Jones, Hubert Joseph. Died 9th Apr 1917

Hubert Joseph Jones was born in Rugby in 1888, and his birth was registered in Q3, 1888 in Rugby. He was the son of Albert (b.c.1849) and Elizabeth Jones (b.c.1854). Albert was an ‘Engineman Ry Driver’ and did not know where he was born! Elizabeth was born in Marton. In 1901 the family lived at 190 Oxford Street, Rugby with three children: Hubert Jones was then 12; Maud Jones was 16; and Beatrice [Elizabeth] Jones was 9.

The family hasn’t been found in the 1911 census. However, the records show that later, until just before the war, Hubert was working in the British Thompson Houston Machine Shop in Rugby.[1]

He enlisted ‘at the commencement of the war’[2] in Rugby[3] as a Private No.13581, in the 7th Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry [Ox and Bucks or Oxf & B.L.I.] early in the war. He was then promoted to Corporal in the 3rd Reserve Bn. and was later moved to the 6th Bn. Oxf & B.L.I. and was finally in the 5th Battalion.

The 5th (Service) Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry was formed at Oxford in August 1914 as part of the First New Army (K1) and then moved to Cranleigh, Guildford and then moved to Salamanca Barracks, Aldershot in February 1915 to be placed under orders of 42nd Brigade in 14th (Light) Division. They mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne on 21 May 1915.

Huberts’s Medal Card shows he went to France some months later on 21 September 1915 and he would have missed the actions on the Western Front in 1915. However he would have been involved in the Battle of Delville Wood, and the Battle of Flers-Courcelette in 1916. Then in 1917 with the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, the so called Battle of Arras and particularly, the First Battle of the Scarpe (9–14 April 1917) which was conducted in parallel with the attack by the mainly Canadian Divisions on Vimy ridge, slightly to the north. Both these being in part diversions for a major French attack to the south, which in the event was unsuccessful.

The 14th Light) Division were part of the VII Corps (under Snow) within the Third Army (under Allenby). The Battalion diary[4] summarised the events in Early 1917 …

The Battalion had its full share in the fighting of the first half of this year, suffering the inevitable heavy casualties, but adding still further to its splendid reputation. It took part in the great British offensive which opened on the 9th April, on a ten-mile front, from the south of Arras to the south of Lens; and it was engaged again in the next great offensive on the 3rd May in the same area, losing no fewer than 185 of all ranks in the former and 300 in the latter.

March 1st-15thThe Battalion had one tour of the trenches, losing 1 man killed and 5 men wounded. On the 15th marched to Sombrin, and went into training for the coming offensive.

March 11th – 31stThis period was devoted to strenuous training, including a rehearsal of an attack on the Harp, the German trench system east of Arras at the junction of the front-line system and the Cojeul Switch.

April 4th – The Battalion moved to Dunedin Caves (Made by quarrying chalk for the building of Arras. For our purposes they were now connected by tunnels and lighted by electricity.) One of the six large caves accommodating some 5,000 men. Three officers’ patrols were sent out at night …

April 5th -7th

At Christchurch Cave supplying working parties.

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

  1. The units of the 42nd Infantry Brigade will be distributed as follows at zero on “Z” day:

5th Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry:
In Sardine Trench (300 yards). In Roach Trench (260 yards). In Trout Trench (250 yards).
In Salmon Trench (150 yards) from its right flank (western end) to M.6.C.61.51, where old
German cable trench cuts it at right angles. Total: 960 yards.

  1. Units will reach their assembly positions as follows … 5th Oxford and Bucks L.I – from Christchurch Cave by Exit No. 14.F. (G.34.d.02.60).

Leading troops to start from Cave at 9p.m., and be clear of the Cave by 10p.m.
Route to Assembly Trenches – Rue de Temple – Hatter’s Lane and Halifax to Old German
Front Line – Halifax and Arras Way to Assembly Trenches; 200 yards distance to be
maintained between platoons. Battalion to be in Assembly Trenches by a.m. on 9th inst.

As detailed by O.C. Battalion, 200 yards distance to be maintained between platoons. Battalion to be in Assembly Trenches by 2 a.m. on 9th inst.

REPORT OF ATTACK ON THE HARP ON 9th APRIL 1917.

The Battalion left the caves at 9 p.m., and was in position in the Assembly Trenches by 12 midnight. No casualties occurred on the way up. There was practically no shelling of the Assembly Trenches till 5.30 a.m. Between 5.30 and 7.30 a.m. the Assembly Trenches were slightly shelled with whizz-bangs and an occasional 4.2-in. chiefly from direction of Tilloy. During this time one officer and one man were hit. At 7.34 a.m. the advance began. There was a good deal of crowding on the right owing to the Battalion on our right losing direction. This was rectified as much as possible by the company officers on the spot. During the initial stages of the advance there was practically no enemy artillery fire, but there was a certain amount of machine-gun fire from Tilloy; this, however, was mostly high and caused very few casualties. As soon as the leading line came in view of the Harp three machine-guns opened fire from behind Telegraph Work and the string of the Harp. Lewis-guns and rifle-grenades were immediately turned on to them, and their fire slackened sufficiently to enable the infantry to go forward. On reaching the front line about 50 of the enemy gave themselves up without fighting, and were passed back to the rear. There was a certain amount of resistance from the back of Telegraph Work and the string of the Harp, but the Germans gave themselves up as soon as our men reached them. About 50 Germans were captured here. As soon as both objectives had been reached consolidation was at once commenced as follows:

C Company and a part of D Company from N.7.a.6.6 to N.7.a.5.3.
A Company thence along back line of Telegraph Work to N.7.a.4.1.
Remainder of D Company from N.7.a.2.8 to about N.7.a.2.6.
B Company thence to N.7.a.2.0.

During the consolidation a machine-gun opened fire from about N.7.a.6.9, which caused a certain number of casualties. This gun was knocked out by a rifle-grenade, and was captured in conjunction with a bombing-party of the 9th K.R.R.C. About 20 minutes after reaching the objective the captured position was heavily shelled with 77-mm. and 4.2-in. for about half an hour, and a strong barrage of 5.9 in. put along the bank in M.12.b.l.9 for about one and a half hours. There were no troops advancing over this ground at that time. It only caused a certain amount of inconvenience to communications and very few casualties. About 10 a.m. all hostile artillery fire ceased, and consolidation was completed without further molestation. About this time another machine-gun and its crew were found in a dug-out. They gave themselves up without any trouble. It is impossible to state accurately the number of prisoners taken by us, but it is estimated there were about 100. Three machine-guns were also captured. Our casualties were roughly 5 officers killed, 7 wounded, and about 180 other ranks. The battlefield was cleared of all casualties by 5 p.m., with the assistance of the prisoners.
H. L. Wood, Lieut.-Colonel, Comdg. 5th Bn. Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry

April 10th

The following was issued today: “complimentary order.”

