26th Oct 1918. The Influenza Epidemic.

THE INFLUENZA EPIDEMIC.

The Medical Officer of the Local Government Board has drawn up a Memorandum on Influenza, which is being circulated to local authorities. Emphasis is laid on the fact that control over the disease is only practicable by the active co-operation of each member of the community. This co-operation involves considerable self-denial on the part of affected persons.

Even experts find difficulty in defining influenza, and the medical profession is ignorant as to the causes which lead to the occasional world-wide spread of the disease, such as is now being experienced. The only safe rule is to regard all catarrhal attacks and every illness associated with rise of temperature during the prevalence of influenza as infectious, and to adopt appropriate precautionary measures. In present circumstances, to quote official advice, “ every patient who has a severe cold or fever should go to bed and stay there for three or four days.”

Unfortunately one attack of influenza does not confer any considerable immunity against repeated attack. Frequently the patient does not realise the serious nature of his illness for several days, and it is probable during the earlier stages that infection is chiefly spread. Compulsory notification is not regarded as likely to be of practical use in present circumstances.

RULES FOR PATIENTS.

The following measures for patients are officially recommended :—

Isolation.—If every person suffering from a fever, with or without catarrh, were willing and able to stay at home for a few days the spread of disease in factories and workshops, offices and shops, schools and other institutions would be greatly reduced.

Personal Precautions.—Avoid scattering infection in sneezing and coughing. Use a handkerchief to intercept drops of mucus ; the handkerchief should be boiled, or burnt if of paper. Expectoration should be received in a special receptacle, its contents being subsequently disinfected or burnt. General disinfection of premises after influenza is not required, but a thorough washing and cleaning of rooms and their contents and washing of articles of bedding or apparel is desirable.

Relapses—Influenza is very liable to relapse ; and pneumonia may occur as a late as well an early complication. Relapse is less likely if the patient goes to bed at once, and remains there till all fever has gone ; avoidance of chill or over-exertion during convalescence is also of great importance. The use of boracic and weak saline solution for frequent irrigation of the nasopharynx is recommended.

Nursing.—Satisfactory nursing is important in the prevention of complications and in aiding recovery from a severe attack.

A HEAVY DEATH-RATE.

Rugby, in common with the rest of the country, is in the grip of the influenza germ, and many hundreds of persons of all ages have affected. The epidemic is of a very virulent character, and in many cases has been followed by pneumonia. School children apparently fall easy victims to the germ, and so many little ones have been attacked that most of the schools in both Rugby and New Bilton have been closed.

The majority of Rugby doctors are away on active service, and those remaining in the town are working at exceptionally  high pressure ; and in several cases queues of people have formed up outside the surgery door. The shortage of nurses has also added to the difficulties in dealing with the epidemic, and on Wednesday an appeal was issued by the Urban District Council for voluntary helpers to undertake the duties of visiting the sick.

Since the outbreak assumed serious proportions—i.e, about October 14th, the death-rate of Rugby and New Bilton has been exceptionally high, and already eighteen deaths due to influenza and pneumonia have been recorded.

FUTURE FOOD SUPPLIES.
GREATER SELF DENIAL NEEDED.

All the informed opinion that can be tested agrees that the housewife’s difficulties may be even greater this winter than they were a year ago. Supplies, with care will be sufficient, but there will be nothing to spare. Meat will certainly be much scarcer, and the bread position is again causing anxiety. Up to the present we have avoided the rationing of bread in this country, and it is hoped that this state of things may continue. But that is by no means certain. Owing to bad weather, the yield of the home market has not come up to the expectations formed before it was gathered, and the statistics of consumption show a disquieting increase.

It must not be supposed because the War news is so good that our food difficulties are disappearing. Quite the contrary. There could be no improvement during this winter if the War were to end to-morrow, and those whose business it is to watch the situation all agree that there will be a world shortage of foodstuffs for at least two or three years after the War. Our position this winter is certainly no better, and will probably be worse, than that of last winter, and it will be much aggravated by the shortage of coal. We must try to get through this winter without calling on shipping at all for the importation of food. That is vital to the presence of such an overwhelming number of men of the Allied forces on the Continent by spring as will ensure the victorious and early end of the War. The men have to be brought across the Atlantic in ships, which cannot be used for other work at the same time. The warnings that economy in foodstuffs is necessary are very seriously meant.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Sec Lieut Ernest Thompson, R.G.A, Siege Battery, eldest son of Mr Edward Thompson, Head Master of East Haddon School, died of wounds in France on October 16. He was educated at the Northampton County School, and won one of the first Northants County Council Scholarships at Cambridge, where he had a very successful career, and secured an Open Scholarship. Five years ago he was appointed to the Head Mastership of a Secondary School in Norfolk. He had only been in France a fortnight when news was received of his death.

We regret to announce the death in action on Oct 8th of 2nd Lieut T S Owen, son of Mr H Starr Owen, of Drayton, Wylde Green. Sec Lieut Owen come to Rugby as a member of the local staff of Lloyds Bank in 1905, and resided at “ Belgrave,” Clifton Road. He was an enthusiastic sportsman and a member of the Dunsmore Golf Club, St Andrew’s Tennis Club, and the Hockey Club. He joined the Rugby Howitzer Battery immediately on the outbreak of war, and proceeded with them to France. when he served for two years. He came home on sick leaves and on re-joining the forces he was given a commission and posted to the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He had only been in France about three weeks before his death.

Driver Harold Fredk Flowers, Mechanical Transport eldest son of Mr E Flowers, Vicarage Hill, Clifton, died of sickness in hospital at Birmingham on October 18th. He was 25 years of age, and had been wounded twice. He formerly worked at the B.T.H.

Pte Charles Sanderson, of the K.O.S.B, son of Mrs Sanderson, of 50 Lawford Road, New Bilton, has been awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous bravery in the field. Pte Sanderson, before joining up, was in the employ of Messrs Parnell & Son for many years. He is serving in the K.O.S.B’s as a stretcher bearer.

Gunner A J Renshaw, late of the Howitzer Battery, is lying in hospital at Rouen dangerously wounded in both arms, both legs, and head. The left leg has been amputated. He has served 3½ years in France, and was with a Lancashire Battery  at the time of receiving his wounds. His relatives reside at 149 Oxford Street, Rugby.

WOUNDED SOLDIERS ENTERTAINED.—On Saturday last the members of the Co-operative Women’s Guild invited wounded soldiers to a tea and entertainment. About 100 were present, and spent a most enjoyable time. After tea the programme was sustained by local artistes, and also some of the guests. The whole concluded with a dance.—Wounded soldiers were also entertained at the Church House on Saturday by members of the Women Workers’ Federation.

RUGBY TOWN HOSPITAL.—The wounded soldiers greatly appreciate the kindness of the ladies and gentlemen who each week provide them with such excellent concerts. For the one on Saturday last they were indebted to Mr F Giggs, who is always a favourite with the boys ; the Misses Shillitoe, Mr A Woodhams, Pte Foster, and Pte Thornley. On Wednesday evening the programme was sustained by Mr J T Clarke and a party of friends from the Congregational Church.

ABSENTEES.—At the Police Court on Thursday (before Mr A E Donkin), George Henry Websdale was charged with being an absentee.—P.S Hawkes said defendant was employed by Broncho Bill’s Wild West Show, and when witness asked him if he had any papers to show why he was not in the Army, he produced a discharge certificate, which had been altered in several instances.—Remanded to Petty Sessions.—Robert Yelding, equestrian, employed by the same company, was also remanded after evidence had been given by P.C Bryan.—Archibald Somerville, Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders, and Driver Leonard Lee, 34 Sandown Road, Rugby, were also remanded to await escorts.

President Wilson has answered Germany in terms which completely clear the air. In effect, he offers her the alternatives, Fight or Surrender.

From Sunday. December 1st, until Saturday midnight, January 11th, all meat coupons will be available for the purchase of poultry—turkey or otherwise. A temporary rate of 3lbs of poultry per coupon has been fixed for this period, irrespective of the size of the bird.

NATIONAL SERVICE.—The boys of Elborow School have collected over 6cwt of blackberries, and have decided to hand over their earnings, which amount to £12, to the Rugby Prisoners of War Fund.

SHAWELL.
A VERY successful whist drive was held in the School room on Friday, October 18th, to provide Christmas presents for the soldiers, when the sum of £22 was realised.

STOCKTON.
THREE TIMES TORPEDOED.—Capt Lloyd, of the Mercantile Marine, who now holds a commission in the Navy, son of a former churchwarden of Stockton, paid a visit to the village last week. Capt Lloyd has had his share of exciting experiences, having been torpedoed three times. On the last occasion was in the water nine hours before being picked up.—An interesting letter has been received from our schoolmaster, Mr E K Steventon, who is now in France with a heavy battery.—A card has been received from Ernest Bayliss, of whom nothing had been heard for some time, stating that he is a prisoner in Germany.

WOLSTON.
GERMAN TREATMENT OF WOUNDED.—An ex-prisoner of war, belonging to the Royal Warwicks, who is now in Switzerland, writes to a Wolston resident —“ I was operated on last Friday. They took four pieces of bone away from my arm. Of course, they have opened all my arm again now. It is a nice big hole, I can tell you, but it will soon get better here (Switzerland). The bone is all smashed, and is about 2ins out of place from the shoulder. I shall never believe that a bullet did it. I shall always think they (the Germans) did it to cripple me while I was in Germany. They are terribly cruel. You would not believe half what anybody could tell you. It is the dirtiest and most uncivilised country under the sun. They try to cripple as many Tommies as they can, but still we keep on smiling. They think nothing of cutting a fellow open at an operation, or even legs and arms off without giving anything. I have seen several fellows having their fingers off in this way. I have had several slashes with the knife, so I know what it feels like. The worst of it was they only used to dress us once every five or six days, and then only used paper bandages, which stuck to our wounds, and they never cleaned it off.”

BRANDON.
WOUNDED.—Mr & Mrs Edward Healey, of Brandon, have received news that their son, Pte Arthur L Healey, has been wounded by a bullet in the left knee. He is making a good recovery.

WILLOUGHBY.
ROLL OF HONOUR.—News has been received of the death in action on October 3rd of Rifleman W B Hakesley, of the 15th Royal Irish Rifles, son of Mr and Mrs G Hakesley. Deceased joined up in 1915, and this was  his third visit to the front, where he had been gassed once and wounded twice. He was killed instantaneously by a piece of shell. Deep sympathy is felt for his bereaved parents and friends. The Captain of his Company writes expressing their sorrow at losing so good a comrade.—Mr A Drinkwater has received also official news that his son, Corporal Howard Drinkwater, was killed in action on September 29th. He joined up in 1915, and did duty at the Dardanelles. From thence he went to Egypt, where he did duty until June of this year, and on coming across on his first leave the ship he was on, Leo Castle, was torpedoed. After having his leave he returned to France, and the first time he went into action he was killed instantaneously by an H.E shell. The Sergeant of his section writes: “ He was in command of a gun and team of five men: We had taken up our position during the night of the 28th and 29th, and dug ourselves in, a few shells falling around us at the time. This continued all the day (the 29th). The shell, an H.E, dropped right in his trench amongst six of them, killing three and wounding three, about 2.30 p.m. All the boys wish to express their deepest sympathy with you in your great loss. Your son was so bright and cheery. I was thinking myself lucky when he was posted to my section, and I feel his loss very much.”

BRETFORD.
ROLL OF HONOUR.—Mrs. W Clarke received news in March that her husband, Pte Wm Clarke, was missing. She has now received a letter from Pte A R Harrison, of the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, whose home is at Leamington, stating that he saw him killed at Fayet near St Quentin. He was badly gassed in the morning, and later in the day he saw him killed by a bullet. Pte Clarke, before joining the Army in June, 1916, was an employee at Messrs Bluemel’s Works, Wolston, for many years. He proceeded to the front in September, 1916, and saw much fighting until invalided home with dysentry in 1917. As soon as he was convalescent he returned to France. Deceased was very much respected by the inhabitants of Bretford. He leaves a widow and four children. His parents are well-known inhabitants of Wolston.—News has reached Bretford that Pte F Huby died in hospital at Newcastle-on-Tyne last week. Deceased was a cousin of the late Pte W Clarke, with whom he resided at Bretford before the War. As soon as hostilities broke out deceased volunteered for active service, but was rejected owing to chest measurement. He tried a second time, but with the same result, but was eventually accepted under the Derby Scheme. He enlisted in May, 1916, in the 7th Royal Warwicks, and went over to France in the following August. He soon met with disaster, being buried in a trench, from which he was rescued with difficulty. He was sent home with dysentry and shell shook at the end of the year. Deceased was about to embark again when illness supervened, and paralysis set in. His death was caused from shell shock and exposure. He was a liberal subscriber to several war charities before going out, and was well liked by all who knew him. In civil life he was a clerk at Coventry Ordnance. His funeral took place at Leicester, where he was buried with full military honours.

DEATHS.

ENSOR.— Killed in action on September 21st, ERNEST JAMES, third son of William and Emily Ensor and beloved husband of Agnes Ensor, of 41 Highbury Place, London, N. ; aged 27. Also in loving memory of WILLIAM ALFRED, second son of the above, killed in October, 1916. “ Farewell, loved ones, until the morning.”

FLOWER.—In loving memory of Pte. H. F. FLOWER, who died in Birmingham Military Hospital on October 18th, 1918, eldest son of Mr. E. Flower, 18 Vicarage Hill, Clifton, aged 25 years.

OWEN.—Killed in action, on 8th inst., 2nd Lieut. T. S. OWEN, Royal Welsh Fusiliers (formerly of Lloyd’s Bank, Rugby), son of H. Starr Owen, of Drayton, Wylde Green.

RIDOUT.—At Anstruther Farm, Anstruther, on October 12th, the residence of his sister, WILLIAM RIDOUT, aged 28, late Sergeant, 10th Batt., R.W.R., late of Dunchurch.

SARGENT.—In loving memory of Pte. A. H. SARGENT, Barby, of the D.C.L.I., killed in action on October 23rd in France.
“ We loved him in life, and we love him still ;
But in grief we must bend to God ? Holy Will.”
— From his Mother, Brothers and Sisters.

IN MEMORIAM.

BATCHELOR.—In ever loving memory of our dear son and brother, Pte. ERNEST ANDREW BATCHELOR, of 10th Worcesters Regt., killed in action on October 24, 1916, aged 29 years.
“ God knows how much we miss him,
More than loving words can tell.
Not a day have we forgotten him
Since he bade us his last farewell.
Daily in our minds we miss him
As we did in days of yore,
But some day we hope to meet him
On that bright and golden shore.”
—Deeply mourned by his sorrowing Mother, Father, Sisters and Brothers.

BEASLEY.—In ever loving memory of our dear son and brother, Pte. CLEMENT FELL BEASLEY, Rose Cottage, Napton, of the 14th R.W.R., who was killed in action east of Gheluvelt, near Ypres, October 26, 1917.
“ One year has passed since that sad day
When he we loved was called away.
A loving son and faithful brother,
One of the best towards his mother.
He bravely answered Duty’s call,
And gave his young life for one and all.
Some may think that we forget him
When at times they see us smile,
But they little know the sorrow
Which is hid behind that smile.
He is gone but not forgotten—
Oh dear. no ! not one so dear.
He is gone safe home to Heaven,
And we hope to meet him there.”
—From his ever loving Mother, Father, Sisters, and Brothers.

BEASLEY.—In loving memory of our dear brother, Pte. C. BEASLEY, killed in action “ somewhere in France,” October 26, 1917.
“ When last they saw his smiling face
He looked so strong and brave ;
He little thought how soon he’d be
Laid in a soldier’s grave.”
—From Horace, Alice, and his niece Mary.

BEASLEY.—In fond and ever-loving memory of our dear brother, Pte. C. BEASLEY, killed in action on October 26, 1917 ; aged 27 years.
“ A day of remembrance sad to recall :
The loss of our dear one, loved by us all.
We think of him in silence, and his name we oft recall,
But there is nothing left but his photo on the wall.
Fondly we loved him, he is as dear to us still ;
But in grief we must bend to God’s Holy Will.
If we could have raised his dying head or heard his last farewell,
The grief would not have been so hard for us that loved him well.”
—From his sorrowing sister Nance, brother Albert in Germany, and his two little Nephews.

COLLINS.—In ever loving memory of our dear son, Pte. A. W. COLLINS, who was killed in action in France on October 26, 1917, aged 29 years.
“ We pictured his safe returning,
We longed to clasp his hand,
But God postponed it otherwise,
Till we meet in the promised land.”
—Never forgotten by his Father, Mother, Brother and Sisters, of 45 New St., New Bilton.

DUCKETT.—In loving memory of my dear son, Pte. TOM F. DUCKETT, who was killed in action somewhere in France on October 26, 1917.
“ One year has passed, but oh, I miss him ;
Some may think the wound has healed,
But they little know the sorrow
Deep within my heart concealed.”
A loving son, a faithful brother,
One of very last towards his mother.”
—Deeply mourned by his loving mother, and brother Charlie.

FRENCH.—In loving memory of my late husband, Pte. J. FRENCH, R.W.R., of Long Itchington, who was killed in action on October 26, 1917.
“ When last we saw his smiling face,
He looked so strong and brave ;
We little thought how soon he would be
Laid in a soldier’s grave.
He bravely answered duty’s call,
He bravely fought and fell ;
He did his best for one and all,
And those who loved him well.”
— From his loving Wife and Children and Mother and Father.

GOODWIN.—In loving memory of Pte. ALBERT GOODWIN, aged 21 years, of B Company, 2nd Royal Warwicks, who was killed somewhere in France on or about October 24, 1914, eldest son of Ex-P.S. Goodwin.
—Sadly missed by his loving Father, Mother, Sisters and Brothers.

HARDMAN.—In loving memory of Pte. W. HARDMAN, of the 15th R.W.R., of 9 James Street, who died of wounds received in action on October 28th, 1917. Interred in the Military Cemetery, Poperinghe, France.
“ Days of sadness still come o’er us,
Tears in silence often flow,
Thinking of the day we lost him,
Just a year ago.
Too far away thy grave to see.
But not too far to think of thee.”
—From his loving Mother, Father, Sisters and Brothers.

MILLS.—In loving memory of Bombardier J. M. MILLS, of the R.F.A (of Marton), killed in action on October 23, 1917.
“ Days of sadness still come o’er us,
Tears in silence often flow,
Thinking of the day we lost you ;
Just a year ago.
Too far, dear Mawby, thy grave to see,
But not too far to think of thee.”
—From his loving Father, Mother, Brothers and Sisters, and godson, Little Bertie.

MILLS.—In memory of comrade and friend, No 11685 Bombardier J. M. MILLS, R.F.A., killed in action in Flanders on October 23, 1917.—11688 Corpl. A. E. Clarke, R.F.A., B.E.F.

Renshaw, Alfred James. Died 23rd Oct 1918

Alfred James RENSHAW was born in Rugby in 1896 and his birth was registered in Q2, 1896.   He was baptised on 8 November 1896 at St. Andrew’s church, Rugby; when his family lived at 63 Cambridge Street and his father was a ‘Fireman’.  He was the second son, and the third child of five, of William Renshaw (b.c.1867 in Rugby) and Elizabeth, née Clarke, Renshaw (b.c.1867 in Yelvertoft).  Their marriage was registered in Q2, 1892, in Rugby.

In 1901, when Alfred was four, the family was living at 121 Cambridge Street, Rugby.  Alfred’s father was a ‘railway engine stoker’.  It seems from a later letter (below) that he would become a pupil at Murray School.

In 1911, the family was living at 149 Oxford Street, Rugby; Alfred was 14 and an ‘Errand Boy’ at the B.T.H. works.  His elder brother and sister both worked for the ‘Co-op Society’, as a ‘baker’ and a ‘shop assistant’ respectively.  His father had been promoted and was now an ‘engine driver’.  His parents had been married for 19 years and had had five children, all of whom were living.

At some date before to the war, it seems that Alfred had followed in his father’s career footsteps, and had moved to work for the L & N-W Railway, as shown in an article in the Rugby Advertiser in September 1914, entitled ‘Rugby’s Magnificent Response’, which included Alfred’s name.
The following is a list of men from the Locomotive Department of the L & N-W Railway at Rugby …, A J Renshaw, … [1]

It is not known exactly when Alfred joined up, but it must have been early in the war, indeed he was probably already in the Territorial ‘Rugby Howitzer Battery’, as his Medal Card states that he went to France on 31 March 1915, and thus qualified for the 1914-15 Star.  The card shows that he was initially in a Territorial battery of the Royal Field Artillery [RFA] and he had the very early number 52.  This early form of number, would also tend to confirm that he was already a member of the ‘Rugby Howitzer Battery’ in the local 1st/1st Warwickshire Royal Horse Artillery (Territorial Forces).  A number of other Rugby casualties served in this Battery, including: Corporal, No.187, Thomas J Smith,[2] from B.T.H. who was wounded and died of his wounds on 21 March 1918; and Lance Bombardier, No.99, C. S. Collins,[3] also from B.T.H., who died from his wounds, on the 24 October 1918, the day after Alfred.

Alfred Renshaw was confirmed as a member of the ‘Rugby Howitzer Battery’ – the 4th South Midland (Howitzer), 243 Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, 5th Rugby Battery, – in a list of the men in the papers of Frank West,[4] which included,
‘Renshaw, A. J., 52, Gnr’

A note on the later renumbering of RFA members also gives some confirmatory information.
These “long” [six figure] numbers came into use on 1 January 1917, even though the men on active service to whom they were allocated were by that time in other Brigades. … Sampling the medal cards shows that some of the men with lower service numbers on this list who usually have short service numbers too, went out to France when the 4th South Midland Brigade was first sent overseas, arriving in France, 31 March 1915.  … All men who served overseas before the end of 1915 received the 1915 Star and the qualifying date is often marked on their medal cards.

The above date, 31 March 1915, agrees with the date of entry to France on Alfred’s Medal Card – and confirms that he was originally with the 4th South Midland (Howitzer) Brigade, Royal Field Artillery.

The Battery was recalled from summer camp for training in the Chelmsford area in August 1914, and sailed from Folkestone to Boulogne in ‘mid March 1915’ and concentrated near Cassel.  The Battery left the Division on 16 April 1915.  A summary of their activity from Wikipedia,[5] is given below – it can be seen that there was considerable movement of units, and it is likely that men were also cross-posted, leading to Alfred’s alternate numbers.

The South Midland Division was ordered to join the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in France on 13 March 1915, and the artillery embarked at Southampton for Le Havre, the 1/1st Battery disembarking on 31 March.  By 4 April the division had taken over a section of the front line near Cassel.

However, artillery policy in the BEF was to withdraw heavy batteries from the divisions and group them into dedicated heavy artillery brigades, so on 16 April the battery left the South Midland Division to join Second Army Artillery in time for the Second Battle of Ypres.  At this time the practice was to move batteries between heavy brigades (later heavy artillery groups or HAGs) as required, so the 1/1st Warwickshire Bty moved to XVI Brigade RGA on 10 June, to VIII Brigade RGA on 3 July, to III Corps Artillery with First Army on 21 August, and IV Heavy Bde on 10 November.

In early 1916 the battery was moved again, to 12th HAG with Second Army (10 April), to ‘Loring’s Group’ with I ANZAC Corps (19 May), then to 44th (South African) HAG (5 August), and on to 34th HAG (27 August), which joined Fourth Army on the Somme in September. After the Somme fighting died down, the battery moved within Fourth Army to 7th HAG (30 November) and back to 44th (SA) HAG (23 December).

By the end of 1916 the obsolete 4.7-inch gun had been largely superseded on the Western Front by the modern 60-pounder.  On 28 February 1917 the battery was made up to a strength of six guns when it was joined by a section from the newly-arrived 199th Heavy Bty.  It then moved north on 13 March to join 15th HAG with First Army, arriving on 21 March. Soon afterwards (15 April) it was switched south again to Fifth Army where it joined 9th HAG on 20 April.  Through the early summer the battery continued to be switched rapidly from one HAG to another: 42nd (arriving 19 May), 16th with Third Army (5 July), 52nd with Second Army (9 July), 99th (12 July), then back to 52nd (6 August), and finally 11th (7 September).

By now, Second Army was involved in the Third Ypres Offensive, taking the lead at the Battles of the Menin Road Ridge, Polygon Wood and Broodseinde, which were notable artillery victories. The 60-pounders were used for counter-battery fire before the attack, and then as part of the creeping barrage that led the infantry onto their objectives.  However, the subsequent attacks (the Battles of Poelcappelle, First Passchendaele and Second Passchendaele) were failures. The British batteries were clearly observable from the Passchendaele Ridge and suffered badly from counter-battery fire, while their own guns sank into the mud and became difficult to aim and fire.

While the Ypres offensive was still continuing, the German and Austrian victory at Caporetto on the Italian Front led to British forces being rushed from Flanders to shore up the Italian Army. Even before their defeat the Italians had asked for the loan of heavy artillery, and now a number of units were hurriedly sent by rail, including 1/1st Warwickshire Battery, which went on 14 November.

In February 1916 Alfred was still with the Rugby Howitzer Battery, although a comment ‘I arrived safely back …’, suggests he may have had some leave in late 1915 or early 1916.

