Manning, Criss. Died 21st Dec 1914

Omitted from publication on 21st Dec 2014. Published today 104 years after his death

Francis Cris Manning was born in Brington, Northamptonshire in 1883 and baptised there on the 6th May. His parents were George and Selina (nee Tarrey) who had married at Selina’s home parish church of nearby Harlestone on 11th November 1875. George was a labourer in Great Brington – agricultural in 1881, general in 1891 when Francis was aged eight. He then had two brothers Edward aged twelve and Lewis four.

George Manning died later that year at the age of 41 and Selina two years later in 1893 at 48. We have been unable to find Francis Criss in 1901 but information from a family tree on Ancestry shows that he enlisted in the Northamptonshire Regiment in 1899 and served in South Africa. He left in 1908, signing up with the reserves. This is confirmed by his army number of 5992 which was issued in 1899. It also explains the early date of his death in December 1914. Only regular troops and reserves would be fighting at this point.

By 1911 he was lodging with the Cross family at 38 Lower Harlestone. He was working as a wood man on estate and entered under the full name of Francis Christopher Manning.

At the time the war started, he was working for the L & N-W Railway in the Rugby Carriage works. this seems to be his only connection with Rugby.

The 1st Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment was stationed at Blackdown, Aldershot on 4th Aug 1914 as part of the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Division. They were mobilised on the 13th and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including in 1914;
The Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat, The Battle of the Marne, The Battle of the Aisne, First Battle of Ypres.

The first few months of the Northants Reg. War Diaries were lost on 17th November during the First Battle of Ypres. The Diary starts again on the 21st December.

Nov 26th 1914 to Dec 20th 1914: The Battalion was resting at Hazebrouck.

Dec 21st 1914: The Battalion left Hazebrouck at 7 AM in motors. Arrived at Zellobes close to Vielle Chapelle at 12 Noon. After refilling with rations & Ammunition, the Battalion was ordered to move to Le Touret. Arrived here sometime about 4 PM. Orders were received that the Battalion in Conjunction with 1st Loyal North Lancashire Regt. Was to make a night attack to recover trenches about ½ mile East of Rue de L’Epinelte & ½ mile South of Rue de Bois. Which had been lost the previous night. The Two Battalions moved to the attack about 7 PM. The Battalion had Two Companies in the front line & Two in support.
1st Northamptonshire R. was on the North 1st L. N. L. on South by 10 PM. The position in front of us had been retaken with slight loss. Most of our Casualties Coming from Artillery fire. Total Casualties killed & wounded. Three Officers – about 60 men.
According to previous orders when the position had been retaken the Battalion was to withdraw & the line to be held by the 1st L. N. L. Regt. We had however to leave One Company D in the line. The rest of the Battalion withdrew back about ½ mile to billets reaching them about 7 AM on Dec 22nd.

It would have been in this “slight loss” that Criss Manning died. His body was not recovered or identified and he is remembered on the Le Touret Memorial.

The Le Touret Memorial commemorates over 13,400 British soldiers who were killed in this sector of the Western Front from the beginning of October 1914 to the eve of the Battle of Loos in late September 1915 and who have no known grave. The Memorial takes the form of a loggia surrounding an open rectangular court. The names of those commemorated are listed on panels set into the walls of the court and the gallery, arranged by regiment, rank and alphabetically by surname within the rank. The memorial was designed by John Reginald Truelove, who had served as an officer with the London Regiment during the war, and unveiled by the British ambassador to France, Lord Tyrrell, on 22 March 1930. Almost all of the men commemorated on the Memorial served with regular or territorial regiments from across the United Kingdom and were killed in actions that took place along a section of the front line that stretched from Estaires in the north to Grenay in the south. This part of the Western Front was the scene of some of the heaviest fighting of the first year of the war.

The only mention of his death in the Rugby press was as one of the railway men who had died.

On the 17th April 1915, the Rugby Advertiser reported:
CASUALTIES AMONG L & N-W RAILWAYMEN.—According to the April number of the “ L & N-W Railway Gazette,” there were 1,058 casualties reported among L & N-W Railway men with the Forces between February 19th and March 15th. The list includes the following :—Killed: H R Barwick, East Anglian Engineers (Wolverton). Died from wounds: T C Tooth, Bucks Territorials (Wolverton); C Manning, Northamptonshire Regiment (Rugby).

And on the 25th September, 1915:
During the service the daily portion from “ The Happy Warrior ” was read by Mr Frank Ward, and the following names of men on the Rugby Railway Mission Roll of Honour, and of local railway men who have fallen in the war were read out:—…C Manning, carriage department

On the L & N-W Roll of Honour, Criss is remembered as C. Manning, Carriage cleaner, Rugby.

He is listed on the Great Brington War Memorial (as Francis C Manning) and the Harlestone War Memorial (as Christopher Manning) On the Rugby Memorial Gates he is C Manning.

He was awarded, under the name of Cross Manning, the British and Victory medals as well as the 1914 star.



Osborne, Mark Henry. Died 8th Apr 1916

Omitted from publication on 18th Apr 2016.

Mark Henry Osborne was born on 18th Jun 1889 at Harlestone, Northamptonshire and baptised there on 1st September the same year. He was the fourth child of Mark, a farm labourer and his wife Hannah (nee Goldby). They were married in Harlestone on 12th August 1883 and in 1891, when Mark Henry was a year old, the family were living with Hannah’s parents John and Eliza.

By 1901 they were no longer living with the Goldbys, but there were eight children in the household, including 10 month old Ada, the daughter of Mark Henry’s older sister Eliza, who was not listed with the family. Mark Henry was eleven years old and no occupation was given, his father and older brother John were both farm labourers.

By 1911 Henry, as he was now known, perhaps to distinguish him from his father, was 21 and an estate labourer. His parents had produced eleven children, ten of whom had survived. Only five were still living with the family, plus Ada and another granddaughter, Laura.

By the time the war started Henry Mark was employed by the London & North Western Railway in the Carriage Works in Rugby. He enlisted in Northampton on 1st September 1914, in the 1st Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment, private no. 13045, and after training arrived in France on 27th January 1915.

He would have experienced several battles during 1915 with the Northamptonshire Regiment taking heavy casualties in the attacks at Aubers Ridge and Loos. It was a cold winter and not a lot was happening in March/April 1916. The regiment was near Loos and took part in patrols and repair of trenches, when returned to billets, concerts were mentioned in the war diary. There was regular shelling by the enemy.

It is not known when and how Mark Henry Osborne was wounded, but he died on 8th April 1916 at Bethune. For much of the First World War, Bethune was comparatively free from bombardment and remained an important railway and hospital centre, as well as a corps and divisional headquarters. The 33rd Casualty Clearing Station was in the town until December 1917.

He was buried in the Bethune Town Cemetery. No inscription was added to the stone by his family, whose address is given as 82 New Cottages, Harlestone.

Mark Henry was awarded the Victory and British Medals and the 15 star.

As well as the Rugby Memorial Gates, he is remembered on the Harlestone War Memorial – as Harry Osborne, next to Criss Manning who died in 1914 and also a railway man in Rugby. They are both listed in the L&NM Railway Roll of Honour. M H Osborne was a carriage cleaner.



Neville, Frank Septimus. Died 24th Nov 1917

Frank was the youngest of the nine children of Thomas Johnson Neville and his wife Lilian nee Lord who were married at St Paul’s Chiswick, Middlesex on 18 March 1872.   Thomas and Lilian returned to Thomas’s birthplace of Dunchurch after their marriage where he was a butcher and farmer.   Although Lilian was born in Hoxton Middlesex, her father Richard was also born in Dunchurch.

Frank was baptised in Dunchurch on 25 October 1891, his birth being registered in December Quarter of that year.

In 1901 Frank was aged 9, living with his parents and five older siblings in Dunchurch, but by 1911 he was 19 and had become a teacher in Stamford. This is confirmed by his detailed obituary in the Rugby Advertiser of 1 December 1917. This records that he was educated at Dunchurch School, then at the Lower School in Rugby (now Lawrence Sheriff). He was a member of the Howitzer Battery in Rugby, and “being a well-set up young fellow, was selected as one of the Guard of Honour when King Edward visited the town” in 1909.   He left Stamford for a post as assistant master at St Matthews School in Rugby where he took a great interest in the new Scout movement.

Just before war broke out he passed high in a Civil Service examination which enabled him to become a member of the Inns of Court Officers’ Training Corps (OTC) as Private 1013.   He was transferred to the Northampton Regiment as 2nd Lieutenant in 1914, posted to France on 26 July 1915 and was gazetted as Temporary Captain on 4 January 1917. He was involved in heavy fighting at the Somme in July 1916 in which his brother Captain George H Neville  was killed and Frank severely wounded. He was invalided home for nine months and had command of a cadet corps during his recovery.

He returned to France about August 1917 and went through a lot of heavy fighting. He died from a bullet wound in the abdomen on 24 November 1917 and is buried at Dozinghem Military Cemetery near Poperinghe to the west of Ypres. Although this area was outside the front held by the Commonwealth forces in Belgium during the war, groups of casualty clearing stations were placed at three positions in July 1917. These were called by the troops with typical dry humour Mendinghem, Dozinghem and Bandagem.   3309 casualties are buried at Dozinghem, Frank’s grave is no XIII.E9 in the section to the extreme left in front of the Stone of Remembrance.

He received the Victory and British War medals and the 1915 Star. He is commemorated on the Old Laurentian Roll of Honour and Dunchurch War memorial as well as Rugby’s Memorial Gates.



Southern, Albert Edward Rainbow. Died 1st Jul 1916

Albert Edward Rainbow Southern was born in early 1883 in Rugby, the fourth of ten children and baptised on 13 May 1883 at Saint Andrew’s Church, Rugby, when his family had recently moved from one of the Tank Cottages in New Bilton, to 1009 Old Station, Rugby.

Albert’s father, William, was born in about 1852 in Rugeley, Staffordshire, and in 1881 was a [railway] fireman. Before 1891, he had been promoted to become an engine driver. Albert’s mother, Caroline ‘Carry’ née Rainbow Southern was born in about 1853, more locally in Pailton, Warwickshire, and her marriage with William was registered in Rugby in early 1876. In 1901, William Southern was no longer an engine driver, but now a labourer, although probably still with the L&NW Railway as he was working for the company as a ‘tube cleaner’ in 1911.

Albert Southern became a soldier and enlisted into the Northampton Regiment, and is understood to have served for some time in South Africa. The 2nd Battalion sailed for South Africa in October 1899, and formed part of 9th Brigade. The Battalion was involved in actions at Belmont, and Enslin in November and in early December near Graspan, all with comparatively low losses. In the autumn of 1900, the Battalion was in the south-west of the Transvaal, moving to the Central Transvaal in early 1901.

However, by April 1901, now aged 19, Albert Southern, assuming that he had indeed been in South Africa, had returned to England, and was enumerated as a Private in the 2nd Battalion of the Northamptonshire Regiment, stationed at the Verne Citadel, in Portland, Dorset. This is today a high security prison, but Verne Citadel was then a heavily defended artillery fortress overlooking Portland harbour. Another source suggests that from 1900-1901, it was the 3rd Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment that was at Verne, however, the 1901 census returns confirm the presence of the 2nd Battalion and it was in the process of being replaced by the 4th Battalion, Manchester Regiment, which had already arrived.

By 1911 Albert had had left the army and was enumerated back in Rugby as an ‘Ex Soldier’, and was lodging at the White Lion, at 20 York Place, Dunchurch Road, Rugby. This was behind Frosts, the printers at the top of Dunchurch Road.

When the First War broke out, and with recruiting stepped up, Albert Southern rejoined the Northamptonshire Regiment, as Private No.17672, on 24 March 1915. He had been working as a weaver, and was living at 77 Windsor Street, Rugby. When he rejoined, he was aged 31 years 11 months and was 5ft 4in tall. His military career is recorded in detail in his Service Record which is one of the few that have survived. This has details of his postings, at home, in France, back home and then back in France. Despite, or perhaps because he was an ‘old sweat’, his discipline was perhaps far from ideal, with many minor offences, but the record also shows evidence of ill health, mainly resulting from his asthma, which possibly resulted from the poor living conditions at the Front. At various dates his Service Record showed him with the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Battalions of the Regiment.

In the first three days after his enlistment, Albert was posted first to the Depot, presumably still in Northampton, and then on 27 March 1915 to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion. The 3rd Battalion was then at Portland, which Albert would have known from his earlier military service, and then moved to Gillingham, Kent in May 1915, where on 24 July 1915, Albert was ‘absent from 8.45am parade’ and the next day ‘was absent from answering his name when a defaulter at 8.15am’. He received two days Confined to Barracks (CB). He was absent again on 27 July receiving three days CB. Then on 9 August he was absent for three days, forfeiting seven days pay (possibly later reduced to two or three days) and receiving two days CB. Then on the 13 August he was both ‘I. Absent from bathing parade at 5.15pm’ and ‘II. Stating a falsehood to be an NCO’, and received another seven days CB. The latter offences were dealt with by the 3rd Battalion officers.

Perhaps they had enough of him! – or reinforcements were needed – but after 153 days ‘Home Service’ on 25 August 1915, he was posted to the 2nd Battalion in France, and joined them on 2 September. He was then in France for 205 days, but not without incident.

The 2nd Battalion had been in Alexandria, Egypt on the outbreak of war and returned to England, landing in October 1914. It moved to Hursley Park near Winchester and initially came under command of 24th Brigade in 8th Division which had been formed by bringing together regular army units which had been stationed at various points around the British Empire. The 8th Division moved to France in November 1914, as a badly-needed reinforcement to the BEF and the 2nd Battalion landed in France at Le Havre on 5 November 1914.

Having been posted to France on 25 August 1915, Albert Southern would have missed the Battle of Auber’s Ridge in May 1915 when the 2nd Northamptonshire Battalion was in the northern pincer attack with 24th Brigade and took heavy casualties in the catastrophic attacks and where a number of Rugby men died.

On 18 October 1915, the 24th Infantry Brigade was transferred to the 23rd Division in exchange for 70th Brigade. From about 14 September, the 23rd Division took responsibility for a front line sector between Ferme Grande Flamengrie to the Armentieres-Wez Macquart road, this was just south of the Belgian border and some 10km. north-west of Lille and included the front at Bois Grenier. They remained in this area for a considerable time until end January 1916.

On 9 October 1915 when ‘in the field’ Albert was charged with, ‘1. Reporting sick without a cause when wanted for digging. 2. Smoking whilst on sentry’ – he received ‘10 days field imprisonment No. 1’. He also suffered from asthma, this being noted on his record on 31 October; 6 November, and a decision was presumably made to treat him in England as he was first transferred to Etaples; then on 15 November ‘Class A, joined Havre’.

A few days later, on 19 November 1915, he was at ‘home’ but was charged with ‘Having ball ammo in his trousers when parading …’ and he lost three days’ pay. Then an entry dated 28 November noted ‘To Front’. In December ‘in billets’ his offences continued … 5 days CB on 7 December for a now illegible offence; on 8 December ‘absent off guard mounting’ – 5 days CB; on 14 December ‘Losing by neglect his haversack’ – 3 days CB and an illegible note, possibly relating to its replacement. Then on 30 December he was ‘Unshaven on parade’ – 2 days CB. In his favour, at least it was recorded that there had been no cases of drunkenness! These offenses were during the ‘… dreadful winter in the trenches’, and on 6 January 1916, Albert was again ‘unshaven on parade’ and given seven days CB.

On 12 February he was admitted to ‘70 FA’ [?Field Ambulance] with ‘brownish catarrh’, and on 9 March he was classed as ‘sick’ and admitted to hospital with asthma and bronchial catarrh. He was transferred to Rouen on 12 March and then again back to England on 16 March, being posted to the Depot on 17 March 1916, on which date he was admitted to the ‘War Hospital, Clopton, Stratford-on-Avon’ with ‘Bronchitis’. Eleven days later, on 28 April, he was passed ‘fit for duty’ by the ‘Officer in Charge’. After his discharge, he was granted ‘furlough’ [leave] from 29 April to 8 May 1916 and on that date he was posted back to the 3rd Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment, until 30 May. He had spent a no doubt welcome period of 44 days in UK.

Albert would thus have missed the actions from 21 May 1916, when the Division was defending against the German attack on Vimy Ridge, although the action was more intense to its right. The 23rd Division was relieved by the 47th (London) Division on 11 June.

When Albert Southern was posted back to France on 31 May 1916, he was posted to the 1st Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment, which was in the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Division. The Battalion had been in France since landing at Le Havre on 13 August 1914. Albert was now some 100kms or more further south than on his earlier French posting.

One service record entry suggests that Albert was then transferred in the field to the Essex Regiment on 26 June 1916. However, his formal records still recorded him with the 1st Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment. This was in the lead up to the Battle of Albert, which comprised the first two weeks of the Battle of the Somme.

On 1 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, the Anglo-French infantry attacked on the south bank from Foucaucourt to the Somme and from the Somme north to Gommecourt, 2 miles (3.2 km) beyond Serre. Whilst there were some successes on that first day, in the area from the Albert-Bapaume road to Gommecourt, the British attack was a disaster, and this was where most of the approximate 60,000 British casualties of the day were incurred.

Albert Southern was posted as ‘Missing’ on 1 July 1916, during the first day of the Battle of the Somme. He had been back in France only 32 days. His father was ‘notified’ on 11 July 1916. His body was never found and it was presumed that he had ‘Died on or since’ 1 July and that he had been ‘Killed in Action’.

It was nearly a year later, on 30 April 1917, that his ‘next of kin (father) [was] notified’ formally of his death. An official letter dated 3 September 1917 instructed that any effects and his medals should be sent to ‘Mrs Carry Southern, 77 Windsor Street, Rugby’, and a letter dated 19 November 1921 noted that she was ‘his mother and sole legatee’. For some reason his mother had taken over these formal duties from his father. Albert was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal which were sent to his mother.

Albert Southern is remembered on Panel Reference: Bay 7, of the Arras Memorial, which commemorates almost 35,000 servicemen from the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand who died in the Arras sector between the spring of 1916 and 7 August 1918, the eve of the Advance to Victory, and had no known grave. Generally the missing from the Somme were remembered on the Thiepval Monument, but the Northamptons were fighting toward the north of the Somme action, so this may have been an administrative matter.

Albert’s youngest brother Sidney Harold Rainbow Southern, M.M., was with the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and later with the Shropshire Light Infantry, attached to the 1st /1st Battalion, Herefordshire Regiment. Sidney was also killed in action, on 4 September 1918.


– – – – – –


This article on Albert Southern 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, May 2015.

[1]       Edited from:

[2]       Verne Citadel on the Isle of Portland was started in 1847 as a camp for prisoners building the Portland harbour breakwaters, and was extended during the 1860s, to house 8 RML guns with calibres up to 12″. For further information and photographs visit:

[3]       See:

[4]       See report on ‘Rugby Remembers’ for the Battle of Auber’s Ridge and the Rugby casualties on 9 May 1915.

[5]       It returned to 8th Division on 15 July 1916 after the battle of the Somme.

[6]       Field Punishment was introduced in 1881 following the abolition of flogging, and was common during WWI. It consisted of the convicted man being placed in fetters and handcuffs and attached to a gun wheel or fence post, for up to two hours per day. During the early part of WWI it was often applied with the arms stretched out and the legs tied together, giving rise to the nickname ‘crucifixion’.

[7]       The 1st Battalion of the Essex regiment were also in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

Phipps, Lionel Lush. Died 28th Sep 1915

Lionel Lush Phipps’ birth was registered in the second quarter of 1896, and he was baptised on 16 May 1896 at Hardingstone in Northamptonshire.

His father, Albert Edward Phipps was a solicitor, and his mother was variously recorded as Marie Quita; Mari Zuita (on Lionel’s baptism record); both Margarita and Mariquita (on her marriage transcriptions); and Mariquita (on Lionel’s CWGC record)!   Their marriage was registered in Portsea in Q2, 1890 and they lived in Hardingstone.

At the end of March 1901, aged 5, Lionel and his mother were staying with his aunts, Emma and Amy Lush, at the home of his grandfather, Joseph Lush at Ryde on the Isle of Wight.   Later, Lionel attended Repton School in Derbyshire, and was enumerated there, aged 15, in the 1911 census.

He would probably have been a member of the school cadet training force, and he joined the army ‘straight from school’. He was commissioned soon afterwards into the 7th Battalion of his local Northamptonshire Regiment as a

Temporary Second Lieutenant with effect from 22 September 1914.[1] His younger brother was in the same Regiment.

Lionel Lush Phipps portrait

After his death, a photograph appeared in the local paper.[2]

The 7th (Service) Battalion was formed at Northampton in September 1914 as part of K3 and came under command of the 73rd Brigade in the 24th Division.   They moved to the South Downs and into billets in Southwick between November 1914 and April 1915, and then on to Woking in June 1915.   On 2 September 1915 they landed at Boulogne.[3]

This agrees with Lionel’s Medal Card which recorded that he went to France on 2 September 1915.


There is fairly good information on their movements in the Diaries and reported on the Web.[4]

The 7th Battalion was part of 24th Division and had only just arrived in France when it was allocated as Reserve for the offensive at Loos on 25th September.

Already tired from the forced march, though only five men fell out, they were held back too far from the Front line (a decision that was instrumental in Sir John French losing his job) and did not arrive in the line until late on the 25th. Being relatively “unscathed” by the forced marches of the previous days, the 7th Northamptonshires were sent up to the battle before the rest of the division on the evening of the 25th rather than on the 26th like much of the rest of the division.

They were given no instructions at all on reaching the front line and instead they were just told to follow an officer of the 9th Division up to relieve one of the assaulting battalions. Led by ‘C’ Company the battalion crossed the battlefield in full kit negotiating seven trenches before they reached the battalion they were to relieve. They formed a defensive flank between the Hohenzollern Redoubt and Fosse 8 which they held overnight.   On the 26th they were then hit by a German counter-attack against ‘B’ Company trenches which were bombed, but the attack was repulsed. Lt. Morley of B Company would have been recommended for the VC that day, but both he and his senior officer, Colonel Parkin, who had intended to recommend him, were killed. On one occasion the battalion received instructions to retire and had withdrawn most of the way back to their lines before being sent back across 600 yards of ground to take up their positions back in the front line.

On Monday 27th September 1915, ‘C’ and ‘D’ Companies near Fosse 8 were attacked from the rear by Germans using bombs. Captain Mansfield collected a mixed force of men and counter-attacked to relieve ‘C’ Company. A further counter-attack to regain the village at Fosse was cancelled after several senior officers, including General Thesiger were killed by a shell whilst organising the attack.

The battalion held their positions for the rest of the day before being relieved on the evening of the 27th.

A more detailed account in the war diary noted:

27 September 1915: Auchy area: The men of 73rd Brigade holding the positions east of Fosse 8 are in an exhausted condition, having no food, water or sleep for 48 hours.

12.00 noon: Heavy enemy shelling of Fosse 8 and tracks to the North (Trois Cabarets) begins and continues all afternoon and evening.

Heavy enemy shelling of Fosse 8, tracks to the North (Trois Cabarets) and communication trenches leading up to the Hohenzollern Redoubt continues throughout the night.

2.30am: An attack against Fosse 8 by the 1/Royal Berkshires, detached from Carter’s Force, is halted 70 yards from their objective, after crossing half a moonlit mile under fire.

Dawn: German infantry attacks 21st Brigade in Stone Alley, adjacent to Vermelles-Hulluch road, but is beaten off by 2/Wiltshires. Shortly afterwards, an enemy attack in battalion strength hits 73rd Brigade in Fosse and Slag Alleys. (The men of this Brigade holding the positions east of Fosse 8 are in an exhausted condition, having had no food, water or sleep for 48 hours.)

7th Northamptonshires are forced back to cottages at Corons de Pekin, North of the Fosse 8 Dump [a slag heap from a coal mine]. The enemy places a heavy machine-gun on the slopes of the Dump, and brings the area between the Dump and the Hohenzollern Redoubt under fire.

Note: the heaps alongside them [the pits] are called Fosses. Most important areas included the dump at Fosse 8, in front of Auchy, and the Quarries in front of Hulluch.   Both positions were strongly fortified by the enemy, the one at Fosse 8 being called the Hohenzollern Redoubt.

Phipps - Loos - Fosse 8 - Trenches

Attack on Fosse: 28 September 1915: 9.30am: 85th Brigade of 28th Division, supported by 83rd Brigade, attacked at the Dump and Fosse 8. Many casualties were suffered by both sides in desperate fighting in the confined trenches around the Hohenzollern Redoubt. At around 4.00pm, 2nd Guards Brigade attacks Puits 14 bis, but after suffering very heavy casualties from machine-guns firing from in front of Bois Hugo they are ordered to halt.

There were heavy losses – Battalions at the time had some 650-750 men: the 7th Northamptonshires lost 377, of which 11 officers, including their Lt. Col. A. Parkin, in the attacks around Fosse 8.

For more information go to ‘Battle of Loos’ on Rugby Remembers or for a more detailed report on the Battle of Loos, go to:

Overall in the Battle of Loos, more than 61,000 British casualties were sustained: 50,000 in the main fighting area between Loos and Givenchy and the remainder in the subsidiary attacks. Of these, 7,766 men died.

A more specific mention of Lionel Phipps is given in a later history of the Battalion.[5]

The casualties had been heavy in numbers, but numbers alone do not represent the seriousness of the loss to the battalion.   … Captain V. D. Shortt, Lieutenant L. L. Phipps, both of whom had already been wounded earlier in the battle, were killed; … What the battalion owed to these officers cannot be expressed in words, but those who served under them or with them cannot hear the Battle of Loos mentioned without recalling their characters to memory with love and pride. … The casualties amounted to 402 all ranks, and included very many of the best of the battalion, and it was not long before rumour reached Northampton that the battalion had been ‘wiped out’, … the Battle of Loos in 1915 from its very newness to all ranks, was the severest trial that the 7th Northamptonshire Regiment was called on to face during four years’ constant fighting in France and Flanders.

Temporary Lieutenant Lionel Lush Phipps, was just one of the 402 who were wounded and died at and around Loos on 28 September 1915. He had been in France and Belgium for a mere four weeks.

He is buried at the Noeux-Les-Mines Communal Cemetery, in plot I. K. 12., and is remembered also on the Rugby Memorial Gates.

He was awarded the British and Victory Medals and the 1914-15 Star. His file is available at The National Archives at Reference: WO 339/14355.

In fact the date of Lionel’s death was never entirely clear. The memorial notice inserted in the local newspaper read ‘Phipps, killed in action in France, on 26th or 27th September … younger son …’.[6] A notice elsewhere in the same newspaper confirmed that he was ‘… educated at Repton and joined the 7th Northamptonshire regiment on leaving school.   He was a very popular young officer and an all-round sportsman. His father is a Captain in the National Reserve, and his brother Ronald was recently wounded in the foot whilst serving in France.’

Whilst Lionel is remembered in Rugby, as yet, no connection with the town has been found!

As noted above, his older brother, Lieutenant Roland H. Phipps, was also a Lieutenant in the Northamptonshires and had been wounded in the foot, a few months earlier.[7] He survived the war and died in 1964, aged 66.




[1]       The London Gazette, 22 September 1914, Issue:28910, Page:7488.

[2]       Northampton Mercury, Friday, 8 October 1915.



[5]       H. B. King, M.C., 7th (S.) Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment, 1914-1919, Gale & Polden, Ltd., 1919.

[6]       Northampton Mercury, Friday, 8 October 1915.

[7]       Northampton Mercury, Friday, 6 August 1915.

Reynolds, Frank. Died 9th May 1915

Frank Reynolds’ birth was registered in the third quarter of 1893 in Rugby, when his family were living in Campbell Street, Rugby. His father was Tom Reynolds, a well-known local builder who in 1908 then carried out his business from 18 Dunchurch Road, Rugby.[1] His mother was Tom’s first wife, Emma Julia (née Burnham), who died in 1899. His father then married Maria (née Bagnall) in 1900.   Sadly Maria also died, in March 1915, just before Frank left for the front in April 1915.

In the 1901 the family was still living in Campbell Street, Rugby and comprised father Tom aged 37, his wife Maria aged 27, sons John H G aged 9, Frank aged 7, and Herbert aged 4.

In 1911 Frank was a footman at Michell House, one of the Boarding Houses for Rugby School, at 3 Barby Road and at the outbreak of War, Frank, though still a footman, was now employed by Mrs Cross of Cottesbrooke Grange, Northamptonshire.

Cottesbrooke Grange



Frank Reynolds joined the 2nd Northamptonshire Regiment and according to his medal card went to France as Private No.16483 on 22 April 1915. He probably formed part of the reinforcements after the Battle of Neuve Chapelle in March 1915.

Frank’s two brothers also joined up and an article and photograph (below) of the three boys in uniform with their father appeared in the Rugby Advertiser just after Frank had been reported missing and a colleague stated therein that he was ‘… killed … and that his body was afterwards missing’.[2]

Reynolds pic2

The 2nd Northants were in the 24th Brigade in the northern pincer of the attack at Aubers Ridge, on 9 May 1915. The Diary of the 2nd Northants records difficulties with communication and the conditions … ‘Several attempts were made to get in touch with the front line, but communication was impossible and the view was much restricted by the trees in front.’[3] Several Northants men were awarded the DCM that day and the citations give some idea of the extreme conditions, ‘… the intervening ground was so swept by machine gun fire that the companies could not be supported.’[4] ‘… one portion of a trench was being vacated owing to intense artillery fire.’[5]

A fuller report is available on the action at Aubers Ridge on 9 May, where several other Rugby men in the Rifle Brigade died.   There were more than 11,000 British casualties, most within yards of the front-line. It was one of the highest casualty rates of the war. The battle was a disaster for the British, no ground was won and no tactical advantage gained.

Reynolds pic3

Frank’s body was not recovered and his death, on 9 May 1915, is remembered by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission on the Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium. Frank Reynolds was awarded the Victory, British and Star Medals.

Frank’s brothers also joined up. John was a Corporal in the 2nd Grenadier Guards and Herbert, also a Corporal, in The Rifle Brigade. All three were killed in action. Frank on 9 May 1915, Herbert on 5 September 1916 and John on 20 November 1916.

Their father, Tom Reynolds, died in 1936 aged 75 years, his three sons Private Frank Reynolds, Corporal Herbert Reynolds and Corporal John H C Reynolds, and his second wife Maria (née Bagnall) are remembered on a grave in Clifton Road Cemetery, Rugby.

Reynolds pic4

On 22 March 1922 Rugby War Memorial Gates were unveiled, dedicated and formally opened. Tom Reynolds, the father of three deceased Rugby soldiers, was asked to open the Rugby Memorial Gates.

A report on the opening is reproduced below:

Rugby War Memorial Gates

The Gates were unveiled on Sunday 12th March 1922, which fortunately, in view of the fact that this was a completely outdoor event, was a sunny day. The unveiling was carried out by Field Marshal Earl French of Ypres, assisted by Mr & Mrs Hardman, who had lost three sons in the war. The ceremony attracted thousands of the general public, while the inner area was reserved for subscribers and families of the fallen.

The Gates were then dedicated by the Bishop of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich, Dr A A David, a former Headmaster of Rugby School. Mr Tom  Reynolds, a local builder who had also lost three sons in the war, formally opened the Gates with a large key presented by Foster & Dicksee, a local firm of building contractors. He was allowed to keep this key as a souvenir.

After Mr Reynolds had walked through the gates, those assembled sang “O God our help in ages past”, and the ceremony concluded with the laying of wreaths.[6]

A further article recently appeared in the Rugby Advertiser requesting information about the whereabouts of the key. [7]




[1]       Edinburgh Gazette, May 1908.

[2]       Rugby Advertiser, from

[3]       War Diary, 2nd Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment.

[4]       Walker, R. W., and Chris Buckland, compilers. Citations of the Distinguished Conduct Medal, 1914–1920, Naval and Military Press, 2007

[5]       Northampton Mercury, Friday, 6 August 1915.


[7]       Rugby Advertiser, 11 November 2011.


9th Jan 1915. Local War Notes and Christmas at the Front


At the Rugby Cattle Market, on Monday next, Mr W Wiggins will sell by auction a sheep, which has been presented for the purpose, the proceeds of which will be given to the Belgian Relief Fund.

Mr R G S Anderson, of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, who was wounded, has now re-joined his regiment.

Mr P A Morson, son of Mr Arthur Morson, of Rugby, has joined the Foreign Service Battalion of the Honourable Artillery Company.

Sergt-Instructor Bird, of the Stores Department of the B.T.H Company, has been appointed to a commission in the Northants Regiment in connection with Lord Kitchener’s Army.

Mr C G Richards, late of Rugby, is now with Royal Army Medical Corps at Diss, in Norfolk, and he expects to sail for Egypt with a detachment of the Corps in a few weeks’ time.

H Welsby, T Lee, T Batchelor, and H Webber (Rugby), and C Batchelor (Hunningham) hare joined the reserve battalion of the 7th Royal Warwickshire Regiment. The battalion has now more than 1,000 men.

Mr C F E Dean, partner of Mr W G B Pulman, solicitor, Rugby and Lutterworth, has enrolled in the Public Schools Battalion attached to the Royal Fusiliers, and left to take up duty in London on Saturday.


Recruiting still continues fairly satisfactory at Rugby. During the past week 36 men enlisted, the best day being Monday, when 15 came [?]d. So far the total for Rugby is 2,102.


The recruiting officer in charge at the Drill Hall had an amusing experience on Wednesday morning. Two little boys from Pinder’s Lane-one aged 6 years 10 months and the other aged 7 years-presented themselves, and stated quite seriously that they wished to enlist as buglers, The sergeant, instead of informing the youngsters that this was impossible, entered into the spirit of the joke, got out the papers, and began to fill in the particulars. The would-be recruits expressed their willingness to join any corps to which they could be sent, and subsequently left the hall fully satisfied that they might at any be called to serve.


Pte J T Meadows, of the 1st Northants Regiment, writes from the London General Hospital : ” Will you allow me space to convey my many thanks to the people of Rugby, who have so generously thought of me this Christmas and New Year, and who have made it so happy for me in my sufferings from terrible wounds received in action. The names of engagements I am unable to state, only the one where I was put out of action (Ypres). I regret to say my recovery is very slow. Through it all I remain quite happy.”


S S Alfred Wood, of the 1st Artillery Division, who previous to being called up for active service was employed at Rugby L & N-W Railway Station as a shunter, in a letter to a friend says :-

“Things have been a bit rough at the front, but are a little better now. He was having a fortnight’s rest from the firing line, and it seemed quite a change to be away from the ‘ coal boxes.’ He was hit once, but it did not do any damage, the bullet going through his jacket and just grazing his back. One of his mates from Rugby got killed, and another had his eye taken out with a piece of shell at Ypres. In one passage he says: ‘ When we got back from the battle of Ypres they had completely blown the town to atoms. We were in a wood one day, and the

Germans started to shell us just us we were going to have a bit of breakfast—such as it was. One of our sergeants was having a wash, when over came a German shell and shot him dead. Five more were killed and wounded, and also about a dozen horses. So you see we have been through a bit. At the battle of the Aisne we had a rough time, losing nine guns out of eighteen in the Brigade and a lot of men. We lost two guns and about 40 men one day ; the Germans captured them and took them prisoners.”


Driver Jack Jones, son of Mr Rowland Jones, brewery agent, Claremont Road, who joined the new heavy battery, Garrison Artillery, in connection with Lord Kitchener’s Army, in August, was selected for the front early in November, and must have been among the first in Kitchener’s Army to go. He has written several letters home, in each of which he states that he is quite well. In one letter he says : “ Our guns have gone very well up to now, without a casualty, so I think we have been very lucky. I think we have to put all that down to the officers, because they are all very clever men. They know how to find the enemy, but the enemy has not found us yet, and I hope they won’t.” In another letter he says : “ Things out here are a bit quiet. We have been in action now about one month.”


At the time of the German raid on Scarborough the Warwickshire Yeomanry were stationed on the coast not a hundred miles from the scene of hostilities. General regret was expressed that their bit of the coast had not been selected for the attack instead of the Yorkshire coast.

A week before Christmas the regiment was moved from the coast to a few miles inland. The change was not appreciated, for the men are now quartered in a Little village of about 300 inhabitants, and five miles from any town. The last place they were at was about the size of Warwick, which, besides the ever-present attraction of the sea and shipping, boasted a couple of picture shows, and a hall where writing, &c, could be done. Also the men were billeted on private people, and consequently lived very well and had real beds to sleep in, which, after sleeping on bags of straw for the last few months, was Paradise. Army rations went down very badly after billeting for a month, after Christmas fare was a welcome break in the monotony of bread and meat and bread and jam. Most of the men are now billeted in empty houses, a troop to a house. Six or seven men occupy a room, and with the coming of Christmas hampers many enjoyable, if informal, dinners and teas were held. A whip round is made periodically for coal, and the same method was adopted to buy a couple of kettles. Some queer meals have been eaten lately ; pineapple chunks, pork pie, and cake and tea have provided many a meal, some of which have been breakfasts, others dinners or teas. Each room usually has its own store of small groceries, and every man ought soon to be a complete housekeeper. If one room is short of tea, it can often be obtained from the next by swapping a piece of coal for it. In the same way a couple of mince pies area equal to half a candle. The latter are indispensable articles of the men’s housekeeping, as there is no other means of lighting the houses, and friends sending parcels might with advantage slip a few in. A very pleasant Christmas was spent, each squadron having a real Christmas dinner, followed by a concert in the evening. Everyone enjoyed the Christmas spread, which was done in real style, turkeys, geese, roast beef, plum puddings, with fruit, nuts, and drinks ad lib. After living more or less on bully beef, this was a welcome change, and everyone enjoyed it to the full. The concert also was a great success, and was kept up till 10.30 p.m, a very late hour for soldiers, who on ordinary occasions must be in their billets by 9.30 p.m.

The regiment has been engaged in very interesting work and schemes lately, much of which has involved a good deal of cross-country riding.


In a further letter home, Pte Sheasby says that on Christmas Eve they were ordered to some new trenches. We hadn’t been there many minutes before we started shouting the compliments of the season to the Germans, who were entrenched about 250 to 300 yards in fronts of us, and to our surprise they shouted back : “ Hello ! you English, if you won’t fire we won’t over Christmas ” ; so, of course, we shouted : “ All right; we won’t fire till you do.” Of course, the sentries were at their posts just the same ; but we felt more free, and hadn’t to keep bobbing down to miss stopping a bit of lead. At the same time we hardly expected them to keep to their word ; but there was not a shot fired that night by us or by the Germans opposite, although there was firing going on on our right and left. The next morning as soon as it got light and we had had breakfast, we took a walk through our barbed wire entanglements, and met them halfway between the two trenches. After hand-shakes and “ A Merry Christmas ” we exchanged cigars and cigarettes, and all had a chat and smoke together. I took a drop of whiskey, and we had a drink. They were very eager after the whiskey, you bet ; and they also seemed very eager after food too. . . Our officer came out and took our photograph, about 20 of us, Germans and British mixed together, and he has promised me one if he can get them away to be done. . . We fixed things up that neither side would fire on the other unless we were ordered to, and then we were to fire in the air until after Boxing Day ; but one of the Germans came over and volunteered the news that he had seen their orders, and that they were to make an attack on us that (Boxing night) at 12.15 p.m. Of course, we got prepared, and all stood to arms at about 11.30 with fixed bayonets, all at our posts, anxiously waiting for them. And then our big guns started to let them have it for a few minutes after that, and shelled their trenches for about three-quarters of an hour, dropping shells right into them. I think that must have put them off it and made them think that we were about to make another attack. Anyway, we stood to our posts till 2.30, and nothing happened.”