7th Sep 1918. Grand Fete at Clifton Manor


One of the most successful fetes held in the Rugby district for some years took place on Saturday in the charming grounds of Clifton Manor, kindly lent by Mr T S Townsend, J.P, C.C, in aid of the Red Cross Society, Rugby Prisoners of War Fund, and the Clifton Comforts Fund. Upwards of 4,500 people paid for admission, visitors attending from Rugby and the whole of the surrounding district ; and, in view of the fact that practically all the attractions were “ extras,” and were all well patronised, the deserving objects above mentioned will benefit by well over £350. The arrangements were made by an able committee, of which Mr T S Townsend was the energetic chairman. This office is generally regarded as a sinecure, and is more often treated as such ; but Mr Townsend threw his whole energy and enthusiasm into the task, and the great success achieved was largely due to his efforts, which were loyally supported by Mrs Townsend and the Rev C E Morton (hon secretaries), and Mr M R Trower (hon treasurer), and officers and men of the Royal Air Force. From start to finish everything worked smoothly, and the only complaint heard was that one of the attractions were so many and varied that it was impossible for anyone to witness the whole of them.


The principal attraction during the afternoon was the athletic sports, which were keenly contested. The officials were : Referee, Mr A G Cannon, A.A.A ; judges, Capt Miller (horse racing, Chief Master Mechanic Booker, R.A.F, Mr Gilks, and Mr T Ewart ; starter, Lieut C Clayden, R.A.F ; clerks of course, Messrs A S Kettle and J T Rees ; stewards, Sergt-Major Edwards, and Mr W H Hoflin.

The Tug-o’-War Competition provided some strenuous tussles, one of the best of which was produced by the meeting of the R.A.F and the Rugby Police. The latter was the heavier team, but the R.A.F were masters of their craft, and won by two clear pulls. Willans & Robinson’s Foundry Department proved too much for Mr Buck’s team, and Clifton gained a fairly easy victory over Hillmorton. In the second round the RA.F defeated Willans & Robinson’s, and in the final Clifton, who had drawn a bye in the second round, gained a popular victory over the RAF.

The Ladies’ Tug-o’-War was won easily by the B.T.H Testing Department Team, which had no difficulty in pulling over the W.R.A.F and Clifton Land Girls. In the first round the Land Girls quickly accounted for the B.T.H Girls’ Club.

During the progress of the tug-o’-war competition an officer of the RAF gave a thrilling display of “ stunt ” flying, which was followed with breathless interest. Loops, spirals, spins and dives, and other intricate evolutions followed each other with bewildering rapidity, and time after time it seemed to the uninitiated as though the display must end in disaster. After a particularly daring evolution, in which he gave a representation of a falling machine and a wonderful recovery, the intrepid pilot landed in an adjoining field, where he was given a popular ovation. The aeroplane was visited by hundreds of spectators, and standing on the seat of the machine, the pilot offered a walking stick—made from the propellor of an aeroplane—for sale on behalf of the funds. This was secured by Mr T S Townsend for seven guineas.


The B.T.H Fire Brigade kindly consented to hold the annual competitions for the Churchill Shield and the Garner Cup in connection with the fete, and the smartness of the display from start to finish was very favourably commented upon by the visitors. The first event, for the Churchill Shield, “ the escape drill,” took place at the works ; but the hose cart drill and the horse steamer drill (wet) were contested at Clifton.

At the conclusion of the display Mr Townsend heartily thanked the B T H Co for all they had done to make the fete a success.

A pony race at varying paces—first round walking, second round trotting, third round galloping, excited a great deal of interest. After a good race and an exciting finish, Mr Alfred Sleath (Clifton) was declared the winner.

Upwards of 900 people paid for admission to witness the football match between the B.T.H Testing Department and the R.A.F. The match was very evenly contested, and resulted in a win for the B.T.H by two goals to one. Teams :—R.A.F : Taylor, goal ; Breamis and Walker, backs ; Dean, Seddon, and Smith, half-backs ; Stevens. Ford, Webb, Archibald, and Coles, forwards. B.T.H : Woodward, goal ; Mansell and Sturgess, backs ; Addison, Jones, and Cashin, half-backs ; Arthur Buckley, Albert Buckley, Slater, Gibson, and Roxburgh, forwards. The referee was 1st A.M Ritchie, R.A.F.

During the progress of the match P.C Lovell made a collection on behalf of the funds, and this amounted to £4 16s.


During the afternoon Arnold, the well-known Worcestershire cricketer, batted at the nets, and for the modest outlay of 1d all and sundry were invited to try to take his middle stump. As was expected, a large number of the male visitors availed themselves of this privilege.

Bran pie, hoop-la, Kaiser Bill and Little Willie, and other side shows were elected at various points, and these were under the charge of Mrs Russell, Mrs Sugden, Miss Ewing, Miss Roscoe, &c, whose blandishments succeeded in charming a goodly sum in hard cash from the pockets of the visitors to the coffers of the fund.

A miniature museum, “ Olde Cliptone,” contained the old village stocks, an ancient public-house signboard, swords and other weapons used at the Battle of Naseby, a leaden casket (date probably 1120), and many other interesting relics of the past. These were all lent by Mr T S Townsend, who acted as a guide to many of the visitors.

For those to whom outdoor sports make no appeal a delightful drawing room concert was arranged by Mrs E G Roscoe and Lieut R T Langdon, R.A.F. . . . . .

A variety entertainment, arranged by Mr E Flowers, was given on the lawn in front of the house. The programme, which was a good one, was sustained by Mrs Weekes, Messrs A Woodhams, W Lofthouse, G Owen, Professor Sladen (concertina), and the Band. A clever conjuring turn was put on by Martini, the men of mystery. The accompanists were Miss D Flowers and Mrs G Owen.

A maypole had been erected on the lawn, and several maypole dances were performed by the village children, who had been carefully trained by Mrs Townsend. The incidental songs were rendered by the members of the Girls’ Friendly Society.

Mrs Twells, Mr H A Kettle, and the employees of the B.T.H Company kindly provided tea for the wounded soldiers.

In the evening Mr Victor Russell sold by auction several sheep and pigs, which had been kindly given by residents in the parish. Mr Russell also conducted a jumble sale and white elephant sale, which had been arranged by Miss Carruthers and the Work Committee—Mrs Morton, Mrs V Russell, and Mrs Spencer. Mrs Mulliner and Mrs Trower, who were away from home and unable to assist in the management of this sale, sent consignments of articles for disposal. After deducting out-of-pocket expenses, the proceeds from the sale of teas and refreshments were handed over to the funds. Mr T Spencer provided the teas, Mr G Hipwell the mineral waters, and Lieuts C H Holcombe and H Blofeld were in charge of the American bar, where iced drinks were dispensed.

Upwards of 470 persons entered for the cake guessing competition, which was won by Miss Garratt, of Rugby.

During the afternoon the B.T.H Band (under the conductorship of Mr Harry Saxon) played selections of music, and in the evening they played for dancing, which was kept up until about 10.30.


For several years past a committee of working-men has arranged a fruit and vegetable show to raise funds for sending comforts to the Clifton men at the front. This year in consideration of the Fete Committee guaranteeing them a sum equal to that raised by the show last year, it was decided to join forces with the Fete Committee, and to hold the show on Saturday. The exhibits, which were on view in a small marquee, were quite up to the standard of past shows, and the collections of vegetables were especially good. The judges were : Messrs W Wilson (gardener at Dunsmore) and F George (gardener to Mrs Twells). . . . . . .

Several prizes were awarded to Mrs Carney for a fine display of pastry and fancy bread, cheese cakes, baked beans, and a wholemeal loaf. Mr W Atkins was awarded the prize for hens’ eggs. The first prize for the best plot on the school gardens was won by J Lintern, jun, and G Dean, and they were also awarded first prizes for cabbage lettuce and turnips at the show.

A pretty collection of flowers marked “ Not for competition,” was sent by Mr W Wilson, gardener at Dunsmore.

The arrangements were made by the following committee :—Messrs Rolls, Carney, Hipwell, Lintern, Ewington, Morris, Shaw, Clarke, Dean, Attwood, and Sheridan (secretary).


Owing to the pronounced shortage of other fruits, it is of the utmost importance that special efforts be made to fully utilise the abundant blackberry crop.

The Warwickshire and county schools generally are responding well to the appeal to pick blackberries to be made into jam for the Army and Navy. They specially recommended for that purpose on account of their medicinal properties.

Feelings of gratitude to our heroes on land and sea—who have so long faced the dangers and borne the hardships and stress of war—should prompt all who can to render willing help. All who wish to pick blackberries to provide jam for the Army and Navy should get into touch with the nearest school, and arrange with the head teacher to accept and pay for any berries taken to the school at specified times. Close co-operation is required to secure results worthy of the county.

Head teachers have been instructed to obtain the consent of farmers to allow reasonable facilities for picking to children in charge of a teacher. Farmers and, landowners are earnestly requested to give this consent and also to refrain from cutting hedges where blackberries are growing until the crop has been gathered.

Further particulars may be obtained from the County Organizer, 12 Northgate Street, Warwick, Mr WA Brockington, 33 Bowling Green Street, Leicester, or from any local Food Office.


ON & AFTER the 28th August, 1918, the provisions of the Plums (Sales) Order, 1918 (hereinafter called the Principal Order) shall apply to Damsons in the same way as such Order applies to Plums of the variety “ Blaisdon,” and so that the Schedule price for Damsons shall be £40 per ton, and in the application of Clauses 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, and 12 the date 28th August, 1918, shall be substituted for the date 29th July, 1918.

Infringements of this Order are summary offences against the Defence of the Realm Regulations,

Divisional Commissioner for Food (North Midland Division).
29th August, 1918.


Captain Wratislaw, being of military age and passed Grade 1, has accepted military service, and resigned his position as National Service representative.

Lance-Corpl C F Jordan, Machine Gun Corps, of 35 James Street, has been wounded in the right leg, and is now in hospital in Kent.

Pte G T Boyson, Tank Corps, son of Mrs Boyson, 7 Temple Street, Rugby, been been awarded the Military Medal.

On Tuesday Mr George Souster, ticket collector, 73 Cambridge Street, received the news that his son, Gunner Albert George Souster, of the Tanks Battalion, had been killed by a shell on August 29th. Gunner Souster, who was 20 years of age, enlisted in the R.F.A in March, 1917, and was subsequently transferred to the Tank Battalion and drafted to France in January last. Before joining up he was a clerk in the L& N.-W Railway Goods office at Coventry. He was a teacher in the Primitive Methodist Sunday School.

The Rev R J B Irwin D.S.O, M.C, Assistant Chaplain-General to the Fourth Army in France, has been awarded by the French Authorities the “ Croix de Guerre.” The general order in which the award was notified states that “ On 18th May, 1918, when an attack by hostile aircraft caused an explosion at an ammunition dump, the above-named officer immediately made his way to the scene of the disaster and worked for several hours, in spite of continued explosions, with absolute disregard for his own safety to organise the saving of the civilians, whose lives were endangered owing to the collapse of houses shattered by the force of the explosion.”

Pte C Curtis, Royal Warwicks, who was reported wounded and missing on October 8th 1ast has now been officially reported killed on or about that date. Before joining up in August, 1916, he was employed by Mr H Cox. He leaves a widow and two children.

As arranged, the Vicar has paid out of the proceeds of the recent sale on the Vicarage Lawn to the War Working Depot and to the Soldiers Parcel Fund, £24 each; to the District Nursing Association, £10 10s. The remaining £9 odd will be retained as a reserve fund for parochial affairs.

ON Sunday evening the B.T.H Band gave a sacred concert in the Caldecott Park. Owing to the bitterly cold weather the attendance was not so large as usual. The collection was in aid of the Prisoners of War Fund.



SIR,—May I ask the courtesy of your columns for an appeal in reference to a matter of general interest.

Many people think that a collection of portraits of the local men who have laid down their lives in the present war might well be made in Rugby, and on behalf of the Library Committee I desire to ask Relatives to contribute photographs of those who have died in the cause of freedom and justice. The photographs, preferably of postcard or cabinet size, should be sent to the Librarian, St Matthew’s Street, and should bear on the back the name, rank and regiment, date of death, and any other fact of special interest. The photographs received will be suitably arranged and framed for permanent exhibition in the Museum, and should form a striking record of the brave men who have made the supreme sacrifice. I shall be grateful to all who can help if they will kindly send in photographs and particulars at the earliest possible date.

Yours faithfully,
Chairman of the Rugby Public Library Committee, Rugby, September 3, 1918.


SIR,—Will you kindly insert this in your columns as I should like it to catch the eye of those people who will persist in the dangerous practice of walking along in the middle of a country road at night, no matter how dark the night is, and especially where there is a side path. The idea that such a practice should prove a source of danger to themselves or others never seems to enter their minds.

Late last Sunday night a gentleman met with what might easily have proved a fatal accident while cycling down a steep hill in this district. No less than six or seven people were walking along in a row (in the roadway, of course), and, although he rang his bell violently, they did not move sufficiently for him to pass. The result was that he was thrown heavily, and sustained severe injuries to his head and shoulders, to say nothing of the damage done to his bicycle.

Personally, I should feel inclined to find out those people and call upon them to help pay expenses, though, to the best of my belief, they hardly stayed to ascertain what was wrong, but left that to other cyclists and residents near the scene of the accident.

I have reason to believe that the above is not an exceptional case by any means, and I think it is quite time something was done in the matter.

Yours, etc. INDIGNANT.

To the Editor of the Advertiser.

SIR,—Will you allow us a small space in your columns to refer to the remarks passed by some of the people residing on Clifton Road as to the conduct of the night workers employed by the Lodge Sparking Plug when leaving work at 6.30 a.m. After being shut up twelve hours, surely a little harmless laughing can be indulged in, and, moreover, 6.30 am is not such an unearthly hour to be aroused if the people are on work of national importance. The ordinary bustle of everyday life is not stopped for our convenience when we are trying to get a well-earned rest.

Yours, Night Workers,

A Critical Decision Revealed
Britain’s Sacrifice for Liberty

It was a moment of grave peril. The British Army was in danger of being driven into the sea. The Germans had almost separated the British and French Armies. The French coalfields were overrun. Would the next push get through? Could the Allied Armies stand the strain till American help arrived?

The supreme Army Commanders saw the only way to save the situation. They had to take the men. They had to take the coal. 75,000 more Miners were called to the colours. Our winter coal reserves were sacrificed to save the Armies and to bring the Americans to the front.

That decision, grave as it was, has been splendidly justified. A dangerous retreat has been turned into a glorious advance. The Americans are pouring over. Victory is on the way.

The saving of the Armies has meant a shortage of coal.

Still more coal is required. Discomfort is inevitable. Everyone must use less coal. The more coal saved the greater our power to defeat the enemy.

Issued by the Coal Mines Dept. of the Board of Trade, Holborn Viaduct, E.C.1.


BACON.—In ever-loving memory of my dear son, SAMUEL ALGERNON BACON, who died from wounds received in France, August 25th, 1918.
Not dead to us, we love him still ;
Not lost, but gone before ;
He lives with us in memory still,
And will for evermore.
—Mother, Sister and Brothers.

CURTIS.—In affectionate remembrance of my dear husband, Ptc C. CURTIS (Bilton), 16th Warwicks, (previously missing, now reported killed), aged 36 years.
No one knows the silent heartache,
Only those can tell,
Who have lost their dear ones,
Without one last “ Farewell.”
—From his loving Wife and Children.

PLANT.—On August 27th, Lance-Corporal GEORGE JOHN PLANT, M.M., Coldstream Guards, died of wounds in France.—In loving memory, from his Wife and Children.

SOUSTER.—Killed in action on August 28th, Gunner ALBERT GEORGE SPOUSTER, Tank Battalion, son of Mr. George Souster, 73 Cambridge Street, Rugby, aged 20 years.

WOOTTON.—In loving memory of my dear husband, Lance-Corpl. G. W. Wootton, 4th Bedfordshire Regt., killed in action in France on August 23rd, 1918, aged 34 years.
“ God has taken our loved one from a world of
sorrow to sweet rest in Heaven, where he awaits us.”
—From his sorrowing wife & child, mother, sisters and brothers.


COLLEDGE.—In ever loving memory of ARCHER COLLEDGE, killed in action on September 3, 1917.
“ We pictured your safe returning,
And longed to clasp your hand,
But God postponed that meeting
Till we meet in that better land.
Some may think that we forget him,
When at times they see us smile,
But they little know the sorrow
Which is hid behind the smile.”
—Never forgotten by his wife and daughter Edna.

GREEN.—In ever loving and affectionate remembrance of FREDERICK JOHN, the dearly loved son of Frederick and the late Louisa Greenfield Green, Gladstone St., New Bilton, who died of wounds in France on September 7, 1916.
—Sadly mourned and missed by his loving Father, Sisters, and Brothers.

MEADOWS.—In loving memory of our dear son, Gunner C. H. Meadows, R.F.A., who died on September 4th at 11th Stationary Hospital, Rouen, of wounds received in action on July 17, 1917. Buried at St. Severn’s Cemetery, Rouen.
“ Days of sadness still come o’er us,
Tears in silence often flow,
Thinking of the day we lost him,
Just one year ago.
Could I have raised your dying head.
Or heard your last farewell.
Our grief would not have been so hard,
For one we loved so dear.”
—From his sorrowing Mother & Father, Brothers & Sister, & Fiancée.

RUDDLE.—In loving memory of Pte. GEORGE RUDDLE, of the 26th Royal Warwickshire Regiment, who fell in action, September 3, 1917.
“ Oh ! noble was our dear one death.
His previous life he gave,
He faithfully did his duty,
His native land to save,
—Lou and George.

WARD.—In ever loving memory of Rifleman C. WARD, of Brandon, killed in action in France on September 3, 1916.—A day of remembrance sad to all.
—Ever remembered by his Father, Mother, Sisters, and Brothers.

WARD.—In loving memory of my dear husband, GEORGE WARD, died September 3, 1916.
“ There’s a link death cannot sever—
Love and remembrance last for ever.”

Souster, Albert George. Died 29th Aug 1918

Albert George SOUSTER, generally known as Bert Souster, was born on 24 May 1898 in Rugby.   He was the eldest son of George Thomas Souster, b.c.1875, in Fenny Stratford, Buckinghamshire and Florence Jessie, née Adie, Souster, b.c. 1874, in Tamworth, Staffordshire.  They married in 1898 in Tamworth.

In 1901 the family were living at 71 Cambridge Street, Rugby; Albert’s father was 26 and a Railway Parcel Porter; his mother was 27.  Albert was 2 years old.

By 1911 the family had moved next door to 73 Cambridge Street, Rugby.[1]  George was 12 and now had two brothers: Allan Thomas who was 9 and Stanley who was 6.  Their father was now a Ticket Collector.

Albert attended Murray School and later became a Railway Clerk, latterly L& N.-W Railway Goods office at Coventry Station.  He was also a teacher in the Primitive Methodist Sunday School.[2]

Unfortunately no Service Record has survived for Albert, but it seems that he enlisted in Rugby, in March 1917, initially as a Private, No: 212797, in the Royal Horse and Royal Field Artillery.  There is no date on Albert’s Medal Card for when he went to France, but as noted in a later obituary, it was at the start of 1918.

At some date he transferred to the Machine Gun Corps, and then, or later, into the ‘Heavy Branch’, the ‘disguised’ name for the new Tank Corps.  His Medal Card has him latterly as a Private, No: 109743 in the 12th Battalion, the Tank Corps.

It appears that men with Tank Corps numbers in the range ‘109000 to 109999’ were mostly transfers in from Royal Field Artillery.[3]  That would have been the case for Albert.

The Tank Corps were at first considered artillery, and crews received artillery pay.  At that time the six tank companies were grouped as the Heavy Section of the Machine Gun Corps (MGC).  In November 1916 the eight companies then in existence were each expanded to form battalions (still identified by the letters A to H) and designated the Heavy Branch MGC; another seven battalions, I to O, were formed by January 1918, when all the battalion were changed to numbered units.  On 28 July 1917, the Heavy Branch was separated from the rest of the Corps by Royal Warrant and given official status as the Tank Corps.  The formation of new battalions continued and, by December 1918, 26 had been created though only 25 battalions were equipped with tanks, as the 17th had converted to armoured cars in April 1918.[4]

There does not appear to be a readily accessible War Diary for the ‘L’ or 12th Battalion of the Tank Corps, but some information on organisation in early 1918 has been found.[5]

‘Early in January 1918 orders were, however, received that in place of remaining assembled at one spot the Tank Corps was to form a defensive cordon stretching from about Roisle to a little south of Bethune – a frontage of some sixty miles.  In February this line was taken up, tank units being distributed as follows: … 1st Tank Brigade, which latterly had its H.Q in Bois d’Olhain.  The Brigade included: 7th Bn. at Boyelles ; 11th Bn. at Bois des Alleux; and 12th Bn. at Bois de Verdrel.

The 1st Brigade were thus in position on a line between Bethune and south of Saint Quentin, some 10 miles to the west of Cambrai, with Albert, assuming that he arrived with the 12th Bn. soon after the date he went to France, near the 1st Brigade H.Q. about five miles south of Bethune.

He may well have been involved in some of the initial holding actions after the German offensive Operation Michael,[6] in later March 1918; and certainly later, in the actions following the Battle of Amiens on 8 August 1918, which was the first day of the Allied offensive, which led to the successful ‘100 Days Offensive to Victory’.

Tanks were used to assist many of the offensive actions, and there were daily losses in the various Battalions of the Tank Corps – some no doubt due to the shelling of the rear lines, as well as when tanks were in action.  Indeed on the very day that Albert was killed, one of the Tank Corps’ Victoria Crosses was won, at Fremicourt, about six kms. south, on 29 August 1918, when serving in a ‘Whippet’ light tank, in 3rd (Light) Tank Bn. Tank Corps,
‘ … Lieutenant Cecil Sewell dismounted to save the crew of another tank, was killed in the process and awarded the Victoria Cross.’

Albert George Souster was in the 12th not the 3rd, but was also ‘Killed in Action’ on 29 August, ‘by a shell’.  Another soldier in his 12th Bn. also died that day and can probably help locate the battalion.  Although later re-buried in the Mory Abbey Military Cemetery, Mory, Private William Gordon was originally buried at Map Reference: 57c B 8a 8.5.[7]  This is about 1500yards to the north-east of Ervillers, which is about 25 miles west of Cambrai, and is likely to be where the 15th Bn. was in action or more probably leaguered and waiting to go into action.  Also originally found buried a few hundred yards to the east of William Gordon, at M.Ref: 57c B 8b 5.2., were two members of the Grenadier Guards, a member of the 1st Bn. Kings Royal Rifles and Captain L A Wilkins of the 2nd/4th Yorks and Lancs.  They were also recovered from the battlefield to be buried in the Mory Abbey Military Cemetery, and their Battalions were in action in the few days before Albert’s death during the attacks around Ervillers.

Soon the advance moved forward, the 12th Bn Tank Corps came into action on 2 September 1918 and incurred the loss of 13 men killed near Mory.  Most were recovered to be buried in the nearby Mory Abbey Military Cemetery.  However, three were later recovered from the battlefield, and provide an indication of where the 12th Bn. were then in action – they were recovered at Map References that can also be found a little to the south on the Trench Map:[8] – Knowles at M.Ref: 57c H 3a 4.8; Sliddard at M.Ref: 57c B 28c 2.1.; and Mitchell at M.Ref: 57c B 26 c 1.5.

