Worster, George John. Died 22nd Sep 1917

George John Worster was born in Aldershot Hants in 1892, the eldest son and third child of the ten children of George Worster, a blacksmith born in Barby Northants. He was baptised at Farnham, the birthplace of his mother Emma nee Goulden and eldest sister Maude, on 20 May 1892 (Farnham baptism register). His parents were also married there Dec Q 1887. His siblings were Maude (Harriet M), Elizabeth E, Jesse (Alfred J), Victoria, (Edward) Cecil, Dorothy, Cedric, and Aubrey. (census 1901 & 1911)

George senior was working as a blacksmith in an engineering works in Rugby in 1911, and living at 15 Manor Road, a house with seven rooms. He had moved to the town around 1899; his five youngest children were born here. He had travelled around quite a bit according to the birthplaces of his children, from Farnham in 1887 to Aldershot c 1893 where George jnr and Victoria were born, then to Flore Northants for a couple of years, and on to Weston by Welland for another couple of years before coming to Rugby. In 1901 the family with six children were living at 33 Arnold Street (RG13/2916/76).   This would have been in the early days of the engineering companies in Rugby, which would have recruited men with experience like George.

George John was a carpenter’s apprentice in 1911, working for a builder. His two older sisters (Harriet) Maude and Elizabeth were workers in a lamp factory, and a younger brother (Alfred) Jesse was an iron turner’s apprentice in an engineering works. Five of the six youngest children aged 4-13 were scholars, the youngest was an infant aged two.

George must have enlisted during the first year of the war as his medal card records that he was awarded the 1915 Star having entered France on 21 July 1915. He is buried in Spoilbank Cemetery five miles south of Ypres which contains 520 graves and commemorations of the fallen. His grave in Section I, row O is directly beside the path between the main gate and the Great Cross.

He married Doris M Meek in Mar Qr of 1917 in Rugby RD.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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Boyce, Arthur Cecil. Died 10th Aug 1917

Arthur Cecil Boyce was not a Rugby lad, although he appears on the Rugby Memorial Gates.

He was born June 1889 in London (Wandsworth), to Arthur and Isabel Boyce. He appears on the census for 1891 and 1901 living with his parents Arthur and Isabel Boyce. On the 1891 Census the family is living in 70 Bellevue Battersea London and in 1901 at 2 Henderson Road Wandsworth London. Arthur’s father was working for the Railways in 1891 as a clerk, in 1901 as an Assistant Railway Superintendent and in 1911 he is a Railway Manager, living at 2 Fitzroy Gardens, Rugby.

Arthur Cecil is not with his parents on the 1911 Census but in at Birkenhead, Cheshire as an Engineering Student at University where he took a first class B.Eng. in 1912 and in the same year was awarded the Burroughs prize for drawing and design.

He went out to Canada as a civil engineer and returned at the outbreak of war as a sapper with the Canadian contingent. He served from February to September 1915 in France and Belgium – in April he was slightly gassed at Ypres, the first time gas was used by the Germans. He came home and was posted with the Royal Engineers at Netley

It was during this time, on 4th January 1916, that he married Kathleen Eve Limrick at St Margaret’s Church, Toxteth Park, in Liverpool. He gave his address as 283 Clifton Road, Rugby, his parents home.

2nd Lieutenant Boyce returned to France with the Royal Engineers and to the Front in July 1916.

He was invalided home from France suffering from an affliction of the throat, nose and teeth. He was on the hospital ship Gloucester Castle which was torpedoed on 31st March 1917 and spent three hours in an open boat.

He returned to Liverpool where he received treatment for his teeth and travelled to Maidenhead for the removal of two troublesome roots. The operation was successful but Arthur collapsed and the attending doctor could not revive him. A later post-mortem discovered his heart had been weakened by the gas and exposure on the open sea

Arthur Cecil Boyce, Lieutenant R.E. 397th Field Coy, died on August 10th 1917. His body was placed on a gun carriage and returned to his home.

The funeral, with full military honours took place at West Norwood Cemetery.

His parents Arthur and Isabel later lived at Malvern, and his wife in Camberwell London.

He left a will and probate was granted to Arthur Boyce, railway district manager at Oxford 29″` September 1917 leaving £47.

A daughter, Joan I K Boyce was born in Liverpool in the second quarter of 1917, She died in Croydon in 1924 at the age of seven. It is not known what happened to his wife.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

 

28th Jul 1917. Rugby School Farming Squads

RUGBY SCHOOL FARMING SQUADS.

From “ The Meteor ” (the journal of Rugby School) we gather that this year the farming squad season extended from May 16th to July 24th ; 75 squads (comparing with 55 last year) have been sent out to assist the neighbouring farmers. Most of the work took the form of hoeing and spudding, which is a little tedious after a bout of four or five hours.

In the last month many parties have rendered assistance in the hay harvest. The earnings of the squads were allocated as follows :—Hospital of St Cross, £15 ; Y.M.C.A, £8 13s ; Mine-Sweepers’ Fund, £5 ; Blue Cross, £5 ; Rugby Prisoners of War Fund, £3, total, £36 13s.

“ The Meteor ” also records the experiences of one of the squads in the Evesham district—at Pensham, near Pershore :—

On Monday, July 2nd, a squad of 21 started off for a fortnight’s work on the land—an entirely new experiment. After a long journey, during which we seemed to do nothing but change from one train to another we reached Pershore Station at about 1.30 p.m. The cyclists of our party went ahead into the town (1½ miles from the station) to find where Pensham was. Having found the farm, they returned to guide the weary “ labourers,” who found three miles in the blazing heat quite sufficient. After doing the first natural thing—ordering tea—we all went for a bathe in the river Avon, which was only two or three hundred yards from the farm. All the squad except four slept in a fairly capacious barn, with as much straw as they wished ; but the quartet preferring the open air and chancing the rats slept on a straw rick, in which they made great havoc by digging themselves in.

For the next three days we only did six hours a day, 9 a.m—1 p.m, 2 p.m—4 p.m. After work was over we were allowed to do anything we liked—in moderation. Our first day in the field made us all feel that 6 hours in the form room would be infinitely preferable to the work we were doing, which consisted of weeding mangolds with pen-knives! But fortunately as the days went on the work became better. On Friday and for the rest of our stay we did eight hours a day, after which most of us felt we should never be able to straighten our backs again. . . . We were very fortunate in having fine weather all the time, except on Sunday, when it really did not matter.

The work chiefly consisted of picking broad and French beans, “ topping ” runner beans, pulling docks and hoeing. It was generally considered that a fortnight is just about the right length of time for work of that sort.

The chief amusements were bathing, boating, fishing (for pike which would not bite), riding horses (if they could be caught), chasing pigs, and, on the last night, strafing beans.

COMMANDEERING OF HAY AND STRAW.
FARMERS’ AND DEALERS’ MINDS RELIEVED.

