9th Oct 1915. Casualties and Lucky Escapes

OLD STATION CASUALTIES

Casualties are reported unofficially to a number of young men who joined the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry from homes at the Old Station, Rugby.

Mrs Bates, 98 Old Station, heard from four sources last week-end that her son, Albert, who enlisted on August 11th last year, at the age of 17, had been killed. He was formerly connected with the butchering trade, and had been at the front since May. His death is attributed to the explosion of a bomb, used to shatter the gun he had charge of to prevent it falling into the hands of the enemy.

Pte John C Burch, son of Mrs Burch, 27 Old Station Square, is in Sheffield Hospital, wounded by a shell in the left leg. From the cheerful manner in which he writes, it is hoped the wound is not serious.

Another Old Station resident, Pte Sidney Smith, of the 2nd Northants Regiment, has been brought to Sheffield Hospital wounded in both legs, this being the second time he has been wounded in the war, and that his condition is regarded as serious is judged from the fact that his wife was sent for at the beginning of the week.

He was reservist, who served in the Boer War, and at the time he was called up to the Colours was employed as a platelayer on the L & N.-W Railway.

News was received at 2 Worcester Street, Rugby, on Sunday morning, that Pte F Bradley, of the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, was being treated in Lincoln Hospital for a shell wound in the leg.

BURIED BY A SHELL.

Pte Ernest J Jackson whose home is at 18 Old Station Square, had a narrow escape in France towards the end of last month. He had got through the charge all right, and had just returned to a dug-out for a rest, when a shell burst and buried him and nine others. Pte Jackson managed to wriggle about and work himself free. He dragged three of his comrades out, but had to leave the rest. Those who escaped crawled along, not knowing where they were going, whether into the enemy’s hands or not ; but as luck would have it, they heard voices, and found British ambulance men at hand. Pte Jackson is now in hospital at Brighton, he having been wounded in the foot by shrapnel. His shoulders are also bruised. This is the second escape he has had, as he was badly gassed in June, and had only just returned in the firing line. He is an old Elborow boy.

 

WOUNDED BY SHRAPNEL.

News has reached the town that Fred Lenton, of the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, who enlisted from Rugby, has been wounded in the right hand by shrapnel. His forehead and the back of his head were also struck. When he joined Lord Kitchener’s Army he was working at the B.T.H. A field card has this week been received from Will Lenton, his brother, saying that he is all right.

HILLMORTON CASUALTIES.

Information has been received at Hillmorton respecting three of the young men from the village who joined the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry and took part in the British advance. C Cashmore is reported to be missing ; Chas Chambers is slightly wounded, but his friends do not know his exact whereabouts ; whilst P Roberts has been wounded in the thigh. He is now in hospital at Boulogne, and the sister-in-charge has written to say he is going on well.

PRIVATE TOM SHONE KILLED.

As we recorded last week, Pte Tom Shone, of Newbold, has been killed while taking part in the advance on Loos on September 25th. A letter, written by the officer of the section to which Pte Shone belonged, conveyed the sad news to his parents that he had been killed by a German shell. Pte Shone was 19 years of age, and was the only son, and when he enlisted in Kitchener’s Army in September last year was serving his apprenticeship to the carpentry at Messrs Foster & Dicksee’s. He was a teacher at the Church Sunday School for some time, and also a member of the choir. He always took his usual seat amongst the choristers when home on leave, and was always ready to give a helping hand to anything for the welfare of the village. He was highly respected by all who knew him, and his untimely death is much regretted among a wide circle of friends, and much sympathy is felt with Mr and Mrs Shone and family in their sad bereavement. In the letter received by the parents the officer says :— “ He was one of the best fellows I had, and nicest, and I felt I could always trust him to carry out anything, and carry it out well. On the day before we made the attack I had decided to have him with me to take any important messages ; but the Captain of the Company knew of his work, and took him for himself. Unfortunately our Captain was killed just before starting, so your son, with three others got detached from us, and I never saw him again. I discovered from several sources that he got across to the German lines all right, and pushed straight on, passing us by mistake on the right hidden by some trees, and got right up into the furthest line the British reached, and was with another regiment. The Germans shelled this (as they did nearly everywhere else) very heavily, and he was killed by one of these shells. But he died right up in the front line, as one would quite expect from him. We have all lost a good soldier and a very nice fellow, and I for one mourn his and others’ loss, and can only offer to you and your family deep sympathy, with the assurance that he died doing his duty nobly, as I found he always did.”

SERGT. GLOVER, OF NEWTON, KILLED.

Information has been received of the death of Sergt J Glover, of the Royal West Kent Regiment, who was killed in France on the night of 14th September. He was shot through the head whilst out with the platoon on special duty, and died instantly. During his period of service in the Regular Army he served a number of years in Malta, and prior to mobilisation was a reservist (Corporal), and worked at the British Thomson-Houston Company, Rugby, where he won the esteem of all his fellow-workers with whom he came in contact. He was also a very familiar figure at the Drill Hall, Park Road, where he often visited his sister (Mrs Cleaver), and could be seen frequently assisting Sergt-Major Cleaver, with rifles, and other work. He was well-known by the members of “E” Company, but being a Reservist he was unable to join the Company.

On rejoining his unit, he was employed as an instructor, eventually attacked to the 6th Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment, promoted sergeant, and retained on instructional duties. He leaves a wife and one child, residing at Newton. An official notice of his death has been received, and his widow has received a letter from his Platoon Officer, who was unable to proceed with the regiment to France. He writes:—“ I cannot tell yon how sorry I was to get the news of your husband’s death. It came as a great shock to me, and you have my deepest sympathy. However, you must be proud in your sorrow, knowing that your husband died doing his duty to his King and Country. He was the very best sergeant I have ever met, and I was looking forward to seeing him, and the good old platoon, when they let me go to the front, which I hope will be soon. I think that you should be very thankful that in your husband’s case it must have been instantaneous death, as he was shot right through the head.”

Second-Lieut Yates, of the 6th R.W.K.R writes :—“ Sergt J Glover was killed on the night of the 14th, while superintending a working party, behind the trenches. It will be some consolation to you perhaps to know that his death was instantaneous, and due to no indiscretion, being caused by a stray bullet, which struck him full in the head, but you will find greater consolation in the fact that his splendid work with his platoon, and generally in the Company, was recognised, and admired by all ranks, and that his loss is very seriously mourned by officers, and men, not only in the Company, but also throughout the Battalion. At the same time thoroughly efficient, and popular with his men, he inspired both discipline and confidence in the men of his Platoon, of which he was sole commander for several months. As his successor in command, I can testify to the smartness and efficiency he had trained them in, and also to the grief which they felt at his loss. Sergt Glover is buried in the 6th R.W.K.R graveyard.”

The deceased was a native of Darenth, Dartford, Kent.

Another of Mrs Cleaver’s brothers was wounded earlier in the war ; three of her cousins have been killed in action ; two brothers and one brother-in-law are still at the front, and have been there from the time of the Expeditionary Force.

RUSSIAN HONOUR FOR LONG LAWFORD BOY.

A signal honour has been conferred upon an old Long Lawford schoolboy, Sergt Frank Knight, of the 4th (Royal Irish) Dragoons, who has been awarded the Russian Medal of St. George, 1st Class. Sergt Knight was recently discharged from the 2nd Eastern General Hospital. He was wounded in the arm, but is now thoroughly recovered. His brother, Bert, is serving with the same regiment at the front.

RUGBY MAN PROMOTED.

Corpl Chas Flavell, of the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, whose parents live at 38 Plowman Street, Rugby, has been promoted to the rank of Company Sergeant-Major. A letter was received from him on Tuesday, in which he states he has come through the recent fighting all right, although many comrades have fallen.

A LUCKY ESCAPE.

Harry Favell, of the Coldstream Guards, whose home is in Plowman Street, Rugby, is now in Hospital suffering from shock caused by the explosion near him of a shell, by which three men were killed and he was blown into the air, but luckily escaped without being wounded. A short time ago this soldier was for a time incapacitated through the blowing in of a part of the trench, and it is not long since he was home on furlough. His brother, Fred Favell, who is in the Garrison Artillery, is reported to be fit and well.

RUGBY SOLDIER’S NOVEL DIARY.

Armourer Staff-Sergeant F H Dodson, of the 7th Warwicks, who is now engaged in the Central Armoury for the British force in France, has been home for a week, and returned to duty on Tuesday. His diary is unique, in that it is illustrated with quite a number of interesting objects and articles he has met with in France. The railway rack used for the transport of men and horses alike has been sketched in the diary, and there are various coloured drawings, such as kitchen stoves, a beer cart, wheelbarrow, etc, in addition to wayside shrines, an example of elaborate grotto work found on Church steeples, a windmill, a farmhouse with a dog turning a large wheel by the aid of which butter-making is carried on indoors ; also a village fire brigade station, with its primitive tools hung upon the walls. All these help to elucidate what is written in the journal, and naturally add to its value. Types of respirators used in the trenches to counteract poison gas were inspected by Armourer-Sergeant Dodson’s friends with interest, and he has a souvenir of the war in the form of a barrel of an E Company rifle pierced by an enemy bullet when projecting above the parapet of a trench.

LETTERS FROM OLD MURRAYIANS.

Mr W T Coles Hodges, headmaster of Murray School, has received the following letters from Old Murrayians serving at the front:—

Driver F Calloway, of the Artillery, writes :-“ I am sorry to see we are losing a lot of Old Murrayians ; but still, we cannot expect to keep going on without losing a few. I have the Rugby Advertiser sent out to me every week, and it is very interesting to see all the news. I have met several of my school chums since I have been out here, and they all wish to be remembered to you. We do not want for anything, and the French people are very good to us all ; but the Germans are a wicked lot, and their chief business appears to be the smashing of churches. There is one church here they have sent hundreds of shells at, but they can’t knock it to bits ; they can only fetch the corners of it off. They never managed to hit one thing-the Crucifix—you can always see them left standing bare.”

Sergt A F Duncuff, 6th Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry, writes :—“ One does not easily forget the good old times when we were at school together and afterwards. I daresay I am not the only one who misses my game of football on Saturday afternoon. . . . Life in the trenches is not so bad in the fine weather, but at present we are having it rather wet, and it makes it very miserable. The trenches we were in before further down the line were palaces compared with these we are in now. . . . I have been in the trenches some time, but we still stick to the ball, as it were, and ‘play the game.’ I have met a number of ‘ old boys’ out here, and a talk about old times is very nice.”

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Major and Hon Lieut-Col Basil Hanbury has now ceased to be employed as a recruiting officer.

Second-Lieut A J Harris, son of Mr A Harris, of Dunchurch Road, Rugby, of the Royal Engineers, has been promoted to lieutenant.

The Rev R W Dugdale and the Rev G M Morgan, of the St Andrew’s Parish Church staff, who recently joined the Army as chaplains, are now “somewhere in France.”

W H Whitelaw, the old Oxford long-distance running blue, having served in the ranks of the Sportsman’s Battalion for nine months, has been gazetted second-lieutenant in the 20th King’s Liverpool Regiment, and is now stationed on Salisbury Plain.

Pte G P Lummas, of 13 Graham Road, signaller in the Oxford and Bucks, was wounded in the neck by shrapnel in the great advance on September 25th. He is now in hospital at Tunbridge Wells, and is going on nicely.

Information has been, received that Sapper T Lord, of the Royal Engineers, son of Mr T Lord, 28 Bennett Street, has been wounded in the thigh by shrapnel. The injuries are stated not to be of a serious nature ; but Sapper Lord is in hospital, and expects to be brought to England.

A concert was thoroughly enjoyed by the wounded and staff at “ Ashlawn ” Red Cross Hospital on Wednesday. It was given by the Albert Street Ladies’ Class, assisted by a few friends.

RECRUITING AT RUGBY.

The following have been attested at the Rugby Drill Hall during the past week :—T Gamble, Coldstream Guards ; A Bennett and C Knight, Royal Flying Corps ; E W Hemming, Royal Engineers ; S G Turner, 220th Fortress Co, R.E ; E Wheeler, Royal Engineers (driver) ; H Ogburn, Royal Warwick Regiment ; E J West, South Wales Borderers.

 

2nd Oct 1915. Rugby Soldier’s life saved by a Cigarette Case

RUGBY SOLDIER’S LIFE SAVED BY A CIGARETTE CASE.

In the recent British advance, L-Corpl A Lewis (son of P.C Lewis, Rugby), had a narrow escape from death, his life being saved by a cigarette case. The plucky young fellow, who is at present in a hospital at Tunbridge, has written to his parents stating that he is wounded in the muscle of the left arm, and but for a cigarette-case, which deflected the bullet, he would have been shot through the heart. He states that his battalion lost rather heavily, and adds that it was terrible to hear the rapid firing of the artillery, which lasted for half-an-hour, and nothing could be heard but the hissing and banging of shells. This is the second time he has been wounded. Another son of P.C Lewis, Pte F Lewis, has been at the front since the commencement of the war, and has been wounded twice, and gassed slightly. He has now been transferred to the Cycle Corps.

WOUNDED BY SHRAPNEL.

