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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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,
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.