4th Apr 1919. Rupert Brooke Memorial, Unveiled by Sir Ian Hamilton

RUPERT BROOKE MEMORIAL.
UNVEILED BY SIR IAN HAMILTON.
Famous General’s Eloquent Appreciation.
“ A Knightly Presence and a Princely Bearing.”
THE ACME OF TRAGEDY.

“ If I should die, think only this of me :
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed :
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam ;
A body of England’s, breathing England’s air,
Washed by her rivers, blest by suns at home ;
And think, this heart, all evil shed away
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given ;
Her sights and sounds dreams happy as her day ;
The laughter, learnt of friends, and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.”

An interesting ceremony took place in Rugby School Chapel on Friday afternoon in last week, when General Sir Ian Hamilton, C.M.G., D.S.O., attended to unveil a portrait medallion which has been erected to the memory of Rupert Brooke, the author of the above lines, and one of the most brilliant of Rugby’s sons, who died at the Isle of Lemnos in the Aegean Sea while serving with the Royal Naval Division in April, 1915.

A distinguished soldier of great literary ability—his vivid despatches from the Dardanelles will for all time rank with the richest gems of the English language—Sir Ian Hamilton was pre-eminently fitted to pay a tribute to the memory of the young poet, whose genius has been so universally acclaimed. Moreover, he had the advantage of the personal friendship of Rupert Brooke, and in a speech of singular beauty and charm he drew a delightful word picture of the magnetic personality of the soldier poet, who “ having all the gifts of the gods, flung them down as if they were three common little dice.”

THE GUARD OF HONOUR.
Prior to the ceremony General Sir Ian Hamilton, who was accompanied by General Sir D. Mercer, Adjutant-General to the Marines, and General Freiberg, was received by a guard of honour, formed by members of the School O.T.C., under Capt. C P. Evers and Cadet Officer A.F.B. fforde, head of the School, which was drawn up in the School Close immediately facing the School House.

MOVING SERVICE IN THE CHAPEL.
The service in the chapel was very brief. It commenced with the hymn, “ There is a river, pure and bright,” after which the opening prayers were said by the Rev. H. H. Symonds. The lesson (Ecclesiasticus li. 13-22) was read by the Headmaster (Canon A. A. David. D.D.). The unveiling ceremony was preceded by Bishop Hebers’ beautiful hymn. “ I praised the earth.”

THE PALM AMONG THE YOUNG POETS.
After unveiling the tablet, Sir Ian Hamilton said :—
“ After four and a half years of war we have come together here in Rugby School Chapel. The time is a time of Armistice—an Armistice which may fling us back into struggles more monstrous than those that have gone before ; or, conceivably, may yet lead us onwards into the paths of peace. To us holding our breaths the issues seem to turn on a hair’s breadth and, at a moment so supreme, nothing less than an over-mastering sentiment could have had power to turn our thoughts from the present to the past. But that, overmastering sentiment existed in our hearts, and would no longer be denied. There is one whose loss we still find time and occasion to deplore. Whilst the hands of the clock never move, but the wolf draws nearer to the door of a starving Continent ; whilst murder and pestilence stalk hand in hand across the great Russian steppes ; whilst memorial shrines turn black with decaying wreaths and names lately famous struggle, and struggle in vain, in the vortex of oblivion, we have come together to this school where Rupert Brooke lived and was best known, to tender our homage to his memory. Is it because he was a hero? There were thousands. Is it because he looked a hero ? There were a few. Is it because he had genius? There were others. But Rupert Brooke held all three gifts of the Gods in his hand ; he held them in his hand only to fling them eagerly down as if they were three common little dice. He cast the dice, but Death had loaded them. Death cheated him in the end, cheated him of the joy of the contest. Worthier hands than mine have awarded the palm amongst young poets to Rupert Brooke. As a soldier I can only say that wherever he has touched upon war, his pen has ennobled the theme, and here I know I speak truly for multitudes of my comrades in arms, also, that his best poems possess a strange shining quality, like lamps that have been lit by the same radiant personality. His personality ! Let me say this of it. I have seen famous men and brilliant figures in my day, but never one so thrilling, so vital, as that of our hero. Like a Prince he would enter a room, like a Prince quite unconscious of his own royalty, and by that mere act put a spell upon every one around him. In the twinkling of an eye gloom changed into light ; dullness sent forth a certain sparkle in his presence. Those who had been touched by the magician’s wand told others, the news spread that here was someone who was distinguished by a nameless gift of attraction, a head and shoulders above the crowd, and it is the memory of this personal magnetism more even than the work his destiny permitted him to fulfil, that adds strength to the roots of his ever growing fame. When on the 4th April, 1915, I inspected the Royal Navel Division at Port Said, I asked if I might see Rupert Brooke. He was sick, it seemed nothing serious ; a touch of the sun. So I went into his tent, where he was lying stretched out on the desert sand looking extraordinarily handsome, a very knightly presence. Whilst speaking to him, my previous fears crystalised into a sudden, clear and strong premonition that he was one of those whom the envious Gods loved too well. So I made my futile effort and begged him to come on my personal staff where I would see to it, he would get serious work to do. I knew the temper of his spirit and I promised him a fair share of danger. He replied just as Sir Philip Sydney would have replied. He would have loved to come, he said, but he loved better the thought of going through with the first landing and the first and worst fighting, shoulder to shoulder with his comrades. He was right. There was nothing more to be said. And so on the afternoon of the 23rd April, when the black ships lay thick on the wonderful blue of the Bay and the troops in their transports steamed out slowly—cheering—wild with enthusiasm and joy, Rupert Brooke lay dying. That boy of genius who had it in his magic pen to have brought home the significance of the Dardanelles to the people of the Empire,—that boy lay dying. He had every gift,—youth, charm, beauty, genius, and he gave them, not that he might fall, as a soldier hopes he may fall, with the shout of victory ringing in his ears, but for nothing—so it may have seemed—ah, but not so really. For here we have the acme of tragedy and by is will Rupert Brooke be remembered when thousands of riper reputations and more fortunate seeming careers have faded for ever from the legends of romance.
“ We have kept the faith,” we said ;
“ We shall go down with unreluctant tread,
Rose crowned into the darkness.” Proud we were.
And laughed, that had such brave, true things to say.
And then you suddenly cried, and turned away.

