6th May 1916. Remember Rugby Boys on Active Service


This is an opportunity to help the Local Committee to send Comforts to Rugby Sailors, and Soldiers and to show your gratitude to the Rugby men who are fighting for You.

Keep alive warm thoughts of the home town in their hearts.

Offices & Supply Depot: Benn Buildings.

Hon. Organising Secretary : J REGINALD BARKER, who will gladly welcomes offers of help.


Second-Lieut K Westmacott Lane, R.F.A (T), 1st Worcester Battery, is reported dangerously wounded in France.

Lieut Allan Hand, 81st Provisional Battalion, T.F., is at present in hospital at Southend suffering from pneumonia.

Captain Leslie Cheape, of the Dragoons, the famous polo player, who is well known in the Rugby district, has been posted as missing.

Arrangements have, we understand, been made to use Bilton Hall, the residence of Mr Walter Barnewtt, as a Red Cross Hospital in place of Ashlawn, which was closed a short time ago.

Lieut-Colonel C Fane, D.S.O., of the Sherwoods, who was wounded in helping to quell the rebellion in Dublin formerly lived (as Captain Fane) at Brownsover Hall and Newton House, being well known in hunting circles in this locality.

Sergt Pattison, who since August last has been engaged in recruiting work at Rugby Drill Hall, has been ordered to rejoin his regiment, the Royal Warwicks. Sergt Pattison went to the front in the early days of the war, and was severely wounded, but he has now made a complete recovery. During his stay in Rugby he has, by his unfailing courtesy and geniality, made many friends, who will wish him good luck for the future.


As already reported by us, Sergt Bale, of the 2nd Batt Royal Welsh Fusiliers, has been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for special bravery in France. We understand Colonel F F Johnstone has been requested to present the medal to Sergt Bale at Rugby, and the presentation will be made at 2.15 on Sunday afternoon next, the 7th inst in Caldecott Park, near the Drill Hall, at which time, and place the Rugby Volunteer Training Corps will parade. There is no doubt this presentation will create a good deal of local interest, as Sergt Bale is a Rugby man and son of Mr J Bale, Lagoe Place.


Notices of appeal by attested married men in the Groups up to 41, called up under the proclamation posted last week, must be lodged with the Tribunals for the Rugby area not later than Monday next.



Held at the Benn Buildings on Thursday evening. Present: Messrs J J McKinnell (chairman), W Flint, L Loverock, and T A Wise. Major Neilson and Mr F M Burton represented the Military Authorities.

The case of an unattested dentist, which had been adjourned four times for an examination by a medical board, was first taken. Mr H Eaden represented appellant, and said the man had been medically examined and passed for garrison service at home. He was informed by the military doctor that the bread with which he would be served in the army would rapidly aggravate his complaint. He would also be given tea, which he now had to forego, and this would, make it impossible for him to go on. Mr Eaden said they would have to take the case on its merits, and he asked for an adjournment. Appellant was in partnership and the ramifications of the business were very widely extended, there being nine branches. Before the war they employed nine qualified men, but these had now bean reduced to three. They had also released several apprentices who had not yet finished their time. Their clients consisted of the lower middle class, who paid by instalments, and when a fair proportion of the money had been paid the work was done and the teeth supplied. Considerable sums were now in hand, and it would take six months to complete this work. His mother and an invalid sister were partly dependent upon him. They had unsuccessfully attempted to get someone to help carry on the work. A highly skilled man was required for this class of Work.—By Mr Burton : All the branches should be open each day, with an operator present, but as things were they had to be worked on a part-time basis.—There was also an appeal by the man’s partner, and he was called in and gave evidence of the difficulty of getting men.—Application refused.

A single plasterer, who had already had one period of exemption, made a further application, and stated that his circumstances had not altered.—Mr Eadon represented appellant, and said at present he employed four married men, three of whom were attested. In the event of this application being granted, he would undertake not to appeal for either of these men.—The Military Authorities had suggested that appellant’s father could carry on the business, but Mr Eaden pointed out that this was quite impossible, owing to his age. Appellant had sub-contracts on Government work, which would extend over several months. It was an absolute impossibility for the business to be carried on if he had to go, and it would fall into the hands of his competitors.—Exemption till 15th June. Appellant was informed that the Tribunal would not be able to do any more for him, and if he took any more contracts it would be at his own risk.

Application for a single baker, aged 20 years, was made by a local baker, who himself had given up his business’ to get employment at a local munitions factory.—The Military recommended that the application be refused, and the employee should return to his business.-Applicant stated that the round now was only a small one, and he went to work on shells in July last.—Refused.

A Rugby butcher appealed on behalf of a single slaughterman, aged 23. The Military Authorities recommended that the application be refused, and added that co-operative arrangements must be made, if necessary by the Tribunal.—Mr A H Reeve, President of the Master Butchers’ Association, was also present, and said this man was included in the nine slaughtermen referred to at the last meeting.—Appellant said this was the only man he had, and he also assisted another butcher by doing all his slaughtering.-Exemption till October 1st. The Chairman expressed the hope that the Butchers’ Association would go into the matter, and really try to work with each other and release some of these men.—Mr Reeve said they would do so. He did not like appealing for these single men. He thought they all ought to go, and it was not their wish to keep him.—The Chairman asked if it would be possible to work with butchers outside the Association, such as the Co-operative Society. These were not normal times.— Mr Reave answered that there were so few men to do the town work.



Monday night’s official news from Ireland indicated that the rebellion there had been crushed. All the rebels in Dublin had surrendered, and the city was declared to be quite safe. In the country districts the discouraged remnants of the ” Irish Republican Army ” are giving themselves up to the mobile columns hunting them down. About 1,500 prisoners have been brought to England.

The Press correspondents were on Saturday morning enabled to make a tour of the troubled districts. It was found that the only real damage to the city has been done in Sackville Street, the lower part of which has been laid in ruins. Shells, bombs, rifle fire, incendiary fires, and wanton damage have all contributed to the general destruction with a terrible completeness. Great gaping spaces mark the spots where the fine Post Office another famous buildings once stood.

Mr Asquith announced in the House of Commons on Wednesday afternoon that three of the signatories to the proclamation of an Irish Republic — P H Pearse, Thomas J Clarke, and Thomas MacDonagh – having been tried by court-martial ans found guilty, were shot that morning. Three of the other prisoners were sentenced to three years’ penal servitude.

Mr Birrell tendered his resignation of the Chief Secretaryship for Ireland on Monday. The resignation was at once accepted. He confessed in the House of Commons on Wednesday that he had made an ” untrue estimate” of the possibilities of the Sinn Fein movement.


CLIFTON.—In ever loving Memory of our dear son and brother Tom, who was killed in action on May 9th, 1915, somewhere in France.

“ One year has passed, our hearts still sore
Day by day we miss him more;
His welcome smile, his dear sweet face
Never on earth can we replace.
” We often sit and think of him,
And think of how he died;
To think he could not say good-bye
Before he closed his eyes.”
—Sadly missed by his loving mother, father, brother, and sisters.

STEBBING.—In loving memory of our dearly beloved son, Sydney Reginald, died of wounds in France, 4th May, 1915. Buried in Hazebrouck Cemetery.— From his lonely Mother, Father, Sisters & Brothers.

The twelve months’ old wound is still open, and our hearts bleed daily for the loss of one so dear to all.

20th Nov 1915. Recruiting at Rugby



So far the results of the recruiting canvass locally have been very disappointing. Only 25 men have enlisted for immediate Service, and of these the percentage from Rugby town is very small.

The number attested under Lord Derby’s group scheme so far is about 300. but of these more than two-thirds are employed at the B.T.H and have only been accepted under the Reserve B scheme, and if these, and a number from Willans and Robinson’s and the Railway Companies are subtracted, the actual total will not be an imposing one.

From the classes which Lord Derby’s scheme was intended to bring in, the response has been most feeble, and unless them is a decided improvement within the next few days, it will have to be confessed that, locally, at least, the scheme has been a failure. If this is so, no blame will attach to those who have the working of the scheme in hand, for from the beginning their labours have been indefatigable. During the past few days a number of ladies have rendered good service in filling up the attestation forms of grouped men. Those who have enlisted during the past week for immediate service are :

C Rhoades, 117 Oxford St, Rugby.
A Smith, 1 St Michael St, Lincoln.

S Collins, Swinberby, Lincoln.

A Marshall, 7 Decon St, Leicester.

G W Coleman, Husbands Bosworth.

F G Shillitoe, 139 Clifton Rd, Rugby.

G W Hook. South Kilworth.
E Brown, Gas Street, Rugby.

A G Dunkley, Watford, Rugby.
H H Curtlin, Thurlaston.
H G King, 34 Campbell St, New Bilton.

A T Hopkins. 223 Hinckley Rd, Leicester.
W E Orton, 243 Coton Rd, Nuneaton.

T Mann. Marton.
P Gibbins, Willougby.

W Arnett, 4 York St, Rugby.
J Thompson. Haddington, Scotland.
A Guiden, 22 Sandown Rd, Rugby.

J Webb, The Green, Long Lawford.
R Edkins, 3 Tank Cottages, Rugby.
O Cleaver, School Street, Hillmorton.

A Coleman, Milcombe, Banbury.
A Hitchman. Milrow Cottages, Bloxly, Worcester.

H Kirby, Ashby St Ledgers.

During the past week upwards of 200 employees of the B.T.H Company have enlisted under the Reserve system applying to munition workers. Many of these are married men, but owing to the ambiguous attitude of the Government-as shown in the House of Commons on Tuesday night—upon the question of single men first, it is doubtful if the appeal to married men will meet with the success which was at first predicted when the situation appeared to be more clear.


Just now many young men are worrying themselves as to which group under Lord Derby’s scheme they should enrol themselves, and whether they will when called up, get into a branch of the service that will be congenial to them.

The 7th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, in which the old E Company of Rugby is embodied, is now in need of recruits, at least 500 being required to bring its respective units up to full strength, and many will perhaps be disposed to think that the local force has first claim upon them.

Enlistment in the Territorial regiments assures a man of having companions with the same associations, the same interests, and the same sentiments.

The terms of enlistment are the same as in any other branch of the forces-three years or the period of the war. There is no undertaking to continue a member of the Territorial force after the war is over.

A recruiting office for the battalion has been instituted at the Benn Buildings, Rugby.

The following local men have recently joined : W F P Colledge, 48 Church St ; H F Flower, 18 Vicarage Hill, Clifton ; W Hickingbotham, 33 Cambridge St ; E Slack, 55 Manor Rd ; E R Ford, 51 Grosvenor Rd ; E H Ford, 51 Grosvenor Road ; A N Dunkley, Newton ; M W Bolton, and H Berry.


The many friends of Mr E R Stebbing will be pleased to hear he received the following letter on the 11th Inst.:

Warwick, 10th Nov., 1915.

SIR,—I am directed to inform you that his Majesty the King has approved of the grant of an Annuity of £10 from the 20th September, 1915, inclusive, together with a Silver Medal to you as a reward for your long and highly meritorious service.

(Signed) J H W SOUTHEY, Major, Staff Captain No 7 District.

The family has a good record of service of over 100 years, and also the following medals : 1 for Distinguished Conduct in the Field ; 3 for Meritorious Service ; 3 for Long Service and Good Conduct ; and 5 War Medals, with 19 Clasps for South Africa.


In Sir Ian Hamilton’s despatch from the Dardanelles, published on Nov 6th, Second Corp Edward L Damant, of the Royal Naval Division, was honourably mentioned. Corp Damant came from South Africa to obtain experience in electrical engineering at the B.T.H in July, 1914. and joined the Royal Naval Division in October 1914. He took part in the naval engagement at the Dardanelles, and took part in the main landing at the Galipoli Peninsula in April.



