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Bugbrooke and the Great War - Page 6 November 1915 - December1915

Page 1 - Overview, Info & Articles Page 2 - August, September 1914 Page 3- October 1914 - January 1915
Page 4- February 1915 - May 1915 Page 5 June 1915 - September 1915 Page 6   October15-January 1916
Page 7- February 1916 - May 1916 Page 8 June 1916 - Sept 2016 Page 9 October 16 - January 1917

Bugbrooke in the Great War. Events 100 Years Ago, October-November 1915

100 years ago, WW1 had been going on for around 15 months. There had been 511,000 British casualties and around one million Britons were serving on the western front in Belgium and France.  With so many men serving, more and more women were employed. Women were now allowed to apply for licences to be bus and tram conductors. They were also employed at places such as Scotland Yard for the first time.  Munitions production was high priority, and excessive drinking by the workers was affecting arms production.  A law forbidding drinkers from buying rounds was brought in to try and stop this excessive drinking. Women were of course employed in munitions production, and one survey found them to be twice as productive as men in factories. German airships had started raiding the east of England, one airship raid at this time, killing more than 200 civilians.

Away from the war, cricketer WG Grace died, probably England’s most famous Victorian sportsman, he made 126 first class centuries, made 55,000 runs and took 2876 wickets in his career.

Devastating as the war was, it was still hotting up in some parts.  In the crucible of the war, Serbia had aleady repulsed an attack from Austria, and now there was a renewed attack from Austria and Germany.  Bulgaria came into the war on their side and also attacked Serbia.  A relief force of British and French troops was put together and landed at Salonica in Greece to the south, and although having little impact on the battle for Serbia, held the area for the duration of the war.

Bugbrooke’s Edwin Bubb and Henry Bubb had enlisted together when the war broke out in August 1914. They served together with the 10th Prince of Wales Own Hussars. In November 1915, they were both transferred to the Gloucestershire Regiment forming part of the force sent to Salonica to support Serbia. They saw action at the Dorian and Vandar fronts. Edwin was sadly wounded and died there in 1916, whilst Henry served until 1919, before returning home.  Frank Eales, joined up in 1915, and served in the Railway Company of the Royal Engineers a platelayer. He was sent to Salonica at this time, and served there through to 1919. Frank was one of 11 children, 6 of whom had died before the census in 1911.  His twin brother Andrew, also served in the Railway Companies in Egypt and Palestine. Stephen Howard was in the same Railway Company as Frank Eales and was also sent to Salonica at this time.

Back in Bugbrooke, Headmaster Frank Wright was still enlisting men from the village.  In the school records, he seeks permission to have time off to attend the surgery on the 15th November 1915 for the attestation of 3 recruits. We can see that Joseph Marshall and Samuel Warwick , attested at this time, and these were 2 of the 3 recruits that Frank Wright enlisted. Samuel Warwick, eventually was to join the earlier list at Salonica, where from 1917 he saw out the war.

 

Ernest Barnes, one of 3 sons of Bugbrooke master baker Fred Barnes, had joined up on May 1915.  He had been a baker in civilian life, and on joining up was immediately allocated a role in baking with the Army Service Corps.  By November 100 years ago, he had completed his basic training and was posted to 33 Field Bakery in France, where he remained for the duration of the war. Frederick Edwin Barnes, younger brother of Ernest, enlisted in November 1915 and also was allotted to being a baker in the ASC. He served out the war in India and Mesopotamia – now Iraq.

 

Whilst some were leaving the village some were coming home.  Philip Campion, had spent around 7 weeks fighting in the ill fated Gallipolli campaign, and at the end of October succumbed to Dysentry. He was evacuated by hospital ship to Malta, and when recovered sufficiently to travel, he was returned to England on the Red Cross ship the Aquitania.  He eventually recovered in hospital on the Isle of Wight, and was able to enjoy 10 days leave in Bugbrooke over the Christmas of 1915.  It was to be 3 years before he was able to do so again.

 

Geoff Cooke for the 100 Years Project

 

Stephen Howard in 1910 aged 23. He was employed on the railway all his working life, including his time in the Great War when 100 years ago he was sen to Salonica with his railway company.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bugbrooke in the Great War – Events 100 Years Ago – December 1915 and January 1916

Previous issues of the Link (available on the website http://www.bugbrookelink.co.uk/ ) have shown the progress of the First World War and the effect on the lives of Bugbrooke folk. The following is the events of one hundred years ago in December 1915 and January 1916.

Up to this time the UK had relied on volunteers for the armed forces but the horrendous losses now forced the Government to bring in the Military Service Act on the 27th January 1916 with conscription for single men between 18 and 40. It was extended to married men later in 1916.

However there were quite a few Bugbrooke men signing up at this time. Included amongst them were Ernest William ROBINS and Arthur LESTER on December 8th; Samuel  GEORGE  and Ernest Robinson ALLEN on December 9th ; John William KENCH and Harry George LOVELL on December 11th. The Bugbrooke schoolmaster Frank Wright recorded in the School Log on December 10th “As secretary of the Recruiting (Enrolment) Committee, I was detained at the station all the afternoon…. The work of the present week is a great drain, and I am at work almost every night till midnight”. Also enlisting at the time were brothers Frank and Fred JOYCE, Arthur Burbidge CAMPION and Herbert Samuel ELLIOTT.

In Bugbrooke it was recorded in the school log on December 8th that “Little Jean De BAKKER, aged 9, who became a scholar here last Xmas, has left today. She has become quite an apt little scholar – Her parents (from Antwerp) have found work at Letchworth”. They were some of the Belgium refugees mentioned in earlier articles.

John Thomas HIigginbottom

John (known as Jack) HIGGINBOTTOM had joined up in September 1914, the same day as Charles TURLAND. They went together to the Barracks in Northampton having been inspired by Edgar MOBBS the Northampton and England Rugby player.

Jack proved himself to be a first class shot during training at Bisley and when he reached France in September 1915 he marched the 75 miles to Loos. He kept a diary for this time and recorded the conditions and the improvised lodgings and eating in the open in the rain. Significantly the diary stopped the day before the start of the Battle of Loos on September 25th 1915.

At Loos he was given the job of sniper which involved crawling under the railway line to his forward position and staying there on his own for several days at a time. He got separated from his Bugbrooke friends, Len BANNARD and Charlie TURLAND and it was at this time Len was wounded and Charlie was killed. Jack came close to death himself when he didn’t see a German creeping up to him. Fortunately for Jack there was a keen eyed Scotsman close by who was able to sort the situation.

Jack was two years as a sniper in the Somme area before being transferred to a less dangerous job. He finished the war with the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. On demobilisation Jack found local work almost immediately in the stores at the Army Ordnance Depot at Weedon and worked there until retiring in 1959 for which he received the Imperial Service Medal.

James Frederick Fleming

(James) Frederick FLEMING was born in Smethwick, Staffordshire in 1879. He served eight years as a Private soldier in the Royal Engineers, from 1899 to 1907, when he transferred to the Army Reserve for a further four years, finally released from any commitment on 28 May 1911.

James married Ethel Ann Rebecca GARDNER (born in Bugbrooke) on 26 December 1909, hence his connection with the village.  Although a married man with two young daughters (Nora, born 10 November 1910 and Marjorie, born 7 April 1913), he re-enlisted on 1 March 1915 and as Sapper 69380 was posted to 128 Field Company, RE, on 7 March.

He was very quickly promoted – to Lance Corporal on 17 April, to Second Corporal on 19 May and to Corporal on 25 June, and in that rank he embarked for France on 27 August. Sadly, in that same period, his young wife had died back in England, on 22 June, aged just 30.

Further tragedy was to follow, for at about 5.30pm on 31 December 1915 in France, during the rehearsal for an imminent ‘raid’, James was killed along with an officer and three sappers, when a large quantity of gun cotton they were handling accidentally exploded; four other sappers were injured. An army Board of Enquiry in January 1916 apportioned no blame, but was unable to decide on a specific cause of the explosion.

James qualified posthumously for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, which were sent to his mother-in-law, Esther Sophie GARDNER, at Rose Tree Cottage in Bugbrooke, along with a named Memorial Plaque and Scroll, all for his elder daughter in due course. James is commemorated in Erquinghem-Lys Churchyard extension in France.

School closed at noon on 23rd December and re-opened after Christmas on January 10th. There was shortage of coal which persisted throughout January. Long standing orders from the coal merchants had not been fulfilled. At the end of January there was heavy snowfall which would have made the coal situation more acute.

Dave Marshall for the 100 Years Project