DEDICATION PRAYER.
The prayer of dedication was then offered by the Headmaster, and after the reading of a lesson from Ephesians iii. the service concluded with the singing of the National Anthem.

Mrs. Parker Brooke, the poet’s mother, was present, and others in the congregation were General Sir Daniel Mercer and Lady Mercer, General Freiberg, V.C., D.S.O., Mr. E. Marsh, Mrs. Kelly, sister of Lieut F. S. Kelly ; Mr. De La Mare, Mr. Lascelles Abercrombie, Mr. Wilfred Gibson Gibson, Mr. J. C. Squire, Capt. and Mrs. Geoffrey Keynes, Mr. G. A. Chase, Mrs. Russell, Smith, Mrs. Dennis Browne, Mrs. Sewell Bacon, Mr. J. R. Brooke and Miss Brooke.

After the service the visitors were entertained to tea by Mrs. Parker Brooke in New Big School.

MEMORIAL CONCERT IN TEMPLE SPEECH ROOM.
Subsequently a memorial concert was given in the Temple Speech Room, at which an “ Elegy for strings,” composed in Rupert Brooke’s memory by his friend, the late Lieut. F. S. Kelly, was played, and the 1914 Sonnets were sung by the School chorus to a setting by Dr. Sydney Nicholson.

“ THE SOLDIER.”
The elder son of the late Mr. W. Parker Brooke, an assistant master at Rugby School, and of Mrs. Parker Brooke, of 78 Dunchurch Road, Rupert Brooke was born at Rugby in 1887. He played cricket and football for the School, and in 1905 won a prize for a poem entitled “ The Bastille.” In 1906 he went up to Cambridge, where he was elected to a Fellowship at King’s College, and lectured in the Modern Literature School. In May, 1913, he started a year’s journey through the United States and Canada to the South Sea Islands, and the extremely interesting articles he wrote describing the journey showed that his sympathy and. imagination were wide enough to embrace nearly all he found in the civilisation of America and Polynesia, although they did not damp his sense of humour. His claims to fame rest on his volume of poems published in 1911, and his quarterly contributions to “ New Numbers,’’ published at Gloucester. He had a real lyrical gift, and his poetry is full of beauty and emotion, and although by instinct a classicist, he was truly a modern poet in that he sympathised fully “ with the life that now is.”