The Secretary of the War Office announces that two new Army Council Orders are being gazetted dealing with hay and straw, one taking possession of all hay and straw, and the other regulating the price of these commodities. There are one or two points in which they differ from previous Orders of a similar nature, and one in particular will relieve the minds of farmers. Under the new Order wheat straw may now be used for bedding and other than feeding purposes. A point which will also commend itself to dealers in straw is that the difference between “ producers’ ” and “ retailers’ ” prices is now £2, instead of 30s. Further, the retailers’ prices for lots of 10cwt and less for both hay and straw are somewhat increased.

POSSESSION WANTED.—Henry Webb, Gipsy Row, High Street, Hillmorton, was sued by Mrs Emily Forrest, Stoke Newington, for possession of cottage and premises.—Mrs Webb attended, and said that her husband was a prisoner of war in Germany.—For the plaintiff it was stated that the rent was £3 18s in arrears.—Mrs Webb said that she had not paid her rent because the agent had insulted her, and he had also refused to do any repairs. He had threatened that he would take the roof and doors off. She was willing to pay the arrears, and should leave the house as soon as she could get another one.—Plaintiff was non-suited because the notice had been served on the wife, whereas the husband was the tenant.

INSPECTION OF RUGBY V.C. AND VOLUNTEER MOTOR TRANSPORT.

Brigadier-General T C P Calley, C.B, M.V.O, of the Southern Command, made a tour of inspection of the 2nd Battalion Warwickshire Volunteer Regt on Saturday and Sunday last. The inspection of the Rugby Corps, B Company, took place on Sunday afternoon at the Howitzer Battery Headquarters. There was no ceremonial parade, the inspection being for the purpose of seeing squad work. The Inspecting Officer was accompanied by Lord Leigh (Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire), Colonel F F Johnstone (O.C. the Regiment), Major Glover (Second in Command), Captain Johnson (adjutant), and Lieut Stranger Jones (Transport Officer) and others.

There was a good parade, under Capt C H Fuller. The Company was inspected in bayonet fighting, trench warfare and bombing, and an infantry attack across adjoining land, under command of Lieut M W Yates.

THE INSPECTING OFFICER AND UNIFORM.

General Calley, after congratulating the squads on the good progress they had made, addressed those who had taken part in the attack, and said he was very pleased with what he had seen. The attack was very well done, and it showed they had been well taught and that they had used their brains, and meant to learn and understand what they were doing. Presently they might have to do this in the open, and in this connection he gave them a little advice with regard to firing orders and the words of command. The attack was carried out as well as any he had seen, and great credit was due to their commanding officer and instructors. Evidently the members of the Company had paid attention to what had been said to them, and they had brought both their brains and their bodies to bear on it. He would be very happy to report to the General that he had seen a very good body of men. He wished them every success in their patriotic effort, and said he hoped to come and see them again when they had their uniform, adding he could not understand how it was they were not provided with it, and that he was going to make enquiries about the matter on his return, as most of the Battalions in the country had now got uniform and equipment, and he hoped the Rugby Corps would have them very soon.

COUNTY OF WARWICK MOTOR VOLUNTEER CORPS.

The inspection of the Rugby Section of the County of Warwick Motor Volunteer Corps was made on the arrival of the General. The cars, lorries, and motor cycles present, capable of transporting upwards of 50 men and four tons of supplies, were drawn up in line on the smaller parade ground. The General inspected each motor in turn and afterwards addressed the members of the corps, expressing his gratification at the manner in which Rugby motorists had responded to the appeal for volunteers, and stated that after what he had seen in this and other towns he was of the opinion that the Government should recognise the Motor Corps as a body and make provision for the necessary petrol supply, etc, for conducting the work of the Corps. He said that Lord Leigh had consented to be nominated for the command of the Corps.

Major Glover afterwards addressed the members present, explaining the object of the movement, and stated that over 500 private motorists had already been enrolled in Birmingham and the County of Warwick.

In a short address given by Lord Leigh, he expressed great pleasure in being nominated for the command of the Corps.

Further motor volunteers with either cars, lorries, or motor cycles, are urgently needed. There are also a few vacancies for experienced motor mechanics capable of undertaking repairs. Application for full particulars as to enrolment should be made to Mr Bernard Hopps, Thurlaston, near Rugby.

DISTRESSING FATAL ACCIDENT.

Co-Sergt-Major Charles John Simpson, Motor Cycle Section of the R.E, second son of the late Mr John Simpson and Mrs Simpson, 28 Craven Road, Rugby, met with his death under exceptionally sad circumstances at Houghton Regis recently. The deceased was a valuable and highly esteemed non-commissioned officer, and it was stated at the inquest that he had been shooting at a tin with a miniature rifle in the yard of the camp. Deceased was showing his little boy, aged 4½ years, how to use the rifle, and on one occasion he held the rifle while the boy pulled the trigger and fired at the tin. At the same time some men came up to speak to deceased, and while he was talking he brought the rifle down to the ground. The boy said, “ Let me shoot it, daddy ” ; and deceased pulled the rifle, which was pointing to another sergeant, towards himself. The boy then bent down, touched the trigger, and discharged the rifle. The bullet entered deceased’s mouth, and caused practically instantaneous death.—A verdict of “ Accidental death ” was returned.—The funeral was witnessed by a large number of sympathisers. The coffin was placed on a gun carriage, drawn by six horses, with three sergeants as outriders. Six company sergeant-majors acted as pall bearers. The chief mourners were : Mrs Simpson (widow), Mrs Simpson (mother), Mrs N Brevig, Miss Winnie Simpson, Mr Bert Simpson (sisters and brothers), Mrs Walker (mother-in-law), Miss Walker (sister-in-law), Mr N Brevig (brother-in-law), and Mrs H Simpson (sister-in-law). Deceased was a Freemason, and a number of members of the craft attended the funeral, as well as a numerous contingent of the Motor Cyclists Co., under the command of Capt W F How, R.I Rifles, and a large number of deceased’s fellow N.C.O’s from the Signal Depot. Amongst those present were Lieut-Col E H Leaf, R.E, Commandant Army School of Signalling ; Lieut-Col W F Danter, R.E, Camp Commandant, and Capt O P Edgcumbe, D.C.L.I, Adjutant. The floral tokens were so numerous that it was found necessary to have a party from the Motor Cyclists’ Co. to carry the wreaths which could not be accommodated on the gun carriage. The three brothers of deceased, who was 33 years or age, are still on active service.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Dr H J Beddow has left the town to take up a commission in the R.A.M.C.

Mr W J W Gilbert, Blandford House, has gained a commission in the Army Service Corps (Horse Transport). He joined the Royal Gloucester Hussars (Yeomanry) in May, 1916 as a trooper.

The Rev G A Studdert-Kennedy, C.F (formerly of Rugby), vicar of St Paul’s, Worcester, has just gained the Military Cross for bravery on the Western front. Whilst in charge of a temporary dressing station, he found the supply of morphia was exhausted, and went under heavy shell-fire to procure more. He also brought two severely wounded men into a place of safety. He was chosen to preach the National Mission to the troops in France, and gave addresses in all the base camps and at the front.—“ Church Times.”

The Military Medal and bar has been awarded to Pte J Enticott, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, for acts of gallantry on the field in carrying out his duties as a stretcher bearer in December, 1916, and May, 1917. At the time of enlistment Pte Enticott worked at the B.T.H, and previously for some years on the L & N-W Railway.

R V Wilson (Old Laurentian), late H.A.C, son of Mr J G Wilson, York Street, has been gazetted Second-Lieutenant, and has received a commission in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, Parkhurst, Isle of Wight.

A tale that is going the round and causing some amusement among our boys is that of a Tommy on one of our Eastern fronts, having his photograph taken in the regulation shorts and thin vest, a copy of which he sent home. His mother, in thanking him for his photo, remarked : “ But, dear me, you should have let me know before that you were so short of clothes, and I would have sent you some on !”

WOUNDED SOLDIERS ENTERTAINED.—On Wednesday afternoon Mr B Morris, of the Empire, entertained about 250 wounded soldiers, together with their nurses and assistants, from Rugby Town V.A.D, “ Te Hira,” Bilton Hall, St John’s, and Pailton Red Cross Hospitals, to a garden party at the Manor House, Bilton. An excellent programme was given by the artistes appearing at the Empire this week : Black and White, The Pallangers, The Deldees, Wolfland (comedian), Miss Danby (soloist), “ One of the Boys ” (ventriloquial sketch), and Rolando Martin. A sketch was also performed by Misses Morson, A Pratt, Walrond, and F Shillitoe. A substantial tea was provided for the visitors, and at the conclusion Mr and Mrs Morris and their family were cordially thanked by the guests, who evidently appreciated and enjoyed the entertainment.

BLIND SOLDIERS AND SAILORS.—A meeting of the workpeople was recently held at Willans & Robinson’s Rugby, which was addressed by Mr F R Davenport and Mr Macaulay (a blind representative) on the objects of the Institute for the Blind, and particularly on the training of blinded soldiers and sailors at St Dunstans Hostel. The appeal was sympathetically received, and a committee of the workpeople was at once formed to put in operation a scheme to enable all employees of the company to contribute weekly, for a period of 12 weeks, to this most deserving object.

MARTON.

PTE L J YOUNG.-In connection with the death in action, on July 3rd, reported in our last issue, a letter has been received by his mother, Mrs J Young, of Church Street, from the Commanding Officer, stating that her son was wounded in the front line trenches by a shell on July 3rd.

LONG ITCHINGTON.

NEWS OF MISSING HUSBAND WANTED.—For many months Mrs Richard Fell has been anxiously awaiting news of her husband, and after fruitless enquiries from the authorities and other likely sources, she asks us to make known the following facts, in the hope that she may obtain tidings through returned soldiers or comrades who have known him. He had served 12 years in the Royal Warwicks on the outbreak of the war, and joined up in November, 1914. In November, 1915 he was transferred to the Rifle Brigade, and proceeded with his regiment to India. Here he was on duty in the Punjaub, and corresponded regularly with his wife. His last letter was posted in Bombay, and received on December 21st, 1916. He then believed he was about to sail for Salonica or Mesopotamia, but no further tidings of his whereabouts have come to hand. His wife also has three little children dependent upon her, and is, naturally, in great anxiety.

BRAUNSTON.

KILLED IN ACTION.—Mr & Mrs Arthur Clarke have received news that their son, Driver Thomas Clarke, Royal Garrison Artillery, was killed in France on July 11th. He enlisted shortly after the outbreak of war, previous to which he was employed at the B.T.H, Rugby.

THE ROLL OF HONOUR.—A gloom was cast over the village when it became known that Mr Arthur Clarke had received official news that his other son, Pte Lucas Clarke, had been killed in action on July 8th. They have received letters of sympathy from two of their sons’ officers, in which it is stated that he was a splendid man, and is missed by all ranks in his Company. He was killed instantaneously by a shell which burst in the dug-out where he was sleeping.

DEATHS.

COPE.—In loving memory of Gunner PERCY LESLIE COPE,
who was killed in action in France on June 21st, 1917, aged 22.
Not dead but sleepeth.
Somewhere there is a nameless grave,
Where sleeps our loved one among the brave ;
One of the rank and file—he heard the call,
And for the land he loved he gave his all,
—From his Wife and Son, 62 Lawford Road, New Bilton, Rugby.

IN MEMORIAM.

ALLSO.—In ever-loving memory of our dear son and brother, Lance-Corpl PERCY ALLSO, who was killed in action in France on July 27, 1916 ; aged 23.—
“ Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”—From his
loving FATHER MOTHER, and FAMILY.

DUNKLEY.—In loving memory of our dearly-beloved son, Pte. HARRY DUNKLEY, who was killed on July 30th, 1916, somewhere in France.—Also in loving memory of our dear beloved son, Pte. PERCY JOHN DUNKLEY, who was killed somewhere in France on July 25th, 1916.—15 Chester Street, Rugby.

HOWARD.—In ever loving memory of our dear son and brother, Pte. STEVEN HOWARD, who died of wounds in France, August 1st, 1916, age 28.
“ A little time has passed, and friends around us
Think the wound is almost healed ;
But they little know the sorrow
Deep within our hearts concealed.”
—Never forgotten by his loving MOTHER and FATHER, BROTHERS and SISTERS, and also from A. CROFT, Long Lawford.

PRESTON.—In loving memory of Rifleman JACK PRESTON, 7th K.R.R,,who was killed in action on July 30, 1915.—“ Loved and lost awhile.”—From MOTHER, FATHER, and SISTERS.

REFEARN.—In loving memory of Rifleman JOSE (Tim) REDFEARN, 7th K.R.R., who died from wounds on July 21, 1915. Buried in Lyssenthock Cemetery.
“ He sleeps not In his native land,
Bur ‘neath a foreign sky,
And far from those who loved him best,
In a soldier’s grave he lies.”
—From WIFE and DAUGHTERS.

SHAW.—In loving memory of Pte. J. C. SHAW (JACK), R.W.R., who was killed in action on August 1, 1916.
“ The midnight stars are gleaming
On a grave I cannot see,
Where sleeping without dreaming
lies one most dear to me.”
—From his loving WIFE and CHILDREN.

SIMS.—In loving remembrance of HARRY SIMS, the dearly beloved elder son of LOUIE SIMS JENKINS, who was killed in action in France, July 30th, 1915, aged 19.
Sweet be thy rest, thy memory dear,
‘Tis sweet to breathe thy name ;
In life I loved thee very dear,
In death I do the same.
—From his still sorrowing Mother.

SIMS.—In ever sweetest remembrance of our dear brother HARRY SIMS, killed in action, July 30th, 1915.
Gone from our sight, but to memory ever dear.
—From his Brothers Bert, George, and Trevor ; Sisters Daisy and Mabel.

SMITH.—In loving memory of HERBERT, the dearly-loved son of FREDERICK and the late SARAH J. SMITH ; killed in action July 30th, 1915.
“ We miss and mourn thee in silence unseen,
And dwell on the memories of days that have been.”
—From FATHER, BROTHERS and SISTERS.

THOMPSON.—In loving memory, of my dear husband, Pte. ALFRED HENRY THOMPSON, who died of wounds in France on July 17th, aged 34.—“ Sleep on, dear one, till we meet again.”—From his loving WIFE and CHILDREN.

WAREING.—On July 23rd, 1916, STANLEY, the only son, of JAMES WAREING, of Lilbourne Farm, reported missing—now reported killed. Aged 18.
I 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.
-Mother, Father, and Sisters.

 

Wise, Arnold Vincent Denys. Died 15th May 1917

Arnold Vincent Denys Wise was born in Rugby according to various census. His birth was registered in Rugby registration district in September quarter 1893 and he was baptised at St Matthews church on 23rd July 1893.

He was the son of Thomas Arnold Wise and Fanny Estelle Shortland, she was born in India and the marriage took place in the Isle of Wight in September quarter 1891. AVD Wise was at home in the school “Oakfield” at 21 Bilton Road, Rugby, where his father was a schoolmaster. According to the 1901 census he is aged 7, born Rugby.

In the 1911 census he was at Leconfield school, Cheltenham, now Cheltenham College aged 17 born Rugby, Warwickshire.

On the outbreak of war he joined the Royal Engineers with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant and was posted to the 2nd Field Squadron. He was later promoted to the rank of Lieut on 25 June 1915. He was awarded the Military Cross.

The CWGC states that Capt AVD Wise was killed in action on 15 May 1917 aged 23 of Royal Engineers( 2nd Field Squadron)and is commemorated at XA9 in Tincourt New British Cemetery , on the Memorial Gates in Rugby and on the Oakfield memorial in St Matthew’s Church, Rugby. Awarded MC and is son of Thomas Arnold and Estelle Wise of Oakfield, Rugby

Medal Roll has ranks 2nd Lieut and Captain Arnold Vincent Denys Wise , awarded Victory Medal, British War Medal, 15 star. Theatre of war: France. Father TA Wise, Oakfield, Rugby

Army service record not found at Kew, though Long number 20807 found.

Using Army Lists, the following found:

Date of birth: 6 June 1893, Appointed 2nd Lt 17 July 1914 in Royal Engineers

Appointed Lieutenant Royal Engineers 9 June 1915, Appointed Acting Captain 20 August 1916

Rugby Advertiser of 26th May 1917 records the death of Captain Arnold Vincent Denys Wise of the Royal Engineers on 15th May 1917. He was killed by a fluke shot from the burst of an automatic at some 800 to 1000 yard, living for about half an hour afterwards. He was mentioned in despatches in January 1916 and awarded a Military Cross in February 1916. The Advertiser has more detailed information about his career.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Golby, George Arthur. Died 22nd Mar 1917

George Arthur GOLBY, was born in Paddington, London, in about early 1895, the son of Arthur John Golby, a painter, and his wife, Emma née Hamer, who was born in Marylebone, London. Arthur and Emma’s marriage had been registered in Greenwich in Q2 1894. Whilst George was born in Paddington, it seems likely his mother had been visiting her parents.

The family seems to have been established in Rugby, where Arthur John Golby had been born in about 1868 in Hillmorton, his father in turn having come to Hillmorton from Oxfordshire, before the 1880s, to work as a bricklayer.

George was christened at Hillmorton on 14 April 1895 and his sister was born in Rugby in about 1897.   By 1911 the family were living at 5 Paradise Street, Rugby.

George attended Murray School, where he was the ‘… winner of the Over Prize – which is offered annually to the boy who, in the opinion of his fellows, shows the best example of true manliness – in 1907.’[1] By 1911, when George was 16, he was a Clerk for an Electrical Engineers, and living with his parents and younger sister. He is not mentioned on the British Thompson Houston memorial, so must have worked for another firm in Rugby.

There is some confusion over George’s military service. His death notice suggested that he was a ‘…L-Corpl … of one of the Rifle Corps …’, however, his Medal Card and the CWGC describe him as Sapper No.95858 in the 89th Field Company Royal Engineers [RE]. His Medal Card also stated that he went to France on 30 October 1915, although there is no specific mention of reinforcements arriving with the 89th around that date in the War Diary.

The 89th Field Company were attached to the 14th Division which had been in action in August and September 1916 at Hooge, Delville Wood and Flers-Courccelette. It seems likely that George was part of the general reinforcement during the ‘quieter’ winter period as between 30 October and George’s death on 22 March 1917, the 14th Division and hence the 89th were not in any major actions, although they would later be actively involved in the battles at Scarpe in April 1917.

George wrote a letter to W T Coles Hodges which was published in the Rugby Advertiser in January 1916.[2]

OLD MURRAYIAN’S LETTER

Sapper Geo A Golby, a former scholar at the Murray School, and an “Over” Prize man, in a letter to Mr W T Coles Hodges[3] from the front says: “I have been out here since early in October, and have got quite used to the shells, etc, screaming over my head … I look forward to receiving the Rugby Advertiser every week, and am always pleased when I see the name of one of my old school chums in the list of recruits. I think by the number of names I have seen that our school is doing its share to free the world of these barbarians, and I am sure that if those who have not enlisted could just have a glimpse of this country, they would not hesitate for a minute. Only this morning we passed about a dozen old people (all between 60 and 70 years of age, I should think) whom the Germans had shelled out of their homes. It is a sight such as these that make us so anxious to get at the Huns. … I am pleased to say we are having a spell of fine weather just now, and goodness only knows we want it, as we are nearly up to our knees in mud in some places. This is the only thing to complain of out here; the food is extra.”

However, George was killed ‘… by a stray shell …’ on 22 March 1917 which was a month before the battle of Arras, when he was involved in work just to the south of Arras making the preparations for that battle.

The 89th Field Company’s War Diary[4] relates that in later February 1917 the Company had been strengthening defences in Arras, working to prepare Advanced Dressing Stations, strengthening cellars, preparing Trench Mortar positions and signal stations. From 18-20 March 1917 they were working on bridging trenches and were subjected to heavy shelling by the Germans. Then on 21 and 22 March …

21 March – … Nos. 3 and 4 Sections with two parties of 80 men each from 41st Bde, clearing main road through Beaurains.

22 March … Work the same as 21st. … No.4 Section caught by shellfire in Ronville … casualties, Lce Cpl Mitchell, Lce Cpl Golby, Saprs Anderson, E Durston, J Jones, Little, killed, …

Three more of the Engineers in that working group were wounded and two concussed.

George was buried at Beaurains Road Cemetery, Beaurains in grave ref: 1 C 21. His mother chose the inscription, ‘Lord we asked of thee life. But thou hast given him life everlasting’. The cemetery was near where he had been working on the southern outskirts of Arras. The five other men from his Field Company who were killed by the same shell were buried beside him in graves C18 to C23.

The cemetery was only begun a few days before Beaurains was captured by Commonwealth forces on 18 March 1917 [just four days before George’s death]. It was a month before the Battle of Arras began, and the Germans were still in nearby Tilloy-les-Mofflaines. The cemetery was used (sometimes under the name of Ronville Forward Cemetery) until the beginning of June by the 14th (Light) Division Burial Officer and by fighting units.[5]

George was awarded the Victory and British medals and the 1915 Star. He is remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gate. The Rugby Advertiser noted that ‘… all the Over prizemen, who are of military age are actually in the firing line, and that two have made the great sacrifice, the other being Corpl Barnwell.’[6]

After the war, his mother was writing to the CWGC from 202 Ducane Road, Shepherd’s Bush, London, and it seems that Emma and George had moved to London – George’s death was registered in Hammersmith in 1927.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

– – – – – –

This article on George Arthur GOLBY was researched and written for a Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the Rugby Family History Group, February 2017.

 

[1]       From a notice of death in the Rugby Advertiser.

[2]       Rugby Advertiser, 8 January 1916.

[3]       Wm Thos Coles Hodges of 17 Gainsborough Street, Rugby, was headmaster of Murray School from at least 1906.

[4]       Royal Engineers, 14th Division: Piece 1889/3: 89 Field Company Royal Engineers (1915 May – 1919 Jun). Also available at www.ancestry.co.uk.

[5]       CWGC, http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/…

[6]       Lance Corporal George Thomas BARNWELL, No.3026, 1st/6th Bn South Staffs, was killed on 15 July 1915. He was the son of J and E Barnwell of 35 Claremont Road, Rugby and buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery. See https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com/2015/07/15/barnwell-george-thomas-died-15th-jul-1915/.

12th Aug 1916. Down With Diphtheria But Not Depressed

DOWN WITH DIPHTHERIA BUT NOT DEPRESSED.

A Rugbeian has this week received a letter from his brother, who is now in a hospital in France suffering from diphtheria :—

“. . . Many thanks for sending on the dictionary. I lost mine, and as my spelling deteriorated 50 per cent without a dictionary, a dictionary becomes a very important part of my equipment. I wanted a dictionary to find the meaning of the word ‘ scabies.’ It was not in the aforesaid—that’s the right word, isn’t it ?—book. I don’t think I need refer to the dictionary for that. Sit on a box of itch-he-coo powder, it will soon explain itself . . . As you remark, diphtheria is not to be treated lightly, but it’s not thought so serious as it used to be, thanks to the injection of an anti-toxin which consists of 4,000 germs which they inject in your chest. This little army proceeds in marching order and makes a rear attack on the enemy’s trenches. After repulsing a severe counter-attack, they succeeded in opening the lines of communication again, thus enabling me to talk to Nurse and also to partake in the jellies and custards, etc. A nice soft bed to lie on—the first bed for 15 months. I made a fuss of it, too, for eight or nine days. Sister daily takes your temperature, and feels your pulse, makes the bed, and tucks you up. Dear, dear. . . . who wouldn’t have diphtheria ? Now I am stage number two, making myself generally useful washing up pots and pans, laying tables, cutting bread-and-butter, etc. I have had one swab taken since being in hospital. They take a swab every week. If you get three negatives, you are free of the germ ; but if you have positive, you are a germ-carrier, and they keep you a bit longer. My first swab was a negative.

MILITARY MEDAL FOR A RUGBY HOWITZER MAN.

Battery Sergt-Major George Hopewell, of the Rugby Howitzer Battery, writing to Mr A Adnitt, as hon secretary of the Rugby Territorials Comforts Association to thank him for parcels of comforts received, adds :—

“ You will be pleased to know that one of our boys, Gunner Bosworth, has been awarded the Military Medal for gallantry in the field on July 21st, going out under heavy fire several times to repair the telephone wire in order to keep up communication with the battery. He was also mentioned in Sir Douglas Haig’s despatch for distinguished conduct in the field.

“ We have been in the thick of the fighting since July 1st, but have been very fortunate as regards casualties, as we have had only five wounded—Corpl Hipwell, Bombardiers Smith and Rixom, and Gunners Seaton and Packwood.

“ I dare say you read in the papers about our Division, together with the Anzacs, taking one of the most important points along the front on July 23rd. They were congratulated by the Commander-in-Chief and the Corps Commander on their performance.”

Gunner Bosworth is the son of Mr G Bosworth, who formerly worked as a painter for Messrs Linnell & Son, but has now removed to Essex. His grandfather resides at Lutterworth.

In a letter to his old schoolmaster, Gunner Bosworth, an Old Murrayian, says :- “ On the morning of the ‘ big push ‘ I was on duty at our observation station, and had occasion to go out on the line and repair breakages caused by the shelling. The O.C. was good enough to bring the incident to the notice of the General, and I have since heard the good news of being granted the above medal.”

HIGH PRAISE FOR THE HOWITZER BRIGADE.

The following letter from the Brigadier Commanding the Artillery Division to the O.C’s of the Batteries and Ammunition Columns, will be of much local interest :—

“ Will you please convey to all ranks my appreciation of the excellent work performed by the batteries and D.A.C during the last five weeks. The preparation of gun positions for the July offensive entailed continuous and very hard work on the batteries, but this labour was well repaid in the fewness of the casualties suffered at the guns. The Division subsequently taking over reported that they were the best positions they had yet seen.

“ The continual night firing has been particularly trying, but the shooting was consistently good, which reflects great credit on all ranks, and the successes gained by the Infantry were, in the words of the Divisional Commander, largely due to the effective support rendered by the Artillery. I hope during this week all ranks will be able to get the rest which they all deserve.

DEFEAT OF THE TURKS.

WARWICKSHIRE YEOMANRY DO WELL.

The Turks on Friday last week made another and disastrous attempt to reach the Suez Canal. The point chosen for the attack, which was made by 14,000 troops, was Romani, 18 miles east of Port Said. While holding the frontal attack the British, on the southern flank, retired until the enemy had become involved in the sand dunes. A counter attack was then made with all arms, which was completely successful, and at dawn on Saturday the enemy was in retreat, with our troops in vigorous pursuit. The Turks suffered heavily, and so far the British captures comprise 45 officers and 3,100 men, including some Germans, four mountain guns, and a number of machine guns. The British Commander-in-Chief pays warm tributes to the Anzac troops, the Territorials, the Royal Flying Corps, and the monitors, which, firing from the Bay of Tina, gave valuable assistance. During the day the temperature was 100 degrees in the shade.