OLD MURRAYIAN WITH THE HOWITZER BATTERY.
Gunner A J Renshaw, of the Rugby Howitzer Battery, in a letter to his old schoolmaster, says :— “I arrived safely back to the land of mud and water, commonly known as ‘Sunny France.’ During my absence there was plenty of fun going on, and ‘Fritz’ and his ‘brudders’ gave our infantry a surprise visit the other night, but as they strongly objected to their presence in our lines they ‘struck oil’ somewhat and were soon out again on the hop.  Since then we have returned their visit with much more success.  Of late considerable activity has been shown, and by now they are aware of the fact that we are out for business, for we have given them ‘cold feet’ this last month or so, and soon you may here with confidence of our continued success.  Of that there is very little doubt.  We shall fight until we have avenged the dastardly atrocities they have committed in France and Belgian.”[6]

It seems that in the 1916 reorganisations of the Royal Field Artillery, Alfred Renshaw was renumbered and transferred, at least latterly, into the Royal Garrison Artillery, (TF), as a Gunner, No: 314639.  He was also – before or afterwards – in the Royal Field Artillery as Gnr. No: 832129, possibly as a temporary or earlier appointment, as the CWGC still had him listed in the Royal Garrison Artillery.

The UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 records that he was formerly No: 832129, 4th South Midland Howitzer Brigade, R.F.A.; and was then a Gunner, No: 314639, in South Midland (Warwickshire) Heavy Battery. [RGA – (TF)], Royal Garrison Artillery.

The Medal Role for the British War Medal and Victory Medal also states that he was ‘RFA. 832129 Gnr, RGA. (TF)’ and also ‘Gunner, 314639, Royal Garrison Artillery, South Midland (Warwickshire) Heavy Battery. [RGA – (TF)]’.

In May 1916, before the Battle of the Somme, the Brigades in the British Artillery were renumbered.  The 4th South Midland became 243 Brigade, but some of its men were scattered, and that may have been when Alfred was posted to the Royal Garrison Artillery.

It seems that later his first Battery was sent to Italy, but Alfred died in France, so he was not with them.  With no service records and the surviving information not giving any specific unit numbers, it seems almost impossible to be absolutely certain where he was when he was wounded.  It would probably have been by counter battery fire, as the Germans tried to halt the advancing allied forces.

However, as the CWGC has him with the 2nd/1st Lancashire Heavy Battery, RGA, it may be possible to hazard a guess.  The 2nd/1st LHB RGA was part of the 57th West Lancashire Division.  They joined the Division on 26 November 1915, received four 4.7-inch guns on 29 December 1915, and later moved independently to France, arriving on 1 July 1916 and coming initially under orders of II Anzac Corps.[7]

In 1918 the Division was engaged in:
The Battles of the Lys (9-29 April) (Divisional artillery only); the Battle of the Scarpe (26-30 August) and the Battle of the Drocourt-Queant Line (2-3 September) both being phases of the Second Battles of Arras 1918.  The Battle of the Canal du Nord (27 September-1 October) and the Battle of the Cambrai (8-9 October), in which the Division assisted in the capture of Cambrai, and both of which were phases of the Battles of the Hindenburg Line.  The occupation of Lille (17 October), and the general final advance in Artois (15 October-1 November), both being phases of the Final Advance in Artois.

The War Diary, [8] provides some indication of the activities of the 57th Division artillery.

In September, the focus of the advance was in the Cambrai area with the Divisional artillery supporting the advance as the troops moved forward toward Cambrai from the west, advancing from Graincourt, to Anneux, Cantaig-sur-Escaut, then around the south of Cambrai, to Proville, Niergnies and on to Awoingt.  Cambrai was taken in this period.

Then in October the Division was moved north via Fromelles to assist the attacks in the Lille area.  During the month the troops advanced and took Lille and passed it by via Hellemmes and on towards Froyennes, near Tournai.  However, in this period the War Diary[9] noted –

20 October – ‘Enemy resistance began to stiffen. …’.

23 October – ‘Hostile artillery continued harassing fire, mainly with field guns and trench mortars.’

The best information at present was that the 2nd/1st Lancashire Heavy Battery, RGA, was with the 57th Division and that Alfred would have been in the Lille area when he was wounded – presumably during the hostile artillery harassment.  Although he may have been wounded in later October, it  may have been in some earlier incident, as he had been evacuated a very considerable distance of some 260 kms, to one of the military hospitals at Rouen.  He died from his wounds, on the 23 October 1918, either in Rouen, or possibly on his way to a hospital there.  He was 22 years old.

After Alfred died, like the great majority of those who died in the various Rouen Hospitals, he was buried in the Rouen city cemetery of St. Sever, in the St Sever Cemetery Extension, in grave reference: S. II. FF. 12.

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.  During the First World War, Commonwealth camps and hospitals were stationed on the southern outskirts of Rouen.  A base supply depot and the 3rd Echelon of General Headquarters were also established in the city.  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.  A number of the dead from these hospitals were buried in other cemeteries, but the great majority were taken to the city cemetery of St. Sever.  In September 1916, it was found necessary to begin an extension, where the last burial took place in April 1920.

Later, when a permanent gravestone replaced his temporary cross, it included his family’s message, ‘AT REST’.  The next of kin was recorded as ‘Mr. F. Keeley, 10 Lodge Road, Rugby’.  He was Alfred’s brother-in-law; Frank Keeley’s marriage to Alfred’s elder sister, Lilian, was registered in Rugby in Q2, 1917 [Rugby 6d,1369].

There were no obvious death notices or obituaries in the Rugby Advertiser, however, his death was noted in the Coventry Evening Telegraph.
‘The Roll of Honour – Coventry and District Casualties, Died of Wounds, Renshaw, 314639, Gunner, A. J. (Rugby), R.G.A.)’.[10]

Alfred James RENSHAW was awarded the British War and Victory Medals and also the 1914-15 Star.   He is also remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gates and also on a family grave, No. K655, in the Clifton Road Cemetery, Rugby

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

– – – – – –

 

This article on Alfred James RENSHAW 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 RFHG, August 2018.

[1]      Rugby Advertiser, 5 September 1914; also https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/5th-sep-1914-rugbys-magnificent-response/.

[2]      https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com/2018/03/21/smith-thomas-j-l-died-21st-mar-1918/.

[3]      Rugby Remembers, C. S. Collins, 24 October 1918.

[4]      https://sites.google.com/site/4thsouthmidlandbrigade/Home/5th-battery-list-1918.

[5]      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Midland_(Warwickshire)_Royal_Garrison_Artillery#cite_note-15.

[6]      Rugby Advertiser, 26 February 1916; see also: https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com/2016/02/26/26th-feb-1916-restrictions-on-the-use-of-paper/.

[7]      https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-battle-of-divisions/57th-2nd-west-lancashire-division/, The Long Long Trail, The history of 57th (2nd West Lancashire) Division.

[8]      UK, WWI War Diaries (France, Belgium and Germany), 1914-1920, Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Field Artillery, 57th Division, Piece 2968/2: Commander Royal Artillery (1917 Feb – 1919 Mar).

[9]      UK, WWI War Diaries (France, Belgium and Germany), 1914-1920, Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Field Artillery, 57th Division, Piece 2968/2: Commander Royal Artillery (1917 Feb – 1919 Mar).

[10]     Coventry Evening Telegraph, Tuesday, 26 November 1918.

18th Mar 1916. The War Tribunal – Local Appeals

THE WAR TRIBUNAL.

LOCAL APPEALS.

RUGBY RURAL DISTRICT.—Thursday. Present: Mr J Johnson (chairman), Rev F Challenor, Messrs C E Boughton-Leigh, H Tarbox, J H Walker, and H Flowers. Messrs M E T Wratislaw and F M Burton represented the Military Authorities.

The Vicar of Marton supported an application for exemption by the village postman, who has 3 brothers serving, leaving appelant, whose parents were dead, to keep his sister.-Application refused.

A Newbold farmer, occupying 381 acres, obtained a 2 months’ exemption for his stockman. A single man, who occasionally helped with the milking.-The Military representatives opposed on the ground that there was sufficient help on the farm.

The proprietor of general stores at Wolston applied on behalf of the manager of his stores at Brinklow on the ground that he could not find a substitute, and the man had four brothers in the army.-The man said he was married, and had attested believing that every single man possible would be called up first.—Mr Flowers : Do you think Lord Derby has broken his pledge ?—A He does not seem to be getting on with it very well.—The manager said he had four brothers at the front ; one was a prisoner of war in Germany, and one was maimed for life.—The Chairman : That is a fine record for one family.—Application refused.

A further postponement was asked for the assistant overseer, the Clerk to the Parish Council, and school attendance officer at Wolston, who had already been put back ten groups. When he first offered for the army he was rejected, but since then he had been passed by the doctor.—A belated appeal had been received from the County Director of Education, stating that it was in the national interest that the attendance at school should be enforced, but this could not be considered.—The personal application was refused.-Undersized, and with defective eyesight, a cellarman and manager at a Newbold public house appealed, chiefly on the score of ill-health. He had attested because he thought it the duty of every Englishman to do so, and he thought he might do something of a non-combatant nature.—A medical certificate was produced, stating that the man was suffering from nervous debility, and at present was unfit for service abroad. Refused.—The bailiff at Princethorpe Priory claimed on behalf of the ladies there that a trap horseman, luggage carter, etc, was indispensable. Nearly 200 acres of land are occupied, 70 being arable. This man was said to be very useful in attending to farm stock in general.—Exemption refused.—On the grounds of “ national interest ” and “ certified occupation,” a working farmer at Frankton appealed. He had previously been “ starred ” by the Tribunal,-and had not attested, so now renewed his application.—Conditional exemption.—Described as a shepherd and cowman, and doing general skilled farm work, a single man from Bilton appealed as being indispensable to the welfare of the farm on which he is employed.—Refused.

CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR MAKING SHELLS.

Although a shell turner, engaged on high explosive shells, a young man living in Lawford Road, New Bilton, asked for exemption on conscientious grounds, and also on the ground of financial hardship. If he was called for military service great strain would be put upon his mother, sister, and young brother who was gifted as a scholar. He had conscientious objections to combatant service, and hated the thought of taking life. He regarded it on a duty to allow people to live as long as God willed, and thought a good Christian should help to relieve sickness, distress, and suffering.—Mr Flowers : Does not your consciences prick you a bit when you are making these shells ?—A : When I went to the works I could not make a choice of my job.—In reply to the Clerk, applicant said the reason he did not want to go to the war was because he objected to killing men.—Mr Walker : Would you like to join the Corps to make holes to bury the dead ?—A : No, I should not. I have never seen a dead man yet.—The Clerk : Have you any objection to help the wounded ?—A : I could not say “ no ” if a man happened to be wounded or injured.—Mr Walker : How long have you had this kind of a conscience ?—A : A long time.—The application was refused.

THOUGHT NO APPEAL WAS NECESSARY.

Permission was granted for an interview by a Welsh farmer, living at Draycote, who had been called up under the Military Service Act, and who said he thought as a farmer he was exempt. He applied too late for his papers to send in an appeal. He occupied 215 acres, of which 50 were arable, and he had since January only had a lad of 14 to help him. He had 63 head of cattle and 80 ewes, of which 50 had yet to lamb.—The Clerk said in the case of a man who had good reasons for the delay, the Tribunal had power to deal with such an application.—The Chairman said he was sure it was a genuine case, and applicant was told to till up the form, which would be dealt with by the Advisory Committee, who would probably recommend an exemption.

RUGBY CHAMBER OF TRADE & MILITARY SERVICE.

On Thursday a deputation from the Rugby Chamber of Trade, consisting of Messrs C H. Rowbottom, E H Bennett, and H Lupton Reddish, waited upon Colonel Johnstone, Recruiting Officer for the Rugby district, and laid before him the following points in regard to attested members of the Chamber :—

That it seems unfair that single men should be allowed to shelter themselves from Military service by entering controlled establishments.

That one of the grounds of appeal by an attested man is that serious hardship would ensue if the man were called up for Army service, owing to his exceptional financial or business obligations or domestic position.

That the skilled workman admittedly puts his brains and ability into his work. The man who has a retail business also does this, and, in addition, puts in his capital, and maintains and increases his business by constant personal thought and attention.

That it is a custom in certain retail trades to make large purchases in advance, e.g., spring and autumn goods are often purchased six months beforehand.

That serious hardship and loss will, in many cases, ensue to attested retail tradesmen, both single and married, by their being called up for Army service.

That attested men now employed in controlled establishments should be released for military service.

That attested single and married men having retail businesses should be given the opportunity of entering controlled establishments to take the place of single men released for military service, a portion of each day, or week, or in any case leaving them free to attend to their businesses during the remainder of each day or week.

That attested men, in order to qualify for work in controlled establishments, would be willing at once to give up some portion of each day to learn the work, so that, when their group is called up, they will be in a position to effectively take up the work without delay.

That failing this, attested single and married men, having retail businesses, be trained for military service in Rugby, or some town near, for a portion of each day, or week, to attend to their businesses. This would be on the lines of what was done in the case of the Rugby Fortress Company.

IN CASE OF AN AIR RAID.

A meeting, convened by the Chairman of the Rugby Urban District Council, has recently been held to agree upon joint action in the event of a hostile air raid. It was the opinion that the two essentials to be aimed at to secure protection from damage were darkness and silence, and that arrangement should be made with the Superintendent of Police, when the presence of Zeppelins is notified, to warn by telephone the Fire Brigade, Special Constables, V.T.C., Boy Scouts, O.T.C., and St. John Ambulance, to each of whom duties will be assigned to get the two essentials promptly observed by the inhabitants ; and also to render aid in the event of casualties, fires, or damage being caused.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

The casualties reported amongst L. & N.W.R. men serving with the Forces are estimated at 3,520.

Mr James Renshaw, of the Black Horse, has received a copy of “ The Balkan News,” an English newspaper published, at Salonika, containing an account of a football match (Association) between the Main Supply Depot (Army Service Corps) and the 28th Divisional Cyclists Corps, which ended in a draw, 3-3. Sergt G Renshaw, captain of the Rugby Club, played for the A.S.C, scored one of the goals, and gained honourable mention.

ANOTHER ST MATTHEW’S OLD BOY HONOURED.

Amongst the awards for gallantry on the Western front just announced is the name of Corp (now Sergt) W J Bale, 2nd Royal Welsh Fusiliers, who has gained, the Distinguished Conduct Medal. Sergt Bale has been previously “ mentioned in despatches,” and was recently promoted for bravery in the field.

A number of conscripts have been passed through the Drill Hall this week, and several married attested men have joined before the calling up of their group.

Conscientious objectors passed for non-combatant service are to be formed into Non-Combatant Companies with the distinctive letters on their caps, N.C.C. They will not bear arms of any kind.

IN MEMORIAM.

Atkins.—In loving memory of our dear son, who was killed at St. Eloi, in France, March 16th, 1915.

“In a far and distant land,
Where the trees and branches wave,
Lies a dear and loving son,
One we loved but could not save.
Just one year since Jesus called him,
How we miss his cheerful face ;
But he left us to remember,
None on earth can fill his place.”
Silently mourned by his loving Father & Mother.

ATKINS.—In loving memory of our dear brother, who was killed at St. Eloi, in France, on March 16th, 1915.

“ One year has passed, our hearts still sore,
Day by day we miss him more ;
His welcome smile, his dear sweet face,
Never on earth can we replace.
We often sit and think of him,
And think of how he died ;
To think he could not say good-bye
Before he closed his eyes.”
—Still sadly missed by his loving Brothers & Sisters.

[This is Rifleman John Sheasby Atkins of Stretton on Dunsmore.
CWGC gives his date of death as 15th March]

JUDD.—In loving memory of our dear son and brother, Rifleman G. Judd, who was killed at Neuve Chapelle, March 17th, 1915.

 

APPEALS, ACKNOWLEDGMENTS, ORDERS, Ac.

As the space available for news, etc., in the reduced size, which it is necessary to adopt, is greatly curtailed we cannot insert gratuitously any Volunteer Orders for the week, appeals for gifts or subscriptions, acknowledgments of gifts, official notices, musical successes, short-hand successes, and so forth.

SCALE OF CHARGES : 4d. per line of 8 words, with a minimum of 1s.

26th Feb 1916. Restrictions on the Use of Paper

RESTRICTIONS ON THE USE OF PAPER.

A WORD TO OUR READERS.

In consequence of the restriction on the importation of paper and materials for making it which come into force on March 1st, it will be necessary for publishers to exercise the strictest economy in the use of the paper they are allowed to receive, and reduce all wastage to the lowest possible point. Newsagents will in all probability find that the extra copies they have been able to obtain to meet casual sales will have to be limited, if not stopped altogether.

Our readers who are in the habit of obtaining copies of the “Rugby Advertiser” here and there in a casual way, will greatly assist the agents and the publishers if they place an order for the paper with a particular agent, and always obtain it there, so that the number required each week may be definitely ascertained.

As the space available for news, etc, in the reduced size will be greatly curtailed, we regret that we shall not be able to insert gratuitously any Volunteer Orders for the week, appeals for gifts or subscriptions, acknowledgments of gifts, official notices, musical successes, shorthand successes, and so forth.

OLD MURRAYIANS IN THE EASTERN THEATRE.

Mr W T Coles Hodges has this week received the following letters from soldiers formerly connected with the Murray School, who are now in the Eastern theatre of the war. Pte A S Horswell, Signalling Section, 10th Middlesex Regiment, writes :—

“ The greater part of October and all November we spent in dug-outs on the side of Lala Baba. We used to go out morning, afternoon, and night doing ghastly fatigue work, such as making a road across Salt Lake, digging trenches (a specialised form of gardening), and unloading wood for lighters ; carrying railway sleepers across loose sand to load them on mule carts also forms a pleasant interlude between tea and supper, especially when the interlude is of six hours’ duration and the music is supplied by the Turkish orchestra a couple or three miles away. Of course, you know that the Peninsula is now evacuated.

“ We were at Suvla Bay . . . . At the end of November, the 26th, to be accurate, there was a violent storm that swamped the whole dug-outs and made the trenches like rivers. The storm abated at about 10 or 11 p.m. We could not sleep or lie down in our dug-outs as they were a foot deep in wet, clayey mud. Four of us got what blankets we could find in a more or less dry state, and went and found a tolerably dry spot near an ‘incinerator’ on the slopes of Lala Baba, adjoining C Beach. The next day we were due to leave the peninsula, but the sea was too rough, and our company was sent at night to guard some trenches facing Salt Lake. That night was absolutely IT. We had to do sentry-go in a blinding sleet storm and the usual accompaniment of a howling wind. The next morning the sleet stopped. I forget details, but I know our wet clothes froze on us, and whole crowds, including myself, went into the hospital on C Beach with exposure, rheumatism, frost-bite, etc.

I ultimately found myself at the Citadel Hospital, Cairo, and got into bed for the first time since leaving England. I got to Cairo on Friday, December 3rd. . . . We had an A1 Xmas at the hospital, roast beef, turkey, and plum pudding, with ail the usual accompaniments. The Citadel Hospital was formerly one of the Khedive’s palaces. It is a fine building, most picturesque, and the thing that struck me most was the colour scheme of the whole affair. The exterior was colour washed a bright orange, with a white dado affair at the top where the gutters our roofs would be. The window fittings and lattices were green, all three forming vivid contrasts. When you saw all this against a background of bright blue sky, with white splashes of cloud here and there, the effect was very striking. I could not help wishing for a camera, but at the same time I realised that it would lose the greater part of its beauty when reduced to mere black and white. It was a beautiful, building, full of opportunities for the water colour artist. The place abounded with balconies, pagodas, and odd, queer staircases in corners of quadrangles and courts, but colour was most essential in any pictorial reproduction. Without colour, ‘ musquise ’ (no good), as the natives here would say.”

The writer states that on New Year’s Day he visited the Pyramids and the Sphinx, and says:

“ The trams take you within 300 and 400 yards of it. Then there is an uphill climb, which can be done on ‘ Shanks’s pony,’ donkey, or camel. A native attached himself to me in the capacity of guide, philosopher, and friend, and discoursed in ‘ pidgin ’ English on the beauties of the Sphinx and Egypt generally, in the hope of ‘ backsheesh ‘ to come. The place, if you can call it a place, was crowded with soldiers and civilians, all bent on sightseeing. Taking things on the whole, the place resembled Hampstead Heath in fair time without the roundabouts.” The writer expressed himself as disappointed with the Sphinx and Pyramids, and adds: “ One felt that one wanted to be alone. There was too much of the military element to allow of much ‘ mysticism.’ My last impression was that of two 20th Century motor cars standing at the base of the Great Pyramid, which was built 4,000 years B.C.”

Pte Horswell was afterwards drafted to the base near Alexandria, of which he says: “ It is a very, fine town. Of course the European element is very much in evidence. French is the language spoken most—other than the native Arabic. All official notices, names of streets, etc, are duplicated in French and Arabic. There is a large Italian and Greek population, as well. There is the usual type of English shop, kept, generally by French people, and also the native bazaar. Strangely enough, there are no restaurants or cafes in the ordinary English acceptance of the term. A cafe here is usually only a drinking place, nothing to eat being obtainable.”

T Hillwell, another Old Murrayian, who is with the allied Forces at Salonica, in a letter says : “ The dawn of the 1st of November saw us step out of the train on to Serbian soil, and exceedingly thankful we were, for a night’s travelling on an open truck is not conducive to warmth. First of all, we had long marches to do, and we were struck by the excellence of the roads. They were really remarkable. November was a comparatively quiet month, so far as fighting was concerned, but the last week we were busy fighting another enemy-frost-bite. To realise what this means, one must be really on the spot. Then came the celebrated retreat, which has filled columns in the English newspapers. It was an exciting affair altogether, and it is a marvel to me how we got safely out of it. But out of it we did get, and with great credit, too. I feel really proud to have belonged to an Irish Division. Without a doubt these Irishmen can fight. So we are back again and enjoying a well-earned rest.

OLD MURRAYIAN WITH THE HOWITZER BATTERY.

Gunner A J Renshaw, of the Rugby Howitzer Battery, in a letter to his old schoolmaster, says :— “I arrived safely back to the land of mud and water, commonly known as ‘ Sunny France.’ During my absence there was plenty of fun going on, and ‘Fritz’ and his ‘brudders’ gave our infantry a surprise visit the other night, but as they strongly objected to their presence in our lines they ‘struck oil’ somewhat and were soon out again on the hop. Since then we have returned their visit with much more success. Of late considerable activity has been shown, and by now they are aware of the fact that we are out for business, for we have given them ‘ cold feet ‘ this last month or so, and soon you may here with confidence of our continued success. Of that there is very little doubt. We shall fight until we have avenged the dastardly atrocities they have committed in France and Belgian.”

A ST. MATTHEW’S OLD BOY IN SALONICA.

Extracts from letter of Pte F E Morley, R.A.M.C, an “ old boy ” of St Matthew’s School to Mr R H Myers, headmaster :—

“ We were the first of the British Expedition to land at Salonica, and you can well understand that, coming from Gallipoli, many of us wondered what we were doing to land in Greece at all. Still, it did not take long to make us aware of our mission, which was, of course, to link up with the gallant Serbian Army.

“ We spent a few days at Salonica before entraining for Gyevgeli, from which place we marched across country, landing about ten miles ahead of Dviran. Here we began to link up with the French troops, which were holding fast the road to Strumnitza. Fairly good progress was made, and by the end of November we were 22 miles ahead of Dviran. The country so for had been fairly decent, for at any rate it allowed the full use of transport, but as we began to get into the hills, mule transport only was possible. To describe to you the nature of the country where we were operating is far beyond my powers. From an artistic point of view it was ideal, but for the troops—well, just impossible.

“ Matters were very quiet for some few days and the weather conditions fairly favourable. Now and again Bulgar deserters came over to us and gave information of an impending attack which subsequently proved correct.

“ The last day of November saw the hills covered with a deep snow, a keen frost and biting wind accompanying it. Never before have I faced such a blinding storm, and one had a thousand pities for the boys in the trenches who had precious little protection. I happened to be at an advanced dressing station just behind the ‘ line,’ but fortunately we were able to make use of some houses in a deserted village, so that we had the comfort of a log fire.

“ We had many cases of exposure to deal with, and more than one poor fellow dropped to sleep in the snow, but, alas ! it meant the Sleep of death.

“ One night we were sent up to the ‘ line ’ for some sick men. The frost had continued making the ground very treacherous, so that it took us a matter of three hours to cover a distance of barely four miles. At frequent points on the way we had to crawl on hands and knees, while more than once we were ‘ footing it’ knee-deep in snow. Such were the conditions under which the jolly Irish boys held the line, and when you remember that only a few weeks back we had experienced the intense heat of Gallipoli, and then were suddenly transferred to this cold region, I think that the gallant conduct of our men during the subsequent,retirement into Greece is worthy of all praise.

“ We are now camped ‘ somewhere around Salonica,’ awaiting the anticipated attack. I cannot say much about the position, but I can assure you that ‘all’s well’ on this Front, and our boys would rather relish an attack in this quarter.

“ We have had a couple of air raids at Salonica, but very little damage was done. During the second our gun-firing was splendid, and I had the pleasure of seeing one Taube brought to earth.

“ I would like to come across some of our ‘old boys,’ but have not done so yet. Good luck to them, and may the day soon come when we shall be able to greet each other, proud in the knowledge that we have done our ‘little bit’ for old England and for the honour of the school.”

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Mr C Pegg, of 1 Addison Road, New Bilton, has heard from his son, Pte George Pegg, of the Leicestershire Regiment. He has been wounded in the leg, but is going on well.

The Chief Constable of Warwickshire has approved a scheme put forward by the Sutton Coldfield Volunteer Training Corps for “ police ” service in the event of a Zeppelin raid. Men have been allocated to districts in the borough, and their duty will be to see that all lights are extinguished, to regulate street traffic, and to prevent panic.

Corporal W Bale, an “ old boy ” of St Matthew’s School, serving in the 2nd Royal Welsh Fusiliers, has been promoted to the rank of Sergeant, for conspicuous gallantry on the field. Sergt Bale, who was recently mentioned in despatches, has been in the Army nine years, and was transferred from India to France on the Outbreak of the War.

WOUNDED TERRITORIALS.

1/7th Batt. Royal Warwickshire regiment : Pte. H. Snell, 2526, and Pte. A. Summers, 1351.

RECRUITING AT RUGBY.

During the past few weeks the number of recruits attested at the Drill Hall, Park Road, has averaged about 100 per week, of whom 70% have been single men. Those single men who wish to attest before the Military Service Act comes into force have only till midnight on Tuesday to do so, after then they will be conscripts and absorbed into the Army according to their classes.

In order to avoid a rush, which is anticipated at the last moment, men wishing to attest should visit the Drill Hall at once, and as early in the day as possible.

The Group system will remain open for married men after March 1st.

Attested men who wish to be medically examined before their groups are called up should make application to the Recruiting Officer at the Drill Hall. The medical examinations will take place at Warwick, and recruits will have to pay their own railway fare.

RUGBY COMMITTEE’S PARCELS FOR PRISONERS OF WAR ARRIVE WITHOUT DELAY.

It has been frequently brought to the notice of the Rugby Prisoners of War Help Committee that parcels sent by individuals to prisoners of war in Germany invariably arrive after long delay and almost useless, whereas the parcels sent through the Rugby Committee get through quickly and in perfect condition. This is mainly owing to good packing, and the fact that the committee is a registered and recognised society.

The Rugby Prisoners of War Help Committee are anxious to avoid this waste, and desire to make it known that they will gladly pack and forward food and clothing to any prison camp in Germany without charge.

Thus, if there are any persons in Rugby or the surrounding villages who have been in the habit of forwarding their own parcels, they are invited to send same in future to the Rugby Committee, who will indicate on the parcels the name of the giver.

Parcels should be sent to Mrs Blagden, at the Rectory, or to the Hon Secretary, Mr J Reginald Barker, 9 Regent Street, Rugby.

The Committee will also be glad to receive the names of any men from Rugby and district who are prisoners of war.

ASHLAWN HOSPITAL CLOSED.

In consequence of Ashlawn being required by the owner for residential purposes, it was closed as a V.A.D. Hospital on Tuesday last, and the patents were removed to other places.

Other premises have not yet been obtained, and Mrs E D Miller, the commandant, is looking out for a suitable house.

RUGBY PETTY SESSIONS.

TUESDAY.—Before Dr Clement Dukes (in the chair), Arthur James, T Hunter, A E Donkin, and W Dewar, Esqrs.

EXEMPTION FROM RATES.—“ Te Hira,” now used as a Red Cross Hospital, and 67 Albert Street, Rugby, occupied by Belgian refugees, were exempted from the poor rates.—A similar application was made in respect of 39 Albert Street, Rugby, also occupied by Belgians, but this was adjourned for the assistant overseer to ascertain the earnings of the occupants of the house.

DOG OWNERS’ EXEMPTIONS.—Applications had been received from 212 farmers in the division for exemptions from licenses in respect of 273 dogs, and from 49 shepherds respecting 53 dogs.—Objection was made by the police in two instances.—Superintendent Clarke mentioned a bailiff who had applied for exemption as a farmer, but at present he had no dog, although he had kept one.—It was understood the man would be having a dog soon, and the Magistrates’ Clerk ruled that in the circumstances there was no reason why the exemption should not be granted.

THE MILITARY SERVICE ACT AND AGRICULTURE.

This Act practically applies to all fit single men and widowers (without children) between the ages of 18 and 41.

The Act does not apply to men voluntarily attested under Lord Derby’s scheme.

Every man to whom the Act applies and who is not exempted will be deemed to have enlisted, as from March 2nd, 1916.

WHO MAY BE EXEMPTED.

FARMERS & MARKET GARDENERS.

Farmer (including Market Gardener and Fruit Farmer)—provided that—

(a) farming is his sole occupation and his personal labour or superintendence is indispensable for the proper cultivation of his holding ; or

(b) if he is partly occupied in another occupation, his personal labour or superintendence is indispensable for the proper cultivation of his holding and such cultivation is expedient in the national interest.

Agricultural Machinery, Steam Ploughs and Threshing Machines :-
Attendant ; Driver ; Mechanic.
Farm—Bailiff, Foreman, Grieve, Steward.
“ Beastman, Byreman, Cattleman, Stockman, Yardman.
“ Carter, Horseman, Ploughman, Teamster, Wagoner.
“ Hind (if Foreman or Ploughman).
“ Servant (if Foreman or Ploughman), Scotland.
” Shepherd.
Thatcher.
Stallion Man (a man who looks after and travels a stallion).
Stud Groom (Scotland).
Hop, Fruit, and Market Gardens : Foreman.

CERTIFICATES OF EXEMPTION.

Application must be made to the Local Tribunal for a certificate of exemption in the case of every unmarried man of military age in one of the “ certified occupations ” who has not attested and who desires to be exempted from enlistment under the Act. The fact that he may have already been “starred” makes no difference in this respect.

Such applications must be made to the Local Tribunal BEFORE MARCH 2nd NEXT.

A certificate of exemption must be granted by the Local Tribunal to any man who shows that his principal and usual occupation is one of those in the list of “ Certified Occupations ” unless an objection has been received from the military representative.

Any appeal from the decision of the Local Tribunal must be made within three days after the decision of the Local Tribunal on a forms supplied by the Clerk.

HEAVY FALL OF SNOW.—During Wednesday night there was a heavy fall of snow in the Midlands, which continued almost without intermission throughout Thursday. The landscape presented a very wintry appearance in consequence, snow lying on the ground to a depth of several inches—nearly a foot in some places. Townspeople were busy on Thursday clearing the footpaths, in accordance with the request of the Urban District Council, and in the afternoon members of Rugby School from Mr Wilson’s house were occupied in this way in front of the School buildings in Lawrence Sheriff Street. Boys at the preparatory schools were also in their element, clearing snow away, and members of the fair sex did not hesitate to show their ability to use shovels, brushes, and any other implement that came handy.

29th Jan 1916. Compulsion Passed – Five weeks for Unattested Young Single Men

COMPULSION PASSED.

FIVE WEEKS FOR UNATTESTED YOUNG SINGLE MEN.

The House of Lords passed the Compulsion Bill on Wednesday night.

This means that within five weeks from Thursday young single men for whom there is no excuse will be in khaki. Eight groups are already called up—ages 19 to 26 inclusive.

LABOUR’S VOTE.

The Labour Party Conference was resumed on Thursday at Bristol. A resolution was moved in these terms :-

This the National Labour Party protests emphatically against the adoption of Conscription in any form, as it is against the spirit of British democracy and full of danger to the liberties of the people.

The voting was:

For the resolution …… 1,796,000

Against …………….. 219,000

The resolution was declared carried amidst cheers.

SATISFACTORY ENLISTMENT UNDER THE GROUP SYSTEM

Lord Derby stated in the House of Lords on Tuesday night that married men were enlisting in large numbers day by day under the group system. Single men, too, were coming in in bigger proportion than the married, but not to such an extent as yet as to justify the statement that the number still left was a “ negligible quantity.”

Lord Derby mentioned that since his report was issued four lists of reserved occupations had been published, and in four days last week 100,000 badges were distributed. He appealed to the Government to stay their hand in this matter.

It is understood that a farther set of groups will be called up during next month, and a hint to “ Derby ” recruits may, therefore, prove of use. An important point in the scheme was a promise to men who attested that they would be allowed to join the regiments of their choice on being summoned to the colours, as far as this was practicable. A large number of those who responded to the call last week, however, when the first groups were instructed to present themselves, found, it is freely said, that no attention was paid to their wishes, and that they were drafted to corps in which they had no interest. If a man wishes to enter a particular regiment because of personal or local associations, or the presence of friends in the ranks, he will find it advisable, therefore, to enlist in that unit in the ordinary way a few hours before the time fixed for his appearance at a depot under the group system.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Lieut. G. T. Hilton, of the Motor Transport Section, has been gazetted captain, the promotion to date from December 1st.

The members of the Rugby Co-operative Women’s Guild recently sent a consignment of socks, and handkerchiefs to the Rugby men in the Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry, and Mrs. Busby, the secretary, has received a letter of thanks from Sergt.-Major Percival Thistlewood, in which he says it gives the Rugby men great satisfaction to know “ that they are still in the memory of their native town.”

On Page 3 of this issue [Not included in this Blog] will be found an account of how the gallant 9th Warwickshires were decimated and lost, all their officers in Gallipoli. There was one officer, however, Lieut. G. H. D. Coates, formerly manager of Lloyds Bank at Rugby, who was not in the fighting. Being seriously ill, he was in hospital at Cairo at the time. Subsequently he was placed in command of the Turkish Officers Prisoners of War Hospital at Cairo, till illness again compelled another stay in hospital. We are glad to learn that he is now convalescent, and is going to Luxor for a month, and after another spell at the T.O.P.W. Hospital hopes to rejoin his regiment.

We learn that Sergt. J, Menelly, of the 1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, was killed on the Gallipoli Peninsula on January 1st. His parents resided at Downing Street, Belfast, and when the 89th Brigade was stationed in Rugby, he was billeted at 178 Cambridge Street. He was one of the first soldiers to interest himself in the Cambridge Street Wesleyan Soldiers’ Home, and he was subsequently appointed to take charge of the club. He was very popular with all the frequenters of the rooms, by whom he was known as “ Corporal Jim ” and, possessing a rich voice, his services as a singer were in much request. When his regiment was ordered to the front, he was appointed a range finder. The news of his death was received from Corpl Black, who was also billeted with him, and who has been invalided home with the loss of a lung through shrapnel.

GUNNER: E. A. FARNDON WOUNDED.

News has been received by Mrs. E. A. Farndon, of Poplar Grove, that her husband, Gunner Farndon, of the Rugby Howitzer Battery, has been rather badly wounded in the face by shrapnel. He is at present in a hospital in France, where he has been attended by Dr. Hoskyn, of Rugby, and is getting on well.

RUGBY F.C. CAPTAIN’S NARROW ESCAPE.

George Renshaw, the captain of the Rugby Football Club, who, after ten months’ service in France, is now with the Army Service Corps in Salonica, has, according to a letter he has sent to his brother, recently had a very narrow escape. A German aeroplane flew over the corps and dropped a bomb outside the tent in which the Rugby captain was sitting. The orderly outside was seriously wounded, but those inside the tent fortunately escaped injury,. The writer also states that he met George Cave, a well-known Rugby forward who has assisted the local club, at Salonica.

THE SOLDIERS & SAILORS COMFORTS’ COMMITTEE.

AN APPEAL FOR COMFORTS.

To the Editor of the Advertiser.

DEAR SIR,—As announced in your columns last week a committee has been formed to arrange for sending small comforts from the town to all Rugby and New Bilton men serving with the colours.

It is extremely desirable, in the first place, that a complete record should be compiled of all who joined His Majesty’s Forces, and in order to obtain this we are very anxious to secure the co-operation of any who will undertake to go round and get the names in the various parts of the town, and at the same time secure subscriptions towards the fund.

It is not anticipated that many visits will be necessary, and if those ladies and gentlemen who so kindly gave their services to the Prince of Wales’ Fund will undertake their old districts, it will be a great help towards attaining the desired end. I earnestly hope, therefore, that all who can possibly spare time will send their names in to me at 27 Sheep Street.

Yours very truly,
J J MCKINNELL.

SIR,—Would it be out of place to suggest that the Urban Council of Rugby should set aside a piece of ground in Rugby Cemetery as a Heroes’ Portion, in which free interment could be made of soldiers who died on returning from active service or Home defence to their native town. It seems rather grim to suggest this, but the fact has to be faced that many soldiers may return broken in war and perhaps so injured that their enfeebled constitution will hardly enable them long to survive. I understand that several places have already done this, and I read that Northampton Council has set aside a portion of the civic cemetery for this purpose. The town should surely relieve the relatives and parents of the dead heroes of the necessity of paying for graves; indeed, the town should deem it an honour to grant them a last resting-place, upon which future generations could not look unmoved. I would go so far as to suggest that all Rugby men serving with the colours should be able to claim a last resting-place in this portion, no matter how long they live after the war, for they are all heroes, and should be remembered as such to the end of their days, and after.

GR B. LEESON,
On Active Service.

WELCOME HOME FOR SOLDIERS.

DEAR SIR,—I read Mr. Twyford’s letter in last Saturday’s issue of the Rugby Advertiser on the reception of soldiers home on leave with great interest. The City of London National Guard Volunteers have members of their corps stationed at every London terminus day and night to assist and direct soldiers from the front coming home on leave by giving advice as to train routes, etc. I am sure that if the Rugby Volunteer Corps could arrange to have one or two of their members in turn at Rugby Station to meet soldiers and could arrange for conveyances for them, those of the National Guard on duty at Euston would warn soldiers travelling to Rugby to look out at Rugby Station for similar assistance.-I am, Sir, etc.

EDWARD G. ROSCOE.
The Paddock House, Gerrards Gross, Bucks.
January 23rd, 1916.
The Secretary, War Office, London, has sent to all Masters of Foxhounds a copy of the following, showing that their decision to continue to hunt the country is right and fully approved of :—

“ The Director of Remounts has urged upon the Director General of Recruiting that he is seriously concerned in the maintenance of hunts, as the preservation of hunting is necessary for the continuance of breeding and raising of light horses suitable for cavalry work. Lord Derby accordingly trusts that every effort will be made to carry on the hunts in the United Kingdom, but he hopes that as far as possible men ineligible for military service will be employed. But in cases where any men of military age are indispensable for the maintenance of the hunt, an appeal should be made to the Local Tribunal.”

ENCOURAGING THE POULTRY INDUSTRY.—With the increased attention being given to the poultry industry of this country, especially on account of the egg shortage due to the war, it is not surprising that efforts should be made towards the spread of knowledge on this subject in Warwickshire. At the meeting last week of the Warwickshire Education Committee a report was submitted stating that the Elementary Sub-committee had received three applications for permission to establish a poultry class, and they had instructed the Assistant Director of Higher Education to report with regard to these and also concerning poultry instruction in elementary schools in the county. There is no doubt that a great deal of good could be accomplished by the dissemination of facts bearing upon the most modern methods of feeding and rearing of birds both as regards egg, yield and flesh formation, and that having regard to the great demand there is for both eggs and table birds, the more information of a practical kind that can be circulated upon the subject in an agricultural county like Warwickshire the better.

MOTOR WORK ON FARMS.

WILL THE HORSE DISAPPEAR ?

The motor could, if properly developed, do any work on the farm except make a hen lay eggs, was the opinion expressed by Mr W J Malden, in an address to the members of the Farmers’ Club at the Whitehall Rooms on Tuesday. It was capable of tearing up deep soil or picking up a pin. He looked forward to the time when a large proportion of our crops would be cut and threshed in one operation. He also considered a motor-driven spade, to be handled by disabled soldiers, could be invented.

The horse, Mr Madden thought, would not disappear from the farm, but it was, inevitable that much of the work hitherto done by horses and men would be done by motor. The most useful form of motor for farm work had, however, yet to be determined.

PROHIBITING IMPORTS.

PAPER PULP AND RAW TOBACCO.

DRASTIC PROPOSALS.

An announcement of far-reaching importance was made by Mr Runciman, President of the Board of Trade, before the prorogation of Parliament on Thursday.

Replying to a question to the House of Committee, he stated that the Government had decided to relieve the pressure on shipping by cutting down some of the imports which are less essential for national existence than others, and which prevent vessels coming to our ports from being used for more urgent purposes, Paper pulp and grass for making paper have been chosen as the first subjects of the operation of this policy because of their great bulk and influence on tonnage. The annual quantity now imported is 1,000,000 tons, and the importation of a large percentage of this total will shortly be prohibited.

Mr Runciman expressed confidence that the Government could rely on the loyal co-operation of paper makers and newspaper proprietors in a step which must of necessity interfere with their business. He appealed to householders, as well as those engaged in every business and industry in which paper is used, to render assistance by exercising rigid economy in the use of paper.

The export from this country of rags and waste-paper is about to be prohibited.

The importation of other articles and materials of a bulky nature will shortly be prohibited, including the following :

Raw tobacco.
Many building materials.
Furniture woods and veneers.
Some fruits.

If necessary this list may be extended until the tonnage pressure is eased.

PRESS ASSOCIATION

BRITISH CASUALTIES OF THE WAR.

Prime Minister, in a written Parliamentary answer to-day, states that up to January 9th the total casualties in all fields of operations were:—

Officers, killed, wounded, and missing, 24,122.

Other ranks, 525,345.

Grand total, 549,467.

 

“ Tell me what you think a full pack weighs,” said the Adjutant to one of the new men.—“ Two hundred pounds, sir.”—The Adjutant gasped. “ What ! he cried, “ Haven’t you been told that it never weighs more than sixty ?”-“ Yes, sir.” said the recruit. “ But asked me what I thought it weighed, and I was thinking of the last time I had one on.”