“The Commander-in-Chief has personally requested me to convey to all ranks of the 14th (Light) Division his high opinion of the excellent fighting qualities shown by the Division. The commencement of the great offensive of 1917 has been marked by an initial success in which more than 11,000 prisoners and 100 guns have been taken on the first day alone. The Division has taken a prominent part in achieving this success and maintained the reputation gained last year on the Somme, and added to the laurels of the gallant regiments of which it is composed.

  1. Couper, Major-General, Comdg. 14th (Light) Division.  10th April 1917.

Hubert Jones on was originally buried in the ‘Telegraph Hill British Cemetery, Neuville-Vitasse, on the South-Western slopes of the hill between Tilloy and Neuville-Vitasse, captured by the 14th Division on the 9 April 1917. The cemetery contained the graves of 147 soldiers from the United Kingdom, almost all of whom belonged to the 14th Division and fell in April 1917.’[5]

The bodies in that cemetery were later moved as part of the ‘concentration’ of smaller cemeteries and one Report noted that a new road was being built through part of the cemetery. Hubert Jones and many of his colleagues were exhumed and reburied in various sections of the Tilloy British Cemetery, with Hubert being reburied in Plot III. J. 16.

Tilloy-les-Mofflaines is a village 3 kilometres south-east of Arras, on the south side of the main road to Cambrai. The village of Tilloy-Les-Mofflaines was taken by Commonwealth troops on 9 April 1917, but it was partly in German hands again from March to August 1918.

The cemetery was begun in April 1917 by fighting units and burial officers, and Rows A to H in Plot I largely represent burials from the battlefield. The remaining graves in Plot I, and others in the first three rows of Plot II, represent later fighting in 1917 and the first three months of 1918, and the clearing of the village in August 1918. These 390 original burials were increased after the Armistice when graves were brought in from a wide area east of Arras and many smaller burial grounds including the Telegraph Hill British Cemetery, Neuville-Vitasse. The cemetery now contains 1,642 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War. 611 of the burials are unidentified, but there are special memorials to 14 casualties known or believed to be buried among them. The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

His ‘widow and sole executer’ Ellen, received £1-19-7d owing to him on 15 June 1917 and she received a further £6-0-0 gratuity on 29 October 1919.[6]

Hubert J Jones was awarded the Victory and British medals and the 1915 Star.   He is also remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gate and on the BTH War Memorial[7] and the listing of ‘BTH Employees Who Served in the War 1914 – 1918’.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

– – – – – –

 

This article on Hubert Joseph Jones was researched and written for a Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the Rugby Family History Group, December 2016.

[1]       Rugby Advertiser, 5 May 1917.

[2]       Rugby Advertiser, 5 May 1917.

[3]       Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919.

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

[5]         http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/566279/SCOTTON,%20F

[6]       Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, available on Ancestry.co.uk.

[7]       From the list of names on the BTH War Memorial when it was unveiled, taken from the list published in the Rugby Advertiser, 4 November 1921. See: Rugby Family History Group website, http://www.rugbyfhg.co.uk/bth-war-memorial .

 

Ashworth, Albert. Died 9th Apr 1917

Albert Ashworth’s birth was registered in the second quarter of 1895 in Rugby [although one record stated Warwick], and baptised on 26 May 1895 at St Matthew’s church, Rugby. He was the son of William Ashworth, a groom from Delgany, County Wicklow, Ireland and his wife, Lila Ashworth, and they were then living at 12 Little Pennington Street, Rugby.

In 1911, the family were still living at 12 Little Pennington Street, Rugby. Albert was single aged 16 and already working as a ‘Clerk Steel & Co Rugby’ also at home were his elder sister Georgina Jubilee Ashworth, 23, elder brother, William A Ashworth, 19, and younger sister, Grace M Ashworth, 14, all of whom worked at BTH. His eldest sister, Eliza, was already married and living in Birmingham. It seems that in his spare time Albert played full back for the Rugby 2nd XV.

From his number, he probably enlisted early in the war in Rugby[1] as a Private No.10445, in the 5th Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry [Ox and Bucks or Oxf. & B.L.I.]

The 5th (Service) Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry was formed at Oxford in August 1914 as part of the First New Army (K1) and then moved to Cranleigh, Guildford and then moved to Salamanca Barracks, Aldershot in February 1915 to be placed under orders of 42nd Brigade in 14th (Light) Division. They mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne on 21 May 1915. Albert’s Medal Card confirms that he also went to France with the Battalion on 20 May 1915.

At some stage before mid-August 1915 he had been promoted to Lance Corporal and would have probably been involved in various actions on the Western Front in 1915 including the Action at Hooge, and probably experienced the first flamethrower attack by the Germans in July 1915. It may have been then or soon after that he was wounded, apparently by a bursting trench mortar.

The Rugby Advertiser noted:

RUGBY FOOTBALLER WOUNDED.
Lance-Corpl Albert Ashworth, of the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, has been wounded in the knee and sent to an English hospital. His mother, who lives at 355 Clifton Road, Rugby, received a card, posted at Dover on Wednesday, in which he stated he had fine time crossing the Channel, and hoped soon to be all right. According to information supplied by a comrade, the injury was caused by the bursting of a “Trench mortar,” part of the exploded shell striking the knee, but the relatives have not received any direct information as to the nature of the wounds. Previous to enlisting Lance-Corpl Ashworth played full back for Rugby 2nd XV.[2]

Albert Ashworth – photo by permission of Rugby Library.

With no full Service Record it is uncertain when he returned to France, and but he would probably have missed the Second Attack on Bellewaarde in September 1915, but may have taken part in the Battle of Delville Wood and the Battle of Flers-Courcelette in 1916.

At some date he was promoted to Sergeant, and in 1917 there was continuing routine in the trenches whilst the Germans were about to retreat to the Hindenburg Line, the Battle of Arras was about to commence and particularly, the First Battle of the Scarpe (9–14 April 1917) which was conducted in parallel with the attack by the mainly Canadian Divisions on Vimy ridge, slightly to the north. Both these being in part diversions for a major French attack to the south, which in the event was unsuccessful.

The 14th (Light) Division were part of the VII Corps (under Snow) within the Third Army (under Allenby). The Battalion diary[3] summarised the events in Early 1917 …

The Battalion had its full share in the fighting of the first half of this year, suffering the inevitable heavy casualties, but adding still further to its splendid reputation. It took part in the great British offensive which opened on the 9th April, on a ten-mile front, from the south of Arras to the south of Lens; and it was engaged again in the next great offensive on the 3rd May in the same area, losing no fewer than 185 of all ranks in the former and 300 in the latter.

March 1st-15thThe Battalion had one tour of the trenches, losing 1 man killed and 5 men wounded. On the 15th marched to Sombrin, and went into training for the coming offensive.

March 11th – 31stThis period was devoted to strenuous training, including a rehearsal of an attack on the Harp, the German trench system east of Arras at the junction of the front-line system and the Cojeul Switch.

