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

COMPULSION PASSED.

FIVE WEEKS FOR UNATTESTED YOUNG SINGLE MEN.

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

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

LABOUR’S VOTE.

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

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

The voting was:

For the resolution …… 1,796,000

Against …………….. 219,000

The resolution was declared carried amidst cheers.

SATISFACTORY ENLISTMENT UNDER THE GROUP SYSTEM

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

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

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

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

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

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

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

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

GUNNER: E. A. FARNDON WOUNDED.

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

RUGBY F.C. CAPTAIN’S NARROW ESCAPE.

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

THE SOLDIERS & SAILORS COMFORTS’ COMMITTEE.

AN APPEAL FOR COMFORTS.

To the Editor of the Advertiser.

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

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

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

Yours very truly,
J J MCKINNELL.

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

GR B. LEESON,
On Active Service.

WELCOME HOME FOR SOLDIERS.

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

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

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

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

MOTOR WORK ON FARMS.

WILL THE HORSE DISAPPEAR ?

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

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

PROHIBITING IMPORTS.

PAPER PULP AND RAW TOBACCO.

DRASTIC PROPOSALS.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRESS ASSOCIATION

BRITISH CASUALTIES OF THE WAR.

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

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

Other ranks, 525,345.

Grand total, 549,467.

 

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

 

16th Oct 1915. Dardanelles Hero at Rugby

DARDANELLES HERO AT RUGBY.

GREAT RECEPTION FOR SERGT J. SOMERS, V,C.

A remarkably ovation was accorded to Sergt J Somers, V.C, of the 1st Inniskilling Fusiliers, on the occasion of his visit to the town on Thursday evening. The fact that he had won the coveted decoration for conspicuous gallantry at the Dardanelles, and that Mr and Mrs W D Burns, of 16 Corbett Street, Rugby, with whom he was billeted in the early months of the year, were expecting him to re-visit their home this week, became generally known to the inhabitants of the town, and it was only natural, seeing that the young soldier had so greatly distinguished himself since he and his comrades sojourned amongst us, that a welcome worthy of the town and of the man should be extended to him. Definite information as to the exact time of his arrival was not received until Thursday morning, so that the arrangements were necessarily of a somewhat hurried character, and even these had to be modified, partly because of the immense crowds that thronged the thoroughfares, and partly because of the fact that Sergt Somers had to leave the same night by the Irish Mail for Belfast, where he had to report himself yesterday (Friday) afternoon. Still, if the demonstration was impromptu and spontaneous, it was none the less sincere and convincing, and the gallant soldier was evidently greatly pleased at his reception.

It was understood that Sergt Somers would arrive from London at 5.45 p.m, and Mr J J McKinnell, chairman of the Rugby Urban District Council ; Colonel Johnstone, recruiting officer at Rugby, and other prominent townsmen, agreed to meet him at the station, whilst arrangements had also been made for the Steam Shed Band to lead the way, via Railway Terrace, Craven Road, and Cross Street, to his host’s house in Corbett Street, a landau having been chartered for the conveyance of Sergt Somers and others specially interested in the reception.

Those present on the platform to welcome Sergt Somers included : Messrs J J McKinnell (chairman), W Flint (vice-chairman), S B Robbins, A W Stevenson, H Yates, W H Linnell, R W Barnsdale, C J Newman, T Ringrose (members of the U.D.C), Mr A Morson (clerk to the Council), Lieut-Colonel F Johnstone (recruiting officer), Messrs L Aviss, M E T Wratislaw, F M Burton, E H Roberts, and T W Walton (Parliamentary Recruiting Committee). These gentlemen having been introduced to the gallant soldier, they proceeded to the exit gates, where a dense crowd, numbering several thousands, had gathered, and the moment the youthful hero, wearing the small bronze cross, for which a man will risk so much, appeared beneath the arcade, the people raised cheer after cheer, which were repeated with gusto by those at the back when they caught sight of his boyish figure in the landau. Others present in the vehicle were : Lieut-Colonel Johnstone, Mr J J McKinnell, Mr Robert Wilson Somers (Tipperary, father of Sergt Somers), and Pte Wm Divine, of 1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, a part of whose leg had been blown off by a shell. Ropes were attached to the landau which was drawn by a number of stalwart admirers of Sergt Somers, preceded by the Rugby Steam Shed Band under the conductorship of Mr E R Stebbing. Mr and Mrs Burns and several members of the U.D.C followed in Mr C J Newman’s motor-car. To the strains of “ See the conquering hero comes,” the procession started up Station Road, and took the selected route to Corbett Street, the home of Mr and Mrs Burns. The streets were thronged, and it is estimated that fully 10,000 people turned out to do Sergt Somers honour ; and everywhere he was greeted with enthusiastic cheers. In Craven Road the band played ” For he’s a jolly good fellow,” but as they approached Cross Street and Corbett Street, in each of which a number of flags were flying from bedroom windows, they struck up once more, “ See the conquering hero comes.” A small decorated arch had been erected outside Mrs Burns’ house, and streamers were strung across the street, and a motto over the gateway bore the inscription, “ Welcome V.C.”