When war broke out, he applied for a commission in the Royal Naval Brigade. He took part in the expedition to Antwerp, and at the end of February, 1915, he went to the Dardanelles, where he contracted sunstroke, which led to a serious illness, from which he died on a French Hospital Ship on April 23rd.

In 1916 Yale University awarded him the Howland Memorial Prize for distinction in literature.

The memorial consists of a marble medallion profile portrait, by J. Harvard Thomas,. Chelsea, from a photograph by Shenil Schell. Under the name, “ Rupert Brooke, 1887-1915,” is inscribed his best-known sonnet, “ The Soldier,” which appears at the head of this article. The memorial has been placed on the north main pillar of the nave, the companion pillar bearing Dr. Jex Blake’s memorial, which was unveiled by Mr. Justice Sargant recently.

Mr. Howard Thomas is the sculptor of a number of public statues, and his well-known “ Lycidas ” was familiar to frequenters of the Tate Gallery.

HOME FROM THE ARMY.
MURRAY SCHOOL WELCOMES MR. BENNETT.

On Saturday a tea and social evening were held at Murray School, Rugby, to celebrate the safe return from the Army of Mr. D. T. Bennett, one of the assistant-masters. The arrangements were made and carried through by the “ old boys ” of Class Upper I. of 1915-16, who were under Mr. Bennett’s tuition when he joined the Forces. Mr. Bennett enlisted in 1915, and after training at the Headquarters Gymnasium, Aldershot, he was appointed sergeant-instructor in the 7th Royal Warwicks. He captained the South Midland Instructors’ bayonet team when they won the garrison championship at Catterick. Later he received a serious injury, from which he is now steadily recovering.

At the tea Fred Norman, on behalf of the “ old boys,’’ welcomed Mr. Bennett home again, and in a brief speech emphasised the kindly feeling which had always existed between the masters and the boys.

Mr. W. T. Coles Hodges, in a speech full of true Murray sentiment, responded, and said as headmaster it gave him great pleasure to find such a healthy spirit of love and appreciation between his staff and the former scholars. He hoped this brotherly feeling would continue and prosper.

Mr. Bennett also thanked the boys for their welcome, and said this show of friendly feeling was one of the greatest honours they could have bestowed upon him. It was a sign that his work had been appreciated, and that true friendship existed between teacher and taught.

During the evening games were played, and a musical programme was sustained by Mr. W. T. Coles Hodges, Miss Cope, Mrs. Ray, Mr. Twells, Reg Burton, Fred Newman, F. Alcock, H. Gay, and former members of the school orchestra.

MEMORIAL WINDOW TO THE FALLEN.
DEDICATION CEREMONY AT ST. MATTHEWS, RUGBY.

An interesting ceremony took place on Saturday afternoon in St. Matthew’s Church, Rugby, when the Rev. W. O. Assheton M.A., (Rural Dean), dedicated a stained glass window to the memory of the men who have given their lives in the war. After a short choral service the Rural Dean delivered an appropriate address, in which he said :—We are come together this afternoon to unveil and dedicate a stained glass window to the glory of God, and in memory of the soldiers from this parish who have laid down their lives in the great war. This is one of many such memorials that are being erected in the country to-day—and nothing is more suitable than a window illustrating some familiar scene from the Bible, and carrying our thoughts to those to whose memory the window is placed. The subject is the Raising of Lazarus. Four times in the Gospels do we here of life returning to one who was dead to this world : on this occasion it was Lazarus. Nothing is more striking in the story of the raising of Lazarus than the evidence it gives of our Lord’s view of death. At first He will not use the dread word “death” at all—“Our friend Lazarus is fallen asleep ; I go that I may awake him out of sleep.” And it was only when His disciples showed that they could not understand His meaning. He said plainly, “Lazarus is dead.” And to Martha, too, He would not speak of death. “Whosoever liveth and believeth on Me shall never die.” There is something extraordinarily comforting in those words, and especially for us at this time : it gives us that hope and trust which is so strong that it can carry us along in faith, until we see again those whom we have loved and lost for a while. It is in this story that we have emphasised, more especially, a characteristic of our Lord’s which, above all, endears Him to the human heart. We are told that when he got to the grave, “Jesus wept.” What was it that made Him weep ? Surely not the sense of loss and separation, which we experience when standing by the grave of a friend, because He must have known that Lazarus would be shortly restored to them. Was it not rather His tender sympathy with the sisters in their grief ?-a realisation of all they had gone through, an understanding of their agony of mind.