April 4th – The Battalion moved to Dunedin Caves (Made by quarrying chalk for the building of Arras. For our purposes they were now connected by tunnels and lighted by electricity.)   One of the six large caves accommodating some 5,000 men. Three officers’ patrols were sent out at night …

April 5th -7th
At Christchurch Cave supplying working parties.

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

  1. The units of the 42nd Infantry Brigade will be distributed as follows at zero on “Z” day:
    5th Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry:
    In Sardine Trench (300 yards). In Roach Trench (260 yards). In Trout Trench (250 yards).
    In Salmon Trench (150 yards) from its right flank (western end) to M.6.C.61.51, where old German cable trench cuts it at right angles. Total: 960 yards.
  1. Units will reach their assembly positions as follows … 5th Oxford and Bucks L.I – from Christchurch Cave by Exit No. 14.F. (G.34.d.02.60). Leading troops to start from Cave at 9p.m., and be clear of the Cave by 10p.m.   Route to Assembly Trenches – Rue de Temple – Hatter’s Lane and Halifax to Old German Front Line – Halifax and Arras Way to Assembly Trenches; 200 yards distance to be maintained between platoons. Battalion to be in Assembly Trenches by a.m. on 9th inst.

 

As detailed by O.C. Battalion, 200 yards distance to be maintained between platoons.   Battalion to be in Assembly Trenches by 2 a.m. on 9th inst.

REPORT OF ATTACK ON THE HARP ON 9th APRIL 1917.

The Battalion left the caves at 9 p.m., and was in position in the Assembly Trenches by 12 midnight. No casualties occurred on the way up. There was practically no shelling of the Assembly Trenches till 5.30 a.m. Between 5.30 and 7.30 a.m. the Assembly Trenches were slightly shelled with whizz-bangs and an occasional 4.2-in. chiefly from direction of Tilloy.   During this time one officer and one man were hit. At 7.34 a.m. the advance began. There was a good deal of crowding on the right owing to the Battalion on our right losing direction. This was rectified as much as possible by the company officers on the spot.   During the initial stages of the advance there was practically no enemy artillery fire, but there was a certain amount of machine-gun fire from Tilloy; this, however, was mostly high and caused very few casualties. As soon as the leading line came in view of the Harp three machine-guns opened fire from behind Telegraph Work and the string of the Harp. Lewis-guns and rifle-grenades were immediately turned on to them, and their fire slackened sufficiently to enable the infantry to go forward. On reaching the front line about 50 of the enemy gave themselves up without fighting, and were passed back to the rear. There was a certain amount of resistance from the back of Telegraph Work and the string of the Harp, but the Germans gave themselves up as soon as our men reached them. About 50 Germans were captured here.

As soon as both objectives had been reached consolidation was at once commenced as follows :

C Company and a part of D Company from N.7.a.6.6 to N.7.a.5.3.

A Company thence along back line of Telegraph Work to N.7.a.4.1.

Remainder of D Company from N.7.a.2.8 to about N.7.a.2.6.

B Company thence to N.7.a.2.0.

During the consolidation a machine-gun opened fire from about N.7.a.6.9, which caused a certain number of casualties. This gun was knocked out by a rifle-grenade, and was captured in conjunction with a bombing-party of the 9th K.R.R.C. About 20 minutes after reaching the objective the captured position was heavily shelled with 77-mm. and 4.2-in. for about half an hour, and a strong barrage of 5.9 in. put along the bank in M.12.b.l.9 for about one and a half hours.   There were no troops advancing over this ground at that time. It only caused a certain amount of inconvenience to communications and very few casualties. About 10 a.m. all hostile artillery fire ceased, and consolidation was completed without further molestation. About this time another machine-gun and its crew were found in a dug-out. They gave themselves up without any trouble. It is impossible to state accurately the number of prisoners taken by us, but it is estimated there were about 100.   Three machine-guns were also captured.   Our casualties were roughly 5 officers killed, 7 wounded, and about 180 other ranks. The battlefield was cleared of all casualties by 5 p.m., with the assistance of the prisoners.
H L. Wood, Lieut.-Colonel, Comdg. 5th Bn. Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry

April 10th

The following was issued today: “complimentary order.”

“The Commander-in-Chief has personally requested me to convey to all ranks of the 14th (Light) Division his high opinion of the excellent fighting qualities shown by the Division. The commencement of the great offensive of 1917 has been marked by an initial success in which more than 11,000 prisoners and 100 guns have been taken on the first day alone. The Division has taken a prominent part in achieving this success and maintained the reputation gained last year on the Somme, and added to the laurels of the gallant regiments of which it is composed.

  1. Couper, Major-General, Comdg. 14th (Light) Division.   10th April 1917.

Albert Ashworth was killed in the actions on 9 April 1917 and his body was recovered and was originally buried in the ‘Telegraph Hill British Cemetery, Neuville-Vitasse, on the South-Western slopes of the hill between Tilloy and Neuville-Vitasse, captured by the 14th Division on the 9 April 1917. The cemetery contained the graves of 147 soldiers from the United Kingdom, almost all of whom belonged to the 14th Division and fell in April 1917.’[4]

The bodies in that cemetery were later moved as part of the ‘concentration’ of smaller cemeteries and one Report noted that a new road was being built through part of the cemetery. Albert Ashworth and many of his colleagues were exhumed and reburied in various sections of the Tilloy British Cemetery, with Albert being reburied in Plot IV. D. 23.

Tilloy-les-Mofflaines is a village 3 kilometres south-east of Arras, on the south side of the main road to Cambrai. The village of Tilloy-Les-Mofflaines was taken by Commonwealth troops on 9 April 1917, but it was partly in German hands again from March to August 1918.

The cemetery was begun in April 1917 by fighting units and burial officers, and Rows A to H in Plot I largely represent burials from the battlefield. The remaining graves in Plot I, and others in the first three rows of Plot II, represent later fighting in 1917 and the first three months of 1918, and the clearing of the village in August 1918. These 390 original burials were increased after the Armistice when graves were brought in from a wide area east of Arras and many smaller burial grounds including the Telegraph Hill British Cemetery, Neuville-Vitasse. The cemetery now contains 1,642 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War. 611 of the burials are unidentified, but there are special memorials to 14 casualties known or believed to be buried among them. The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

Arthur’s father died in 1919 and his mother, Lila, was noted as the ‘sole legatee’ and she had been living at 355 Clifton Road from at least 1915, and then at 352 Clifton Road, Rugby [although some misprints are possible!]. She received £18-18-7d owing to Albert on 19 July 1917 and then received a further £15-0-0 gratuity on 21 October 1919.[5]

Albert Ashworth was awarded the Victory and British medals and the 1915 Star.   He is also remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gate and on his family’s grave – ref: K691[6] – in the Clifton Road Cemetery, Rugby.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

 

– – – – – –

 

This article on Albert Ashworth was researched and written for a Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the Rugby Family History Group, December 2016.

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

[2]       Rugby Advertiser, 14 August 1915.

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

[4]         http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/566279/SCOTTON,%20F

[5]       Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, available on Ancestry.co.uk.

