29th Dec 1917. Suggested Rationing Scheme for Rugby

SUGGESTED RATIONING SCHEME FOR RUGBY.

At a meeting of the Rugby Urban Food Control Committee on Thursday evening a sub-committee was appointed to formulate a rationing scheme for butter, margarine, lard, bacon, and cheese for the Urban and Rural Districts.

MARGARINE COMMANDEERED.

The Rugby Food Control Committee did not wait long before putting their new powers, enabling them to commandeer supplies of margarine, into force. The margarine queues on Friday and Saturday last were longer than ever, and there was every indication that similar scenes would experienced on Christmas Eve. Mr F M Burton, the Executive officer, however, ascertained that one of the multiple shops was expecting a consignment of four tons of margarine, and he immediately commandeered one and a-half tons, and distributed it among other grocers in the town. A notice to this effect was displayed in the window of the shop affected, and the police promptly broke up all attempts to form a queue. The action of the committee and the executive officer was greatly appreciated by many people, who were thus enabled to do their shopping with a degree of comfort which has been lacking for the past two months.

THE COLLECTION OF WASTE PAPER.

A meeting of the Rugby Waste Paper Committee was held on Thursday last week, Mr J J McKinnell, J.P, C.C, presiding. A grant of £10 was made to the Rugby Town Red Cross effort, and it was decided that at the next meeting the claims of the Prisoners of War Fund should have first consideration.—The Hon Secretary (Mr J Reginald Barker) reported that there had lately been an encouraging increase in the amount of waste paper collected by the boys of Elborow School and Murray School.—Mr McKinnell said that the Local Government Board had again urged the local authorities to collect all waste paper. Mr Barker had arranged to have every description of waste paper sorted and graded and sent to the paper mills for re-pulping, obtaining for the committee the maximum amount under the Government schedule of prices. They had, therefore, been able to devote considerable sums to local charities, and, in addition to the grant made at that meeting, had rendered substantial assistance to the Hospital of St Cross, St John’s Ambulance Brigade, the Hamilton Home, and the District Nursing Society. There were, however, other deserving objects which were in need of funds, and he trusted all who had waste paper of any kind would drop a postcard to Mr W T Simmonds, of Elborow School, or Mr W T Coles Hodges, of Murray School.

RAILWAY BOOKINGS.

During the days immediately preceding Christmas there was the usual exodus of workers from the town, and the number of travellers was well in excess of last year, when the Government’s exhortation to the people to avoid unnecessary travelling was loyally observed. At the L & N-W Railway Station bookings were very heavy to all parts of the United Kingdom ; and the Great Central Authorities also experienced exceptionally busy times. The majority of people travelling were munition workers and their families, and of the number of visitors to the town a large portion were soldiers home on leave.

CHRISTMAS ARRANGEMENTS AT THE POST OFFICE.

Owing to the scarcity of foodstuffs, the number of parcels despatched to the troops this year from the Rugby Post Office was not so large as usual ; but, nevertheless, during the busiest nights preceding December 14th—the last date for sending such parcels—as many as 80 odd mail sacks were sent off one night. There was, however, an enormous increase in the number of registered letters and small parcels of comforts. The labour question proved a great difficulty this year; but with the assistance of 28 extra postwomen and sorters and about a dozen spare-time workers, the rush was successfully dealt with. To relieve the counter pressure the Army allowances, amounting to over £1,000, were paid out for two weeks during the week preceding Christmas. On Saturday, Sunday, and Monday the counter staff was kept abnormally busy, and on Christmas Eve the number of parcels delivered in the town was unusually large, vis. 1,500 ; while the number on Christmas Day was 700. There was a falling-off this year in the number mainly confined to the residential quarters. In the working-class districts of the town the numbers were as large as ever.

Another unusual feature was the small quantity of poultry passing through the post, the customary ducks and geese giving places to more homely, but nowadays none the less welcome; piece of bacon.

For four days preceding Christmas the country mail motor vans were forced to make double journeys ; and although these ran rather late on several of the heaviest mornings, the times compared well with previous years.

SUNDAY POSTAL DELIVERY IN RUGBY.