A CONGRATULATORY SPEECH.

Mr McKINNELL, addressing the crowd from the landau, said : We are here to pay honour to a brave man-who has achieved the greatest distinction any Britisher could wish to achieve. To get the Victoria Cross is any man’s highest ambition. We are very glad to welcome him home safe and sound, and we hope he may wear that bronze cross for many years to come. Not only do we honour Sergt Somers, but we honour his comrades, who used to pass through our streets in the early months of this year ; and we honour particularly those brave and gallant men who have fallen on the field of battle, and who will never come back again (hear, hear).

Sergeant Somers then entered the house, where a number of friends who had known him during his stay in Rugby were assembled to welcome him, including Pte Nestor, of the same regiment, who is wounded.

Lieut-Colonel JOHNSTONE congratulated the father of Sergt Somers upon having such a brave son.

A PRESENTATION.

Mr S ROBBINS said Mrs Burns was anxious to give Sergt Somers a small memento of the occasion, so she persuaded a few friends to spare a little in order to make a present to him to remind him of his stay in Rugby.

Mrs BURNS then said, on behalf of the friends whom Sergt Somers made during his stay in Rugby, she had great pleasure in presenting him with a wrist watch. They all hoped that he would be spared for many years to serve his King and Country (applause).

Sergt SOMERS, in reply, thanked them very much for their kindness and the splendid “turnout” they had given him that evening. He was rather surprised to see such large crowds out. He wished especially to thank Mrs Burns for her kindness to him, and all who had made him that present, (hear, hear).

A telegram was handed to Sergt Somers by Mr N Mitchelson, a neighbour, who had received it from Sergt Mudd, of the same regiment. This expressed heartiest congratulations and best wishes on behalf of all the Good Templars of the regimental lodges.

HOW THE V.C. WAS WON.

Sergt Somers received the V.C at the hands of His Majesty at Buckingham Palace earlier the same day. There were 32 others who received decorations. They were officers chiefly, and his was the only V.C. amongst them. He arrived rather earlier than had been anticipated, and, in a brief interview, explained to a Rugby Advertiser representative the circumstances in which the decoration was won at the Dardanelles.

“ I shot thirty Turks single-handed,” he said, “and knocked over fifty more with bombs. I held the trench, which was full of Turks, for four hours, and hunted the enemy out of the sap trench. When I had no bombs left I threw stones and pieces of clay at them. Eventually Captain Sullivan came up and brought some more bombs, and for this he got the V.C, so you can tell what it was like.”

Sergt Somers was struck by a splinter, which knocked him into the trench and strained his back, and it was in consequence of this injury that he was invalided home. He has been in the army 3 1/2 years, and is only 21 years of age. He is a native of Clochgordon, in Tipperary, and had a wonderful reception on his return home, where he was also presented with a gift of £250. At Londonderry, too, the inhabitants turned out in thousands to greet him, but, in spite of his popularity he is modest and unassuming, and accepts the honours conferred with a quiet, good-natured smile.

SERGT SOMERS APPEALS FOR RECRUITS.

Later in the evening a large recruiting rally was held at the Clock Tower, and addressed by Sergt Somers, V.C, and other local speakers. Sergt Somers and his friends were driven from Corbett Street to the meeting-place in a landau, decorated with flags, preceded by the Steam Shed Band, and when this arrived at the Clock Tower, where a crowd of 3,000 or 4,000 was assembled, the young soldier was greeted with roll upon roll of cheering. Flags were flown from several houses around the Square. Mr J J McKinnell presided, and there were also present on the temporary platform. Lieut-Col Johnstone, Rev C M Blagden (rector), Lieut Loverock, Mr R W Somers, Mr and Mrs Burns, Messrs M E T Wratislaw, H Yates, S B Robbins, A Bell, F M Burton, G H Roberts, and several friends of Sergt Somers.

The CHAIRMAN briefly explained the purpose of the meeting, and introduced the hero of the evening to the crowd.

COL JOHNSTONE’S APPEAL.

