20th Nov 1915. Recruiting at Rugby



So far the results of the recruiting canvass locally have been very disappointing. Only 25 men have enlisted for immediate Service, and of these the percentage from Rugby town is very small.

The number attested under Lord Derby’s group scheme so far is about 300. but of these more than two-thirds are employed at the B.T.H and have only been accepted under the Reserve B scheme, and if these, and a number from Willans and Robinson’s and the Railway Companies are subtracted, the actual total will not be an imposing one.

From the classes which Lord Derby’s scheme was intended to bring in, the response has been most feeble, and unless them is a decided improvement within the next few days, it will have to be confessed that, locally, at least, the scheme has been a failure. If this is so, no blame will attach to those who have the working of the scheme in hand, for from the beginning their labours have been indefatigable. During the past few days a number of ladies have rendered good service in filling up the attestation forms of grouped men. Those who have enlisted during the past week for immediate service are :

C Rhoades, 117 Oxford St, Rugby.
A Smith, 1 St Michael St, Lincoln.

S Collins, Swinberby, Lincoln.

A Marshall, 7 Decon St, Leicester.

G W Coleman, Husbands Bosworth.

F G Shillitoe, 139 Clifton Rd, Rugby.

G W Hook. South Kilworth.
E Brown, Gas Street, Rugby.

A G Dunkley, Watford, Rugby.
H H Curtlin, Thurlaston.
H G King, 34 Campbell St, New Bilton.

A T Hopkins. 223 Hinckley Rd, Leicester.
W E Orton, 243 Coton Rd, Nuneaton.

T Mann. Marton.
P Gibbins, Willougby.

W Arnett, 4 York St, Rugby.
J Thompson. Haddington, Scotland.
A Guiden, 22 Sandown Rd, Rugby.

J Webb, The Green, Long Lawford.
R Edkins, 3 Tank Cottages, Rugby.
O Cleaver, School Street, Hillmorton.

A Coleman, Milcombe, Banbury.
A Hitchman. Milrow Cottages, Bloxly, Worcester.

H Kirby, Ashby St Ledgers.

During the past week upwards of 200 employees of the B.T.H Company have enlisted under the Reserve system applying to munition workers. Many of these are married men, but owing to the ambiguous attitude of the Government-as shown in the House of Commons on Tuesday night—upon the question of single men first, it is doubtful if the appeal to married men will meet with the success which was at first predicted when the situation appeared to be more clear.


Just now many young men are worrying themselves as to which group under Lord Derby’s scheme they should enrol themselves, and whether they will when called up, get into a branch of the service that will be congenial to them.

The 7th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, in which the old E Company of Rugby is embodied, is now in need of recruits, at least 500 being required to bring its respective units up to full strength, and many will perhaps be disposed to think that the local force has first claim upon them.

Enlistment in the Territorial regiments assures a man of having companions with the same associations, the same interests, and the same sentiments.

The terms of enlistment are the same as in any other branch of the forces-three years or the period of the war. There is no undertaking to continue a member of the Territorial force after the war is over.

A recruiting office for the battalion has been instituted at the Benn Buildings, Rugby.

The following local men have recently joined : W F P Colledge, 48 Church St ; H F Flower, 18 Vicarage Hill, Clifton ; W Hickingbotham, 33 Cambridge St ; E Slack, 55 Manor Rd ; E R Ford, 51 Grosvenor Rd ; E H Ford, 51 Grosvenor Road ; A N Dunkley, Newton ; M W Bolton, and H Berry.


The many friends of Mr E R Stebbing will be pleased to hear he received the following letter on the 11th Inst.:

Warwick, 10th Nov., 1915.

SIR,—I am directed to inform you that his Majesty the King has approved of the grant of an Annuity of £10 from the 20th September, 1915, inclusive, together with a Silver Medal to you as a reward for your long and highly meritorious service.

(Signed) J H W SOUTHEY, Major, Staff Captain No 7 District.

The family has a good record of service of over 100 years, and also the following medals : 1 for Distinguished Conduct in the Field ; 3 for Meritorious Service ; 3 for Long Service and Good Conduct ; and 5 War Medals, with 19 Clasps for South Africa.


In Sir Ian Hamilton’s despatch from the Dardanelles, published on Nov 6th, Second Corp Edward L Damant, of the Royal Naval Division, was honourably mentioned. Corp Damant came from South Africa to obtain experience in electrical engineering at the B.T.H in July, 1914. and joined the Royal Naval Division in October 1914. He took part in the naval engagement at the Dardanelles, and took part in the main landing at the Galipoli Peninsula in April.



In a recent issue we mentioned that Sec-Lieut R J Dunn, youngest son of Mr W Dunn, of the Manor House, Kings Newnham, has been missing since September 25th. No further news came to hand till this week, when Mr Dunn received the following copy of a letter which had been written to the officer commanding the Royal Warwickshire Regiment :-

Maryport, Cumberland.
The O.C. Royal War. R.

DEAR SIR,—A wristlet watch has been sent to me by a friend who is now serving with the Cameron Highlanders in France, and who bayoneted a German officer and removed the watch from his wrist, to find that the real owner was an Englishman. The watch hears the name R. J. Dunn, 12th R.W.R., and my friend desires, to enquire about the gentleman’s family. Can you offer any information as to where the family, reside, or the gentleman himself ? I shall be glad of a reply.

The required information was sent to the writer of the letter, and Mr Dunn has received the watch.

