Webb, Arthur Edward. Died 23rd Oct 1918

Arthur Edward WEBB’s birth was registered in Q3, 1896 in Rugby.  He was the son of Frederick Webb, b.c.1861 in Rugby, (d. 4 January 1947), and Fanny, née Shaw, Webb, b.c.1862 in Dunchurch, (d. 25 October 1945).  They had married on 11 June 1885 in Dunchurch when Frederick was a printer and Fanny a servant.

In 1901 Arthur was four, and the family was living, as they had in 1891, at 81 James Street, Rugby.  Arthur’s father was not at home on census night 1901, as that night he and his brother were with their widowed mother in Yardley, Worcestershire.

Arthur attended the ‘Murray School’, Rugby.

By 1911, his father, now 50, had been married for 25 years.  He was a ‘Compositor’ in the ‘Advertiser office’ and the family had moved to 16 Alexandra Road, Rugby – a six room house.  Arthur Edward, now 14, was an ‘office boy’ at a steel works; his eldest sister, Hilda Annie was 25 and was working at ‘etching BTH Works’; the next eldest, Alice Jessie was 22 and was a ‘clerk at BTH Works’; and the youngest, Elsie Newman, was 18 and a ‘Clerk in Coop Society’.  Two of the original six siblings had died before 1911.

Arthur later served an apprenticeship at Messrs. Willans & Robinson’s as a turner and fitter.  Prior to joining up, he was employed at Leicester.

Arthur apparently enlisted in November 1915, under ‘Lord Derby’s Scheme’, as indicated by an item in the Rugby Advertiser.
Lord Derby’s Recruiting Scheme, Local Enlistments under the Group System.
The following have enlisted at the Rugby Drill Hall under the Group system.  A considerable number of the men have enlisted under Reserve B for munition workers.
… Webb, Arthur Edward, 16 Alexandra Road, Rugby.[1]

Arthur would become a Private No:48241 in the 1st Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment.  Arthur’s Medal Card did not have any date for when he went to France, and he did not gain the 1914-15 Star, which both support the date he enlisted under Lord Derby’s Scheme, and confirm that this would have been after late 1915.  However, it seems likely that he was in the ‘Reserve B’ list as his work was probably involved with Munitions.  This is confirmed in a later item in the Rugby Advertiser (obituary below) which stated that he was ‘… joining up, early in May [1916] …’, and that when he was killed in October 1918, he ‘… had been in France just over a fortnight’.

1st Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment was in Fermoy, Ireland, when war broke out in August 1914.  They were mobilised with 16th Brigade and returned to England, where 6th Division concentrated near Cambridge for training.  They proceeded to France on 10 September 1914, landing at St. Nazaire.  They marched to the Aisne to reinforce the hard-pressed BEF before moving north to Flanders.  They were in action at Hooge in 1915.  On 17 November 1915 the battalion transferred to 71st Brigade, but were still in 6th Division.  In 1916 they were again in action at Battle of Flers-Courcelette on the Somme, and again in the Battle of Morval and the Battle of Le Transloy.  In 1917 they were in action at Hill 70 and Cambrai.  In 1918 they saw action in the Battle of St Quentin, the Battles of the Lys, the Advance in Flanders, the Battles of the Hindenburg Line [12 September – 12 October 1918] and the Pursuit to the Selle [prior to the Battle of the Selle (17-25 October 1918)].[2]

It seems that Arthur might only have joined the Battalion towards the middle of October 1918 and would probably have missed the actions at the end of the Hindenburg battles, namely:
The Battle of the St Quentin Canal, 29 September – 2 October 1918,
The Battle of Beaurevoir, 3 – 5 October 1918,
The Battle of Cambrai, 8 – 9 October 1918,
The Pursuit to the Selle, 9 – 12 October 1918.

The War Diary of the 1st Battalion[3] provides information on the Battalion’s positions and actions in October 1918.  There is very considerable detail of the movements in some 20 poorly legible handwritten pages, which include map references but a paucity of actual place names.  However, the general progress of the Battalion can be followed as they advanced in a north-easterly direction, some 20 miles south-east of Cambrai.

On 3 October the battalion was preparing to move to Magny-la-Fosse, where they were on 6-7 October.  By 12 October they had moved to Bohain-en-Vermandois, and were in billets there on 16 October until 19 October when they received 43 O.R.s as ‘new recruits’ – 20 were immediately sent for Lewis gun training.

Bearing in mind Arthur had only been in France for two weeks when killed, he may well have been one of those new recruits, as it would probably have taken some days to travel from the coast to join his Battalion.

The next day the Battalion seems to have moved back westward to Brancourt, and then very quickly up to St. Souplet and on to Le Quennelet, a distance of some ten miles.  The next day, 21 October, shelling was observed at Bazuel, about a mile ahead of them.  They were coming into the front line of the advance and on 22 October, four men were wounded, two by shellfire and two by rifle fire.  They prepared for an attack on Pommereuil on 23 October, and the Diary gives detailed dispositions.

By midday on 23 October, the Regimental Aid Post had already dealt with 3 Officer and 74 Other Rank casualties which, from later figures, suggests that the majority of the casualties were incurred in the initial part of the attack.

At 21.15 the Battalion was relieved.  Because of the muddy state of the road from Bazuel, the guides were delayed in reaching the Battalion at the front and the relief was not completed until the early hours.  The move back was competed at 4.15am, when tea and rations awaited the men.  At noon the Battalion moved to billets at St. Souplet.

By 25 October, the casualties suffered during operations from 20-24 October 1918 were listed.
Killed         Wounded         Missing
Officers               0                  5                     nil
O.R.s                 8                  85                    33

It seems that Arthur Webb would have been among those eight O.R.s ‘Killed in Action’ during the attack on Pommereuil.

A report in the Rugby Advertiser noted,
ANOTHER OLD MURRAYIAN KILLED IN ACTION
Much sympathy is felt for Mr. and Mrs F. Webb of 16 Alexandra Road, who received news on Sunday of the death of their only son, Pte. Edward Webb of the 1st Leicestershire Regt. The sad event has been conveyed to the lad’s parents by the Chaplain of his battalion in a sympathetic letter.  Pte. Webb who was 22 years of age, was educated at the Murray School, where he was most popular with his schoolmates.  He served an apprenticeship at Messrs. Willans & Robinson’s as a turner and fitter.  Prior to joining up, early in May, he was employed at Leicester.  He had been in France just over a fortnight.  His chum, Pte. Percy Tyers,[4] of Leicester (who was also apprenticed at Messrs. Willans & Robinson’s) was killed a week previously.[5]

In the same issue of the Rugby Advertiser, the family posted an ‘Acknowledgement’,
MR and MRS. F. WEBB and DAUGHTERS, of 16 Alexandra Road, wish to thank all Friends who have shown sympathy with them, and sent Letters of Condolence in their sad bereavement in the loss of their only son, killed in action.

Arthur was killed in action, aged 22, on 23 October 1918 and was buried in grave ref: I. B. 4., at St Souplet British Cemetery, very near to the Battalion Headquarters for the action on 23 October.  When his temporary cross was replaced with a memorial headstone, the family had the following inscription engraved on it – ‘REUNION OUR ABIDING HOPE’.

St. Souplet is a village about 6 kilometres south of Le Cateau, which is a small town approximately 20 kilometres south-east of Cambrai.  St. Souplet village was captured by the American 30th Division on the 10 October 1918.  The American troops made a cemetery of 371 American and seven British graves on the South-West side of the village, on the road to Vaux-Andigny.  A smaller British cemetery was made alongside.  The American graves were removed after the Armistice and the seven British graves were moved into the British cemetery.  Further British graves were brought in from the surrounding battlefields.

Because of the Battalion’s location, it is likely that Arthur was buried in the cemetery soon after his death, and was not one of those moved to the cemetery later.  Certainly his position in the central ‘Plot I’ suggests that he was one of the first to be buried there.  There is also no record on the CWGC site of him being ‘concentrated’ from any of the other cemeteries, most of which contained burials from much earlier in the advance, and which are fully documented.

Arthur Edward WEBB’s Medal Card showed that he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.  He is also commemorated on a pillar of the Rugby Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road, Rugby.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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This article on Arthur Edward WEBB was researched and written for the Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the RFHG, August 2018.

[1]      https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com/2015/11/27/27th-nov-1915-lord-derbys-scheme/, and Rugby Advertiser, 27 November 1915.

[2]      Edited from: https://wartimememoriesproject.com/greatwar/allied/battalion.php?pid=4905.

[3]      UK, WWI War Diaries (France, Belgium and Germany), 1914-1920, Leicestershire Regiment, 6th Division, Piece 1622/1-5: 71 Infantry Brigade: 1 Battalion Leicestershire Regiment (1918 Jan – 1919 Apr).

[4]      This was Private TYERS, H. P., No: 48242, who died on 10 October 1918; he was buried at Tincourt New British Cemetery, some 10 miles west of the 1st Leicester’s positions on 3 October.  It is likely that he had been wounded and evacuated to one of the Casualty Clearing Stations located at Tincourt.

[5]      Rugby Advertiser, Saturday, 16 November 1918.

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Hemming, Charles Henry. Died 4th Sep 1918

Charles Henry Hemming was born in Rugby in 1879. His father was Charles Gibbs Hemming, a general labourer living at 20 North Street, Rugby. His mother was Bathsheba Matthews, of Long Lawford and they married at Newbold in December 1877. Charles Gibbs Hemming was born in Welford, Gloucestershire.

Charles Henry was the eldest child and by 1891, he had five younger siblings. Four more children had arrived by 1901 and the family was living at 36 Dale Street. Charles Henry was aged 21 and was a labourer in a foundry, as was his father.

The family was still there in 1911, but Charles Henry had moved out. In late 1901 he had married Annie Maria Wilson and they were living at 3 Hill Street, with one child, nine year old Louis Charles. Charles was now a core maker in iron foundry. A second child, Denis W was born in 1917.

He must have been working for Willans and Robinson, as in the Rugby Advertiser of 12th Sept 1914 he was mentioned in a list of workmen from there who had joined “since Thursday, September 3rd

He joined the Royal Army Medical Corps, 46th Field Ambulance, No. 26010. By 1918 he had reached the rank of serjeant.

The Field Ambulance was a mobile front line medical unit, manned by troops of the Royal Army Medical Corps. Most Field Ambulances came under command of a Division, and each had special responsibility for the care of casualties of one of the Brigades of the Division.

46th Field Ambulance served with the 15th (Scottish) Division which was formed in September 1914. They left for France in July 1915 and were involved in most of the major actions of the war. In 1918 they fought in the First Battle of Bapaume, the First Battle of Arras, The Battle of the Soissonnais and of the Ourcq (18-22 July 1918) when most of the ground lost in the German Spring Offensive was regained. On 28th July an attack was made on Buzancy, before the Final Advance in Artois.

There is some confusion about Charles Henry Hemming’s death. The CWGC certificate gives the date as 4th September 1918 and it appears that is the date inscribed on his headstone, but the attached grave registration, at Vauxbuin French National Cemetery, says 25th July 1918. The body was concentrated (removed and reburied) from Dommiers British Cemetery, where his name is given as Sergt G H Hemmings. He was buried with three other men from the 46th Field Ambulance and a handful of Scottish soldiers who all died on 25/26th July.

Dommiers British Cemetery was located on the East side of that village, and contained the graves of 50 soldiers of the 15th Division who fell in July and August 1918.

The Soldiers Effects document, in which money is paid to his widow, Annie, gives his death “in action” as 24th July 1918. The same date is given on the list of soldiers Died in the Great War, where he was “killed in action (gas)”

Charles Henry Hemming is remembered on the St Phillip’s Church Memorial (as Charles Hemmings) as well as the Rugby Memorial Gates.

Annie Maria Hemming remarried, in 1923, to Thomas A Sprowson

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Slater, Cyril George. Died 27th Aug 1918

Cyril George SLATER was born in New Bilton, Rugby on 27 June 1899. He was the eldest son of Charles Henry Slater, whose father was a paperhanger, and who was born in about 1878 in New Bilton, Rugby, and Bertha Martha, née Taylor, Slater, whose father was a ‘goods porter’ – she was also born in about 1878, in Rugby. They were married in New Bilton on 7 March 1899, after Banns were called in February and March. When Cyril was baptised at New Bilton on 6 August 1899, his father was working as a ‘decorator’ and the family lived in New Bilton.

In 1901, his father was enumerated as a ‘painter and house decorator’, and the family were now in St. Andrews Parish and living at 103 Cambridge Street, Rugby. Cyril was one year old. In 1911, when Cyril was 11, his parents had been married for 12 years, and had moved to live at 24 Lodge Road, Rugby. Cyril now had a younger sister, Olga C Slater, who was seven. Their father was now a ‘foreman painter’. Cyril attended the Elborow School, and ‘previous to enlisting was employed as a clerk in Messrs Willans & Robinson’s offices.’

Unfortunately no Service Record has survived for Cyril, but it seems that he joined up in Warwick, and his Medal Card shows that he served initially as Private, No: 43087, in the 4th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment. He later served as a Private, No: 44979, latterly in the 8th Battalion, Princess Charlotte of Wales’s (Royal Berkshire) Regiment, more usually known as the Royal Berkshire Regiment.

There is no date on his Medal Card for when Cyril went to France, suggesting this was after the end of 1915, but it would probably be some time after he joined up and he was unlikely to have been sufficiently trained – or indeed old enough assuming he had declared his correct age – to serve overseas until sometime in late 1917.

Both the 1st/4th and 2nd/4th Battalions of the Hampshire Regiment served in India from October and December respectively in WWI. Thus whilst one document suggests that Cyril was in the ‘4th Battalion’, he did not serve in India, and he may have been transferred to the Royal Berkshires soon after recruitment.

There is also some confusion over the service of the 8th Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment. The 8th (Service) Battalion was formed in September 1914 as part of the Third New Army (K3) at Reading and was attached to the 26th Division and moved to Salisbury Plain. In May 1915 they moved to Sutton Veny and on 8 August 1915 mobilised for war and landed at Havre and transferred to the 1st Brigade of the 1st Division, a Regular Army formation, which engaged in various ‘slaughterhouse battles’ on the Western Front.

However, some accounts suggest they were in action in France in 1914 and early 1915 which conflicts with the above mobilisation to France date. Assuming Cyril went to France in August 1917, having reached the age of 18, he may have been first involved in the Second Battle of Passchendaele from 26 October to 10 November 1917.

On 2 February 1918 the Battalion transferred to the 53rd Brigade of the 18th Division and continued to fight on the Western Front in the Battle of St Quentin from 21 to 23 March 1918, this being the initial action against the German offensive ‘Operation Michael’ ; the Battle of the Avre, 4-5 April; the actions of Villers-Brettoneux, 24-25 April 1918; and the Battle of Amiens, 8 August 1918, which was the first day of the Allied offensive, when Allied forces advanced over 7 miles on the first day, one of the greatest advances of the war, … Erich Ludendorff described that day as “the black day of the German Army”. The Battalion was then involved in the third Battle of Albert (21-23 August 1918) which then continued as the extended two week Second Battle of Bapaume which then developed into the advance, which became known as the Allies’ ‘Hundred Days Offensive’, and pushed back the German Armies along an extended front until the Armistice was declared.

Parts of the 8th Battalion War Diary are to be found at the end of the 53rd Brigade Diaries within the records of the 18th Division. This showed that after a final conference at MAMETZ WOOD, on 26 August 1918, there was a major action on 27 August 1918, which was described in four closely written pages of the War Diary.

‘27 August – 2.15am – Battalion moved out to the forming up line.

‘3.30am – Assembly of troops was completed. The night was quiet and bright moonlight. … three of the enemy strayed into our lines and were taken prisoner of war by the Medical Officer.

‘4.30am – The leading lines moved forward … to catch the barrage which was timed to open at 4.55am … through western edge of BERNAFAY WOOD. The enemy … outpost M.G. posts … retired hastily to the first main line of their resistance. … Our advance had already been detected … and a brisk M.G. fire opened. This was ominously loud on the left … in enemy occupation instead of held by the adjoining Division. … the barrage crept forward and our men … cleared the right area without appreciable loss.

‘On the left … progress … was considerably hampered. The next line of enemy resistance coincided approximately with the BERNAFAY- LONGUEVAL Road. … The right pushed on not far behind the barrage and took some more prisoners … between the LONGUEVAL road and TRONES WOOD. … the final objective … was attained on the right but our own troops at once came under accurate M.G. fire from the direction of WATERLOT farm. … large numbers of enemy could be seen massing and advancing from WATERLOT farm. At the same time LONGUEVAL and DELVILLE WOOD were full of enemy … contemplating withdrawl … the troops on the final objective … checked the advance from WATERLOT farm, though at the cost of a number of casualties … a number of the enemy surrendered or were killed, while the remainder withdrew in the direction of LONGUEVAL.

‘ … the Reserve Coy of the 7th R W Kents had also come up … ‘B’ Coy had started their southward advance through TRONES WOOD … but our heavies continued to shell it … they also fell back to the trench line immediately west of the wood … an enemy counter attack … menaced the security of the whole of this flank. But Kents and Berkshires rallied in good style … and confined the enemy gains to the higher portion.

‘6.30pm – The heavies opened an intense bombardment …

‘6.50pm – Two guns of the 53rd Trench Mortar Battery opened an intensive fire …

‘6.55pm – The attacking Companies … crept from their positions close up to the bombardment.

‘7.00pm – All the fire was turned to the left, but so eager were the men that they were in amongst it before the shells had stopped bursting taking the enemy completely by surprise. Basically all of these on the edge of the wood were shot or bayoneted and our troops pushed into the undergrowth with great dash … The whole operation was complete within an hour. 3 officers and 70 OR were taken prisoner, about 50 of the enemy killed and some 20 M.G.s captured. Enemy posts … were rendered largely innocuous by the command of the ground captured and the night passed quietly …

‘28 August – 12 midnight – Battalion was relieved by 2nd Batt. Bedford Regt., 54th Brigade, and moved to CATERPILLAR VALLEY.’

On 29 August at 7pm, the Battalion moved into Reserve about GUILLEMONT, which had been well behind the German lines when the action started on 27 August – such was the progress of the advance. There had been casualties – on 27 August, three Officers had been killed, and also an RAMC officer, and three were wounded. In total in August 79 Other Ranks had been killed, 225 wounded, nine died of wounds, and eight were missing. Seven Military Medals were awarded.

At some time during the actions on 27 August, Cyril George Slater was one of the 79 Other Ranks who were ‘Killed in Action’ in August in the 8th Battalion. He was 19 years old. His body was either never found or not identified.

Cyril is commemorated on Panel 7, 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.

An item in the Rugby Advertiser in September noted,
Pte George Cyril Slater, son of Mr & Mrs H Slater, 24 Lodge Road, was killed in action in France on August 27th. He was an old Elborow boy, and previous to enlisting was employed as a clerk in Messrs Willans & Robinson’s offices.

It seems that the family may have used the name George rather than Cyril. His death was not officially reported in the Weekly Casualty List until mid-October,

‘PART VIII – W.O.’s., N.C.O.’s and Men, Cont. – Killed … Royal Berkshire Regiment … Slater 44979 O. G. (Rugby).

The Coventry Evening Telegraph published a note on the same date,
‘THE ROLL OF HONOUR. Coventry and District Casualties. The following are included in the latest casualty lists: Killed. … Slater, 44979, O. G., Rugby, Royal Berkshire Regiment.’

In both cases his first initial ‘C’ had been misprinted as ‘O’.

His 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.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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

Angell, William Henry, Died 15th Jun 1918

William Henry Groves ANGELL was born in Deptford, Kent, in late 1889.  He was the second son of John Groves Beasley Angell, who was born in ‘Bow Road’, London City, in about 1862, and Mary, née Sullivan, Angell, who was born in Deptford, Kent and who was also born in about 1862.  

In 1891, the family had just moved to live in Clump Meadow, Queen’s Road, Thames Ditton, Kent.  William was one year old and had an elder brother, John, who was five,[1] and an elder sister.  He would later have another sister, Amy, and a much younger brother, Fred born in 1898.  William’s father was a ‘moulder’.  It seems that both William’s father, and his uncle, had moved to Queen’s Road, Thames Ditton, before the 1891 census, and both must have worked for the Willans Company, as both families moved to Rugby when the Willans Company expanded and moved there in 1897.

So before 1901 the family had moved to live at 43 Victoria Avenue, Bilton, Rugby, and then before 1911, William’s parents and the family had moved to 166 Lawford Road, New Bilton, Rugby.  His father was still an Iron Moulder.  His sister, Katherine, had married, Rugby born, Alfred Glenn, who was a Groom and they were also living with the family.  William was not at home on census night, and has not been found elsewhere at present, unless he was the ‘core maker’ – a somewhat similar trade to that of his father – who was a boarder at 425 Shields Road, East Heaton, Newcastle-on-Tyne.

There are no surviving military Service Records for William.  He joined up in Bristol, initially as a Sapper, No:2168, in the Royal Engineers.  His Medal Card states that he went ‘overseas’ to France/Belgium on 6 June 1915.  He was latterly a Sapper No: 494519 in the 477th South Midlands Field Company, Royal Engineers (R.E.s).

The 2/1st South Midland Field Company, R.E.s was formed in September 1914, and later moved independently to France as the renamed 477th Field Company, R.E.s, and joined 48th Division in June 1915.  William would have gone to France with his Field Company.

A War Diary exists for their period in France/Belgium.[2]  They had entrained for Portsmouth on 6 June and crossed to Le Havre arriving on 7 June and then spent several months with Sections working on different projects in different areas and also training – including the use of pontoons and bridging.

As an example of their work, on 18 May 1916, 9.30am, they started to supervise the digging of trenches,
‘… 915 yds of trench in all & including [two] traverses, 1220 yds of digging. Trench dug 5ft wide at top & 3 ft at bottom, 3ft 6in deep = 14 sq ft.  Strength of digging party 650 & 1 section of Sappers supervising approx 80 cu.ft per man.  19 May – 2pm – Digging complete.

In November 1916, their Field Company typically had a strength of 10 officers and about 220 other ranks.  They would have been working on a variety of construction projects, trenches and strong-points, supporting the 48th Division during the rest of 1916 and for most of 1917.

In May 1915, the Italians had entered the war on the Allied side, declaring war on Austria.  Commonwealth forces were later transferred to the Italian front between November 1917 and November 1918.   48th Division HQ received orders on 10 November 1917 for a move to Italy.  Entrainment began on 21 November and all units had detrained around Legnano (Adige) by 1 December.  The Division then moved north to the area allotted to XI Corps.

In March 1918, XIV Corps (the 7th, 23rd and 48th Divisions) relieved Italian troops on the front line between Asiago and Canove, the front being held by two Divisions, with one Division in reserve on the plain.[3]

The 48th Division relieved 7th Division to hold the front line sector at the Montello between 1 and 16 March.  It then moved west, to the Asiago sector.  The front had been comparatively quiet until the Austrians attacked in force from Grappa to Canove in the Battle of Asiago (15-16 June 1918).  The Division took part in the fighting on the Asiago Plateau.  The Allied line was penetrated to a depth of about 1,000 metres on 15 June, but the lost ground was retaken the next day and the line re-established.[4]

It is likely that William was wounded either just prior to, or during, the Battle of Asiago, and died of wounds during the day at one of the South Midlands Field Ambulances, which were attached to the 48th (South Midland) Division.  Mount Cavalletto was the site of an Advanced Operating Station where urgent cases from the front were treated, as the journey from the mountains to the main hospitals on the plain was long and difficult.

William Henry Angell ‘died of wounds’ on 15 June 1918, and was buried in the nearby Cavalletto British Cemetery, in grave reference: Plot 1. Row E. Grave 11.[5]  His family later had the inscription ‘A Noble Sacrifice for his Country’s Honour’ added to his memorial stone.  The contact for the inscription was ‘Mrs F R Angell, 714 Fishponds Road, Bristol’.  This would appear to be William’s cousin, Florence R Angell, who had married in 1913 and whose husband died in 1918.  She seems to have used her unmarried name for correspondence with the CWGC.  She later re-married.

Cavalletto British Cemetery is one of five Commonwealth cemeteries on the Asiago Plateau containing burials relating to this period.  It contains 100 First World War burials.  It is 12 kilometres south of Asiago (in the province of Vicenza, Veneto region), … and 45 kilometres from Vicenza in the commune of Calven.

In October, the 7th and 23rd Divisions were sent to the Treviso area of the River Piave front. The 48th Division, which remained in the mountains as part of the Italian Sixth Army, later played an important part in the Battle of Vittorio Veneto (24 October-4 November 1918) in which the Austrians were finally defeated.

William Henry Angell was awarded the British War and Victory Medals and the 1914-1915 Star.  He is also commemorated on the Rugby Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road, Rugby.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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This article on William Henry ANGELL was researched and written for the Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the RFHG, March 2018.

[1]      His brother John was mentioned in the Rugby Advertiser, on 5 May 1917.  See Rugby Remembers.  ‘2nd Lieut. J P Angell, R.F.C, eldest son of Mr and Mrs J Angell, 166 Lawford Road, has been awarded the French Military Medal for Distinguished Service while he was Sergt. Major, and has received congratulations from His Majesty the King.  Mr Angell has two other sons serving with the Colours.’

[2]      WWI War Diaries (France, Belgium and Germany), 1914-1920, Royal Engineers, 48th Division, TNA Ref: Piece 2751/3: 477 South Midland Field Company Royal Engineers (1915 Jun – 1917 Oct).

[3]      Edited from: https://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/69804/cavalletto-british-cemetery/.

[4]      Edited from: https://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/69804/cavalletto-british-cemetery/.

[5]      Shared by ‘parkgrove1’ on www.ancestry.co.uk on 19 September 2015.

Handyside, John Robert. Died 19th May 1917

John Robert HANDYSIDE was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1886, the son of John and Jane Handyside.   He was baptised on 15 September 1886 at St Anne’s, Newcastle on Tyne.

In 1901, John’s father was a ‘Blacksmith’s Labourer’ and the family lived at 15 Rippenden Street, Byker, Newcastle upon Tyne. John was then 14 years old and had five younger siblings.

In 1911, John, now 25 and still single, was a labourer in an engineering works and still at home with the family. A family of eight in a three roomed house would have been somewhat crowded.

Sometime between 1911 and 1914 John moved to Rugby to work ‘… at Messrs Willans & Robinson’s, and lodged at the house of Mrs Hayward, 43 Lodge Road, Rugby’.[1]

‘His enlistment was reported in the September 1914, ‘Supplementary List, No. 3.’ from Willans & Robinson Ltd.[2] By January 1916, ‘The employees from Messrs Willans and Robinson’s with the colours consist of 15 officers (including one staff-captain) and 233 men, 248 in all.   Of these, two officers and ten men have already been killed, …’[3]

A later report confirmed that John ‘… enlisted as a gunner on September 3rd, 1914, and has now been promoted to the rank of Corporal.’[4] He enlisted initially as No. 11029 with ‘D’ Battery, 71st Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. 71st Brigade was part of the New Army K2 and its service is summarised below.[5]

‘LXXI Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, made up of 223, 224 and 225 Batteries RFA and the Brigade Ammunition Column served with 15th (Scottish) Division. 15th (Scottish) Division was formed in September 1914, as part of Kitchener’s Second New Army. In February 1915 the three six-gun batteries were reorganised to become four four-gun batteries and were titled as A, B, C and D. 71 Brigade proceeded to France in the second week of July 1915. They were in action in the Battle of Loos in 1915.

In spring 1916, they were involved in the German gas attacks near Hulluch and the defence of the Kink position. On the 22nd May 1916 the Brigade Ammunition Column merged with other columns of the divisional artillery to form the 15th Divisional Ammunition Column. On the 7th of June 1916 D Battery exchanged with C Battery, 73 (Howitzer) Brigade of the same division, each adopting the others name. 71 Brigade were in action during the Battles of the Somme, including the Battle of Pozieres, the Battle of Flers-Courcelette and the capture of Martinpuich, The Battle of Le Transloy and the attacks on the Butte de Warlencourt.   The brigade was reorganised in early December 1916. C Battery was split between A and B Battery to bring them up to six guns each. B Battery, 73 (Howitzer) Brigade joined and was renamed C Battery, 71 Brigade. On the 22nd of January 1917 a section of two howitzers from 532 (Howitzer) Battery, 72 Brigade joined to make D (Howitzer) Battery up to six guns.

In 1917 they were in action in the First and Second Battle of the Scarpe, including the capture of Guemappe during the Arras Offensive. They then moved north to Flanders and were in action during the Battle of Pilckem and the Battle of Langemark.’

One of John’s three Medal Cards shows that he went to France on 8 July 1915, which agrees with the above 71st Brigade history.

During his earlier period in France, a later report mentioned,
‘Bombardier Handyside had been previously brought to notice for coolness and bravery on the 25th September near Loos, when he repeatedly volunteered to repair wires under very heavy fire, although he was suffering from the effect of gas fumes at the time.’[6]

This may have been the occasion when, as a Corporal, another Medal Card noted that he was ‘Mentioned in Dispatches’.[7]

Sometime before the end of November, whilst he was an Acting Bombardier and still in ‘D’ Battery, 71st Brigade, Royal Field Artillery he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) and there were several [similar] reports.

‘ANOTHER RUGBY MAN AWARDED THE D.C.M.
‘Amongst those who have recently been awarded the D.C.M is Bombardier J R Handyside, D Battery, 71st Brigade Royal Field Artillery. He received the distinction for conspicuous gallantry from the 26th September to the 14th October, 1915, during which time his battery was in the open and constantly under a very heavy fire. He frequently volunteered to mend telephone wires under heavy fire, thereby successfully maintaining communications.’[8]

‘11029 Bombardier J. R. Handyside, ‘D’ Battery, 71st Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. For conspicuous gallantry from the 26th September to the 14th October, 1915, during which time his battery was in the open and constantly under a very heavy fire. He frequently volunteered to mend telephone wires under heavy fire, thereby successfully maintaining communications. Bombardier Handyside had been previously brought to notice for coolness and bravery on the 25th September near Loos, when he repeatedly volunteered to repair wires under very heavy fire, although he was suffering from the effect of gas fumes at the time.[9]

In addition, he was also awarded the Medaille Militaire,[10] and was subsequently promoted to Sergeant and it might have been during the reorganisation of the 71st Brigade in early December 1916, that he was promoted to Sergeant and transferred to ‘C’ Battery, 70th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery.

70th Brigade was also part of the New Army K2, and also in the 15th Division, indeed the 70th, 71st and 72nd Brigades were largely working together and in May 1917, were generally in the Feuchy to Tilloy areas to the East of Arras. This was during the aftermath of the Battle of Arras which had been in progress from 9 April to 16 May 1917, with the 70th Brigade in the Tilloy area.

‘C/70 came up into the line’ on 15 May and the 16, 17 and 18 May were ‘quiet all day’ with an attack at 8.20pm on the 18 May which did not gain its objective. On 19 May, the War Diary recorded,
‘Quiet day.   Preparation for attack. A/70 came into the line for the attack.   Attack by the XVII corps.[11] Our batteries assisted by shelling the enemy’s defenses on the Brigade front.’

Some time during this ‘Quiet day …’, 19 May 1917, John Handyside was ‘Killed in Action’.

John was buried in the Faubourg D’Amiens Cemetery, Arras in Grave: V. F. 13.   There was no additional inscription on his headstone.

The Faubourg-d’Amiens Cemetery is the main CWGC cemetery in the western part of the town of Arras. The Commonwealth section of the cemetery was begun in March 1916, behind the French military cemetery established earlier. It continued to be used by field ambulances and fighting units until November 1918.

John R HANDYSIDE was awarded the Victory and British Medals and the 1915 Star. He is remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gates and in St. Philip’s Church, Wood Street, Rugby.
‘The memorial takes the form of a stone tablet framed in light oak, and bears the figures of our Lord, St John, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is in the south chancel of the church, and by its side, as a part of the memorial, is another picture of the entombment of our Lord. The Tablet bears the following inscription:- Like as Christ was raised from the dead even so should we also walk in the newness of life.’[12]

His mother as Sole Legatee received John’s outstanding pay of £41-0-11d on 11 September 1917; then a further £1-2-0 on 13 October 1917; and a War Gratuity of £15-10-0 on 24 October 1919. She received a further Gratuity for his D.C.M. of £20-0-0d on 28 September 1921.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

– – – – – –

 

This article on John R HANDYSIDE was researched and written for a Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the Rugby Family History Group, May 2017.

[1]       Rugby Advertiser, 4 December 1915; as reported in Rugby Remembers, https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com, 4 December 1915.

[2]       Rugby Advertiser, 5 September 1914; as reported in Rugby Remembers, https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com, 5 September 1914.

[3]       Rugby Advertiser, 1 January 1916; as reported in Rugby Remembers, https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com, 1 January 2017.

[4]       Rugby Advertiser, 4 December 1915; as reported in Rugby Remembers, https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com, 4 December 1915.

[5]         http://www.wartimememoriesproject.com/greatwar/allied/fartillery.php?pid=9943.

[6]       Rugby Advertiser, 4 December 1915; as reported in Rugby Remembers, https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com, 4 December 1915.

[7]       The Medal Card mentions ‘London Gazette, 1/1/16 p.19 [or 9]’ although this has not been found.

[8]       Rugby Advertiser, 4 December 1915; as reported in Rugby Remembers, https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com, 4 December 1915.

[9]       The London Gazette, 26 November 1915, Supplement: 29384, Page: 11896; also The Edinburgh Gazette, 1 December 1915, Issue: 12878, Page: 1822; also Rugby Advertiser, Saturday, 1 January 1916.

[10]     Rugby Advertiser, 4 December 1915; as reported in Rugby Remembers, https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com, 4 December 1915; also Rugby Advertiser, Saturday, 1 January 1916.

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[11]     In April 1917, XVII Corps attacked east of Arras near the River Scarpe, but was bogged down in rain and snow.

[12]     From a report of the unveiling, Rugby Advertiser, 12 November 1920, see http://www.rugbyfhg.co.uk/rugby-st-philips-church. It is not known if the Memorial in St Philip’s Church still exists.

Dunn, James. Died 13th Feb 1917

James was born in the Registration District of West Bromwich, Staffordshire, to Silas and Maria Dunn, born Ward. They married in Dudley, Staffordshire in the last quarter of 1884. James had an elder brother, Joseph born in 1886.

In the 1891 Census the family are living at 9, Tunnel Road in the Hill Top Ward of West Bromwich, Silas is a General Labourer. Silas died in June 1894 aged 30, in West Bromwich.

In the 1901 Census, Maria is a Boarder, and Charwoman, at 51, Old Meeting Street, West Bromwich, with Rose Harriet Silk as Head of the Household. Joseph, 15 is a General Labourer, James is 12, and a new brother, George is 8.

By 1911 James had moved to Rugby and was working for Willans and Robinson Engineering Works, in Leicester Road, Rugby. He played football for Long Lawford.

He married Clara Sutton in Rugby in December 1914. Clara was the daughter of Amos and Maria Sutton. Her mother was born Maria Burbury. Clara was born in Frankton, Warwickshire in 1889, and baptised at Frankton Parish Church on 13th of October, 1889. . The 1891 Census records Clara living in Frankton with her parents and 4 older siblings. In the 1901 Census, the family are living in Chapel Street, Long Lawford, Amos is a Quarryman at the Rugby Cement Works.

Clara gave birth to a son, Joseph S, his birth is recorded   in the September quarter of 1915, in Rugby.

James’ Service Records have not survived, but information shows that he joined up as a Private in The Royal Warwickshire Regiment service number 20446. The report of his death in The Rugby Advertiser in March 1917 says he signed up for the colours 6 months before his death.

He then transferred to The 196th Company of The Machine Gun Corps (Infantry). Why was this?

At the start of World War 1 each Battalion had 2 machine guns, some were old and unreliable Maxim guns. The Army brought in a programme to change to the Vickers design. And in February 1915 they increased the number to 4 per Battalion. Vickers struggled to meet not only this increase, but the ever-growing number of Territorial Battalions. They agreed to place contracts with American Companies for production under licence.

Following a review of the problems encountered at the First Battle of Ypres, a decision was made to form specialist Machine Gun Battalions. Heavy Machine guns and their crews, four per gun were transferred to the new specialist Battalions, Infantry, Cavalry and Motor. A Vickers Gun could fire 500 rounds per minute, which is the equivalent of 40 trained Riflemen. Concentrating the fire over wide range was copying the technique which had been so devastating to the British Army in the early battles.

To train the Battalion gunners to be part of a much larger Corps of Machine Gunners, a training camp was set up in northern France at Wisques, near to the port of Dunkirk. (In the Second World War a V2 rocket launch platform was sited close to Wisques.)

A team of four were allocated to each gun. It took two men to carry each gun, the gun barrel weighed 28.5 lbs, the water cooled jacket 10lbs and the tripod 20lbs.

A total of 170,500 officers and Men served in the Machine Gun Corps, during the war. 62,049 were killed or wounded. There is a Memorial to the Corps in Hyde Park, London.

The 196th Machine Gun Corps joined the 55th Division on 22nd December 1916.. The Division had relieved the 29th Division in October 1916. For the first half of 1917 the front near Ypres was officially considered to be relatively quiet, if being surrounded on three sides by the enemy can be considered relatively quiet!

In early February 1917 James was wounded and transferred to a French Hospital west of Ypres. He had suffered severe wounds in the leg and was suffering from shock and loss of blood. The surgeon was initially inclined to amputate the leg, but was concerned that the shock of an operation might kill James. He asked for volunteers to donate blood to help James to recover strength. Private T Carter of The Royal Sussex Regiment donated blood. James recovered sufficiently to stand up, but his body had become infected and without modern drugs he died on the 13th of February 1917.

He was buried in The Liyssenthoek Military Cemetery, which is 12 kilometres west of Ypres between Ypres and Poperinge. It is situated between the Allied military base camps and the town of Ypres. The Cemetery has 9,801 graves of men killed in World War 1.

James’ widow, named as Mrs J Dunn was awarded 1s 1d as the value of James’ effects in 1920. She also received his Victory and British War Medals, these were actioned on 25th February 1920.

James’ son, Joseph S Dunn died aged 8 in 1923.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

20th Jan 1917. No Grain for Pheasants

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR.

THE NEW FOOD ORDERS.
NO GRAIN FOR PHEASANTS.

An 81 per cent wheaten loaf will come into existence by order of Lord Davenport, the Food Controller, on January 29.

Unless the loaf be made of wheat milled to the extent of 81 per cent, the flour must be
mixed with oats, maize, barley, or rice up to that percentage.

Other Orders made by Lord Devonport on Thursday last week were :

Wheat must be used only for seed and floor.
No grain food must be given to pheasants or game birds.
Sweet-making must be reduced by half.
No chocolates may be sold dearer than 4s a lb, and no other sweets dearer than 2s 6d a lb.
No sugar-covered or chocolate-covered cakes must be made.
No milk must be used for milk chocolate before April 1st next.
Export of oats from Ireland is prohibited.
The wholesale price of 1916 potatoes (those now in use), will be £8 a ton—i.e, a shade less than [?] a pound.
Prices are fixed for seed potatoes to plant now.
Very soon Lord Devonport will issue Orders as to the control and distribution of bread, meat, sugar, and milk.

PIG KEEPING.

All pig-keepers, notwithstanding the present high price of feeding stuffs, are urged to make every possible effort to maintain the supply of pigs. Sows with access to shelter will pick up a considerable part of the food they require out of doors. Where grass is scarce, a few swedes or mangolds, together with a pound or two of beans or finely-ground palm kernel cake, will serve to carry most sows through till farrowing time. For fattening pigs, 8 pounds of swedes, boiled, are equivalent to one pound of cereal meals or offals. Small or blemished potatoes are twice as valuable as swedes for feeding purposes ; but these should be reserved for the later stages of fattening.

To supplement roots, the cheapest and most suitable foods at the present time are finely ground palm kernel cake, bean meal, maize gluten feed, and dried grain. Later on, clover, sainfoin, and lucerne, will be available in place of roots, and small holders should consider whether they can find space to add these to their crops.

Edible domestic refuse should be reserved as far as possible for pig-feeding. The pig pail should be kept free from brine, lemons, corks, tins, wire, and other injurious substance.

For fuller information and guidance the Board Leaflet No. 298, on Pig Keeping (free by poet on application), should be consulted.

THE L & N.W & ALLOTMENTS.—The L & N.W Railway Company announce that they will consider applications for the use during the present emergency of vacant land both inside and outside the railway fences, subject to a short agreement and the payment of a nominal rent of 1s per annum. Applicants should address their inquires to the nearest station-master.

LOCAL AID FOR ALLIES’ FARMERS.—According to the latest list issued by the Agricultural Relief of Allies Fund (16 Bedford Square, London, W.C) the central counties of England are credited with the following contributions to the fund :—Notts, £2,608 ; Shropshire, £2,581 ; Northants, £1,847 ; Warwickshire, £1,124 ; Leicestershire, £1,092 ; and Worcestershire, £189.

PRESENTATION.—On Friday evening last week, at the Peacock Hotel, Mr F T Lambert was presented with a gold watch, suitably inscribed, by the soldier munition workers (numbering over 100) employed at Messrs Willans & Robinson’s Works, in recognition of services rendered. Gunner Townsend made the presentation, and the recipient suitably replied. The remainder of the evening was spent in harmony.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Among those mentioned in Sir Douglas Haig’s despatches published was Lieut C H Shaw (Hussars), only son of Mr J F Shaw, of Bourton Hall.

Lieut R C Herron, M.T, A.S.C, son of Mr R Herron, of Great Bowden, and formerly of Rugby, was among the list of names mentioned in Sir Douglas Haig’s recent despatch.

PRISONERS OF WAR.

Two more local men have recently fallen into the hands of the Germans. Private A Goodwin, of Rugby, 1st South Staffordshire Regiment, has been interned at Dulmen, and Private E Rollins, of Newton, Oxford & Bucks L.I., is interned at Wahn. In both cases Mr Barker has made arrangements for the men to receive the regulation food parcels. Goodwin will be “ adopted ” by his Regimental Care Committee and Rollins by the Rugby Committee.

LOCAL CASUALTIES.

Lieut. Geoffery H. T. Wanstall, Dorset Regiment, brother of the Rev H C Wanstall, Vicar of Wollaston, Stourbridge, has been severely wounded in France, and is now in a Red Cross Hospital at Le Touquet.

MR J E COX’S SON WOUNDED

News was received from the War Office (Tuesday) morning that G H Cox, of the Warwickshire Yeomanry, son of Mr and Mrs J E Cox, of Lodge Farm, Lawford, was wounded in Egypt on January 9th. Further particulars are not known.

ANOTHER B.T.H MAN KILLED.

News has been received at the B.T.H this week that Pte C B Crossby, of the 11th Royal Warwickshire Regiment, died on November 16th from wounds received whilst acting as a stretcher-bearer. Before the War Pte Crossby was employed in the Carbon Lamp Department.

SOLDIERS’ GRAVES.

The Cemetery Committee had considered the question of setting apart a portion of the Burial Ground for the interment of Rugby soldiers dying through the war and brought home for interment. They recommended that, owing to the lack of room in the Cemetery, no portion be set apart for such interments, but that a selected grave be provided free in every case.

THE REV. C. T. BERNARD McNULTY ON HIS ARMY EXPERIENCE.
BROTHERHOOD IN THE RANKS.

The Rev C T Bernard McNulty, vicar of Holy Trinity, Leamington, and formerly vicar of Dunchurch, has returned to his parish, after an absence of two years and a half at the front as Territorial Army Chaplain.

Preaching on Sunday, he said that in the ranks there was real brotherhood. Men and officers were liable to the same fear, the same anxieties, and the same sorrows and the officers thought first of the men and the men first of the officers.

“ There is no brotherhood so wonderful as the brotherhood which exists in the Army, and once a man puts on khaki he is admitted into that brotherhood. I have learned this lesson in the last two and a half years : Whether you are rich or whether you are poor ; whether you are high or low Church; whether you are Church of England, Roman Catholic, or Nonconformist, or whether you are orthodox Christian or not, when you come to face death, when you come down to the bedrock of the real thing that matters there is nothing much to choose between any of us.”

“ THE EMPIRE’S FIGHTERS.”

This famous war film, for which Mr B Morris paying the largest fee ever paid by a Rugby Cinema proprietor, is being shown at the Empire this week and on Monday there were full “ houses ” at each show. The photographs were taken by Mr H D Girdwood, B.[?] F.R.G.S, geographer and historical photographer to the Indian Government, in many instances under hostile shell fire. The film gives a very vivid impression of life at the front, and of the excellent work which is being done by the gallant British regiments and their brothers-in-arms from India. English Lancers, Jacob’s Horse, Jodhpur Lancers, King’s Dragoon Guard, Gurkhas, Indian and English Artillery, are all shown together with the necessary but often underestimated work of the A.S.C and the R.A.M.C. Several actual incidents in the firing line are depicted, including capture of a German trench by the Gurkhas and the work of consolidating the position, which is shown to be not the simple process many have imagined. Another striking scene is a charge by the Leicesters, who are seen to fall in all directions, but who doggedly had their way through the barbed wire and capture the position. The film is accompanied by Mr Girdwood and his explanations of the incidents add greatly to the interest. Mr Morris has invited the soldiers at the local Red Cross Hospitals to visit the Empire free of charge, and arrangements have also been made for the children attending the Elementary Schools to see the film.