Lieut-Col JOHNSTONE then made a strong appeal for recruits, and pointed out that we were at present fighting in France, Dardanelles, Egypt, Africa, and Persia. Their hands were full, and that was why they wanted more men—and wanted them badly. He urged them to come forward and keep the flag flying-that dear old flag which had never once been hauled down to any nation ; they must not let it now be hauled down to the Germans (applause). He asked them to come forward and do their duty like the brave young soldier, Sergt Somers, had done his (applause), by which he had set such a glorious example to the young men. Col Johnstone remarked that in his early days he was connected with the gallant regiment to which Sergt Somers belonged, and his father once commanded it. It was, therefore, a great interest and honour for him to be the one to more or less introduce Sergt Somers as a soldier to Rugby people after the brave act he had done. Col Johnstone then detailed the great act for which Sergt Somers received the V.C, and said there were 3,800[?] men of military age in Rugby, a number of whom were engaged on munition work. After deducting these, however, there were over 1,000 in the town who could, and should, come forward to defend their country. In conclusion, he appealed to the young men of the town to visit the recruiting office, and called for three hearty cheers for Sergt Somers, V.C.

These were given with enthusiast.

SPEECH BY THE RECTOR OF RUGBY.

The Rev C M BLAGDEN addressed the gathering, and said he believed all would answer the call of their country when they understood how great the need was. Their responsibilities became greater every day. Unless they had the men they could not possibly go on with the war as they ought to go on with it. They had better say their number was up already. But it was not going to be up ; they were going to respond to the need, and were going to give to the Army all the men it wanted, because, if they did not, there was an end of Britain for ever. They must not suppose that they would be able to get out of this war with any sort of comfort now that they were in it. If they did not win they were going to be beaten all through. However, they had got to win, and win handsomely, so that they would be able to dictate terms of peace. But in order to do that and win the right sort of victory to free their country and the other countries near and dear to them from this standing menace, of Prussia they must have all the men who were capable of shouldering a rifle. Sergt Somers had proved to them what British troops could do, and there was no man who took service in his Majesty’s Army who would not have the opportunity of proving his manhood before the world.

The Rector then alluded to the number of men who had gone from Rugby—some never to return—and said if they did not get the men they would not go forward on the path of triumph which assuredly laid open before them if they got the Armies for the purpose. He urged them to come how, and not wait. Delay was always dangerous ; it would be fatal to the honour of their country now (applause).

SERGT SOMERS’ MANLY APPEAL.

Sergt SOMERS, V.C, who met with an enthusiastic reception, said : “ I got rather a surprise when I arrived at Rugby and saw so many young men knocking about-thousands of them. ‘What are you doing ? ’ he demanded. ‘ Are you all asleep ? ’ I have been out to the front twice. I have been to France, Flanders, and the Dardanelles, and am nothing the worse for it. I have got honour, in fact (applause), and I will go out again (renewed applause). I am going to keep the Union Jack flying (applause). Is there anyone coming to help me ? If I am left all alone who is going to back me up ? I have been to London to-day to see his Majesty the King (applause), who presented me with this decoration (here Sergt Somers, amid loud cheers, pointed to the Cross pinned on his breast). I have come down from London to Rugby to see if I can get any young men to back me up. I am going to the front again, and I want someone to back me up (a voice : ‘Have the women,’ and laughter). Unfortunately I am going away to-night. I am going off to Belfast to see what I can do there. ? I am going to see if I can get any recruits there, to see if they will back me up. If no one backs me up here I must go there. There are a lot of you young men working at munition works, and the old men are sitting at home. Why don’t the old men work on munitions and the young men join the colours ? (applause). I know that when young men are asked to enlist they make the excuse that they are working on munitions. I have been told it myself (a voice : ‘Let the women do it,’ Sergt Somers : Hear, hear). We also want the men who are doing nothing, walking about the streets from corner to corner, and lounging about the public-houses. ‘ Is there anyone,’ he asked, ‘ who will back me up ? . Is there anyone in favour of me, anyone coming with me ? ’ I say, ‘ Young men of Rugby, for God’s sake get into khaki if you have a drop of blood in your body. For the honour of your King and country join the Army.’ The gallant speaker mentioned that he saw the Zeppelins dropping bombs in London the previous evening, and that day had seen the damage which was done.

Mr H YATES (secretary of the Rugby Trades and Labour Council) also addressed the meeting, and said he was an out-and-out advocate of the voluntary system ; but if the voluntary system did not find the men he was out for national service and for every man who was physically able to serve (applause). He reminded them that if the Labour party’s scheme failed the only alternative was conscription. He did not want conscription ; he wanted them to win the war with the grand voluntary system, but the war must be won (applause). The call now was for more, and more men.