“ The Times ” correspondent says :— “ The brunt of the fighting was borne by Anzac mounted troops. Of the British troops, the Scottish and Lancashire Territorials and the Warwickshire and Gloucester Yeomanry fought splendidly, and amply avenged the previous loss of comrades by taking over 300 prisoners and two camel guns, and inflicting very heavy casualties. From Territorials of average quality in peace times they have improved into a brigade of veterans. They left the railway at a place within sound of heavy rifle fire, and light-heartedly marched away to attack through ankle-deep sand, and thoroughly proud that their time had come. A little later, from a different spot, I saw Warwickshire and Gloucestershire Yeomanry marching over flatter country, with flankers advanced and rear guards and squadrons as well alined as on parade.”

LOCAL CASUALTIES.

Sergt H Lee, R.W.R, until the War employed in the gardens of Dunsmore, and Pte H T Gardner, of the same regiment, whose home is at Clifton, have been reported wounded.

Mr W W College, 9 Church Street, Rugby, has received official intimation that his youngest son, Pte W F College, Royal Warwicks, was reported missing on July 19th. He only joined up in November last year, and had been out in France about three months.

LIEUT E A R SMITH, of CLIFTON.

News has been received that Lieut Eric Arthur Ray Smith, R.W.R, son of Mr A E Smith, of Enfield, was killed in action on July 22nd. Lieut Smith, who was 27 years of age, and was married, occupied the Manor Farm, Clifton, until he was given a commission in the R.W.R last year, and was well known locally.

PTE ARTHUR REYNOLDS MISSING.

Mr W A Reynolds, of 26 West Leyes, Rugby, has received news that his son Arthur, a private in one of the Territorial Battalions of the R.W.R, has been posted missing since July 19th. Pte Reynolds was 20 years of age, and joined the army 12 months ago. He has been in France about two months. Before joining the army he was employed in the tailoring department of the Co-operative Society.

LANCE-CORPL EDWARD HARVEY.

Information has been received by Mrs R Harvey, Windsor Street, Rugby, that her son, Lance-Corpl Edward Harvey, of the Hampshire Regiment, was killed in action on July 1st. Lance-Corpl Harvey enlisted at the beginning of the War, prior to which he worked at Newbold Cement Works. He had been in France 15 months. He was 35 years of age and a native of Rugby. Before the War he lived in Bridget Street, Rugby. He leaves a widow and four children. Mrs R Harvey has two other sons at the front.

SECOND-LIEUT P A MORSON WOUNDED.

Mr and Mrs A Morson, of The Chace, on Monday received news that their son, Second-Lieut P A Morson, of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, had been wounded on August 1st. Lieut Morson joined the H.A.C as a private, and proceeded to France on July 1, 1915. He saw much of the fighting round Ypres and Hooge, and then in April of this year he received his commission. He went all through the recent big advance until wounded on August 1st, and he is now in the Second General Western Hospital at Manchester. He received six wounds in the left hip and thigh and one in the left shoulder. An operation has been successfully performed, and his friends will be pleased to hear that he is now going on well.

PTE M E CLEAVER REPORTED MISSING.

Mrs Cleaver, of 28 Plowman Street, has been notified by the War Office that her husband, Pte M E Cleaver, of the R.W.R (T.F), has been posted as missing after an engagement on July 19th. Pte Cleaver, who was a native of Rugby, lived in the town till a year or two ago, but at the time of enlistment he was residing at Banbury. He has four young children.

In the same platoon as Pte Cleaver was an old Rugby footballer, well known as “ Zooie ” Batchelor. He is now in hospital near Liverpool, suffering from shell shock, which has rendered him deaf and dumb.

LANCE-CORPL BROMWICH, of PAILTON PASTURES.

News has been received by Mrs Bromwich, of Pailton Pastures, that her son, Lance-Corpl E J H C Bromwich, of the Northants Regiment, was killed in action on July 18th. Her husband was killed in the Boer War, and Lance-Corpl Bromwich entered the Duke of York’s School for soldiers’ sons at the age of 14. Although he was only 20 years of age, he had, therefore, served six years in the Army. He was wounded last autumn, but recovered, and was drafted to the front again.

SECOND-LIEUT E A R SMITH.

Second-Lieut Eric Arthur Rae Smith, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, who, as recorded in our last issue, was killed in action on July 22nd, was the youngest son of Mr Arthur K Smith, Pencarrow, Enfield, and was 27 years of ago. For some years before the War he was in the H.A.C, and in April, 1915, obtained a commission in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, proceeding to the front last May. His Commanding officer writes : “ He was killed whilst leading with the utmost gallantry his platoon into action on the night of July 22-23. In him the Battalion has lost a truly gallant officer of great promise, who had already endeared himself to all ranks.” When Lieut Smith joined the Forces he was occupying the Manor Farm at Clifton-on-Dunsmore.

SERGT-MAJOR WILLIAM J BRYANT KILLED.

Considerable regret will be felt locally at the confirmation of the rumour, circulated in the town last week, that Sergt-Major William John Bryant, of the Rugby Infantry Company, had been killed in action. The news was conveyed to Mrs Bryant, the widow, who lives at 98 York Street, in a letter from the O.C of A Company to which Sergt-Major Bryant was attached on his promotion from the rank of sergeant. The writer says :— “ His death came as a great shock to us all. When such men as he go from us a sort of despair follows, and we feel one of our great supports has gone. He was for some time the quartermaster-sergeant of the company—a post which does not entail so much danger as that of sergeant-major. But as soon as his predeccessor (Sergt-Major Wood) was wounded he lost no time in stepping into his place, and I always remember how eager he was to be right up in the trenches, as close to the enemy as possible. His long service with the regiment, his good character and capacity for doing honest sound work, will ensure that his memory will always remain with those who have known the regiment. His loss is one that it will be hard to replace, and the sympathy of all of us goes out to you.” Sergt-Major Bryant, who was killed while leaving the trench on July 26th, was the second son of Mr Wm Bryant, of Rugby. He was 43 years of age, and leaves a widow and eight children, six of whom range from 15 to 4 years of age. He had been connected with the Rugby “ E ” Company for 25 years, and in 1914 he won one of the company challenge cups. He was a builder by trade, and was highly respected by all who knew him.

NEWBOLD-ON-AVON.

On Wednesday last Mr and Mrs Neal received official intimation from the War Office that their son, Pte W H J Neal, of the Royal Berkshire Infantry Regiment, was killed in action on July 30th. Pte Neal was 19 years of age on the day he was killed. He only enlisted on the 13th of April last as a Driver in the Royal Field Artillery. He had been transferred about a week to the Royal Berkshire Infantry Regt and sent out to France, when he met with his sad end. On enlistment he was being employed by the Sparking Plug Co, but had previously worked at the Rugby Portland Cement Co at Newbold for a considerable time. He was a bright youth, and much sympathy is expressed with his parents in their sad bereavement.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

We regret to learn that Major Darnley is lying very ill in hospital in Malta.

Lieut-Col F F Johnstone is returning to the command of the 2nd Battalion the Warwickshire Volunteer Regiment.

Temporary Lieut W C Muriel, of the 9th Battalion Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, has been promoted Captain as from the 1st of July.

Capt E R Hopewell, of the 7th Worcestershire Regt, who was wounded in the recent fighting in France, has been awarded the Military Cross. He is a son of Mr E W Hopewell, formerly of Rugby.

MOTOR LORRY FATALITY.

Attempting to board a motor lorry in motion, Corporal Edgar Percival Haddock, of the Royal Engineers, stationed at Welford, Rugby, fell and sustained severe internal injuries, from which he died soon after admission to Northampton Hospital, on Friday last week. At the inquest, held at the hospital on Saturday evening, a verdict of “ Accidental death ” was returned. Corpl Haddock, who was 19 years of age, was a son of Mr Edgar Augustus Haddock, the director and principal of the Leeds College of Music and the director of the Mayfair School of Music. He was a motor engineer, and at the time of the accident was working with other members of his Company on the telegraph wires on the main road between Northampton and Rugby. He was located at Rugby for a time.

FATAL AVIATION ACCIDENT NEAR RUGBY.

TWO OFFICERS KILLED.

As the result of a collision between two aeroplanes near Rugby on Thursday afternoon one of the machines crashed to the ground, and the occupants, Lieuts Rogers and de Frece, of the Royal Flying Corps, were killed instantly. The other machine made a safe descent, saw the occupants were uninjured.

In consequence of the accident a concert, which was to have been given on behalf of a Soldiers’ Comforts Fund, was postponed.

LETTERS FROM “ E ” COMPANY MEN.

To the Editor of the Advertiser.

SIR,—As one of the old “ E ” Company Terriers, I am writing a few lines to let you know that some of us are still plodding along.

Since we came out to France some 17 months ago we have been practically under shell fire the whole of the time, with the exception of about a fortnight, when we were going to have a rest, but were recalled to have another spell in the trenches. Although up till the present time we have not been what we called “ over the top,” we have done some excellent work, for which we have been greatly praised by the various commanders. For one to say that he had not been away from the Battalion an hour during this long period of trench life hardly seems credible, but this is the case with the majority of us. All through the winter we had to keep pumps going, as the water was very often up to our thighs, and overflowed into the tops of gum boots, which we were provided with for winter trench work. Then, again, we had wiring to do at night. Doubtless, if our neighbour across the way could not find us sufficient work one way, he would do so by shelling our wire and trenches. During our tour we have experienced shell of all calibre. Among those we received there was one which we named “ Gommy Lizz ”— a most objectionable neighbour, for when it exploded it would throw pieces of metal with razor-like edges. The largest of these bombs weighed about 200lbs.

I must not forgot to tell you of the things that happen behind the lines in the way of amusements. There are three Pierrot troupes, who used to give us some splendid turns. Then, again, there is the cinematograph. This we must thank the B.S.A for. It is a splendid machine, and included engine and dynamo for lighting purposes.

Now we have the Divisional Band, which plays to our Battalion in turn. It is composed of all the best musicians in the Division. When hearing this it makes us wish we were in the Park at Rugby instead of this place.

I must now return to the trench life, as I think this is our most important work. We have been in the great offensive, for which we were highly praised, and I might also say we have been in the great advance, but am very sorry to say we lost some of our best pals. The work of our guns, both large and small, has been excellent at this point. I will now close, leaving us all in the best of spirits and health,—I remain, yours sincerely, A. V. A.

August 2, 1916.

A TREACHEROUS GERMAN.

DEAR —-— Just a few lines in haste to let you know I am all right. No doubt by now you will know we have been in for it. We have lost very nearly all of the Company. I am the only sergeant left. We have no officers ; they are all wounded or killed. We thought none of us would get through alive. We smashed them up with a seven hours’ bombardment, and then went for them. We got into their second line, and stopped there for about two hours. The slaughter was awful ; there were heaps of dead. Captain — was killed going over, two lieutenants were wounded, and the others we do not know anything about. We sent about 35 prisoners back from their front line to ours. I stood talking to the sergeant-major at the time, and one of the Germans asked for a drink of water. One of our men gave him one, and as soon as he had had a drink he snatched up a rifle that stood by the trench and shot our Company sergeant-major through both legs. I need not say what became of him. I am glad I am all right, thank God ; but their are a good many that have gone. Just fancy, it took two years to train the Battalion, and they were cut up in about two hours. But I will not say any more about it ; I want to try and forget it. GEORGE.

To Employers

Employers are reminded that it is an offence under the Munitions of War Acts 1915 and 1916, punishable by Fine not exceeding £50, for any person to Employ anyone who has been engaged in a Controlled Establishment within Six Weeks from the date of leaving unless he or she can produce a Leaving Certificate (Form M.T. 23), or a Certificate issued by the Chairman of a Munitions Tribunal.

The attention of Employers is directed to Statutory Rule No. 121 relating to Certificates, also to M.M. 14, being a Memorandum for the guidance of Employers in regard to Leaving Certificates which can be obtained upon application at any Labour Exchange.

The British Thomson-Houston Co. Ltd.
Willans & Robonson Limited.

PROSPETS OF DEARER BREAD.—There has recently been a substantial advance in the price of flour. Within three weeks it has risen by 8s a sack, and it is very possible that the effect will be that householders will have to pay more for their bread in the near future. Sugar continues to be scarce and dear, and the Sugar Commission has just issued posters urging economy in the use of this very essential article of food.

DEATHS.

HARVEY. Killed in France on July 1st, 1916, Lance-Corporal Harvey, 1st Hampshire Regiment, son of Mrs. R. Harvey, Windsor Street, Rugby, aged 35.
“ He bravely answered duty’s call,
His life he gave for one and all.”

IN MEMORIAM.

LEACH.—In loving memory of our dear son, Percy John Leach, who was killed at Sulva Bay, Gallipoli, on August 6,1915.
“ A light is from our household gone,
A voice we loved is still;
A place is vacant in our hearts
The world can never fill.
He went away to a distant land,
And fought his country’s foes;
He there was kept by Death’s grim hand :
To return to his home no more.”
—From his FATHER & MOTHER, BROTHERS & SISTER.

ROWBOTTOM.—In loving memory of Corporal S. Rowbottom, Oxford and Bucks L.I., who died of wounds received in action at Ypres, August 12, 1915. Buried near Poperinghe.
“ There isn’t much we did not share since our school-days begun ;
The same old work, the same old play, the same old sport and fun,
The same old chance that laid you out, but winked and let us through,
The same old life, the same old death, ‘Good-bye’ and ‘God bless you.’ ”
—From FRANK and ALBERT (B.E.F.).

WORMLEIGHTON..—In loving memory of Frederick James Wormleighton, R.E., killed August 9th, 1915 (In France).
“ In the midst of life we are in death.”
—From his loving mother, brothers, and sisters.

Harrison, Alfred Abram. Died 29th Jul 1916

Alfred Abram Harrison was born in Northend/Burton Dassett, near Leamington Spa, in about 1871. He was the son of Thomas and Hannah Harrison of Northend, Leamington.

By 1891, when he was 20, he had moved to Crewe where he was in lodgings with the Moseley family at 56 Gresty Road, and working as a ‘railway porter’.   It was there that he met his future wife, Elizabeth Ann Moseley, who was then the eldest daughter of the family, aged 18.

Alfred Harrison’s Service Records exist, indeed two sets of Records exist, as he had two separate periods of military service.

There was a formal request for him to be enlisted in the ‘RE Railway Reserve’ on 22 February 1894 and he joined up on 17 August 1894, at Chester, as a Sapper No.28186, when he was 23 years and 6 months old. He was then a railway ‘fireman’, a Wesleyan, and joined the ‘2nd CRVRE’. He transferred to the Reserve the next day. He was apparently on ‘Home Service’ from 17 August 1894 to 13 March 1901.   However, it also seems that he was recalled to Army Service under Special Army Order of 20 December 1899 and then re-enlisted on 26 December 1899. The service dates may have been entered incorrectly as it suggests that he served in South Africa only from 14 March 1901 until 23 August 1901.   However, it seems that he took part in the South Africa 1899 campaign, and was awarded the Queen’s South Africa 1899 – 1902 medal and clasps for Cape Colony, Orange Free State, and South Africa 1901. He was discharged at Chatham on 21 September 1901. His next of kin was then his mother, Hannah.

In about early 1902, very soon after his return from South Africa, he married Elizabeth Ann Moseley in the Nantwich registration area. She had been born in about 1873 in Crewe, Cheshire and perhaps they had been engaged since he met when lodging at her mother’s home in the early 1890s.   They moved to Rugby and lived at 45 Claremont Road, Rugby, where in 1911 he was enumerated with his wife, and was working as an ‘Agent Oil Trade’, indeed, he was the local agent for the Anglo-American Oil Company. They had been married nine years but had had no children.

Having been in the army, Alfred signed up again on the outbreak of WWI and his ‘Army Reserve, Special Reservists, One Year’s Service’ (or the duration!) attestation papers in Rugby on 14 September 1914, showed that he had lived ‘out of his father’s house for three years continuously’, and had served in the ‘RE (Railway Reserve) time exp.’.   He re-enlisted as a Sapper, No.51892 in the 87th Field Company, Royal Engineers. He was 5foot 8½ inches tall; weighed 156lbs, with grey eyes, brown hair, and now declared that he was Church of England.

87th Field Company, The Royal Engineers joined 12th (Eastern) Division in January 1915 as the Engineers were in training at Hounslow and final training was undertaken near Aldershot from 20 February 1915. They proceeded to France between 29 May and 1 June 1915, landing at Boulogne, they concentrated near St Omer and by 6 June were in the Meteren-Steenwerck area with Divisional HQ being established at Nieppe. They underwent instruction from the more experienced 48th (South Midland) Division and took over a section of the front line at Ploegsteert Wood on 23 June 1915.[1]

Alfred Abraham Harrison’s Medal Card states that he went to France on 30 August 1915, so would have probably been serving as an engineer during the Battle of Loos.

They were in action in The Battle of Loos from 30 September, taking over the sector from Gun Trench to Hulluch Quarries consolidating the position, under heavy artillery fire. On the 8th they repelled a heavy German infantry attack and on the 13th took part in the Action of the Hohenzollern Redoubt, capturing Gun Trench and the south western face of the Hulluch Quarries. During this period at Loos, 117 officers and 3237 men of the Division were killed or wounded. By the 21st they moved to Fouquieres-les-Bethune for a short rest then returned to the front line at the Hohenzollern Redoubt until 15 November, when they went into reserve at Lillers. On 9 December, 9th Royal Fusiliers assisted in a round-up of spies and other suspicious characters in the streets of Bethune. On the 10th the Division took over the front line north of La Bassee canal at Givenchy. On 19 January they began a period of training in Open Warfare at Busnes, then moved back into the front line at Loos on 12 February 1916.[2]

Alfred’s records show that he was admitted to hospital on 29 April 1916 and discharged on 2 May 1916; he was then readmitted to 25 General Hospital on 9 May 1916 and discharged on 20 June 1916, although there was no indication on his record as whether he had been wounded or had been ill. However, his obituary[3] noted that, ‘… he had been at the front for twelve months. Some time ago he was slightly wounded, and on leaving hospital was transferred to another company, in which he had served only 15 days when he met his death’.

In June they moved to Flesselles and carried out a training exercise. They moved to Baizieux on the 30th June and went into the reserve at Hencourt and Millencourt by mid morning on the 1st of July. They relieved the 8th Division at Ovillers-la-Boisselle that night and attacked at 3.15 the following morning with mixed success. On the 7th they attacked again and despite suffering heavy casualties in the area of Mash Valley, they succeeded in capturing and holding the first and second lines close to Ovillers. They were withdrawn to Contay on the 9th July

His record confirms that on 14 July 1916, he joined ‘another company’, ?‘103 Co?’, which was it seems in the same area, Ovillers – la Boiselle. He was probably retained in the area because of his local knowledge. However, just two weeks later on 29 July 1916, he was ‘Killed in Action’, and his record stated that he was

Buried close behind British Front Line North of Ovillers – la Boiselle, Sheet 57D – X2G 2663.

It seems that his body was then lost as he is listed by the CWGC, as one of those killed or missing, on 29 July 1916 and whose body was not found or identified. He is remembered on Pier and Face 8A and 8D of the Thiepval Memorial.

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

Alfred Abraham Harrison was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He was also awarded the 1915 Star. Alfred is also remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gates.

His widow and sole legatee, Elizabeth A, received £11-10-1d on 2 October 1916, and £8-10-0d on 13 September 1919. Administration (with will), was granted at London to his widow on 14 November 1917 in the sum of £173-2-8d.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

 

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

[1]         http://www.wartimememoriesproject.com/greatwar/allied/royalengineers87fldcoy-gw.php

[2]         http://www.wartimememoriesproject.com/greatwar/allied/royalengineers87fldcoy-gw.php

[3]       Rugby Advertiser, 26 August 1916