To the Editor of the Advertiser

SIR,—Would it not be possible for Rugby to forego its delivery of letters on the Lord’s Day ? When we see so many women on the rounds we all know what it must mean in those homes, and they surely need their Sabbath rest as much as we do. In asking this I do not mean to ask that their pay shall be stopped for that day’s work, but that they should receive the same wage as now, and that we should forego our letters on that day.

London and many other large cities do without Sunday delivery, and so I think we should do the same. I believe it can only done by a resolution passed by the District Council. Will not some member propose such a resolution ? I believe he would find the whole Council ready to support him, and I am quite sure he would have the great majority of the townsmen with him. It is too much for a man to work seven days a week. What must it mean to these women ?—Believe me, sir, yours faithfully,

CYRIL T ASTON,
Vicar St Matthew’s Church.
St Matthew’s Vicarage, Rugby, Dec 24, 1917.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Dennis Over, youngest son of Mr Samuel Over, has passed out fifth in his company from the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, and has been gazetted to a commission in the Regular Army in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

Mr & Mrs C F Everett, 42 Claremont Road, have received news that their eldest son, Lance-Corpl Fredk Stanley Everett, of the Motor Transport, died from disease in the base hospital at Basra, Mesopotamia, on Sunday, December 16th. He was 21 years of age, and an Old Murrayian. Prior to joining the Army in January, 1916, he was employed as a goods clerk by the L & N-W Railway Company at Berkswell and Hampton. He was at one time a teacher in the Murray Sunday School and secretary of St Andrew’s Guild Cricket Club. He was also a member of St Peter’s Church Choir, and after the service on Sunday evening the “ Dead March ” in Saul was played to honour his memory.

MENTIONED DESPATCHES.

In Sir Douglas Haig’s despatches of November 7th appears the name of Sergt A W Hughes, Royal Engineers. Sergt Hughes was formerly employed at the B.T.H, and has been on the Western Front 2½ years. In July last he was the recipient of a “ card of recognition ” from the General commanding the Division for distinguished conduct.

ANOTHER ADDITION TO THE RUGBY PRISONERS OF WAR LIST.

Another prisoner of war has been added to the list of the Rugby Prisoners of War Committee, viz, Lance-Corpl W H Roberts, 2nd Machine Gun Company, who is interned at Lechfeld, Bavaria. This man was formerly employed at Messrs Bluemel Bros, Ltd, Wolston. Mr Barker has arranged for the standard food parcels and bread to be sent to him as from “ his former fellow employees,” as they have generously undertaken his adoption.

CHURCH LAWFORD.

MILITARY MEDAL.—This week Mrs F Cooke has received news that her brother, Corpl A Haynes, of the 28th Canadians, has been awarded the Military Medal.

MEMORIAL SERVICE.—On Sunday evening last a memorial service was held the Parish Church for Sergt S Batchelor, when a good number of the parishioners attended. The service was impressively conducted by the Rector (Rev H Smith), and one or two of Sergt Batchelor’s favourite hymns were sung. In his sermon at the evening service the Rector made allusion to the loss the parents and family, the parish, and the church had sustained by the death of Sergt Batchelor, and said it was such men that our country can ill-afford to lose. Amongst the many letters of sympathy which Mr & Mrs Batchelor have received several have come from the front, from the chaplain, the nurse, and from his lieutenant. The latter wrote:—“ Everybody who knew him recognised in him a good N.C.O and a good soldier every way.”

DUNCHURCH.

ROLL OF HONOUR.—Mr & Mrs Pearce, Coventry Road Dunchurch, have received intimation that their son. Pte W Pearce, K.R.R, is missing. This is the fourth son Mr & Mrs Pearce have lost in the War.

WOLSTON.

PTE W BARKER KILLED.—Mr & Mrs N Barker received news on Sunday that their son, Pte W Barker, had died from wounds in France. Deceased volunteered early in the War for the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, but was rejected owing chest measurement. Later on he joined the Royal Warwicks, and has been in the thick of the fighting. He was well known and respected in the district. His father has for many years been a member of the Wolston Parish Council, and occupied other public offices in the parish. Much sympathy is felt for Mr & Mrs Barker and family.

BRANDON & BRETFORD.