Mr G H ROBERTS and Mr M E T WRATISLAW having spoken, the meeting terminated with “ God save the King ” and “ For he’s a Jolly good fellow ” ; and as Sergt Somers and his friends drove off to the station the band played “ See the conquering hero comes.”

 

RECRUITING AT RUGBY.

The following have been attested at the Rugby Drill Hall during the past week 😀 W Press and L C Kendrick, A.S.C (M.T) ; H J Askew, R.E ; D W Bates and S G Eliott, A.S.C ; L E Webb, 220th Company R.E ; A C Dandridge, F J Harrison (gunner), and J Johnson, R.F.A ; H Turney and A Adams, R.A.M.C.—All branches of the service are now open for recruits, and Sergt Patterson, at the Drill Hall, will be pleased to give many information to intending recruits.

So far the result of the great recruiting rally at the Clock Tower on Thursday evening has been nil, but hopes are expressed that when the eligible men have thought the matter over and allowed the stirring appeal of Sergt Somers and the other speakers to sink into their minds, recruiting locally will receive a marked impulse.

 

17th Jul 1915. More Reports from the Front

INTERESTING LETTER FROM A RUGBY TERRITORIAL.

Mr W F Wood, Market Place, last week received a very interesting letter from Pte W H Evans, “C” Company (formerly “E” Company), 1/7th Royal Warwickshire Regiment (son of Mr W Evans, tailor), from which we make the following extracts :—

I must write in sympathy with you in the loss of your stepson. But it must be a consolation to you knowing that he died doing his duty, the death of a true Englishman. He has set an example for all Rugby fellows to follow, more so the fellows out here who belonged to the Brigade and knew him so well. . . . We are now out of the trenches and have marched for four nights, so, of course, are a good way back from the firing line, and it is a real treat to be out of the sound of gun and rifle fire. We are now billeted in a village where the Germans have not been ; so everything is standing and the natives are living their simple life. So you see we are faring well. I often think of the times I had while in your Brigade, and one thing often comes across my mind. That is, while at Conway one year we had to sleep eight in a tent, and we grumbled. You had us in front of you, and talked to us, and said that perhaps some day we should be glad to sleep twelve in a tent. Your words have come true, for we have slept in some “rum places” since we have been out here—cow sheds where the cows have been a few hours before, loft with rats for company, and lots of funny places, but we must not grumble, for it has got to be done, and the sooner this lot is over the better.-The writer then refers in sympathetic terms to the death of Corpl Johnson, which we recorded at the time, and says that he often used to talk with him at the front of the old days with the Brigade. He adds : “ It was a blow to me, for he was my best chum.”—In conclusion, he expresses the hope that the Brigade is up to strength, and wishes it the best of success.

Both Pte Evans and Corpl Johnson were old members together of the Boys’ Brigade, the former being the bass drummer and the latter a side drummer. They both won the Recruits’ Cup for shooting the first year they were in the Territorials.

AN “OPEN LETTER” TO THE CITIZENS OF RUGBY.

FROM MEMBERS OF THE 1ST BORDER REGIMENT.

SIR,-We have read with interest the “ open letter ” published in the Advertiser of last month, and we are sure that the feelings expressed therein are reciprocated by the whole of the 87th Brigade, especially the Border Regiment. It will interest the good people of Rugby to know that those of their late guests who remain of the 87th Brigade are faring pretty well, under the circumstances, thanks to the rotten marksmanship of the Turkish artillery, the shells of which the boys have christened “ Wandering Willies ” and “ Algys.” With regards to the “ Wandering Willies,” they got their name on account of the wandering habits of the gun they are fired from, which after every shot wanders across the peninsula to another position. As regards the “ Algys,” their christening is due to the fact that they are too gentle to hurt. We are of opinion that the gun which fires the “ Algys” is manned by a blind gun crew !

The boys would like to know if there are any vacancies in the B.T.H harriers, as we can recommend the Turks as very good runners—when they see us fixing our bayonets.

The majority of our Brigade have been wounded, but have left the various hospitals and gone back to the peninsula. You will have learnt that our list of killed is rather heavy, but we have the consolation of knowing that the Turkish list is far heavier than ours.

Wishing every prosperity to the citizens of the town that so hospitably entertained us, we conclude with best wishes to all our late landladies from the boys of the 1st Border Regiment.—Sir, believe us to be, Yours, etc,

9973 Pte William E Groom,
8213 Pte W A Little.
9794 Pte S George.
8387 Pte G Weller.
5701 Pte T Grunder.

“DEAR OLD RUGBY.”