[6]       Clifton Road Cemetery, list of names extracted from the Rugby Family History Group (RFHG), CD of Monumental Inscriptions.

Pratt, Frederick Charles. Died 1st March 1917

Frederick Charles PRATT was born in very late 1896 or early 1897 in Wolston, and his birth was registered in early 1897 in Rugby.   He was the son of George Pratt, a gardener from Newton and his wife Elizabeth who was born in Lambourne, Berkshire.  Frederick had seven brothers and sisters.

His eldest sister was born in Clifton in about 1893 but in 1901 the family was living at Priory Hill Lodge, Wolston.  Before 1911 the family had moved again and was living at 1 Bridle Road, New Bilton, Rugby – ‘Fred’ aged 14, was still at school.

When war broke out Fred would have been 17, and officially too young to join up.  However he could well have lied about his age because he joined up in the 6th Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry – the ‘Ox and Bucks’ – as Private No.11097.  It is known that a Charles James Keeber signed up in Rugby on 31 August 1914 with an only slightly lower number 11068, and numbers up to 14707 were still being used by the Ox and Bucks in later 1914.  This must be speculation as his service record has not survived, but it is likely that he did not hesitate to join up in 1914.

The 6th (Service) Battalion of the Ox and Bucks was formed in September 1914 at Oxford as part of the Second New Army (K2) and then moved to Aldershot to join the 60th Brigade of the 20th Division.  In March 1915 they moved to Larkhill, on Salisbury Plain for further training.

On 22 July 1915 the Battalion mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne – and Fred’s Medal Card shows that he also went into the France and Belgium theatre of war on that date.  The battalion undertook trench familiarisation and training and was then in various actions on the Western front including in 1916:- the Battle of Mount Sorrel, the Battle of Delville Wood, the Battle of Guillemont, the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, the Battle of Morval, and the Battle of Le Transloy.

The New Year 1917 brought a period of severe weather conditions on the Somme which led to an unofficial ‘truce’ between the two sides.  The Battalion Diary provides scant details in early 1917, but in February ‘… the Battalion took several tours of duty in the trenches in front of Guillemont, losing 8 men killed and 2nd Lieuts. Higlett, Skoulding, J. W. Wright, and 26 men wounded.  2nd Lieuts. Skoulding and Wright had been with the Battalion less than a week.’

Fred’s Medal Card notes: ‘DoW’ that is that he ‘Died of Wounds’ and this together with the location of his burial in Rouen, some 100 miles from where the 6th Battalion had been in action, suggests that he reached one of the rear area hospitals, which implies that he must have been wounded quite a few days before he died on 1 March 1917.

He was probably one of those 26 men from the battalion wounded in February ‘…in the trenches in front of Guillemont.’  He would have been moved to a Battalion Aid Post, Field Ambulance or Advanced Dressing Station, then back to a Casualty Clearing Station, before being transported back to one of the Base Hospitals – in Fred’s case in Rouen.  During the First World War, camps and hospitals were stationed on the southern outskirts of Rouen.  Almost all of the hospitals at Rouen remained there for practically the whole of the war.  They included eight general, five stationary, one British Red Cross and one labour hospital, and No. 2 Convalescent Depot.

Sadly he died there and like the great majority of the dead was taken to the Rouen city cemetery of St. Sever.  He was buried in the St Sever Cemetery Extension in grave reference: O. IV. S. 2.

St Sever Cemetery and St. Sever Cemetery Extension are located within a large communal cemetery situated on the eastern edge of the southern Rouen suburbs of Le Grand Quevilly and Le Petit Quevilly.  The extension had been started in September 1916.

 

The Battalion carried on, in and out of the line as before, with camps at Carnoy and Guillemont; and  then moved gradually forward as the German retreated to the Hindenburg Line [14 March – 5 April 1917].

Fred was awarded the Victory and British medals and the 1915 Star.

He is remembered also on the Rugby Memorial Gate and also in Rugby Baptist Church, where there is a Memorial Tablet above the Minister’s vestry in the Church.  It notes …

‘This tablet and the organ in the Church are erected to the memory of those members of this Church who laid down their lives in the Great War 1914- 1918, whose names are given herewith also as an act of thanksgiving for the safe return of the many others from this Church who served in the war.’
‘On waters deep in the treacherous mud.
On rock bound heights and burning sand.
They poured the offering of their blood.
They kept the honour of the land.’
A.W. Leeson

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

– – – – – –

 

This article on Frederick Charles Pratt 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, November 2016.

Mayes, Horace. Died 6th Dec 1916

Horace Mayes was the son of David and Mary Ann (nee Henson), born at Fletton near Peterborough in 1896.   He was baptised at Fletton, then in Huntingdonshire, on 3 September 1897, his father was a stoker on the railway.   He had seven siblings, one of them dying in infancy. Those who survived were Florence, Ethel, Lilian and Gertrude, all born in Fletton, Eva was born in Peterborough and little brother Alfred born in 1908 in Rugby.

Between 1906 and 1908 the family moved to Rugby, and in 1911 was living at 28 Abbey Street. David at that time was a tube cleaner at the Loco Department of the LNWR – London and North Western Railway. Florence was aged 20, a waitress at a skating rink, Ethel (19) was a servant, Lilian (16) a grocer’s assistant and Horace himself (14) a moulding apprentice at the British Thomson Houston (BTH) iron foundry. Gertrude (12) and Eva (5) were both scholars, Alfred was aged only 3.   David was born at Aldwinckle Northants in 1863 and Mary Ann at Peterborough in 1868, they were married in 1890.

Horace joined the Territorials in January 1914 as a driver in the Royal Field Artillery, but was discharged shortly afterwards as not likely to become an efficient soldier.   He was only 5ft 3in tall (Army Pension Records). This did not prevent him from enlisting at the start of the war when he joined the 5th Bn Oxfordshire and Buckingham Light Infantry as Private 11875, rising to Lance Corporal at his death. His medal card gives the date of his embarkation to France as 10 June 1915. The Rugby Advertiser of 2 Dec 1916 reported that he was in hospital at Bristol suffering from wounds in the thigh, arm and hand, and this was the second time he had been wounded. The issue of 16 Dec reports his death at Bristol Hospital in a notice from the family with a touching poem:

One less at home, one more in Heaven:
Our Saviour has taken the bloom He has given.
Flowers may wither, die of decay,
But the love of our son will for ever stay.

The Advertiser of 23 December gives a further report, saying he was seriously wounded in France in September, and in hospital there for two months before being brought back to England. He was aged 20, an apprentice at BTH. The funeral had taken place the previous week at Clifton Road Cemetery, with a firing party attending from Warwick and his coffin being draped with the Union Jack.

Grave of Horace Mayes in Clifton Road Cemetery.

Grave of Horace Mayes in Clifton Road Cemetery.

