11th May 1918. New Bilton Man Wins Military Medal

NEW BILTON MAN WINS MILITARY MEDAL.
TWICE REPORTED MISSING.

Pte G Starkey, Border Regiment, has had exceptional experiences. He joined up from the Cement Works on January 1st, 1915, and was already the possessor of two South African medals and seven bars. In 1915 he was, in error, reported to be missing. After nearly three years’ fighting, in which he was unscathed, he was invalided home suffering from shell shock. He returned to the front in February, and was reported missing, and believed killed, as from March 21st. On April 26th he wrote home that on the previous day he received the Military Medal.

DEATH OF SERGT. J. SOMERS, V.C.

Sergt James Somers, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, who won the V.C in Gallipoli, died on Tuesday at the home of his parents, Cloughjordan, Ireland, of lung trouble, after being badly gassed in France some months ago. Sergt Somers joined the Inniskillings in 1913, crossed the Channel with his Battalion with the original Expeditionary Force on August 21, 1914, and was wounded three times in Flanders. In the following spring he was billeted with the 2nd Battalion in Rugby, and proceeded with them to the Dardanelles, where he won the V.C for gallantry on the night of July 1st and 2nd, “when owing to hostile bombing some of our troops had retired from a sap, remaining alone on the spot until a party brought up bombs.” He then climbed over into the enemy’s trench, and bombed the Turks with great effect. Later on he advanced into the open under very heavy fire, and held back the enemy by throwing bombs into their flank until a barricade had been established. During this period he frequently ran to and from our trenches to obtain fresh supplies of bombs. “ by his great gallantry and coolness,” the official account concluded, “ Sergt Somers was largely instrumental in effecting the re-capture of a portion of our trench which had been lost.” During his stay in Rugby, Sergt Somers was billeted with Mr & Mrs W D Burn, 16 Corbett Street. Immediately after his investiture at Buckingham Palace he visited the town, and was awarded a civic and enthusiastic welcome. After meeting several of his friends and receiving their congratulations at Mrs Burn’s residence, he attended a large recruiting rally at the Clock tower, and made a short and inspiring appeal for recruits.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

We regret to learn that there is still no news of Capt T A Townsend, M.C., who was reported missing a few weeks ago.

Lieut G P Rathbone, youngest son of Mr Rathbone, Hillmorton, who was recently posted as missing, has written home to say he was taken prisoner on March 21st, after severe fighting, and is unwounded.

Pte W H Mitchell, Worcestershire Regt, second son of Mr and Mrs David Mitchell, of Lodge Road, Rugby, has been reported missing since the 23rd March, 1918. He joined up 13 months ago, at the age of 18 years, and he was in France three months. He formerly worked for Mr Varney, builder.

Pte Charles James Fretter, R.W.R, was killed in action on March 22nd. He was the eldest son of the late Mr & Mrs Samuel Fretter, and was an old St Matthew’s boy. Before joining up he worked for Willans & Robinson. His age was 42 years, single, and he had been in France two years.

News has been received by Mrs W Middleton, Sandown Road, Rugby, that her husband, Lance-Corpl W Middleton, 79th Field Company, Royal Engineers has been missing since March 21st. At that he time was working on the front line near Moy during the German advance. Lance-Corpl Middleton, son of Mr J Middleton, 101 Claremont Road, is 26 years of age. He has been in France three years and was formerly employed in Willans & Robinson’s pattern shop.

Sergt T F Gambrall, Oxon and Bucks L.I, of 174 Cambridge Street, has been reported missing since March 23rd. He was an old St Matthew’s boy, employed at the B.T.H. and he enlisted in September, 1914. A brother of Mrs Gambrall was also killed March 24th; another brother has been reported missing, and two others wounded.

Pte John Reynolds. R.W.R, of 9 Little Elborow Street, died in hospital at Liverpool on Wednesday from wounds received in action. He was an old St Matthew’s boy, 32 years of age, and when joined up was employed the Rugby Co-operative Society.

Lieut Henry Boughton-Leigh, of Brownsover Hall, has been wounded in the knee during the recent fighting, and is now in the Officers’ Military Hospital at Plymouth, where he is making satisfactory progress.

Pte Fred Wright, Machine Gun Corps, son of Mr John Wright, 32 Lawford Road, New Bilton, is reported as missing since March 21st. He was formerly a sailor and visited the Dardanelles a number of times. He was afterwards employed at the B.T.H, subsequently joining the Army. He is 20 years of age.

RUGBY MEN MISSING.

