29th May 1915. Rugby Soldier’s Experiences

RUGBY SOLDIER’S EXPERIENCES.

Pte George Randall, of the 2nd Rifle Brigade, formerly of Barby, who has been out at the front since January 19th, has returned to his home, 48 Grosvenor Road, Rugby, for a few days’ leave. Pte Randall was wounded in the left arm on May 9th, while the British artillery were shelling the German positions, preparatory to the recent successful advance. This is the second time he has been wounded, the previous occasion being at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle. This was only of a slight nature, however, and did not necessitate his leaving the trenches. The bombardment preceding the attack at Neuve Chapelle, Pte Randall describes as “ hell on earth.” The whole sky was lighted up with flames, the roar of the guns was deafening, and the destruction to life and property appalling. The Rifle Brigade was the first regiment to enter Neuve Chapelle, and they immediately commenced to dig themselves in, in the belief that they had cleared out all the Germans. Bullets were continually falling around them, however, and a strict look out was kept. Eventually a flash was observed to come from one of the few houses that was standing, and a party was immediately dispatched to this point. On arriving here they discovered that the Germans had taken refuge in the cellar, and a hand grenade was thrown down. The English corporal then enquired how many were there, and the reply came back “ Four.” Then divide that amongst you,” shouted the corporal as he threw another grenade down. It was afterwards discovered that there were eleven Germans in the cellar, of whom three were killed and eight wounded. The Rifle Brigade had to remain in the trenches at Neuve Chapelle for eleven days. Alluding to the recent British advance, Pte Randall stated that the fighting was much fiercer than at Neuve Chapelle.

Speaking of the terrible destruction which was occasioned by the heavy artillery, our informant stated that one evening when they were going to the trenches they saw a church which had been completely destroyed, and the only thing which was standing was a crucifix. This was absolutely unscathed, despite the fact that the case in which it had been enclosed was smashed to atoms. Needless to say this made quite an impression on all the men who passed by in absolute silence. He saw two other crucifixes at other places which were standing desolate, but unharmed, amid wholesale ruins. Pte Randall mentioned that he had only one experience of poison gas, and on that occasion the wind was very unsteady, and he believed that it did as much, if not more, damage to the Germans than to the English. Only one man in their section was affected, and he but slightly.

The question of the attacks upon Lord Kitchener then came up, and Pte Randall expressed in the most emphatic terms the confidence which all the men at the front place in the War Secretary. “ He is worshipped out there, and his detractors won’t get much support from the men at the front.” There are quite a number of Rugbeians in the Rifle Brigade. Corpl G Reynolds, the Rugby footballer, joined this Battalion, but has now been drafted to the artillery.

LONG LAWFORD MAN KILLED IN ACTION.

Lance-Corpl Harry Payne, of Long Lawford aged 20, was three years in the army, and belonged to the 1st Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He went to France in August, and had seen a good deal of the fighting. He was killed in action on 25th April at Ypres. His brother, Private George Payne, of the 2nd Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, has been a prisoner in Germany since October. His father, N Payne, an old soldier, has re-enlisted with the Royal Warwicks, and is now at Coventry.

WOLSTON.

PRIVATE W WEBB WOUNDED.—Only last week we recorded the fact that Lance-Corporal J T Webb, the son of Mr and Mrs Charles Webb had been wounded. On Monday they received a post card to say that their other son had been wounded. The only notification was from the British Red Cross Society, that he was at the Military Hospital, Cardiff. Private W Webb belongs, like his brother, to the 1st Worcester Regiment. He volunteered early after the war began, but was not sent to the front so soon as his brother. For several years he was a capital member of the Brandon and Wolston Boy Scouts, of which he became one of the patrol-leaders. His parents not hearing from him feared he was dangerously wounded, but a communication somewhat relieved them. It stated that he was getting on very well, but his right arm, having a bullet wound, he was unable to write himself. He was very bright, and but for his arm looked very well.

NEW BILTON SOLDIER KILLED.

As we briefly announced last week, Mr J R Porter, of 56 Avenue Road, New Bilton, has received intimation that his younger son, Rifleman George R Porter, of the King’s Royal Rifles, was killed in action on May 8th. Rifleman Porter, who was 21 years of age, had been in the K.R.R four years, and at the outbreak of war was stationed in India. His regiment landed in England in November, and was drafted to the front before Christmas. Early in the New Year Rifleman Porter was invalided home with a frostbitten and poisoned foot, and returned to France on Easter Sunday. He was an excellent shot, and in 1913 held the regimental medal for boxing (novices, 9st 6lb). Before joining the K.R.R he served four months in the Royal Warwicks Special Reserve, and he formerly belonged to the j Boys’ Brigade.

KILSBY.

PRIVATE HERBERT GRIFFITHS, of the Rifle Brigade, who, as reported last week, was killed in action on April 27th.

P.C CLIFFORD WOUNDED.

Pte Clifford, of the Grenadier Guards, has written to say that he has been wounded, and is in the base hospital. He is doing well. This is the second time that Pte Clifford, who previous to the war was a member of the Rugby Police Force, has been wounded.

P.C NICHOLLS KILLED IN ACTION.

We regret to hear that Pte Nicholls, of the Gloucester Regiment, who previous to the outbreak of war was a member of the Rugby Police Force, has been killed in action. The news was contained in the following letter, written to a friend by the platoon sergeant:—“ I am very sorry to inform you that Pte Nicholls died in battle on the 15th inst. A brave man he lived, a brave man he died. We were ordered to re-take a trench, and he lost his life in the operation.” Pte Nicholls’ death will be generally regretted in the town, where as a constable he was well known and highly respected. In February last he was badly wounded, and was invalided home, returning to the front on his recovery.

THE RUGBY INFANTRY MEN AT THE FRONT.

Ptc L Stewart, of the Rugby Territorial Company “ somewhere in France,” writes :- “ You cannot realise how keep the chaps are to scan the Rugby Advertiser. They went into the trenches last night (May 16) after a four days’ rest—well, supposed to be a rest. The previous time in the trenches lasted six days, and they had a warm time of it, during which they lost Corpl Johnson. Everyone feels his loss keenly. He was one of the most popular men in the Company. The weather this week has been unsettled, and we have experienced some heavy rains. A few days’ rain makes everything so rotten, especially when living under canvas. . . . I think the finest column in the Advertiser this week is the one containing the Rev 0 T B McNulty’s letter headed “ Religious ministrations at the front.” Every word was true to the letter, I have seen him several times.”

PRINTERS AT THE FRONT.

No less than 24 employees of Messrs Frost & Sons, printers, Warwick Street, Rugby have responded to their country’s call, and four of them have been promoted to the non-commissioned ranks. They are : F Tucker, joined Rifle Brigade in September, Sergeant ; C Roberts, joined K.R.R in September, Sergeant, and now in France ; A G Towell, joined Howitzer Battery in January last, Corporal ; and W McKay, joined Lincolnshires in September, Corporal.-Unfortunately, E A Piper, 1st Batt Royal Warwickshire Regiment, who joined in August, and has been out in France since October, has been officially reported as missing since April 25th, on which date the Warwicks lost a lot of men at Hill 60. To keep the employees at home in touch with those at the front the firm print for circulation amongst them from time to time a little brochure, in which the roll of honour, the casualties, and the last dates from which news was received from any of the men, are recorded. Interesting extracts from letters, and notes skilfully made up in technical phraseology, together with encouraging words of approval, encouragement, and appreciation from the proprietors, help to fill the twelve pages, which are enclosed in stout khaki covers, printed in patriotic design. The get-up is in keeping with the high standard of work turned out by Messrs Frost, and is no doubt eagerly welcomed by their representatives at the front.

WOUNDED SOLDIERS AT “ ASHLAWN.”

Ashlawn Red Cross Hospital was re-opened on Friday last week to receive wounded soldiers. About 25 arrived in the evening, and were met by the Ambulance Brigade and conveyed to the hospital. Three of them belong to the K.O.S.B and two to the Inniskillings ; the remainder to other regiments. Only three are from the Dardanelles ; the others received their injuries at Ypres. Some of them have been badly wounded.

Twelve Canadians arrived on Wednesday evening. Their wounds are not serious, and they hope to go out again soon. All the others are doing well.

Gifts for the patients at the hospital have been received from the following :—Mr Badham, Mrs Fenwick, Mr Flint, Mr Garrett, Mrs Giddons, Hon Mrs Hastings, Mrs Horton, Mrs Little, Miss Lucking, Mr Mallam, Mrs Neilson, Mr Graham Paterson, Lady Rowena Paterson, Mrs Rose, Miss Stanley, Mrs G Sumner, Mrs Saunders, Mrs Stevens, Miss Varnish, Mrs Wheeler, Mrs West, and Miss Irwin.

Surgical Instruments, from Dr Roche, Dunchurch.

The Rugby Hairdressers’ Association has promised to attend the patients every week.

Miss Buckley has kindly consented to attend three days a week for massage, and the Misses Fenwick are continuing to do all laundry work for the soldiers free of charge.

Number of patients now in hospital, 37.

SALE OF ARMY MARES FOR BREEDING.

With a view to encouraging and assisting the breeding of light horses, the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries have been authorised by the War Office to arrange for the sale of some mares which have been returned from abroad as no longer suitable for use with the Expeditionary Force, and which have been specially selected by the Board as of types suitable for breeding purposes.

The mares will be kept under the care and observation of the Board for a month after their return from abroad, and will then be sold by public auction on the express condition that they are not at any time to be exported out of the country.

1st May 1915. News from the Trenches

RECREATIONS BEHIND THE FIRING LINE.

Letters from members at the 7th Warwickshire Territorial Battalion continue to arrive. One of them says : “ We are having a good time out here, plenty of work, and also a lot of time for amusements. After our last four days in the trenches we arranged a couple of football matches, one between C Company and the Howitzer Battery, which ended in a draw 3—3. The second game between Coventry and Rugby men of C Company ended in Coventry’s favour. Near our billet is a large pond and it is interesting to see out fellows, indifferent to the German shells, fishing for carp. The country-side looks very beautiful in spite of the ruined homesteads, and farmers carry on as usual. We are now back in the trenches and yesterday the Germans shelled a village 200 yards from us, paying special attention to the church, which is practically in ruins. Our gunners soon silenced them, and we have had a quiet day to-day.

A private writes to his wife :—“ We are all happy and enjoying ourselves. I would like you to see us in our little dug-out, we are like gypsies. We do enjoy our meals, though bullets and shells are flying over our heads all the time. We are getting so used to them that we do not take the least bit of notice. The most dangerous work we have to undertake is going to and from the trenches, for no matter how quiet you are the Germans spot you, up goes one of their star shells, and a Maxim gun is trained on you immediately. Then it is a case of laying low till they have finished.

A corporal writes “ I should like some of our friends to have seen us when we were going to the trenches, as we were like the donkeys in Spain, loaded with provisions, and we are looking well now, as we haven’t had a wash or shave for some days, and are feeling a bit ‘grimy.’ We can’t help it, as we can’t get water for washing, but I suppose we have got to put up with it far a while.”

FOOTBALL BEHIND THE TRENCHES.

A Rugby Sergeant tells us that on April 19th an exciting football match took place between teams picked from Rugby men (of the late E Company, now C Company) and Coventry men. After a well-contested game, the Rugby men came out winners 2—0. When it is known that the losers had such well-known players as “ Chummy ” Lombard, “ To and From ” Read, “ Cast Iron ” Loake, etc, etc, it will be seen what a good performance was put up by the winners. “ Bleb ” Hill scored the first goal after fifteen minutes’ play. Then “ Knobby ” Clarke scored just before the interval, but was ruled off-side by the referee. Immediately before the call of time Baker scored. Iliff (the Dunchurch pet) was in the thick of the fray all through the match.

 

Pte L Stewart, of the Advertiser staff, who is with the 7th Warwickshire Territorial Battalion at the front, writes under date of April 26th :—We are situated the same as when last I wrote. The 7th have had another spell in the trenches, without any casualty whatever. They came out of the trenches Saturday night, but Sunday morning found them in the best of health and spirits, and seemingly none the worse for their experiences. They had several narrow shaves from shells—in fact, they had marvellous luck-but a miss is as good as a mile. The weather is really grand, we live practically an open-air life, and early to bed, early to rise, is our motto. I shall be opening the office at six in the morning when I get back, unless a bed makes me revert to the old habits. Time slips by here—every day seems alike ; but I never forget what Friday (publishing day) is with you—all so busy as of old. Sergt Dodson is attached to the Army Ordnance Store just across the road. He was soon over here to get a squint at the old “ R A.” Another private writes:—I will give you a few details of what we have to do. First of all we get here at night and relieve the other regiment who have done their four days. Night sentries are posted and their duties are to warn for any approach of the enemy, who is not very far in front of us. They do two hours on and four off, but that four off is not for rest by any means for we all have to work hard during the night, re-building shelled trenches and improving same. Then there is a party to go and fetch water, about 10 or 12 of us. This has to be fetched from a dilapidated farmhouse about 1 ½ miles away, and we are walking on open the whole of the way, so you see this is a very risky job. We are up all the night and have to stand to at 3.30 a.m for an hour in case of attack, which I am thankful to say has not yet happened. We always have bacon for breakfast and plenty of tea ; we bring a little fresh meat and bread with us. The four days we had out of the trenches were a bit rough, for although we had a little rest in the day time, we were out every night from about 7.30 to 3 a.m making and repairing trenches right in front of the German lines, which is a very much more dangerous position than in our own trenches, for we are not under any cover and the bullets whiz past our ears. Oh ! for a bed. When we go out on Saturday we get billeted in a little better place, for we then have eight days’ rest which will be very acceptable. The Germans are firing at us all day long, and my word they can shoot ; we hardly dare show our caps above the trench else all is over, but I think we have them beaten as regards artillery fire, for we keep shelling their guns and position on and off all day. It is rather a nerve shaking job this night sentry, for one is responsible for the safety of all the regiment and you cannot see many yards in front of you, so before you could say knife the enemy would have cut the wire entanglements and be on you if you did not keep up a good look out.

NEWS OF THE RUGBY HOWITZERS.

Mr C J Packwood, of St Matthew Street, Rugby, has recently received a letter from his son, Driver C W Packwood, of the Rugby Howitzer Battery, now in France. He describes the place at which the battery is stationed as “ very slow.” The men living in the vicinity appear to be indolent, the women and dogs doing the bulk of the work. Driver Packwood states that the members of the battery are in excellent health, and they are always thankful to receive letters and parcels from friends at home.

In a letter dated April 25th, which arrived on Thursday, Driver Packwood says:—“ At the present time I am on observation duty. There is an officer and three men, myself included. We are right up in the front trenches with the Infantry, We watch the effects of our shells and report on same, being connected with the Battery by field telephone. The German trenches are only 200 yards away. We can see them in the trenches quite plainly. We have got quite familiar with their snipers. One we call Fritz, another Ginger, and another Peter. Fritz shot one of the infantry clean through the head last night. He is a crack shot. The scenes round here are really wonderful, and are a sight worth seeing. There is not a house standing-they all are absolutely blown to bits. Yesterday I went for about two miles along the first line infantry trenches, and observed the German trenches through a periscope. This letter I am sending by the man who brings our rations. He is just coming, so I must close now.

 

THE KING AND THE WARWICKSHIRE YEOMANRY.

The Warwickshire Yeomanry, which left Avonmouth for foreign service three weeks ago, before they left received the following telegram from the King :—

“ I am glad to hear that the 2nd Midland Division is about to leave for the front, and much regret not to have been able to inspect the troops. I feel confident, after these months of training at home, the division, wherever employed, will give a good account of itself. Please assure all ranks that they will constantly be in my thoughts and prayers, and convey to them my best wishes for success.”

The horses belonging to the regiment, which were on board the Wayfarer when it was torpedoed, have now been taken over by the authorities and distributed, so it is understood, among other regiments. The Warwickshire Yeomanry have thus been deprived of mounts to which they had become very closely attached, and the loss will be keenly felt by the men. The men from the Wayfarer who were fortunate to escape will join their regiment at the earliest possible moment.

About 160 men were detailed off for duty on the Wayfarer, and had charge of about 1,000 horses and mules. On leaving port the officers were informed of the presence of two enemy submarines, and were warned to keep a close watch. They failed to escape the danger.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

The 1st Warwickshire Yeomanry Reserve Regiment left Warwick on Monday for Cirencester Park

It has transpired that in all five men from Warwickshire were killed by the explosion on the Wayfarer. Three horses were drowned.

Harold M Over, son of Mr Samuel Over, and grandson of the late Major S Over, has been gazetted second-lieutenant in the 20th Battalion the Royal Fusiliers, He has been Musketry Instructor to D Company of this Battalion, in which position he has shown exceptional ability.

Pte W Gardner, 3rd Coldstream Guards, an ex-police-constable from this neighbourhood, writes he is now in England wounded, lying at Longshawe Lodge, Derbyshire (lent by the Duke of Rutland for British). He was wounded in the head, back, and right knee at the Battle of Le Bassee, where the Coldstreams and the Irish Guards made their famous charge. He was in hospital in France for a time, and then was sent to hospital in Sheffield, and from thence to the convalescent home.

Driver Johnson, of the Army Transport Section, who was wounded at Ypres on December 18th, and is still in hospital, spent last week-end at his home, 20 West Leyes, Rugby. Driver Johnson was wounded in the right hand, but his horse laid on him for 24 hours before he was found, and as a result of this he has lost all power in his left aide. Although the medical authorities are sanguine that he will in time regain the use of his injured limbs, they all agree that a considerable time will elapse before he does so—probably 12 months. Driver Johnson, who was one of the earliest to enlist from Rugby, was before the war employed by Messrs Willans & Robinson as a driller.

THE RUGBY FORTRESS COMPANY OF ROYAL ENGINEERS.

PARTICULARS ABOUT THE NEW UNIT.

The decision of the Urban District Council to raise a Rugby Fortress Company of the Royal Engineers, as reported in our last issue, has met with general approval in the town, and the hope it expressed on all hands that the number of men necessary to complete the unit will be speedily obtained, so that the name of Rugby may be associated with another company at the front. In addition to commissioned officers and sergeants, only 94 men are required for the company, vis: Corporal (mounted), 1 ; lance-corporal (mounted), 1 ; shoeing and carriage smith, 1 ; drivers (including batmen), 15 ; blacksmiths, 9 ; bricklayers, 12 ; plasterer, 1 ; slater, 1 ; carpenters (including joiners), 20 ; clerks, 2 ; draughtsman (architectural), 1 ; electricians (field), 2 ; engine drivers (field), 3 ; fitters and turners, 4 ; harness maker, 1 ; masons, 7 ; platelayers, 2 ; plumbers (including gas fitters), 3 ; surveyor, 1 ; wheelwrights, 2 ; miscellaneous, 5.

The company must be raised on a regular basis, and the enlistment must be for three years or the duration of the war, and must be carried out at a regular recruiting office. The age for enlistment is between 19 and 38 years.

The pay of all ranks will be at the some rate as that prescribed for the Royal Engineers ; and the company, when raised, will have to be clothed, housed (by the hire of buildings or billeting only), and fed at rates approved by and to be paid for by the War Office. It is stated that the company will remain at Rugby during the initial training ; and that men, if they so desire, may be billeted in their homes. In this connection the War Office point out that unmarried soldiers necessarily living at their own homes, and not messed by their units, will draw a consolidated allowance of 2s per day. If living at home and messed by their units, they will draw a lodging allowance of 9d per day.

The expense of raising the company will for the most part, it is hoped, be provided in the town. The War Office points out that money expended by municipalities, communities, and individuals authorised to raise local units on advertisements, posters, concerts, bands, and similar items in connection with recruiting has in many cases been found by local funds, but that where this is not the case the Army Council are prepared to refund expenditure actually incurred in this direction up to a maximum of 2s for each recruit raised. In addition to these expenses, there will, doubtless, be other items which will have to be met by a local fund ; but, according to Mr J J McKinnell, to whom belongs the honour of initiating the idea of raising a local company, the total sum required should not exceed £50. Rugby has responded so liberally to all patriotic appeals during the last few months that we are sure that the promoters of the company will not find their activities crippled through lack of funds.

The Army Council will allow the sum of £8 15s for the equipment of each dismounted man, and £9 15s for each mounted man, but these sums are believed to be rather below the actual cost of equipment, and any balance will thus have to he made up out of local funds. It is hoped to commence recruiting at the Park Road Drill Hall on Monday next.

RECRUITING AT RUGBY.

The following have been attested at the Park Road Drill Hall during the past week —Royal Warwickshire Regiment, T Morriss ; A.S.C, H J Merrick ; R.E, J W foster and G Clarke ; Bedfords, H Seaton, H Pegg, P Cleaver, and A W Leeson ; Reserve Signal Co, R.E, A J Brasher ; Rugby Fortress Co, R.E, T H Hands, J Wise, and E G Smith.

RUGBY POST OFFICE STAFF AND THE WAR.

Quite a number of the men from the Rugby Post Office staff have joined the colours, and those remaining are working at high pressure. Amongst those who have recently enlisted in the Royal Engineers, where their duties will consist mainly of telegraph work, are : Messrs J T Healey, A Miller, R J Sheldon, A E Goldfinch, and A J Brasher. The latter left Rugby on Monday, and another member of the staff (Mr G D Tennant) expects to take his departure next week. To cope with the situation, a number of postmen are now doing indoor work, and other vacancies are being filled by women and girls, female labour being almost entirely used in the instrument-room.

24th Apr 1915. “ E ” Company at the Front

“ E ” COMPANY AT THE FRONT.

Pte L Stewart, one of the Advertiser employees who volunteered for active service and is with the 7th Warwickshire (Territorial) Battalion at the front, tells us in a letter we have received from him that their Easter Sunday spell in the trenches went off very well, but his Company had two wounded. About the middle of the week they were moved on to a town upon which bombs were dropped by enemy aircraft before they had been in the place half-an-hour, injuring several people. Barring a few colds, the health of the men was A1, and they had done all that had been asked of them. With full kit on, each man carries on average 70lb—the roads were rotten for marching, and their marches had been from eight to ten miles. In a subsequent letter, he writes :—“ Yesterday we made another move, and came across the Rugby Battery. From what they told me they were soon in action, and appear to have been giving a good account of themselves. I spoke to Major Nickalls (Spring Hill). He was quite pleased the old E Company (now C Company ) were so near. The respective headquarters are within a few yards of each other. C Company went into the trenches again last night for four days. You should see the country round here ; everywhere the place has been shelled—it must have been awful. I saw Mr C T Morris Davies (the well-known International hockey player) the other day. It’s really surprising who you meet.”

Another Territorial writes :—“ We are only about 400 yards from the German trenches, and I am writing these few lines in my little dug-out, under fire. We are having a fairly quiet time just now. We get a few German shells occasionally, just to let us know they are still alive. As we are so near the German trenches we have to keep one eye shut for sleep and the other on the alert. We expect to have about four days in and four out. We are all cheerful and in the pink, only for the food, for we have to eat biscuits for nearly every meal and they are as hard as bricks. The next time we come into the trenches I shall have to bring a couple of loaves with me. We get plenty of corned beef and biscuit, but we are getting about sick of these. All the houses round this district are blown to bits. Last week I had a walk round the cemetery to see the graves of our comrades who fell at the beginning of the war. They are buried three deep in ordinary wooden coffins, and a small cross, bearing their name and regiment, is erected over them. We also see small crosses scattered about the fields showing where soldiers are buried. Whilst I am writing this the sun is shining beautifully and the country looks grand. It makes one think of the fields at home. You would laugh to see us in our little dug-outs. They are built of sandbags, about a yard high, so you see we have to duck down and creep in.”

“ I am still in the best of health,” writes other man. “ France is a lot different to what I thought it would be. We are all enjoying being out here as the weather is lovely. The place we are staying at now has been very much shelled ; the Germans shell it now occasionally, but we don’t mind and take no notice at all. We see plenty of aeroplanes out here ; the best sight I have ever seen is the wonderful way in which the aeroplanes avoid the shells which are being constantly fired at them ; they must be piloted by expert airmen for the shells burst all round them. The crucifixes out here are a lovely sight, everywhere you go you see them ; it is a wonderful sight to see a place that has been shelled and the crucifix not touched.”

THE HOWITZERS AT THE FRONT.

Corpl A Sparks, of the 5th Warwickshire R.F.A (Howitzer) Battery, writing to a friend in Rugby, under date of April 14th, graphically describes the passage across the Channel. The Wednesday night after arrival was spent in camp, and next day they entrained for the front. After 20 hours’ travelling in cattle trucks they arrived at their destination—about three miles from the firing line. “ The only indication that a great war was in progress,” he say. “ was the continual booming of the guns and the burning of magnesium flares, which the Germans send up during the night to prevent surprise infantry attacks. Otherwise everything was quite normal. On Easter Sunday morning we had a Church parade and Holy Communion, so that you will see we spent this festival pretty well the same as you did at home. On Easter Monday night, in a pelting rainstorm, we took up our place in the firing line. On Tuesday night, just a week from leaving England, we were in action for the first time, and have been in action every day since. We have done some very good firing;. Major Nickalls has been thanked for the splendid support he has given to the infantry. On Sunday we had some “ Whistling Willies ” over our line and about 40 the next day. Fortunately no one in our battery was hurt, although I am sorry to say there were about ten wounded and five killed in another battery. The only casualty we have had in the brigade is one of the Coventry Battery killed.”

“ You would be astonished at the callousness of the natives round here. Even when firing is progressing it is a common sight to see the farmers doing their ploughing, etc. Even the women and children are walking about quite close to the guns, and apparently they can see no danger.”

TERRITORIALS’ FOOTBALL MATCH.

The Howitzer Battery played their first football match in France on Saturday, April 17th. Teams:— Gunners : A Goode, Major Nickalls, Spicer, Bombardier Jesson, Corpl Watson, Lieut Pridmore, Smith, Alsop, Asher, Laurceston, and Judd. Drivers : Mills, Sergt Dosher, Woolley, Corpl Shelley, Ashworth, Wood, Judd, Turner, Taylor, Dyer, Humphries. Referee: Gunner A Jobey. The match was played just behind the firing line. The Gunners proved to be dead on the target as per usual, leading 2-0 at the interval. The Drivers proved good stayers, pulling level early in the second half. After good all-round play, the Gunners snatched a victory five minutes from time. Scorers :—Lieut Pridmore, Smith and Asher, and Taylor (2).

LOCAL WAR CASUALTIES.

COSFORD: RIFLEMAN E. STEEL.

As mentioned in our last issue, news has been received from the War Office by Mr and Mrs Steel, of Cosford, that their son, Edward Steel, of the King’s Royal Rifles, was killed in action at Neuve Chapelle on March 16th. No particulars of his death have come to hand, and the only consolation that his aged father and mother have is that he died bravely fighting for his country. E. Steel, who was 27 years of age, joined Lord Kitchener’s Army on September 2nd, previous to which he was employed by the Midland Railway Company at No. 2 Length, Rugby. He was drafted from Sheerness on February 2nd to go to France with other young men of the villages around. He was much liked, and as he always lived at home with his parents, he will be sadly missed by them, as well as by all who knew him.

RUGBY SOLDIER SEVERELY WOUNDED.

Mrs H Bottrill, of Bridget Street, Rugby, has received news that her son, Pte Frank Henry Bottrill, of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, was admitted to Boulogne Hospital on Easter Sunday, suffering from a severe bullet wound in the head, and as the result of an operation he has lost the sight of the left eye. Pte Bottrill who was a reservist, and is married and lives at Wellingborough, is an old St Matthew’s boy. His brother-Pte A W Bottrill, of the Coldstream Guards—was badly wounded on November 2nd, and has never really recovered from the effects of the wound. He has ,however, been back to the fighting line ; but the last news that was heard of him was that he was at Havre recuperating, although he expected to be soon drafted back to the trenches.

Mr T Thompson, of Willoughby, has had several interesting letters from his son, who is a member of the Northants Yeomanry. The regiment went out to the front last November, and was one of the earliest of the Territorial forces to go on active service. They have been in several actions, and, as may be supposed have not escaped without their share of casualties. They were in the battle of Neuve Chapelle, and fortunately the quick-firing gun team, to which he was attached, passed through the engagement without mishap. Previous to that they had been nine days in the trenches, and during that time they experienced some very cold weather. Trooper Thompson had one of his feet frost-bitten. He was sent back to the base hospital, where, unfortunately, he developed bronchitis in a somewhat severe form. His latest letters however, state that he is getting better, but it will be some time before he is quite convalescent.

 

WOLSTON.

THE LATE PTE F HOWARD.—A memorial service was held in memory of Pte F Howard, only son of Mr Fred Howard, of Wolston, who lost his life at Neuve Chapelle when fighting with the Worcestershire Regiment, as reported in our issue of the 10th inst. The service was conducted by the Ven Archdeacon T Meredith, and the large edifice was well filled by residents of Brandon and Wolston and the surrounding district ; whilst a number of soldiers home on furlough attended. The Brandon and Wolston Scouts were also present to pay their last respects to their departed comrade. The principal mourners were deceased’s father and sister, Miss Clara Howard. The proceedings were most impressive, and it was quite evident that the majority of the large congregation mourned the loss of so young a life, many of them being visibly affected. The form of memorial service was the one authorised for use in the diocese of Chichester. The hymns were : “ My God, my Father, while I stray,” “ When our heads are bowed with woe,” and “ God of the living in Whose eyes.” Before the service closed the Vicar gave a suitable address, and his remarks were listened to with rapt attention. At the close the organist, Mr W S Lole, played the “ Dead March.”

The casualties in the 7th Warwickshires reported up-to-date are : One killed and 12 wounded.

A non-commissioned officer writes :— “ The Battalion has now come out of the trenches for four days. During the four days the Battalion has lost one killed, a chap from Coventry, and about 12 wounded, although I don’t think any of them are very serious. The 5th Battalion have had three killed. We relieved the Dublin Fusiliers when our Battalion went in, and now the 8th Battalion Royal Warwicks are relieving us. Most of the the firing takes place at night ; there’s not much doing during the day, except artillery fire. The Howitzer Battery are pretty close to us, and it was reported yesterday (April 14th) that they had put three of the German guns out of action. While in the trenches many of the chaps had some very narrow escapes. One of the German shells burst in “ A ” Company’s trenches, also one in “ B ” Company’s, fortunatley without hurting anyone. I think myself the Battalion has been very fortunate at having so few casualties. We are now in ——, so that we have now been in both the countries where the fighting is.”

RECRUITING AT RUGBY.

Recruiting has been rather more satisfactory at Rugby during the past week, and twelve have been attested, the majority for the Army Service Corps. Their names are :—A.H C : L Morris, J C Munton, C H Brown, T W Summers, F Summers, J Ingram, P Kimberley, D Jonathan, S New. Remounts : A Penn. K.R.R : M E Goodyer. Army Veterinary Corps : J W Harris.