APPRECIATION FROM SERGT MILLS, OF INNISKILLING FUSILIERS.

Sergt E A Mills, 1st Batt Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, writing from Graylingwell War Hospital, Chichester, Sussex, states :—“ After the delightful time we spent in dear old Rugby, we have undergone some trying experiences, which you have read about in Sir Ian Hamilton’s dispatch, and I am sure the people of Rugby feel proud to know of the splendid exploits of the soldiers of the 87th Brigade, who formed a part of the renowned 29th Division. During all those trying experiences all you could hear was ” Roll on, Rugby,” but alas ! many of those splendid fellows will never see that picturesque town again, but those of us who are left will have the consolation of knowing that the people of Rugby will always have our fallen comrades in their minds. I consider myself very fortunate in arriving back in dear old England again, although a Turkish sniper only missed my “Cupid’s dartboard” by half-an-inch, and I am hoping to pay a visit to your town before I go out again to do a little more for King and country and the world’s peace. I must take this opportunity of thanking those ladies who inserted that splendid letter to the soldiers, which I happened to read in your paper, which I receive from my respected friends in Oxford Street. I must conclude now, by wishing every success to all the residents of “Dear old Rugby.”—I remain, respectfully yours, SERGT. MILLS, of the “ Skins.”

 

HILLMORTON SOLDIER’S NARROW ESCAPE.

VALISE BLOWN AWAY.

Machine-Gunner R S Bartlett, of the 5th Battalion Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, son of Mrs T Smith, of School Street, Hillmorton, has sent home a souvenir of the war, his valise, or what remains of it, for whilst entering the trenches, it was blown off his back by the explosion of a shell, which killed four comrades and wounded two others badly. Gunner Bartlett must have had a very narrow escape, judging by the torn and threadbare appearance of the remnants of the “ rucksack,” as he calls it, which we have had an opportunity of inspecting. It seems almost incredible, from the appearance of the valise, that the wearer should have escaped, yet in letter to his mother, he is able to record that he got off “ without a scratch.” It is not surprising that he adds, “It gave me a ‘oncer’ at the time, and I thought my back had gone.” Home cured ham was in the valise, “ but better that than me,” observes the soldier, “ and I am still in the pink.”

In a letter to a brother, Pte Bartlett gives additional particulars. He says:-“ When we were coming to the trenches on Saturday night they sent a tidy lot of ‘souvenirs,’ I can tell you, and blew my large coat, canteen of sugar and tea, some home-cured ham, cake, and all the sweets ; two bars of carbolic soap and writing-case, water-proof sheet and two sandbags, also a loaf ; and it left just the back of the rucksack on. I went to look for some of it after, but all I could find was an envelope on the parapet. I wondered what hit me for a minute, and I thought my back had gone. Toby Bates got his rucksack cut a bit in front of me. I asked him how he was and he said “ all right.” We started to laugh till we turned to look at the back of us and that did it. We had to pull Ayres out. . . . Billy Chamberlain got wounded coming up, and he was reported missing. . . . It’s the worse “ do ” we have had, but most of us are none the worse for it, and the other poor chaps have done their duty.”

LOCAL CASUALTIES OF THE WAR.

WELL-KNOWN RUGBY ATHLETE KILLED.

Members of the Rugby Hockey and Cricket Clubs in particular, and the residents of the town in general, will hear with regret that Second Lieut H G Rogers, of the 9th Somerset Light Infantry, has been killed at the Dardanelles. Second-Lieut Rogers, who received his commission in September last, had resided at Rugby for four or five years before the outbreak of the war, and was formerly employed on the staff of the B.T.H and latterly with Mr Ivan B Hart-Davies. He was a fine all-round athlete and especially excelled in hockey. He was a prominent member of the Rugby Club, and had also played for Warwickshire and the Midland Counties, and narrowly missed securing his inter-national cap. Second-Lieut Rogers was also an excellent cricketer, and did useful service for the premier local eleven. Of a most genial disposition, he was very popular with all with whom he came in contact, and his early death will be mourned by a large circle of friends. He was about 24 years of age.