The following local men have been reported as missing :—Sergt E Watts, Oxford and Bucks L. I, of 10 Benn Street, Rugby : Lance-Corpl R G Salmon, M.G.C, son of Mr & Mrs G H Salmon, 17 Lower Hillmorton Road ; and Pte F Shears, M.G.C, son of Mr & Mrs J Shears, 66 Murray Road.

LIEUT I D MOORE, R.F.A, Reported KILLED.

Information has been received that Lieut I D Moore, Royal Field Artillery, has been reported as “killed in action” on March 22nd. Prior to joining his Majesty’s Army, Lieut Moore was a member of the B.T.H. Testing Department.

A RUGBY MILITARY MEDALLIST.

Honours are falling fast to Rugbeians, and one of the latest to receive the Military Medal for gallantry in the field is Signaller E Manners, R.F.A, son of Mr Frank Manners, of Windmill Lane. He joined in January, 1917, and has been in France since September. He writes optimistically of our prospects, and refers to the enormous losses the Germans have sustained.

MAGISTERIAL.—At the Rugby Police Court on Wednesday—Before Mr A E Donkin—Pioneer Thomas Henry Cox, Royal Engineers, 3 Addison Row, Bilton, was charged with being an absentee.—Defendant stated that he had served in France two years, and had been wounded. As he had been ill he had delayed his return to his unit, but had he not been arrested he would have returned that morning.—He was discharged on promising to return by the next train.

BILTON.
MILITARY MEDAL.—Lance-Corpl G T Stibbard, K.R.R, son of Mr James Stibbard, of this village, has been awarded the Military Medal for gallant conduct “ in carrying important messages under heavy fire at all times of the day and night during the period between March 21st and April 7th.” He has been warmly congratulated by the General commanding his Division. Corpl Stibbard is the first Biltonian, we believe, to gain distinction of this kind. He formerly worked at Willans & Robinson’s, and joined up in September, 1914, so that he has seen a lot of service, and has been twice wounded. He was also a popular member of the Working Men’s Club and of the football team.

DUNCHURCH.

ON Monday afternoon several little children were walking along the bottom of the Mill Street allotments, when one of them, named Frost, fell in the ditch. The other ran away frightened; But Postman T Brain, who happened to be at work close at hand, ran to the spot, and found the little one at the bottom of the ditch covered with water, and had he not been there the child would have been drowned.

DR POWELL has received news that his eldest son Corpl R Prince Powell, who was serving with the Australian Forces, is reported missing as from April 14th. Dr Powells second son is also serving with the Australian Forces.

MR & MRS JAMES BORTON, Daventry Road, Dunchurch, have received the news from their son, R Borton, who went to Germany with some polo ponies before the War broke out, that he has been a prisoner of war, and is now in Holland. Mr & Mrs James Borton’s family were agreeably surprised to receive the news.

BOURTON-ON-DUNSMORE.
A MEMORIAL SERVICE was held in the Church on Sunday, for Bombardier Frederick Ward, who was killed in action in France on March 30th. He joined the Army at the beginning of the War, and was recently promoted bombardier in recognition of his bravery in action. He was universally liked and respected, and much sympathy is felt for his family.

STOCKTON.
MR REGINALD TARRANT, the junior master in the Council Schools, has left to become a wireless operator in the Navy. The children assembled to wish Mr Tarrant “Good-bye,” and gave him three rousing cheers as a send off. The Rev A C Easu expressed the good wishes of the managers.

BRANDON.
WOUNDED AND PRISONER OF WAR.—Mr & Mr. T Ward have received news, that their son, Lance-Corpl J Ward, has been wounded and is now a prisoner of war. He had been in France for 18 months, and was previously wounded in April, 1917. Before joining he was learning dentistry with Mr Daniels at Coventry. His father is a well-known Oddfellow, having occupied most of the principal offices. Much sympathy is felt for Mr & Mrs Ward, who have already lost one son, Pte C Ward, K R.R ; had another badly wounded, Pte J Ward ; and another discharged for ill-health, Pte W Ward. Lance-Corpl J Ward is wounded in the shoulder.

STRETTON-UNDER-FOSSE.
MR CONOPO has received news to the effect that his eldest son, Gunner L S Conopo, of the 132nd Oxford Heavy Battery, R.G.A, is a prisoner of war in Germany. Gunner Conopo had been in France two years, and was taken prisoner on the 21st March. He is believed to be in Cassel Internment Camp.

FATAL FLYING ACCIDENT NEAR RUGBY.
While flying near Rugby on Thursday, Lieut James Donald McRae Reid (21), Royal Air Force, a Canadian, fell from an altitude of about 1,000ft, and was killed instantly. The incident is believed to have been caused by something going wrong with the engine.