11875 Lance Cpl. H MAYES Oxford & Bucks Light Inf. 6th December 1916 age 20.
“Peace, perfect peace.”
vase: ILMO my dear husband DAVID MAYES 1862-1936 R.I.P.
HORACE
Also MARY ANN HENSON MAYES his beloved wife 1867-1939.
“Re-united.”

It seems likely that Horace was wounded in the same action at Montauban on 15 September that took the life of his comrade from Rugby William Arthur Lissaman (qv) of the same regiment, when 14 men were killed, 119 wounded and 23 missing (see Rugby Remembers for that date for more details of the action taken from the war diary of the regiment).

The Register of Soldiers’ Effects notes that £14.16s.2d was sent to his mother, she also received a gratuity of £10 in 1919. His father had died at Leicester in 1914. Horace was awarded the Victory and British War Medals and the 1915 Star.

He is also commemorated on the BTH War Memorial as H Mays, and has a CWGC headstone in Clifton Road Cemetery.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

18th Nov 1916. The Great Battle Pictures.

THE GREAT BATTLE PICTURES.—The official pictures of the battle of the Somme, which have been attracting vast audiences all over the country, will be shown at the Empire twice nightly, and at matinees every day next week. Already seats are being extensively booked, and those who wish to secure good seats should do so at once.

LOCAL WAR NOTES,

Jim Eaton-Shore, Queen’s Westminster Rifles, has been reported wounded and missing since September 10. He is the youngest son of the late Mr James Eaton-Shore, for many years Works manager at Messrs Willans and Robinson’s, of Rugby, and later on, in the same capacity, at Messrs Siemen’s of Stafford. The three other sons are also serving in the forces—Jack in the New Zealand Engineers, Robert in the Canadians, and Tom in the Oxford and Buck Light Infantry.

A neatly printed certificate has been received by Mr C Pegg, 1 Addison Bead, New Bilton, to the effect that the Major-General commanding the Division in which his son—Corpl H Pegg, of the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry—is serving has received a report of the young soldier’s gallant conduct on October 7th. The card was presented to Corpl Pegg by the commanding officer, who congratulate him, and congratulated him, and expressed the hope that next time it would be something better.

B.T.H. EMPLOYEE HONOURED.

Sergt William Black, of the 60th Light Infantry Brigade, Headquarters Staff, has been awarded the Military Medal. Before the war Sergt Black was employed as a clerk in the Stores Department at the B.T.H.

MILITARY MEDAL FOR SERGT F TUCKER.

A recent issue of the Gazette announced that Sergt F Tucker, of the Royal Rifle Brigade, had been awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field, Sergt Tucker was wounded in August in about thirty places, and after treatment at Lincoln Hospital, he was sent to a convalescent home at Blackpool, where he still remains. Before the war, Sergt Tucker was employed as a compositor by Messrs Frost & Sons, and his mother lives in Charlotte Street.

LOCAL CASUALTIES.

Mrs H Lee, of Clarence Road, New Bilton, has received a postcard from her husband, a private in the R.W.R, stating that he has been wounded, and is now in Glen Hospital, France. This is the second time that Pte Lee, who went out with the original Expeditionary Force, has been wounded.

PTE FRED CRIPPS DIES OF WOUNDS.

Pte Fred Cripps, R.E., died in hospital recently from wounds received early in October in France. Pte Cripps was 28 years of age, and married. Before the war, he was employed as a carpenter by Messrs Foster & Dicksee at Rugby. His home was at Winslow.

DISTRICT APPEALS TRIBUNAL.

At Wednesday’s sitting at St Mary’s Hall, Coventry, there were present : Messrs M K Pridmore (chairman), W Johnson, jun, K Rotherham. and P G Lovert ; Military representative, Mr M E T Wratislaw ; Agricultural representative, Mr F W Channing.

A substitute having been found for Wm Fredk Brooks, a general farm worker employed by Mr Butlin, of Flecknoe, an appeal made on his behalf was withdrawn.

On behalf of Thos Arthur Stephenson, woollen and cotton rag merchant, Newbold Road, Rugby, Mr Harold Eaden said his client was now employed at the Daimler Works, Coventry. Certificates were not now issued, as it was found they had been abused, but if the clerk to the Tribunal applied, the firm would give him one.—Adjourned till the next Court.

Mr Wratislaw stated that a discharged soldier of excellent character had been found for Thos Wm Durham, carter, 13 Campbell Street, New Bilton, but the man was not due to report till that day.—A fortnight’s adjournment was asked for and granted.

On two grounds—that of business and as a conscientious objector—Ernest Holliday, acting bank manager, 54[?] Newbold Road, Rugby, appealed for the renewal of his temporary exemption.-The Chairman asked Mr Wratislaw if appellant, as a conscientious objector, was not doing as good work now as he would be doing elsewhere ?—Mr Wratislaw : They are being treated differently now. They draw the pay of a soldier and the rest goes to charity.—Capt Thomas said on mobilisation he was called up, and three others who were in the bank had joined the army. Appellant was now assisted by one girl and one boy, and they were doing a great deal of work.—In reply to the Chairman, appellant said he was prepared to hand over £l a week from his salary to charity, but he would not like it to be thought he was buying himself out.—The Chairman : We are putting you in the same position as if you were in the army. You are not making a profit out of it.—Appellant : I don’t wish to do so.—The Chairman said he thought the sum should go to a local charity, and an order was made for £1 a week to be paid to the funds of the hospital, temporary exemption being granted so long as the conditions were observed.

Mr Worthington supported an application by John Basil Liggins, coal merchant and carter, 57 James Street, Rugby, claimed by his mother to be indispensable to the business. Mr Wratislaw suggested that the man might be used as a substitute, but the Chairman expressed the opinion that the carting of coal during the winter was very important, and exemption till February 28th was granted.

Conditional exemption was asked for by William George Essex, described as a dairy farmer and market gardener of West Street, Long Lawford.—The Clerk asked Mr Wratislaw if they had served the notice now necessary in such a case, and he replied in the negative.—Given till February 1st, and Mr Wratislaw was asked to then remember that notice must be served.

HILLMORTON.

A very successful and enjoyable concert was given on Friday last week by 55 Squadron R.F.C Pierrot Troop on behalf of the funds for sending Christmas parcels to the Hillmorton soldiers and sailors. As something out of the ordinary run was anticipated, the room was packed very soon after the doors were opened. The first part of the programme was taken entirely by the Pierrot Troop in costume, who rendered songs and jokes which kept the audience in roars of laughter. The second part consisted of songs, sword swinging display, dances and recitations, and loud and prolonged applause which followed each item was a proof of its excellence and of the appreciation of the audience ; particularly may this be said of the sword swinging display by Sergt-Major Rowland.

BOURTON-ON-DUNSMORE.

A start was made in November, 1915, to collect eggs for the wounded soldiers, and the villagers of Bourton and Draycote will be gratified to know that since that date to November, 1916, they have contributed a grand total of 1,792.