Writing to a friend in Rugby from the Dardanelles, under date of June 21st, the late Second-Lieut Rogers said :—“ I landed a month ago and was attached to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers—a topping crowd, who did awfully well in the landing. Well, from the first we have not been out of shell-fire ; even landing they shell the beach, and it is perfectly beastly. Leman von Sanders must be told to stop it. Three other Somerset men came out with me, and, thank God, we are all here still, although we have lost since we landed about eight officers and 300 men—quite enough ! Still things are very merry and bright. We have only had two real scraps—one on the 4th, when we had to attack up a nullah, which was not pleasant, and then on top a couple of days in some perfectly rotten trenches, which held all right. Then lately we had five days in the trenches. I had a perfectly lovely bit, jetting out at right angles to our main line and with the Turks only about forty yards away on two flanks. The trench had only just been taken from the Turks, and was in an awful state, dead all along the bottom less than an inch down, and built into the sides all over the place. Well, we had a beastly time for three days and nights. I averaged three hours’ sleep per 24 hours, and then not consecutive hour’s all five days. Then, on the night of the third day, at 8.30 p.m, they attacked us in force on both sides, throwing any number of hand-bombs (awful things), and eventually, about 5.30 a.m, they got half the sap, but we drove them out again by 6.30, and still hold the trench. A wounded man, who gave himself up, said that 500 men had come up specially for the attack, and only three got back. I was ‘severely’ wounded. I was sitting on the parapet firing my revolver at the brutes ten yards away, when one of their bullets just took the skin off my first finger. I tell you I did not stay sitting there long ; it was lucky. We are just at the end of our rest and expect to go up to-night, so will have an exciting time again.”

SERGT. MARTIN, OF BILTON, REPORTED KILLED.

Sad news has been received by Mr and Mrs Martin, of 4 Addison Terrace, Bilton, concerning their son, Sergt D C Martin, of the 7th King’s Royal Rifles. The official communication is to the effect that he has been wounded in action, but the officers’ letters carry the tidings beyond this, and there seems no doubt from what is learnt from this and other sources, that the unfortunate soldier has been killed. Sergt Martin joined the forces on the outbreak of the war, and received quick promotion. At the time he enlisted he was employed at Messrs Willans & Robinson’s, and previously he worked for a number of years at the Rugby engine-sheds; first as a cleaner and subsequently as a fireman. He was popular and much liked amongst his associates, and being fond of football he assisted both the Village Club and the Elborow Old Boys. Amongst the latter he had several intimate friends, and joined the army with them. For a number of years Sergt Martin belonged to the Rugby Infantry Co, so he was not unfamiliar with military matters when he enlisted in the King’s Royal Rifles.

Major Geoffrey St Aubyn, in a letter to the parents, says: “I regret to inform you that Sergt Martin was killed in action on 1st of July, 1915. Please accept my sincerest sympathy in your great loss. Your son promised to be a really good soldier. He had been in my Company since he joined the army, and his promotion was very quick because I thought so well of him. Please allow me to convey to you the sympathy of his comrades in the Company, both officers and men.”

Another letter which was much appreciated by the parents, has been received from Lieut G H Gibson. It is dated July 10th, and it as follows : “ Dear Mr Martin,—Just a line to tell you as best I can, how sad and sorry I am to lose your son. He died a soldier’s death, and I should like you to know how highly we all thought of him. I knew him very well, and I feel a sense of great personal loss. You have my very deep sympathy. May God give you strength to help you through. We have one consolation, that he died doing his duty. Would that he could have been spared, but God willed otherwise.—With my sincere sympathy, Believe me, Yours sincerely, G H Gibson, Lieut.”

BILTON MAN KILLED IN ACTION.

Mr and Mrs Maddocks, of Bilton, have received news that their son, Pte Cyrus Underwood (aged 22), who enlisted in the 1st Royal Warwicks on December 4th, was killed in action on July 9th.

In a letter conveying the sad news to Mrs Maddocks, a chum of the late Pte Underwood says:—“ I can assure you he died without any pain, as he was shot through the forehead by a sniper. He lived about half-an-hour after, but never regained consciousness. You have my deepest sympathy. I have already missed him very much, not only me but a good many more in our company, as I don’t think he was disliked by anyone. He was killed in the early hours of Friday morning, July 9th, I was with him in a dug-out all day on Thursday, and we had some fun together. I can hardly realize his old cheery face has left us for ever.”

Lce-Corpl J Dark confirms the regrettable news, and says deceased was a bomb thrower, and it was while throwing bombs at the Germans that he was killed. He adds: “ Your son was respected by all his comrades and we deeply mourn the loss of him.”

For several years Pte Underwood was employed at Bilton Grange as a footman.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

J H Watts and Arthur Massey, both of Long Lawford, and Bertie Howard, of Dunsmore Stud Farm, have enlisted in the 3/7th Batt Royal Warwickshire Regiment, which is in training at Wedgnock, near Warwick.

F C E Rendall, B.A. has been appointed to a second-lieutenant in the 13th Service Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He has been selected to attend a class of instruction at Fort Purbrook, Portsmouth, and Saturday, July 17th.

