This week we remember:
Second Lieutenant John Trevor Rees, Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
Chance’s (now Severn Hill); left in 1911.
Killed in Action on the Western Front 22nd January 1915, aged 21.
Buried in the Bois Grenier Comm Cemmetry, Dept. du Nord.
At the outbreak of war he joined the Artists’ Rifle Corps (28th County of London Territorial Battalion) as a private and went to France with them in October. Promoted on the Field, he received a Commission as 2nd Lieut. in the 1st battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and, during the sadly short time that he held it, succeeded in winning the esteem and affection of his men.
One of his men wrote of him: "In losing Mr Rees the Regiment has lost one of the most daring and bravest officers it has ever had. He knew no such thing as fear…. He made us all love him, by his daring bravery, cheerfulness and consideration for the sick and weak; and I myself have lost the best friend I have ever had in my six years of soldiering."
News of the war: 16th - 22nd January 1915
This week saw the first airship raid on England.
Proposals to bomb England from the air had first been made in August 1914, in the opening days of the war, but had been stalled by the Kaiser’s reluctance to authorise them. Rumours suggested that he was especially anxious that London should not be bombed in case any of his relatives in the British royal family were injured! Nonetheless, by the beginning of 1915 the Kaiser had clearly changed his mind: Zeppelin raids against English targets were launched on 19 and 20 January with the intention of hitting ports and industrial centres around Humberside. In fact, due to strong winds, the Zeppelins were blown off course and instead dropped their bombs on Great Yarmouth, Sheringham and King’s Lynn. Four were killed.
As with the shelling of Scarborough and Hartlepool the previous December, the raids were used as a propaganda opportunity by the British government to encourage more men to enlist into the armed forces.