WHEN PEACE COMES.
HOW RUGBY WILL CELEBRATE THE FINAL SETTLEMENT.
SERVICES OF THANKSGIVING.
FUN, FROLIC, AND FIREWORKS.
FULL PROGRAMME FOR TWO DAYS’ REJOICINGS.
[NOTE: Peace was finally declared on 28th June 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.]
In order that Rugby shall be prepared to celebrate Peace in a fitting manner, the Urban District Council has appointed a Committee to make the necessary arrangements. It is anticipated that when the Peace is actually signed, a public holiday will be declared at a date some weeks later, and arrangements are being made on the basis that there will be at least a two days’ public holiday. The Chairman of this Committee will be the Chairman of the Urban District Council, and the following sub-committees have been appointed to carry out the various portions of the work : Finance, Printing, Music and Bands, Church Services, Procession, Decorations and Illuminations, Fireworks, Dinners, Children’s Day, and Entertainments.
A meeting of the main Committee was held at the Benn Buildings on Friday to receive reports from the various Sub-committees, and the following provisional programme was drawn up, but is subject to modification to suit any change of conditions or any further suggestions which may be made :—
THE FIRST DAY.
At 6 a.m. a “ Feu de joie ” will be fired at the Parish Church by some military body, followed at 6.15 by the ringing of all Church Bells.
At 9 a.m. the various bands will play at certain specified places in the town and will march to Market Place for the unfurling of a flag and playing of the National Anthem.
At 10 a.m. Services of Thanksgiving will be held in all the places of worship, which will not exceed one hour in duration.
After these services, the massed bands will play selections in some central place, and the massed choirs of the town will sing selected pieces.
In the afternoon a procession will take place, in which all the organisations, firms, tradesmen, and others will be invited to take part, and prizes will be offered, as follows :—
- Representative displays (by not less than 10 men) open to soldiers, sailors, and airmen only—1st prize £3, second £2, and third £1.
- Tableaux, or decorated cars—£3, 30s., & 15s.
- Tradesmen’s turnouts, £3, 30s., and 15s.
- Ladies in character or fancy dress—£1, 15s., & 10s.
- Gents in character or fancy dress—£1, 15s., & 10s.
- Decorated cycles—30s., £1, & 15s.
- Best representative display of any organisation, on foot—£3, £2, & £1.
- Sets of characters (of not less than 10 persons)—£3, £2, & £1.
- Most effective display on horses—£2, £1, & 10s.
- Children, ages to 14, mounted on ponies—£1, 15s., 10s., 5s.
- Historic actions on horse or foot (not less than 3 persons)—£2, 30s, & £1.
The procession will assemble in the Recreation Ground at 1 p.m.; the Judging will take place promptly at 1.15. The procession will move off at 2 p.m., returning to the Recreation Ground by 4 p.m.
Entertainments will be provided in the Recreation Ground at various stages during the afternoon.
In the evening, commencing about 6.30, a band will play for dancing, and there will be a fancy dress carnival for which prizes for the best costume will be offered, as follows :—
Ladies—£3 £2, & £1.
Gentlemen—£3, £2. & £1.
In a ring provided in some other portion of the ground there will be a comic display during the evening. At about 9.30 there will be a grand display of fireworks.
SECOND DAY : THE CHILDREN AND OLD PEOPLE.
The programme for the second day will be mainly devoted to the children, but there will be a dinner for old people, and in the evening a torchlight procession, starting from the Recreation Ground. The children’s programme will be as follows :—
At 10 a.m. services will be held in the various places of worship, to which all the children are invited, and where so desired and possible, they will be marched to the churches from their schools.
At 3 p.m. tea will be provided in the various schools, and it is hoped also to present each child with a fitting souvenir of the occasion.
At 4 p.m. processions will be formed from the schools to the Recreation Ground, arriving not later than 4.20, when there will be a march past, the boys saluting the flag, and when all the children will form up in a hollow square and sing “ Land of Hope and Glory ” and the “ National Anthem.”
From 5 to 7 p.m. entertainments will be provided in the Recreation Ground for the older children, while the infants will be specially catered for in a separate field. During the afternoon fire balloons will be sent up from the Recreation Ground.
For these two days the householders will be invited to decorate the town, and various public decorations and illuminations will be arranged.
The Committee are anxious to make this occasion a memorable one in the annals of the town, and one which will remain in the memories of all the rising generation. With this end in view, they are prepared to receive any suggestions from the public, which should be sent to the Hon Organising Secretary, Mr. C. Courtenay Wharton, Bilton, Rugby.
PEACE ROCKETS.—The newly elected Parish Council held its first meeting in the schoolroom on Monday, at which there were present Mrs. M. Dawkins and Messrs F. Dawkins, W. Lucas, and A. W. Dexter. The Rev. W. Humbley was elected Chairman, Mr. A. W. Dexter Clerk, and Mr F. Dawkins School Manager to the Council for the ensuing three years. In view of increasing expenses, it was decided to raise the sheep-washing charges to 1s. per score. The Clerk was instructed to write to the Foleshill Rural District Council for particulars of administering the Rats Order, 1918. It was decided to make application for an allowance of Dover flares, rockets, etc., which have been placed by the Government at the disposal of the Peace Night Bonfire Committee.
M.M. PRESENTATION.—The presentation of the Military Medal awarded to Corpl. J. W. Hickman, of this village, late of the South Staffordshire Regt., will take place on Thursday, April 24th, at 7.45 p.m. at the village school. The presentation will be made by the Earl of Denbigh, who has also consented to give an address.
FOUR-FIFTHS OF THE ARMY RELEASED.
A little over a week ago from the date when this appears in print, the total number of officers and other ranks still waiting to be demobilised from the demobilisable strength of our Army was 47,000 and 550,000 respectively. Of these 600,000 one-third were in the Expeditionary Force in France. There and in this country itself the bulk of the Army has been dealt with ; and on those remaining, duties in connection with horses, cars, and the actual machinery of demobilisation impose a certain delay. If the flow from other quarters has slowed down still more, it is on account of difficulties of transport, while in Egypt there has naturally been a check through the recent disturbances.
EXTENSION OF OUT-OF-WORK DONATION.
Misunderstandings have evidently arisen as to the Government’s decision to extend the out-of-work donation scheme. The Minister of Labour was at pains to make the matter clear in the House of Commons last week. There is no provision for the payment of donation over a whole year, as might be imagined from some of the criticisms. Under the original scheme, during the period of twenty six weeks following the cessation of hostilities, persons unable to find employment might get assistance up to thirteen weekly payments. When thirteen weeks had almost elapsed, and there was an increase in unemployment, the Government decided to make payments at a reduced rate for thirteen additional weeks, but with the provisions that only twenty-six payments in all (thirteen at the original, thirteen at the reduced rate) would be made within a year from November 21st, 1918, and that an applicant, to obtain a continuance of the donation beyond the first thirteen payments, must satisfy the Local Advisory Committee of the genuineness of his or her claim.
“ MONEY FOR NOTHING ”
“If an applicant leaves his employment voluntarily without just cause, he is not eligible for donation, and every effort is made by my officers to prevent abuse of the out-of-work donation scheme in this respect. An inquiry is always addressed to the late employer as to the reason why the employment terminated, and I would appeal to employers for their assistance by answering the inquiries promptly. I should add that the weekly rate of donation for boys under eighteen years of age is 14s. 6d., not 25s.”
Circulation of this plain statement by the Minister of Labour in the House of Commons should put an end to the fairy stories we are being told of office boys who “ deliberately leave their jobs to pick up 25s. A week for doing nothing.” The out-of-work donation is an essential part of the Government scheme for civil demobilisation, and its unpopularity with a section of the public is obvious and understandable. But that is no reason why wild statements should be made.
A WORD TO EMPLOYERS.
The Minister’s point as to employers and their prompt response to demands for information is important. If John Willie does leave his occupation because he thinks he can get “ money for nothing ” from the Employment Exchange, and if the Employment Exchange does make a mistake and give him the necessary policy—nobody rules out the possibility of some mistakes where hundreds of thousands are being dealt with—the only chance of discovering the fraud lies in the employer’s reply to the Exchange’s request for information. It is because I see this fact that I have every sympathy with Exchange officials who are being subjected to very unfair attacks, often based on untrue statements. If every employer gave a prompt and accurate answer to the Exchange’s polite request for information there would be very little possibility of fraud, and the process of demobilisation and resettlement would work the smoother because of the removal of heated controversy.
PLACINGS OF DISABLED MEN.
The work of the Employment Exchanges in getting the disabled back into civilian employment proceeds steadily, in spite of the great difficulties which attend it. Reports from the various divisions of the country show that during the months preceding March 7th the London and South-Eastern Division placed 647 such man (of whom ninety-four were placed directly by the Catherine-street Exchange alone) ; the South Midland and Eastern Division, 509 ; Scotland, 471 ; and the West Midland Division, 237. A point which arose in the last-named division, where the figures of unemployment are the worst in the country, is worthy of note.
As is known, the Local Advisory Committees attached to the Exchanges are making a special effort to stir up employers to offer vacancies to disabled men, by sending deputations of their members to canvas them personally. In this Division a deputation called upon a certain employer and asked him to accept a scheme by which firms would be compelled to reserve a definite proportion of their vacancies for disabled men. The employer declared himself quite ready to accept, but would not bind himself to the scheme unless the other employers would do the same. This is a natural attitude, and will no doubt be commonly taken up. Nevertheless, it is high time that employers should recognise that what is asked of them is really a duty, not a favour. It is not as if they were asked to engage unsuitable disabled men. In every firm there are some posts which do not require a man physically perfect, and on these the disabled man has a claim which cannot be disputed after the patriotic sacrifice which he has made. Besides, very often the man is only “ disabled ” in the military sense, and is really a strong, competent workman.
WOMEN EX-MUNITION WORKERS.
The protection extended by the State to women munition workers is by no means being suddenly withdrawn during the difficult period of demobilisation. How necessary such protection is the observant “ man (or woman) in the street ” is fully aware, and only the ill-informed are expressing concern that “ nothing is being done.” As a matter of fact, the official Welfare Section has transferred its activities to the care of the demobilised munition workers, and is extending a helping hand during the transition period from war to peace industries. Where parties of ex-munition girls are travelling long distances to their homes or other occupations women welfare officers meet the trains and see them off.
Arrangements are also being made, where necessary, for waiting-room accommodation in the railway stations by day and by night, and the hospitality of girls’ clubs in the vicinity of the stations is ensured by co-operation with civic authorities and voluntary associations such as Y.W.C.A.
Hostels are being kept open in munitions areas where girls and women are away from home or are seeking work, and in some cases pre-war domestic servants have been equipped from a special fund for fresh situations.
Rest-rooms are also being opened in the neighbourhood of Employment Exchanges in areas where numbers of registrations are great.
TWICE A PRISONER OF WAR.
UNIQUE EXPERIENCES OF A RUGBY AUTHOR.
TRANSVAAL 1901-GERMANY 1914.
Mr. Wm. Hopford is of French-German extraction, and in the Transvaal War of 1901-1902 he was in South Africa and joined the Boer forces, being eventually captured by the British and interned in a Concentration Camp. Whilst in the Volkrust Camp he was engaged in teaching work, and with the arrival there of British schoolmistresses he took the opportunity of learning the language, and soon became engaged to and married one of them—a Rugby lady, Miss Thompson, daughter of Mr. W. T. Thompson, of the Half Moon Inn. At the conclusion of the war he settled temporarily with his family in Germany, because scientists of that country had taken up a discovery which he had made in South Africa, and which he intended to exploit for business purposes in Europe. He refused to become a German subject, and on the outbreak of the Great War he was registered as a British South African, and as such was arrested and interned in the famous—or rather infamous—camp at Ruhleben.
We cannot do better here than quote from the preface of a hook Mr. Hopford has just written on his experiences in the two wars as a prisoner. The volume is published at 5s. net by John Murray, Albemarle Street, London, W., and proves the author to be a man of exceptional observation, and one well able to take stock, so to speak, of the differing temperaments of the British as fighting men dealing with their captives and the German military machine at work with all its accompanying brutality and cruelty. The preface is as follows :—
Many of my friends have urged me to publish my experiences in the two internment camps in which I have spent five out of the thirty-nine years of my life, and they have supported their request with this argument : “ Your experiences are almost unique : as a Boer of French-German extraction you have been interned by the British, and as a Britisher you have been locked up by the Germans ; you can judge of both.” In addition to these requests I have been led to this publication by the following considerations : The German press and authorities have stated again and again that the treatment of the Boers in the Concentration Camps was brutal and in-human, and I personally have been told on many occasions that our treatment at Rubleben was much better than that which the Boers received at the hands of the British. I wish to give everybody an opportunity to judge for himself. Many of the men interned in Rubleben have not only suffered in health and earning power, but have lost practically everything. In some cases the proceeds of almost a life-long toil and labour have been lost for good. Men who were well-to-do before their internment have been repatriated as paupers and permanent invalids. What is going to be done in such cases ? Will the protection of the British Government extend to the interned civilians when the day of reckoning arrives ? Will payment be exacted ? This account is my feeble attempt to bring this question before our Government and the British public. Throughout this little volume I have endeavoured to give a simple, straightforward account of my personal experiences, and to leave the reader to make his own comparisons and to draw his own conclusions from the facts which I place before him. In my recital of the facts I have not been animated by any desire to defend the British or to incriminate the Germans ; the distribution of light and shade which the reader will observe in these pages corresponds to the actual facts, for I am glad and proud to say that I have long since learned to look upon the vicissitudes of life quite impersonally, be their effects on my own life ever so clear and ever so far-reaching.
THE SAILORS’ AND SOLDIERS’ FREE BED.— This bed at the Hospital of St. Cross, endowed by the Rugby Prisoners of War Fund, will be for the free use of any local man who has served with the Forces. An ivory disc, signifying the right to the bed, will be in the keeping of the Chairman of the Rugby Urban District Council at Benn Buildings, High Street. Application must be made to him for this disc, and presented at the hospital before the admission of the patient, and will be returned to the Chairman of the Council on the patient’s discharge. If on application it be found that the disc is out, it will be understood that the bed is in use.
DR. GOULD has left the Army and has re-commenced medical practice.
BENFIELD.—In proud and loving memory of Pte. BERTRAM GEORGE BENFIELD, dearly beloved eldest son of Mr. & Mrs. Ernest Benfield, of North End, who died of wounds received in action on April 16, 1918 ; aged 19 years.
“ We bear our loss in silence,
And make no outward show ;
The heart that mourns more truly
Mourns silently and low.”
—From his loving Father and Mother, Brothers and Sisters, and Uncle George.
PYWELL.—In loving memory of Sergt. F. W. PYWELL, 21st Middlesex, killed in France on April 9, 1917.—From his Father, Sisters and Brother.