Leslie K Phillips, second son of Mr J Phillips, of St Aubyn, Hillmorton Road, Rugby, has received a commission as second-lieutenant in the Royal Marine Light Infantry (Portsmouth Division), stationed at Gosport. He was a pupil at “Oakfield” School, and is also an Old Rugbian. His elder brother, Eric S Phillips, is a second-lieutenant in the 8th Battalion of the Border Regiment.

Second-Lieutenant A K Bennett, son of Mr A Bennett, of Elmdon House, Rugby, who some months ago was detailed from the 9th Battalion Warwicks to the Divisional Cyclists Corps, sailed with his Division a fortnight ago to join the Mediterranean Force. In his letters home he refers to the splendid accommodation on the troopship, and the excellent health and spirits of all on board, notwithstanding the great heat they were experiencing during the voyage.

RUGBY SOLDIERS WOUNDED.

News has been received by Mrs C Batchelor, of 16 Pinder’s Lane, that her son, Pte A J Batchelor, who enlisted in the 5th Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry at the commencement of the war, was wounded in the hand on June 24th, and is now in the Cumberland Hospital at Carlisle, where he is doing well.

News has been received by Mrs W Sansome, of 5 Gas Street, that her son, Lance-Corpl Samuel George Barnett, of the 5th Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry, was wounded in the back in France on June 16th. He has now been discharged from hospital and admitted to a convalescent home.

RECRUITING AT RUGBY.

The following have been accepted at the Rugby Drill Hall during the past week :—E Hartopp and F Coleman, Leicester Regiment ; A W Ades and J Harvey, Royal Sussex Regiment ; G Holloway and F S C Pickering, R.W.R ; F Rogers, Army Service Corps ; F Bull, Worcester Regiment ; E F Mack, East Kents.

It has been decided to accept for enlistment in the Infantry not only men who are fit for service in the Field, but also those who are fit for garrison service abroad, or for home service only.

In future no man will be rejected provided he is free from organic disease and is fit for duty in garrisons at home or abroad.

Men enlisted “ Fit for home service only,” although enlisted for general service, who are at the moment only fit for garrison service, will not be taken for service in the Field unless they become fit.

In future men will be enlisted as follows :-

(a) Service in the Field at home or abroad.

(b) Garrison service at home or abroad.

(c) Home service only.

F F JOHNSTONE, Lieut-Col,

July 14, 1915.             Recruiting Officer.

16th Jan 1915. Arrival of Troops in Rugby

Although it was originally announced that the regiments to be billeted in Rugby were the Royal Fusiliers and the Lancashire Fusiliers, these arrangements were altered by the authorities last week, and it was decided to send instead the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, and the Border Regiment, The troops, who have been stationed in India, arrived in England on Sunday, and after travelling all night the first detachment—half the Battalion of the Inniskilling Fusiliers—reached Rugby about nine o’clock on Monday morning, their comrades arriving shortly afterwards, and the Border Regiment at about 11.30.

Mr Arthur Morson (clerk to the Urban District Council) received a telegram notifying him that the first contingent had left the docks at Avonmouth between five and six o’clock on Monday morning, and he immediately proceeded to make the necessary arrangement for their reception. The first train left the port at 4.30 a.m, and carried 12 officers, 404 rank and file, and 10 tons of baggage and ammunition. The train arrived here at eight o’clock.

The second train, which left at 5.0 and arrived at Rugby at nine o’clock, brought 11 officers, 435 rank and file, and six tons of baggage. The third train conveyed 11 officers, 449 rank and file, and 15 tons of baggage, and left port at 6.45 a.m. The fourth train started its journey at 7.30, and reached Rugby at 10.30. It contained 11 officers, 459 rank and file, eight tons of baggage and ammunition.

The news of their arrival soon spread, and small crowds collected in the vicinity of the L & N-W Railway Station to witness the incoming of the later detachments. The men, who were wearing their Indian sun helmets and great khaki coats (a necessary precaution owing to the cold biting wind, in striking contrast to the excessive heat of the plains of India), were a fine stalwart lot of fellows. On arriving at Rugby the men were marched off to their billets, which were mainly situated in the Abbey Street and Oxford Street quarter of the town, and were pointed out to them by the police and boy scouts. This kind of accommodation is quite new to the men, who have never been billeted on the population before, but Tommy Atkins is an adaptable fellow, and doubtless will soon settle down to the new arrangement.

During the time that the men remain, at Rugby it is expected that they will go into training for the serious work before them. The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers have a fine regimental band, and Rugbeians will probably be provided with some musical treats during the troops’ sojourn here.