CORPL C DIPPLE WOUNDED.—Mr V Dipple has received news that his brother was wounded in the charge at Cambrai. Corpl Dipple was one of the Mons and Marne fighters, being attached to the 18th Hussars. His other brothers—Sergt F Dipple, R.F.A, is now stationed in Italy (he also was amongst the 1914 battles); while a third brother, Bombardier H Dipple, is also in Italy and a sister is a nursing sister in the Army.

WOUNDED SOLDIERS ENTERTAINED.

On Boxing Day the wounded soldiers at the Infirmary and “ Te Hira ” Red Cross Hospitals numbering about 120, were entertained by the Rugby V.T.C at the Howitzer Battery Drill Hall. Tea was provided by the Red Cross Society in the small rooms, which were nicely decorated and presented a warm and cosy appearance, and this was followed by an entertainment in the Large Drill Hall. Under the supervision of Sergt S H Weobley, the members of Corps had tastefully decorated the hall with flags and garlands. The stage was arranged in a series of arches, illuminated with coloured electric bulbs, and a large Christmas tree, upon which useful and suitable presents were hung, was also illuminated by movable electric lights, arranged by Sergt O H Watson. Quartermaster Alderson as Father Christmas presented each guest with a present from the tree. An excellent programme, consisting of instrumental and vocal items, was given ; and, in addition to members of the V.T.C and wounded soldiers, were songs by Quartermaster C Prior and Miss Phyllis Vann.

BILTON HALL RED CROSS HOSPITAL.

The wounded soldiers at this hospital has a very pleasant round of entertainment. On Thursday last week Corpl Hawkins and friends from Rugby gave a concert, and on Saturday Mr Giggs and party went over from Rugby for a similar purpose. Dinner on Christmas Day consisted of turkey, plum pudding, &c, given by friends ; and in the afternoon the soldiers and staff were entertained by a professional conjuror from London. On Boxing Day the Southam Amateur Dramatic Company attended, and gave a concert and theatricals. The Bilton Brass Band played carols at The Hall on Sunday, and again during dinner and tea on Christmas Day. The men enjoyed and appreciated everything immensely.

SEASONABLE WEATHER.

The weather during Christmas was, on the whole, bright and seasonable. In the previous week frost and snow gave promise of ideal conditions, but on Monday there was a considerable rise of temperature, with drizzling rain, which quickly converted the road surfaces into sticky mud, and the outlook was not at all promising. On Christmas Day, however, a keen wind from the North with spells of bright sunshine put the roads in good order again, and outdoor exercise was quite enjoyable, and the same may be said of Boxing Day.

DEATHS.

EVERETT.—On December 16th, at Basrah (Persian Gulf,) Lance-Corpl FREDERICK STANLEY EVERETT, of the Motor Transport, A.S.C., eldest and dearly loved son of Mr. and Mrs. Everett, aged 21. (Nature of illness not stated).—Rest in peace. Not lost, but gone before.
Father, in Thy gracious keeping,
Leave we now our dear one sleeping.

MATTHEWS.—In loving memory of PTE HARRY J. MATTHEWS, the only and beloved son of D. and M. A. MATTHEWS, of Napton, who died in hospital in France on Dec. 14th, 1917, aged 28 years.

 

9th Dec 1916. An Urban Council Employee’s Wages

AN URBAN COUNCIL EMPLOYEE’S WAGES.

Leave to appeal for a further extension was asked for Mr M J H Sharp, surveyor under the Rugby Urban District Council, in respect of Arthur Williams (35, married), chargehand at the refuse destructor, living at 58 Bennett Street.—In a letter Mr Sharp said he had advertised the post six times, and had not received a single application. The Military Authorities had supplied substitutes, who had refused to take on the work after visiting the destructor and seeing what was required of them. If the man joined up before a suitable substitute was obtained, the Council would be left in an awkward position, and no doubt the destructor would have to be closed down, as neither of the three men left was fit to take charge. Seeing the man was passed for garrison duty only, the Surveyor considered he would be doing good service by remaining in his present employment.

The Chairman : What wages are you offering ?-Mr Sharp : Thirty shillings.—The Chairman : I think you ought to be ashamed of yourself to offer a wage like that. Do you know what the ordinary labourer gets at the Coventry destructor works ?—Mr Sharp : Ninepence an hour.—The Chairman : He gets £2 3s per week.-Mr Sharp : How many hours do they work ?—The Chairman : Fifty-four.—Mr Sharp said the average of the men at the Rugby destructor was less than that.

The Chairman asked if it was true that the Military sent a man who would have gone for £2 a week, and they would not have him ?—Mr Sharp : Not that I am aware of.-Mr Wratislaw : It is true.

Mr Sharp enquired who the man referred to was ?—The Chairman read a statement by the Military to the effect that Mr Sharp asked them to send the man up, and on his return he informed them he would have taken the place, only 30s a week was offered, and he would not agree to take it under £2.—The Chairman (to Mr Sharp : Did you offer him £2 a week ?—Mr Sharp : I said, “ Come down to the destructor and see what work you have got to do.” He went down, and he would not take the job.

The Chairman : The chargehands at our destructor are earning £3 10s a week. Leave to appeal refused. It is a disgraceful thing. You say the man is absolutely indispensible to Rugby. You say if he goes you will have to shut down, and the health of Rugby will be jeopardised, and yet you offer 30s a week. Leave to appeal is not allowed in this case. I do not think the Urban District Council of Rugby can really understand it.

Mr Sharp : I am placed in an awkward position. One of the men is away from work, and if Williams has to go I shall have to close down to-night.—The Chairman : Well, you will have to close down. You thoroughly deserve it. You have asked for it.—Mr Sharp : Thank you, Sir.

RUGBY VOLUNTEER CORPS.

The entertainments at the Co-operative Hall on Thursday and Friday last week were of a highly enjoyable character, and must have entailed a large amount of time and trouble on the part of the organisers. The colour scheme adopted for the costumes and stage (black and scarlet) was striking and pleasing to the eye. The members of the party are local ladies and gentlemen, who, however, prefer to remain anonymous.

“ Jacques ” with his patter was a source of mirth, and “ Coquette ” for her song “ Come and cuddle me,” was quite successful. The rich baritone voice of “ Pierre ” was heard to advantage in “ Sailor’s Paradise.” “ Babette ” was at her best in “ Whoops 1 lets do it again,” and Paulette” captivated the audience with her songs, “ Plumstones ” and “ God send you back to me,” which were rendered with ability. The concarted pieces were pleasingly rendered. “ Jeau ” was quite at home with “ Every morn you’ll hear him say Good-night,” and made a good hit. “ Little Reggie,” the pet of the party, caused roars of laughter on Friday, evening in a Charlie Chaplin make-up, and also did useful work as a programme seller.

The financial result was satisfactory ; it is expected, to clear about £30.

A collection was made each evening to provide, tea for the wounded soldiers, who were entertained at a special matinee on Saturday. The whole of the sum realised—vis, £3 7s 9d—will be given to the Rugby Infirmary V.A.D Hospital Fund.

The secretarial work was successfully carried out by Mr G O Watson, the hon secretary of the Corps.

The thanks of the Corps to the members of the party were expressed by Mr C H Fuller, Commandant, in a short speech at the performance on Thursday. Mr Fuller also urged on the public the usefulness of the Corps, as evidenced by Lord French’s interest and support. More men are urgently needed to bring the Corps up to Company strength. At present the Corps has Atherstone attached to it to form the “ B ” Company of the 2nd (County) Battalion.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

News has come to hand that Second-Lieut E F Lawlor, of the Monmouthshire, grandson of Mr John Lawlor, of 7 Charlotte Street (a member of the Rugby Board of Guardians), has been killed in action. He was with other soldiers killed by a shell on the parapet of a trench. Lieut Lawlor was well known in Marton and the vicinity.

Pte George H Dunstone, of the R.A.M.C, who at the time he enlisted was a clerk in the Traffic Department at Rugby under Mr Bolton, has won the Military Medal for his bravery in rescuing wounded soldiers when under fire. He has recently had ten days’ leave, and on visiting his friends at Rugby was heartily congratulated by them on the honour conferred upon him.

Captain E W E Kempson, commander of the unit of the Army Troops Corps, R.E, which was raised in Rugby, and originally known as the “ Rugby Fortress Company,” has been mentioned in despatches.

The parcels sent this week on behalf of the Rugby Prisoners of War Help Committee to the Rugby and District men in prison camps in Germany, contained the following :— ½lb biscuits, 1 tin herrings, 1 tin Oxo cubes, ¼ tin cocoa, ½lb cooked ham in tin, 2oz tobacco. ½lb sugar, ½lb milk, pepper, salt, and mustard, 1 tin sausages, ½lb dripping in tin.

ANOTHER LONG LAWFORD SOLDIER KILLED.

Official information has been received by Mr and Mrs Elkington, of Long Lawford, that their son, Rifleman J Elkington, of the Rifle Brigade, was killed in action November 10th. Previous to the war, Rifleman Elkington was employed at the Carpenter’s Shop at the B.T.H, and had been in France for the past eighteen months.

PRESENTATION OF D.C.M.

At Bilton Hall Red Cross Hospital on Thursday, Colonel Johnstone presented to Gunner Roberts, R.G.A, the Distinguished Conduct Medal, won in Gallipoli in January, 1915, for carrying a wounded comrade to safety under very heavy fire. Col Johnstone, who was accompanied by Major Neilson, made a very appropriate speech, and pinned on the medal in the presence of the Commandant, the Quartermaster, the in-patients, and Staff.

LANCE-CORPL BOB MAYS AWARDED THE MILITARY MEDAL.

Mr J Mays, of 17 South Street, Rugby, has received a letter from his son, Lance-Corpl Bob Mays, of the Royal Berkshire Regiment, describing how he won the Military Medal. He says : “ We endeavoured three times, Corpl Hester, Pte Sullivan, and myself, to obtain a sample of the German barbed wire. It was during the third attempt that Corpl Hester was shot through both thighs, and his cry of pain brought very heavy rifle and machine-gun fire from the enemy’s line. After dressing Corpl Hester’s wounds, I left Pte Sullivan with him, whilst I tried to find my way back to our trenches—a very difficult task in the black darkness. Three times I found myself in the German line, and eventually I managed to find our line, and returned to Corpl Hester and Pte Sullivan, and we managed to drag him along on his back whilst we crawled on our stomachs, for to kneel or stand meant certain death. Corpl Hester being 6ft in height, and Pte Sullivan and myself only 5ft 4in, he was a good load to carry ; but at last we managed to get him in, after being in “ No Man’s Land ” for over five hours. Pte Sullivan and myself were recommended for the Military Medal, and have both received our reward. Lance-Corpl Mays was formerly a Staff-Sergeant in the Boy’s Life Brigade and had previously been wounded.

BRINKLOW.

SOLDIER’S DEATH AND MILITARY FUNERAL.—The death of Lance-Corpl William Robert Everton, aged 27, of the Military Foot Police, occurred at Brinklow on November 27th. The deceased, who was a native of Tottenham, came from France on special leave on November 11th to stay at the home of Mr S Heath, to whose daughter he was engaged. He caught a cold, which developed into pneumonia. He was originally in the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, and had served five years in India. His regiment took part in the disastrous Gallipoli campaign, where he was wounded. He was afterwards drafted into the Military Police. The deceased was accorded a military funeral, which took place at the cemetery on November 30th. A special firing party came from Rugby for the purpose. The Rev G A Dawson was the officiating clergyman. In addition to the family mourners, a large number of the villagers and the school children gathered round the graveside, when the “ Last Post ” was sounded, many floral tributes were afterwards placed upon his grave.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR.
SOLDIERS’ GRAVES IN FRANCE.

To the Editor of the Advertiser.

DEAR SIR,—In my conversations with friends whilst on a few days’ leave from France I find out how very few people know of the Graves Registration Units of the British Army.

I am often asked the question : “ How are our soldiers buried and graves attended to ? ” I think the following information will put any uneasy mind at rest if you will be kind enough to insert it in your paper :—

The work of the Graves Registration Units is carried on by officers, N.C.O’s, and men who are otherwise unfit for fighting. Land is bought at various spots along our line, is surveyed and marked out for cemeteries. Hedges, trees, shrubs, &c, are being planted, so that the cemeteries are permanent resting-places for our dead soldiers. The bodies are laid in separate graves, or side by side, one foot apart. The graves are carefully tended, and flowers planted, &c. The grave is registered, and the records filed for enquiries. A cross is erected over every grave with the man s number, name, regiment, &c, inscribed upon it. Photographs are taken of any grave when applied for, providing the grave can be reached without undue exposure to the enemy.

