Lord North’s Basset Hounds

On Tuesday November 10th, a small field met the pack at Wroxton New Inn. Amongst them were the Misses Fitzgerald, North, Allfrey, Messrs Aplin, Dickinson and Pratt, Mr and Mrs Percy Page, Mr, Mrs and Miss Court &c. A hare was prettily found on Mr Court’s farm near the meet, and with a good scent the pack raced away with glorious music over the Shutford Road and down the hill swinging left-handed along the brookside pointing for Shutford. Here was a short check, but Giles soon recovered the line and they went smartly over the brook and up the hill pointing for the Shutford-Epwell Road. Then they ran two large circles towards the brook. During the last circle a fox crossed their line and hearing hounds near at hand the pack was stopped, and the Warwickshire swept by close to Alkerton village with another fox they had brought from Oxhill and had beaten off the horses and killed their fox very handsomely on Mr Andrew Fox’s farm a few fields on. The bassets then hunted their hare over the hill and over the Shutford Road almost to where they had found her. Here they checked again, and unfortunately getting onto the line of a fresh hare Lord North stopped them at Balscote. A capital hunt of just over three hours.

On Saturday November 14th the meet was at Shotteswell. The field that met them comprised the Misses Fitzgerald, Messrs Aplin, Dickinson, C. Gibbs, White, Spencer and Turvey. Lord North was unfortunately unable to be out, and so missed what was probably the best day’s sport his pack has yet shown. A hare was found at once on Mr Brain’s (late Mrs Corbitt’s) farm, and went merrily down the hill pointing for Angel’s Piece but turned left-handed down the vale, and passing Farnborough and under Bitham crossed the road and over Mr Bawcutt’s farm, leading the pack over Camp Lane and Mr Coggin’s Rectory Farm, crossed the Warwick-Banbury Road, and leaving Page’s Gorse on the left again sank the hill and repeated the circle, but passing nearer to Farnborough and Bitham, and Giles stopped the hounds in the dusk at Warmington. All the hounds were up at the finish and carried their sterns gracefully over their backs as they journeyed home after a three-and-a-half hours’ hunt. The scent was good and also the pace throughout.

Earl of Durham’s Rebuke to Footballers

The Earl of Durham, speaking at Sunderland on recruiting, regretted the time wasted on football, and said he much preferred that Sunderland players should be wearing khaki rather than football colours. He was almost hard-hearted enough to wish that the Germans would drop shells onto footballers on some Saturday afternoon. He thought that that would be the best method of waking up the young men of Sunderland. It was no idle threat to say we were in danger.

Private papers of Captain A G Osborn 1st Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment

Sutton Coalfield 23/11/1914


Seven weeks ago today we came here to commence our training in a spirit of confident anticipation determined to do great things. We were enthusiastic, light hearted, on the surface like boys off for a holiday. We.., we know now what we only dimly dreamed of then, that the work is hard and sometimes monotonous; but that grand spirit has not departed from among us-rather has it developed and expanded. We are boys still, ready for fun when work is over, bubbling over with joking and laughter, singing and shouting songs and greetings as we march and march and march. Work is never shirked; when grumbling occurs it is usually when some officer is slack, or because we are about waiting orders. Any really serious grind is tackled with grit: not the slightest difficulty is experienced in getting the men to put their backs in to the job.

Practically everyone now knows Squad Drill and Company Drill inside out, so we only occasionally have these, the major portion of the time being spent in Field Operations. We practice various forms of Attack and of Defence; we fight Advance Guard and rear Guard Actions; we are familiar with Outpost work and with the difficulties of finding the way through wooded country. We know how to use ground in attacking, how to take ‘cover’ – how, for example, to hide behind a cabbage or tuft of grass. We are learning to use our eyes and ears at night, finding out how to see without being seen, and, in general, becoming efficient soldiers, surely and steadily.

We now have a bugle band in the Battallion and this provides additional stimulation on our route marches. I say ‘additional’ stimulation because we previously had, and still have, one great stimulus to marching in the shape of marching songs. These are numerous and (to be polite) varied. The is a sad ditty about two grass-hoppers who sat upon two other grass-hoppers backs; there’s the charming refrain about:-

Mrs Porter

And her lovely daughter

Who washed her neck in soda-water

And so she ought-ter

Tipperary of course we have, and Fall in and Follow in. Also, The Soldiers of the King and We all Come Marching Home Again. Then there’s the swinging chorus about ‘Otto’

The girls call me Otto

What oh!

They know that my heart never closes

If you think you’d like a pot-oh

Put a penny in the slot-oh!

Use the motto of Otto

Of Roses

In addition to these songs some Sections have adopted different cries which they use on every possible occasion. One section, for example, has adopted the call: “Zara-a. Zar-a, fiddly on pom” Brainy isn’t it? But it keeps the step going anyhow. My section has adopted the sneeze as its very own! At a given signal each chap shouts several times one or other of words like “Rasher”, “Rusher”, “Risher”, “Roosher”, etc. This gives the effect of a terrific sneeze.

In talking about route marches (rout is the Army pronunciation) I may mention one or two little incidents which may interest. In passing one house we were several times greeted by a lady who stood on her doorstep and waved her handkerchief while the whole line of us passed. Soon we got to look out for her when we went that way, and now every time we pass we sing “Here we are, here we are, here we are again”, and all wave our handkerchiefs. It is quite a sight to see a forest of handkerchiefs waving at once. The lady now has a flag in one hand and her handkerchief in the other!

On our route marches we frequently meet members of the second battalion and greet them as2Jolly Old Seconds”, their invariable reply “Jolly Old Firsts”. These greetings are indicative of the excellent spirits prevailing between the rival Battalions. They will be heard yet on battlefields.

I personally enjoy the route marches very much and can do the whole distance of 10 miles without feeling even tired. The other night I di my firing on the miniature range after a 10 mile route march, and got on the target with every shot. I have now fired three ‘rounds’ of five shots each, have hit the target every time and scored out of a possible 25 points 18 the first time, 19 the second time and 20 the third time.

A slight change has recently been made in my Section, Jack Reeves being replaced by 798, Lance-Corporal Taylor. Jack Reeves has been put in charge of Section of PAltoon 13 though he is still a Lance-Corporal. Lance-Corporal Ward is in his section while Lance-Corporal Bacon has charge of Section 4 of the same platoon. So that we four friends are still together in the same platoon- THE PLATOON, No.13.


Private papers of Captain A G Osborn 1914

Recording his experiences as a private during the formation and initial training of the 14th (1st Birmingham) Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment.