magna, was killed in action on July 19th. Deceased was 18 years of age, and previous to the war was employed by the L & N.-W Railway as a cleaner. In a letter to the bereaved parents, his officer says : “ An officer and three telegraphists, including your son, were engaged on telephone work. The shelling was so severe that they took shelter in a dug-out. Immediately a shell dropped on this dug-out, killing all the occupants. The bodies were recovered and buried in a cemetery back of the lines.” The officer adds : — “ He was always cheerful, kind, obliging, and willing to do anything to help and further his work. Your son was a hard-working telephonist, who took a keen interest in his work, and was not afraid to go into the danger zone if it was necessary in the course of his duty.”

Flags were flying half-mast at the L & N.-W Stations and at sub-stations to Rugby, early in the week, as the result of the news that two of the late employes—C W Standish, of the Northamptonshire Regiment, and C A Jeeves, of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry—had been killed in the general advance in France. Standish was a cleaner, whose home is at Peterborough. He had a leg amputated in France, and was brought to a hospital in England, where gangrene set in, and he died. Jeeves came from Bedford. This makes six men connected with the Rugby Engine Shed who have been killed, and, in addition, nineteen have been wounded.

Mrs Ward, of 170 Lawford Road, New Bilton, received on the 7th inst. an official communication that her son, Pte Thomas Walter Ward, who has been reported missing since August 6, 1915, is now regarded as dead. Pte Ward, who enlisted in the Oxford and Bucks Regiment in September, 1914, was home on sick leave in June of last year, and, re-joining his regiment, was shortly afterwards transferred to the Hampshire Regiment, and left England for the Dardanelles. Pte Ward was a prominent member of the New Bilton Rugby Football and Cricket Clubs, and was very popular with all who knew him. Previous to the War he worked at Willans & Robinson’s. Much sympathy is felt for Mr and Mrs Ward in their great loss. They have a younger son, Lance-Corpl Sidney Ward, serving in France.

Lieut J Greenwood, of the Northampton Regiment, the well-known Rugby and Newbold footballer, is in hospital at Birmingham suffering, from wounds. Lieut Greenwood, who before the War was a teacher at Eastlands School, took part in the fighting at Fricourt during the first stage of the advance, and was wounded by a sniper in a tree on July 12th. His collar-bone is badly fractured, and he is also suffering severely from shock ; but his many friends will be pleased to hear that he is now making good progress.

CORPL A M BLADES, OF BROWNSOVER.

On Thursday Mr. Tom Blades, of Brownsover, received the sad news that his son, Corpl Albert Moisey Blades, of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, has died of wounds received during the recent fighting in France. Deceased, who was 21 years of age, enlisted early in the war.

B.T.H MEN KILLED.

Acting Sergt C F Miller, R.E, and Pte Pearson, Siege Co, R.E, two employes of the B.T.H, have been killed in the recent advance. Sergt Miller, who was an Irishman, was formerly in the Test, and Pte Pearson was employed in the Generator Dept.

A BRAVE SOLDIER.

Corpl Doyle, whose death was reported last week, lost his life under the following circumstances :—After the attack on the German trenches volunteers were called for to bring in the wounded. Corpl Doyle was one of the first to volunteer. He brought in one wounded soldier safely, and was bringing in another when he was shot dead. His Commanding Officer (Capt Lucas) says : “ His conduct was beyond all praise. A better or braver soldier never lived.”

RIFLEMAN JOHN LAMBOURNE, OF CLIFTON.

The death took place, as the result of founds received in the great offensive on July 9th, of Rifleman John Lambourne, Rifle Brigade, son of Mr Wm Lambourne, of Clifton. Rifleman Lambourne, who was only 17 years of age, joined the Army when he was 16, and had been in France since last December. He was formerly employed at the B.T.H Works.

DUNCHURCH

PTE J HUGHES, of the K.R.R, has arrived in Birmingham suffering from wounds. Of two companies of his regiment, in one of which he was fighting, there were only seven men left. He it the eldest son of Mr and Mrs J Hughes, Daventry Road, Dunchurch.—Pte R Elkington, Mill Street, who has been in many engagements, is home for a few days before going to Egypt.—Lieut J W Barnwell, R.W.R, Daventry Road, is suffering from wounds in France. Mr Barnwell has gone to see him.— Pte Carter, of the Territorials has also been injured, and is in London.

BRINKLOW.

ROLL OF HONOUR.—The parishioners of Brinklow extend their deepest sympathy to Mr and Mrs T Kenney and family in their grief at the loss of their son, Roland Kenney, who has been killed in action during our great offensive. Roland joined the Territorials just prior to the War, and like many others, volunteered for service abroad, where he has been for over twelve months. He was of a particularly lively nature, and was always a prominent figure in all the outdoor sports the village. He undoubtedly made a good soldier, and was accordingly promoted to the rank of sergeant.

LONG ITCHINGTON.

MONTAGU PEARSON KILLED.—On Monday morning the news was officially confirmed of the death of Lance-Corpl Montagu Pearson (South Staffs Regiment), eldest son of Mr and Mrs W J Pearson. He was killed while fighting in France on the 1st inst. Previous to the War he had been employed at the B.T-H Works at Rugby, and enlisted from there on August 17, 1914. He took part in the operations in Gallipoli, where he was wounded on August 9, 1915. Last January he paid a short visit home. He was 23 years old. Lance-Corpl Pearson was of fine athletic build and a keen lover of sport. For several years he had done good service for the local Football Club, of which he latterly held the position of captain. He will be greatly missed by many.

THE ROLL OF HONOUR.—On Sunday the Vicar (Rev W E Ellis) made feeling reference to the three deaths which have, within the past three weeks, occurred in the ranks of our local soldiers—Rowland Evetts, Montagu Pearson, and Sutton Russell. The loss of the latter he particularly instanced as one which touched himself very keenly. From the time when a very little lad he attended the Church Schools he found Joseph Sutton Russell a very regular attendant there, and also as a member of the Church Choir. From the time of his confirmation he had always been a devout and regular communicant. The sermon was followed by the singing of Dr Neale’s hymn, “ They whose course on earth is o’er.”

SOUTHAM.

KILLED IN ACTION.—News was received on Friday last week of the death in action of Pte Arthur Adams, of the Manchester “ Pals ” Regiment. Deceased, who was highly respected in Southam, was the eldest son of Mr and Mrs H Adams, of Oxford Street, was of a bright and cheery disposition. Before the War Pte Adams was a grocer in Manchester. He leaves a widow, for whom much sympathy is felt.

DEATHS.

DAVENPORT.—On July 19th (killed in action), William Ewart, R.F.A, only son of Mr and Mrs. A. Davenport, Post Office, Harborough Magna. Aged 18 years.
“ He sleeps not in his native land.
But neath some foreign skies ;
And far from those that loved him best.
In a hero’s grave he lies.”
—From his loving mother, father, and sisters Jess and Della.

LENTON.—In loving memory of William Henry (Will), dearly beloved son of the late Mr. and Mrs. T. Lenton, Wood Street, who died from wounds in France, July 19,1916, aged 36 years.
“ Lord, ere I join the deadly strife,
And battles terrors dare ;
Fain would I render heart and life
To Thine Almighty care.
And when grim death in smoke wreaths robed,
Comes thundering o’er the scene,
What fear can reach a soldier’s heart
Whose trust in Thee has been.”

MANNING.—On July 11, 1916, died of wounds in France, Thomas Manning, Northants Regiment, of Braunston, beloved husband of Georgina Manning, of Leamington Spa.

SEENEY.—Killed in action in France, July 2, 1916, Signaller W. Seeney, R.W.R.,of Bourton, aged 18.
“ We loved him—oh! no tongue can tell
How much we loved him and how well ;
His fresh young life could not be saved,
And now he sleeps in a soldiers grave.”
—Deeply mourned by his loving MOTHER, SISTERS and BROTHERS.

IN MEMORIAM.

TOMLINSON.—In loving Memory of William Tomlinson, K.R.R.’s, killed in action at Hooge, July 30,1915.
“ He bravely answered duty’s call,
His life he gave for one and all.
But the unknown grave is the bitterest blow :
None but aching hearts can know.”
-From his loving father, mother, sisters, and brothers.

PRESTON.—In loving Memory of Rifleman Jack Preston, 7th K.R.R., killed in action, July 30, 1915.
“ Somewhere in France there is a nameless grave,
Where sleeps our loved one amid the brave.
One of the rank and file, he heard the call,
And for the land he loved he gave his all.”
—Father, mother, and sisters.

REDFEARN.—In loving Memory of Rifleman Joseph Charles (Tim) Redfearn, 7th K.R.R., died of wounds, July 21, 1915.
“ Had he asked us, well we know
We should cry, ‘ O spare this blow.’
Yes, with streaming tears should pray,
‘ Lord, we love him ; let him stay.’”
—His wife and daughters, High Street, Thame.

SMITH.—In loving memory of Herbert, the dearly loved son of Frederick Smith. Killed in action in Flanders, July 30, 1915.—“ We loved you well ; God loved you best.”—FATHER, SISTER and BROTHERS.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR.

A BRITISH SOLDIER.

To the Editor of the Advertiser.

SIR,—I was talking to a wounded boy of the Hampshire Regiment on the platform of Rugby Station the other day. I asked him what his wounds were ? He replied : “ My right arm is shattered, three fingers off left hand,” and he also had a large gash across one cheek. He had been at Loos, Hulluck, and Ypres ; and, as he termed it, had had the biggest part of a shell. He added : “ I am no more use, sir; but I am glad I went.” A little thing like this, I think, helps to show the spirit of our men and the stuff they are made of.—I am, yours faithfully,

CORBET SMITH.
July 26, 1916.

EGGS FOR WOUNDED SOLDIERS.—At Rugby Railway Mission a collection of eggs was made on Sunday afternoon, and no fewer than 250 were received, including 64 from the men working in the Locomotive Department at Rugby Station, to whom a special appeal had been made. Mr J J Thompson gave the address at the service, which was well attended, and the eggs, having been received by Mr Frank Ward, were placed in a large nest, made of hay and decorated with the national colours by Mrs Beard. The eggs were afterwards distributed between the three local Red Cross Hospitals.

PRISONERS OF WAR FUND.

The usual monthly meeting of the Executive Committee of the Rugby Prisoners of War Fund was held on Wednesday.

The Hon Secretary (Mr J R Barker) reported that to date the subscriptions amounted to £545 13s 10d, and the expenditure on food parcels &c, was £432 11s 5d, leaving a balance in hand of £113 2s 5d, sufficient for six weeks’ parcels. During the week subscriptions amounted to £18 17s 4d, including the sum of £8 3s collected at the V.T.C Sports on Saturday last. This was the first week for some time that the receipts exceeded the expenditure.

All outstanding accounts were passed for payment, and as this would be the last meeting of the financial year, the Secretary was instructed to prepare the accounts for audit, so that a balance-sheet could be issued early next month.

This week’s parcels contained ¼-lb tea, jar of marmalade, one large tin salmon, one large tin fruit, one tin of cafe au lait, one tin potted meat, one tin condensed milk, tin cocoa, tablet of soap, ¼-lb sugar.

RAILWAY CONCESSION TO MUNITION WORKERS.—For the convenience of munition workers who have to go from Rugby to Coventry in the early morning the L & N-W Railway have arranged to run a train from Rugby at 5.5 a.m, and arrive at Coventry at 5.20 a.m. It will commence on Monday, July 31st, and be continued for a fortnight to see whether the number of passengers justifies permanent running of the train.

Walduck, Ernest. Died 28th Jan 1916

Ernest WALDUCK – d. 28 January 1916

Ernest Walduck’s birth was registered in Rugby in late 1893.   He was the son of Joseph Walduck, born about 1865, in Drayton Parslow, Buckinghamshire and his wife, Kate, née Hogg, Walduck, born about 1867, in Little Horwood, also in Buckinghamshire. Their marriage was registered in early 1891 in Northampton [Q1, 3b, 121]. They moved to Rugby before the birth of their eldest, Polly, whose birth was registered in early 1892.

In 1901 the family was living at 784 New Station – in one of the ‘railway cottages’. The family moved to Hillmorton in about 1908 and in 1911 were enumerated in Upper Street, and were probably at Hill Cottage, which was their address in 1916.

By 1911, Ernest’s father, Joseph Walduck, was 46, and a ‘Foreman, Platelayer, LNWR’; his wife, Kate, was 44.   By 1911 they had had eight children, but two had died. Their surviving six children were all still living at home: Pollie Walduck, was 19, a ‘Cigar Maker’; Ernest Walduck, 17, was a ‘Carriage Cleaner, LNWR’ – and like his father, and indeed his grandfather, worked on the Railway. Florence Jennie Walduck, 16, was a ‘Tungsten Lamp Arcer, Electrical Engineering Works’; Roland George Walduck, was 11; Isabella Walduck, 9; and Philip Walduck, 3 years old.

Two children, Ethel Eliza, b.1896 and Joseph, b.1898, had died in infancy. An Ethel Ada R Walduck, also registered in Rugby in 1901, was a member of another, seemingly unrelated, family.

As was the case for a number of local men, Ernest enlisted at Rugby as Private, No.10467 in the 5th Battalion of the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.

The surviving Service Records for the Ox. and Bucks. suggest that there was a rapid response to the recruitment drive and the service numbers can be used to make an estimate of the place and date of attestation for other soldiers. With the number 10467, it is likely that Ernest joined up in Rugby very early in the war and indeed, a later article suggests that his enlistment was in August 1914,[1] and certainly well before 12 September 1914 as he was listed under Hillmorton in an article, ‘Villages Answer the Call’.[2]

The 5th Bn. Ox. and Bucks. was formed at Oxford in August 1914 as part of Kitchener’s new army and was placed under the orders of the 42nd Brigade in the 14th (Light) Division. However, Ernest did not go to France until 20 May 1915, which suggests he was with the draft that landed in Boulogne on 21 May 1915.

Some background to his likely service can be found in the report on the actions of the 5th Ox & Bucks in the second Battle of Bellewaarde Farm, 25 September 1915. Then on 16 and 17 October there were heavy losses in the mine explosion and subsequent actions in that area [see the biography of Walter Davis, who died on 17 October 1915].

At some date Ernest had been promoted to Corporal. The Newspaper report stated that ‘… He had seen much fighting, and also acted as a stretcher bearer. … His parents had expected him home on leave any day.[3]

Before Christmas there had been rumour that the Battalion was to be posted to Egypt – but this was cancelled and ‘… During January we had three tours of the trenches not always in exactly the same part, and we generally had four days in the line, four days at B Huts, near Vlamertinghe, and four days at Elverdinghe, the period out of the line being devoted, as usual, to training and providing working parties. There was a certain amount of excitement at different times in the trenches, and a good deal of shelling and sniping went on, but as a rule things were pretty quiet, and we had few casualties.[4]

At some date in later January, when things were ‘pretty quiet’, he was wounded and evacuated to the Hospital area around Lijssenthoek to the west of Poperinge, where he died on 28 January 1916.

‘In a kind and sympathetic letter from the sister in charge of M.C.C. Station[5] to which Corpl. Walduck was conveyed, it stated that he was going on comfortably till a sudden and unexpected change set in, and he died shortly afterwards without being able to give a message for home.   He was laid to rest in the soldiers’ cemetery.’[6]

He was buried adjacent to the hospital area in the Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Plot: IV. C. 39.

He was awarded the British and Victory Medals and the 1915 Star, and is remembered on the Hillmorton War Memorial and on the Rugby Memorial Gates.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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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, January 2016.

 

[1]       Rugby Advertiser, February 1916.

[2]       Rugby Advertiser, 12 September 1914.

[3]       Rugby Advertiser, February 1916.

[4]       http://www.lightbobs.com/5-oxf–bucks-li-1915-1916.html, Record of the 5th (Service) Battalion, 1st August 1915 to 30th June 1916.

[5]       Probably Medical Casualty Clearing Station – more commonly CCS; a large number of CCSs were established at Remy Farm, Lijssenthoek, on the railway to the west of Poperinge, in the rear area of the Ypres sector.

[6]       Rugby Advertiser, February 1916.

Busson, Ernest Charles. Died 17th Oct 1915

Ernest Charles Busson was born in 1893, he was baptised on 14 January 1894. His parents were William Edward and Elizabeth Busson. Father’s birth registered in Stow in the Wold, Gloucestershire and his mother’s in Rugby, Warwickshire.

His mother and father married 27 September 1886 in St Matthew’s Church in Rugby. Ernest was one of four children, his eldest brother, William Alfred b. 1887, fought and died in The Great War, 26 August 2014, Mary Ann b 1888, and John Henry b. 1890 who also signed up to fight.

In the 1911 census William and Elizabeth are recorded as being married for 26 years, living at 30 Sun Street, Rugby, and William working as a house painter and John Henry (23) and Ernest Charles (18) as Labourers (brick-layers). Previous census records have transcription errors and record the surname as Burson instead of Busson.

The local newspaper reported that “A second son killed”. “Official news was received on Tuesday that Pte Ernest Chas Busson, of the 5th Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, was killed in action on October 17th. This confirms a report circulated in the town last week as to the fate of the young soldier. Pte Busson, whose home is at 30 Sun Street, Rugby, joined the Regiment when the war broke out, he was 23 years of age, and was employed at the L & N W Erecting Shop. He was brother to Pte Wm Busson, of the 1st Royal Warwicks, who was killed in the retreat from Mons.”

Ernest Charles’ British Army WW1 Medal Rolls Index Card states that the theatre of war entered in was France and date of entry 06/08/1915. He joined the 6th Bn., Oxfordshire and Buckingham Light Infantry as Private Busson, regimental number 11867. He was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal and the 1915 Star.

Edward Charles is remembered with Honour at Rue-Du-Bacquerot No. 1 Military Cemetry, Laventie, Departement du Pas-de-Calais, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France

Rue-de-Bacquerot No.1Military Cemetry, Laventie

Location Information

Laventie is a village in the Department of the Pas-de-Calais, 6 kilometres south-west of Armentieres and 11 kilometres north of La Bassee. Rue-du-Bacquerot No.1 Military Cemetery is 3 kilometres south of Laventie on the north side of the road to La Couture

Historical Information

The Rue-du-Bacquerot runs south-east of the village, from the Estaires-La Bassee road towards Fleurbaix, and the position of this road close behind the Allied front trenches during the greater part of the First World War made it the natural line of a number of small Commonwealth cemeteries. One of these, begun by the Indian Corps in November 1914, was the nearest to the Estaires-La Bassee road and became known as Rue-du-Bacquerot No.1.

The cemetery was used until May 1917, and for short periods in 1918, by the units holding the line. After the Armistice the small Indian plots were enlarged when graves were brought in from the battlefields and from smaller burials grounds.

Nineteen of the Indian graves were brought in from RUE-DES-CHAVATTES INDIAN CEMETERY, LACOUTURE.

The cemetery contains 637 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War. 61 of the burials are unidentified and special memorials commemorate 12 casualties. The cemetery also contains seven German graves.

The cemetery was designed by Sir Herbert Baker.

This summary was prepared for the Rugby Family History Group by Janine Fearn in October 2015. Many thanks are due to, Christine Hancock, for managing the project, and for producing the “Rugby Remembers” blog and also to those members of the group who provided data from the local papers.

Research achieved from using Ancestry and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission web sites.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM