LOCAL TERRITORIALS DO GOOD WORK.
Lance-Corporal W J Boyes, of “C” Company, 1/7 Royal Warwickshire (Territorials), writes to the editor :-
Just a few lines to your paper to let the people of Rugby know our battalion is still going strong out here. In the recent heavy fighting we were in the first line trenches. We did not know until the last moment that the advance was to take place all along the line. Our artillery was busy, and the Rugby Howitzer Battery was well to the front with some deadly firing. For days the roar of heavy high explosives were heard, and there was hardly a moment’s silence. For the first time since we have been out here our trench mortars have been used with great success, and altogether we helped to secure what we fully believe to be the first fruits of a crushing victory. We experienced some bad luck the other night, as the Germans sent over some aerial torpedoes, which unfortunately caused some casualties, but only one of these was a Rugby man.
We have just seen a squadron of our aeroplanes pass over the German lines. It was a grand sight to witness the bursting of shells from the enemy anti-aircraft guns, hut not one of our aeroplanes was hit, although there must have been at least twenty of them passing over the German lines.
Everyone is cheerful and confident, and I know when we get orders to drive the Germans back the Warwicks will be ready.
The weather is very rough just now, and there is every prospect of a severe winter.
I know the people of Rugby will not be behind-hand in sending out a few comforts, and the boys are grateful for what they have already done for us. Hoping this will be interesting to the readers of your paper.
Lance-Corpl Boyes has two brothers also serving—one in the Berkshires and the other in the Oxford and Bucks.
THANKS FROM COVENTRY TERRITORIALS.
Pte J Gayton, 2495, “C” Co, 1/7th Royal Warwicks, writes on October 16th as follows :—
“ Dear Sir,— Please spare me a small space in your paper to thank the people of Rugby who so kindly sent out a consignment of cakes to ‘C’ Co of the l/7th R.W.R. I am a Coventry youth myself, and there are a lot more from there in the above Company and the Rugby boys who are with us very kindly shared the cakes with us. They were a treat—absolutely a luxury for us—and I can assure you and all the good people concerned that we fellows from Coventry will never forget the great kindness shown by the people and the Rugby boys here who shared with us. The day will come, I hope, when we can fully repay them.
Well, I am pleased to say our Company are all keeping well and as cheerful as can be expected ; and, of course, all are looking forward to the end and victory. When the time comes I am certain our fellows will be there, and they will give a good account of themselves. We are out of the trenches at present, but close up to the firing line in case we are wanted. Again thanking the good people of Rugby for their kindness shown,— I am, yours respectfully, (Pte) J GAYTON.”
CAKES FOR THE SOLDIERS.
A number of the recipients of cakes from the recent competition have sent acknowlegments. All of them express much pleasure and make it known, if in different words, that they are ready to face anything for us, and that the feeling that they are in the home people’s thoughts gives them much greater heart.
Messrs McDougall, Ltd, London, also write thanking all tradesmen and others who helped to make their competition successful. The helpers and receivers also wish to add thanks.
LOCAL WAR NOTES.
Lieut Thomas Ainsworth Townsend, R.A.M.C, who is now at the front in France, has been appointed surgeon to the 24th London Regiment (The Queen’s).
Mr B Whitbread, only son of Mr Charles Whitbread, and Mr Eddy Wilson, youngest son of Mrs E Wilson, have been gazetted to commissions in the 12th Reserve R.W.R.
Two more members of the Rugby branch of the Typographical Association, Mr J Holmes, Advertiser Office, and Mr C Wharton, of Mr Bird’s printing works, enlisted in the R.A.M.C this week.
Sergt D Hamilton, 1st K.0.S.B, who was billeted with Mr and Mrs Haggar, 7 Sycamore Grove, has been recommended for the D.C.M for organising a sniping party which effectively kept back the Turks near Krithia while the British line was being consolidated. He is a native of Clyde Bank, and has been in the Army six years.
The Rugby Prisoner of War Help Committee have received the handsome donation of 18gns, the result of a sale of surplus furniture held recently at Te Hira.
Mr Gilbert (Bert) Howkins, son of Mr G F Howkins, of Crick, has obtained a commission in the Royal Engineers. Previous to joining the Army he was in the Government Valuation Department. All three of Mr Howkins’ sons are now serving with H.M Forces, the others being in the Honourable Artillery Company and the Northamptonshire Yeomanry respectively.
Rifleman A Sansom, of 180 Oxford street, Rugby, has been slightly wounded and gassed. He was formerly a bricklayer, and joined the King’s Royal Rifles Corps. He has been in active service nine months.
Victor Cowley, son of Mr W Cowley, 12 Worcester Street, Rugby, an old St Matthew’s boy, employed by the B.T.H Co, Ltd, in the winding department, joined the 7th Battalion of the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry early in September, 1914. He went to the front “ somewhere in France ” at the end of last month. While sheltering in a dug-out he was wounded by shrapnel in the face by a German aerial torpedo, which came through the roof and exploded, fatally injuring some. All the platoon were more or less wounded. He is now in hospital at Leeds, and going on satisfactorily.
A KILSBY ATHLETE KILLED.
Although official intimation has not yet been received, from the War Office, Mrs Green, of The Laurels, has been notified by Capt E R Mobbs that her husband, Pte Bert Green, was killed in action some three weeks ago—at the time of the British advance. No letter had been received from him for nearly a month, and, Mrs Green being anxious, communicated with the above-named officer, and received the sad news on Wednesday morning. The sympathy of the village is with his wife and three little daughters. At the beginning of the war he was anxious to enlist, and in January last, unable to resist the call longer, he refused the chance of a commission and joined the 7th Northants Regiment. He was attached to the company of footballers and athletes captained by the famous Rugby inter-national footballer, Capt E R Mobbs. This company is known in the Northampton district ” Mobbs’s lot.” Mr Green was looked upon as a good-natured and genial fellow, both in the village and by his business companions. He was an all-round athlete. Several years ago he used to go on a cricket tour annually with the Yorkshire Gentlemen, and has played for first-class teams. He played for both Kilsby cricket and football teams, at one time captaining the former. He also played for Watford and other village clubs, and was a good asset. For the last two or three years he was a member of the British Thomson-Houston C.C. He made some excellent scores for this club, and for two years headed the batting averages. — Sympathetic reference was made to Pte Green’s death by Mr R Dumas at the meeting of the B.T.H Athletic Club on Thursday evening.
HILLMORTON MAN KILLED IN ACTION.
Official news has been received that Pte C Kirby, of the 2nd Worcesters, only son of Mr H Kirby, of School Street, Hillmorton, and nephew of Mrs. F Paxton, 73 Murray Road, Rugby, was killed in action on September 26th in the great advance, at the early age of 22 years. The deceased joined the Army in December, 1911, and went to France in August, 1914. He was wounded in the left forearm on the 3rd of November, 1914, and went into hospital. He was back in the firing line on the 30th January, 1915, and has seen much fighting since that time.—The Vicar (the Rev R Lever) alluded to his death in his sermon on Sunday evening last, he having been a boy in the church Sunday School.
SECOND-LIEUT H D MARRIOTT KILLED IN ACTION.
Second-Lieut Hugh Digby Marriott, of the 8th Battalion of the Rifle Brigade, who, as reported last week, was killed in action in Flanders on October 9th, was a younger son, of Mr and Mrs Marriott, of Cotesbach, Lutterworth, Leicestershire. He was born on August 5th, 1895, and was educated at Temple Grove and at Bradfield College. He was entered at Brasenose College, Oxford, and was about to take up his residence there in October, 1914. Instead of this, however, he obtained a commission in the Rifle Brigade, and after the severe fighting at Hooge on July 30th-in which his brother Frederick was killed—he went out with other officers, and was appointed to the 8th Battalion.
COMMENDED FOR DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT.
Some months ago we recorded an incident in which Pte George Eaton (93 South Street) and other Rugby Territorials were attacked at a listening post by about three times their number of Germans. They defended the position bravely, and succeeded in driving off the enemy. Pte Eaton was referred to by the Corporal as being specially heroic. “ Although wounded, he kept on firing. He was a brick, and stuck to it like a man,” was the comment made upon his action at the time. His friends in Rugby will be glad to learn that for the part he took in this midnight episode he has been commended by the commanding officer “ for distinguished conduct in the field.”
ANOTHER ST MATTHEW’S “OLD BOY” WOUNDED.
Co-Sergt-Major C Favell, of the 5th Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, an old St Matthew’s School athletic championship holder, and well known later as a long-distance runner, has been reported wounded and in hospital.
BILTON SOLDIERS WOUNDED.
SAVED BY A PACK.
Rifleman Tom Reeve, who at the time of enlistment resided with his parents at Bilton, and is now in hospital at Guildford, has written to a friend describing how he received his wound and narrowly escaped being killed outright. He says:—
“ It was a nasty, smack right in the middle of the back—shrapnel wound. There isn’t much chance of dodging them, as they burst overhead for a radius of 200 yards ; but I am pleased to say I have no bones broken. The thing that saved my life was my pack. It went clean through that, and made a big hole in my jacket. I had got about 500 yards from the top of our parapet when I received my share. It knocked me down, but I did not feel it much for a few minutes. I got off my equipment the best way I could, and managed to get back somehow—but only God knows how. One of my pals came to bandage me up, and just as he got to me he was shot clean dead. I was then bandaged up by our doctor and put in a dug-out to await stretcher bearers. The Germans were shelling our trenches, and I thought every minute they would drop one on our dug-out—in fact, one dropped five yards from us and killed several. . . . I am glad to say I am making a wonderful recovery.”
In a subsequent letter he describes the wound as being 7ins long and 4ins wide right across the back, so it will take some time to get healed up.
The parents of Rifleman Reeve (who now live at Holbrook Farm, Little Lawford), have received a letter from E B Kerr, one of his comrades, who says that it happened soon after they started on the big charge. They were sorry to lose him, as he was always a great help. The writer was afraid that several of the Platoon who came from Rugby had suffered.
Mr and Mrs J Stibberd, of Bilton, have received information that their son, Bugler G Stibberd, of the 11th Royal Rifles, has been wounded by a shell while in billets, and is now in hospital at Boulogne. It is not a serious wound, and he is going on favourably. He enlisted in September, 1914, and went out in July.
Pte Alf Day, of the Royal Warwicks, is in hospital at Sheffield wounded. His parents now live at Bishops Itchington, but at the time of enlistment he had resided with them at Bilton for some time, and worked as a blacksmith at Church Lawford.
MRS CROFTS, of this village has received a letter from her youngest son, John (who is with the 6th Batt Royal Field Artillery), dated from a hospital and stating that he has been in that institution over six weeks suffering from a cracked shin-bone. It seems he was helping to take the horses to water when the horse in front of him suddenly kicked out and caught him. Later reports state that he is progressing as well as can be expected. The unfortunate young fellow had been promoted to sergeant only a few days before his accident. Mrs Crofts’ three sons have all entered the army. Charles came over with the Canadian contingent and is at the front, a letter recently to hand stating that he had been in the trenches about a week at the time of writing. Her eldest son, William, it will be remembered, lost his life while bathing off Sheerness, about three years ago.
MR ERNEST CHAMBERS KILLED.—Mr and Mrs Ernest Chambers have been notified from the War Office that their eldest son has died from wounds. He was badly hit in the abdomen. He joined the Royal Field Artillery soon after the war broke out, and was then residing with his parents at Sidon Hill, Brandon. The place of death is not mentioned, but he was fighting in the Gallipoli Peninsula. Much sympathy is felt in the district for his relatives.
WOUNDED SOLDIERS.—Mr and Mrs Charles Elliott, of Brook Street, whose son was reported killed in a former issue of our paper, have now received the bad news that two of their nephews have been wounded. One—Fredk Goodwin, of the 2nd Hants Regiment—has four ribs injured, left leg broken, and an injury to his waist, and now lies in a Reading hospital ; while another nephew—Fredk Woolcott—is badly wounded in the arm. Both were fighting in the Gallipoli Peninsula.
RECRUITING AT RUGBY.
Recruiting at the Drill Hall has been rather better this week, and 21 men have been attested as follows :—D Lilley, C C Wharton, J H Holmes, A Morris, and E G Cloonan, R.A.M.C ; J R Holland, L C Major, and J Stevens, R.F.A ; W Bench, J A Speor, T A Rogers, R J Jackson, A B Webb, E Wood, and J W Wood, A.O.C ; W Richardson, Royal Berks ; W H Gulever and B E Iliffe, R.W.R ; D J Hall R.H.A ; W Southall and D Barnwell, drivers, R.E.
All the units are now open, and men are urgently required for the infantry battalions.
Local arrangements for carrying out Lord Derby’s recruiting scheme are well in hand, and it is hoped that the appeal which is about to be made to the manhood of the town will meet with a ready response. In many towns already the number of recruits had been greatly accelerated, and Rugby, which has so far done exceedingly well, should not now lag behind, as it is clearly understood that any failure in this effort will result in compulsory service. The local Parliamentary Committee is representative of the three great schools of political thought and is composed of the following :- Messrs M E T Wratislaw (chairman), J J McKinnell, H Tarbox, J H Walker W Barnett, L Aviss, C J Newman, G H Rolerts, and Col F F Johnstone, with Mr A Bell and Mr F M Burton joint hon Secretaries.
TOEING THE MARK—A PERSISTENT RECRUIT.
The persistent and patriotic endeavours made by Pte A Seaton, of Old Bilton, to enter the Army should put to shame those who advance all manner of excuses to avoid service. Although barely of enlistment age and having an impediment in his speech, Pte Seaton offered himself at the recruiting office but was rejected on account of deformed toes, one on each foot.
He enquired whether he would be accepted if he had the toes amputated, and on learning that he would be taken if the operation was successful, he entered the Rugby Hospital and has both his toes removed.
He is now serving in the 7th Royal Warwicks.
1/7TH WARWICKS UNDER SHRAPNEL FIRE.
Pte W Rainbow, of the 1/7th Royal Warwickshire Regiment, writing to his parents, says :—“ We had a terrible ten minutes the other night in the village, as the Germans started sending shrapnel over, and about a dozen of us were out on ration party at the time. The shells were bursting over our heads, and some of the chaps were running all over the place instead of taking cover. . . . I believe that all the chaps on that party sent up a short prayer that night, as none of us ever thought of coming out of it safe. . . . God must have seen fit to bring us out safe, for many of Kitchener’s got hit the same night. We have had a worse casualty list this few days than any time before in so short a time. You ought to hear the chaps carrying on over people at home wanting to know if we have been in the firing line yet, with chaps getting killed and wounded every day.”