Several of the rank and file who have talked with our representative have already formed a good opinion of Rugby, which they consider to be a delightful town, although, as one remarked, “ It’s a bit cold after the hotter parts of India where we have come from ; but I suppose we shall soon get used to it.” The voyage from India was naturally slow owing to the conditions of transport, the speed of a convoy depending on its slowest vessel. Christmas was spent on the water, and passed off very much like an ordinary day, with very little, if any, variation in the diet or routine.

As there is no Brigadier at present in command of the troops in Rugby, the supreme command is by courtesy vested in the senior officer, who in this case is Lieut-Col R C O Hume, officer commanding the 1st Border Regiment.

The officers commanding the regiments express themselves as more than satisfied with the reception that the troops have experienced in the town, and from the reports it appears that the whole of the billets are satisfactory and comfortable. The men are delighted with their billets, and quite a number state that the inhabitants upon whom they are billeted cannot do too much for them.

We are informed that at least one of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers has “ met his fate ” in Rugby, and intends to lead a local lady to the altar at an early date.

Soldiers arrive in Rugby from India

Soldiers arrive in Rugby from India

RECRUITING AT RUGBY.

Recruiting has proceeded rather slowly at Rugby this week, although the recruiting officer, Colour-Sergt Winchcombe, is willing to take recruits for any of the Infantry Line Regiments, R.F.A. Army Service Corps, and 5th (Rugby) Howitzer Battery. So far he has done remarkably well, and it would be a matter for regret to all if the figures began to fall off, especially as there are still some hundreds of men in the town without dependents who could and should join, and as the call for more men is still incessant. Amongst those who have been attested during the past week are :- R.F.A : Herbert James Masters, Samuel Masters, Arthur Busby, Charles Denton, Geo Wm Hy Baldwin, John Priest, and John Watkins. Royal Warwick Regiment : Cecil Harry Wood, Wm Samuel Stebbing, Ed Chas McCrow, and Sydney Batchelor. Army Service Corps : John Henry Busson, Malcolm Ringrose, and William Sabin. Border Regiment : Geo Starkey. Coldstream Guards, Henry T Smith, Bert Whitehead, Arthur Priest, and Arthur Lane.

The number attested during the past week was 24.

7TH (RESERVE) BATTALION, R.W.R.

The 7th (Reserve) Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment has now been brought up to full strength, and no further recruits are needed at present. The number on the roll is now 1,101, and among the latest additions are A Nason (Shilton) and M E Cleaver (Grandborough).

THE 4th SOUTH MIDLAND HOWITZER BRIGADE.

A Reserve Brigade to the 4th South Midland Howitzer Brigade is being formed. The total strength will be 371 of all ranks, and towards this number 157 have been enrolled.

The officers at present are : Col A H Heath, of Street Ashton, Adjutant ; Capt Sydney Field, Lieut J P Nickalls, and Lieut Selby Lowndes. There are vacancies for other officers.

The completion of this new Brigade will greatly facilitate the Service Brigade going out, it being necessary that it should have a reserve from which casualties can be replaced.

Recruits can obtain all particulars and give in their names at the Recruiting Office in Windmill Lane, Rugby.

Among recruits enrolled this week are E Howes and E W Howes (Harborough Magna), Floyatt and S D Hargreave (Flecknoe), and B Varney (Northcote).

BILTON’S SOLDIERS & SAILORS.

The parish of Bilton possesses an excellent record so far as the forces are concerned. New Bilton has 193 soldiers and sailors, and Old Bilton 40. Thirty-two of the New Bilton men are at the front and nine from Old Bilton. With regard to casualties, four New Bilton men have been killed, five wounded, and two are prisoners of war. One Old Bilton man has been killed.

“ HAMMERED ” TOES.

One of the Relieving Officers reported [to Rugby Board of Guardians] that a man in one of the villages had endeavoured to enlist, but was rejected because he had two “hammered” toes. These he was willing to have removed, provided the Guardians would maintain his wife and family whilst he was in the hospital for the operation.—It was understood that after the toes had been removed the man would be fit to serve with the colours, and the Board agreed to give him the assurance that his family would be amply provided for during his incapacity.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR – GIFTS TO TERRITORIALS.

Sir,—I notice that gifts are often being made by Rugby people to the local Territorial Company in Essex, and I am anxious to know whether any of these “ comforts ” reach the detachment doing guard duty at Waltham Abbey Royal Gunpowder Factory. These men belong to Rugby and certainly should participate. They are performing work that is equally as important (if not more so) as that of their comrades at Witham, though it partakes solely of home defence, for which the “ Terriers ” were originally called into being.— Yours faithfully,
ONE INTERESTED.