A sympathetic person is one who can, by force of imagination, put himself in the place of another. Who so well able to do this as the Perfect Man ? In the four years of agony through which our nation has passed, it is the knowledge that Jesus understands, that He sympathises, that He knows the bitterness of our grief, which has enabled many a one to bear their sorrow bravely and uncomplainingly. And more than this, slender though our knowledge be of life immediately beyond the grave, and it is by hints given as in our Lord’s discourses, and in other parts of the New Testament, that we gather the truth that death is but the prelude to a new life. His promise to the dying thief shows it—“ To-day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise.” The story of the rich man and Lazarus implies it ; and when we come to the teaching of St. Paul, we are clearly told by him not to mourn our dead, for he says : “ To depart, is to be with Christ, which is far better.” And again, “ To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” It is only when we begin to understand the great truth that those we have lost are alive and far happier in another sphere that we can take comfort. And so, in the words of the hymn, we say of our blessed dead, they are “ Not dead, but living unto Thee.”

The thought of the sacrifice made for us by our soldiers should inspire us to do our share. Surely there is not one amongst us who has not in these past four years learnt some lesson from the war. It may be the joy of service, it may be the blessedness of sacrifice ; it may be a larger patriotism and citizenship. To some the call has been from a life that was shallow and aimless, to a life of purpose and reality. To some, God and Eternity have, for the first time, become living truths. Whatever the lesson we have learnt, let us cling to it. Don’t let the times of peace and prosperity and of freedom from anxiety make us gradually sink back to what we were before. Our Church life, our life as a nation, will be raised or will be lowered according as to how truly we have learnt our lesson. We can never forget the sacrifice of those countless lives so bravely laid down for King and country. And from their far-off graves a message seems to reach us. It says: “ We died for England , you must live for England.”

After the dedication of the window, the Rev. C. T. Aston (Vicar) read the list of names of fallen parishioners, as under :—Sergt. Albert Ashworth, Pte. Cecil Austin, Pte. Wilfred Austin, Sergt James William Bale, Corpl Frederick Barber, Pte. George Barratt, Str. Henry Barrows, Pte. George Bennett, Str. Edward Baskott, Sec. Lieut. James Baskott, L.-Corpl. Harry Berry, Sergt.-Major William H. Bryant, Dvr. George Frederick Chant, Pte. William Thomas Chater, Pte. Arthur Chater, Pte. D. R. Coleman, Pte. Ernest Henry Colston, Corpl Ernest Dodd, Pte. Cyril Fleet, Pte. John Glynn, Corpl. Thomas Johnson, Pte. William Lee, Pte. Joseph Lendley, Lieut. Douglas L. Little, Sec. Lieut. William Harry Packwood, Pte. John Henry Reynolds, Gnr. Kenneth Bradshaw Robinson, Pte. Henry Sands, Pte. Arthur Henry Sear, Pte. Frederick John Summers, Pte. Alfred Henry Thompson, Pte. Levi Thompson, Sergt.-Major Arthur John Turner, Pte. Joseph Lewis Turner, L-Corpl. Ernest Edward Welch, Sec. Lieut. Basil Whitbread, Capt. A. W. D. Wise, M.C. (Dennis), Lieut. G. E. F. Wise.

The window consists of two panels between which a tablet bearing the roll of honour will be placed. The subject represents scenes from the “ Raising of Lazarus.”

NEWBOLD PARISH MATTERS.
MONUMENT TO BE ERECTED IN MEMORY OF THE FALLEN.
CHURCHYARD SITE DECIDED UPON.

Unusual calm prevailed at the annual parish meeting held at Newbold on Tuesday evening, and the acrimonious spirit which characterised similar meetings in pre-war days was entirely lacking. The principal item on the agenda related to the proposed war memorial, and it is satisfactory to note that the decision reached—i.e., to erect a monument in the churchyard, was a unanimous one.

The meeting was preceded by a Parish Council meeting, at which there were present : Mr. Cotterell E. W. Boughton-Leigh (an the chair), Mr. J. E. Cox (vice-chairman), Rev. Bridgeman G. Boughton-Leigh, Messrs. J. Martin, W Allen, F. Healey (clerk), and F. Follows (late clerk).

. . . . THE WAR MEMORIAL.
The Chairman then introduced the question of the War Memorial. and said he hoped the parish would endeavour to perpetuate the memory of their heroes by a memorial which would be worthy of the lives which had been sacrificed (applause). Some of the proposals which had been put forward were rather extravagant, and some were on a smaller scale, but whatever they did they should try to do it well.—The Rev. J. B. Hewitt said he felt very strongly that what they ought to do was to try to commemorate those who had fallen. Those who had returned, or who would be returning in due course, they would have among them ; but they must make certain that the names of those who had fallen should not be lost. He also thought that some memorial to these men should be erected on sacred ground ; the most suitable place for such a memorial was that ground where these men would eventually have been laid had they remained in the village until the red of their lives—i.e., the churchyard ; a place in which no one person or body of persons had a greater right than another.

Mr. Stone favoured a more conspicuous site in the centre of the village, and he suggested that a public clock might meet with the approval of many.

Rev. B. G. Boughton-Leigh mentioned that in some places Y.M.C.A. Huts, with rooms for lectures, dances, and recreation were being erected at a cost of £400. It might be possible, he suggested, to do something of this kind in addition to erecting a memorial in the churchyard, which he thought was an excellent idea, especially if the site chosen was between the church and the road. He did not favour erecting anything that would entail a great future expense in its upkeep.

Mr. Cox suggested that this difficulty could be met by endowing the memorial. He did not like the idea of erecting a building for games, etc. He would prefer to see some almshouses built, if possible.

Mr. H. Clarke suggested that tablets bearing the names of the fallen should be placed in both places of worship in addition to on the monument.

It having been formally decided that a memorial shall be erected, Mrs. Hewitt, on behalf of the women who have suffered, supported the proposal to erect the memorial in a sacred place. At all events, if they decided to have other memorials, one at least should be placed on sacred ground. There was no sacredness about the cross-roads. Children played and laughed there, and a monument erected at such a spot would bring no idea of the reverence which ought to be shown to their glorious dead. What would the women think if they saw that mud had been thrown on the monument raised in memory of their dead ? Such a monument should be placed where women when they passed by would bow, men would raise their hats, and the children would go past quietly and hush their voices in memory of these wonderful men and their glorious deeds. She spoke, she concluded, from a woman’s point of view, who has lost and suffered.

The Rev. J. P. Hewitt said from the whole parish, including Lawford, there would be 50 names to go on the monument, of which number 27 or 28 belonged to Newbold village. He thought it would be a good idea, he said, to commemorate the names from the whole of the ecclesiastical parish. It would also be as well to have the names engraved in bronze, in which case castings could be made for both the church and the chapel.—In reply to a question, Mr. Hewitt said he understood that the cost of a memorial, including the tablets, would be about £250.—Rev. B. G. Boughton-Leigh : We should want another £100 for the endowment fund.—The Chairman supported Mr. Hewitt’s suggestion, and said he believed that the relatives of men who had fallen would prefer nothing better than a monument in the churchyard, although he would like in some way also for the parish to show that they were not unmindful of the men who had offered the sacrifice, which, thank God, had not been accepted. However, he did not think that they would be able to erect a monument worthy of their heroes for £200, and he would suggest that they should aim at £500, although he did not know where the money was to come from. He did not think they ought to look to a few to subscribe the necessary funds, but rather that the monument should be a reflection of the gratitude felt by everyone.

Mr. Stone suggested that every working man in the village should promise to subscribe 1s. out of every £1 he earned during the coming year, provided the Chairman would give 1s for every pound he possessed.—The Chairman : You might say earned.—Mr. Stone : You can afford that as easily as a working man can afford 1s out of each pound he earns.—The Rev Bridgeman Boughton-Leigh said he would be willing to give 5a out of every pound he earned, but unfortunately members of the Parish Council and Rural District Council were not paid.—Mr. Stone : But you are very eager to get there.—Rev. B. Boughton-Leigh : I should not want to go there but for the fact that I wish to do good for the place in which I live. If you don’t want me to work for your good, I don’t mind, but so long as you wish me to serve you I will.—Mr. Dodson inquired if relatives would be allowed to place wreaths on the monument.—Rev. J. B. Hewitt : Yes, provided they are not artificial ones.—Eventually the Rev. Bridgeman Boughton-Leigh proposed that a monument be erected in the churchyard, and that a subscription list be sent round to see if a generous response would be forthcoming, with the object of raising at least £500. The Chairman seconded, and it was carried unanimously. The following Committee was elected to make the necessary arrangements : Rev. J. R and Mrs. Hewitt, Rev. B. G. Boughton-Leigh, Mrs. Harvey, Miss Cox, Mrs J. Gamble, Mrs. W. Hipwell, Mrs J. B. Day, Mrs Clarke, Messrs. C. E. W. Boughton-Leigh, J. E. Cox, J. Martin, and W. Allen. Mr. F. Healey promised to act as secretary.

VILLAGE HALL AS WAR MEMORIAL.
THE HITCH AT HILLMORTON.

A public meeting was held in the schools on Monday evening for the purpose of considering a letter from the Charity Commissioners in reference to the proposed amalgamation of funds for the purpose of building a village hall as a war memorial.

Mr. A. T Cockerill presided, and there were also present : Mrs. Parnell, Mrs. F. Dyson, Mrs. Allard. Mrs. C. W. Perkins, Major Nickalls, Capt. Miller. Messrs. C. Allard, W. Warren, H Capell, T. Mercer, P. Barnett, A. Fitter, G. Blackwell, Marriott, F. Clayson, &c.

The Chairman having read the letter in question, said it was for them to say whether they would accept the terms as stated or not.

Capt. Miller said he failed to see how they could accept the terms offered. Personally, he did not see how they could hand over any money they might collect and have no share in the control. It was rather one-sided.

Major Nickalls was of the same opinion, and said if he was in order he would move that the terms as offered be not accepted. Of course, they were all aware that the Vicar had resigned, and it would probably be some mouths before his successor was appointed. Until that was done they would not be in a position to get his views on the matter. In his opinion, the best thing to do was to start collecting at once. The war was already being forgotten, and every day lost would mean less money.

Mr. Brown, in seconding the resolution, said he supposed they were still willing to negotiate with the Charity Commissioners for better terms.

The resolution was put to the meeting and carried.

TANK FOR RUGBY.
ARMY COUNCIL’S GIFT TO THE TOWN.
THE OFFER ACCEPTED.

Mr C. J Cooper, the secretary of the Rugby Local Central Committee, has received intimation from the Controller of the National War Savings Committee, that, through the generosity of the Army Council, a tank has been offered to Rugby. The offer has been communicated to the Chairman and Clerk of the Urban District Council, who have expressed their pleasure to accept the offer. The matter will be brought before the next meeting of the Council, and it is hoped later on to make arrangements, in co-operation with the Local War Savings Committee for the reception of the tank. It is impossible at present to indicate even approximately the date on which it will arrive.

IN MEMORIAM.

ASHWORTH.—In memory of Sergt. ALBERT ASHWORTH, killed in action on April 9, 1917, B.E.F.
“ One sigh perchanced of work unfinished here,
Then a swift passing to a mightier sphere.”
—From all at home

BURTON.—In loving memory of our dear son, Pte. ALFRED JOSEPH BURTON (London Regiment), killed in action April 5, 1918.—“ He died . . . that we might live.”—From Father & Mother, also Brothers, Sisters, and Alice.

CHAMBERS.—In loving memory of FRED CHAMBERS, who died of wounds in France on April 4, 1918.—“ Lost to sight, but to memory ever dear.”—From his loving Wife.

GOODGER.—In loving memory of MAURICE GOODGER, who died of wounds in France on April 4, 1917.—“ God moves in a mysterious way.”—From Father, Mother, Brothers and Sister.

29th Apr 1916. Lord Denbigh & Conscientious Objectors

LORD DENBIGH & CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS.

To the Editor of the Rugby Advertiser.

Newnham Paddox, 27/4/16,

SIR,-Since my return from a year’s service in Egypt a few weeks ago, I have been reading in your paper with shame and indignation of the various attempts made by ” conscientious objectors ” and others to evade their duty to their country and save their own skins.

If you have sufficient space, perhaps you will publish the enclosed copy of a letter which I have just sent to a rev gentleman in Lancashire.

I wish he and others like him could visit the front trenches and the ruined towns and villages in France and Belgium, and see what war means. I wish they had been with me the other day when I was able to go to the front trenches on my way back through France.

I was in what before the war was a prosperous, tidy, and well ordered mining village of excellent houses. It is now half in actual ruins and half deserted by the inhabitants, but with most of the houses more or less knocked about by shells, and unbroken panes of glass are rare.

You approach this spot by a long deep communication trench which is frequently shelled, and it goes down the main street where the gutters used to run ; it branches out in various directions and these branches run in tunnels under houses and through cellars until at last one arrives at the firing trench, cunningly worked in amongst ruined walls, made up with sandbags and the various protective traverses and dug-outs.

When I got back to the headquarters, where two shells had gone through the roof the night before, after staying a short while in a telephone exchange in a cellar, while an adjoining square where the field kitchens were was being shelled for half-hour or so in hopes of catching the men coming for their food—a shell had knocked out a party of men there the night before—I found a French soldier in uniform under an escort of two British.

He had been found wandering about the forward trenches, and his movements were rightly regarded as   suspicious, so he was arrested and brought along. His story was as follows :- He had lived and worked in this village before the war, and he gave the number of his house in a certain street, now only semi-existent. He left his wife and two children, also a sister and six children, there on the day of mobilisation. He had been twice wounded himself in Champagne last year, and since his departure twenty months before he had not heard one word of his relations, and he didn’t know where they were nor what happened to them. He had got five days’ leave from his regiment to come and endeavour to obtain news of them, and when arrested he had been trying to find where his home had been. His papers were quite in order, and I believe his story was quite correct, and it is just typical of what has happened to thousands of others in the war area.

This is war as it is known to-day and practised by the Germans. This is what we wish to protect our country from.

I, too, am a ” conscientious objector.” I conscientiously object to being murdered by a Hun, to seeing my house burnt and my family ill-treated, and probably murdered too, by brutal German officers and soldiers ; also to seeing these things happen to the inhabitants of my country, though I confess it would do some of these “objectors” and sham-exemption hunters good if they were made to suffer. I object to those who are for over trying to mislead the people of this country with wrong conceptions of what we are fighting for, and what we shall be reduced to if we do not win this war or if we make an inconclusive and premature peace.

I also object to one section of the population being obliged to go through the dangers and hardships of modern war whilst undue facilities are given to others to shirk and shelter themselves behind the former.— Faithfully yours,            DENBIGH.

[Copy].

To the Rev. Percy Stoll, M.A., B.D., Vicar of St. Peter’s, Halliwell, Bolton.

SIR,—I have received from you a circular addressed to Members of the House of Lords and to which you request a personal reply. Having a few minutes to spare, I have much pleasure in sending you one.

You apparently ask on behalf of your two sons, whom you say are destined for the Ministry, total exemption from all ” complicity in this war,” in which you rightly say England is ” standing forth as the protector of weak nations,” and you say you have ” stood for 25 years for duty to God, State, and Church.” As you truly say, ” War is admittedly a gigantic evil,” but I am not aware that Christ has ever taught that nations or individuals wrongfully attacked are not entitled to make as strenuous a defence as possible.

The matter, therefore, resolves itself thus: We are fighting to defend ourselves against a nation, which knows no creed but that of force and might, and if we are defeated it is well known that we shall be utterly crushed and ruined, as a nation, and that the enemy will strive by every means in his power to land in this country and treat us to exhibitions of ” frightfulness ” of which the horror perpetrated in Belgium and France may safely be regarded as mild samples. You say that you and your sons are so averse to ” harming anyone ” that you ” would not take the sword, even against enemies.”

Let me ask you, therefore, this question : Having regard to the brutalities against inoffensive civilians—especially women and children—which have disgraced the German army in Belgium and France, are you or are you not amongst those unnatural curs who have admitted that if they saw their wives and daughters being insulted by German soldiers, they would not take any violent action to save or rescue them, even if it was in their power to do so, either by themselves or in conjunction with others.

If, owing to your objection to “ taking a sword even against enemies,” you have to admit that you would take no steps for rescue or protection under the above circumstances, I hope the female members of your congregation will take note of the fact. As women generally admire courage in a man, they will probably express their opinion of you in plain terms.

But perhaps you will say you certainly would put up a fight to the best of your ability to protect the honour and the lives of your women folk. In this case, you are no genuine conscientious objector to using violence when you or yours are in danger, and I look upon you as humbugs and hypocrites in your refusal to have any “ complicity ” in this war, which is for the purpose of protecting these islands against the savagery of German invaders.

I take it you are against all ” complicity ” either as combatants or non-combatants. Parliament, in its wisdom, has arranged that those with genuine religious objections to combatant service shall be permitted to help their country as non-combatants, who, in limited numbers, have a useful field of work open to them.

I have some respect for those Quakers, for instance, who object to fight but are ready to perform the often very dangerous duties attaching in these days to stretcher-bearers on the battle-field. I, have no vocabulary capable of expressing my contempt for those who refuse to assist in any capacity or to share the dangers and hardships of those who are so bravely defending them from a hideous fate.

If your sons can show conscientious objections to fighting themselves and taking the lives “ even of their enemies,” they can no doubt be placed in a non-combatant corps.

In this guise, they can rescue and comfort the wounded, fix wire at night time in front of the forward parapets, dig trenches, dug-outs and latrines, and carry stores and sandbags into the trenches, and perform many other useful and innocuous but necessary duties, and so allow those who are fighting for them to obtain a well-earned rest.

Your sons will be all the better ministers for having been brought into close contact with Death, suffering, and manly courage in the trenches, and will, if they are spared—as I hope they may be—come back with perhaps loftier ideas than they now apparently have as to what constitutes their duty to “ God, the State, and the Church.”

Faithfully yours.

DENBIGH,

Colonel Commanding H.A.C.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

In memory of Lieut R W Poulton Palmer, the famous Rugby footballer and captain of the English XV, who was killed in action about a year ago, a beautiful marble tablet has been placed in the Parish Church at St Helens, Isle of Wight. It bears the inscription : “ In memory of Ronald, Lieut R W P Palmer, B.A, Rugby and Balliol, 1/4th Royal Berks Regt (T.F), younger son of Edward and Emily Poulton. Killed in the trenches in Belgium, May 5, 1915. Age, 25 years. An athletic leader of rare distinction, he was endowed with even greater gifts of love and joy. ‘God is love.’ ”

P A MORSON WINS WELL-EARNED REWARD.

P A Morson, son of Mr Arthur Morson, the esteemed clerk to the Rugby Council, who has been serving as a private in the Honourable Artillery Company, has been granted a commission in the 11th Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Second-Lieut P A Morson was educated at Rugby School, and was one of four chums who sailed from England the same day, the other three being Pepperday and the two brothers Bluemel. Two have laid down their lives for the country, and the second brother Bluemel has been seriously wounded. Lieut Morson went out with 150 volunteers on July 1st of last year. He has been through practically all of the strenuous fighting in which the British troops have been engaged since that date. Second-Lieut Morson came home on short leave on Easter Monday night, and returned to the front last night.

SERIOUS ACCIDENT TO AN OLD LAURENTIAN.

News has been received that Flight Sub-Lieut Warner H Peberdy, son of Mr W W Peberdy, of Albert Street, has been invalided home from the front as the result of a serious aeroplane accidont in Flanders. Sub-Lieut Peberdy is suffering from spinal concussion and severe shock to the nerve centres, and is now taking a rest cure in the South of Ireland under medical supervision, where he is making very favourable progress. He is one of the many Old Laurentians who have come back from far corners of the Empire to do their bit for the Old Country. He came from Canada with the first squadron of aviators. Formerly he was a student engineer in the early days of the B.T.H. at Rugby, and after completing his course there he went to the United States. When the war broke out he travelled in Canada to help to organise the Canadian Curtin Aviation School, at Toronto. He acted as manager during the first three months of the school’s rapid growth to the position of the largest civilian flying school in the Empire.

WARWICKSHIRE YEOMANRY IN ACTION.

After taking part in the Gallipoli campaign, the Warwickshire Yeomanry are now fighting in Egypt, and took part in the fighting at Katia on Easter Sunday. Our mounted troops, consisting of the Gloucestershire Hussars, the Warwickshire Yeomanry, and the Worcestershire Yeomanry, who were holding a position in and about the village of Katia, were attacked by a greatly superior Turkish force, before which they fell back, fighting a rearguard action, and inflicting heavy losses on the enemy.

An Objector Sentenced.—Pte Sydney Dodd, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, a conscientious objector to military service, has been sentenced to 21 days’ imprisonment for refusing to do all military duty. Dodd was first ordered by the local Tribunal to do non-combatant service, but as a result of his appeal to the County Tribunal about a month ago he was finally put down for combatant service.

A Rupert Brooke Memorial.—It has been decided to set in Rugby Chapel a memorial of Rupert Brooke. It will take the form of a portrait medallion in marble, based on a photograph by Sherril Schell, which appears as the frontispiece of the 1914 volume of poems. The medallion will be the work of Professor J Havard Thomas. No other memorial of Rupert Brooke is at present in contemplation.