Lieut Dunn, who had been in the O.T.C. at Birmingham University three years, joined the Warwickshire Yeomanry at the commencement of the war, and received his commission in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment (12th Battalion) soon afterwards. On July 9th he was attached to the Royal Engineers for special service, and went out on July 12th.


One of the effects of the shortage of labour, in consequence of the war, will no doubt be an increased use of machinery. Apparatus for milking cows, driven by oil engine, is gaining in favour, and is being introduced into a number of dairies in the Rugby district.

GRAMAPHONES GONE ASTRAY.-Will the correspondent who sent a letter from “ The boys of old E Company ” for publication please communicate with the Editor. Name and address was not given in accordance with our rule.

Two members of the clerical staff of the Locomotive Department at Rugby have joined the colours and left this week. Edgar H Ford has enlisted in the 7th Warwicks, and Edgar Jones has joined the King’s Liverpool “ Pals.” Their places have been taken by female clerks, these being the first women employed in the Locomotive Department at Rugby.

In our last issue we reported that Pte Percy Woodhams, of Cambridge Street, Rugby, had been reported missing. The name should have been Woodhouse, and we may also mention that he has two brothers also serving in the forces—one, Arthur, in the Rugby Howitzer Battery, and the other—Alfred—in the Worcester Howitzer Battery.


A Rugbeian, who is serving with the Rugby Howitzer Battery, “ somewhere in France,” has recently written to his father giving an amusing account of an early morning parade at the front.
“ Hi! Hello ! D’yer ’ear me ? Six o’clock ? You lazy devils !” This is the first thing that disturbs you in the morning—the voice of the “ awakener,” if you are lucky enough not to be on night duty ! You give a half-turn, not a whole one—this is only developed after a lot of practice—or you would find yourself on the ground. The bunks are not too broad. A spot of water gently drops cold upon your neck ! This is the first warning you receive that it has been a wet night. . . .
Then you sit up and look at one another, to see which will be the first out to light the fire. I’m very good at the “ looking ” part.
“ Come on, —- It’s about tune you jumped out and lit the fire for me once in your life. We’ve only ten minutes to roll.”
I jump out, catch hold of an old Rugby Advertiser, ram it in the stove, put on some sticks, and light it with one hand, while I struggle with boots and putties with the other, in the first glimmer, of the dawning day.
A shrill blast of a whistle informs us that we now have only five minutes to roll call. Then there’s a rush through mud and over trenches to out hidden place of parade. . . Two more blasts of the whittle. Then our gallant Sergt-Major yells, “ Fall in.” This disturbs the mist, and one can see if one has got both boots still on. Oh! that early morning parade !
It reminds me of some picture I have seen. I think it was called, “ All that was left of them,” or something like that. We look as if we have just come out of a stiff engagement, instead of from a “ good night’s rest.” I am sure some of the men can grow an inch of beard in a night ! It must be the moist air or the rum issue.
“ Battery, ‘shun ! No 1, call the roll !” This is the second order of the morning. Then our noble No 1 catches hold of his moustache with his thumb and first finger—it wouldn’t stand more so early in the morning—and giving a gentle twist so as not to break it, starts calling over the roll.
Perhaps during; this part of the proceedings the Germans will gently drop a shell into the village. Then there is a rush. “ Left section ! Stand to ! Fire No 3 gun.” Another German shell drops into the village ! “ Fire No 4 gun !”
This is a little game we are playing now. Every time the Germans shell our village, we shell theirs. “ Shell for shell,” or, I should say, “ Two for every one of theirs,” for we endeavour to be as generous as possible in the way of shells. In fact, I think if the Major has his way, the Germans would hardly have a village left for us to shell. It reminds one of two old women arguing, both wanting the last word. And it is only since there has been such an increase in munition manufacture that we have been able to beat them at the game.”

Woodhouse, Percival. Died 25th Sep 1915

Percy Woodhouse’s birth was registered in the fourth quarter of 1896, in Bedford.

In 1901 the family were living in Park Hill Road Smethwick. His father Henry was recorded as a brass founder and had been born in Handsworth, Staffs. Percy’s mother Jane had been born in Birmingham.

In 1911 Percy lived with his widowed father Henry, a brass moulder in motor manufacture, and his two brothers at 176 Cambridge Street. Percy was a chemist errand boy.

Percy Woodhouse – photo by permission of Rugby Library.

Percy Woodhouse enlisted with the 2nd Battalion of the Ox and Bucks Light Infantry and his regimental number was 11090. The 2nd Battalion had been stationed in Aldershot from 4 August 1914 as part of the 5th Brigade of the 2nd Division.  On 14 August they had been mobilised and landed at Boulogne. The various actions the Battalion had been engaged in were in 1914 The Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat, The Battle of the Marne, The Battle of the Aisne, and the first Battle of Ypres.   In the Winter Operations 1914-15, they were engaged in the Battle of Festubert and the Battle of Loos.

Percy Woodhouse was killed in action on 25 September 1915 – at the Battle of Loos.

At the time of Percy’s death, his father Henry was living at 36 Acacia Grove, Rugby.

Private Woodhouse 11091 and Private J L Turner 11090 who must, from their regimental numbers, have joined up together, and probably died together, are both remembered on Panel 83 to 85 of the Loos Memorial.

However the Rugby Advertiser did not report Percy Woodhouse’s death until the 14 October 1916 edition.

Percy Woodhouse is remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gate.