Bromwich, Frederick. Died 8th May 1917

Frederick Bromwich was born in Rugby in about 1879. His father was Edwin Bromwich, who was born in Rugby in 1852. He married Mary A. [née Sharp] Bromwich, who was born in Middlesex, in Rugby in 1875. In 1881 Edwin Bromwich was a shoemaker, living at 26 Ploughman Street, Rugby; in 1891 he had become a football maker, now at 21 Plowman Street – although this may have been the same house renumbered by the Post Office.

By 1901 the family had moved to 5 Round Street, and Frederick’s father was now working as a boot-maker, whist Frederick had started work as a groom.

In early 1909, Frederick married Fanny Hodges in Rugby. She was some six years his junior. By 1911, Frederick, now 32, was a ‘vanman’, and the couple lived at 39 Temple Street, Rugby. At some date they moved to Chapel Street, Long Lawford, Rugby.

At some date after the outbreak of the war, he enlisted at Rugby as a Private, No.22391, in the 15th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

With only the minimum details on his Medal Card and no surviving Service Record, it is difficult to reconstruct Frederick’s service history. His service number can be compared to similar numbers and a William Jarvis, No.22396, only five different, appears to have joined up on 30 October 1916.   Whilst this is well into the war, it must be remembered that at the outbreak of war Frederick was already 35 and married,[1] but the conscription of married men had started in June 1916.

The 15th Battalion (2nd Birmingham) Royal Warwickshire Regiment had been formed in Birmingham by the Lord Mayor and a local Committee in September 1914. The Battalion moved to Sutton Coalfield and then in June 1915 to Wensleydale to join the 95th Brigade of the 32nd Division and later moved to Salisbury Plain.

On 21 November 1915 the Battalion mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and on 14 January 1916 had transferred to 13th Brigade in the 5th Division. In March 1916, still before Frederick had joined up, the Division took over a section of front line near Arras, between St Laurent Blangy and the southern edge of Vimy Ridge. When the offensive opened on the Somme on 1 July 1916, the 5th Division was enjoying a period of rest and re-fit and was in GHQ Reserve. However, this restful time was not destined to last and in July 1916 they moved some 50 miles south to reinforce the Somme.

It is unlikely that Frederick had received sufficient training to have been involved on the Somme, but in October 1916 the Division had left the Somme and was holding a quieter line near Festubert and this may have been when newer recruits would have joined the 15th Battalion as reinforcements. Whilst there was a constant threat from enemy artillery and sniper fire, in comparison with the Somme it was a relatively tranquil period that lasted until March 1917.

In early April 1917 they moved to Arras for the various phases of the Battles of Arras, starting with the attack on Vimy Ridge from 9-12 April 1917; and then three Battles of the Scarpe, 9-14 April; 23-24 April 1917; and 3-4 May 1917; and the subsidiary attack on La Coulotte on 23 April 1917.

However on the date that Frederick died, 8 May 1917, the 15th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment was ordered to attack the German-held village of Fresnoy [in full Fresnoy-en-Gohelle], which was about 8 miles north-east of Arras and west of Vimy.

The Battalion War Diary records that preparations did not go smoothly. The men were ordered forward to a forming up point several hours before the attack, from where they would launch their offensive. Unfortunately, orders were issued, countermanded and reissued, and the men were moved forlornly around the forming up area, all the while artillery fire. Time passed, and eventually the attack was cancelled for that day and postponed until 0200 on the 9th. Sadly, the delay and confusion meant that the Warwicks were held in the jump off zone for several hours, coming under German artillery fire and sustaining casualties of six other ranks killed, 18 wounded.[2]

Terry Carter provided a summary of the 9 May attack in his book The Birmingham Pals:

Before the men even got to the German positions many casualties were caused by shellfire catching them whilst crossing No Man’s Land. Despite these early losses men of the 15th Royal Warwicks reached their objectives in and around Fresnoy, but because they were now weak in numbers and both flanks in the air, the remaining men had to pull out and return to the jumping off line. During this failed attack the Battalion lost 206 men; sixty of these were killed. Once back in the jumping off trench, the 15th Royal Warwicks were relieved by the 16th, who then suffered four days of concentrated artillery bombardment, in which twenty five men lost there [sic] lives.[3]

Another soldier in the 15th Battalion, Private Ernest Powell, No.22718, who died on the same day as Frederick, was buried in the same cemetery.

… he died whilst engaged in a fight for the nearby village of Fresnoy in which 104 men were killed. A colonel commanding the battalion wrote a report of the “disaster” of 8th May and concluded that the men were “attempting to hold an impossible salient as a defensive postition”, that there was no aerial or artillery support and the appalling weather turned the area into a sea of mud with “visibility being NIL”.

Frederick was ‘Killed in Action’ on 8 May 1917. He is buried in the Orchard Dump Cemetery, Arleux-En-Gohelle in Grave Reference: I. E. 4. The cemetery is about a kilometer west of Arleux-en-Gohelle, which is about two kilometers west of Fresnoy.

The Orchard Dump Cemetery was only begun in April 1917, to serve the new front opening with the Battles of Arras, and it was used by the units holding that front until the following November. The original burials are in Plot VI, Row K, and Plot I, Rows A to F which latter plot includes Frederick’s grave. He was one of the first casualties to be buried there, in the seemingly less regimented area, now surrounded by the more orderly ranks of graves.

The cemetery was greatly enlarged after the Armistice by the concentration of graves, mostly of unknown soldiers, from the neighbouring battlefields and from other burial grounds. During the 1939-45 War, the cemetery was used again by a casualty clearing station. The site was given by the widow of a Captain in the French 72nd Infantry Regiment, killed in action in August 1914.

Frederick Bromwich does not appear to be related to John George Bromwich who is also commemorated on the War Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road, Rugby.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

 

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This article on Frederick Bromwich 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, July 2014.

 

[1]       Conscription during First World War began when the British government passed the Military Service Act in 1916. The act specified that single men aged 18 to 45 years old were liable to be called up for military service unless they were widowed with children or ministers of a religion. Married men were exempt in the original Act, although this was changed in June 1916.   The age limit was also eventually raised to 51 years old

[2]       http://www.frontlinelivinghistory.com/#!social–blog/c1muy.

[3]       Terry Carter, The Birmingham Pals, at http://www.frontlinelivinghistory.com/#!social–blog/c1muy

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Cox, Frederick William. Died 20th Apr 1917

Frederick William COX, was born in late 1893 in Long Lawford, his birth being registered in Rugby.   He was the son of Joseph Edgar Cox J.P., C.C., a farmer, of Long Lawford, who was born in Newbold in about 1864, and his wife, Mary Elizabeth née Parriss Cox, who was born in Lamington, Warwickshire, also in about 1864. Joseph and Elizabeth’s marriage was registered in Rugby in mid-1891.

In 1901, the family were living in the ‘Farm House’ in Long Lawford – this was presumably Lodge Farm, where his father, Joseph, had lived with his family in 1891 and where Joseph Edgar Cox and his family would continue to live in 1911, when his own children included Joseph Parris Cox, 19; Frederick William Cox, 17 died; George Herbert Cox, 16; Ernest Edgar Cox, 14; Alfred Leslie Cox, 12; and Roland Lee Cox, 7.

Frederick William Cox attended Lawrence Sherriff School and joined up at the beginning of the war, as did his brother, George; they were both in the Warwickshire Yeomanry.

Frederick was No: 2280 in the 1st/1st Warwickshire Yeomanry, and was later in the Corps of Hussars, as No: 310088. His Medal Card shows that he went to No.3 Theatre of War, Egypt on 20 April 1915. A report in the Rugby Advertiser[1] in December 1915 noted that Frederick and George ‘… have been at the Dardenelles for some time’.   ‘Trooper F W Cox has been suffering from dysentery, but is now better, and is at Cyprus, …’ at that same date it recounted that ‘… his brother, Trooper G H Cox, is ill with jaundice, at Lemnos.’

George Herbert Cox was No. 2281 in the Warwickshire Yeomanry, thus joining up his brother, and he also went into the Egypt theatre of war on 20 April 1915, presumably having been with his brother since enlisting with him. He later transferred to the Machine Gun Corps as No. 164511.

The eldest son, Joseph Parris Cox, and his younger brother, Ernest Edgar Cox,[2] both joined up in December 1915, under Lord Derby’s scheme.[3] Together with George Herbert Cox, these three of Frederick’s brothers would survive the war.[4]

To return to Frederick Cox’s service in the 1/1st Warwickshire Yeomanry, they …

… mobilised in August 1914, and moved to Bury St Edmunds and then on 31 August 1914, moved to Newbury and in November 1914 to Sheringham in Norfolk, and on 17 December to Norwich.

On 11 April 1915 they sailed from Avonmouth for Egypt on ‘Wayfarer’, but were torpedoed when 60 miles NW of Scilly Isles. Although the ship did not sink, the horses had to be rescued and volunteers of the regiment saved 763 horses, receiving a Military Cross and twelve Meritorious Service Medals. They were towed to Queenstown (Ireland) and finally sailed for Egypt and arrived at Alexandria on 24 April.

They were moved to Gallipoli for service as dismounted infantry and on 18 August 1915, landed at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli. They took part in the attack on Chocolate Hill and Hill 112 [the Battle of Scimitar Hill] on 21 August. By early September 1915, severe sickness together with battle casualties resulted in temporary reorganisation, merging with 1/1st Gloucestershire and 1/1st Worcestershire Yeomanry to form 1st South Midland Regiment, 1st Composite Mounted Brigade. However, they continued in trench warfare activities in the line in the Green Hill and Chocolate Hill sectors until evacuated to Mudros on 31 October 1915.

By December 1915 they had withdrawn from Gallipoli and returned to Egypt, where in January 1916, the brigade became an independent command and was renamed as the 5th Mounted Brigade, and in February 1917, was assigned to the Imperial/Australian Mounted Division, and saw action at the First and Second Battles of Gaza, the Charge at Huj as well as the Battle of Mughar Ridge and the Battle of Jerusalem.[5]

At some date, Frederick was promoted to Lance Corporal in the Warwickshire Yeomanry.

On 28 February 1917, the cavalry of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force [EEF] – including the 1/1st Warwickshire Yeomanry entered Khan Yunus, which was between the Egyptian border and Deir el Belah, causing the Turks to withdraw to Gaza and Beersheba. The railway was pushed forward to Deir el Belah, which became the railhead on 4 April 1917, and an aerodrome and camps were established there.

In April, the 5th Mounted Brigade (under Brigadier General E. A. Wiggin) comprising the Warwickshire Yeomanry together with the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars and the Worcestershire Yeomanry, were part of the Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division (under Major General Sir H.G. Chauvel).

The First Battle of Gaza had been fought by the mounted divisions during an ‘encounter battle’ when speed and surprise were emphasised. Then Gaza had been an outpost garrisoned by a strong detachment on the flank of a line stretching eastwards from the Mediterranean Sea.

During the three weeks between the First and Second Battles of Gaza, the town was quickly developed into the strongest point in a series of strongly entrenched positions … The Ottoman defenders not only increased the width and depth of their front lines, they developed mutually supporting strong redoubts on ideal defensive ground.

The construction of these defences changed the nature of the Second Battle of Gaza, fought from 17 to 19 April 1917, to an infantry frontal attack across open ground against well prepared entrenchments, with mounted troops in a supporting role. …

The strength of the Ottoman fortifications and the determination of their soldiers defeated the EEF. The EEF’s strength, which before the two battles for Gaza could have supported an advance into Palestine, was now decimated. Murray commanding the EEF and Dobell commanding Eastern Force were relieved of their commands and sent back to England.[6]

It was probably during the Second Battle of Gaza that Frederick William Cox sustained the wounds from which he died, aged 23, on 20 April 1917. He was buried at Deir el Belah Cemetery, Palestine in grave ref: A.128.

Deir El Belah is in Palestine about 16 kilometres east of the Egyptian border, and 20 kilometres south-west of Gaza. The cemetery was begun towards the end of March 1917 and remained in use until March 1919. Most of the burials were made either from field ambulances from March to June 1917, or from April 1917 from Casualty Clearing Stations, and the 69th General Hospital.

Frederick’s death was reported in the Rugby Advertiser, where a memorial notice was also later posted.[7] He was awarded the Victory and British medals and the 1915 Star. He is remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gate, and also on the Old Laurentians Memorial and the Newbold Memorial.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

– – – – – –

 

This article on Frederick William COX 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, April 2017.

[1]       Rugby Advertiser, 11 December 1915.

[2]       Ernest Edgar Cox initially joined up in Rugby on 8 December 1915, and one record suggests a short time in the 3rd Bn., Gloucestershire Regiment on 16 January 1917, and soon after, on 5 April 1917, transferred to the 3rd Bn., Machine Gun Corps, No:97564 [?also No.32817]; he survived the war and his Service Records exist.   He went to France, Basrah, Suez and Port Said during his war service.

[3]       Rugby Advertiser, 11 December 1915.

[4]       Joseph Parris Cox and Ernest Edgar Cox were Executors of their father, Joseph’s Will in 1932.

[5]       Edited from http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-british-yeomanry-regiments-of-1914-1918/warwickshire-yeomanry/ and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warwickshire_Yeomanry.

[6]         https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinai_and_Palestine_Campaign#First_Battle_of_Gaza.2C_26_March

[7]       Rugby Advertiser, 28 April 1917 and 5 May 1917 respectively.

9th Dec 1916. An Urban Council Employee’s Wages

AN URBAN COUNCIL EMPLOYEE’S WAGES.

Leave to appeal for a further extension was asked for Mr M J H Sharp, surveyor under the Rugby Urban District Council, in respect of Arthur Williams (35, married), chargehand at the refuse destructor, living at 58 Bennett Street.—In a letter Mr Sharp said he had advertised the post six times, and had not received a single application. The Military Authorities had supplied substitutes, who had refused to take on the work after visiting the destructor and seeing what was required of them. If the man joined up before a suitable substitute was obtained, the Council would be left in an awkward position, and no doubt the destructor would have to be closed down, as neither of the three men left was fit to take charge. Seeing the man was passed for garrison duty only, the Surveyor considered he would be doing good service by remaining in his present employment.

The Chairman : What wages are you offering ?-Mr Sharp : Thirty shillings.—The Chairman : I think you ought to be ashamed of yourself to offer a wage like that. Do you know what the ordinary labourer gets at the Coventry destructor works ?—Mr Sharp : Ninepence an hour.—The Chairman : He gets £2 3s per week.-Mr Sharp : How many hours do they work ?—The Chairman : Fifty-four.—Mr Sharp said the average of the men at the Rugby destructor was less than that.

The Chairman asked if it was true that the Military sent a man who would have gone for £2 a week, and they would not have him ?—Mr Sharp : Not that I am aware of.-Mr Wratislaw : It is true.

Mr Sharp enquired who the man referred to was ?—The Chairman read a statement by the Military to the effect that Mr Sharp asked them to send the man up, and on his return he informed them he would have taken the place, only 30s a week was offered, and he would not agree to take it under £2.—The Chairman (to Mr Sharp : Did you offer him £2 a week ?—Mr Sharp : I said, “ Come down to the destructor and see what work you have got to do.” He went down, and he would not take the job.

The Chairman : The chargehands at our destructor are earning £3 10s a week. Leave to appeal refused. It is a disgraceful thing. You say the man is absolutely indispensible to Rugby. You say if he goes you will have to shut down, and the health of Rugby will be jeopardised, and yet you offer 30s a week. Leave to appeal is not allowed in this case. I do not think the Urban District Council of Rugby can really understand it.

Mr Sharp : I am placed in an awkward position. One of the men is away from work, and if Williams has to go I shall have to close down to-night.—The Chairman : Well, you will have to close down. You thoroughly deserve it. You have asked for it.—Mr Sharp : Thank you, Sir.

RUGBY VOLUNTEER CORPS.

The entertainments at the Co-operative Hall on Thursday and Friday last week were of a highly enjoyable character, and must have entailed a large amount of time and trouble on the part of the organisers. The colour scheme adopted for the costumes and stage (black and scarlet) was striking and pleasing to the eye. The members of the party are local ladies and gentlemen, who, however, prefer to remain anonymous.

“ Jacques ” with his patter was a source of mirth, and “ Coquette ” for her song “ Come and cuddle me,” was quite successful. The rich baritone voice of “ Pierre ” was heard to advantage in “ Sailor’s Paradise.” “ Babette ” was at her best in “ Whoops 1 lets do it again,” and Paulette” captivated the audience with her songs, “ Plumstones ” and “ God send you back to me,” which were rendered with ability. The concarted pieces were pleasingly rendered. “ Jeau ” was quite at home with “ Every morn you’ll hear him say Good-night,” and made a good hit. “ Little Reggie,” the pet of the party, caused roars of laughter on Friday, evening in a Charlie Chaplin make-up, and also did useful work as a programme seller.

The financial result was satisfactory ; it is expected, to clear about £30.

A collection was made each evening to provide, tea for the wounded soldiers, who were entertained at a special matinee on Saturday. The whole of the sum realised—vis, £3 7s 9d—will be given to the Rugby Infirmary V.A.D Hospital Fund.

The secretarial work was successfully carried out by Mr G O Watson, the hon secretary of the Corps.

The thanks of the Corps to the members of the party were expressed by Mr C H Fuller, Commandant, in a short speech at the performance on Thursday. Mr Fuller also urged on the public the usefulness of the Corps, as evidenced by Lord French’s interest and support. More men are urgently needed to bring the Corps up to Company strength. At present the Corps has Atherstone attached to it to form the “ B ” Company of the 2nd (County) Battalion.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

News has come to hand that Second-Lieut E F Lawlor, of the Monmouthshire, grandson of Mr John Lawlor, of 7 Charlotte Street (a member of the Rugby Board of Guardians), has been killed in action. He was with other soldiers killed by a shell on the parapet of a trench. Lieut Lawlor was well known in Marton and the vicinity.

Pte George H Dunstone, of the R.A.M.C, who at the time he enlisted was a clerk in the Traffic Department at Rugby under Mr Bolton, has won the Military Medal for his bravery in rescuing wounded soldiers when under fire. He has recently had ten days’ leave, and on visiting his friends at Rugby was heartily congratulated by them on the honour conferred upon him.

Captain E W E Kempson, commander of the unit of the Army Troops Corps, R.E, which was raised in Rugby, and originally known as the “ Rugby Fortress Company,” has been mentioned in despatches.

The parcels sent this week on behalf of the Rugby Prisoners of War Help Committee to the Rugby and District men in prison camps in Germany, contained the following :— ½lb biscuits, 1 tin herrings, 1 tin Oxo cubes, ¼ tin cocoa, ½lb cooked ham in tin, 2oz tobacco. ½lb sugar, ½lb milk, pepper, salt, and mustard, 1 tin sausages, ½lb dripping in tin.

ANOTHER LONG LAWFORD SOLDIER KILLED.

Official information has been received by Mr and Mrs Elkington, of Long Lawford, that their son, Rifleman J Elkington, of the Rifle Brigade, was killed in action November 10th. Previous to the war, Rifleman Elkington was employed at the Carpenter’s Shop at the B.T.H, and had been in France for the past eighteen months.

PRESENTATION OF D.C.M.

At Bilton Hall Red Cross Hospital on Thursday, Colonel Johnstone presented to Gunner Roberts, R.G.A, the Distinguished Conduct Medal, won in Gallipoli in January, 1915, for carrying a wounded comrade to safety under very heavy fire. Col Johnstone, who was accompanied by Major Neilson, made a very appropriate speech, and pinned on the medal in the presence of the Commandant, the Quartermaster, the in-patients, and Staff.

LANCE-CORPL BOB MAYS AWARDED THE MILITARY MEDAL.

Mr J Mays, of 17 South Street, Rugby, has received a letter from his son, Lance-Corpl Bob Mays, of the Royal Berkshire Regiment, describing how he won the Military Medal. He says : “ We endeavoured three times, Corpl Hester, Pte Sullivan, and myself, to obtain a sample of the German barbed wire. It was during the third attempt that Corpl Hester was shot through both thighs, and his cry of pain brought very heavy rifle and machine-gun fire from the enemy’s line. After dressing Corpl Hester’s wounds, I left Pte Sullivan with him, whilst I tried to find my way back to our trenches—a very difficult task in the black darkness. Three times I found myself in the German line, and eventually I managed to find our line, and returned to Corpl Hester and Pte Sullivan, and we managed to drag him along on his back whilst we crawled on our stomachs, for to kneel or stand meant certain death. Corpl Hester being 6ft in height, and Pte Sullivan and myself only 5ft 4in, he was a good load to carry ; but at last we managed to get him in, after being in “ No Man’s Land ” for over five hours. Pte Sullivan and myself were recommended for the Military Medal, and have both received our reward. Lance-Corpl Mays was formerly a Staff-Sergeant in the Boy’s Life Brigade and had previously been wounded.

BRINKLOW.

SOLDIER’S DEATH AND MILITARY FUNERAL.—The death of Lance-Corpl William Robert Everton, aged 27, of the Military Foot Police, occurred at Brinklow on November 27th. The deceased, who was a native of Tottenham, came from France on special leave on November 11th to stay at the home of Mr S Heath, to whose daughter he was engaged. He caught a cold, which developed into pneumonia. He was originally in the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, and had served five years in India. His regiment took part in the disastrous Gallipoli campaign, where he was wounded. He was afterwards drafted into the Military Police. The deceased was accorded a military funeral, which took place at the cemetery on November 30th. A special firing party came from Rugby for the purpose. The Rev G A Dawson was the officiating clergyman. In addition to the family mourners, a large number of the villagers and the school children gathered round the graveside, when the “ Last Post ” was sounded, many floral tributes were afterwards placed upon his grave.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR.
SOLDIERS’ GRAVES IN FRANCE.

To the Editor of the Advertiser.

DEAR SIR,—In my conversations with friends whilst on a few days’ leave from France I find out how very few people know of the Graves Registration Units of the British Army.

I am often asked the question : “ How are our soldiers buried and graves attended to ? ” I think the following information will put any uneasy mind at rest if you will be kind enough to insert it in your paper :—

The work of the Graves Registration Units is carried on by officers, N.C.O’s, and men who are otherwise unfit for fighting. Land is bought at various spots along our line, is surveyed and marked out for cemeteries. Hedges, trees, shrubs, &c, are being planted, so that the cemeteries are permanent resting-places for our dead soldiers. The bodies are laid in separate graves, or side by side, one foot apart. The graves are carefully tended, and flowers planted, &c. The grave is registered, and the records filed for enquiries. A cross is erected over every grave with the man s number, name, regiment, &c, inscribed upon it. Photographs are taken of any grave when applied for, providing the grave can be reached without undue exposure to the enemy.

Any enquiries or applications should be addressed to : THE DIRECTOR, G.R Units, G.H.Q, B.E.F,

I am, sir, yours truly,
A E AINSWORTH,
Attached G.R Units, France.
84 Manor Road, Rugby.

DEATHS.

ELKINGTON.—In ever-loving and affectionate remembrance of our dear son, John Thomas Elkington, who was killed in action on November 10, 1916 ; aged 27 years.—“ God’s will be done.”—From his sorrowing MOTHER and FATHER, SISTERS and BROTHERS.

Reynolds, Herbert. Died 5th Sep 1916

Herbert was born in Long Lawford in 1897. His father was Tom Reynolds, a Bricklayer and Emma Julia (nee Burnham). They had married in Church Lawford parish church in 30th August 1897. Herbert was the youngest of four sons. Emma died two years later in 1899, at the age of 33. Tom remarried in 1900 to Maria Bagnall. Together they had three more children, two girls and then another boy.

In 1901 the family were living in Campbell Street, New Bilton. By 1911 they had moved to 18 Dunchurch Road. Tom was a Builder/Bricklayer working on his own account and 14 year old Herbert was an office boy.

Herbert joined the Rifle Brigade, (number S/4594) and landed in France on 21st July 1915. If he is the H Reynolds mentioned as a member of the Wesleyan Sunday School, he volunteered in August 1914.

On 16th October 1915, the Rugby Advertiser printed a letter from Corporal Herbert Reynolds:

THE BRITISH ADVANCE.
GRAPHICALLY DESCRIBED BY A RUGBY SOLDIER.

Corpl Herbert Reynolds, of the Rifle Brigade, son of Mr T Reynolds, of Dunchurch Road, Rugby, in a letter to Mr J W Faulkner, captain of the 2nd Rugby Company of the Boys’ Brigade—in which the writer was formerly Colour-Sergeant—gives a realistic account of the recent capture of German trenches by the British. He says :—

“ On Friday night we went into the assembly trenches, 100 yards behind the fire trench, and lay there all the night. It rained hard all night, so it was a bit uncomfortable crawling around in the mud. At about four o’clock the ‘ fun ’ started. We had to keep our heads pretty low to escape the shells. At six o’clock it really began, The earth trembled and shook, and up went a mine and half of the enemy trench ! My word, it did shift some earth ! Immediately the bombardment started. It was hell itself—one continual burst of high explosives and shrapnel. Then we threw out a smoke screen, and the “ Scotties ” and the Indians charged, capturing the trenches easily. Next our turn came to go over. We lined the fire trench and watched our Captain for the order. He jumped up, waved his stick, ‘Come on,’ he said, and as one man we got over the parapet to face a perfect hell of rifle, machine-gun, and shrapnel fire. At the foot of our barbed wire we lay down in extended order and waited for the next advance. Up and on again ! Down again ! The fire is terrible and we must advance by short 15 yards rushes. The German trench is about 300 yards distant. When we get within about 30 yards we crawl, and then finish up with a rush, and into the trench.

“It is in the hands of our troops, but all the time we are subjected to a terrible enfilade fire. We held the trench for about eight hours, but we could not get our bombs across, so had to give ground before their bombing from the flanks. Men were being blown to pieces, and we were powerless. We hung on to the last and then got the order to retire. You cannot possibly imagine what the shell fire was like, but, believe me, when once you’ve seen in it, well, you are not keen to go again for a bit. The return journey was worse than the outward one, and how I came back whole I don’t know. Just outside the enemy’s trench a piece of shell caught me in the back and ripped a hole in my trousers and pants. It knocked me flying, but it only bruised me a bit. We came back all right though, and lined the support trenches. Then it rained in torrents and we got wet through to the skin. When the news came that we were to go out that night, you can bet we were thankful. The communication trench was knee-deep in water, but we did not mind that so long as every sight of that terrible scene of carnage was left behind.”

Herbert was reported “Killed in Action” on 5th September 1916. His name is listed on the Thiepval Memorial. He is also remembered on the BTH Memorial and on the family grave in Clifton Road Cemetery.

Reynolds memorial, Clifton Road Cemetry

Herbert’s brother Frank, three years older, died in 1915 and another brother John was to die in November 1916. Two cousins also died in the war.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

 

25th Sep 1915. Local War Notes

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Mr Sydney Hall and Mr J Hoare, servers at St Andrew’s Mission Church and members of the Brotherhood of St Ardan, have enlisted in the R.W.R.

Capt A D Coates, of the 9th Warwickshire Regiment, which has figured prominently in the Dardanelles fighting, has recovered from his illness, and is now at Cairo in charge of the Turkish officer prisoners.

Sergt Donnithorne, of the 1st Border Regiment, who was billeted with Mr and Mrs Lane, 79 Manor Road, has been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, for ‘ a bit of work I have done out here ’ (the Dardanelles), as he puts it in a letter to his friends in Rugby.

On Monday afternoon the wounded soldiers from Ashlawn Hospital were entertained at the picture matinee at the Empire through the kindness of Mr B Morris, the proprietor. Cigarettes, &c, were handed round to the visitors, who spent a highly enjoyable time.

Mrs Stokes, wife of Farrier Q.M Sergt Stokes, informs us that the rumour which has been circulated regarding her husband’s supposed death is quite untrue. He is in hospital suffering from a general breakdown, which has affected his eyesight. A letter received from him on Wednesday, however, contained favourable news.

Pte James Plumb, of the 10th Royal Warwicks, and an old scholar of St Matthew’s Schools, has written to his mother, who resides at 21 Union Street, Rugby, to state that he has been wounded, but not seriously. He was out sniping on September 13th, when he was struck in the calf of his leg by a bullet, which passed out at the knee. He is now in a base hospital at Boulogne, where he is very comfortable and going on well. When Pte Plumb enlisted he was working at the Rugby Gas Works. He joined in September, 1914, and went over to France about three months ago. His father is also serving in 2/7th Royal Warwickshire.

NEWS OF A RUGBY YEOMAN.

Included in a number of wounded soldiers from the Dardanelles who arrived at “ Ashlawn ” Red Cross Hospital on Monday, was Trooper Ambrose Cole, of the Warwickshire Yeomanry, who brought cheering word to Mr Albert White, chief clerk at the L & N.-W Erecting Shop, respecting his son, Trooper Cyril White, whom he left quite well and in the best of health.

LETTER FROM AN OLD MURRAYIAN.

Sapper Tuckey, of the 78th Field Co, R.E, an Old Murrayian, has sent a number of interesting views showing Ypres before and after the bombardment to his old schoolmaster. We give a few extracts from his letter :—“ It is a terrible sight to see glorious architecture, such as the Cathedral of St Martin, the Cloth Hall, and other such places lying in heaps of ruins ; but still, one takes little notice of such things, for human nature gets surprisingly hard-hearted out here. . . . . No one will ever be able to say that the Old Murrayians were found wanting. I receive the local paper every week, so naturally I am well acquainted with the news, and watch with great interest everything concerning Old Murrayians. I met some of the old-timers a few days ago while behind the lines, and I do not think any of us look the worse for our Continental tour. There is rather a strange thing in a desolate village ‘somewhere in Belgium ’—a small church in ruins, but the crucifix is standing untouched and the inscription on the remains of the tower, ‘Suceedo Combustis,’ which is rather appealing to the passing troops, don’t you think ? ”

RUGBY SAWYER CONGRATULATED BY THE KING.

Mr Frederick Branston, a sawyer, in the employ of Messrs Travis & Arnold, of Rugby, and living in Chester Street, has this week received the following letter from the Privy Purse Office at Buckingham Palace, dated September 20th, 1915 :-

“ SIR,—I have the honour to inform you that the King has heard with much interest that you have at the present moment four sons and two sons-in-law serving in the Army and Navy.

“ I am commanded to express to you the King’s congratulations, and to assure you that his Majesty much appreciates the spirit of patriotism which prompted this example in one family of loyalty and devotion to their Sovereign and Empire.—I have the honour to be, sir, your obedient servant,

“ F M PONSONBY,

“ Keeper of the Privy Purse.”

We may explain that Mr. Branston has five sons serving with the colours (not four, as mentioned in the letter), and that he is himself employed on Government contracts.

OLD MURRAYIAN GASSED WHILE AT RESCUE WORK.

Driver S G Smith, 41, 3/4th Warwickshire Battery, an Old Murrayian, has written to his old schoolmaster, informing him that he has been gassed, and adding the following particulars :— “ I thought I would like to see a little more life than I did with the Battery, so I went to do a bit of mining and sapping under the German first line trenches, and found what I went for. For about a week all went well, but we could hear the Germans working over the top of us ; therefore it was a case of who should get there first. We could hear them talking when everything was quiet. One Sunday evening at about five o’clock I was in the dug-out, when all of a sudden the whole place was shaken ; and, knowing something was the matter, we jumped up. We were ordered to fall-in and hurried to the firing trench. Then we found that the Germans had blown our sap in. We could not go down for a time because there was so much gas ; but after we had worked and had got some air in, they asked for men to try to get our comrades out. I was one who volunteered, and we went down, but could not stand it long. -We found five dead at the bottom of the shaft. We worked hard for about four hours, and then there was a big rush of gas, and I don’t remember any more until I came round in the dressing station.” Driver Smith adds that he has been in several hospitals, and is now nearly well again.

A LAWFORD MAN KILLED.

Mr Henry Hopkins, of the Sheaf and Sickle Inn, Long Lawford, has received intimation that his son, Pte Frank Hopkins, of the 6th Dorsets, has been killed.

Capt Courtenay Dutton, writing to convey the intelligence, says :” I regret to have to inform you that your son was killed early this morning by a shell bursting on the parapet. His death was practically instantaneous, and he suffered no pain. Curiously enough his own officer was killed by a bullet about two hours previously in the same place. Your son was a good soldier, and in expressing my sincerest sympathy, I would add that you may be to a certain extent comforted in your grief by the knowledge that your son died the most honourable death a man can die.”

Sergt J Jeacock, of the same Company, has also written to inform the parents, and adds :” He was at his post when he was hit. We had a hot time of it for about a quarter of an hour. I am very sorry to lose my old chum like that. We used to work together and we joined together. He was one of the best we had out here.”

Pte Hopkins was employed at Bluemels when he enlisted about twelve months ago. He was an active member of the Lawford Football, Cricket, and Rifle Clubs, and was much liked and respected in the village.

WOUNDED SOLDIERS’ OUTING TO STANFORD PARK.

Recently, when Lord and Lady Braye entertained wounded soldiers from Leicestershire hospitals at Stanford Hall, the men at the Ashlawn Hospital, Rugby, although invited, were unable to be present because, his Lordship was informed, vehicles were not available to convey them to the rendezvous.

Lord Braye kindly repeated his invitation, and Mr F van den Arend undertook to arrange the motor transport. The Leicestershire men have had several successful tours, and one of the features that has contributed largely to the success of the outings has been the enthusiasm which has been shown to the gallant men when passing through the different places. The villagers decorated their houses, and showered cigarettes, chocolates, and fruit upon the wounded in the cars.

The Ashlawn men are going to Stanford Hall to-day (Saturday), September 25th, and we are asked to mention that they will start from the hospital at 2.0 o’clock, pass through Dunchurch, down the London Road to Stretton-on-Dunsmore, then turn off through Wolston and Church Lawford to New Bilton.

The cars will line up opposite the Rugby Portland Cement Works. Here they will be met by the B.T.H Military Band about 2.35 p.m, and will pass in procession through New Bilton, Warwick Street, High Street, Market Place, Church Street, Clifton Road, Clifton, by St Thomas’ Cross (Newton), Catthorpe and Swinford to Stanford Park.

On the homeward journey they will start at 5.30 p.m, and travel via Yelvertoft, Crick, and Hillmorton.

We have so doubt people on the routes indicated will be glad of the opportunity of showing enthusiastic appreciation to these gallant defenders of the Empire.

HOW THE WARWICKSHIRE YEOMANRY FOUGHT AT THE DARDANELLES.

LOCAL MEN WOUNDED, BUT NOT SERI0USLY.

“ I am writing this from my little ‘ hole ‘ in the hill,” says Sergt-Major Tait, of C Squadron of the Warwickshire Yeomanry, now at the Dardanelles. ” We left our base on August 17th, and arrived here ‘somewhere at the front’ on the 20th or thereabouts. I have lost count of time since we have been in the real thing. We had our baptism of fire as soon as we landed, being shelled by the Turks for about five minutes. Fortunately no one was hit, and we reached our bivouac without mishap. We had a few casualties while in bivouac, as we had to go to the shore for water, and the Turks or Germans, knowing or being able to see when the men went to draw water, sent some shrapnel over them, and succeeded in bagging one or two. They used to send us one or two ‘haters ’ at meal times just to pass the time of day—sometimes they burst and sometimes not. They seat 14 at us one morning, but did no damage. We are on the side of a hill about — miles from the coast, and when our ships shell the enemy the shells come right over us, and make a terrific noise. It was funny at first to see the men ‘ duck ‘ when one came over ; but it was only natural, and I suppose I was one of the ‘ duckers.’ They are getting used to it now.

“ Our shells have been making terrible work in the enemy’s camp trenches, according to reports of men who have been in the first lines. They say they found Tucks or Germans mixed up together in heaps of 10 or 15. They asked for an armistice to bury their dead, but this was refused, because the last time they had one they did not bury the dead, but moved their big guns to the rear and set them up in other positions ; so our fellows had the job of burying their dead when they had taken their trenches. Since we landed they have been pushed back about —— miles. Perhaps you will have heard of our doings by the time you get this, but you may not have got details.

“ We left our base at 4.20 p.m. on Friday, the 20th. with orders to join the Division by 7.30 p.m. All went well until we got about two miles on our journey. We had cross a large extent of perfectly flat country to our objective and covered with patches of gorse. We must have made a good mark for the enemy’s guns, for as soon as we got to the edge of the gorse they opened fire on us with shrapnel, high explosives, and incendiary shells. They had got the range, and officers and men began to drop. For three-quarters of an hour they rained shrapnel upon us, and it is marvellous how any of us came through the storm alive.

“ My squadron lost 27 killed and wounded. We were the luckiest of the lot, and lost the least men being on the right of the column. Men were going down in one’s and twos every time a shell burst, and, to make matters worse, the devils set fire to the gorse.

“ After being under fire for about a quarter of an hour we had the order to double, but we could only go about 100 yards, and had to walk the rest. This was the time the casualties were heaviest.

“ We eventually reached the foot of the hill to the accompaniment of the cheers of those who had watched us from the hillside. When the roll had been called we found we had lost about 70 in the regiment, but several walked in afterwards only slightly wounded.

“ When we reached our objective we thought we had finished, but after half-an-hour’s rest we were told, to advance to the reserve trenches one and a-half miles to the front. Fortunately by this time it was getting dark. We were taken over the top of the hill and down the other side, where we again came under fire—this time from machine guns and snipers. We had a few more casualties, but only wounded, no one being killed and finally we got to the trench where we threw of our packs, said a fervent prayer, and tried to go to sleep. But the excitement of the past events made this impossible.

“ We have since heard of fellows having marvellous escapes. One officer had the back of his helmet shot away, and also the collar of his coat, but did not get wounded. Several men can show holes in their clothes and helmets. I was hit with a bullet on one of the pouches, and it knocked three clips of cartridges out, but did not hurt me. I came through without any other mishap, so I offered up a prayer of thankfulness to the Almighty for bringing us through what can be literally called ‘ hell on earth.’

This is the only time any troop have been brought across the open since operations commenced in this part of the seat of war, and everyone who saw our advance says that the Yeomanry have earned a name for themselves.

“ The only thing that is a bit of a trouble is the water. It is only issued twice a day. and as bully beef and biscuits make one thirsty, it is trying—put the water is good when we get it. The men in the firing line are looked after first, which is as it should be—the men in the reserve trenches forming fatigues for getting food and water to the first line, and they do it cheerfully day and night. It is really wonderful how the fellows have adapted themselves to circumstances.

“I am feeling quite fit and well, with the exception of a slight cold. It is very hot in the day, and gets cold towards early morning. We expect the rainy season to commence shortly.

“ When you see Mr J E Cox tell him his two sons are in the next dug-out to me. They are both all right, and came through without a scratch. Bert White’s son was left at — camp to look after the horses—if he only knew what a lucky fellow he was.

“ We do not get a very good service post here, and have had no letters since we left the base. We are now pretty ‘cosy,’ not over-worked, and plenty of bully and tea.

“ I hope you will be able to read this, as it is written in rather an uncomfortable position, lying on my back in the dug-out whilst the shells are coming over.

“ We are rather troubled with snipers, but the Australian bushmen are dealing with them. One chap lives close to me, and he says he has shot 17 since he has been on the job. They got three yesterday—one dressed in a K.O.S.B uniform. They say the snipers are principally Kurds.”

“ A LIVING SHEET OF FIRE & BULLETS.”

Corpl Horace Neeves, of the Signal Troop of the 1st South Midland Mounted Brigade, has written to his parents, Mr and Mrs S Neeves, of Murray Road, Rugby, giving an interesting account of his experiences in the fighting on Hill 70, following the landing at Suvla Bay at the Dardanelles. He was working on the staff at Rugby Post Office, when at the outbreak of war the Rugby Troop of the Warwickshire Yeomanry, of which he had been a member for six or seven years, was mobilised. Having been for, some months at Alexandria, he went with the South Midland Mounted Brigade (with which his troop is incorporated) to the Dardanelles, and experienced some heavy fighting in the advance from Suvla Bay, the last stage of which, he says, was “like going through a living sheet of fire and bullets.” He felt one or two bits of stuff, probably dirt, thrown up by shrapnel, hit him in the face ; but he remarks that otherwise he came through quite safely. However, on returning to hospital, suffering from a severe attack of dysentry, it was found that Corpl Neeves had had a narrow escape. A shrapnel bullet had entered his haversack, had passed through four folds of the housewife it contained, and had become embedded in a thimble which was crumpled up and possibly saved his life. We understand that Corpl Neeves has been invalided home, and is now on a transport ship on his way to England.

 

RECRUITING AT RUGBY.

The following have been attested at the Rugby Drill Hall this week :—E Imeson and S O’Donnell, Gloucester Bantams ; K W Smallwood R.E, Telegraph ; W Courtman, R.G.A ; W E Hughes, T W Hughes, and H Panter, R.F.A ; T Cleaver and J E Newman, 220th Fortress Co, R.E.

COVENTRY MUNITIONS TRIBUNAL.

MORE PROCEEDINGS.

A sitting of the Coventry And District Munitions Tribunal was held at the Labour Exchange offices, at which Mr F Tillyard, of Birmingham, presided. There were also present : Mr T Clarke (employers), Mr J G Chater (employees), together with the Clerk (Mr P E Wilks) and Mr D G Bolland {assistant clerk).

SLEEPY WORKER.

The allegation against James Cullen, turner, of 93 Winfield Street, Rugby, an employee of the British Thomson-Houston Co, Ltd, was that he had been found asleep on two separate occasions whilst engaged on important Government work.

Prior to the hearing of the case Cullen asked for an adjournment on the ground that his trade union secretary, and a witness were not present, but the Court decided to proceed with the case.

Mr J Bale, foreman, stated that at 4.25 a.m on the 8th inst. he found Cullen asleep by the side of his machine. After taking his name and number he walked down the shop, and when about half-way down he heard Cullen’s machine running again. Cullen’s explanation was that owing to the nature of his work the breakfast half-hour had been re-arranged, and that the time when the foreman came up was his breakfast time, 4 a.m to 4.30, half-an-hour later than usual.

Launcelot Wakelin, in charge of the shop, said that on the 9th inst. he saw Cullen lying full length across the floor near the machine, fast asleep. When asked for his name and number Cullen was abusive, and refused to give them. He had watched Cullen for fully ten minutes to make sure he was asleep.

Cullen admitted lying down, but emphatically denied being asleep, and stated that it was customary for men to lie down and watch the material running through.

After consideration, the Chairman announced that the Court had come to the conclusion that Cullen was not “diligently attending to his work,” which was an infringement of the Munitions Act. The first case had been withdrawn, and a fine of £1 was inflicted for the offence on the 9th inst.—Cullen : If I did wrong once I did wrong twice.—The Chairman : You are being fined on your own admission that you were lying down at your work.—Cullen : I refuse to pay a halfpenny until see my solicitor.—The Chairman : There is no appeal to this decision.

GOVERNMENT CARRIER PIGEONS.

A WARNING.

The Press Bureau issues the following announcement :—

“ Notice is hereby given that carrier or homing pigeons are being used for certain purposes in connection with his Majesty’s Service, and attention is called to the fact that anyone who shoots or kills a carrier or homing pigeon whilst on passage renders himself liable to prosecution.”

Aris, Mark. Died 6th Aug 1915

Mark Aris was born in Whitwick, Leicestershire in 1888. His father Thomas Aris had been born in Middleton Cheney, Northants. Hs mother Elizabeth (nee Spencer) came from Long Lawford, where they were married in 1885. The family moved around several places in Leicestershire, and by 1901 were living in Main Street, Long Lawford, where Thomas was employed as a general labourer. Mark was aged 12, the eldest of six children still living at home.

By 1911 the family was living at 35 Abbey Street, Rugby, but Mark was not with them. Thomas was working at BTH as a boiler stoker.

Aris

Mark Aris joined the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry as a private (No. 11045) He arrived in France on 20th May 1915 and when he died on 6th August 1915, his rank was lance corporal. He probably died as a result of the Battle of Hooge, which took place the previous week. He is remembered on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.

According to the records of soldiers effects, his next of kin were his married sisters Alice Maud Steane and Ethel M Seaton.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

26th Dec 1914. More Refugees and Presents for the Front

THE LATEST BELGIAN ARRIVALS.

The Belgian refugees who are now the guests of the Fellowship Relief Committee at 39 Albert Street, Rugby, have expressed themselves as very grateful for what has been done for their comfort. They include :—

Josephus Crokaerts, a tailor, 36 years of age, and Maria, his wife, with their four pleasing children — Irma (aged 12), Elizabeth (10), Dorothea (9), and Henri (6).

Emmanuel Dasquisne (59), a locomotive engine driver, and his wife, Philomene. They have two daughters—Francesea (aged 23) and Bertha (aged 19). Francesea is married, her surname now being Verammen. She has two children—Jean (aged 2) and Francois (an infant), who, being sick from the effects of the voyage, was left behind in a London Hospital, but is expected to join the family shortly.

With this party is also August Verlinden, aged 29, who is by occupation a railway transport worker.

Josephus Crokaerts is somewhat of a linguist. He is a trousers maker, but has served in the Belgian Police Force. In addition to speaking Flemish and French, he has a fair knowledge of English.

M Crokaerts is a native of Lierre, which town was invaded by the Germans early in October. The week following their arrival he and his family left for Antwerp, whence they were conveyed in a collier to Rotterdam in Holland. Here they spent five days before being transferred to Delft, where they made their home with other refugees for eight weeks. Subsequently the family was removed to Flushing, and after, a stay of eight days they were brought over to London, spending one night only at the Crystal Palace, before coming to Rugby under the care of members of the Fellowship Committee.

Dasquesne has been employed for 42 years on the Belgian State Railway, and has a long-service medal. He also served for a time in the army. He and his family come from Malines.

All the men have expressed a willingness to do work for which they are fitted, the understanding being that they receive trades union rates of wages, and the committee has arranged that whatever is earned by them shall go to a special fund to rehabilitate the families when the way is open for them to return to Belgium.

The Belgian refugees being entertained by the congregation of Holy Trinity Church consist of three families, viz : Petrus Henri Franz Wagemans, a ship’s fireman, his wife and two children ; Petrus Joseph Wagemans, a dock labourer, his wife and two children; and Petrus Alphonsus Venmans, a carpenter, and his wife and one child. The whole of the party, who belong to Antwerp, were in the city during the awful days of the German bombardment, and when the place was evacuated by the Allies they crossed the border into Holland. They are being well looked after by the committee, of which Mr J Gilbert, jun, is the hon secretary, and are very grateful for their treatment.

CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR NEWTON HOUSE REFUGEES.

Everything possible is being done to give the refugees at Newton House a pleasant time this Christmas, and many pleasing and useful presents have been sent by friends and sympathisers in the district to the unfortunate inmates. Each of the men, women, and children have received a pair of slippers and handkerchiefs. One local gentleman has presented the men with a handsome pipe each, with the words “ Newton House, 1914” engraved on the silver band, which they will doubtless treasure for many years. The children of the Rugby Weseyan Schools have sent their own toys and gifts of clothing to the juvenile refugees, and, on behalf of the New Bilton Girls’ Club, Miss Loverock has forwarded a very acceptable quantity of clothing. Gifts have also been received from Mrs H H Mulliner, Mrs Fenwick, Mrs Anderson, Mrs Trower, Mrs Barnard, Mrs Arthur James, Mrs Boughton-Leigh, Mrs Robbins, Miss Martin, Mrs Dicksee, and Mr F van den Arend.— Messrs B Morris & Sons, London, have sent tobacco and cigarettes for the men.

We are informed that the Newton House Committee intend opening another house in the district for the reception of 40 more refugees, and particulars as to this will appear in our next issue.

DUNCHURCH.

A SCHEME originated by the Dunchurch and Thurlaston Working Men’s Club to send each soldier on active service from the two village’s Christmas gift, met with such a hearty response from rich and poor alike that within ten days the sum of £35 was collected. As a result 57 men have each received a parcel, containing a sweater, a pair of thick woollen pants, and a pair of Army socks ; and 30 others each a box of 100 cigarettes. To each of the above parcels a Balaclava helmet has been given by Mrs Powell, knitted by herself and several ladies of the village and the girls of Dunchurch Girls’ School. Mrs Dew has also given a dozen scarves and cuffs, knitted by herself and friends ; and Mrs John Mitchell, of Biggin Hall, has sent seven pairs of socks.

LONG LAWFORD.

PRESENTS TO THE MEN AT THE FRONT.

A SHORT time ago it was decided to form a committee to arrange to send presents this Christmas to the men of this village who are now serving in his Majesty’s Forces, both home and abroad. The committee consisted of Messrs E I Appleby, J Livingston, V Ball, F Oldhams, W England, Mrs Hawker, and Mrs Pettifer. A collection was made in the village, by which a substantial sum was collected. This was spent in cigarettes, tobacco, and chocolate, which were divided into lots, containing one packet of chocolate, one box of cigarettes, and one box of tobacco. To the non-smokers two packages of chocolate were sent. With each present a card was enclosed, bearing the words : “ With best wishes, from Long Lawford friends.” The following is a list of the men who are in the firing line and on foreign service, and a present was sent to each :—Pte G Colledge, B Company, 7th Royal Warwickshire Regiment, 4th Division, 10th Brigade ; Pte G Hawker, A Company, 1st Royal Warwickshire Regiment ; Gunner H Hawker, 25th Brigade, R.F.A, 1st General Advance Base ; Pte H Payne, No. 2031, 1st Battalion, A Company, Royal Warwickshire Regiment ; Pte H Scarlet, No. 9193, 2nd Northants Regiment, D Company ; Gunner A Everton, No. 31637, No. 4 General Base, 14th Brigade, R.F.A ; Pte W Underwood, No. 9880, B Company, 1st Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, 10th Infantry Brigade ; Pte W Painting, 6th Dragoon Guards ; Pte E Mathews, No. 524, 1st Royal Warwick Regiment, C Company (Field Service) ; Pte. E Hirons, No. 2426, 1st Royal Warwickshire Regiment, now in Royal Baths Hospital, Harrogate, Yorkshire ; Pte W Hirons, No. 2394, 1st Royal Warwickshire Regiment ; Sergt F W Knight, No. 4700, B Squadron, 4th Dragoon Guards. Serving in the Navy : C W Clarke, stoker, 20 mess, H.M.S Dolphin, Fortblock House, Portsmouth ; W Jones. Men at home : Battery, G Coles, R Humphries, A Hutchings, S Sutton, and F Howard ; reserves, F Richards and J Webb ; Kitchener’s Army, G Adams, H Adams, A Colledge, E Cox, J Elkington, R Elkington, W Elkington, W Oldham, J Price, W Pettifer, S Pettifer, W Scarlett, E Underwood, W Watts, E Watts, R Wagg, P Gamble, H Hancox, F Hopkins, C Howard, G Loydall, T Langham, J Mawby, W Wing, C West, W J Hirons, and G Brain. A present was also sent to Pte George Payne. No. 1518, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, who is at present a prisoner of war at Meckenberg, Germany.

To the Editor of the Advertiser.

No. 2 Temp. Hosp., Exeter, Dec. 18.

SIR,—I should esteem it a great favour if you would allow me through your valuable paper to thank the kind friends at Long Lawford for the gift of tobacco and chocolate, which I received to-day. I had already received a small present from the Germans on September 13th in the shape of an ounce of shell in the left thigh, which caused me to leave the field. The shell was removed on November 17th. I am pleased to say I am now progressing favourably, and was greatly pleased with my surprise packet from Lawford, for which I thank my kind friends one and all. Wishing them all a merry Christmas,—From F C CRAME (Sergt), 16th (The Queen’s) Lancers.

BILTON.

BELGIAN REFUGEES.—In last week’s issue it was stated that the two houses given for refugees was furnished by the donors. This is not the case, practically all the furniture having been given or lent by friends in the village.

THE MEMBERS of the Working Men’s Club have not forgotten their comrades who have joined the colours. They subscribed a sum of money, and sent a parcel to each one—19 altogether—containing tobacco, cigars, chocolate, &c. for Christmas. Useful presents have also been sent, by the Rector and Mrs Assheton and other parishioners to all those who have gone from Bilton.

CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR KILSBY SOLDIERS AND SAILORS.

There are well over thirty men from Kilsby homes now serving with the army or navy, and the residents have not been unmindful of them this Christmas-time. Helmets, mufflers, socks, mittens, tobacco, and cigars, have been judiciously distributed. In all more than 400 particles have been sent out, either to the men serving with the colours or to the Red Gross Society. Grateful and touching letters have been received in acknowledgment, showing how much the gifts, and the kind thought that has prompted them, has been appreciated.

HIS MAJESTY CONGRATULATES A KILSBY COUPLE.

Mr and Mrs Wise, of Kilsby, received a letter from the King on Monday morning, congratulating them upon the fact that they have five sons serving with the colours—four in the navy and one in the army.

A RUGBEIAN’S PRACTICAL SYMPATHY WITH A SOLDIER.

Christmas is the season for open-hearted generosity, and, in spite of the war, there will be no lack of this desirable quality during the present festive time. An example of the kind of thing that is unobtrusively taking place came under our notice the other day. A soldier arrived in Rugby too late in the day to catch a train for his home at Long Itchington. He was explaining in a casual way his dilemma to a Rugbeian whom he met, and the latter very generously volunteered to hire a taxi-cab to convey the belated soldier to his destination—an offer that was gladly accepted ; and late that night the man on leave arrived in style amongst his relatives.