27th Apr 1918. Can a Greengrocer Substitute a Blacksmith?

COVENTRY APPEALS TRIBUNAL.

At a sitting of this Tribunal on Wednesday there were present : Messrs H W Wale (chairman), K Rotherham, W Johnson, jun, A Craig, and S J Dicksee. Mr T Meredith was the National Service representative.

CAN A GREENGROCER SUBSTITUTE A BLACKSMITH ?

The appeal of Thomas White (18, general service), Dunchurch, blacksmith, assisting his father, which had been adjourned to see whether a substitute could be found, was next heard ; and addressing the father, the Chairman said : “ Whether you have a substitute or not, the boy will have to go.”—Mr Meredith explained that Major Neilson, who knew the case very well, was of opinion that, although the man was passed for general service, he should not be taken without a substitute being provided, because the firm did a good deal of agricultural work.—The Chairman said, as Mr White’s family had such a patriotic record, one son having been killed and another was serving, they wished to help him, but were they to keep this boy out of the Army until the National Service Department found a substitute ?—Mr Meredith : It is hardly our job ; it is for the Labour Exchange.—It was mentioned that the next appellant—Howard James Allkins, greengrocer (39, B2), Wolston—had been suggested as substitute.—Allkins, however, said he went to see Mr White, who expressed doubt as to whether he would be of any use, because he knew nothing of the business. It would be twelve months, he added, before he could put nail in a shoe.—Mr White explained that shoeing was a funny job. Some of the big horses he had to shoe might injure, if they did not kill, a man who was not used to the work.—The Chairman : we realise that.—Mr White : It would be a case of me picking his pocket and he picking mine.—Mr Meredith : I cannot see how a greengrocer can substitute a blacksmith. He might lame a horse for life.—The Chairman said but for the fact that Mr White had lost a son in the service of his country this man would have had to go a long time ago. They would adjourn the case for a month, but he had been asked to point out that whether Mr White was successful or unsuccessful in finding a substitute, there was no doubt as to what would happen then. Therefore, in his own interests and in the interest of the country, he urged Mr White to do his best to get someone. The Labour Exchange would help him very materially.—The case of Allkins was adjourned for a re-examination.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Pte A E Palmer, Royal Warwicks, of 11 Adam Street, New Bilton, was wounded at La Bassee on april 15th with a bullet wound in his left thigh.

Pte G E Higham, Royal Warwicks, of New Bilton, has been severely wounded in the buttock. He was formerly employed by the G.C Railway.

Pte Albert Coaton, Machine Gun Battalion, son of Mr C Coaton, Grosvenor Road, has been wounded by a bullet in the left knee.

Gunner Norman Atkinson, H.A.C, second son of Mr J H Atkinson, of 37 Windsor Street, has been reported wounded and missing. Prior to joining the Army he was an apprentice at the B.T.H. He was an O.L. And Old Murrayian.

Mr & Mrs J Haggar, of 10 Alexandra Road, Rugby, have received news that their son, Corpl W Haggar, Worcestershire Regiment, has been missing since March 21st. Corpl Haggar was, prior to joining the Forces, employed at the B.T.H.

Gunner A E Moore, R.F.A, has been badly gassed, and is in hospital at Etaples. This is the second time he has been gassed, and last Christmastime he was buried for a time by debris thrown up by a shell. He is the only son of Mr and Mrs E Moore, 100 Grosvenor Road, and was an apprentice at the B.T.H when called up.

Pte Alfred Elson, Hampshire Regiment, who enlisted at the out break of the war, giving up a position at the B.T.H Works, Rugby, has died of wounds received in action. He had been previously wounded, and returned to France last year. He was again due for leave when the offensive started, in which he received severe gunshot wounds, from which he died on April 6. He was of a bright and cheerful disposition, and will be missed by a large circle of friends.

The death from wounds received on April 12th of 2nd Lieut R V Wilson has now been confirmed in a letter from his commanding officer to Mr J G Wilson of York Street. The letter states that Lieut Wilson “ was a most gallant officer, and showed promise of becoming a good leader ; in spite of his youth he had command of a company in action under difficult conditions, and was one of the most capable officers in the Battalion. His brother officers loved him.” The deceased officer was educated at the Elborow and Lower Schools. Intending to become a member of the scholastic profession, he became a student teacher at Eastlands Boys’ School. In May, 1916, he joined the H.A.C, and served in France. Later he accepted a Commission with the 1/7 R.W.R. The news of his untimely end was keenly felt by boys and staff of Eastlands School and by all who knew his cheerful personality. It seems that his battalion was attached at 6 a.m, and at 7 a.m he was sent forward to relieve another officer, and reached the post alright, but was almost immediately wounded by machine gun fire. When being carried back he was full of cheerfulness and of regret that he had to leave the field.

Capt G Gray, Lancashire Fusiliers, who was reported missing on March 26th, is a prisoner of war in Minden.

L-Corpl H Warland, 23rd Royal Fusiliers, son of Mr W Warland, Crick, who was reported as missing on   March 25th, is now known to be a prisoner of war. Prior to joining the Army two years ago, he was employed at the B.T.H.

Mr A G Cox, Kenilworth Home, Poplar Grove, has received official intimation that his son, 2nd Lieut A G Cox, reported missing 23rd March, is a prisoner of war. The camp in which he is interned is not known.

HONOURS FOR RUGBY MEN.

L-Cpl B Holmes, R.W.R, of Rugby, has been awarded the D.C.M. He has acted as a company runner for over two years, and he has been in the majority of actions in which his battalion has taken part. He has always proved himself most reliable, and on many occasions has taken messages through very heavy fire, displaying singular devotion to duty.

Bombardier (Acting Corporal) W E Stay, R.C.A, of Rugby, has been awarded the D.C.M for “ showing great ability on all occasions in supervising the maintenance of the Battery lines, frequently carrying out repairs fearlessly in face of very severe bombardment by high explosive and gas shells.”

THE WAR IN PICTURES.

Those who are interested in war films will have an opportunity of seeing a free display of actual war films in the Market Place, Rugby, on Monday, May 16th. The show, which is arranged by the Ministry of National Service, will be explained by men who have fought, and will take place at 8.30 p.m.

LOCAL MAN IN ZEEBRUGGE AFFAIR.

W GILBERT, son of Mr T Gilbert, was one of those who volunteered to take part in the naval raid on Zeebrugge. He was engineer on one of the motor boats engaged. Although several missiles passed through the little craft none of the crew was hit, and all reached the base safely.

THURLASTON.
FIVE TIMES WOUNDED.—Mr and Mrs Hedgcock have been informed that their only son, Sergt Hedgcock, has been wounded in the shoulder, which has been fractured. This is the fifth time Sergt Hedgcock has been wounded.

BIRDINGBURY.

THE sad news was received here last week of the death of Corpl G W Wall, grandson of Mr & Mrs Matthew Wall. He was badly wounded in France, and died soon afterwards in hospital. He had lately been home on leave. He enlisted soon after the War broke out, and joined the Coldstream Guards. At the beginning of December, 1914, he was sent to France. He was wounded in September, 1916, and was for a time in Coventry Hospital. In May, 1917, he was sent back to the firing line, and saw active service. On March 28th he spent an hour at his old school, where he was gladly welcomed by scholars and teachers. Before commencing his sermon on Sunday afternoon, the Rev A E Esau spoke very touchingly of him.

BROADWELL.
MISSING—Official intimation has been received by Mr Frank Goode of Broadwell that his son, Pte William Goode, of the M.G Corp, is a prisoner of war in Germany, and wounded. Before joining up he was the Secretary of the local lodge of Oddfellow.

PAILTON.
MILTARY MEDAL.—The Military Medal has been awarded Pte Augustus Horne, Northumberland Fusiliers, for conspicuous bravery in the field at Hargicourt on September 11,1917.

THE MEAT SUPPLY.

The supply of fat stock in Rugby Cattle Market on Monday was very short, but on representations being made to the Area Meat Agent a load of beast and two loads of sheep were sent from Stourbridge Market. The difference, as usual, will have to be made up with imported meat.

RUGBY SCHOOL & HELP IN POTATO PLANTING.

In explanation of the notice in your last week’s issue on the subject of the Rugby School “ farming ” squads, Dr David wishes me to say that the terms mentioned had reference to potato planting. For this work a large number of boys have had some training in the working of their own potato fields last year and this spring and the Army Canteen fields in Devonshire. Terms and conditions for help in other agricultural work, such as hoeing, &c, can be arranged later on.

In case a farmer needs a planting squad within a radius of six miles from Rugby School during the next fortnight or so will he, in applying to me, please state : (a) The exact locality of his potato field ; (b) the number of boys required ; (c) whether the squad should bring knives for cutting ungraded seed and a few bucket, if available ?

In working our own School potato field I have found it best to organise a large squad in the morning, say 9.30 a.m to 1 o’clock, so that the boys can pick out twitch from the rows (already opened), cut up potatoes, when ungraded, and plant, and so leave the horses plenty of work for afternoon ; but, no doubt, each farmer has his own method and convenience.

C.P. HASTINGS.
“ Mayfield,” Rugby.

DEATHS.

BARNWELL.—Sec.-Lieut. G. W. BARNWELL, K.O.Y.L.I., dearly-beloved husband of Mrs. Barnwell, 97 Grosvenor Road, killed action in France, April 13th.

BURTON.—In loving memory of ALFRED JOSEPH BURTON, aged 30 ; killed in action on April 5, 1918.—From his sorrowing Father, Mother and Family, and fiancee, Alice Kennard.

NOBLE.—Killed in action on March 29, 1918, Gunner JOSEPH WILLIAM HARRISON NOBLE, aged 27 years, beloved son of Mr. & Mrs. J. F. Noble, Braunston. Deeply lamented.

THOMPSON.—On April 12th, at Dar es Salaam, East Africa, Pte. FREDERICK THOMAS THOMPSON, A.S.C., dearly beloved and eldest son of Mr. & Mrs. J. H. Thompson, of 7 Albert Street, Milverton (late of Rugby). Died of dysentry.
“ He sleeps, not in his native land,
But under foreign skies ;
Far from those who loved him best,
In hero’s grave he lies.”
—From his loving Father and Mother, Brothers and Sisters, and fiancee, Nellie.

IN MEMORIAM.

BIDDLES.—In ever dear and affectionate remembrance of EVAN PERCY BIDDLES, 50th Brigade, R.F.A. (late of Estancia Loma-Pora, Republic del Paraguay), who died in the 103rd Field Ambulance from Gas poisoning received during night of April 22nd, 1917. Buried next day in the little Military Cemetery at Haute Aveanes, Aubigny-en-Artois, 6 miles N.W. of Arras.—“ Pro patria mori.”

BULL.—In loving and affectionate remembrance of Bombardier BULL (TOM), the dearly beloved son of Mr. & Mrs. Henry Bull, Southam Road Farm, Napton ; killed in France on May 3, 1917 ; aged 18.
“ A loving son and faithful brother,
One the best towards his mother.
He bravely answered duty’s call,
And gave his life for one ans all.”
—From his loving Father, Mother & Sisters.

CLEAVER.—In loving memory of Pte. W. T. CLEAVER, R.W.R., eldest son of J. Cleaver, 17 East Street, who died of wounds in France on April 25th of last year.
“ One year has passed since that sad day.
I often sit and think of him, think of how he died.
To think he could not say ‘ Good-bye ‘ before he closed his eyes.”
—From his sorrowing Father and Mother, Brother and Sister.

DAVIS.—In loving memory of Pte. R DAVIS (ROLAND), who was killed in action in France in the Battle of Arras on April 27, 1916.—Sadly missed by his loving Father, Mother, Brother and sisters.

GREEN.—In loving memory of my dear husband, WALTER GREEN, killed in France April 27th, 1917, aged 29 years.
We think of him in silence,
His name we oft re-call ;
But there’s nothing left to answer,
But his dear photo on the wall.
—From loving wife and child.

GREEN.—In ever-loving memory of Pte. WALTER GREEN, youngest son of Mr and Mrs. Henry Green, Broadwell, killed in action in France April 25, 1917. “Until we meet.”
—From his loving Father and Mother, Brothers and Sister.

GREEN.—In memory of Pte. JOHN HENRY GREEN, the loving husband of Elizabeth Green, who died April 26.1915.
“ Sleep on, beloved, and take try rest ;
We loved you well, but God loved you best.”
—Sadly by all. From his loving Wife and Children, Mother, Father, Sister and Brothers.

GRIFFITH.—In loving memory of our dear Son and brother, HERBERT, who was killed in action on April 27, 1915, at Ypres.
“ We think of him in silence,
His name we oft recall ;
But there nothing left to answer
But his photo the wall.
We have lost him, we who loved him ;
And, like others, must be brave,
For we know that he is sleeping
In a British soldier’s grave.
—From Parents, Brother and Sisters (Kilsby).

JONES.—In ever-loving memory of Corpl. D. J. JONES who was killed in action in France on April, 29, 1917.
Loved one gone but not forgotten,
And as dawns another year,
In our lonely hours of thinking,
Thoughts of him are always dear.
—From his loving Father, Mother, Brother & Sisters, and Mill.

OWEN.—In loving memory of Pte. GEO. ERNEST (TOS), Wolston, 1st R.W.R., who was reported missing, since presumed killed, at Ypres, April 25th, 1915.
Though he was only a private soldier
He died a British son ;
He died on the field of battle,
His duty was nobly done.
The hardest part in yet to come,
When the other lads return,
And we miss among the cheering crowd
The face of him we love.
—Sadly missed by all.

WELCH.—In loving memory of our brother-in-law, Pte. E. WELCH, Oxford and Bucks L.I., who was killed in France on April 29, 1917.—Never forgotten by Erne and Ethel Lenton, 64 Wood Street.

WELCH.—In loving memory of ERNEST EDWARD WELCH, who fell in action on April 29, 1917 ; aged 36.
“ We pictured your safe returning,
And longed to clasp your hand ;
But God postponed that meeting ;
It will be in the Better Land.”
—Not forgotten by his Mother and Sisters.

WELCH.—In remembrance of Lance-Corpl. E. E. WELCH who was killed in action on April 28, 1917. “ Gone but not forgotton.”—From his loving Wife and Daughters.

YOUNG.—In loving memory of our dear and only son, Pte. W. C. YOUNG (BILLY), who was killed in action in Salonika on April 24, 1917, in the 25th year of his age. Dearly loved and deeply mourned.
“ The midnight star shines o’er the grave
Of our dear son and soldier brave.
How dear, how brave, we shall understand
When we meet again in the Better land.
—From his Father and Mother and Sisters (Pinfold Street, New Bilton).

 

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Wilson, Robert Victor. Died 13th Apr 1918

Robert Victor WILSON was born in 1897, in Stockton on Tees. His birth was registered there in Q4, 1897.

He was the son of John George Wilson, born in about 1868 in Stockton on Tees, and Frances Mary, née Kenyon, Wilson who was born in about 1872 in Sunderland. Their marriage was registered in Stockton on Tees in Q3, 1896.

In 1901, the family were living at 74 ?Iilery Road, Stockton on Tees. Robert was aged three, and had a one year old sister, Doris Mary, who died aged four in mid 1904. Robert’s father was now an ‘… Engineering Draftsman’.

Before 1911, the family moved to Rugby and in 1911, they were living in a six roomed house at 52 York Street, Rugby. Robert’s father was still an ‘Engineering Draftsman’. There had been four children, but only two were still living – Robert who was now 13 years old and still at school and a sister, Elsie Marie, aged four. On census night Robert’s widowed maternal grandmother, Elizabeth Kenyon, was visiting them. Robert attended Lawrence Sheriff School and indeed was a scholar of the Lower School of Lawrence Sheriff, Rugby, and later became an Assistant Scoutmaster of the School Troop.[1]

The CWGC site[2] provides an unusual amount of detail on Robert’s military career, and states that Robert joined up with the HAC in May 1916, and his Medal Card confirms that he was initially a Private, Number: 7691, in the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC), and the Rugby Advertiser reported this in June 1916, soon after he became 18.

R V Wilson (Old Laurentian), son of Mr J G Wilson, York Street, Rugby, has joined the H.A.C. Infantry Division. The Old Laurentians have supplied a great many members to this distinguished Company.[3]

Assuming this was the 2nd Battalion of the Honourable Artillery Company (Infantry,) it was raised at Finsbury on 2 September 1914. It moved to Belhus Park, going on in November to Blackheath, in February 1915 to the Tower of London, in August to Richmond Park, in November to Wimbledon, in January 1916 to Orpington, in July to Tadworth (Surrey), and it returned to the Tower in September 1916. On 3 October 1916, the Battalion landed at Le Havre and was placed under command of 22nd Brigade in the 7th Division.   The CWGC site states that Robert went to France to join his Battalion in December 1916.

Later in December 1916, the Battalion was in trenches at Beaumont Hamel where some trenches were ‘obliterated’. During the earlier part of 1917 the Battalion was much involved with training – however, the CWGC advised that in February 1917, Robert returned to UK to train for his commission. He was later gazetted in June 1917, and joined the Royal Warwickshire Regiment on 26 June 1917, when they were on the Isle of Wight, as also noted on his Medal Card, and as later reported in the Rugby Advertiser in July 1917.

R V Wilson (Old Laurentian), late H.A.C, son of Mr J G Wilson, York Street, has been gazetted Second-Lieutenant, and has received a commission in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, Parkhurst, Isle of Wight.[4]

Although apparently then appointed to the ‘1st/2nd Battalion’, such a unit does not seem to exist, and this may have been an administrative device. It seems that Robert was initially with the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion or the 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion, which were both stationed at Warwick at the outbreak of war and then were at Portsmouth in August 1914 and on the Isle of Wight until November 1917.[5] These Battalions probably served as training and reinforcement Battalions.

Robert was then attached to the 2nd/7th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment (RWR). Four RWR Battalions – the 2/5th, 2/6th, 2/7th and 2/8th Battalions – landed in France as part of the 182nd (2nd Warwickshire) Brigade in the 61st (2nd South Midland) Division in May 1916 for service on the Western Front, and their stories are broadly similar, and several other Rugby men served, and were killed in action in March/April 1918 with these Battalions.

Robert’s Officer’s Military Service Record file[6] is held at The National Archives, but has not been consulted at present, as a sufficient outline of his military career is available from the CWGC and the local paper. The CWGC notes that Robert returned to France in August 1917.

2nd/7th Battalion RWR was formed in Coventry in October 1914 as a second line Battalion. It became part of the 2nd Warwickshire Brigade, 2nd South Midland Division and then in August 1915 it was re-designated as part of the 182nd Brigade, 61st (2nd South Midland) Division.   The Battalion landed in France on 21 May 1916.[7].[8] Robert joined the Battalion later, going to France for a second time in August 1917.   He could have arrived in time to take part in the Battle of Langemarck (16-18 August 1917) toward the end of the Third Battles of the Ypres, and then after being in reserve for the Battle of Cambrai, the Battalion was used to reinforce the units under counter-attack in the area of La Vacquerie at the end of November 1917.

The Battalion War Diary[9] gives details of the Battalion’s activities throughout the war, but the following information has been abstracted for the period before Robert’s death.

In early December 1917, the Battalion was in the Welsh Ridge sector, near the Hindenburg line. To start the New Year, the Battalion was in training, but on 1 January, ‘2/Lt Wilson – to hospital – sick’.

The battalion moved to Savy, then toward the end of the month the Battalion was at Holnon Wood, and then at Berthavcourt. The Battalion strength was then 29 Officers and 388 Other Ranks.

During February 1918, the Battalion was in support and then relieved the 2nd/6th RWR on 3 February, who relieved them in turn on 6 February. On 14 March the 2nd/8th RWR were transferred to the Battalion, with 8 Officers and 256 Other Ranks. In March the Battalion continued turn and turn about in Holnon Wood, improving the line and with training in the days from 14 to 20 March.

The anticipated attack by the Germans, Operation Michael,, was launched on 21 March 1918, against the British Fifth Army and the right wing of the British Third Army. The German artillery targeted command and communications; then, the destruction of artillery; and then the front-line infantry. The artillery bombardment began at 4.40am on 21 March 1918, and hit targets over an area of 150 square miles, the biggest barrage of the entire war.   Over 1,100,000 shells were fired in five hours.

Thus commenced the Battle of St Quentin and the Actions at the Somme Crossings. The 61st (2nd South Midland) Division was holding the forward zone of defences northwest of Saint Quentin in the area of Ham and lost many men as it fought a chaotic, but ultimately successful, withdrawal back over the Somme crossings over the next ten days.

In the initial clash, the South Midland Division faced three enemy Divisions and only began to retire on the afternoon of 22 March, when ordered to do so, in consequence of the enemy’s progress in other parts of the line.

On marching out on 21 March, the Battalion now comprised 21 Officers and 556 Other Ranks. Robert Wilson seems to have still been away – and would have missed the initial heavy fighting. In the period to the end of March, there were 30 Officer casualties (some additional officers had joined in the period) and 488 Other Ranks casualties.

The remnants of the exhausted Battalion – and the 61st Division – were transferred from the XVIII Corps on 10 April 1918. Lt. General Ivor Maxey wrote a message of congratulations to the 61st Division, which had ‘… established for itself a high reputation for its fighting qualities and its gallant spirit …’.

The Battalion were moved north to what had been a quieter part of the line near Bethune. On 10 March 1918 the Battalion went to St Roche via Amiens, and then entrained for Berguette which was further north and where they arrived at 10.30pm. On 11 March, they took up positions to the rear of the Robecq-Calonne Road.

On 12 March the enemy were active and by 10.30am all that remained of the 2nd/6th RWR were withdrawn though the line to a support line.   The ‘estimated casualties’ included ‘… 2/Lt R.V. Wilson wounded;…’. On 13 April, the British artillery was more effective and the line was being held, with troops back in the old line and reoccupying captured houses. That night they were relieved by the 2nd/6th RWR and returned to Hamet Billet for breakfast.

The Battalion Diary for 14 April recorded ‘…2/Lt R.V. Wilson died of wounds 13/4/18; …’.

Several other Rugby men in the 2nd/6th and 2nd/7th Battalion RWR were killed from 11 to 14 April, during this second major German attack, on this ‘quieter part of the line’, [see: Sidney George Hall and William Harry Packwood]

Robert was probably evacuated to the Battalion Aid Post or an Advanced Dressing Station and then to a Casualty Clearing Station, probably the 18th at Lapugnoy, or possibly the 23rd at Lozinghem, which were both some 20kms south-west of their front line positions. He died there – or en route – of his wounds and was buried in the nearby Lapugnoy Military Cemetery, in Grave Ref: VI. D. 10A.

Lapugnoy is a village 6 kilometres west of Bethune. The first burials were made in Plot I of the cemetery in September 1915, but it was most heavily used during the Battle of Arras, which began in April 1917. The dead were brought to the cemetery from casualty clearing stations, chiefly the 18th and the 23rd at Lapugnoy and Lozinghem, but between May and August 1918 the cemetery was used by fighting units.

When his temporary wooden cross was replaced by a gravestone, his family requested the inscription, ‘Late Member of H.A.C – He Died that We Might Live’.

Robert Victor WILSON is also remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gates; and on the WWI Lawrence Sheriff School Plaque,[10] which reads,

In Commemoration of our Brother Laurentians who Fell in The Great War, 1914-1918, Orando Laborando.’

His Medal Card and the Medal Roll showed that he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

– – – – – –

 

This article on Robert Victor WILSON 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 RFHG, January 2018.

[1]       School information from CWGC, https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/54980/wilson,-robert-victor/.

[2]       Military career from CWGC, https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/54980/wilson,-robert-victor/.

[3]       Rugby Advertiser, Saturday, 17 June 1916. William Harry PACKWOOD, later in the 2nd/6th RWR, who died the day before Robert Wilson on 12 April 1918, had also served in the HAC before he was commissioned.

[4]         https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com/2017/07/28/28th-jul-1917-rugby-school-farming-squads/; and see also, Rugby Advertiser, 28 July 1917.

[5]         https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/units/316/royal-warwickshire-regiment/.

[6]       Lieutenant Robert Victor WILSON, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment, TNA file ref: WO 339/96716.

[7]         http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-battle-of-divisions/61st-2nd-south-midland-division/.

[8]       Based on: https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/units/316/royal-warwickshire-regiment/.

[9]       WWI War Diaries, 1914-1920, 2/7 Bn., Royal Warwickshire Regiment, 61st Division,

[10]     Information from https://www.rugbyfhg.co.uk/lawrence-sheriff-school-plaques.

6th Apr 1918. Women’s Work on the Land

WOMEN’S WORK ON THE LAND.

At the Empire, Rugby, on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, stirring appeals were made to women to volunteer for work on the land. As an introduction to brief addresses, a film was shown depicting the procession of Warwickshire land-workers at the Birmingham rally.

On Tuesday Mrs Neville, of Stratford-on-Avon, said the picture showed that a certain number of women had done what they all ought to have done—viz, to have come out from ease and comfort at home to work on the land, and thus take the place of men who had gone to fight for them. They must have more women to do this work. If they did not come forward, they were not worthy to be the mothers, wives, and sisters of those who fighting for them. She could not imagine during this critical period any man or woman, having good wages, and living at home in comfort, threatening to lay down tools in order to get more money or for some trivial cause. What was that compared with what those brave fellows at the front were doing for them ? Let them do their best for those heroes, and if they could not put in full time work, let them join a part-time gang, who could do a great deal. In Stratford about twenty of them put in three or four thousand hours on the land during a year by giving up their afternoons ; whilst others in business gave up their half-holidays and did good work. Did they think they had at this critical period any right to spare time for holidays ? To older people, like herself, she appealed to them to put enthusiasm to make up any loss in years.

The speaker on Wednesday was Miss Peers, travelling inspector to the Board of Agriculture. At the present time she said the Women’s Land Army consisted of between 7,000 and 8,000 whole-time workers ; but the need of the country was so great that they wanted another 30,000. Could the women of Rugby find any recruits for this army ? They knew how splendidly their Army was doing its duty at the Front, and they wanted another splendid army behind. They wanted the women of England to fight in the British fields. Women of 18 years and upwards who were not doing national work should come and fight for their country, if only for six months, although they would rather that they came for a year. They must fight in the English fields to keep off starvation, to feed the men at the Front and the little children, and to take the place of the men who had made the great sacrifice for their country. They should remember Kitchener’s Army and how the men came forward. They did not ask what the wage was ; they came to fight for their country, and chucked up their jobs, saving : “ Here I am ; I am ready.” They now wanted the women of England to do the same. It they were not doing anything particular in the national interest or for their country they should think twice before they refused to fight for England (applause).

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR.
SCHOOLBOYS AND HARVEST.
To the Editor of the Advertiser.

SIR.—I understand the Warwickshire County Council are desirous of making it as easy as possible for farmers to employ school children in the hay, corn and potato harvest, and with that object the Education Committee have asked the managers of all the schools in the county to fix the summer holidays at a period which will best suit the farmers in the locality of each school.

In writing to suggest to farmers that they should at once see the managers of their local schools, and let them know the date which will best suit their own interests, and therefore the interests of the country, to have the schools closed, so that the boys can help with the harvest. The holidays may be arranged to be taken at one time, or to be divided, as best suits the harvest operations.

I urge that farmers should take action in this matter without delay, as some time will be necessary to make suitable arrangements.—Yours faithfully,

R LEAN,
Secretary, Warwickshire Farmers’ Union.
27 Bridge Street, Stratford-on-Avon.

 

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Colonel H H Mulliner has this week returned from France.

We regret that news has come through that Capt G Gray, 1/5 Lancashire Fusiliers, is reported missing as from March 26th.

Sergt A T Barnett, 1 Temple Street, Rugby, was wounded in France on March 21st. Before joining up he worked as a painter for Messrs Linnell & Son for 15 years.

Lieut C K Steinberg, M.C, of the Machine Gun Corps who was before the war was a member of the B.T.H office staff, was killed in action on March 22nd.

Pte Fred Summers, 2/7 R.W.R, has been killed in the recent fighting. He had spent practically all his life at Clifton, and was formerly employed by Mr M R Trower, and afterwards by Mrs Twells, as a groom-gardener. He was 31 years of age, married, a Sunday School teacher, and member of the choir.

Sergt J Sacree, Rifle Brigade, who was taken prisoner of war a few weeks ago, writes to a friend in Rugby that now his food parcels are arriving from England he is able to have fairly decent meals, and is just beginning to feel himself again. His many friends in Rugby will be glad to know he has nearly recovered from his wounds.

The following New Bilton men have been wounded : Pte Oswald Sydney Houghton, Welsh Regt, son of Mr C Houghton, 6 Bridle Road, mustard gas and pneumonia ; Pte Stanley Williams, R Berks Regt. son of Mr J H Williams, 64 Pinfold Street, groin (severe) ; and Pte W T Kettle, Somerset Light Infantry, machine gun bullet in left leg.

An official telegram has been received by Mrs Pengelly, who resides in Leamington, that her husband, Captain E A Pengelly, M.C, 213th Army Troops Company, has died of gun shot wounds sustained in the recent severe fighting in France. Deceased had previously been a non-commissioned officer in the Warwickshire Yeomanry. He was several times mentioned in despatches, and short time ago was awarded the Military Cross. He was the eldest son of Mr W E Pengelly was extremely popular with his men, and held in high esteem by his superiors, and his speedy advancement was assured.

RUGBY POSTAL OFFICIALS HONOURED.

Major H Neeves, D.S.O, M.C, son of Mr S Neeves, 13 Murray Road, has been promoted Lieutenant-Colonel in the Northumberland Fusiliers.

Another employee at Rugby Post Office, Second-Lieut T H Healey, signalling officer of the 19th Royal Welsh Fusiliers, has been awarded the Military Cross.

Captain Eric Rose, only son of the former Vicar of Norton, Daventry, and grandson of Lieut-Col Rose, of Northampton, has been killed in action.

SECOND-LIEUT EDDIE WILSON KILLED.

Mrs E Wilson, 41 Bridget Street, has received information that her youngest son, 2nd Lieut Edwin Thomas (Eddie) Wilson, Royal Warwickshire Regt, was killed in action during the heavy fighting on March 23. He was 23 years of age, and when he enlisted in the Hussars at the commencement of the war was an apprentice at the B.T.H. In 1915 he was given a commission, and shortly afterwards proceeded to the front. He was invalided home, suffering from trench fever, but returned to France early in 1918. Of a bright and cheerful disposition, he was a prime favourite with all who knew him. He was an old St Oswald’s boy and a member of St Oswald’s Tennis Club. Five of his brothers are still serving with the colours.

DUNCHURCH.

MR & MRS H PEARCE, Coventry Road, have received official news that their son, Sergt B Pearce, of the 10th Bedford Regiment, who was posted as missing on July 12th, is now reported killed on that date. This makes the third son they have lost in the War.

THE inhabitants of Dunchurch very much regret to hear of so many Dunchurch young men who are at the War being wounded. Among them are Pte W Collins, Pte T Shaw (seriously), Pte A Amos, Pte G Elkington, and Pte J Cleaver (who has his leg broken).

LONG ITCHINGTON.

WOUNDED.— Mrs Frank Lane has received news that her youngest son, Pte Herbert W Lane (R.W), is in a base hospital suffering from a badly fractured leg. Her second son, Lance-Corpl Sidney Lane (K.R.R), whose leg was amputated after a severe wound last November, is now in Leyton College Hospital.

FATAL AVIATION ACCIDENT AT RUGBY.
LOW FLYING OVER THE TOWN.

The inquest on Lieut H N Van Duzer, a Canadian attached to the Royal Flying Corps, who, as reported last week, died at, the Brookfield, Nursing Home at the result of a flying accident, was held at Rugby by Mr E F Hadow on Thursday in last week.—Mr [ ] Patchett was foreman of the jury.

Surgeon-Major Chester Collins deposed that deceased had been attached to the Royal Flying Corps for instruction about six weeks, and he was a very promising pupil. On Sunday afternoon he was called to a field off the Lower Hillmorton Road, where he saw deceased, who had received first aid from Dr Crookes and two other men. Deceased was quite unconscious and his breathing was heavy, showing that his brain was injured. At the Nursing Home afterwards he found the young officer had sustained a fracture of the skull, a compound fracture of the left leg, and a fracture of the left wrist. For twenty-four hours he appeared to do well, but early on Tuesday morning more serious symptoms suddenly developed, and he died within three hours. Death was due to meningitis caused by septic poisoning. The fracture of the skull was at the most vital part. He believed that these injuries were caused through the pilot being thrown against the bar or some other portion of the machine. Dr Collins explained how the accident was possible, and he recommended the use of a padded shield as some protection for this part of the head.

2nd Air Mechanic Pickering and 2nd Air Mechanic Leach, deposed that the engine and rigging of the machine were in good order before the deceased officer started on his flight, and this was confirmed by 2nd Lieut Francis Kenneth Laver, who had flown in the machine earlier in the afternoon.

Lieut Smallman deposed that he examined the machine shortly after the accident, but could find nothing to explain how the accident occurred. Deceased was seen spinning to the ground, and it was possible that he might have turned giddy ; but he was a strong young fellow, and he did not think this was probable. If this evolution was practised below a certain height it would be impossible for him to recover himself.

Dolf Farn, mechanic, deposed that he watched the deceased officer flying over the Eastlands Estate. He had been flying very low, but had commenced to climb. When he was about 1,000 feet up he commenced a spiral dive, and when he had come down about 500 feet the machine turned over. Deceased seemed to be trying to right himself, and had he had another dozen feet witness believed he would have done so, because by the time it cleared the hedge the machine was right side up.—By Captain King : Deceased did about six spins before reaching the ground.

In reply to the Coroner, Captain King, the Commanding Officer, said this evidence did not explain the accident, except that it suggested that deceased might have been spinning too low down and misjudged the height.—The Coroner expressed the opinion that the suggestion of Surgeon-Major Collins was a valuable one, and although he thought the jury could not include it in their verdict, Captain King and other commanding officers might take note of it.—Captain King expressed the opinion that a pad would obstruct the pilot’s view with the present goggles. He had had a pad placed on the machines.— The jury returned a verdict of “ Accidental death,” and associated themselves with the Coroner’s remarks concerning the pad. The Foreman also inquired of the Commanding Officer whether it was necessary for the pilots to fly so low over the town.—Captain King replied that it was not. Since he had heard of the practice he had issued instructions that it must be discontinued.—It was stated by jurymen that messages had been dropped to people in the town, and complaints had been made as to the low flying, which many people considered to be very dangerous.

COVENTRY APPEALS TRIBUNAL.

Held on Wednesday evening in last week. Present : Messrs H W Wale (chairman), P G Loveitt, W Johnson, jun. and S Dicksee. Col Moore was the National Service representative.

The Military appealed against the exemption till June 1st granted to Thomas White (single, 18, Grade I), blacksmith, employed by his father at Dunchurch.—It was contended that it was essential, if the business was to be maintained, that a strong young man should be employed. Two other sons were now serving, and a third had been killed.—Mr J E Cox, the agricultural representative, spoke as to the importance of the work— from an agricultural standpoint—which Mr White was doing ; but Col Moore expressed the opinion that a man of respondent’s age and fitness should be in the Army.— Adjourned for the War Agricultural Committee and the National Service Department to try to substitute the man.

Mr H Eaden represented Howard Harold Allkins, greengrocer and small-holder (39), Wolston, who exemption was appealed against.—Col Moore said this case was brought to relieve the National Service Department of a responsibility. They had promised the Miners’ Unions to comb out all post-war miners, but he supposed the man was as useful employed there as anywhere.—Mr Eaden said that Allkins was exempted to take up work of national importance. He went into the Binley Pit so that he could carry on his market garden after working hours.—The Chairman said the Tribunal were unanimously of opinion that the man could not be left in the mines and the case was adjourned for a month to see if he could be used to substitute the man in the previous case.

Harry Wallis (39, C2), boot maker and repairer, 117 Grosvenor Road, Rugby, who was represented by Mr H W Worthington, asked for a renewal of his exemption and, on the suggestion of Col Moore, he was given till July 1st.

George Francis Harris, licensed victualler, Newbold (C3, 41), asked for a variation of an order whereby he had been exempted upon working 30 hours a week in agriculture. He explained that it was very difficult for him to get agricultural work, and he asked for a full time munition order.—This was agreed to.

Mr H Eadon represented John Edward Pateman (C3), farmer, Monks Kirby, and said his client had been ordered to work 30 hours a week in agriculture, but his physical condition was such that this was impossible The man occupied 50 acres of land, and was feeding 30 beast and two milch cows.—Adjourned for the agricultural representative to inspect the farm. Col Moore stating that if the report was not an adverse one he had no objection to exemption.

RUGBY & DISTRICT FOOD CONTROL COMMITTEE AND MILK PRICES.

The rationing section of Rugby and District Food Committee, having conferred with representatives of the Retailer Dairymen’s Association on the question of the future price of milk, the Food Committee has accepted their recommendation that the April price shall be 2s 4d per gallon, and for May, June, July, August and September 1s 8d a gallon. There is also a proviso that if the retailers produce evidence that the price fixed for after April is unreasonable that price may be re-considered.—The Chairman of the Food Committee (Mr T A Wise) explained that the retailers brought no figures with them, and they thought that if they produce books they could satisfy the committee that they were not getting enough. It would, however, require very strong figures to convince the committee.—Mr W A Stevenson asked if it was not peculiar that the winter price of 2s 4d continue through April, and that there should then be the big drop of 2d a quart.—Mr T Ewart thought it quite consistent. April was as expensive a month to produce milk as any in the year. In May there was all the difference.—Mr G Cooke submitted that milk ought to be cheaper at Rugby in view of railway freightage being avoided.—The Chairman remarked that the producers’ price fixed by the Government was 1s 8d in April and 1s for May.—Mr J Cripps thought the retailers would be well off in May, June, and July with 8d a gallon for retailing.—The Chairman said he thought it a very fair bargain, and that there was not to much to complain of.—Mr A Appleby remarked that when it was admitted that on the figures the retailer was making a fairly large profit, his winter expenses had been exceptionally heavy.

Mr Cooke pointed out that on pre-war prices, if the retailer made 4d on a gallon it was reckoned he was making a very fair profit. They proposed now to give him 100 per cent. advance. The consuming element were only averaging 50 per cent. increase in wages, and some of them not that. There should be the same amount of sacrifice all round whilst we were at war, but the degree of sacrifice was not equal. He regarded 6d a quart for April as affording a very fair margin of profit, and he proposed as an amendment that that should be the price fixed.—Mr C Gay seconded.—Mr Cripps said that 4d a gallon margin would be too low.—Mr H Tarbox : You have to remember that they will get 8d next month.—Mr Ewart thought 100 per cent. Advance quite reasonable. He estimated that the cost of retailing had gone up 100 per cent.—Three votes were recorded for the amendment and 10 against.—The committee’s report was then adopted.

DEATHS.

BOTTERILL.—On March 18th, at Arras, Pte. A. W. BOTTERILL, 2nd Batt. Coldstream Guards, the very dearly beloved husband of Alice Botterill, also second beloved son of Henry and Mary Botterill.—“ O for the touch of a vanished hand and the sound of a dear voice that is still.”—Heart-broken wife, Alice Botterill.

WILSON.— Second-Lieut. E. T. WILSON, 10th Batt. R.W.R., son of the late Mr. Ellis Wilson and Mrs. Wilson, 41 Bridget Street, Rugby ; killed in action March 23, 1918.

IN MEMORIAM.

ASHWORTH.—In memory of Sergt. ASHWORTH, killed in action on April 9, 1917. B.E.F.
“ One sigh perchance for work unfinished here ;
Then a swift passing to a mightier sphere.”
—From All at Home.

COLLEDGE.—In affectionate remembrance of our dear son and brother, WALTER EDWARD COLLEDGE, who was killed at the Vimy Ridge on April 9, 1917, in France.
“ Somewhere in France there is a nameless grave,
Where sleeps our loved one among the brave ;
One of the rank and file, he heard the call,
And for the land he loved gave his all.”
—From his sorrowing Mother, Father, Sisters and Brothers.

Wilson, Edwin Thomas. Died 23rd Mar 1918

Edwin Thomas WILSON’s birth was registered in Rugby in Q3, 1894 and he was baptised on 29 July 1894 at Bilton, Warwickshire, England, when his family were living in Victoria Street, New Bilton.

He was the eighth child of Ellis Wilson [b.c.1851 in Hillmorton – an upholsterer] and Sarah Jane, née Rotton, Wilson, [b.c.1860 in Birmingham], whose marriage was registered in Birmingham in Q4, 1876.

The three eldest children had been born in West Bromwich in about 1877, 1879 and 1883, and then the next two in Tipton in 1884 and 1886. Before 1887 when their next child was born, they had moved to Rugby, and for the 1891 census they were living at 11 Bridget Street, Rugby.

By 1901 the family had moved to live at 103 Victoria Street, Rugby, where Edwin’s father, Ellis was an ‘upholsterer and general dealer’. His father’s death was registered in Rugby in Q2, 1909 – he was 58.

By 1911, the family had moved again and was living at 65 Campbell Street, New Bilton, Rugby.   Edwin was a ‘Winder (Apprentice)’ presumably at (BTH) in Rugby as he was subsequently employed just before the war in the BTH Winding Department.

There are very few on-line records of Edwin’s military career and he changed Regiments as his career progressed. If a more detailed history is required his file is available at the National Archives.[1]

It seems that he enlisted early from BTH, and was probably one of the three ‘Wilsons’ who are listed in the Rugby Advertiser on 5 and 26 September 1914.

B.T.H. Company to the Rescue. – From the Works. This is an additional list of men who have left to join the Colours from August 27th up to and including September 2nd: … Wilson … Wilson[2]

Recruiting at Rugby slows – Latest B.T.H. Recruits. – Since our last list of recruits from the B.T.H Works was compiled the following have enlisted: Works: …, Wilson, …[3]

Edwin’s Medal Card shows that he was initially a private No.21111 in the ‘Hussars of Line’, and then an Acting Corporal, No.G3/10243 in the East Surrey Regiment. It seems that this was for a fairly short time, as he was chosen for a commission, and two identical notices appeared in the Local War Notes in the Rugby Advertiser on 23 October 1915 and 22 July 1916.

Mr B Whitbread, only son of Mr Charles Whitbread, and Mr Eddy Wilson, youngest son of Mrs E Wilson, have been gazetted to commissions in the 12th Reserve R.W.R.[4]

Mr B Whitbread, only son of Mr Charles Whitbread, and Mr Eddy Wilson, youngest son of Mrs E Wilson, have been gazetted to commissions in the 12th Reserve R.W.R..[5]

The first notice agrees broadly with his Medal Card which noted that he was appointed to a Temporary Commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment on 20 October 1915; the second may have appeared when the two new officers went overseas in 1916. Indeed 2nd Lt. Basil Whitbread’s Medal Card does have a date when he went to France – 4 March 1916. However it seems that he was serving with a different Battalion, the 14th, when he was killed in action on 22 July 1916, during the battle of the Somme.

The 12th (Reserve) Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment was formed in Parkhurst (Isle of Wight) in October 1914 as a Service battalion, part of K4, and in November 1914, came under command of 97th Brigade, original 32nd Division. However, on 10 April 1915 it became a Reserve battalion and in September 1916, it absorbed into the Training Reserve Battalions in 8th Reserve Brigade.[6]

At some date Edwin transferred from the 12th Reserve Battalion into the 10th Battalion – quite possibly when he went to France.

The 10th (Service) Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment was raised at Warwick as part of the second of Kitchener’s new armies. The Battalion was assigned to the 57th Brigade in the 19th Division training on Salisbury Plain.   In December 1914 the Battalion was in billets for the winter and in March 1915 concentrated with its Division around Tidworth. Whilst some records suggest that the Battalion embarked for France and Flanders on 17 May 1915, other records have the division landed in France on 17 July 1915.   During the Battle of the Somme in 1916, the Battalion was in the operational area between 1 July and 7 August and between 7 October and until the end of that battle on 18 November 1916.

In early May 1917, the Local War Notes reported –

Second-Lieut E Wilson, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, son of Mrs Wilson, of Bridget Street, is in hospital at Rouen suffering from a broken leg.[7]

This was at about the time of the Battle of Arras but of course may have been due to a fall rather than enemy action!

The history of 19th (Western) Division[8] shows that it was involved in 1917 in the following actions:

The Battle of Messines [7-14 June 1917]
The Third Battles of Ypres [from July 1917]
– The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge
– The Battle of Polygon Wood
– The Battle of Broodseinde
– The Battle of Poelcapelle
– First Battle of Passchendaele
– The Second Battle of Passchendaele

The following year, on 21 March 1918, the Germans launched a major offensive, Operation Michael, against the British Fifth Army, and the right wing of the British Third Army. The artillery bombardment began at 4.40am on 21 March 1918, and hit targets over an area of 150 square miles, the biggest barrage of the entire war. Over 1,100,000 shells were fired in five hours.

The formation for the British order of battle for that period, which was also known as the Battle of St Quentin (21-23 March 1918), included the 10th Warwickshires which were near St. Quentin with the 19th (Western) Division and the 57th Brigade in the Third Army (under Byng). The Battalion was in action east of Beaumetz facing Doignies.

The Battalion Diary[9] devotes several pages to the actions from the opening of the German assault on 21 March, until Edwin’s death on 23 March 1918.   some extracts are given below.

21.3.18 – 5am – The Battn. was in rest camp in BARASTRE when the alarm was given by intense artillery fire; orders were given to stand to arms and extra S.A.A., bombs, rifle grenades, rations etc were issued; the Battn was ready to move by 5-45.am. Breakfasts were then served.

 11.50am – Orders to move to assembly positions were received … The following officers were present … B Coy: A/Capt. H. A. Hewett, in Command. 2nd. Lt. E. T. Wilson … …

3.20am – The Battn. was ordered to move into position for a Brigade counter-attack on DOIGNIES; for this Battn. was in Brigade Reserve …

6.40pm – The remainder of the Brigade … launched counter-attack.

7.45pm – The line dug roughly followed the 120 contour …

22.3.18 – 8.50am – Ground close in front and behind line held by battalion was heavily shelled.

1.15pm – Shelling as at 9am … road by Bn. Hd. Qrs. was heavily shelled.

2.35pm – Bn. observers … reported that enemy were attacking …

23.3.18 – 2am – Orders received … our left must swing forward and establish two posts, … to block the S. Eastern exits from BRAUMETZ; the two left platoons of B Coy. were ordered to do this. … the Battn. was to hold its position to the last, and was not to reinforce the troops in the 3rd system or to counter-attack should the enemy succeed in breaking into the 3rd. system.

      7.30am – Batts. observers reported enemy massing W of DOIGNIES.

      8(?)am – An artillery officer reported … shortly coming into action … About 1½ hours later this officer again reported … that the guns were withdrawing.; the O.C. 10/RWarR protested … the artillery assistance was required and that the battalions had no intention of evacuating their positions. Apparently these guns fired very little if at all.

9.20am – D. Coy reported enemy cavalry on high ground …

9.25am – Battery … withdrew.

9.55am – 800 – 950 Germans debouched from S.E. of BESIMETZ. …

10.50am – … C Coy reported situation desperate on our left flank owing to withdrawal of all troops.

12.30am – VELU WOOD was occupied by the enemy.

12.30pm-1.30pm – Battn. was driven back to the road running E & W through J.26. where another stand was made…

3pm – The Battn. and machine gunners were ordered … to withdraw to Embankment … and then round the E & S sides of BERTINCOURT. … subsequently orders were received … to march to BAUCOURT, which was reached about 7pm.

Casualties were:- OFFICERS KILLED: 2nd Lt R H Burningham and 2nd. Lt. E. T. Wilson, 23-318 …Officers wounded – 9; Wounded and Missing – 2; Missing believed prisoner – 1. Other Ranks: killed – 33; Wounded – 191; Missing – 83.

Edwin, as noted, was killed in action on the third day of the battle on 23 March 1918, aged 23. Because of the intensity of the battle, with the Germans moving forward in strength, and in the confusion of the retreat and rearguard action, the bodies of many of those killed were never found or identified.

Edwin Thomas Wilson is remembered on Bay 3 of the Arras Memorial which is located at the entrance to the Faubourg d’Amiens Cemetery in France. The memorial commemorates almost 35,000 servicemen from the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand who died in the Arras sector between the spring of 1916 and 7 August 1918, the eve of the Advance to Victory, and have no known grave. The most conspicuous events of this period … [and in Edwin’s case, sadly was] the German attack in the spring of 1918.

Edwin’s Medal Card showed that he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He is also remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gates, and on the BTH List of ‘Men who Served’, and the list of ‘Men who Gave their Lives’ as inscribed on the BTH War Memorial.

After Edwin’s death, on 24 March 1918 the 10th Battalion RWarR was again manning a line somewhat further to the rear. The Battalion was involved in the Battle of Bapaume, the Battle of Messines, the Battle of Bailleul, the First Battle of Kemmel Ridge, the Battle of the Aisne, the Battle of the Selle, the Battle of the Sambre and the passage of the Grand Honelle. During these the allies finally held the German advance which had badly weakened German numbers and lost them many of their more experienced troops. The German advance had also overextended their supply lines, and from August 1918 the Allies were able to regroup and fight back. The 10th Battalion ended the war on 11 November 1918, in the same formations, just west of Bavay, France.

In 1922, his mother, Mrs. S J Wilson was recorded on his Medal Card as living at 41 Bridget Street, Rugby.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

– – – – – –

 

This article on Edwin Thomas WILSON 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 RFHG, January 2018.

[1]       2nd Lieutenant Edwin Thomas WILSON, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment, TNA file ref: WO 339/45499.

[2]         https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/5th-sep-1914-rugbys-magnificent-response/.

[3]         https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com/2014/09/27/26th-sep-1914-recruiting-at-rugby-slows/.

[4]         https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com/2015/10/23/23rd-oct-1915-local-territorials-do-good-work/.

[5]         https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com/2016/07/22/whitbread-basil-died-22nd-jul-1916/.

[6]         http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-british-infantry-regiments-of-1914-1918/royal-warwickshire-regiment/.

[7]       12th May 1917. Rugby Advertiser, 13 May 1917, https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com/2017/05/13/12th-may-1917-food-economy-campaign/.

[8]       Information from ‘The Long Long Trail’.

[9]       War Diary, TNA Ref: Piece 2085/3: 10 Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment (1915 Jul – 1919 Mar), pp.506-513 of 517. Also available on Ancestry.co.uk.

4th Aug 1917. A Trade Union Protest

THE TRIBUNALS AT WORK.
RUGBY URBAN TRIBUNAL.

Of the nineteen cases for decision on Thursday evening in last week fourteen concerned local butchers. Mr J J McKinnell presided, and there were also present Messrs W Flint, T A Wise, L Loverock, W H Linnell, and H Yates. Mr H P Highton was the Military representative.

A TRADE UNION PROTEST.

A letter was read from the Rugby Branch of the National Union of Clerks drawing attention to the fact that during the last few months several military units who had been given exemption to find work of national importance had been sent by the officials of the Labour Exchange to fill clerical positions at a local factory, and several were so employed at present. The Union considered this practice reprehensible, unfair, and against the national interest. The case cited a coachbuilder who had been sent by the Labour Exchange to fill a position as material list clerk in the main drawing office of a local factory. This man was of military age, and was thought to a B1 man. This being so, the Union considered it unfair to the other clerks employed in the office that, whereas fully trained clerks in the lowest all medical categories were called to the Colours, they should be asked to train a man from an outside trade as a technical clerk on material list work. The N.U.C failed understand how a coach-builder could become sufficiently proficient under at least twelve months’ training to be of national importance as a clerk, while men of far greater clerical experience were declared to be non-essential. Then, too, if a B1 man (with no experience) was national importance as a clerk, why were trained clerks of all categories being called the Colours ? The clerks doing this particular class of work claimed to be specially trained as the result of experience and hard work, and if they were to train unskilled men sent to them they asked that these men should be ineligible for the Army. In conclusion, the writer said, in justice to themselves and those dependent upon them it was necessary to safeguard the conditions under which and by which they earned their living.—Mr Highton said in the case in question the man was sent to the works as a labourer, but was subsequently transferred to the offices because the other workmen made it “ too hot ” for him.—Mr Wise expressed the opinion that there was a great deal of justice in the complaint, and the Chairman concurred ; but it was pointed out that this matter was not within the purview of the Tribunal, and the Clerk was instructed to reply accordingly.

The case of the Secretary to the Rugby Trades and labour Council was again up for decision.-It was stated that this man had received exemption for a month to enable him to obtain work of national importance, and the Superintendent of the Labour Exchange had suggested that he should undertake the supervision of the structural alterations at the Trades Hall. The Tribunal had Agreed to this ; but the Advisory Committee were of opinion that the work was not of sufficient importance to justify exemption.—Temporary exemption till September was given for work of national importance to obtained.

MUNITIONS TRIBUNAL AT RUGBY.

The first sitting of the Coventry Munitions Tribunal at Rugby was held at the Court House on Friday in last week. Mr E G M Carmichael presided, and the assessors present were : Mr T W Smith (employers), Mrs Griffiths (women), and Mr W H Dexter (men).

Ernest Albert Eyres Riley, Newbold Road, Rugby, applied for a leaving certificate. He stated that he was a night driver on the power and lighting plant. On one occasion he pointed out to a day charge-hand a fault on the engine, and this man accused him of neglecting his work. This was the only time that the charge-hand had complained to him, and he contended that he was not to blame, rather that the fault lay with the chargehand. Applicant had since left the firm, but they had refused to give him a leaving certificate.—The representative of the firm pointed out that the man worked nearly six weeks after the incident referred to ; but in reply to Mr Morris (General Workers’ Union), applicant stated that he only allowed one week to elapse before giving notice.—Refused.

Walter John Farn, borer, 19 Sun Street, also asked for a leaving certificate. He stated that was wounded at Mons, and had since been discharged from the Army as medically unfit. He had been taken from the machine he was accustomed to work and put on another one, which was obsolete and too hard for him.—The representative of the firm stated that the man’s average weekly earnings were £3 7a.-Farn asked that the machine should inspected by a member of the Tribunal.—Mr Carmichael said thought this was a case in which every consideration should be shown to the man.—The firm’s representative pointed out that the difficulty was that Farn refused to give the machine a trial. It was no harder to work than his present machine.—Sent to medical referee, and ordered to give the machine trial.

For failing to work on several dates, W J Price, 9 Holbrook Avenue, was fined £2.—It was slated that this was a case persistent bad time-keeping, but the respondent contended that on a number of occasions there was no work to in the shop.—Mr Carmichael pointed out that had he had no right to leave work without permission.—The representative of the firm stated that there was no shortage in the department where respondent was employed. If the men were temporarily out of a job they were paid day work rates.

H W Jarvis, 60 Victoria Street, who had been fined on three previous occasions for losing time, was fined for a similar offence.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

News has come to hand that Major Cecil Nickalls, Hillmorton, has been wounded in the face and arm. The injuries are, fortunately, not very serious.

Sergt E H Rixom, Suffolk Yeomanry, eldest son of Mrs Rixom, Claremont Road, Rugby, has been gazetted second-lieutenant in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

Bombardier C W Packwood. Rugby Howitzer Battery, son of Mr C J Packwood. of 10 St Matthew’s Street, has been wounded in the chest in two places during the recent fighting.

Second-Lieut R L Cowley, Northants Regiment, son of Mr John Cowley, of Brackley, and formerly of Kilsby, has been missing since the historic Battle of the Dunes, and great anxiety is felt his parents, who will be glad of any news respecting him.

Bombardier Albert Goode, Rugby Howitzer Battery, son of Mr A Goode, 78 Avenue Road, New Bilton, has been severely wounded, and is now in a base hospital in France. Bombardier Goods is an old St Matthew’s boy, and was a member of the Football XV, which first won the Schools Union Football Shield in 1905. He was employed as an engineer at Messrs Willans & Robinson’s.

The Rev R W Dugdale (curate-in-charge of Holy Trinity Church) has been appointed chaplain of the Royal Flying Corps in France, and he is at present the only R.F.C chaplain in the Army.

Mr & Mrs Meadows, Inwood Cottage, near Rugby, have received information that their son, Gunner C H Meadows, was seriously wounded with gun-shot in the back on July 20th, and is lying at a casualty clearing station in France. Before joined up on November 1st, 1915, he was employed in the Telegraph Department at Rugby Station (L & N-W).

CORPL J C CHIRGWIN KILLED.

Unofficial news has been received of the death in France of Corpl J C Chirgwin, of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, an assistant master at St Matthew’s School. Corpl Chirgwin was 29 years of age and a native of Cornwall. He came to St.Matthew’s School about seven years ago, soon after leaving college. He attested in the early days of the Derby scheme, and was called up eighteen months ago, and proceeded to the front last Christmas. He had two hairbreadth escapes in the recent fighting, and was killed by a stray shell last week. Corpl Chirgwin, who was shortly taking up a commission, was very popular with the pupils and staff of the school, and the news of his death was received with deep regret.

BOURTON-ON-DUNSMORE.

On Sunday last a memorial service was held at St Peter’s Church, Bourton, for the late Gunner Thomas Wilson, third son of Mr. & Mrs. T. Wilson, Gate Farm, Bourton, and who was killed in action in France on July 10th. He was a splendid specimen of manhood, and was a general favourite amongst the young people in the neighbourhood. Letters of sympathy have been received by his parents from the officers of the regiment, in which he is highly spoken of as being always cheerful, strong, and ever ready to do his duty, and his death will be a great loss to his regiment. Deep sympathy is felt throughout the village for Mr. & Mrs. Wilson and family.

MARRIAGE OF SECOND-LIEUT. L. J. HUNTER.

The marriage of Second-Lieut L J Hunter, Yeomanry, fourth son of Mr & Mrs T Hunter, Elmhurst, Rugby, to Gwenn, only daughter of Mr & Mrs S H Fraser, Kensington at St Andrew’s, Well Street, London, W, on Tuesday, July 31st. The ceremony was performed by the Rev H H Kemble, the uncle of the bride, assisted by the Rev S K Knight, Vicar of St Andrew’s. The service was fully choral, and the hymns, “ O Father all creating ” and “ O Perfect Love,” were sung. The Rev H H Kemble gave a short address. The bride, who was given away by her father, wore a gown of white charmeuse and Georgette, with a ninon train embroidered in silver, and carried a sheaf of lilies. Lieut. J. Mitchell, R.F.C., acted as best man. As the bride and bridegroom left the church Mendelsohn’s “ Wedding March ” was played. few relations and friends returned afterwards to the Langham Hotel.

THE FOOD ECONOMY CAMPAIGN.

A communication has been received from Headquarters advising the local Food Economy Campaign Committee to suspend its active stimulation of propaganda for a period ; but in order to avoid misapprehension the urgent necessity which still exists for the strictest economy in food consumption is urgently emphasised. The situation in regard to food supplies is still extremely grave. Meanwhile local committees may vigorously address themselves to their normal function of war savings.

DEATHS.

CRAWFORD.-In loving memory of Pte ERIC CLEMENT CRAWFORD, 18th Canadians, who died of wounds in University College Hospital, London, on July 23rd.-“ Greater love hath no man than that he gave his life for his friends.”-From his loving Mother and Dad, Sisters and Brother.

HART-DAVIES.-On July 27, 1917 (aeroplane accident) at Northolt, Middlesex), Lieut IVAN BEAUCLERK DAVIES, R.F.C., Rugby ; son of the late Rev John Hart-Davies and Mrs. Hart-Davies, of Southam Rectory, Warwickshire ; aged 39 years.

SPENCER.-Killed in action in France on July 22nd, Pte JAMES BARTLETT SPENCER, 11th R.W.R., son of Mr. and Mrs. Spencer, 94 Wood Street, Rugby.
“ Somewhere in France there is a nameless grave,
Where sleeps our loved one among the brave.
One of the rank and file, he heard the call,
And for his country gave his all.”

IN MEMORIAM.

DUNCUFF.-In ever-loving memory of ARTHUR FRANCES DUNCUFF, dearly beloved husband of Mildred Grace Duncuff, who died of wounds on Aug. 8, 1916.

DUNCUFF.-In ever-loving memory of our son and brother, who died from wounds received in action in France on August 3, 1916 ; aged 22 years 11 months.
“ Death hides, but it cannot divide ;
Thou are but on Christs’s other side.
Thou with Christ and Christ with me,
And so together still are we.”

GOODMAN.-In loving memory of GUNNER FRED GOODMAN, R.F.A., who died from wounds received in action on August 3, 1916 ; aged 20 years. Also Pte W. G. GOODMAN, brother of the above, of the 1st Royal Warwicks, who was killed in action on August 27, 1914 ; aged 29 years.
“ Farewell, dear sons, in a soldiers grave ;
A grave we may never see ;
But as long as life and memory lasts
We will remember thee.”
-From his loving Mother and Father.

GURNEY.-In ever-loving memory of our dear son, Pte HARRY GURNEY, of Church Lawford, who was killed in action on July 30, 1916 ; aged 21 years.
“ Could I have raised his dying head,
Or heard his last farewell.
The grief would not have been so hard
For those who loved him well.
We often sit and think of him,
And think of how he died ;
To think we could not say ‘ Good-bye ‘
Before he closed his eyes.”
-From Mother and Father, Brothers and Sister.

HOWKINS.-In proud and loving memory of Lieut. MAURICE HOWKINS, W.R., R.H.A., elder son of William Howkins, Hillmorton Grounds, Rugby, who gave his life for his country at the Battle of Romani, Egypt, August 4, 1916 ; aged 22 years. Mentioned in despatches for valuable services in the field, F.C.C. “ A fine soldier. I never wish to see a better officer ” (his C.O.).-“ Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a Crown of Life.”

NEAL.-In loving memory of our dear son and brother, WILLIAM NEAL, of the Berkshire Regt., who was killed in action on his 19th birthday, July 30, 1916.
“ One year has passed away
Since our great sorrow fell ;
Still in our hearts we mourn the loss
Of him we loved so well.”
-From Father and Mother, Sisters and Brother.

PURTON.-In loving memory of HARRY PURTON, be beloved husband of Sarah Purton, who fell asleep on December 3, 1912. Also Lance-Corpl G. H. PURTON, son of the above, who died of wounds in France on August 6, 1916 ; aged 24 years.
“ His country called, he answered with his life ;
Not gone from memory, not gone from love,
But gone to dwell with his dear father
In God’s bright home above.”
-From his loving Mother, Brother and Sisters.

 

25th Dec 1915. Christmas Arrangements at the Post Office

CHRISTMAS ARRANGEMENTS AT THE POST OFFICE.

Christmas is always the busiest season of the year with the Postal authorities, although locally there has not been so much business transacted as is generally the case. So far the busiest day was Monday, the last day for posting parcels to the Expeditionary Force, and a large number of parcels, mostly for France and Belgium, were received on that day.

In order, to cope with the increased business, a number of temporary workers have been taken on, consisting of 13 indoor employees, 13 outdoor men, 12 women letter carriers, and 6 women indoor helpers. The employment of women is an innovation caused by the scarcity of male labour, and it is stated that the fair workers have given every satisfaction up to the present.

CHRISTMAS DAINTIES FOR PRISONERS OF WAR.

The Christmas parcels sent to prisoners of war by the local committee contained a large plum pudding, a cake, packet of “ Force,” a packet of tea, sugar, milk, Oxo cubes, cafe-au-lait, sweets, and some warm clothing, A packet of cigarettes and tobacco was also sent to each man.

LETTERS OF THANKS FROM LOCAL SOLDIERS.

The Editor of the Advertiser has received several letters from local soldiers thanking friends in Rugby and district for sending Xmas parcels, and we append a few brief extracts :—

Lance-Corpl O Wilson, 1st Batt R.W.R, writes from a hospital at Birkenhead :—“ I should be very glad if I could have a small space in your newspaper to express my very best thanks to my Newbold-on-Avon friends for a parcel I have received. I have enjoyed the contents very much. It is a pleasure to know that we are thought of while we are away from our home and village. I have just returned from the front after seven months in the trenches. I have seen some stiff fighting, but I have run through quite safe. I have been sent back to England with lumbago and rheumatism through getting so wet in the trenches. I also thank kind friends for presents and cigarettes sent to me in the trenches. I always look forward to receive the Rugby paper, which I have had every week since I have been away.”

Pte W White, B Coy 6th Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry, wishes to thank the subscribers of Bourton and Draycote for a parcel sent by them to him. He adds : “ We have had it rough while we have been out here. The trenches are full of water, but we have to make the best of it, although it is most trying at times.”

A MELODEON REQUIRED.

Pte A J Curtis, B Coy, 6th Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry, in a letter to the Editor states that there are a large number of Rugby men in his company, and they would be very grateful if someone would send them a melodeon, because several in the platoon can play that instrument, and a little music would brighten up things in the trenches.

TO WIVES OF LOCAL TERRITORIALS.

To the Editor of the Advertiser,

DEAR SIR,—I shall be much obliged if you will kindly allow me, through your columns, to ask the wives of all the Rugby men in the 1/5th Warwickshire Howitzer Battery and in the 1/7th Warwickshire Battalion now serving in France, to be good enough to send their address and the number, age, and sex of their children, to Mrs Nickalls, Brown’s Farm, or to me not later than January 1st, 1916.—Yours faithfully,

AGATHA M WEST.
Bilton, Rugby.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Corpl Horace Neeves, of the Warwickshire Yeomanry, elder son of Mr and Mrs S Neeves, of Murray Road, Rugby, has received a commission. He has been gazetted to the Northumberland Fusiliers, and expects to proceed shortly to Bedford for training. Called up with the Yeomanry at the outbreak of the war, he went out in due time with the signalling troop to the Dardanelles, and took part in the famous landing at Suvla Bay on August 21st. He had a very narrow escape from a bullet, which lodged in a thimble carried among his belongings. Subsequently he developed dysentery, and has been for some time in a military hospital in England, but is now convalescent.

WOUNDED.

Pte J Farren, 1/7th Royal Warwickshires, has been reported wounded.

Capt the Hon O M Guest, Lothians and Border Horse and R.F.C, who is officially reported wounded, is Lord Wimborne’s youngest brother.

TERRIBLE WEATHER AT SUVLA BAY.

Lieut C H Ivens, of Rugby, writing from Suvla Bay, describes a terrible storm—such as one never sees in England—that burst over the trenches on November 26th. The rain came down in torrents, and the thunder and lightning was terrible. They were quickly flooded out, and blankets, bedding, and loose equipment were washed away. Men were wallowing up to their waists in mud and water. Snow followed, and then severe frost set in, with the result that large numbers of men were frost-bitten. Others were dropping down in the water too weak to stand, in consequence of their long immersion in the water and mud. Eventually they were marched off to a place five miles away.

WITHDRAWAL FROM SUVLA AND ANZAC.

The War Office on Monday afternoon issued the following announcement :

All the troops at Suvla and Anzac, together with their guns and stores, have been successfully transferred with insignificant casualties to another sphere of operations.

In a later announcement the War Office states :

Some further details of the evacuation of Anzac and Suvla have been received. Without the Turks being aware of the movement a great army has been withdrawn from one of the areas occupied on the Gallipoli Peninsula, although in closest contact with the enemy.

By this contraction of front, operations at other points of the line will be more effectively carried out.

Sir Charles Monro gives great credit for this skilfully conducted transfer of forces to the Generals Commanding and the Royal Navy.

REVIEW OF THE OPERATIONS.

The operations in the Dardanelles date back to January last, when a blockading squadron was reinforced by British and French stations, with Tenedos and Lemnos as bases. An attack was made on February 19 on the forts at the entrance to the Dardanelles, and a month later the forts at the Narrows were shelled. The bombardment was resumed on February 25 and 26, but whilst the entrance to the Straits had been cleared, the real defence—the forts at the Narrows—had not been touched. Other attempts followed in March, culminating on the 18th in an attack in force in which two British vessels, the Irresistible and the Ocean, and the Bouvet, of the French squadron, were sunk by mines.

The experience gained by these operations showed that simultaneous naval and land attacks were necessary for success, and the Allied forces, which included the 29th Division that was quartered in Warwickshire for a time, landed on April 25. By almost superhuman heroism a footing was gained at Cape Helles, Sedd-el-Bahr, and the adjacent beaches, and by April 27 the forces had advanced two miles into the Peninsula. Throughout May, June, and July fighting more or less severe took place, and on August 6 the great attack from Anzac (so called from the landing there of the Australian and New Zealand Corps) and Suvla Bay took place. Fighting with splendid heroism, the Australians and New Zealanders gained the summits of Sari Bahr and Chunuk Bahr, but they had to withdraw in consequence of the advance from Suvla Bay not making the progress necessary to consolidate the success. This advance had been entrusted to new contingents, including several yeomanry regiments, of British troops who had only been landed the day before at Suvla Bay.

As the result of efforts during August the British positions were further advanced, after which the operations took on the aspect of trench warfare.

In a recent statement to the House of Commons Mr Asquith stated that the losses in the Mediterranean on land and sea up to November 9 were :

Officers.                       Men.

Wounded                     2,860                          70,148

Killed                           1,504                          21,551

Missing                         356                           10,211

These, with disablements by sickness, makes a total of nearly 200,000.