THE B.T.H. EXPLOSION.

The inquest on George Alsop, the man who died as the result of injuries received at the B.T.H on Monday in last week, was opened by Mr E F Hadow on Friday, May 3rd.—Mr H Lupton Reddish represented the B.T.H Company and the Insurance Company. Mr G Ralph and Mr S London also attended.

Lucy Alsop, the widow, said her husband was 58 years of age, and had been employed as a stoker by the B.T.H Company for the past three years. When she saw her husband at the hospital he was unconscious and unable to tell her how the accident occurred. He died without recovering consciousness. He was previously employed as a stoker by the Oxford Canal Company.

Dr C R Hoskyn said death was due to a fracture of the base of the skull. He also suffered from a secondary scald, extending down the whole of the left leg, but this alone would not have been sufficient to cause death.

Mr Reddish said he was instructed by the directors of the Company to say how much they deplored the accident, and wished him to express their great sympathy with the relatives of Alsop and the other men who had been injured. He assured the jury that the Company were prepared to do everything humanly possible to assist them to ascertain the cause of the explosion.—The Coroner and the Jury associated themselves with these remarks.

The inquest was then adjourned till Wednesday, June 5th, for a full investigation of the cause of the accident.

THE FUNERAL took place at Napton on Monday in the presence of a large number of friends and sympathisers. The service was conducted by the Rev J Armstrong (vicar), and, in addition to the members of the family, fifteen employees of the B.T.H, representing the Power House staff, Wiring Department, and the Workers’ Union, attended. There was a large collection of  floral emblems, including tributes from neighbours in Rowland Street, Rugby ; his fellow-workmen in the Power House ; Wiring Department, B.T.H ; Workers’ Union, Branch No. 2 ; and the staff and his fellow-workers.

RUGBY’S MEAT SUPPLY.
LITTLE HOPE OF IMPROVEMENT IN QUALITY.

In view of a letter read at a meeting of the Rugby Food Control Committee on Thursday afternoon there appears to be very little prospect of any immediate improvement in the quality of the foreign meat consigned to the town. It will be remembered that at the last meeting the committee a letter was read from Messrs Clayson[?], Wait, and Woolley, asking to be relieved of their undertaking to be responsible for the payment for foreign meat consigned by the Area Meat Agent to make up for the deficiency of meat obtained from Rugby Market. This step, they said, was forced upon them by the fact that the meat was of such an inferior quality that they doubted whether the other butchers would continue to purchase it from them, in which case they would be faced with a serious financial loss. At Thursday’s meeting the Executive Officer (Mr F M Burton) reported that he had written to the district Commissioner on the subject, and he had replied to the effect that he would be pleased to grant an interview to the Chairman of the Committee and the Executive Officer, but did not think any useful purpose would be served by a discussion, because neither he nor the Area Meat Agent were able to alter the conditions under which foreign meat was supplied. The Area Meat Agent was not responsible for the quality of the meat, which was liberated by the Government from their own cold storage, and it was impossible to guarantee any uniform standard of quality. The time had now arrived when it was no longer practicable for people to be too fastidious with regard to their meat. Any district which objected to frozen meat was not obliged to accept it, if they preferred to go short; but any deficit could only be made up with frozen meat. All meat sent from cold storage had to be paid for, and any dispute as to payment might result in no further supplies being sent without cash.—To this the Executive Officer replied that the objection was not to frozen meat, but to the quality of the supplies which had been sent, and he asked what would be his financial position in the event of meat being sent of such quality that the butchers would not accept it ? Would the Food Committee be held responsible? It was rather serious from their point of view, considering the large quantity of frozen meat sent into the district.

The Chairman (Mr T A Wise) said the Commissioner took up the line that they received the meat from the Government cold storage, and distributed it equitably. The committee could not go beyond that, because they could not prove that they were getting worse meat than anyone else.—Mr Mellor asked if it was a fact that the meat sent to the foreign shops from the Central Depot was of a better quality than that sent to the order of the Executive Officer.—The Chairman : If it is this the committee can do nothing, nor can the Government. The old-established firms naturally get the pick of the market.—Mr Ewart pointed out that under present system the Government stood to lose nothing, because if the meat was sent they had keep it ; whereas if a butcher bought bad meat he would have to stand by the loss.—The Chairman : But if everyone refused to buy it the Government would lose a great deal.—The Executive Officer said some of the beef in the foreign shops was no better than that sent to the other butchers.—Mr Griffin : Anyone in the trade knows that the foreign shops better beef than we get.—With reference to the late arrival of meat, the Executive Officer said that neither the Butchers’ Association nor he was responsible  for that. They were expected to send the account of their deficit early on Monday morning, but they did not know what it would be until mid-day, when he immediately ‘phoned or wired the shortage. This week the butchers had been advised to attend Eardsley Market, Herefordshire, but they were unable to do so, and on telegraphing their requirements to the auctioneer there they received a reply to the effect that this was not the week in which the market was held. He then had to inform the Area Meat Agent, who had promised to forward the meat on Friday, which would make things very awkward for the butchers.—The Chairman pointed out that the cheque for imported meat this week amounted to £750, and they could not run the risk of having £100 or £200 of this left on their hands. It was only by the kindness of the master butchers that they had been able to go on.—It was stated that the master butchers had decided to carry on as usual for a short time, and the matter was, therefore, referred to the Finance Committee, the Executive Officer in the meantime to get into communication with other centre to ascertain their mode of procedure.