Albert was ‘killed instantaneously by a shell’ in action on 29 August 1918 – he was only 20.  Until a War Diary can be consulted, it seems likely that his was a random death during counter-shelling.  His body was either not found, or no longer able to be found, or not identified and he is commemorated on Panel 11, of the Vis-en-Artois Memorial, in Pas de Calais, France.

Vis-en-Artois and Haucourt are villages on the road from Arras to Cambrai, about 10 kilometres south-east of Arras.  The Vis-en-Artois Memorial is the back drop to the Vis-en-Artois British Cemetery, which is west of Haucourt.

The Memorial bears the names of over 9,000 men who fell in the period from 8 August 1918 to the date of the Armistice in the Advance to Victory in Picardy and Artois, between the Somme and Loos, and who have no known grave.  They belonged to the forces of Great Britain and Ireland and South Africa; the Canadian, Australian and New Zealand forces being commemorated on other memorials to the missing.  The Memorial consists of a screen wall in three parts.  The middle part of the screen wall is concave and carries stone panels on which names are carved.  It is 26 feet high flanked by pylons 70 feet high.  The Stone of Remembrance stands exactly between the pylons and behind it, in the middle of the screen, is a group in relief representing St George and the Dragon.  The flanking parts of the screen wall are also curved and carry stone panels carved with names.  Each of them forms the back of a roofed colonnade; and at the far end of each is a small building.  The memorial was designed by J.R. Truelove, with sculpture by Ernest Gillick.  It was unveiled by the Rt. Hon. Thomas Shaw on 4 August 1930.[9]

Albert’s Medal Card and the Medal Roll showed that he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.  He is also remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gate.

The Rugby Advertiser posted a notice of Albert’s death on 7 September 1918
On Tuesday Mr George Souster, ticket collector, 73 Cambridge Street, received the news that his son, Gunner Albert George Souster, of the Tanks Battalion, had been killed by a shell on August 29th. Gunner Souster, who was 20 years of age, enlisted in the R.F.A in March, 1917, and was subsequently transferred to the Tank Battalion and drafted to France in January last.  Before joining up he was a clerk in the L& N.-W Railway Goods office at Coventry.  He was a teacher in the Primitive Methodist Sunday School.[10]

The same edition included a family Death notice – with a slightly earlier date of death.
SOUSTER. – Killed in action on August 28th, Gunner ALBERT GEORGE SPOUSTER, Tank Battalion, son of Mr. George Souster, 73 Cambridge Street, Rugby, aged 20 years.

The Coventry Evening Telegraph also published a brief obituary on 7 September 1918.
Albert George Souster, Tank Corps, who before joining was employed as a clerk at Coventry railway station, has fallen in action, having been killed instantaneously by a shell.  Son of Ticket-examiner George Souster of Rugby, he joined up in March last year in the R.F.A., and proceeded France at the beginning this year.  He was aged 20.[11]

His death was not officially reported in the Weekly Casualty List until early-October,
‘PART VII  – W.O.’s., N.C.O.’s and Men, (Cont.) – Killed (Cont). … Tank Corps … Souster, 109743, A.G. (Rugby).[12]

This was followed by publication in ‘The Roll of Honour’ in the Coventry Evening Telegraph on 7 October 1918,
‘THE ROLL OF HONOUR.  Coventry and District Casualties.  Today’s list of casualties include the following: Killed. … Tank Corps, Souster, 109743, A.G. Rugby.[13]

Between 21 August 1918 and the Armistice on 11 November 1918, some 2,400 men and officers of the Tank Corps became casualties.

A later family remembrance in the Rugby Advertiser stated,
‘SOUSTER – In ever loving memory of our dear son, Gunner A G Souster (Bert), killed in France, Aug. 29th. 1918.  “Ever in our thoughts”.  From his sorrowing Mother, Father, and Brothers.’

When the Rugby Memorial Gates were dedicated in 1922, ‘Souster A G’ was among those listed in the Rugby Advertiser as being included on the Memorial Gates.[14]

Soon afterwards, on Empire Day in May 1922, Albert Souster was remembered at Murray School,

The celebrations were commenced with a service, at which “The Supreme Sacrifice.” “O God, our Help in Ages Past,” and other national songs were sung to the accompaniment of the school orchestra.  After the play interval the hoys formed up in the ground and, headed by the school troop of Boy Scouts under the command of Scoutmaster Rowbottom, marched past the flag at the salute.  Earlier in the morning a beautiful wreath was placed under the Old Boys’ Memorial in memory of A. G. Souster, whose birthday coincided with Empire Day.  A holiday was given in the afternoon.[15]






– – – – – –


This article on Albert George SOUSTER was researched and written for the Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by Anne Rogers and John P H Frearson and is © Anne Rogers, John P H Frearson and the RFHG, April and August 2018.

[1]      The street had not been renumbered, as the Bayfords at 69, and the Clarks at 79, were still at the same addresses.

[2]      Rugby Advertiser, 7 September 1918.

[3]      Howard Williamson’s notes, taken from http://armyservicenumbers.blogspot.com/2017/06/the-tank-corps-enlistments-1916-1919.html.

[4]      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Tank_Regiment.

[5]      Fuller, J.F.C., Tanks in the Great War, 1920.

[6]      https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com/2018/03/20/the-1918-spring-offensive-operation-michael/.

[7]      See trench map at https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=15&lat=50.1725&lon=2.8365&layers=101465149&b=1

[8]      See trench map at https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=15&lat=50.1453&lon=2.8452&layers=101465149&b=1

[9]      https://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/79200/vis-en-artois-memorial/.

[10]     Rugby Advertiser, 7 September 1918 also https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com/2018/09/07/7th-sep-1918-grand-fete-at-clifton-manor/.

[11]     Coventry Evening Telegraph, Saturday, 7 September 1918, and Coventry Herald, Saturday, 14 September 1918.

[12]     Weekly Casualty List (War Office & Air Ministry), Tuesday, 8 October 1918.

[13]     Coventry Evening Telegraph, Monday, 7 October 1918.

[14]     Rugby Advertiser, Friday, 10 March 1922.

[15]     Rugby Advertiser, Friday, 26 May 1922.

14th Jul 1917, The Rugby Baking Trade – No more men can be spared.


On Thursday evening in last week the Rugby Urban Tribunal spent hours in considering the suggestion of the Military that, by means of a scheme of co-operation in the baking trade, a number of men could be dispensed with. There were present : Messrs J J McKinnell (chairman), W Flint, T A Wise, L Loverock, and H Yates. Mr H P Highton was the Military representative, and Col F F Johnstone (recruiting officer) and Mr F M Burton (secretary to the Advisory Committee) were also present. Two of the cases were applications for further exemptions, and the remaining 28, consisting of master bakers, their employees, and the employees of the Co-operative Society, were questions raised by the Military.

Mr H P Highton opened the case, and explained that, from figures which had been laid before the Advisory Committee, that body were of opinion that the quantity of bread consumed in Rugby was far beyond the requirements under Lord Devonport’s scheme. With a view to preventing overlapping and wastage of labour, a deputation from the Advisory Committee met the Committee of the Co-operative Society, and asked them to formulate a scheme for the centralisation of the baking trade locally. The reason the Co-operative Society was approached was that they possessed by far the largest plant in the town, and the Advisory Committee thought they would be much more capable of propounding a scheme. The Co-operative Committee were very reluctant to put forward such a scheme, and it was only by appealing to their patriotism that the Advisory Committee could gain their consent. This scheme was explained to the master bakers, but failed to meet with their approval. On June 13th the Advisory Committee met the master bakers to discus» this or an alternative scheme, and after this meeting the Chairman of the Master Bakers’ Association wrote to the Committee :- “ The master bakers agree to co-operate, and to leave you (the Advisory Committee) to take which employees you think fit. At the same time, we ask you to be good enough to give substitutes where possible, and to allow a little time before calling up.”—A further conference of all the parties concerned was held on June 25th, and as it then appeared that there was no prospect of arranging a definite scheme, the only course left to the Military was to call up all the bakers who had received exemptions. He wished to emphasise the fact that this had not been done on the spur of the moment. The Advisory Committee had not acted impulsively, but they had endeavoured to act in a manner which would cripple the industry to the least extent. He suggested that, after hearing the facts, the Tribunal should decide how many men should be made available for the Army, and then the members of the trade themselves could, within a week, submit a list from which the final selections could be made. If this course was adopted, he asked the bakers to consider the national interests before everything else, and to deal fairly with the Military by releasing, as far as possible, general service men. He was quite aware that the baking trade was a hard and exacting one, and that “ A ” men were most useful to them. Doubtless a system of co-operation might mean that they would have to work longer hours, but the sacrifice they were asked to make was not comparable to that which was made by the men in the trenches, or of the mother who gave up her boy.


The following statistics were then agreed upon after some discussion :—Population of Rugby and New Bilton, 28,000 ; bread baked by Co-operative Society and delivered outside the town, 2,400 loaves per week ; bread sold by private bakers in the country, 2,390 loaves ; bread sold in town by country bakers, about 90 loaves per week ; number of 4-lb loaves to sack of 280lbs, 90. It was agreed that each employee of the Co-operative Society, with the assistance of machinery, could make up 11 sacks a week, and other bakers 10 per week. On this basis it was calculated that five men were required to bake the bread which was delivered from Rugby in the country. In order to arrive at the number of bakers required to supply the town, Mr Highton suggested that they should take Lord Devonport’s rations as a basis, indeed, this was the only basis they were allowed to work on, he contended.

Mr Eaden objected, however, and pointed out that this was not a compulsory, but a voluntary ration. It was not within the province of the Military or the Tribunal to say what the public should consume, and he contended that they should work on the basis of the bread which was actually consumed in the town. A large number of railway men were employed in the town, and many of the engine-drivers, firemen, guards, &c, when starting on a journey, often took one or two meals with them, and some of them took a loaf. The Tribunal must not work on an imaginary basis, but upon facts. A few weeks ago the actual number of sacks baked in the town was 491, and if the rationing had been adhered to on a basis of 30,000 population only 312 sacks would have been required.

It was pointed out that at present the private bakers made up 258 sacks (bread only) and the Co-operative Society 182—a total of 440. To do this the private bakers would require 26 men and the Co-operative Society 17—total, 43. Of the 440 sacks made up 52 was for country delivery, leaving 388 for the town. This would bring the average consumption per head to 4 27-28ths lbs of bread. The Davenport ration of 4lbs included flour used for other domestic purposes, however.

Mr Highton contended that only 30 men were required to bake the bread necessary for Rugby and New Bilton, and five for the villages. It was possible, too, he thought, to dilute the trade by women labour. This had been tried with successful results in some towns.

Mr F M Burton gave the figures of employees in the Rugby baking trade as follows :—Private traders, whole-time bakers 29, youths 10, boys 9 ; Co-operative Society, whole-time bakers 18, women (confectionery) 4, and 1 boy. This made a total of 47 whole-time bakers, and the youths between them might do as much as two whole-time bakers.

Mr Baden contended that the private traders only had 22 whole-time men engaged in the trade.—Mr Yates pointed out that, although it had been urged that 43 men were required to bake the bread for the town and district, according to the figures only 40 men were employed, and Mr Wise drew attention to the fact that from Mr Eaden’s figures his 22 men were making up 11 sacks a week each on an average.—Mr Eaden informed the Tribunal that several of the master bakers were engaged wholly on confectionery and smalls, and others only made up a small quantity of bread. He also asked whether the Military were anxious to go on with the scheme suggested, whereby all the bread should be made at the Co-operative Society’s bakehouse.

Mr Highton replied that the Military held no brief for the scheme. He would be delighted to see a scheme adopted, but they had no means of enforcing such a scheme.—Mr Yates said, as the disparity between the capacity of a baker working at the Co-operative bakehouse and the other bakers was so little, only one sack per man per week, he failed to see that a centralisation scheme was advisable. Had there been any marked difference it would have been worth considering.—Mr Highton thought the scheme would save labour in many ways, especially in delivering.—Mr Eaden : We have very serious objections to any such scheme.


At the request of the Tribunal, Mr F M Burton briefly explained the scheme which had been put forward, and said it had been suggested that the whole of the bread should be baked on the premises of the Co-operative Society, and that the master bakers should send in their orders on the day before they required it. The cost of production, such as wages, rent, fire, light, rates, gas for the engine, &c, would be added to the costs of the flour, and the master bakers would be charged cost price. The wages of the men employed would be on the scale of the Bakers’ Union, and the control of the scheme would be vested in a committee of seven—three master bakers, three members of the Co-operative Society, and an independent chairman. Every week each master baker would receive a share of the profits based upon his purchases. The Advisory Committee were of opinion that if such a scheme was adopted it would result in a great saving of labour.—In reply to Mr Loverock, Mr Burton said, if they agreed upon Lord Devonport’s rations, the whole bread required for Rugby could be baked by 30 men at a central station.—Mr Eaden contended that there was not a suspicion of a satisfactory factor in the scheme so far as the master bakers, were concerned. When the bread was baked at the Co-operative Society the bakers would be expected to fetch it away, and before they could do so they would be charged with a proportion of the Society’s rent, rates, taxes, &c ; while at the same time their own rent would be running on. Was it suggested to cause all this upheaval and throw all these men out of business for the sake of one extra sack per week per man ? He also pointed out that if ovens were not used for any length of time they tended to deteriorate.

In giving the decision of the Tribunal, the Chairman said, after very careful consideration, they were unanimously of opinion that the state of affairs which had been disclosed did not warrant them taking any more men from the baking trade. In view of the quantity of flour baked, they did not see how they could carry on with fewer men. The two applications would be adjourned, and the exemptions, which had been reviewed at the request of the Military, would be allowed to stand.


DR 17 PROSECUTIONS.—Austin William Harris, baker, 37 Pennington Street, Rugby, and William John Eales, farmer, Ling Hall Farm, Church Lawford, were summoned for failing to deliver to the Recruiting Officer at Rugby a statement of all their male employees of 16 years of age or over on July 2nd and June 30th respectively.-Eales wrote stating that he was too busy to answer the summons personally. He was sorry the offence had occurred, but he did not know that he had to send any forms in. He only employed two men, and one of these was over 60.—P.S Percival stated that on June 30th he called on defendant, and asked if he had sent the form in, and he replied that he did not know he had to do so.-Frank Middleton Burton, supervising clerk, Recruiting Office, Rugby, stated that on June 30th no Form DR 17 had been received from defendant. He added that the non-receipt of these forms retarded the work of the Recruiting Officer and caused considerable delay. The Military Authorities had spent large sums in advertising the regulation in the newspapers, and already they had had one prosecution in that Court.-In reply to Mr Wise, Mr Burton said the advertisement appeared for 10 or 12 weeks.—In imposing a fine of £2, the Chairman said employers must understand that they must comply with the law.-Harris admitted the offence, and pleaded ignorance.—The Chairman : What are you ?—Defendant : A baker.—Q : Don’t you ever see a local newspaper ?—A : I don’t get much time for reading.—Mr Wise pointed out that the Advisory Committee had done everything possible. They advertised the regulations conspicuously in large type, and one could not open a newspaper without seeing it.—Defendant stated that he only employed one man casually, and as this man was over military age defendant did not think he had to send a form in in respect of him.—Mr Burton said the form had not yet been sent in.-Fined £2.

LIGHTING OFFENCE.—Christopher H Pywell, dentist, Rugby, was summoned for an offence under the Lights Order, at Rugby, on June 29th.—He pleaded guilty.-P.C Lester deposed that at about midnight on June 29th he saw a bright light shining from a window at the back of 49 Church Street. The light was unshaded. On the following day witness saw defendant, and he said he would take all responsibility. He added that he switched the light on to see to write a letter, and he forgot to turn it off when he went out.—Fined £1.


Second Lieutenant Maurice V Eyden (son of Mr Alfred Eyden), 2nd Northants Regiment, has been promoted to the rank of First-Lieutenant.

Lieut M E T Wratislaw, supervisor of Warwickshire Military Service Appeal Tribunals, has been promoted to the rank of Captain.

Second-Lieut J A Hattrell, who for some time was at the Rugby Recruiting Office, but is now in the Birmingham area, has been promoted to a captaincy. He is the son of Mr G P Hattrell, of Welford.

Signaller L Smith, R.F.A, who prior to enlisting was employed for several years in the saloon of Mr A Coleman, hairdresser, Church Street, has been recommended for the Military Medal for conspicuous gallantry by remaining at his post under particularly heavy shell-fire on June 7th and 8th. He has served in France nine months. His home is at Cambridge.

Warrant-Officer A Forsyth, son of Mrs Forsyth, 48 Murray Road, has been personally thanked by the General-in-Command of the R.F.C in the East for his splendid work out there. He also obtained his commission on the field, being promoted to lieutenant. He has twice received the Serbian decorations—first the Silver Star and since the Cross of Karageorge.

Sapper W A Tandy, Royal Engineers, attached to the to the Leicester and Lincoln Territorial Brigade, has been awarded the Military Medal. Prior to the War Sapper Tandy was employed as a machine minder at Messrs Frost’s, printers.

Mrs Mulliner invited a number of people to attend a concert given on Saturday evening by the Sports Club of the 84th Squadron R.F.C, to the officers who are patients in her hospital at Clifton Court. A more beautiful or healthy position for convalescents could not be desired, and the recreative facilities have been added to by the transformation of the rose garden into an open-air theatre. This sheltered nook in the grounds lends itself admirably to such a purpose. A spacious stage has been erected at one end, and scenic effects are obtained by the tasteful arrangement of flowers, evergreens, &c. The auditorium was fairly well filled with officers and visitors, and also men of the Flying Corps and their friends, who enjoyed the excellent programme presented by the entertainers.

Corpl S Souster is amongst the names given in General Murray’s list of recommendations in his Egyptian dispatch. Corpl Souster, who lives at Grosvenor Road, Rugby, joined the Rugby Company of the Royal Engineers as surveyor on its formation, and went out to Egypt with the Company. He was afterwards put on the important work of taking the water supply across the desert, and was greatly complimented by the Chief Engineer of Egypt. He has since been promoted to a sergeant.

FOOTBALL IN FRANCE.—During their “ rest ” behind the, lines the khaki men play various games, notably, Association football. Recently the 1/7 Royal Warwicks met a team of Australians, and beat them by 12 goals to 3. In the return game, however, the tables were turned, and the Warwicks were defeated by 14 goals to 9. C M S Hayes, of Rugby, captained the Warwicks XI.



DEAR SIR,—Under the above heading an article appears in your issue of June 30, stating “ representations are being made to the War Office and Petrol Committee to the effect that all petrol licenses should be made subject to membership of the Motor Corps,” and in another sentence the “ commandeering of cars ” is mentioned.

May I ask on whose authority these statements are made, so that I may have some tangible source to quote when making counter-representations ? Have the Ministry of Munitions or the Red Cross Society been consulted ?

The latter is more especially of personal interest to me, being responsible for the organisation of transport for wounded in connection with two local hospitals. Am I to understand that those car-owners who have given their help for so many months, sometimes running their cars a hundred miles in a single week for this purpose, are to be debarred from the use of their cars unless they join the Motor Volunteer Corps ?

Many car-owners, like myself, take exception to the tone of the article. The composer of it is evidently unaware of local conditions and still less of the saying that “ one catches more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

—Yours truly,            F. VAN DEN AREND.
Whitehall, Rugby, July 12, 1917.

CROOP HILL ALLOTMENTS.—An Allotment-Holders’ Association has been formed by the tenants of these allotments, the objects being : To foster the spirit of co-operation in the production of food and its distribution ; to eliminate waste labour ; to buy in bulk where practicable seeds, raw material, and implements for cultivation ; to endeavour to place under cultivation all unused land in the Bilton district, and to affiliate to kindred societies. At the initial meeting a committee of twelve was formed, with Mr Goodacre as president ; Mr R Lovegrove as chairman ; Mr W R Beasley, 14 Adam Street, New Bilton, as secretary ; and Mr W H Corfield is treasurer. The association has bought a sprayer and the members are co-operating in the spraying of the potato crop. Steps are being taken for registration of the association. Although beginning in a small way, it is felt that there is a wide field for the development of the association.

A BRAVE SOLDIER HOME.—Gunner Mark Herbert, R.G.A, recently reported severely wounded, has now been invalided home.


BARNWELL.—In ever-loving remembrance of Lance-Corpl. GEORGE T. BARNWELL, who died of wounds on July 15, 1915.-“ A day of remembrance sad to recall.”—From his loving MOTHER, SISTERS, BROTHERS and ELSIE.

BUTLIN.—In loving memory of my dear son, Rifleman R. B. BULTIN, of the K.R.R., who fell in action in France on July 10, 1916.
“ Sleep on, dear one, in a soldier’s grave ;
Your life for your country you nobly gave.”
—Ever remembered by his FATHER, BROTHER, SISTER and AUNT.

DAVENPORT.—In loving memory of our dear and only son and brother, 1210 Gunner WILLIAM EWART DAVENPORT, killed in action July 18th, 1916, aged 18 years.
Gone to the face we loved so dear,
Silent your voice we long to hear,
Your gentle hands, your loving face,
There is none can take our dear one’s place.
Fought with the brave, his life he gave,
And now he rests in a soldier’s grave.
—From his sorrowing MOTHER, FATHER, & SISTERS.

HIPWELL.—In loving memory of our dear son, Pte. ARTHUR HIPWELL, who was killed in action in France on July 14,1916 ; aged 25 years.
“Out on yonder battlefield there is a silent grave
Of one we loved so dearly, and yet we could not save.
His King and country called him ; he bravely did his best :
But God saw fit to take him to his eternal rest.”
—From his loving FATHER and MOTHER, BROTHERS and SISTERS.

KENNEY.—In loving memory of Sergt. ROLAND ISAAC (1/7 R.W.R. Territorials), dearly beloved son of Mr. & Mrs. T. Kenney, Stretton-under-Fosse, who was killed in action on the Somme in France on July 14th, 1916 ; aged 23 years.
“ He fought for his country,
He answered duty’s call ;
His home, his friends, his comforts ;
He sacrificed them all ;
But be won the admiration
Of Britain’s glorious name.”
“ Peace, perfect peace.”
—Never forgotten by his loving MOTHER & FATHER, SISTERS and BROTHERS.

LANGHAM.—Killed in action on April 20th, in France, WILLIAM LANGHAM, son of Mrs. Langham, 14 New Street, New Bilton, Rugby.
“ Not dead to those who loved him :
Not lost, but gone before ;
He lives with us in memory,
And will for evermore.”
—Never forgotten by his loving brother, Sergt. LANGHAM, B.E.F., France.

MANNING.—In loving memory of Pte. THOMAS MANNING, Northants. Regiment, of Braunston, who died of wounds on July 11, 1916, at 13 General Hospital, Boulogne.—Not forgotten by his wife GEORGINA, of Leamington.

PAYNE.—In loving memory of Lance-Corpl. E. PAYNE, who was killed in action on July 15, 1916.—“ He died a hero’s death fighting for King and country.”—Gone but not forgotten by his WIFE and CHILDREN.