Any enquiries or applications should be addressed to : THE DIRECTOR, G.R Units, G.H.Q, B.E.F,

I am, sir, yours truly,
A E AINSWORTH,
Attached G.R Units, France.
84 Manor Road, Rugby.

DEATHS.

ELKINGTON.—In ever-loving and affectionate remembrance of our dear son, John Thomas Elkington, who was killed in action on November 10, 1916 ; aged 27 years.—“ God’s will be done.”—From his sorrowing MOTHER and FATHER, SISTERS and BROTHERS.

Roberts, Charles. Died 30th Jul 1915

CHARLES ROBERTS 1882-1915

It was 1912. They were desperately in love. Charles Roberts and Maud Neale had to get married – she was five months pregnant. They received little support from her family, who were all strongly religious Primitive Methodists and thoroughly disapproved of Maud’s sinful behaviour. Charles’ family were scattered around the country and he was on his own in Rugby, working as a printer for Robert Frost & Co.

The problem was that while Charles was 30, Maud was only 16 and already five months pregnant. Here the marriage certificate tells an interesting story. Maud’s full name was Ethel Maud Neale, but she was known as Maud. The certificate shows they married in a register office after licence; she gave her age as 21 while he gave his as 26, and it was witnessed by a couple whose names do not ring a bell with anyone in the family – perhaps they were brought in off the street! All this sounds rather hasty and done without parental consent.

Ethel Maud Neale

Ethel Maud Neale

Nevertheless, they were very happy together and there is an apocryphal tale that when Maud was 18 she got drunk and danced the can-can on the table… it was a fun-filled marriage in which she produced two baby girls in 18 months.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charles Roberts

Charles Roberts

Charles heard the call to fight for his country in 1914 and enlisted in the Kings Royal Rifle Corps. His daughter Kathy remembers him sweeping her up in his arms to say goodbye, and feeling the rough cloth of his uniform.
He sent his little daughter a birthday postcard addressed to
Miss K.M. Roberts, 7, Newbold Road, Rugby, Warwickshire:
(Kathy was two years old on October 28, 1914)
Dear little kid,
Only a wish for your birthday, that I was with you, and that your dear little self may have all that is possible to make you happy, for all time.
From Daddy to his little Duck – Kathy.

A Christmas card arrived from
1243 9th Battn, “A” Coy, KRR Corps, Petworth:
Dear Kiddy,
Just a sincere wish to you, and although you may not receive this letter before Christmas, still I trust the latter part of the wish will be realised. I go to Aldershot on Monday next, and probably by the following Monday I shall be having my 8 days furlough. Living in hopes of soon seeing you all in the best of spirits
Yours ever loving Charl
Charles did get his furlough, and went to Bournemouth to see his sister, May Marinier, and his wife who travelled from Rugby to be with him.

Then he was off to France with his regiment and sent postcards home from the battle front.
Roberts Chas PCfrom war1Dear Sis,
Thought perhaps this would be of interest to you, the tower of the church still remains but the place itself is one mass of ruins. I’ll send you an occasional PC and will write you at the earliest opportunity. I could not thank you on a field pc for your present which you may guess is very acceptable, and I now hasten to apologise for delay in thanking you. Did you think photo of Kathleen “May” good? The one you have of me is a poor one as now I am dark as a nigger. Remember me to Tony and your chicks.
I’m keeping photo in my “will” book. Shall be going in the trenches tomorrow night – great fun!! Charl

 

Roberts Chas PCfrom war2Still at it “somewhere in Belgium”. OK up to now, been in the trenches, (firing line) the worst part is getting in them and coming out. Have been watching the huns’ shells bursting near us – not over us, though near enough – about 100 yds off. This pc will give you an idea of what results from a shell. Hope to get time to write a letter soon. Let me know if you have moved yet. What do you think of my little girl? Having a presentday photo soon. Love to all. Hope to see you sometime. Charl

Notes from Charles’ war diary , 1915.
Watch no: 516549
Height 5’7 1/2”
Memo
Moved from Aldershot to Petworth (Sussex) on 23rd Nov (1914) In billets Mrs Bronhams, White Hall.
January 6th Wed Finished firing, With field practice
7th Thurs Returned to Petworth to join Battn
8th Fri On Pass . Xmas leave to Bournemouth via Portsmouth
9th Sat Arr Bmth 1am
13th Wed Photo taken with M.R.
14th Thurs Returned off Pass. Left Bmth 4pm arr Petworth 9.30. Letter from Frost, Rugby.
15 Fri Attached to new draft of Recruits, as instructor
16 Sat Birthday Mrs Roberts
19 Tues M.R. left Bmth for Rugby
21 Thurs March to Whitney Common, 14 miles for the night. Mud mud mud. Thank goodness don’t stay.
22 Fri Snowing, march 4 miles for review. K of K stood 2 hrs in snowstorm, no greatcoats on. 4 miles back to barracks, then marched to Petworth. Snow all day. Half dead.
23 Sat No Parade. Up at 10am.
25th Mon Recruits with ‘Coy’ in Park gathering snow.
26 Tues Nothing doing
29 Fri Pay day
February
4 Thurs Birthday. Parcel from Rugby, mitts etc.
9 Tues For “office” made full Corporal
10 Wed Returned to duty with coy.
11 Thurs Battn training in park
12 Fri Battle with Rifle Brigade 7.30-2.30
13 Sat Wet. 1 hr drill in town hall
14 Sun Ch Parade
15 Mon Battle with Rifle Brigade 8-3 o’c
25 Thurs Left Petworth for South Camp. ?Talaocra Bike
26 Fri Buff marker for 2nd Recruits
March
1 Mon Started firing. Trained soldiers course
9 Wed Grouping 8th 20 pts
8 Mon Finished firing course. Total 115 points Total 105 for 1st cl. shot. Inoculated.
9 Tues Off Parade
10 Wed Off Parade
11 Thurs Squad Drill. Transferred to Sec 2
16 Tues Inoculated 1st time
28 Sun Inoculated 2nd time
29 Mon Recommended for sick leave 5 days
April
5 Mon Returned off pass
6 Tues Coy office
12 Mon Field firing. 3 days free pass
15 Thurs Returned off pass
29 Thurs Promoted to Lce/Sgt
May
1 Sat Photo taken of Battn Sgts
5 Wed Review by Lord K of K Laffens Plain. March past of 42 Brigade
10 Mon Handed in all spare clothes &c Coy office
13 Thurs 1st lesson Revolver practice. 24 rnds 30 yds. – Appointed Coy Range Finder
via “Battn Orders”
14 Fri 2nd lesson Revolver practice 90 pts of poss 96
16 Sun Orderly Sgt
27 Thurs Marched to Cassell. Billetted at St Silvestre
30 Sun Left for Dickebusch
31 Mon Went out making trenches
June
1 Tues Germs. shelled position of trenches
2 Wed Much shelling in the district of Dickebusch where we go out tonight
7 Mon To Reminghelst
8 Tues In the trenches, at the firing line
9 Wed Ernie Tomlinson shot in forehead; seriously. B. Bint shot
10 Thurs Returned to Reminghelst midnight
12 Sat Back to Ouderdom
14 Mon To Vlamerteighe
15 Tues In trenches. Terrible bombardment, at Ypres. Captured 3 trenches
16 Wed In trenches. Relieved m.n.
17 Thurs Parcel from home
19 Sat Off to “Dug outs” as supports
20 Sun Fatigue to Ox & Bks with ammunition
21 Mon Fatigue party 11pm-3am. m.n sand bags & bbd wire racks to R.B’s
22 Tues Fatigues to Ox & Bks with rations & water, much casualty by shell.
2 killed, 7 injured
23 Wed Fatigue Ox & Bks with rations
24 Thurs Leave m.n for rest camp
25 Fri via Poperinghe
29 Thurs Shelling Poperinghe
30 Wed Fatigue to trenches via Ypres by motor-bus
July
4 Sun Fatigue to trenches
5 Mon Serious trouble. CO offence resulting from wrong & misleading messages. Reprimand
8 Thurs Go to trenches
12 Mon Firing line. NE of Ypres
There are no further entries

WithTheColours coverFrom “With the Colours”, published in the interests of the employees of Albert Frost & Sons who have answered their Country’s call and joined the colours

In Memoriam
ROBERTS. C.. Sergt. It is with the keenest regret that we have to record the death of Charlie Roberts, who was killed in action on July 30th. We deeply sympathise with his young widow and two small children. The sad news, coming as it did so quickly after the news of Redfearn’s death, was staggering, and it was some time before we could realise that he had really “gone”. We print below a letter received by Mrs.Roberts from his platoon sergeant, which not only clearly shows how Roberts died, but also pays the highest tribute to his memory that it is possible for a soldier to do. He died a noble death. We are all very proud of this. We knew he was game by the way that he got up from a sick bed to join, when he learned that Kitchener’s Army was taking married men. He was advised not to go, but he was determined to do his “bit” at any cost. That his heart was in his job is proved by the fact of his rapid promotion to the rank of sergeant.
Roberts joined us in December 1909 and was a first-class printer – one of the best men we had. He was very popular, and his death will be felt as a personal loss by everyone here.

And on 5th August, Maud received the letter everyone dreaded:

Dear Mrs Roberts,
I regret very much having to write to tell you that your husband, Sgt C Roberts, was killed in action on Friday July 30th /15.
I am taking this opportunity of writing to you, in the absence of his Officer, to tell you how very much we appreciated the help and support that Sgt Roberts always gave us, and express our sincere sympathy for you in so great a trouble. Although not actually with him at the time of his death, I understand that he had no pain whatever. He was attempting to get an important message across an open field which was swept by the murderous fire of the enemy, when the bullet caught him and brought about his untimely end.
His platoon join with me in the heartfelt sincerity which we have tried to express in this letter.
I should like to tell you that Sgt Roberts died a noble death, upholding to the last the tradition of his Regiment.
He died the death of a soldier.
Again sympathising with you in your great sorrow.
Yours sincerely
Sgt H Dyson

Maud was left with two small children, Kathy and Rene.

She wrote to May Marinier, her sister in law, asking for details of Charles’ birth for official purposes. She received this reply from

May:
15 Barnfield Road
Ealing
18th August 1915

Dear Maud,
In answer to yours of last night I believe you will have to write up to Somerset House for a copy of the birth certificate of poor dear Charles; you must state that he was born in 1882 at Wimborne, Dorset, his father having been a Chemist of Shaftesbury Dorset.
I might as well tell you that owing to unfortunate business speculations, my poor father’s circumstances became very indifferent a few years after he married my mother, and while Charlie was but a baby our beautiful home had to be sold up. This ruined my dear mother’s health, and things only got worse. Then my father came to London and took another business somewhere, but he took a cold which turned into pneumonia and only lived a few weeks.
Owing to all this sad trouble my brothers were never educated in the way they should have been, nor brought up in the positions their birth would have befitted. But no doubt Charlie has told you this – or he may not have done so, thinking it useless. One thing I am certain of – our parents would be happy if they knew, or could know, that their youngest has died an unselfish hero.
Do not hesitate to ask me anything; for his sake, and because I love and respect the memory of my parents I am pleased to do anything I can.
You have received my letter I hope, and I am waiting to know whether I may come and fetch little Kathy next Sunday. I hope you will soon feel better and more able to bear your burden; be brave for the sake of his little ones.
Yours very sincerely
May M.

There are tear stains on the letter. Maud took Charles’ death very hard and grieved bitterly for him. Later, on Armistice Day, she would take her young daughters and weep at the memorial gates at theentrance to the park on Hillmorton Road. The children, too young to understand, wept in sympathy.

On 16th March 1920, Maud received a letter from the Record Office, Winchester:

I am directed to transmit to you the accompanying 1914/15 Star which
would have been conferred upon R/1243 L/Sergt C Roberts KRRifC
had he lived, in memory of his services with the British Forces during the Great War.
In forwarding the Decoration I am commanded by the King to assure you of His Majesty’s high appreciation of the services rendered.
I am to request that you will be so good as to acknowledge the receipt of the Decoration on the attached form.
I am,
Your obedient servant,
A R Davies
Major i/c Records

 

(This article was compiled by Janet Turnbull a relative of the subject)

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM