Wolfe, Sidney George. Died 22nd Oct 1917

Sidney George WOLFE was born in Rugby on 14 February 1890.  He was the son of George James Wolfe, an Engine Fireman, who was born in Shakerstone, Staffordshire, in about 1869, and Julie Mary (née Wing) Wolfe, who was born in Stretton-on-Dunsmore in the same year and whose marriage was registered in Rugby in 1889.

Sidney’s birth was registered in the first quarter of 1890 and he was baptised on 28 March 1890 at St Andrew’s church, Rugby.

In 1891 the family was living at 854 Old Station Square,[1] Rugby and they had a lodger, Walter Wing, an engine cleaner, who was Julie’s younger brother.

In 1901 the family had moved, or had possibly been renumbered, and was living at 809 Old Station Square, Rugby.  George J Wolfe was still a Loco Fireman, and that night they were putting up a two year old nephew, Raymond Wing.

In September 1902 at a Church Army tea and presentation, the young Sidney Wolfe gave a recitation which was encored,[2] then in July 1903 at the Cycling Club fete and sports, Sidney appeared in fancy dress as a footman.[3]  At the Elborow School concert and prize-giving in November 1903, Sidney obtained a ‘Drawing Certificate’ and also gave a recitation ‘The Amateur Photographer’ with E White.[4]

Sidney was ‘… successively a pupil, student teacher, and assistant master at Elborow School’, Rugby and was a ‘well-known Rugby, Coventry, and Midland Counties footballer … and was selected to play for the Midland Counties against the South Africans’.[5]

One source mentioned that he attended Saltley College – this was St Peter’s College, a teacher training establishment located in Saltley, Birmingham.  His name does indeed appear on their War Memorial.[6]

Between 1901 and 1911, Sidney’s parents moved to Coventry, and then in the third quarter of 1914, Sidney married Nellie May Smith, a blacksmith’s daughter, at Warwick.  She had been born on 12 May 1889 and baptised at St Paul’s Warwick on 2 March 1890.

It may be that Sidney and his wife also moved to Coventry before the war, as their two children were both born in Coventry: Roland Vernon, on 1 May 1916, and registered in Q2 1916 [6d, 1445], and Iris Madge, on 1 November 1917, and registered in Q4 1917 [6d, 1111].

It seems that he had moved on from Rugby to teach at Bablake School, Coventry as there is a large wooden memorial board in the school hall, dedicated to the 700 former pupils who served, and the 96 who died in the war.  The latter list of names includes Lieutenant Sidney George Wolfe.[7]

It is uncertain exactly when Sidney ‘joined up’, but he was initially in the South Midlands Divisional Cycling Company (Army Cyclist Corps).  All of the ‘new army’ divisions raised under Lord Kitchener’s instructions in 1914 included a cyclist company.  The primary roles of the cyclists were in reconnaissance and communications.  They were armed as infantry and could provide mobile firepower.  The units which went overseas during WW1 continued in these roles, but also carried out trench-holding duties and manual work.[8]

2nd Lt. S G Wolfe, Apr 1916

Sidney is pictured (left) in his uniform with the cap badge featuring the sphinx and ‘Egypt’ on the livesofthefirstworldwar.org website.[9]

Sidney’s Medal Roll Card shows that he went to France on 31 March 1915 and it was probably in France that he was promoted to Sergeant.  He seems to have proved to be a capable leader and ‘… after eighteen months service in the trenches …’,[10] he was commissioned on 30 April 1916 and transferred to the 18th Battalion of the Royal Lancashire Fusiliers as a Lieutenant.

The 18th (Service) Battalion of the Royal Lancashire Fusiliers (2nd South-East Lancashire) was originally a ‘Bantam’ Battalion, with men who did not reach the normal height requirements.  The Battalion joined the 104th Brigade of the 35th Division and went to France, landing at Le Havre on 29 January 1916.

Sidney would have joined the Battalion at some date after the end of April, when the 18th Battalion was at Croix Barbee, relieving the 17th Battalion.

In May 1916 when he had ‘… only been with his new unit a week when he was caught by a German machine gun while he was helping to repair barbed wire entanglements in front of the firing line.  … He received two wounds in the neck and one in the face.’[11]

The Rugby Advertiser reported that he had been wounded,

Lieut S G Wolfe, of the Lancashire Fusiliers, the well-known Rugby, Coventry, and Midland Counties footballer, has been wounded at the front.  Lieut Wolfe gained a commission after eighteen months’ service in the trenches, and he had only been with his new unit a week when he was caught by a German machine gun while he was helping to repair barbed wire entanglements in front of the firing line.  The nature of his injuries are not known locally except that he received two wounds in the neck and one in the face.  Lieut Wolfe was successively a pupil, student teacher, and assistant master at Elborow School, and was selected to play for the Midland Counties against the South Africans.[12]

However, no mention has been found in the Battalion War Diary either of him joining the Battalion or being wounded.

The Battalion does not seem to have been involved with the initial actions on the Somme, but in mid-July they were in Trones Wood and Maltz Horn Farm trench in the Somme area.  By September 1916 they had moved to the Arras area and were there or in nearby trenches until the end of 1916.  In June 1917 the Battalion was at Villers-Guislain near Cambrai.  At the beginning of October 1917 the Battalion were training at Avesnes-le-Compte, and in the middle of the month moved to Proven and then Boisinghe.  On 20 October the Battalion prepared for an attack and bivouacked between Broombeek and Steenbeek, and on 21 October they prepared for the attack and moved off at 10.20pm.

The attack on 22 October 1917 is described in four pages of the Battalion Diary.  The Battalion formed up at 2.30am, and zero hour was at 5.35am and they moved forward close to the barrage, which was ragged and too slow and caused several casualties.  They encountered heavy machine gun fire, and later in the afternoon had to repulse a German counter attack which was done successfully.

That day, three officers were killed, including Lt. S G Wolfe, and 27 Other Ranks (ORs); one officer and 42 ORs were wounded and missing; and seven officers and 174 ORs were wounded.

‘He was leading a company into action and was unfortunately killed during the advance.  He had scarcely advanced more than 75 yards when an enemy shell fell close and he was killed instantaneously.’[13]

Lieutenant Sidney George WOLFE, 18th Bn. Lancashire Fusiliers, was killed in action on 22 October 1917.[14]

His body was either not recovered or not identified.  Sidney is remembered on one of the Panels 54 to 60 and 163A of the Tyne Cot Memorial.  The Tyne Cot Memorial is one of four memorials to the missing in Belgian Flanders which cover the area known as the Ypres Salient.  Whereas those who died before 16 August 1917 are remembered on the Menin Gate, the United Kingdom servicemen who died after that date are named on the memorial at Tyne Cot.

The birth of his daughter was recorded in the same column of the newspaper[15] as notice of his death.


BIRTH.  Wolfe. – On November 1st, at Earlsdon to the wife of the late Lieut. S. G. Wolfe, a daughter.

DEATHS. Wolfe. – Killed in Action. Oct. 22nd, Lieut. S. G. Wolfe, of the Lancashire Fusiliers, aged 27 years.  Leaves a wife and two children.

The dates of his two children’s births would suggest, naturally, that he must have been in UK in Coventry some nine months earlier than both occasions – in say August 1915 which was after he had gone to France and in February 1917 by which date he should have recovered from his wounds and have been back in France.  It would seem that as an officer he was able to get UK leave.

As well as at Tyne Cot, Sidney is commemorated on the Rugby Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road, Rugby, and he is also remembered on the St Peter’s College, Coventry Memorial Tablet,[16]  and also on the Bablake School Memorial in Coundon Road, Coventry.

He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal and also the 1915 Star.  His Medal Card and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records, confirm that he was ‘Killed in Action’ on 22 October 1917.  His widow is recorded as Mrs S G Wolfe, who at that later date, lived at 55 Berkeley Road Earlsdon, Coventry.  In the local newspaper on 1 November 1917 she and his parents placed an advertisement.[17]

THANKS – Mr and Mrs Wolfe and daughter, 45, Berkeley Road, Earlsdon, wish to thank all friends for their kind expressions of sympathy in their sad loss.

An ‘In Memoriam’ was published on the anniversary of his death.

WOLFE. – Killed in action in France on October 22, 1917, S. G. WOLFE (Lieut.), dearly beloved eldest grandson of Mr. & Mrs. W. Wolfe, 127 Newbold Road.
“Not dead to us, we love him still ;
Not lost, but gone before.
He lives with us in memory still,
And will for evermore.”
– From Grandma, Grandpap, Aunts and Uncles.[18]

His formal address when probate was awarded on 15 January 1918 at Birmingham was 157 Westwood Road, Coventry and probate awarded to his widow, Nellie Maud Wolfe, was in the sum of £101-10-6d.





This article on Sidney George WOLFE was researched and written for the Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by Anne Rogers and John P H Frearson and is © Anne Rogers, John P H Frearson and the RFHG, October 2017.

Information about Elborow School Career is © Howard Trillo


[1]      Industrial Housing in Rugby – L.N.W.R. Railways – To operate and maintain a railway requires people to work at places spread all along the line, often far from existing settlements. At places where stations are built accommodation for many staff are needed from opening day.  People had to live within walking distance of work, and it was useful to the railway to be able to get hold of staff if something unexpected happened.  By providing houses for their staff, the railway solved all these problems and the London and Birmingham Railway built several hundred houses along the line for the opening.  The houses were each given a number and the earliest in Rugby were in the 700’s.  They were all near the new station in Newbold Road, on the west side both north and south of the railway.

[2]      Rugby Advertiser, Saturday, 13 September 1902.

[3]      Rugby Advertiser, Saturday, 4 July 1903.

[4]      Rugby Advertiser, Saturday, 28 November 1903.

[5]      Rugby Advertiser, 27 May 1916.

[6]      http://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/names/listing/52012?page=7, St Peters College Memorial Tablet No 2, War Memorials reference: 52012, http://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/names/listing/52012?page=7.

[7]      http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/topic/54635-2000-files-in-passchendaele-archives/, from ‘tharkin56’, 22 August 2007.

[8]      Chris Baker, at https://www.thegazette.co.uk/all-notices/content/100720.

[9]      https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/4842770 – connected by George Coppock.

[10]     In fact he had only been in France for eleven months, so this may be his length of service, suggesting that he joined up in September 1914.

[11]     Rugby Advertiser, 27 May 1916.

[12]     Rugby Advertiser, 27 May 1916.

[13]     https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/4842770.

[14]     Global, Find A Grave Index for Non-Burials, Burials at Sea, and other Select Burial Locations.

[15]     Coventry Evening Telegraph, Friday, 2 November 1917.

[16]     Following the closure of the college, the two WWI memorial tablets have been moved from St Peter’s College to St Saviour’s Church, St Saviour’s Road, Saltley, Birmingham  B8 1HW.

[17]     Coventry Evening Telegraph, Thursday, 1 November 1917.

[18]     Rugby Advertiser, 19 October 1918.

27th May 1916. Considered Indispensable at the Refuse Destructor.


The Military Authorities appealed against the three months’ exemption granted to Arthur Williams, 58 Pennington Street, Rugby, charge hand at the refuse destructor. It was pointed out that in the interests of the health of Rugby it was most important that this man’s work should be done efficiently.—Mr John H Sharp, town surveyor, mentioned that Williams had charge of a small Cornish boiler, and had to get into it to clean it out when necessary. He had been in the Council’s employ for ten year’s, and was thoroughly used to the work, and it would be very difficult to replace him.—Mr Wratislaw said if the decision of the Local Tribunal was absolute, the appeal would not be pressed.—The Chairman said they could not alter what exemption had been given, but it might not go through so easily next time.


Mr Harold Eaden represented James H Ivey, branch manager for the Rugby Co-operative Society at Hillmorton, whose case had been adjourned to enable the applicant to get into work of national importance. The Metropolitan Asylums Board had promised him work as a storekeeper, and duty was found for him at a Hospital in Surrey, but subsequently a letter was received, stating that the Board were unable to offer him employment at the present moment. Acting on his advice, his client was now working on a farm. His salary as manager for the Rugby Co-operative Society was £1 13s a week, in addition to house, coal, and gas, making a total of £2 5s, and he understood his present wages would be 15s, so that he had made a sacrifice.-Exempted as long as engaged in agricultural work.


Another adjourned case was that of Frank Lobb, attendant at Mr Leo Bonn’s hospital for disabled soldiers at Newbold Revel.—Mr Eaden pointed out that the position was now altered altogether. Quite recently the Government had built a hospital at Brighton for soldiers, and within the next month the men at Newbold Revel would be sufficiently cured to go back home and await their artificial limbs. Mr Leo Bonn’s hospital had been beautifully fitted up, and application had been made for a dozen ordinary wounded soldiers to be sent along. He asked for a month’s postponement, as if those soldiers came the man’s services might be regarded as indispensable, but if not Mr Bonn would let him go.—Temporary exemption till June 23rd, the Chairman remarking that he thought the man would have to go then.


John Smiths Cockerill, farmer, Pailton, appealed for his son, aged 19, a shepherd and stockman on a farm of 147 acres, 37 being arable. Mr Harold Eaden supported the request, which Mr Cox said seemed reasonable, and on his advice exemption was given till September 30th.


Wm Witter, farmer and dairyman, Tithe Farm, Pailton, aged 79 and a cripple, appealed for his cowman, Joseph Hill, to whom a conditional exemption was granted.— Robt Bucknill, traction engine proprietor, Marton, asked that his son, Colin R Bucknill, aged 19, assisting in the business, should be exempted. Applicant said he had three engines and only three men, whereas he really required six. His son was the driver of a thrashing machine.—Appeal dismissed.—Frank John Cockerill (28), farmer and butcher, in partnership with his brother at Birdingbury, on being told that his appeal for exemption would be dismissed, said he would have to sell his stock and let the land lie idle.—Wm Leslie Morgan, dentist, Osborn House, Rugby, was represented by Mr Eaden, who merely asked for sufficient time to carry out existing contracts.—Papers not to be be served before August 3rd.


Mr Edwards, manager of the Hippodrome, appealed for Oswald Thos Measures, the stage manager, living at 12 Pinfold Street, New Bilton.—The Local Tribunal considered the business was not of national importance.—Appeal dismissed.


Having been three times before the Local Tribunal, Leslie Bramall, grocer, 27 Rokeby Street, Rugby, who was said by the Military representative to have purchased his business in September, 1915, appealed for postponement on the ground of hardship.—The Chairman : You purchased the business when you knew you would be called upon.—Appeal dismissed.


Military appeals were lodged in the following cases :-

Frank Walding, boot and shoe retailer, living at 52 Caldecott Street, who was represented by Mr Worthington, and given a temporary exemption till September 1st.—Francis Dudley Hogg, licensed victualler, Central Hotel, Rugby, was allowed till August 15th.—Maurice Hethersay, confectioner and toy dealer, 32 Sheep Street (represented by Mr Worthington), was allowed till August 1st.—Alfred Wm Elsley, manager of the Home & Colonial Stores, was granted conditional exemption till October 31st ; and Albert Partridge Stephens, hairdresser, 4 Little Church Street, was given till September 1st.


Not satisfied with the recommendation for exemption to June 15th, John Gardner Hall, dental mechanic, 20A High Street, Rugby, appealed, and was allowed till July 31st.

An appeal made by J Liddington on behalf of P B Woodward, confectioner, 70 James Street, was supported by Mr Worthington, who said his client chiefly baked “ smalls,” but also bread, and had entire control of the bakehouse and stores in Regent Street.—Appeal dismissed.

CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS SUMMONED.—At the Rugby Police Court on Thursday, before T Hunter,Esq, two conscientious objectors, Alfred John Routley, North Street, Rugby, and George Henry Smith, Pennington Street, Rugby, were charged with being absentees under the Military Service Act.—Defendants were remanded till Tuesday, bail being allowed.

RUGBY MAGISTERIAL.—At the Rugby Police Court on Wednesday, before T Hunter, Esq (in the chair), and A E Donkin, Esq, James Glasgow, of the 1st K.O.S.B’s, who went through the fighting in Gallipoli, was fined 1s 6d for being drunk at Rugby the previous evening.—P.S Percival stated that defendant was helplessly drunk and lying on the footpath.—William Fred Hewitt, carter, 69 Victoria Avenue, was remanded until Tuesday for being an absentee under the National Service Act. Defendant said he did not feel well enough to go, and a military witness pointed out that the man had been refused an exemption.


Pte Jack Beech, 9th R.W.R, son of Mr G Beech, 19 Avenue Road, New Bilton, who has been wounded and frost-bitten, and has been in hospital five months, arrived in England on May 18th, and is now at Elizabeth Hospital, London.

Pte W Scarlett, R.W.R, son of Mr and Mrs Hy Scarlett, Long Lawford, has been wounded. He is only 19 years of age, and enlisted on the outbreak of the war.

Last week we reported that Bomb W K Freeman, R.F.A, of Rugby, had been awarded the Military Cross and recommended for the D.C.M. The decoration that Bomb Freeman has received, however, is a French one, and not the Military Cross, which is only awarded to officers of warrant or commissioned rank.

Alfred Shepherd, O.L, younger son of Mr William Shepherd, of Grosvenor Road, late of the Clifton Inn, Clifton Road, has been granted a commission as Sub-Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, and has left Kinshasa, Stanley Pool, Belgian Congo, to cross Africa for service in the East.


Lieut S G Wolfe, of the Lancashire Fusiliers, the well-known Rugby, Coventry, and Midland Counties footballer, has been wounded at the front. Lieut Wolfe gained a commission after eighteen months’ service in the trenches, and he had only been with his new unit a week when he was caught by a German machine gun while he was helping to repair barbed wire entanglements in front of the firing line. The nature of his injuries are not known locally except. that he received two wounds in the neck and one in the face. Lieut Wolfe was successively a pupil, student teacher, and assistant master at Elborow School, and was selected to play for the Midland Counties against the South Africans.


It is officially announced, that in the Persian Gulf operations on January 21st last Lieut Bucknill, of the Hampshire Regt, formerly reported missing, was killed in action. Lieut Bucknill was the son of Lieut.-Colonel John T Bucknill, R.E, of Hillmorton Manor, and Thornfield, Bitterne. After taking his degree at Cambridge, the deceased officer became an architect. At the outbreak of war he obtained a commission, and left with his battalion for India in October, 1914, going to the Persian Gulf in March, 1915. His regiment was in the hard fighting at Nasrich, and for his services Lieut Bucknill was mentioned in despatches and received the Military Cross. His only brother, Major L M Bucknill, R.F.A, died in May last year in France from wounds received in the battle of Festubert, and was twice mentioned in despatches. His uncle was the late Sir Chas Bucknill, the High Court Judge. Lieut Bucknill was a very keen lawn tennis player, as also was his wife.

FOOD PRICES IN WAR TIME.—The marked increase in the cost of food since the war began is a matter of common knowledge, but the British advance, great as it has been, compares favourably with the state of affairs in Germany and Austria. In Vienna the cost of food has risen 110 per cent, in Berlin 100 percent, whilst in the United Kingdom the increase is 55 per cent. Meat has become in some households an almost prohibited luxury. Before the war prime rump steak could be obtained in Rugby at 1s per lb, now the price is 1s 8d. Loin of beef was formerly 10d, now it costs 1s 4d. Legs of mutton have advanced in price from 9d to 1s 4d per lb, and chops and cutlets from 1s to 1s 6d ; whilst pork chops, which could formerly be obtained for 9d, are now 1s 4d per lb. Sugar has become both scarce and dear. The Royal Commission on sugar cannot guarantee 75 per cent of last year’s supply, and many grocers are unable to obtain 50 per cent. For granulated sugar, which could formerly be bought at 2d per lb, the grocers are now charging 5¼d, and then only a limited quantity is supplied to each customer, who is also expected to purchase other commodities at the same time. In May, 1895, the retail price of best butter at one large establishment in Rugby was 10d per lb ; last week the price was 1s 8d.


In Rugby and neighbourhood the adoption of the Summer Time Act was readily observed, and as far as we have been able to gather, without causing inconvenience, except to a very few who preferred to ignore the change, or where through inadvertence or otherwise clocks were not adjusted to the new time. On Sunday everything seemed to come as a matter of routine. People attended Divine worship at the ordinary times—by the clock—and it was only in the evening that the difference was impressed upon one by the longer time that elapsed between the last observances of the day and the time when darkness set in—the extra hour of daylight, in fact, the measure is designed to give.

On Monday work and business went on as if nothing had occurred, and again in the evening the extra hour in which workers could be out of doors in lovely May weather was much appreciated.

The farmers’ objections were voiced at Northampton on Saturday by the largest meeting of farmers held in the town for many years past, and a resolution was unanimously adopted to adhere as far as possible to real time as shown by the sun in the arrangement of work on the farms, and to take as little notice as we can of the sham time that will be shown by public clocks.”


ADVERTISEMENTS in the Situations Vacant columns from Firms whose business consists wholly or mainly in engineering, shipbuilding, or the production of arms, ammunition, or explosives, or of substances required for the production thereof, are, in order to comply with Regulation 8 (b) of the above Act, subject to the following conditions:—“ No person resident more than 10 miles away or already engaged on Government work will be engaged.”


DOYLE.—In ever loving memory of Frederick Doyle, who passed away May 26th, 1912, at Dunchurch. Never forgotten by his loving Wife and Children, Father, Mother, Sisters, and Brothers.

HILL.—In loving Memory of our dear son and brother, Lewis Henry Hill, Newbold-on-Avon. Killed in action, May 28th, 1915.
“ One year has passed, our hearts still sore,
Day by day we miss him more.
His welcome smile, his dear sweet face
Never on earth can we replace.
We often sit and think of him,
And think of how he died,
To think he could not say ‘ Good-bye ’
Before he closed his eyes.”
—Deeply mourned by his mother, father sisters and brothers.

HUNT.—To the Glory of God, and in loving Memory of my dear husband, Albert John Hunt, Warrant Officer of the 15th Brigade R.H.A., of the immortal 29th Division. Killed in action in Gallipoli on the 27th May, 1915.
Thou hast made me known to friends whom knew not. Thou hast given me seats in homes not my own. Thou hast brought the distant near, and made a Brother of the Stranger. Blessed art Thou, oh Merciful and Holy Father, for ever and ever.

HUNT.—In ever loving Memory of Warrant Officer Regt.-Sergt.-Major A. J. Hunt, R.H.A. Killed in action in the Dardanelles, May 28,1915.
“ In him we gave our best.
With him Duty was always best.
Proud of his life and death as ever,
We shall meet again beyond the River.”
—Father and mother.

SMITH.—In loving memory of Trooper W Smith, of the Leicester Yeomanry, son of James and Elizabeth Smith, of Lutterworth (late of Eathorpe), who was reported missing, May 13th, 1915, and now reported killed. Born May 27th, 1897.


23rd Jan 1915. Letters from the front


Private Bernard Wolfe, son of Mr Augustine Wolfe, railway missioner, Bolton, probably one of the first of Kitchener’s Army to participate in actual fighting, sends home a striking account of his experiences. Private Wolfe joined in the last week of August, and has been in the firing line since December 21. His father is a native of Brinklow, and is well-known to Railway Mission men at Rugby. His grandfather and great-grandfather were also residents of Brinklow.

“ The Germans dropped between 20 and 30 shells over our trenches, but did no damage. Our artillery got their range beautifully, and dropped shell after shell right among them, and eventually succeeded in silencing their batteries. Our company (“ D ” Company) lost three men and a few wounded.

“ The German shell devastation in some of the towns and villages here is beyond all imagination. Cafes, houses, convents, are all deserted, and everything left holus bolus. Some of the brave Belgians remain in their remnants of homes. They have lost everything but their great and noble hearts and I don’t think there is compensation available on this earth to make good their losses and deprivations, I think the German troops are getting demoralised, and I honestly think the war will end suddenly, and will surprise all nations when it does collapse.

” It is very weird at night-time. Picture a dark night. British trenches and German about 70 or 80 yards from one another, with just an occasional rip zip of bullets to let each side know there’s a watch being kept. Then the “ Allemandes ” send a fire ball across, just like an enormous blue light, which illuminates the whole length of trenches. And then, what ho! bob down ! if you don’t you get it, for as soon as the light goes up volley after volley comes as long as the light lasts, which will be 30 or 40 seconds.”


An interesting letter has been received by Mrs Barnett, of Lilbourne, from her husband. Private A Barnett, 1st Royal Warwicks, in which he says that life in the trenches with such wet weather is most trying—otherwise, he states that he in in a good slate of health. Barnet says : ” I received a parcel just before Christmas from Miss Mary Mulliner, Clifton Court (where he was employed before the outbreak of war). Please thank her if you see her. I am also so pleased the children received toys from the Court ; I am sure they would be pleased. We are having four days in the trenches and four out, the different regiments relieving one another as soon as it gets dusk. I believe the trenches we occupy are in Belgium, but when we are out at rest, we are in France. We have had about four months of it now. I wish we could get out of the danger zone for a while for a good rest. At a place near Armentieres we had 31 days in the trenches without coming out, the enemy being entrenched about 200 yards away. We are nearer now—only 100 yards separating us. You can imagine we have to be very careful in our movements. We were on fairly good terms with them at Christmas, not a single shot being exchanged. They said they would not fire if we did not, and the truce was kept, and we were able to enjoy Christmas rather better. Bitter foes as we are we were able to talk to some of them, also exchange cigarettes and cigars. Anyone that did not se it could not believe that such a thing could happen in warfare : nevertheless, it’s true. Some of our men got hold of souvenirs, but I failed to manage one myself.

“ Our Battalion has suffered very badly : out of 1,110 men I am afraid there is not above 200 left. No doubt many are prisoners of war. When we arrived here we encamped near Langy. Just when they had completed a big retirement from Mons, we took up some trenches at Bueq-Le-Long, and on being relieved we reckoned on a rest. Instead of that we had four days’ march, resting at Rozet-St-Albin, Crepy, Rully-Verberi, and St Omer. From the latter place we rode with motor transport, packed in like sardines for three hours, to Caistre. Next morning we advanced and encountered the enemy at a place called Meteren, which they occupied and were made to evacuate alter a sharp encounter lasting about three hours. Our casualties numbered about 100. It was raining all the time and we were soaked to the skin. During our march through France I did not see anything that took my fancy much. I do not know what there is to make a fuss about. Old England can compare with it for scenery or anything else—except that it is a little warmer here.”


William Watson, of Napton, writing from H.M.S Cornwall on December 9. 1914, says :- “ Dear Mother,— Just a line to let you know how we are getting on. I think the last time I wrote to you was when we were at Montevideo.

On December 7th we arrived at the Falkland Islands, and all of a sudden, when we were in the midst of coaling, we heard a gun fired. It was the Germans come to bombard Port Stanley. Directly we knew we stopped coaling, and our ship and four more British ships, viz, the Inflexible, Invincible, Carnarvon, and Glasgow, gave chase. When we had been steaming along as fast as we could go for about one and a-half hours we saw the smoke of five German ships. At last we gradually got nearer, and the Inflexible engaged with the Scharnhorst. We caught the Leipzic up, and had an engagement with her, which lasted four hours. By the way, I forgot to tell you I am wireless messenger, and I was on watch when we were in action. We fired over 1,000 rounds of lyddite shell at them before we set the Leipzic on fire. We have had several bad hits ourselves, one of which passed through the funnel down into the painters’ shop ; but we put the fire out before it did very much damage. At last, about ten minutes past seven, we hit her right forward with a lyddite shell, and she caught on fire. You ought to have seen he r; I stood and watched her. At last she made a headlong plunge, and down she went. I think out of about a crew of 900 eighteen were saved. Five of them we have in our sick bay. Of the five German ships four have been sunk and one escaped, but she will get captured sooner or later. Out of our crew there are only about four injured, and no one killed. Well, mother, I think we shall come home. Tell them all at Napton I am quite well and happy.”


On October 14th the sister of Scout J Farn, [?] Worcester Regiment, forwarded to him on the Continent a parcel, containing some cigarettes and handkerchiefs. On October 21st. however, he was wounded, and never received the parcel. This has recently been returned to another sister of Scout Farn, to whom he had left his property by his will , the authorities evidently being under the impression that he had been killed. The parcel has probably an interesting history attached to it, because when it was opened a piece of shrapnel shell was found inside it, the letter and some notepaper were torn to shreds, and the handkerchiefs were perforated, evidently by pieces of shell, but how this came about is a mystery. We are informed that Scout Farn, who is still in Cedar Lawn Hospital, Hampstead, has undergone two operations, and is going on as well as can be expected. He was wounded by fragments of shrapnel in the right arm.

Trooper Harvey Woods, of the 17th Lancers, is paying a short visit to his home in William Street, Rugby, from the front. His regiment was drafted from India to France, and this is the first time he has been home for seven years. While wishing to say nothing as to the actual fighting, Trooper Woods states that his regiment has been diverted from its ordinary duties, and has been serving in the trenches. In fact, he came straight from the trenches to Rugby. In many instances the men are standing waist deep in water. He spent Christmas Day very quietly in the reserve trenches.


Mrs H Anderson, 39 Pinfold Street, New Bilton, has received official news that her son, Pte John Elson, 1st Northumberland Fusiliers, received a gunshot wound in the back in action on January 7th, and is at present in a General Hospital at Rouen. Pte Elson, spent Christmas Day in the trenches, has also written home to say that the wound is not serious. Mrs Anderson has another son in the Howitzer Battery and one in Lord Kitchener’s Army, and her husband has also a son wounded at the front.


The following extracts from a letter from a “ H.A.C. ” man at the front to his friends at Rugby will be read with interest :-

“ While doing duty in the trenches the other day one of our men went back to a barn to fetch something, and on returning he was shot. He went down with a call for help. I ran along the communicating trench in order to assist him, when a bullet took my shoulder strap off. Our officer recalled me at once. Some time after our bugler crawled out to the man, bound up his wounds, and stayed with him till dusk. He was shot soon after nine o’clock in the morning. They were sniped all the day through, but fortunately they were not hit. When we picked him up at dusk one of the men in my section was shot through the arm and knee.

“ Another day, owing to the continual rain, the communicating trench got full of water. It was my lot to cut a way through the side to enable the water to drain away. I had to stand for an hour up to my middle in the water ; it was bitterly cold, and I felt very exhausted towards night—so much so that I tumbled over when marching home. Our officer insisted on my riding his horse back, for which I was grateful. Unfortunately he has since been killed. He was a great favourite with the men.

“Early in the New Year we determined to have a festive gathering to which we invited some of the Scots Guards. The barn was lit up with candles. When the plum pudding arrived all the lights were extinguished and the brandy set alight. Of course, it was received with cheers.”

“ The other day, on our return after three days in the trench’s we decided to have a concert, so we stopped up all the cracks and crevices, so that no light could be seen from outside. The concert commenced, but we could not have it to ourselves. The Germans took part in part. They commenced to shell us. Towards four o’clock we had to clear out, and whilst packing up our wagon two shrapnel shells burst just over us in the trees, but luckily no one was hit.

“ We attended a very impressive service the other night ; it was held in a convent. The chaplain used a small electric torch, so that he could read the service. We all stood round and sang ‘God save the King,’ and, as you may suppose, the line ‘ Scatter his enemies’ was emphasised.”


During the past week 27 recruits have been sworn in at Rugby. Their names are :—R.A.M.C, W Bax and W D Bottrill ; Northants Regiment, G S Carr ; R.F.A, H Dale, H Blythe, W H Morgan, C E Godwin, F B Allibon, W F Bolton, and E A Baines ; Gloucesters, T M Horrell ; A.S.C, W J Barnwell, A Copeman, I Green, A J Townsend, and T Worrall ; R.W.R, J Smith, E Summer, and C E Newman ; Dublin Fusiliers, J Cody ; Worcester Regiment, H Wells ; Lancashire Fusiliers Bantams, F Lowndes and P J Dunkley ; Oxford and Bucks L.I, E Harvey and W Jephcott ; Coldstream Guards, E W Davenport and H Payne.