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WRISTLET WATCHES.

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WRISTLET WATCHES. Committee's Deficit of over £43. I THE QUESTION OF UNLICENSED PREMISES. I Another presentation of wristlet watches to local soldiers home on leave from the front took place ot the Black Lion Room on Wednesday evening. There were six soldiers on the list, but two of these had returned-Sapper A. G. Jones, R.E., and Pte. R. F. Thomas, R.W.F. The four recipients present were Corpl. J. White, R.E. L.-cpl. George Coles, R.E. Sapper C. Meale, R.E. and Pte. R. Lynch, R.F.A. The Mayor (Alderman Z. Wheatley) presided. No less than 123 watches have now been presented, and the public ought to know the position in which the committee find themselves as a result of the heavy responsibility they have shouldered in carrying on this excellent movement. The number o! watches presented is 123 and the subscriptions already received amount to £1 q 13s. id., which is a good result so far as it goes, but it nothing like enough to meet the liabilities already incurred, and there is at present a deficit of(n ()s. 1 id. The committee have not yet made half the presentations which they may be called upon to do, and it is therefore necessary that there should be a much more liberal response on the part of the general public. Abergavenny people, when they realise the position, will surely not see the committee hampered for lack of funds after all their labours to make a move- ment a success. This is really the only tangible recognition that local lighting men receive for their services, the men themselves do thoroughly appreciate it, for it gives them a good heart to return to their duties, and we feel sure that it is onlv necessary for the need to be made known in order to ensure ample financial support. It has been decided to hold the gatherings off licensed premises, in deference to the wishes of subscribers, prospective lor actual, and in future there will be no excuse but that of poverty for anyone not subscribing when approached. Some of the soldiers themselves have subscribed as much as ios., and while that shows an excellent spirit, we cannot forget that this is the town's tribute to the men who are fighting for them, and the fund ought to be kept going entirely by townspeople themselves. I Generous Offer of Col. crawsaay. I The Mayor, in making the presentations, welcomed the recipients back from the front and hoped that they would benefit from their period of relaxation. In reference to the controversy that' those meetings should be held off licensed premises, the committee had given the matter every consideration, but they had not at that moment decided what they would do. They had tried the experiment of the Town Hall, and they knew the results of that, and they had had an offer from another organisation to place a room at their disposal. The Town Council were prepared to place at their disposal the Corn Exchange free whenever they wanted it. (Hear, hear). He did not believe in coercing the committee. They had started the movement, and it was for them to carry out their own ideas in their own way, but he would be prepared to do anything he could for any committee or any organisation whilst he held the position he did in the town. He was pleased to see among the recipients an old colleague in the person of Joe White. It was many years since he had the pleasure of sending him away to fight in the South African War, and he did not think then that they would have another war that Joe would go to. He was pleased that he did his duty then, and that he had responded to the call of King and country again, though he must be getting near the age limit. He was glad to welcome him and also the other recipients, and he congratulated Councillor Meale on having a son who was doing his duty for King and country. The Mayor also said that on Tuesday morning Sergt. Brown (postman) returned home, and in the course of a few days he would have the pleasure of presenting him with the Military Medal. (Applause). He received a letter that morning from a gentleman whom they all probably knew. He was the son of the late Mr. Codrington Crawshay and had served with the R.W.F. He said that if any members of the R.W.F., and especially the 2nd Battalion, came to Abergavenny he would be very pleased to present every one with a wrist watch at his own expense. (Applause). He had been wounded and in hospital for some considerable time, and he said he had suffered all the agonies except death. The Mayor then presented the watches, amid applause. Inspires Them tn Serous Moments. I Corpl. White, in responding, said that was the second watch he had had presented to him by the inhabitants of Abergavenny during his short career. The first watch he valued very much, and he should value that one, too. When he looked at it he should think of the friends at home. It was not the value of the watch, but the principle that initiated that movement that he valued more than anything. He could assure them that out there they had some very serious moments, and when they thought of Aberga- venny and those they had left behind it seemed to lift them out of themselves and give them an inspiration to do everything that their King and country required them to do. When he looked at the watch he would think of everything the people at home were trying to do, not only for them, but for those they had left behind. When they thought of what was being done for their loved ones it gave them a greater heart and better will to do the work they had to do out yonder. (Applause). Corpl. Coles said that they ran into danger at various times, and when they looked at their watches they thought of those they had left behind and what they were doing for them. To them of the R.E. was not given the glory of the boys in the front line, but they were often butting into the thick of it.. They had to put up with shell fire day after day, and they faced it as bravely as they could. He should value the watch because it showed the goodwill which inspired the movement. In moments of stress and danger it would lift him up, and he would be back in Abergavenny for a few minutes. (ApplauseHI Corpl. Lynch said he was pleased to receive that little souvenir to take back to the front. He hoped to do his best, and he hoped that the next time he came home it would be for good. (Applause). Corpl. Meale returned thanks for the recog- nition of the boys who were doing their bit and for the kind way they treated them. Councillor Meale said that if it was not for the bovs doing their bit they would not be able to hold that meeting that night. He hoped it would not be long before they would see them all back again in their ordinary civil life. (Ap- plause). I The Committee's Difficulties. I d I Air. J. Powell, as one 01 tne secretaries 01 tnat fund, proposed a vote of thanks to the Mayor for coming there to present the watches. The Mayor was a hard-pressed man, and thanks were due to him to a great extent for the way in which that movement had been carried through. A fortnight ago the Mayor took the chair for them at the Town Hall. The affair was very helpful, and they realised 125 4s. id. (Hear, hear). The chief of the work was done by Mr. and Mrs. Evans, of Cross-street, and Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Stanley. They had been able to give a lot of watches away through the kindness of their many friends, otherwise it could not have been done. They had been behind hand in handing over the watches to the men, because, as Mr. Wheatley had explained, it was very difficult in war time to get them engraved. That night Mr. Wheatley had brought them 32 watches which would be delivered to the friends of the soldiers who were formally presented with them when they were there. They had to ask for the return of the watches after they were presented, but the recipients must not think that they were going to take the watches off them, but the time at their disposal was too short to get them en- graved by the time they were presented. There had been some controversy about moving those smokers from licensed premises, and they had been offered two places, the Y.M.C.A. and the Corn Exchange. They desired to meet the wishes of everybody in the town as far as they could. It meant a tremendous amount of money to find the watches, and a lot of work. They did not mind the work so long as they were able to fall in with the wishes of the subscribers, but it was a hard task. One wanted to be here, and another wanted to be somewhere else, but if the committee decided upon the Corn Exchange he believed that it would cover the greater part of the trouble. They were working men, and the advice they had had from the Mayor had been very helpful to them. To hold their meetings off licensed premises would cost more money, and he did not altogether see how it was going to be done at the present time. To arrange a concert every week in the Corn Exchange meant a lot of work, especi lly when one man had to do the lot. He had to do as much work as an agent in advance for a theatrical party, and he had to earn his living at the same time, and often get up at three o'clock in the morning to do it. If it was not for the sake of the boys he would not have anything to do with it. He tried to do his little best for the soldiers, because he had three sons himself who were soldiers. Every man in khaki was doing his best, and it was not his fault if he was not at the front, because he could not go unless he was sent. They must give the boys at the front a little extra, however, because of the trials and tribulations they had to go through. (Applause). Councillor Meale seconded the vote, and said he did not think they could have carried the movement through without the patronage and assistance of the Mayor. If the Mayor was always expected to perform the duties which Alderman Wheatley performed they would never have a Labour Mayor at Abergavenny, because he could not do the work. Ever since the start of the war the Mayor had had to work tremendously hard and meet all sorts of diffi- culties and deal with innumerable applications from all kinds of people. The Mayor, in response, said he hoped that during the coming year they would have the pleasure of holding a dinner in the Market Hall, as they did about 19 years ago when they wel- comed back the soldiers from the Boer War. ±

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