News has been received that Pte George Victor Hewitt, of the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, whose home is at 58 Abbey Street, Rugby, has been wounded. He is in a base hospital, and in a letter recently sent to his parents states that he has been wounded in the head by a piece of shrapnel, but not seriously. He was out with a working party in front of the lines, when (as he puts it) they “ had a good reception,” five out of the party of ten being hit.

A brother of the wounded soldier, Ernest Hewitt, has also joined H.M Army, enlisting at Newcastle ; and being a good shot, he was not long before he was sent to the front. He formerly worked at the B.T.H, and has sent home a number of interesting letters.

PTE TOWERS, OF HARBOROUGH FIELDS, KILLED

On Monday evening Mr Thomas Towers, farmer, of Harborough Fields Farm, Churchover, received a telegram from the Record Office, Warwick, stating that his elder son, Pte Martin Victor Towers, had been dangerously wounded in the brain by a bullet, and that he was lying unconscious in the 3rd Canadian Hospital, Carmiers Etaples. Early the next morning a wire, announcing his death, was received. Pte Towers, who was 19 years of age, enlisted on August 28th, 1914, and had been at the front about four months. Before enlisting he assisted his father on the farm.

RUGBY BUILDER’S APPRENTICE REPORTED KILLED.

There is reason to fear that Pte Tom Shone, who was apprenticed to the carpentry at Messrs Foster & Dicksee’s, and enlisted in Kitchener’s Army in September last year, was killed in the general advance at Loos. The death has not been officially reported, but Bob Salmon, of the same regiment, in a letter to his father, Mr George Salmon, of 45 Lower Hillmorton Road, also a carpenter at Messrs Foster & Dicksee’s, mentions the occurrence, the belief being that he was killed by shell fire in the German lines. Bob Salmon states that they were in the charge, and took four of the enemy’s lines. Reference is made in the letter to casualties amongst other Rugby chums—Bert Snutch and Tom Reeve-but the writer says that Abbott, Butler, and himself came through all right, and that Keyte was not in the charge, but left behind. The last he saw of Tom Shone was two minutes before the attack, when he had just been made the captain’s orderly. “ We were afterwards told by one of the officers that the work we did in attaining the objective was excellent.” He adds: “ I was jolly thankful to get out of the trenches that night.”

ANOTHER EMPLOYEE OF MESSRS. FROST & SONS KILLED.

News has been received that Rifleman E Negus, of the 12th Battalion Rifle Brigade, who at the time he enlisted in September last year was a machine-minder in the employ of Messrs Frost & Sons, has been killed in action. He went out to France in July and, as will be seen by the following letter from the machine-gun officer to his father, he lost his life on September 21st, through the bursting of a shell near him :—

“ Dear Mr Negus,-I am sorry to inform you that your son was killed in action this afternoon. A shell burst quite near him and killed him instantaneously. He could not have known anything about it, and of that I am glad. Your son is a great loss to his friends and to myself, I could not wish for a more cheery lad or a more willing worker. His place in his gun team will be hard to fill. Please accept my deepest sympathy in your sorrow. He will be buried tomorrow morning at 10 a.m, quite near the firing-line.—Yours sincerely, R C S STEVENSON, machine-gun officer.

“ September 21st.”

When he joined the army deceased had only been in Messrs Frost & Sons’ employ about three months, but he was very much liked by his fellow-workmen, and had qualities that made him deservedly popular. His father’s home is in Tottenham, London.

FRANKTON.

PRIVATE HERBERT HOLLIS, eldest son of Mr Amos Hollis, of Frankton, late of Harbury, who enlisted on September 7th, 1914, in the 9th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, was killed in action oa August 10th last at the Dardanelles.

BRAUNSTON.

PTE CLIFFORD HAYNES, 1st Batt Northants Regiment, of this village, who was seriously wounded in the retreat from Moms, was again sent out to the front in March, being then convalescent. He was again seriously wounded with fire pieces of shrapnel in July. Having barely recovered from his wounds, he has been home for a few days’ furlough, before going out to the Dardanelles. What do the shirkers say to this ?

CORPL JACK FORTNAM, Warwickshire Yeomanry, who was seriously wounded in the left arm while engaged in the charge of yeomanry on Hill 70, Gallipoli new landing, is progressing slowly but favourably at Netley Hospital.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Mr Isham, of Churchover, has received a field card from his son. Rifleman W Isham, of the Rifle Brigade, stating that he has been wounded and is in hospital.

In a letter to his old Schoolmaster, Pte Wm Padley, R.A.M.C, an old Murrayian, states that he as now on duty at a large hospital at Ras-el-Tin, Alexandria, and for six weeks he was engaged on a hospital ship, fetching sick and wounded from the Dardanelles.

The friends of Corpl Frank Davis of 38A Bridget Street, Rugby, have received intimation that he was wounded with shrapnel in the charge, and is now in hospital in England. He Worked at the B.T.H before his enlistment in September last year, and went out with his regiment in May.

CASUALTIES TO WARWICKSHIRE MEN.

The following further casualties in the Warwickshire Yeomanry at the Dardanalles are reported :-

KILLED.-Pte W Hartley, Pte A Allbright, Pte W J Beech.

DIED OF WOUNDS.-Corpl Whittall, Sergt E J Cox, and Pte D E Powell.

WOUNDED.—Lce-Corpl Barnard, Pte G Curran (not missing as previously reported), Pte F H Gould, Pte J Boven.

The Warwickshire Yeomanry is evidently a very popular branch of the service. The first line is doing splendid service in the Dardanelles, and has been strengthened by drafts from the second line, which is still in this country. The third, line is attracting very large numbers of recruits of a very fine type, and has also sent a hundred to fill up the ranks of the second line, caused by over a hundred being sent to take part in the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. The county has, in fact, great reason to be proud of its Yeomanry regiment.

THE SEVENTH WARWICKS.

One of the “ Pals,” writing to us from the Front, says “ A Leamington Sergeant who has just returned from leave assures me that several Leamingtonians could not credit the fact that the 1/7th Warwicks had ever held front-line trenches. He was asked ‘ What Regulars did you have in front of you ?’ I should like to assure you that the 1/7th R.W.R have been holding front-line trenches on and off ever since the first fortnight after we came abroad. The value of Territorials as reliable troop for trench warfare was at one time doubted, but this doubt was quickly removed, and I think you will agree with me when I say that the Territorial Force has ‘made good.’”

7TH WARWICKSHIRE MEN WOUNDED.

The following members of the 7th Warwickshire Territorial Battalion are reported wounded :- Lce-Corpl T Booth, Lce-Corpl E Reading, and Pte F Cotton.

DEATHS.

CLEAVER.—Killed in action in the Dardanelles on August 10th, Pte. James Cleaver, 9th Royal Warwickshire Regiment, only son of the late James Cleaver, of Frankton, and dearly-beloved brother of Mrs. Doyle, 71 Victoria Street, New Bilton, Rugby, aged 28 years. Duty done.

RECRUITING AT RUGBY.

The following recruits have been attested at Rugby Drill Hall this week :—A Bates, 220th Fortress Co, R.E ; R H Cowley (driver), R.E ; R Williams and A Burton, K.R.R ; J A Spear, 14th Gloucester Bantams ; J H White, R.F.A ; H Edmans, Yorks and Lancs ; S L Howard, R.A.M.C ; and T Gamble, Coldstream Guards. All branches of the army, with the exception of the cavalry, are now open for recruits. There are good openings for drivers in the R.E, recruits 5ft and upwards in height, being accepted up to 45 years.

THE LOCAL PRISONERS OF WAR FUND.

The Local Prisoners of War Help Committee have this week despatched 28 parcels to British prisoners in Germany. Each parcel contained a large tin of beef, cheese, biscuits, cafe au lait, cocoa, soup tablets, and pickles. Each parcel which cost 3s. also contained either a pair of socks or a flannel shirt, these articles having been sent by generous donors to the Rectory.

During the coming winter the committee will be grateful for any gifts of suitable warm under-clothing in a decent state of repair for despatch with the weekly parcels.

That the work of the committee is appreciated by the brave fellows who receive parcels is proved by the many postcards and letters of thanks which are being continually received acknowledging the receipt of parcels.

CRICK RIFLEMAN’S EXPERIENCE IN THE FIRING LINE.

Rifleman Harry Fretter, of the Rifle Brigade, whose home is at Crick, and who was formerly employed there, in a letter to a Rugby friend, gives his first experiences of trench warfare as follows :—“ We are holding a part in the firing-line which is well advanced, so we have steered clear of bayonet charges ; but we have seen enough to give us a good idea of what real fighting is like, We have to be careful or else we get a few German snipers after us, who try very hard to hit as. They are very good shots, and, of course, if they play the game too bad, we just put our machine-gun on them, which is far superior to the German’ machine-gun. Then we get a little excitement watching our artillery blow the German trenches up. It is lovely to see the sand-bags and dirt go up in the air. As for Germans, we have not seen any yet. We can hear them at night, and that is our share at present, but when the time comes our boys will just show them what they are made of.”