INCREASED BACON SUPPLIES.

From Monday last only two of the four ration coupons can be used for butchers’ meat weekly, but the bacon allowance will be practically doubled. The new scale of coupon weights will be :—
Bacon, uncooked, with bone. . . . .8oz.
without bone. . 7oz.

Ham, uncooked, with bone . . . . .12oz.
without bone . . 10oz.

Bacon, cooked, with bone . . . . . 7oz.
without bone . . .5oz.

Ham, cooked, with bone . . . . . .10oz.
without bone . . . .8oz.

Two coupons only will be required for picnic hams weighing up to 5lb, with one coupon for each additional pound.

These weights may not be permanent; but they will be in force for least a month, so large are the supplies of American bacon in the country. It is hoped that before it is necessary to reduce the bacon ration again it may be possible to increase the fat ration, probably by an addition of lard.

The previous scale was 5oz of ham or bacon with bone, or 4oz without bone. The reduction in the meat rations means that each consumer may only spend 10d weekly with the butcher.

NUNEATON.
WAR MEMORIAL.—Lord Denbigh visited Nuneaton on Monday afternoon to unveil a temporary war memorial, containing the roll of honour of Nuneaton’s brave soldiers who have made the supreme sacrifice. The inscription on the memorial, which has been erected the Mayor, is : “ They wrought to save us, and to save us died. H C Jones, Mayor, 1918.” Canon Deed and the Rev J C Masterton took part the unveiling ceremony, which was witnessed by thousands of people. In the course of an oration, Lord Denbigh paid solemn tribute to the sacrifices which our brave soldiers had made and the great debt of gratitude the country owed them in fighting that we might still exist as a great nation.

DEATHS.

FRETTER.—Pte CHARLES JAMES FRETTER, 10th Royal Warwickshire Regiment, who was killed in action on March 22, 1918.
“ At duty’s call, with soul inspired,
 To fight for honour, truth and right ;
 His task well done, yet still untired,
 He marches now in realms of light.”
—Deeply mourned by his loving Sisters and Brothers.

HARRIS.—In loving memory of Pte. THOMAS HARRIS, who died of wounds in Egypt.—“ Our loss was his gain.”—From his loving Wife and Children.

IN MEMORIAM.

BATCHELOR.—In loving memory of Pte. THOMAS BATCHELOR, of the 5th Royal Berks., who died of wounds in Germany on December 25, 1917.
“ May the winds of heaven blow gently
On that sweet and sacred spot,
Though sleeping in a far-off grave,
Dearest one, you are not forgot,”
—Sadly missed by his loving Children, Mother, Father, Sisters and Brothers.

FROST.—In loving remembrance of Pte. JAMES FROST,  youngest son of the late Mr. John Frost, butcher, Daventry, who died of wounds in France on May 9, 1917.
“ We miss you from our home, dear Jim ;
It’s sweet to breath your name.
In life we loved you very dear,
In death we do the same.”
—From his loving sister Nellie, 47 Alfred Rd., Coventry.

KEEN.—In loving memory of ARTHUR WILLIAM KEEN, killed in action on May 9, 1915, in France.—From his Father, Mother, Sister and Brothers.

LIXENFIELD.—In fondest memory of JACK LIXENFIELD, Lance-Corpl., Royal Engineers, who died of wounds on May 13, 1917, at Manchester.
“ O happy hours we once enjoyed,
How sweet thy memory still.”
—Always in the thoughts of Lil.

PORTER.—In affectionate remembrance of our dear son and brother, GEORGE RUPERT PORTER, who fell in action on May 8, 1915.
“ The hardest part it yet to come
When other lads return,
And we miss among the cheering crowd
The face of him we love.”
—From his loving Father, Mother, Brothers & Sisters.

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.