28th Jul 1917. Rugby School Farming Squads

RUGBY SCHOOL FARMING SQUADS.

From “ The Meteor ” (the journal of Rugby School) we gather that this year the farming squad season extended from May 16th to July 24th ; 75 squads (comparing with 55 last year) have been sent out to assist the neighbouring farmers. Most of the work took the form of hoeing and spudding, which is a little tedious after a bout of four or five hours.

In the last month many parties have rendered assistance in the hay harvest. The earnings of the squads were allocated as follows :—Hospital of St Cross, £15 ; Y.M.C.A, £8 13s ; Mine-Sweepers’ Fund, £5 ; Blue Cross, £5 ; Rugby Prisoners of War Fund, £3, total, £36 13s.

“ The Meteor ” also records the experiences of one of the squads in the Evesham district—at Pensham, near Pershore :—

On Monday, July 2nd, a squad of 21 started off for a fortnight’s work on the land—an entirely new experiment. After a long journey, during which we seemed to do nothing but change from one train to another we reached Pershore Station at about 1.30 p.m. The cyclists of our party went ahead into the town (1½ miles from the station) to find where Pensham was. Having found the farm, they returned to guide the weary “ labourers,” who found three miles in the blazing heat quite sufficient. After doing the first natural thing—ordering tea—we all went for a bathe in the river Avon, which was only two or three hundred yards from the farm. All the squad except four slept in a fairly capacious barn, with as much straw as they wished ; but the quartet preferring the open air and chancing the rats slept on a straw rick, in which they made great havoc by digging themselves in.

For the next three days we only did six hours a day, 9 a.m—1 p.m, 2 p.m—4 p.m. After work was over we were allowed to do anything we liked—in moderation. Our first day in the field made us all feel that 6 hours in the form room would be infinitely preferable to the work we were doing, which consisted of weeding mangolds with pen-knives! But fortunately as the days went on the work became better. On Friday and for the rest of our stay we did eight hours a day, after which most of us felt we should never be able to straighten our backs again. . . . We were very fortunate in having fine weather all the time, except on Sunday, when it really did not matter.

The work chiefly consisted of picking broad and French beans, “ topping ” runner beans, pulling docks and hoeing. It was generally considered that a fortnight is just about the right length of time for work of that sort.

The chief amusements were bathing, boating, fishing (for pike which would not bite), riding horses (if they could be caught), chasing pigs, and, on the last night, strafing beans.

COMMANDEERING OF HAY AND STRAW.
FARMERS’ AND DEALERS’ MINDS RELIEVED.

The Secretary of the War Office announces that two new Army Council Orders are being gazetted dealing with hay and straw, one taking possession of all hay and straw, and the other regulating the price of these commodities. There are one or two points in which they differ from previous Orders of a similar nature, and one in particular will relieve the minds of farmers. Under the new Order wheat straw may now be used for bedding and other than feeding purposes. A point which will also commend itself to dealers in straw is that the difference between “ producers’ ” and “ retailers’ ” prices is now £2, instead of 30s. Further, the retailers’ prices for lots of 10cwt and less for both hay and straw are somewhat increased.

POSSESSION WANTED.—Henry Webb, Gipsy Row, High Street, Hillmorton, was sued by Mrs Emily Forrest, Stoke Newington, for possession of cottage and premises.—Mrs Webb attended, and said that her husband was a prisoner of war in Germany.—For the plaintiff it was stated that the rent was £3 18s in arrears.—Mrs Webb said that she had not paid her rent because the agent had insulted her, and he had also refused to do any repairs. He had threatened that he would take the roof and doors off. She was willing to pay the arrears, and should leave the house as soon as she could get another one.—Plaintiff was non-suited because the notice had been served on the wife, whereas the husband was the tenant.

INSPECTION OF RUGBY V.C. AND VOLUNTEER MOTOR TRANSPORT.

Brigadier-General T C P Calley, C.B, M.V.O, of the Southern Command, made a tour of inspection of the 2nd Battalion Warwickshire Volunteer Regt on Saturday and Sunday last. The inspection of the Rugby Corps, B Company, took place on Sunday afternoon at the Howitzer Battery Headquarters. There was no ceremonial parade, the inspection being for the purpose of seeing squad work. The Inspecting Officer was accompanied by Lord Leigh (Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire), Colonel F F Johnstone (O.C. the Regiment), Major Glover (Second in Command), Captain Johnson (adjutant), and Lieut Stranger Jones (Transport Officer) and others.

There was a good parade, under Capt C H Fuller. The Company was inspected in bayonet fighting, trench warfare and bombing, and an infantry attack across adjoining land, under command of Lieut M W Yates.

THE INSPECTING OFFICER AND UNIFORM.

General Calley, after congratulating the squads on the good progress they had made, addressed those who had taken part in the attack, and said he was very pleased with what he had seen. The attack was very well done, and it showed they had been well taught and that they had used their brains, and meant to learn and understand what they were doing. Presently they might have to do this in the open, and in this connection he gave them a little advice with regard to firing orders and the words of command. The attack was carried out as well as any he had seen, and great credit was due to their commanding officer and instructors. Evidently the members of the Company had paid attention to what had been said to them, and they had brought both their brains and their bodies to bear on it. He would be very happy to report to the General that he had seen a very good body of men. He wished them every success in their patriotic effort, and said he hoped to come and see them again when they had their uniform, adding he could not understand how it was they were not provided with it, and that he was going to make enquiries about the matter on his return, as most of the Battalions in the country had now got uniform and equipment, and he hoped the Rugby Corps would have them very soon.

COUNTY OF WARWICK MOTOR VOLUNTEER CORPS.

The inspection of the Rugby Section of the County of Warwick Motor Volunteer Corps was made on the arrival of the General. The cars, lorries, and motor cycles present, capable of transporting upwards of 50 men and four tons of supplies, were drawn up in line on the smaller parade ground. The General inspected each motor in turn and afterwards addressed the members of the corps, expressing his gratification at the manner in which Rugby motorists had responded to the appeal for volunteers, and stated that after what he had seen in this and other towns he was of the opinion that the Government should recognise the Motor Corps as a body and make provision for the necessary petrol supply, etc, for conducting the work of the Corps. He said that Lord Leigh had consented to be nominated for the command of the Corps.

Major Glover afterwards addressed the members present, explaining the object of the movement, and stated that over 500 private motorists had already been enrolled in Birmingham and the County of Warwick.

In a short address given by Lord Leigh, he expressed great pleasure in being nominated for the command of the Corps.

Further motor volunteers with either cars, lorries, or motor cycles, are urgently needed. There are also a few vacancies for experienced motor mechanics capable of undertaking repairs. Application for full particulars as to enrolment should be made to Mr Bernard Hopps, Thurlaston, near Rugby.

DISTRESSING FATAL ACCIDENT.

Co-Sergt-Major Charles John Simpson, Motor Cycle Section of the R.E, second son of the late Mr John Simpson and Mrs Simpson, 28 Craven Road, Rugby, met with his death under exceptionally sad circumstances at Houghton Regis recently. The deceased was a valuable and highly esteemed non-commissioned officer, and it was stated at the inquest that he had been shooting at a tin with a miniature rifle in the yard of the camp. Deceased was showing his little boy, aged 4½ years, how to use the rifle, and on one occasion he held the rifle while the boy pulled the trigger and fired at the tin. At the same time some men came up to speak to deceased, and while he was talking he brought the rifle down to the ground. The boy said, “ Let me shoot it, daddy ” ; and deceased pulled the rifle, which was pointing to another sergeant, towards himself. The boy then bent down, touched the trigger, and discharged the rifle. The bullet entered deceased’s mouth, and caused practically instantaneous death.—A verdict of “ Accidental death ” was returned.—The funeral was witnessed by a large number of sympathisers. The coffin was placed on a gun carriage, drawn by six horses, with three sergeants as outriders. Six company sergeant-majors acted as pall bearers. The chief mourners were : Mrs Simpson (widow), Mrs Simpson (mother), Mrs N Brevig, Miss Winnie Simpson, Mr Bert Simpson (sisters and brothers), Mrs Walker (mother-in-law), Miss Walker (sister-in-law), Mr N Brevig (brother-in-law), and Mrs H Simpson (sister-in-law). Deceased was a Freemason, and a number of members of the craft attended the funeral, as well as a numerous contingent of the Motor Cyclists Co., under the command of Capt W F How, R.I Rifles, and a large number of deceased’s fellow N.C.O’s from the Signal Depot. Amongst those present were Lieut-Col E H Leaf, R.E, Commandant Army School of Signalling ; Lieut-Col W F Danter, R.E, Camp Commandant, and Capt O P Edgcumbe, D.C.L.I, Adjutant. The floral tokens were so numerous that it was found necessary to have a party from the Motor Cyclists’ Co. to carry the wreaths which could not be accommodated on the gun carriage. The three brothers of deceased, who was 33 years or age, are still on active service.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Dr H J Beddow has left the town to take up a commission in the R.A.M.C.

Mr W J W Gilbert, Blandford House, has gained a commission in the Army Service Corps (Horse Transport). He joined the Royal Gloucester Hussars (Yeomanry) in May, 1916 as a trooper.

The Rev G A Studdert-Kennedy, C.F (formerly of Rugby), vicar of St Paul’s, Worcester, has just gained the Military Cross for bravery on the Western front. Whilst in charge of a temporary dressing station, he found the supply of morphia was exhausted, and went under heavy shell-fire to procure more. He also brought two severely wounded men into a place of safety. He was chosen to preach the National Mission to the troops in France, and gave addresses in all the base camps and at the front.—“ Church Times.”

The Military Medal and bar has been awarded to Pte J Enticott, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, for acts of gallantry on the field in carrying out his duties as a stretcher bearer in December, 1916, and May, 1917. At the time of enlistment Pte Enticott worked at the B.T.H, and previously for some years on the L & N-W Railway.

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.

A tale that is going the round and causing some amusement among our boys is that of a Tommy on one of our Eastern fronts, having his photograph taken in the regulation shorts and thin vest, a copy of which he sent home. His mother, in thanking him for his photo, remarked : “ But, dear me, you should have let me know before that you were so short of clothes, and I would have sent you some on !”

WOUNDED SOLDIERS ENTERTAINED.—On Wednesday afternoon Mr B Morris, of the Empire, entertained about 250 wounded soldiers, together with their nurses and assistants, from Rugby Town V.A.D, “ Te Hira,” Bilton Hall, St John’s, and Pailton Red Cross Hospitals, to a garden party at the Manor House, Bilton. An excellent programme was given by the artistes appearing at the Empire this week : Black and White, The Pallangers, The Deldees, Wolfland (comedian), Miss Danby (soloist), “ One of the Boys ” (ventriloquial sketch), and Rolando Martin. A sketch was also performed by Misses Morson, A Pratt, Walrond, and F Shillitoe. A substantial tea was provided for the visitors, and at the conclusion Mr and Mrs Morris and their family were cordially thanked by the guests, who evidently appreciated and enjoyed the entertainment.

BLIND SOLDIERS AND SAILORS.—A meeting of the workpeople was recently held at Willans & Robinson’s Rugby, which was addressed by Mr F R Davenport and Mr Macaulay (a blind representative) on the objects of the Institute for the Blind, and particularly on the training of blinded soldiers and sailors at St Dunstans Hostel. The appeal was sympathetically received, and a committee of the workpeople was at once formed to put in operation a scheme to enable all employees of the company to contribute weekly, for a period of 12 weeks, to this most deserving object.

MARTON.

PTE L J YOUNG.-In connection with the death in action, on July 3rd, reported in our last issue, a letter has been received by his mother, Mrs J Young, of Church Street, from the Commanding Officer, stating that her son was wounded in the front line trenches by a shell on July 3rd.

LONG ITCHINGTON.

NEWS OF MISSING HUSBAND WANTED.—For many months Mrs Richard Fell has been anxiously awaiting news of her husband, and after fruitless enquiries from the authorities and other likely sources, she asks us to make known the following facts, in the hope that she may obtain tidings through returned soldiers or comrades who have known him. He had served 12 years in the Royal Warwicks on the outbreak of the war, and joined up in November, 1914. In November, 1915 he was transferred to the Rifle Brigade, and proceeded with his regiment to India. Here he was on duty in the Punjaub, and corresponded regularly with his wife. His last letter was posted in Bombay, and received on December 21st, 1916. He then believed he was about to sail for Salonica or Mesopotamia, but no further tidings of his whereabouts have come to hand. His wife also has three little children dependent upon her, and is, naturally, in great anxiety.

BRAUNSTON.

KILLED IN ACTION.—Mr & Mrs Arthur Clarke have received news that their son, Driver Thomas Clarke, Royal Garrison Artillery, was killed in France on July 11th. He enlisted shortly after the outbreak of war, previous to which he was employed at the B.T.H, Rugby.

THE ROLL OF HONOUR.—A gloom was cast over the village when it became known that Mr Arthur Clarke had received official news that his other son, Pte Lucas Clarke, had been killed in action on July 8th. They have received letters of sympathy from two of their sons’ officers, in which it is stated that he was a splendid man, and is missed by all ranks in his Company. He was killed instantaneously by a shell which burst in the dug-out where he was sleeping.

DEATHS.

COPE.—In loving memory of Gunner PERCY LESLIE COPE,
who was killed in action in France on June 21st, 1917, aged 22.
Not dead but sleepeth.
Somewhere 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 he gave his all,
—From his Wife and Son, 62 Lawford Road, New Bilton, Rugby.

IN MEMORIAM.

ALLSO.—In ever-loving memory of our dear son and brother, Lance-Corpl PERCY ALLSO, who was killed in action in France on July 27, 1916 ; aged 23.—
“ Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”—From his
loving FATHER MOTHER, and FAMILY.

DUNKLEY.—In loving memory of our dearly-beloved son, Pte. HARRY DUNKLEY, who was killed on July 30th, 1916, somewhere in France.—Also in loving memory of our dear beloved son, Pte. PERCY JOHN DUNKLEY, who was killed somewhere in France on July 25th, 1916.—15 Chester Street, Rugby.

HOWARD.—In ever loving memory of our dear son and brother, Pte. STEVEN HOWARD, who died of wounds in France, August 1st, 1916, age 28.
“ A little time has passed, and friends around us
Think the wound is almost healed ;
But they little know the sorrow
Deep within our hearts concealed.”
—Never forgotten by his loving MOTHER and FATHER, BROTHERS and SISTERS, and also from A. CROFT, Long Lawford.

PRESTON.—In loving memory of Rifleman JACK PRESTON, 7th K.R.R,,who was killed in action on July 30, 1915.—“ Loved and lost awhile.”—From MOTHER, FATHER, and SISTERS.

REFEARN.—In loving memory of Rifleman JOSE (Tim) REDFEARN, 7th K.R.R., who died from wounds on July 21, 1915. Buried in Lyssenthock Cemetery.
“ He sleeps not In his native land,
Bur ‘neath a foreign sky,
And far from those who loved him best,
In a soldier’s grave he lies.”
—From WIFE and DAUGHTERS.

SHAW.—In loving memory of Pte. J. C. SHAW (JACK), R.W.R., who was killed in action on August 1, 1916.
“ The midnight stars are gleaming
On a grave I cannot see,
Where sleeping without dreaming
lies one most dear to me.”
—From his loving WIFE and CHILDREN.

SIMS.—In loving remembrance of HARRY SIMS, the dearly beloved elder son of LOUIE SIMS JENKINS, who was killed in action in France, July 30th, 1915, aged 19.
Sweet be thy rest, thy memory dear,
‘Tis sweet to breathe thy name ;
In life I loved thee very dear,
In death I do the same.
—From his still sorrowing Mother.

SIMS.—In ever sweetest remembrance of our dear brother HARRY SIMS, killed in action, July 30th, 1915.
Gone from our sight, but to memory ever dear.
—From his Brothers Bert, George, and Trevor ; Sisters Daisy and Mabel.

SMITH.—In loving memory of HERBERT, the dearly-loved son of FREDERICK and the late SARAH J. SMITH ; killed in action July 30th, 1915.
“ We miss and mourn thee in silence unseen,
And dwell on the memories of days that have been.”
—From FATHER, BROTHERS and SISTERS.

THOMPSON.—In loving memory, of my dear husband, Pte. ALFRED HENRY THOMPSON, who died of wounds in France on July 17th, aged 34.—“ Sleep on, dear one, till we meet again.”—From his loving WIFE and CHILDREN.

WAREING.—On July 23rd, 1916, STANLEY, the only son, of JAMES WAREING, of Lilbourne Farm, reported missing—now reported killed. Aged 18.
I 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.
-Mother, Father, and Sisters.

 

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19th May 1917. A Rugby Lady Honoured

A RUGBY LADY HONOURED.

For good work at Caterham and other places, the Royal Red Cross has been bestowed by the King upon Miss E C Ellis, who for several years before the War commenced had been living in Horton Crescent, Rugby. Miss Ellis went up for investiture last week, and was received by the King and Queen at Buckingham Palace, and subsequently by Queen Alexandra at Marlborough House.

OLD ST MATTHEW BOY HONOURED.—P.C Herbert Archer, of the Metropolitan Police Force, son of Mr T Archer, of 41 York Street, has recently received the King’s Medal in recognition of bravery he displayed in March last year, when he rescued a boy from drowning in a caisson chamber at Rosyth Dockyard. The depth of the water was 40ft, and the constable showed conspicuous heroism in effecting the rescue. It was dark at the time, and he incurred great personal risk in entering the water. He has been presented already with the Royal Humane Society’s Medal and honoured by the Carnegie Hero Fund Trustees. The King’s Police Medal is usually handed to the recipient by his Majesty in person ; but owing to the War the presentation ceremony took place at the Dockyard, and the medal was handed to P.C Archer by the Rear Admiral Superintendent, who pointed out that this medal was not easily gained, but was only bestowed in cases of exceptional gallantry. P.C Archer, who was an old St Matthew’s boy and played in the first team from that school to win the Rugby School Shield in 1904-5, suitably replied.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

The name of Sec.Lt. M H House (Rifle Brigade) is amongst the latest published list of officer casualties. At Rugby School he was in Mr G F Bradby’s house and was a prominent member of the 1916 Cricket XI.

Capt and Adjt R M Gotch, Sherwood Foresters, wounded and missing on July 1, 1916, now believed killed, gained his football cap at Rugby School, and during the 1913-14 season played forward for the Harlequin.

Sergt P G Miles, of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, for several years a constable in the County Police Force, has been wounded in France. Miles was formerly in the Rugby and Stratford-on-Avon Division.

Capt Percy H Hollick, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, is the fifth Coventry solicitor who has died at the front. A son of the late Mr Alfred Hollick, an Allesley farmer, the young officer was articled to his profession in Coventry, and early in the War joined the Honourable Artillery Co., and subsequently obtained his commission. He was wounded more than once.

NEW BILTON MAN KILLED.
Mr J Young, 37 Pinfold Street, New Bilton, has received information that his only son, Pte W C Young, of the Worcester Regiment, was killed in action on April 24th. Pte Young, who was about 23 yearn of age, was employed at the B.T H Lamp Factory, and enlisted in March, 1916.

DEATH OF A FORMER B.T.H PUPIL IN FRANCE.
Members of the Rugby Men’s Adult School learnt with sincere regret on Sunday morning of the death of Mr Kenneth Smith, who until the War broke out was actively associated with the school, and was working as a student apprentice at the B.T.H Works. It was decided to ask Mr Herbert Edmundson, the school president, to send a communication to the bereaved relatives, indicating the sense of the loss sustained by the school, and expressing appreciation of the high character of the late Mr Smith.

SERGT-MAJOR CLEAVER DIES OF WOUNDS.
Company-Sergt-Major Cleaver, Royal Warwicks, was wounded in action on May 8th, and died the following day. He was a native of Stockton, and had served upwards of 21 years in the Army, during which period he saw much foreign service. He went all through the South African campaign, and gained the Queen’s Medal and six bars. He was also mentioned in despatches on September 4th, 1901. He had a medal for 19 years’ long service and good conduct. After a serious operation, he was appointed drill instructor to the 7th (T) Royal Warwickshire Regiment, and was two years at Coventry and five years with “ E ” Company at Rugby, residing at the Drill Hall Cottage. He was mobilised with the battalion on the outbreak of War ; and in June, 1915, was promoted warrant officer. Deceased who was 42 years of age, leaves a widow and five children, for whom much sympathy is felt.

Major Claude Seabroke, in a sympathetic letter to the widow, said the news came as a great blow to him, for he felt that he had lost one of his greatest and truest friends. It was difficult to realise all at once all that the regiment owed to her late husband ; but, without doubt, during all those years of devoted and loyal service he gave of this very best ungrudgingly. To all the members of “ E ” Company, whom he had trained and helped, he had left a memory of a splendid example of a zealous soldier, who had passed gloriously, as he would have wished. He was an example to them all of unflagging industry and of the highest integrity, and in all that he did ‘Honour was his guiding star.’

RUGBY & DISTRICT WAR PRISONERS’ DAY, Saturday, June 2nd.

There are sixty-seven men from Rugby and district who have fallen into the hands of the Enemy, and they are still calling for food.

For nearly two years the Rugby Committee have organised funds by means of which beyond any shadow of doubt many of these men have been saved from starvation.

To ensure they do not lack the food necessary to keep them in health and strength, further funds must be raised at once.

THE RUGBY PRISONERS OF WAR HELP COMMITTEE therefore appeal to you to assist their efforts by sending a Donation now to the Hon. Organising Secretary, Mr. J. REGINALD BARKER, 9 Regent Street, Rugby, who will gratefully acknowledge same.

RUGBY AND RUSSIA.

In connection with the recent Russian Flag Day, held in Rugby, the hon organiser, Mr J Reginald Barker, has received the following letter, dated May 11th :-

“ DEAR SIR,—May I, on behalf of the Executive Committee of the Russian Flag Day, express our deep gratitude for your invaluable aid to our Red Cross work ? We feel we owe a deep debt to everyone who has assisted us, to the local authorities for their patronage, to the organisers for their brilliant ability, to the sellers for their generous self-sacrifice, and to the residents for their warm-hearted support. I can assure you that we shall not forget, nor will Russia, what has been done, and in time to some we hope that your efforts will remain a pleasant and gratifying memory to yourselves, so it will be a sources of permanent indebtedness on our part.—Yours faithfully, CHARLES WATNEY, Hon Secretary, the Russian Flag Day.”

THE FOOD PROBLEM IN RUGBY.

There can no longer be any doubt that the food position in this country is serious. If scarcity, amounting to real want, is to be avoided, every class must practice the strictest economy in the consumption of all bread-stuffs. The German submarine campaign, coupled with a short wheat harvest last season throughout the world, has brought our surplus stocks of corn to danger point.

It should be clearly understood that the officials of the Food Ministry are watching carefully from day to day the danger-line below which the stocks of cereals in this country cannot be allowed to fall ; and although preparations are in progress to establish rationing machinery when the point of danger has been reached, it is hoped that the success of the voluntary campaign may avert the necessity for compulsion. The issue really rests with the people.

RUGBY URBAN DISTRICT COUNCIL.

WAR CHARITIES ACT.
The Rugby Waste Paper Committee was registered under the above Act.—The Chairman said it would be very interesting to Council to learn that Mr Barker had already collected something like 3 tons of waste paper.—Mr Evers congratulated the General Purposes on the arrangements made.—The Chairman : No thanks are due to the committee. The arrangements were made by Mr Barker and Mrs Blagden.—Mr Yates : Then congratulations are due to the committee for not stopping these people in any way (laughter).

THANKS FROM THE V.T.C.
A letter was read from Captain Fuller, thanking the Council for their kindly recognition of the V.T.C and the promise of financial support voted at the last meet of the Council. He assured them that their help and expression of goodwill would be of great assistance to them. The A and B men of the Battalion had been selected with similar men from one of the other battalions in the regiment to into the front line in the event of any invasion emergency arising, and they looked upon this as a compliment, and hoped it would be the means of more men joining the Corps, whose past excuse had been that them was no use for the force. He hoped the Local Government Board would raise no difficulty to the amount voted being handed over for purpose of Rugby Corps, and he added that he had noticed lately that where similar grant was made by a council the money was refunded by the Territorial Force Association to the Corps in consequence of the intention of the gift being expressed to be for the benefit solely of particular a corps. With reference to the last paragraph, the Council agreed with the Chairman that it was their wish that the grant should be applied solely for the use of the Rugby Corps.—Mr Wise said he was sorry that so few members of the general public were present at the inspection on Sunday. Anyone who was there must have been struck by the smart appearance the Corps made and the wonderfully efficient way in which they did their drill.

IN MEMORIAM.

PORTER.-In loving memory of our dear son and brother, GEORGE RUPERT PORTER ; aged 21 years. Killed in action at St. Elia on May 8, 1915.

ROBINSON.-In ever-loving memory of FRED, who gave his life for his country on May 11, 1915.-“ Lost but never forgotten.”-BEATIE.

YOUNG.-In loving memory of PTE WILLIAM COTTERILL YOUNG, who was killed in action with the Forces in Salonika, on April 25th, 1917, the 25th year of his age. Deeply mourned.
Somewhere there is a nameless grave
Where sleeps our loved one among the brave.
One of the and file, he heard the call,
And for the land he loved he gave his all.
—From his FATHER and MOTHER and SISTERS, 37 Pinfold Street, New Bilton. Rugby.

 

 

Young, William Cotterill. Died 25th Apr 1917

William Cotterill Young was born in New Bilton, Rugby and baptised at New Bilton Church on 16 Oct 1892. His parents were John and Elizabeth Louisa (nee Cotterill). Both were from Whitnash in Leamington, where they were married on 6th April 1885. John was a platelayer. Their first child, Martha Ellen was born in Long Lawford two years later. A further two daughters were born after the family moved to Pinfold Street, New Bilton. William, named after his maternal grandfather was their final child and only son. By 1911 John was working as a labourer at the cement works, William was aged 18 and a painter.

By the time he enlisted, in March 1916, he was working at the B.T.H Lamp Factory. He joined the 11th Bn, Worcestershire Regiment as a Private (no. 34050).

The 11th Battalion had been in Macedonia since December 1915 and much of the time was spent training in the hills of Salonika. For most of September they were in reserve, returning to the front line on Oct 8th. There were several raids against the enemy resulting in the capture of some Bulgarian trenches. After a week they were in reserve, returning to the front line from 8th-15th November. Bad weather closed down hostilities for the winter and the battalion spent a cheerless Christmas in the trenches and shelters near the Selimli Dere.

“The severity of the Balkan winter kept both sides immobile during the months of January and February. During those months the 11th Worcestershire alternated between the forward trenches near Horseshoe Hill and the reserve trenches near Chuguntsi. There was very little to choose between the two sets of trenches as regards discomfort and but little to choose between them as regards danger. Shell fire was only spasmodic, and patrolling brought little loss.” 

In April “..a general Allied offensive astride the River Vardar was planned. Pending the battle, the normal routine of the Division was continued. On April 8th the 11th Worcestershire relieved the 9th Gloucestershire in the front-line trenches and held them till April 13th. As if sensing the coming attack, the enemy’s artillery was now more active, fortunately without serious results (Casualties from 9th to 13th April, 1 man killed). After relief on April 13th the Worcestershire marched back to camp at Pivoines. There six days were spent in strenuous training. Then on April 21st the Battalion moved forward to the line, and was accommodated in shelters prepared in the Senelle and Elbow Ravines, close behind the front trenches. Already the British artillery had begun (April 21st) a systematic bombardment of the enemy’s wire and trenches.

During those days before the battle, “…much good work was done by the Battalion Intelligence Officer, 2/Lt.T. Featherstone; who carried out a daring reconnaissance of the enemy’s position, going out alone by night and remaining all the next day under cover close to the enemy’s line, thereby gaining most valuable information. He was awarded the M.C. for his actions.

On April 23rd came word that the attack would take place on the next night.

The plan of the attack, so far as the 26th Division was concerned, was a direct frontal attack across the Jumeaux Ravine. Further to the left the 22nd Division would advance from” Horseshoe Hill” along the ‘P” Ridge (so called because various tactical points along it had been designated” P.3,” “P.4,” “ P.5,” etc.), of which that height is the southern end.

From Lake Doiran to the Petit Couronné the attack of the 26th Division would be made by three battalions of the 79th Brigade; from the Petit Couronné to the junction with the 22nd Division two battalions of the 78th Brigade would make the attack, these being, from right to lift, the 7th Royal Berkshire and the 11th Worcestershire.

The objective of the 11th Worcestershire was a spur named on the maps “O 6.” On that spur the enemy were strongly entrenched. To reach those trenches the attacking companies would have to rush down the steep slope to the bottom of the ravine and then scale the equally steep slope on the other side. It was not expected that success would easily be won; for the Bulgarian infantry had proved themselves to be good fighters. As to the strength of the enemy’s artillery there was but little information.

The attack was timed for 9.45 p.m. The British heavy artillery, which had kept up a steady fire during the previous three days, continued firing without intermission through the twilight and throughout the first hours of darkness. The boom of the guns and the crash of the bursting shells echoed and re-echoed among the deep ravines.”

After confused and bloody fighting the Worcestershire men took most of the enemy’s front line along the ridge. While attempting to consolidate the captured trench, the enemy counter-attacked but were driven back. A communication trench was taken and the retaken by the enemy. Battle continued under a continual barrage of bombs.

“The defence of the captured trench had been maintained for four hours, under constant fire and against repeated counter-attacks. More than half of the Worcestershire had fallen. Ammunition was almost exhausted. A message was sent for assistance. In response to that call a company of the 7th Oxford & Bucks L.I. were sent forward. Dashing through the barrage, some forty brave men of that regiment reached the position of the Worcestershire and bore a share in the last desperate struggle on the ridge”.

“About 3.0 a.m. came yet another attack. Three successive waves of the enemy came surging over the crest of the spur. In front the attack was stopped dead by the British musketry; but from both flanks the enemy’s bombers came pushing inwards, and no bombs remained with which they could be opposed. Gradually the length of trench held by the Worcestershire grew shorter, as from both flanks the enemy bombers pressed in. Unless help should come the end was only a question of time; but the remnant of the brave Battalion held on, until, about 4.0 a.m., there came a definite order to retire.”

“The order to retire was passed down the line, and, squad after squad, the remnant of the 11th Worcestershire fell back down the slope. Among the last to leave was Corporal A. Radcliffe who, on his own initiative, mounted a Lewis-gun on the parapet of the trench and covered the retreat of his comrades by bursts of rapid fire. Corpl. Radcliffe was awarded the M.M.

Those of the Worcestershire who still could move staggered back down the slope, turning and firing as they retreated. In the hollow below they found the remnant of two companies of the 9th Gloucestershire, who had advanced to their assistance but had been unable to pass the barrage. Still under fire, they hauled themselves up the further slope, through the scrub and rocks, back to their own lines, and reached at last the comparative safety of the British trenches just as dawn began to light up the scene.

The cause of the repulse was undoubtedly the terrific strength of the enemy’s artillery; greater by far than that of our own guns (Vide Divisional Diary—” A marked feature of these operations was the preponderance of the enemy’s heavy artillery over ours, which enabled him to place such a barrage on the Jumeaux Ravine as to upset our plans.”). The result was a mournful tale of casualties in all the attacking battalions. Out of a battle-strength of perhaps 500, the 11th Worcestershire had lost over 350 of all ranks. The losses of the other attacking battalions of the 26th Division were in much the same proportion.”

On 26th April, what remained of the 11th Bn, Worcestershire Regt marched back into reserve. They took part in another unsuccessful attack on 8th May and on the 7th June they were relieved and left the area. The heat of the Macedonian summer caused military activity to die down. The Battle of Doiran was over.

(More about the Worcestershire Regiment’s part in this battle, together with a map, can be found at the excellent Regimental website from which this account has been taken)

Private William Cotterill Young died on 25th April 1917 and is listed on the Doiran Memorial which stands roughly in the centre of the line occupied for two years by the Allies in Macedonia, but close to the western end, which was held by Commonwealth forces. It marks the scene of the fierce fighting of 1917-1918, which caused the majority of the Commonwealth battle casualties.

He is also listed on the Croop Hill and B.T.H. Memorials.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

NOTE.
Research for this article was conducted by Graham Gare who died in October 2015. Graham was a member of RGHG for many years, and as our “Military Expert” he took a large part in researching and writing articles for this site.

31st Mar 1917. Local War Notes

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Mr F W Young, Hillmorton Road, Rugby, who joined the Army Veterinary Corps six months ago, had been given a commission, and has been posted to a second-lieutenancy in a Regimental (Devon) Labour Unit.

L-Corpl E G Hastings, of the Mechanical Transport Section, who died of pneumonia in France on March 4th, was a brother of Mr H C Hastings, Chief Rheostat Engineer at the B.T.H, and was himself employed in the A.C Engineers Dept. A native of London and educated at Finsbury Technical College, L-Corpl Hastings was employed for about three years in the Test Dept, and for a similar period in the A.C Engineers. He joined the army in August, 1915.

This week’s casualties include the following :- Acting Lance-Sergt L V Locke (Rugby), and E J Hewitt (Rugby), Royal Warwickshire Regt.

Mr and Mrs Salibury, of Manor Road, Rugby, received news of their son Wilfrid’s death at sea last week-end. Wilfrid Salisbury was a wireless operator, and he was engaged on a trawler sweeping up a mine field when the vessel struck a mine. All the crew were lost. He was one of the most promising youths of the Baptist Church, and he was much liked by all who knew him.

MARRIAGES.

LEWIS-PACKWOOD.-On March 20th, at Market Drayton, GEOFFREY, 2nd Lieut., R.F.C., second son of Mr. and Mrs. Lewis, Merthyr Tydvil, to CICELEY EDITH, fifth daughter of Mr. and Mrs. C.J. Packwood, Rugby.

DEATHS.

CHEDGEY.-On March 2nd, PERCY JAMES CHEDGEY, Sergt., Queen Victoria’s Rifles (9th London Regiment), second son of Mr. and Mrs. W. Chedgey, of Bitteswell, Lutterworth. Killed in action in France. Aged 24.