CHRISTMAS PARCELS FOR OUR SOLDIERS.—A house-to-house collection has been made in Bourton and Draycote, with the result that £7 18s 10d has been generously given for this good cause. Misses Hales and Davies undertook the collecting.

ANSTY.

SEC. LIEUT CADWALLER ADAMS KILLED.

The Adams family of Ansty Hall, near Nuneaton, have sustained a further bereavement by the death in action of Second lieutenant Geoffrey Henry Cadwaller Adams, Suffolk Regiment. Born in 1896, he was the second son of Mr Alfred Adams, barrister-at-law, and grandson of the Rev Henry Cadwaller Adams.

SOUTHAM.

A battle-plane had to descend at Southam on Wednesday afternoon, owing to engine trouble, and was guarded during its stay by members of the Volunteer Training Corps, to whom the officer afterwards expressed his thanks. The battle-plane aroused considerable interest, and was visited by hundreds of people from Southam and the neighbouring villages.

 

Lissamer, William Arthur. Died 15th Sep 1916

William Arthur Lissamer was born in 1893, and his birth was registered in the third quarter of 1893 in Rugby. He was the son of Thomas and Emily Lissamer.

In 1901, the family were living at 36 Winfield Street, Rugby. William’s father, Thomas, was a railway signalman, and William’s elder brother was 14 and already at work. William also had an elder sister Emily and a twin brother, Albert Edward.

In 1911, William, now 18, and was a shop assistant at the Co-op, single and living at home, now at 105 Claremont Road, Rugby. His father was now a ‘railway, brakesman’ with the London and North Western Railway.   His sister, and his brother, now a ‘clerk, engineers’, presumably at BTH, were also still at home. It seems that William also later went to work at BTH, in Rugby. Indeed three Lissamers from BTH served in WWI: Lissamer A E (William’s brother); Lissamer A J (not traced); and Lissamer W A. Only William A Lissamer lost his life and is listed on the BTH War Memorial.

As was the case for a number of local men, including Walter Davis (see Rugby Remembers – 17 October 1915), William joined up in the 5th (Service) Battalion of the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Ox. and Bucks.). He became Private, No:10750.

With the number 10750, it is likely that William joined up on or before 2 September 1914, on which date Smith, No.11874 was ‘attested’ in Rugby. The ‘UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919’ confirmed that William enlisted at Rugby. The approximate date is further confirmed by a list of those who had joined up from the BTH workforce between 27 August up to and including 2 September, entitled ‘Rugby’s Magnificent Response’ and published in the Rugby Advertiser dated 5 September 1914.[1]

In summary, the 5th Battalion of the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Ox. and Bucks.) was formed at Oxford in August 1914 as part of First New Army [K1] of Kitchener’s new army. The surviving Service Records for the ‘Ox. and Bucks.’ suggest that there was a rapid response to the recruitment drive. They soon moved to Aldershot where they were placed under the orders of the 42nd Brigade in the 14th (Light) Division and then moved to Cranleigh, Guildford. In February 1915, they moved to Salamanca Barracks, Aldershot.

They landed in Boulogne on 21 May 1915, and William’s ‘Medal Card’ shows that he went into the French Theatre of War on 20 May 1915, so he would have been with the main battalion landing, after which they were engaged in various actions on the Western Front.   These would have included the action at Bellewaarde Farm on 25 September 1915 (see: Rugby Remembers for that date), during which the Battalion had very heavy losses, after which it was withdrawn to regroup and retrain, as mentioned in the Battalion Diary.[2]

The Battalion returned to a ‘Camp near Poperinge’ by 1 October 1915, ‘… 46 other ranks were killed, six died of wounds, 249 were wounded and 136 were missing’. Two days later a draft of 200 NCOs and men, a ‘… very good looking lot of men’ arrived from 9th Bn. to provide replacements.

However, less than two weeks later they were in the trenches, as extracts from the Battalion Diary[3] indicated, and in 1916, the Battalion was in action during the Battle of the Somme, at the Battle of Delville Wood, from 15 July to 3 September 1916; and the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, from 15 to 22 September 1916.

It would seem therefore that William was probably killed during the start of the latter action. The Regimental Diary provided a summary of the operation orders issued from 14 September for the 42nd Brigade in the 14th Division.

What the Battalion went through must be remembered:

‘On the 14th all day preparations for the operations, equipping and marching to the rendezvous, with at the most four hours’ sleep. On the 15th advancing some 2½ miles over heavily shelled ground, fighting, and digging in’.

The ‘Objective of 4th Army’ ….

‘… to attack enemy’s defences between Morval and Martinpuich, with object of seizing Morval, Lesboeufs, Guedecourt, and Flers, and thus breaking through enemy’s system of defence. (The capture of … Guedecourt to the 14th Division; and Flers and beyond to the 41st Division and New Zealand Division). … 42nd Infantry Brigade, the remainder, … and the final objective being allotted to 9th K.R.R.C. and 5th Oxford and Bucks.

‘At zero hour (6.20 a.m.) the Battalion moved off in a N.N.E. direction. Before reaching Delville Wood the battalion had to split to avoid several batteries of field guns, and joined up again when the wood was reached. Just inside the wood the leading man of A Company was shot dead by a German who had previously surrendered. The German was shot.

lissamer-map

‘The Battalion in the same formation, almost without a halt, continued its march up to the Switch Line [see map above[4]] between about T.1.c.25 and T.l.d.13, … The Battalion extended and continued its advance, with Colonel Webbin the centre of the second line still directing, until Gap Trench was passed between about T.1.a.43 and T.l.b.51, and a line about 300 yards short of Bulls Road, N.31.b.50 to N.32.c.65, was reached about 9.10a.m., when the Battalion halted. … At about 3 a.m. (16th instant) we were relieved by the 43rd Brigade, and went to Montauban. At the time when the Battalion was relieved it had destroyed in Bulls Road, one mitrailleuse, and had control of eight 7.7 mm. guns in the same place.

‘I mention these points to show how the 14th Division became isolated, and I may add that, in spite of its isolation, it succeeded in holding on to all the ground gained. It received special congratulations because it went farther than any other Division; it cleared the north east corner of Delville Wood which had been reoccupied by Germans while we were in rest; and, by capturing Switch and Gap Trenches, opened the way for the attack which took place ten days later.   …

‘Night of 15th/16th no rest possible, and on relief a march back of about 3½ miles over bad ground. On 16th could not settle down until 9 a.m., and turned out between 3 and 4 p.m.’ … Then came the counting of the casualties, which included Colonel Webb, Captain Maude, 2nd Lieuts. Atkins, Beaver, Brooks and Turner wounded; other ranks, about 30 killed and 120 wounded.

The remainder of 1916 was uneventful for us, as we did nothing beyond holding quiet trenches in front of Arras, furnishing working parties, training, etc., most of the time being spent at Dainville, Agny, Gouy-en-Artois, Dernier, Sars-le-Bois, and Arras.

Sadly it was not ‘uneventful’ for William. He was ‘Killed in Action’ on 15 September 1916. He was 23 years old. Normally it is virtually impossible to know where and when a soldier was killed. However, in William’s case, his body was recovered long after the battle, during the concentration of cemeteries, individual graves and recovered bodies. The ‘Burial Return’ (below) showed that he was found – he was probably never buried as he still had his equipment – at map reference: 57c. T.1. b.2.2., (near Gap Trench – see map above) which was probably where he was killed.

lissamer-burial-return-crop

His body was recovered, and the records were dated 1925, although he may have been found earlier.   He was originally ‘unknown’, but was later identified by: ‘Khaki, boots and titles (in pocket)’. There were also named and numbered identifiable effects’ which were ‘forwarded to base’: ‘Piece of W/proof ‘FF’ sheet ‘W. Lissamer’, 10150(?), piece of Equipt. ‘4/13’’.

He was reburied in Grave Reference: III. C. 5., in the Cerisy-Gailly Military Cemetery at map reference: 62d. Q.2. d.5.3., some 20 miles to the South-East of where he fell. His gravestone was inscribed, ‘He died that others may live’, and his next of kin, in 1925, was recorded as his mother Mrs. Emily Lissamer, of 105 Claremont Road, Rugby. Possibly his father was unwell, as he died soon afterwards in 1927.

Cerisy is a village 10 kilometres south-west of Albert. Gailly was the site of the 39th and 13th Casualty Clearing Stations during the early part of 1917, and of the 41st Stationary Hospital from May 1917 to March 1918. … Cerisy-Gailly Military Cemetery (originally called the New French Military Cemetery) was begun in February 1917 and used by medical units until March 1918. … The cemetery was increased after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the battlefields of the Somme and several smaller cemeteries – however, the dates and backgrounds of these suggest that William was brought in as an individual from the Somme battlefield and as shown above, the map reference where he was found suggested that his body was found close to where his battalion had been in action – on the Gap Trench.

William was awarded the British and Victory Medals and the 1915 Star. He is remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gates and the BTH War Memorial and list of those who served.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

.

[1]       Rugby Advertiser, 5 September 1914.

[2]       Record of the 5th (Service) Battalion, 1 August 1915 to 30 June 1916, at: http://www.lightbobs.com/.

[3]       Record of the 5th (Service) Battalion, 1 August 1915 to 30 June 1916, at: http://www.lightbobs.com/.

[4]       The objective lines in bold are shown on the ‘Trench Map’ from National Library of Scotland ‘Trench Maps’ at http://maps.nls.uk/view/101464777.

Martin, Lawrence Alfred. Died 12th Sep 1916

Lawrence Alfred Martin’s birth was registered in the third quarter of 1894, although the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) records suggested that he was 33 when he was killed, which made searching for him somewhat more challenging! He was reported by CWGC to be the son of ‘John Martin, of 12 Jubilee Street, New Bilton, Rugby’.

Initial searches could not identify him in the censuses and it was thought possible that the family moved to Rugby after the 1911 census. However, examination of war memorial records, particularly for his father’s home village, New Bilton, and at St. Marie’s Catholic Church, suggested that he had a brother ‘J. Martin’ who was also killed in WWI, and that possibly some of the family worked at BTH, although again perhaps there was a discrepancy in the records – this time with initials!

At first there also seemed to be no obvious birth or other records for a Lawrence Alfred Martin!   However, having found both his parents’ and his brother’s names, it was possible to locate the census records.   It seemed that Lawrence [or Lawrance in one transcription!] had been born in Dublin, Ireland.

In 1891, the Martin family was living at 18 Chapel Street, Rugby. Lawrence’s father, John Martin, had also been born in Ireland.   Lawrence’s mother, Ellen née Oldham, was born in Long Lawford. They had married at St. Andrew’s Church, Rugby, on 11 November 1888. Their eldest child, George Henry had apparently been registered in Rugby in Q3 1888, before his parents’ marriage, however, the 1891 census return gave an unusually and unnecessarily ‘precise’ age of 23 months, which was presumably intended to suggest that his birth was later, after their marriage, in about May 1889! The next son, John Joseph jnr was registered in Q3 1890 – and he was ‘10 months’ old for the April 1891 census.

The family must then have moved back to Ireland, where three more children were born including Lawrence in 1894, and two daughters, Mary and Anne (or Christina Annie) in about 1886 and 1888.

They moved back to Hillmorton, and in 1901, Lawrence’s father, John Martin, was a groom at a Livery Stables, and the family was living at 39 School Street, Hillmorton. Their youngest son, Wilfred, was born in about 1902.

In 1911 Lawrence was still living with his family, now at 12 Jubilee Street, New Bilton, and was working in the Lamp Department at BTH in Rugby. However, the list of BTH employees who served in WWI included only: Martin J; Martin T; and Martin T E E; – there was no Martin L A. Had Lawrence moved on? – or was there another error?   The brother Martin J, and Martin T E E are known, although a Martin T is not obvious.

Searching the CWGC records for further Martins with Rugby connections found a Sergeant John Martin, Service No:5275, who died on 25 June 1918,[1] aged 28, who served with the 10th (Prince of Wales’s Own Royal) Hussars.   Most importantly, he was also the son of ‘John and Ellen Martin, of 12, Jubilee Street, New Bilton, Rugby’ – and thus Lawrence’s elder brother, born in about 1890.

Unfortunately Lawrence’s service records have also not survived so his date of enlistment and any personal details therein are not available. However, the ‘UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919’ record showed that Lawrence joined up at Rugby, as a Private, No:11109, in the 6th (Service) Battalion of the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (‘Ox. and Bucks.’). In due course, he was promoted to Lance-Corporal.

In summary, the 6th (Service) Battalion of the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry was formed at Oxford in September 1914 as part of Kitchener’s New Army, K2 and then moved to Aldershot to be placed under the orders of 60th Brigade in 20th (Light) Division and in March 1915, moved to Larkhill, Salisbury Plain. On 22 July 1915 they mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne. Lawrence’s ‘Medal Card’ indicated that he went into the ‘France and Belgium’ theatre on that date, 22 July 1915, so he was with the main mobilisation.

After trench familiarisation and training, they were engaged in various actions on the Western Front.   This included periods in the trenches and periods behind the lines in reserve, when there was training, marches and various other fatigues. Then in 1916 they were involved in the Battle of Mount Sorrel near Ypres, Belgium, from 2 to 14 June 1916. They were also involved in various early actions in the Battle of the Somme, including the Battle of Delville Wood from 15 July to 3 September 1916; and the Battle of Guillemont, from 3 to 6 September 1916; and after Lawrence’s death, the Battle of Flers-Courcelette from 15 to 22 September 1916.

Whilst these are summary dates, there was on-going action associated with these ‘battles’ in the trenches and elsewhere. Exactly where Lawrence was on 12 September 1916 when he was ‘Killed in Action’, aged about 23, not 33, was unknown, indeed, his death was only ‘officially accepted as on or about 12.9.16 France’. His body was not recovered or identified, and he has no known grave, and is therefore remembered on Pier and Face 10 A and 10 D of the Thiepval Memorial.

The Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916. The memorial, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, was built between 1928 and 1932 and unveiled by the Prince of Wales, in the presence of the President of France, on 1 August 1932.

He is also remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gates, on the St. Marie’s Church Memorial and the New Bilton War Memorial. Also on all three, is ‘J Martin’, and the fact that they were both on St. Marie’s memorial and thus Roman Catholics, first supported the assumption that Lawrence and John were brothers. Lawrence is also remembered on ‘Ireland’s Memorial Records 1914 – 1918’.

Lawrence Alfred Martin was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, and the 1915 Star.

The Register of Soldiers’ Effects, showed that his father, John Martin, received £6-9-8d on 21 June 1917, and then a war gratuity of £8-10-0 on 10 October 1919.

His brother, John J Martin, had been a soldier from before 1911, but was, as noted, ‘Killed in Action’ on 25 June 1918. His story will be told in Rugby Remembers in due course.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

[1]       He is buried in Grave Reference: B. 3. at the Wavans British Cemetery.

Mason, Arthur Thomas. Died 31st Aug 1916

Arthur Thomas Mason was born in Rugby and baptised in St Andrews Parish Church on 9th November 1881. His father was Thomas, a compositor living in Lower Hillmorton Road. His mother was Louisa Margaret. We have been unable to locate a marriage for this couple. Thomas was born in Scotland although his father came from Stretton on Dunsmore and all but one of his siblings were born in Rugby. His eldest brother was born in Gloucestershire.

In 1891 Arthur Thomas was aged 9 and lived with his parents at 20 Railway Terrace. His father was still a compositor and Arthur had a younger sister, Ethel. In 1895 Thomas died at the age of 46, so by 1901 Arthur and Ethel were living with their widowed mother. Arthur was aged 18 and working as a auctioneer’s clerk, probably for his uncle, also Arthur Mason, who lived next door at number 40, an auctioneer and furniture dealer.

On 24th December 1905, Arthur Thomas Mason, aged 24 marred Maud Lilian King, 21, at Holy Trinity Church Rugby. By 1911 they had been married 5 years and had no children. Arthur was working as a storekeeper at electrical engineers. They lived at 61 Grosvenor Road, Rugby.

Arthur must have enlisted early in the war, in the 6th Bn, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (no. 13457) as the Rugby Advertiser of 13th November 1915 reported:

Lance-corporal Arthur Mason, 6th Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, who has been spending eight day’s leave at his mother’s resident 40 Rutland Gardens, Hove, returned to Flanders on November 6th.

On 9th September 1916 it reported that Sergeant Arthur Mason had been killed in action in France, probably in The Battle of Delville Wood. He was buried at Carnoy Military Cemetery.

His widow was living at 72 Park Road at the time, she died in 1931 aged 46.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Purton, George Harry. Died 6th Aug 1916

George Harry Purton was born in 1892 in Boxmoor near Hemel Hempstead, Herts. His father was Harry Purton and Sarah Ann, nee Luck. In 1901 the family were living in Rugby, at 76 Oxford Street and Harry was a Railway Brakesman. At the age of eight, George was the eldest of three children.

By 1911 George was missing from the family home at 125 Oxford Street, but brother Ernest William (13) and sisters Rose Beatrice (10) and Violet May (8) were with their parents. Two other children had died. Harry was still working on the railway, as a pointsman.

George Harry Purton signed up at the start of the war, together with his brother Ernest William. Both worked for B.T H., George in the Foundry Department, and both joined the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry. George Harry became Lance Corporal, number 10442.

He died on 6th August 1916 and was buried at Corbie Communal Cemetery Extension. Corbie was about 20 kilometres behind the front when Commonwealth forces took over the line from Berles-au-Bois southward to the Somme in July 1915. The town immediately became a medical centre, with Nos 5 and 21 Casualty Clearing Stations based at La Neuville (the suburb across the Ancre) until October 1916 and April 1917 respectively. In November 1916 the front moved east, but the German advance in the Spring of 1918 came within 10 kilometres of the town and brought with it field ambulances of the 47th Division and the 12th Australian Field Ambulance.

The communal cemetery was used for burials until May 1916, when the plot set aside was filled and the extension opened. The majority of the graves in the extension are of officers and men who died of wounds in the 1916 Battle of the Somme. The remainder relate to the fighting of 1918.

George Harry Purton  is also remembered on the B.T.H. memorial.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Duncuff, Arthur Francis. Died 3rd Aug 1916

Arthur Francis Duncuff was born in the June quarter of 1893 in Stockton, Warwickshire. He is the younger son of Charles D Duncuff (1859- 1932) and Selina Barling, (1857-1920).

He was baptised at Stockton on 14th January 1894.

In the 1911 Census he is living with his parents and elder brother at 140, Bath Street, Rugby and is working as a Machinist at British Thomson Houston (BTH) in Rugby. His father is a Labourer, but is also a Police Pensioner.

He married Mildred Grace Rogers, daughter of Frederick Ernest and Florence Rogers, at Rugby in the June quarter of 1915, (reference 6d 173). She was baptised on 7th May 1893 at St. Mary, Warwick.

In the 1911 Census she is living with her parents at 10, Benn Street, Rugby. She is working in the Electrical Lamp Department at BTH. She was born at Budbrooke Barracks, near Warwick, her father was a Colour Sergeant, with The Royal Warwickshire Regiment..

Shortly after his marriage, Arthur joined the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, 6th Battalion, with the personal number 13428. Unfortunately his service record has not survived so his date of enlistment and personal details are not available.

The Regimental War Diary commences on the arrival of the Battalion in France, at Le Havre, at 03.30am on 22nd July 1915. The initial force comprised of 3 officers, 123 men, 72 horses and mules, 26 carts and 3 machine guns. They marched to Quelmes, but returned to Le Havre on the 24th, to meet the bulk of the force: 27 officers and 834 other ranks,

From 28th to 30th June they marched for 3 days to Oultersteen, via Campagne and   Pradelles. They marched to Fleurhaix on 10th August and the next day commenced instruction in Front Line Trench Duty, followed by rifle practice until 16th August. The latter was not so successful as 1 Officer was killed, and 4 Riflemen wounded accidentally.

On 17th August they marched to Oultersteen, and 9 days later to Estaires. The following day they moved into Front Line Trenches south of Laventie HQ at Winchester Post. The diarist records that the parapets needed a great deal of work.

August 29-30, heavy enemy bombardment, lines damaged. After that it was ‘quiet’, 3 Riflemen died, 19 wounded. They went into reserve once more until September 24th. This pattern of about 5 days in the Front Line trenches followed by a week in reserve continued to 27th November 1914. The last period of reserve proved to have more variety: route marches, football and sports.

Arthur died on 3rd August 1916 and is remembered at the Couin British Cemetery11.B.10.

He was awarded the British War and Victory Medals.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM