WOUNDED MEN ON CAMELS.
INCIDENTS OF THE PALESTINE FIGHTING.
An interesting letter has been received from Lieut. Edward B. Bloxam, of the 1st Cape Corps, written from Cairo, on October 1st last. It gives an excellent idea of the conditions of service in the Palestine fighting. Lieut. Bloxam is a son of Mr. Roby Bloxam, of Christchurch, New Zealand, a nephew of Miss Bloxam, Bilton Road, Rugby, and a great nephew of the late Mr. M. H. Bloxam, the well-known antiquarian. He writes :—I presume you received an official cablegram notifying you that I had been wounded. My right tibia is fractured, and the two wounds where the bullet went in and out are small and clean. The doctor says that I shall be in bed for eight or ten weeks, and that it will be four months before I rejoin my unit. I got pipped in the big advance which you will have heard about. It started on the 18th, and I was hit on the morning of the 20th. Up till then we had had no heavy fighting. On the night of the 18th two Companies took and held a hill called Square Hill. That was the original objective of one Company, D. A and B Companies had already taken their positions and consolidated. My Company, C, had to go through D Company and take and hold three knolls 600 yards beyond and north of Square Hill. We had only three platoons, and were given a knoll each to take. My platoon consisted of 9 men. The others were laying wire, and the Lewis gun team nine men. As it was daylight before we took Square Hill, and C Company were required to help consolidate our original objective was abandoned. This was fortunate, as it took two battalions to take the three knolls the next day. On the night of the 19th I took my platoon out and brought in a Turkish gun which we had fired upon during the day. On the morning of the 20th, whilst acting as right flank guard to two Companies I had to charge across a flat valley 600 yards. Not many of my men got across, as we were exposed to both frontal and enfilade fire, and there was no cover. The enemy fire was very heavy, but I managed to get within about 50 yards of the other side when I got hit in the leg. That was about 6 a.m., and we did not finally get the objective till five in the afternoon, as Johnny counter-attacked, and the hills had to be retaken. I had to play possum the whole day, as if I moved at all half a dozen snipers had a pot at me. About sundown the stretcher bearers came out, and they were kept busy for some time. From the Regimental dressing station we were sent on camels, two patients per camel, one on either side, in specially made baskets, about two miles to a brigade station. Here we were dressed again and immediately moved off again in a two-wheeled ambulance, about four miles. There we slept the night, and next morning were put in a four-wheeled ambulance. In this we travelled eight hours. It was an awful trip over very rough roads, and we were very thankful to get to our destination, Mary’s Cross. There we were dressed again and sent by motor ambulance to Ram Allah. Next morning we moved on by motor ambulance to Jerusalem, A day was spent there, and then we were put in a Red Cross train. The final night we stopped at Gaza, the second at Kantara, on the Suez Canal. We then came on here, arriving on September 25th. My wound was all right then, but they have since had to operate on it and remove a piece of dead bone. This is a very good Hospital, and the winter season here has just started, so the weather is good. There are six officers of the Cape Corps in various Hospitals here, but I am the only one in this Hospital. Out of 13 who went into action, six were killed and six wounded. I have just received copies of congratulations. General Allenby wires to the Mayor of Cape Town that the Cape Corps fought with the utmost bravery, and rendered splendid service. Brigadier-General Pearson, of the 53rd Division, writing to the C.O., says :—“ I desire to thank you and your very gallant regiment for all you have done since joining my Brigade. It is no idle remark to say that the whole army was astounded at the splendid performance you put up during the recent operations.” The Brigadier-General, Royal Artillery, 53rd Division, writing to Brig.-General Pearson says that it gives the gunners the greatest satisfaction to be able to support such magnificent infantry. The gallantry displayed by the Cape Corps Battalion was of the highest order and beyond praise.
“ ONE OF THE WORST TYPES OF SCOUNDREL.”
BOGUS WAR HERO.
Claud H. Hammond, a Private in the Northumberland Fusiliers, was charged with unlawfully wearing the ribbon of the military medal.—Pleaded guilty.
Detective Mighall deposed that he visited a house in Oxford Street. He went to the front and P.S. Hawkes to the back. When witness knocked at the door, prisoner, without waiting to see who it was, bolted out of the back door, and was stopped by P.S. Hawkes. He was wearing a brooch with the ribbon of the Military Medal and the Mons Ribbon. He also had three wound stripes. Prisoner admitted to him that he had no right to wear the Military Medal ribbon, but he said he was entitled to the Mons ribbon.
Addressing the Bench. prisoner said : “ I have been very foolish. I only had it on two days. I had no intention of doing any harm. It was simply ‘ a bit of swank.’ ”
Superintendent Clarke said prisoner had been sentenced to six months’ imprisonment for illegally wearing an officer’s uniform, six months for false pretences, and he had also been convicted for giving false information. He was not entitled to the Mons Star, and he had only been wounded once. It was pointed out that the military authorities looked upon this as a serious offence, and they were anxious to put a stop to it, for the sake of the men entitled to wear such decorations.
The Chairman (addressing Hammond) : You are one of those scoundrels who try to make out that you have done your best for your country, and that you have been in the very thick of the hardest fighting of all at Mons, and then you come here and say you were swaggering. You are one of the worst types of scoundrel, and we send you to gaol for six months, with hard labour.
RUGBY VOLUNTEER COMPANY.
On Sunday, 23rd ult., the Volunteer Company paraded at the Headquarters, Howitzer Battery Drill Hall, to be photographed prior to disbandment, and the members of No. 1 Platoon seized the opportunity to present Lieut. Yates, the Platoon Commander, with a silver Queen Anne coffee set. The presentation was made by Platoon-Sergt. Weobley, who, on behalf of the N.C.O.’s and men, and two former N.C.O.’s (Lieut. S. Brown and Lieut. Pywell), referred to the respect and goodwill all felt towards Lieut. Yates. When he was appointed to the Command of the Platoon on April 1st, 1917, the remark was made “ We are lucky to get such an officer,” and time had proved the truth of this, for they had always found him an efficient officer, a thorough sportsman, and a gentleman. They all wished him good health, and hoped he would live many year, to enjoy the use of their present.—In reply, Lieut. Yates thanked the members for the forbearance they had extended to him, and the cheerful and willing way in which they had tackled the work set them. He could not wish to be associated with jollier and more zealous comrades than those he had the honour to know in No. 1 Platoon.
A presentation was also made to 2nd Lieut. C. C. Wharton by Sergt. S. O. Watson, on behalf of the N.C.O’s and men of No. 2 Platoon, as a small token of their appreciation of the immense amount of work he had put in on behalf of “ B ” Company and No. 2 Platoon in particular. They hoped he would accept it as a symbol of their association during the most exacting period of the world’s history. Second Lieut. Wharton, in returning thanks, referred to the loyally and discipline which the platoon had always shown. He had joined them in the early days as a private without any idea of being promoted to such a position. When he was selected for promotion it meant going over the heads of others who no doubt were eligible and equally qualified ; but it was a source of much personal gratification that there had been no resentment, but, on the other hand, nothing but loyal co-operation. He had learnt much during their association together, as he was sure they had all done, of the beneficial results of all working and pulling together with a good will and for a common object, and he hoped they would not forget the great lesson they had learned.
Platoon Sergt E. R. Briggs, acting commander of No. 3 Platoon, was also presented with a pipe and pigskin tobacco pouch by Sergt. Gauntley, on behalf of the members of the platoon.
COL. JOHNSTONE’S VALEDICTORY ADDRESS.
At the close of the parade, Colonel Johnstone, addressing Capt. Fuller, the officers, N.C.O’s and men, said although of late he had been prevented by rheumatism from seeing as much of their work as he would have liked, he had always been interested to learn of their progress.
Captain Fuller had handled the Company with military knowledge, firmness, and tact, by the exercise of which he had done a very great deal to bring the Company to that state of excellence which caused Inspecting Officers to speak so well of them. He also wished to thank those officers and N.C.O’s who had by their readiness to take courses of instruction contributed greatly to the efficiency of the Company.
Referring to the commencement of the Volunteer Force, he said he regretted that in those days his duties as Recruiting Officer prevented him giving more of his time, but he complimented them on the sense of duty and loyalty which had caused them to stick to their work in spite of earlier lack of official recognition and encouragement. The Rugby Company had, by discipline and readiness to learn, made themselves the smartest Company in the Battalion. The times of stress which had led to the formation of the Volunteer Force were now over, but he hoped that, should the necessity for such a force again arise, every one of them would once more come forward to do his duty.
SOLDIER’S WELCOME HOME.—A hearty and successful welcome home to those who have returned from the army has been held to the schools. The welcome, which was organised by the War Memorial Committee, consisted of an elaborate spread of roast pork, ham, tongue, pork pies, and sweets of every variety. A packet of cigarettes was presented to each man by Mrs. T Meredith, and thanks are also due to the Northampton and Leamington Brewery Companies for their gifts of beer. After supper a smoking concert was held, Mr. L. Lister Kaye being in the chair. The usual toasts were drunk and songs were given by soldiers and others. Mr Leeson, of Coventry, presided at the piano, and added much to the pleasure of the company by his humorous items. It is hoped to repeat this welcome at some future date when the remainder of the men have returned. Towards defraying the cost of this entertainment the sum of £10 12s., being the proceeds of two dances recently held for this purpose, was handed to the committee by the ladies who organised the dances.
IN AND AROUND RUGBY.
THE INFLUENZA.—During the past week 16 deaths from influenza and pneumonia have been reported in Rugby against 20 in the preceding week.
THE Mercantile Marine Service Association are making an appeal to which it is to be hoped the public of Rugby will readily respond. It is to help the men and dependents of the men who made victory possible—the heroes, the obscure heroes of the Mercantile Marine An advertisement elsewhere in this edition goes into details of the appeal, which we heartily commend to our readers.
RUGBY’S WAR MEMORIAL.
HANDSOME DONATIONS OFFERED.
The first meeting of the Rugby War Memorial Committee was held on Thursday evening, when Mr. A. Morson, M.B.E., reported that he had had some handsome donations offered, among them one of £500 and another of £300.
BARROWS,—On Monday, Feb. 24th, at the Military Hospital, Belfast, Sapper HARRY DESTER, R.E., the youngest and dearly beloved son of Mrs. Barrows, 16 Bennett Street, aged 37. Interred at Rugby Cemetery, Saturday, March 1st.
BENCH.—In fond memory of our dear brother, Pte. J. BENCH, who passed away in France, March 5th, 1917.
“ But oh ! for the touch of a vanished hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still.”
—From his loving Father, Sisters, & Brothers.
FIDLER.—In fond and loving memory of Pte W. G. FIDLER, of Harborough Magna, who was killed in France on March 7, 1916.
“ Could we have raised his dying head,
Or heard his last farewell,
The grief would not have been so hard
For them that loved him so well.”
—From Dad, Mother, Sisters & Brothers.
REEVE.—In memory of my beloved husband, ARTHUR KIMBELL REEVE, who died in France on March 4, 1917.—Never forgotten by his loving Wife and Daughters.
REEVE.—In memory of my dear son, ARTHUR KIMBELL REEVE, who died in France on March 4, 1917.—Always in the thoughts of his loving Mother, Brothers and Sisters.