In a recent issue we mentioned that Sec-Lieut R J Dunn, youngest son of Mr W Dunn, of the Manor House, Kings Newnham, has been missing since September 25th. No further news came to hand till this week, when Mr Dunn received the following copy of a letter which had been written to the officer commanding the Royal Warwickshire Regiment :-

Maryport, Cumberland.
The O.C. Royal War. R.

DEAR SIR,—A wristlet watch has been sent to me by a friend who is now serving with the Cameron Highlanders in France, and who bayoneted a German officer and removed the watch from his wrist, to find that the real owner was an Englishman. The watch hears the name R. J. Dunn, 12th R.W.R., and my friend desires, to enquire about the gentleman’s family. Can you offer any information as to where the family, reside, or the gentleman himself ? I shall be glad of a reply.

The required information was sent to the writer of the letter, and Mr Dunn has received the watch.

Lieut Dunn, who had been in the O.T.C. at Birmingham University three years, joined the Warwickshire Yeomanry at the commencement of the war, and received his commission in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment (12th Battalion) soon afterwards. On July 9th he was attached to the Royal Engineers for special service, and went out on July 12th.


One of the effects of the shortage of labour, in consequence of the war, will no doubt be an increased use of machinery. Apparatus for milking cows, driven by oil engine, is gaining in favour, and is being introduced into a number of dairies in the Rugby district.

GRAMAPHONES GONE ASTRAY.-Will the correspondent who sent a letter from “ The boys of old E Company ” for publication please communicate with the Editor. Name and address was not given in accordance with our rule.

Two members of the clerical staff of the Locomotive Department at Rugby have joined the colours and left this week. Edgar H Ford has enlisted in the 7th Warwicks, and Edgar Jones has joined the King’s Liverpool “ Pals.” Their places have been taken by female clerks, these being the first women employed in the Locomotive Department at Rugby.

In our last issue we reported that Pte Percy Woodhams, of Cambridge Street, Rugby, had been reported missing. The name should have been Woodhouse, and we may also mention that he has two brothers also serving in the forces—one, Arthur, in the Rugby Howitzer Battery, and the other—Alfred—in the Worcester Howitzer Battery.


A Rugbeian, who is serving with the Rugby Howitzer Battery, “ somewhere in France,” has recently written to his father giving an amusing account of an early morning parade at the front.
“ Hi! Hello ! D’yer ’ear me ? Six o’clock ? You lazy devils !” This is the first thing that disturbs you in the morning—the voice of the “ awakener,” if you are lucky enough not to be on night duty ! You give a half-turn, not a whole one—this is only developed after a lot of practice—or you would find yourself on the ground. The bunks are not too broad. A spot of water gently drops cold upon your neck ! This is the first warning you receive that it has been a wet night. . . .
Then you sit up and look at one another, to see which will be the first out to light the fire. I’m very good at the “ looking ” part.
“ Come on, —- It’s about tune you jumped out and lit the fire for me once in your life. We’ve only ten minutes to roll.”
I jump out, catch hold of an old Rugby Advertiser, ram it in the stove, put on some sticks, and light it with one hand, while I struggle with boots and putties with the other, in the first glimmer, of the dawning day.
A shrill blast of a whistle informs us that we now have only five minutes to roll call. Then there’s a rush through mud and over trenches to out hidden place of parade. . . Two more blasts of the whittle. Then our gallant Sergt-Major yells, “ Fall in.” This disturbs the mist, and one can see if one has got both boots still on. Oh! that early morning parade !
It reminds me of some picture I have seen. I think it was called, “ All that was left of them,” or something like that. We look as if we have just come out of a stiff engagement, instead of from a “ good night’s rest.” I am sure some of the men can grow an inch of beard in a night ! It must be the moist air or the rum issue.
“ Battery, ‘shun ! No 1, call the roll !” This is the second order of the morning. Then our noble No 1 catches hold of his moustache with his thumb and first finger—it wouldn’t stand more so early in the morning—and giving a gentle twist so as not to break it, starts calling over the roll.
Perhaps during; this part of the proceedings the Germans will gently drop a shell into the village. Then there is a rush. “ Left section ! Stand to ! Fire No 3 gun.” Another German shell drops into the village ! “ Fire No 4 gun !”
This is a little game we are playing now. Every time the Germans shell our village, we shell theirs. “ Shell for shell,” or, I should say, “ Two for every one of theirs,” for we endeavour to be as generous as possible in the way of shells. In fact, I think if the Major has his way, the Germans would hardly have a village left for us to shell. It reminds one of two old women arguing, both wanting the last word. And it is only since there has been such an increase in munition manufacture that we have been able to beat them at the game.”

Stebbing, Sydney Reginald. Died 4th May 1915

Sydney Reginald Stebbing was born in Springfield Terrace Coventry[1] and his birth was registered on 3 October 1893. He was baptised on 24 Oct 1893 in Coventry, St Mark.

In 1901, aged 7, Sydney lived at 16 Newbold Road Rugby with his father Edwin Robert Stebbing, aged 54 (born 1847), a retired Army Bandmaster (1st Warwickshire Regiment and in 1911 Bandmaster at Rugby School ) and mother, Annabella Rebecca Armstrong, aged 46, along with his sibling Percy K Stebbing aged 11.   Also in the house were visitors Elizabeth E Stebbing , sister, who was single and aged 27, Benjamin C Stebbing, brother, aged 20, who was a Bandsman in the 2nd Devon Regiment and born in Aden in 1881 , and Marion L Poole, his married sister, who was 25, along with her husband William Poole aged 29, a Bank Clerk, and Horace Pears aged 23 who was a Solicitors Cashier.

In 1911, aged 17, Sydney was a boarder living at 96 Broomfield Road, Earlsdon, Coventry working as a Milling Machine Minder in the Motor Cycle trade (likely to have been Rudge Works[2]), with George Stebbing aged 29 also an engineer in the same trade, Nellie his wife aged 25, and Percival Stebbing aged 2 months. Benjamin C Stebbing, Sydney’s brother, was at this time married and living in Nottingham and was a policeman.

Sydney Stebbing enlisted in November 1914 in the 3rd Battery of the Motor Machine Gun Service as a Gunner and his regimental number was 181.   The MMGS consisted of motor cycle mounted machine gun batteries and was administered by the Royal Field Artillery. It was later called the Machine Gun Corps (Motors).

Sydney Reginald Stebbing died in action at Zonnebeke and was buried in Hazebrouck Communal Cemetery south east of Dunkirk.

The CCWG citation states

In Memory of Gunner S R Stebbing 181, 3rd Bty., Machine Gun Corps (Motors) who died on 04 May 1915 Age 21 Remembered with Honour. Hazebrouck Communal Cemetery
Grave Reference: Plot II. Row D. Grave 9.

A gravestone to Sydney and his parents can be found in Clifton Road Cemetery.   Plot number J457:

In loving memory of Gunner SYDNEY REGINALD MMGS RFA youngest son of EDWIN ROBERT and ANABELLA REBECCA STEBBING who died in France of wounds received in action at Zonnebeke on 4th May 1915 aged 21 years & 7 months. “”Nobly he answered his country’s call.”” also of EDWIN ROBERT STEBBING his beloved father who died 28th July 1933 aged 86 years. “”At rest.”” Also ANABELLA REBECCA beloved wife of EDWIN ROBERT STEBBING died May 21st 1938 aged 84. “”Re-united.””

After Sydney’s death probate was granted to his father on 21 October 1915, in the amount of £103 11s 7d.

[1] City of Coventry Roll of the Fallen: The Great War 1914-1918 written by Charles Nowell

[2] Taken from http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=129178&page=2