Men Coming Forward for Fresh Territorial Unit
HOME AND FOREIGN SERVICE
Saturday, October 3, 1914:
Over 150 recruits have been secured for the new battalion of the Ashton Territorials which is intended for home and foreign service. The new recruits are of a high class character and the officer commanding has expressed himself as highly satisfied with their physique and general bearing. Another 850 are still wanted to complete the strength. It is a big task for Ashton to reach that number, considering how heavily it has contributed to the Regular and Territorial force, but the men are coming in steady.
On Sunday, the men paraded and attended services at the Parish Church, Lieutenant Broadbent being in command. The Rector, (the Rev. F. R. C. Hutton), preached and the lesson was read by the Rev. T. F. Mayes.
The men are being drilled morning and afternoon, and route marches have been arranged. As the new recruits have marched through the town they have earned commendation from all passers-by. On Wednesday afternoon they were marched from the Armoury along Katherine Street to the Barracks, and round Hazelhurst and Hurst, back to the Armoury. In the evening they again paraded, and were taken round Charlestown, Stamford Street and Bentink Road. The men were in high spirits and sang lustily as they marched.
Practically the whole of the new battalion have volunteered for service abroad. As an example of the spirit they are displaying, four of them who had to be left behind when the first battalion departed, as they were not quite old enough to go, are learning the bugle and practicing assiduously in order that they might qualify as buglers, and so be permitted to go with the rest.
RECRUITS FOR NEW BATTALION
Over 300 Have Joined Ashton Territorials
VOLUNTEERS FOR SERVICE ABROAD
Saturday, October 10, 1914:
Recruits for the new Ashton Battalion of Territorials are coming forward at a splendid rate. Up to date over 300 have joined and recruits are being received at the rate of 25 a day which is as many as the staff at the Armoury, with their other important duties, are able to deal with. All the recruits are of an excellent character. During the week the men have been paraded every day and taken on a daily route march led by drums and bugles, their appearance attracting much public attention and favourable comment. They receive a guinea a week. Practically all the recruits have volunteered for foreign service.
The following are the names of the recruits who have joined – they are Ashton men except where otherwise stated:
|J R||Thornton||(Higher Openshaw)|
|G H||Walker||(Hurst Nook)|
AN ASHTON TERRITORIAL’S DEATH
Saturday, October 10, 1914:
We regret to announce the death, which took place on Friday last week at the 1st Western General Military Hospital, Fazakerley, Liverpool of Private Frederick Pennington of the 9th Battalion Manchester Regiment, fourth son of Mr. and Mrs. Thos. Pennington, of The Hollies, Newmarket Road, Waterloo, Ashton. It is only three months since he was married to Miss Violet Jones, of Dukinfield.
Private Pennington was a member of the F Company of the Ashton Territorials and was with the Battalion from the time of mobilisation until they left Bury for Egypt. He remained behind with the home service section who were transferred to Mossborough Camp, Rainford. Whilst there he was drafted to the transport section where his sterling qualities were favourably commented upon by his superiors, who frequently entrusted responsible duties to his supervision. He was of fine physique and gave promise of a useful career.
On Wednesday week, whilst walking out with several comrades, symptoms of a serious nature revealed themselves. He was unable to return to camp and the following morning was conveyed to the Military Hospital, where later in the day he was operated upon for appendicitis. The operation was skillfully performed but a relapse followed and he gradually sank.
The funeral took place on Monday at the Liverpool Crematorium, Anfield. The proceedings were of a semi-military character and extremely impressive. Lieutenant G. Makin sent an escort of Ashton Territorials from the camp to the Military Hospital. Four of their number carried the body down the pathway to the hearse, the coffin being covered with the Union Jack and beautiful floral tributes. A large crowd had assembled outside the gates in the hospital and paid reverent respect to the cortege as it slowly proceeded on its way to the crematorium. The last rites were performed in a very impressive manner, the officiating minister making appropriate reference to the soldiers and sailors who have responded to the nation’s call.
Sympathy from the King and Queen
Lord Kitchener has sent the following message to Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Pennington: –
“The King commands me to assure you of the true sympathy of His Majesty and the Queen in your sorrow.”
ANOTHER 130 RECRUITS IN ASHTON
Saturday, October 17, 1914:
During the week another 130 recruits have been added to the new Ashton Territorial Battalion, making a total of about 450. Recruits are being enrolled as fast as the staff at the Armoury can deal with them. Below we give the names of the recruits who have been accepted since we published the list last week.
The following have this week been accepted for the new Ashton Battalion of Territorials: –
Saturday, November 7, 1914:
The following are the names of the men who have joined the Ashton Territorials this week: –
|John M Knowles||Ashton|
|William Thomas Lomas||Ashton|
|William Edward Russell||Denton|
|George Bowker||Hurst Nook|
|Francis Peter Hawkins||Dukinfield|
|John Dennis O’Brien||Stalybridge|
|Charles Henry Wood||Ashton|
|John Taylor Sharp||Ashton|
TERRITORIALS IN SOUTHPORT
The New Ashton Battalion’s Departure
MEN TO BE BILLETED AT THE SEASIDE
The Battalion Almost at Full Strength
Saturday, November 14, 1914:
Ashton has now provided two battalions of Territorials. The first battalion is now in Cairo and the new battalion, numbering nearly 900, yesterday (Friday) left the town for Southport where they are to be billeted and undergo training to fit them, if necessary, for foreign service. Their departure was witnessed by great crowds of people who gave them a hearty send-off. The scene was one of joyous animation. Recruiting during the past few days has been very brisk and this second battalion will soon be at its establishment strength. The men will be billeted in King Street and neighbourhood, not far from the Hippodrome, in Southport. The spacious sands should form an ideal training ground and the ozone in the sea breezes will do much to improve the physique and harden the men for any eventuality.
THE NEW RECRUITS
The following have this week joined the new battalion of the Ashton Territorials:
|Edward W T||O’Sullivan||Waterloo|
|Joseph A||Wilson||Hurst Brook|
TERRITORIALS IN SOUTHPORT
Saturday, November 21, 1914:
The 9th Reserve Battalion Manchester Regiment, after their auspicious farewell last Friday, arrived in Southport in the afternoon, the two trains practically running together. The men formed up and marched to King Street, where they were billeted. From all accounts the men are very comfortable in their lodgings, although discipline has been strictly enforced. The men fall in for parade every morning at 6:45 and with intervals for meals they are kept busy all day, drilling on the sands and route marches being thoroughly undertaken. All the men have to be in by 9:30 and “lights out” at 10pm. The general opinion is that the Southport landladies are looking after the men well. Some of the old red uniforms, which were discarded for khaki, have been forwarded from Ashton to Southport pending the arrival of sufficient numbers of the new uniforms.
At the Ashton Armoury the recruiting still progresses steadily. The following have joined this week: –
|J More||Bee?||Newton Heath|
ASHTON TERRITORIALS AT SOUTHPORT
An Appeal by the Wife of the Commanding Officer
Saturday, December 19, 1914:
We have pleasure in publishing the following request by Mrs. Cunliffe, wife of Lieut.-Col. Cunliffe, commanding the 9th (Reserve) Battalion Manchester Regiment, at present stationed at Southport: –
As Christmas is fast approaching, with the usual damp and cold conditions, I wish to bring to the notice of your readers that it is at this [time?] that we should especially think of our soldiers who have volunteered for foreign service, and I ask all who are interested in the 9th (reserve) Battalion Manchester Regiment to do their mission to ensure that something in the way of a small gift shall be sent to each man at Southport.
May I suggest that socks, cuffs, mufflers, shirts and body belts would be especially useful. Parcels should be addressed to Officer Commanding 9th (Reserve) battalion Manchester Regiment, Southport.
Gifts to Ashton Territorial Reserve
Saturday, December 26, 1914:
Mrs. Frances M. Cunliffe, wife of the Commanding Officer of the Ashton Territorial Reserves [Lt.-Col. Thomas Hethorn Cunliffe], whose appeal was published last week, writes from Southport.
“To the unknown person or persons that sent three body belts I beg to thank you most sincerely for your generous gift to the 9th (Reserve) Battalion Manchester Regiment. It will add greatly to the comfort of our men and will be much appreciated by them.”
Life Saved at Southport
Saturday, January 9, 1915:
We have received the following communication from Colonel Cunliffe, the officer commanding the Ashton Territorial Reserve at Southport: –
“I have the honour to bring to your notice the fact that, during training on the shore this (Wednesday) morning, a boy was noticed to be sinking in a quicksand, the tide being within a short distance, and approaching rapidly. The men of “H” Company of my battalion immediately took action, but as they were themselves sinking, Mr. Naylor, the subaltern in command, ordered them to form a chain, and thus saved the boy from what the local fisherman say would have been certain death. Although this is only what any other men would have done, still I think the unhesitating manner in which they carried out the rescue is worthy of note.”
RECRUITING RECORD IN ASHTON
The New Double Company System
240 ENLIST IN JUST OVER A WEEK
Saturday, January 9, 1915:
Ashton has achieved something in the nature of a record recently in regard to rapid recruiting for the Territorials. The advent of the new double company system of training in platoons, instead of sections, constituted a re-arrangement of the 9th (Ashton) Reserve Battalion Manchester Regiment, stationed at Southport, as a result of which an order was received by Captain R. Lees, commanding the depot of the 9th Battalion at the Ashton Armoury, to obtain recruits for two companies, which meant an additional 240 men. On Wednesday evening recruiting ceased, the requisite number of men having been obtained in a little over a week. They will form one company, and until further orders are received, they will remain in training at Ashton. They are a fine body of men, and among the applicants very few were rejected on the grounds of physical fitness by the medical officer, Dr. Corns The standard of height is 5ft 3in and the recruits were 19 years of age and older. They were required to sign a declaration for service abroad.
Facilities have been provided for training the men at Ashton golf links at Hr. Hurst, and the Secondary School playing field near the Infirmary, whilst the Brushes shooting range will be available for firing practice. Captain [George] Makin and Lieuts. A. Conner and Wilkinson have been transferred from Southport to assist Captain Lees in the training of the men. On Sunday morning the new recruits will parade at the Armoury, and will attend divine service at Albion Congregational Church.
The Territorials at Southport
Saturday, February 27, 1915:
The Reserve Territorials of the east Lancashire Division at Southport have now been three times inspected by officers of high rank – Generals Bethune, Pole-Carew and Sir Henry MacKinnon have each in turn marked the progress of the division’s training.
All the infantry battalions at Southport are now organized in the new formation of double companies and platoons, which supersede the old formation in single companies. The new arrangement gives each subaltern a definite command and reduces the section to a size more easily manageable by a non-commissioned officer.
Within the last few days a rumour spread in Southport that the whole division had been detailed by the military authorities for Home Service only. This has now been dispelled by an official communication, which is heartily welcomed by all ranks.
Death of Ashton Territorial Officer
Saturday, May 29, 1915:
We regret to announce that Lieutenant-Colonel T. H. Cunliffe, commanding officer of the 2/9th Battalion, Manchester Regiment, Ashton Territorials, died suddenly at Haywards Heath, Sussex, on Tuesday. Colonel Cunliffe, who was a comparatively young man, was taken ill about seven o’ clock on Monday evening. Colonel Patterson, Major Heywood and Lieutenant Whitehead, RAMC, were called in, but despite every attention Colonel Cunliffe breathed his last at 12:40am. He only went to Haywards Heath last week, and had a house on Muster Green. On Sunday he attended the drum-head service on the Green and his fine bearing made a marked impression on the crowd. He was out riding on Monday afternoon, and later watched his men play football on Muster Green.
Apoplexy was the cause of death. He was an architect by profession and leaves a widow and two children. He was extremely popular with his brother officers, and with the men of all rank, for he possessed sound judgement, a genial disposition, and much tact. His death is a great loss to the Battalion.
Lieutenant Colonel Cunliffe was formerly in command of the 6th Manchester Battalion, but he had been on the retired list from 1911 until his appointment to the Ashton command. He resided at Whalley Range, Manchester. Since the outbreak of the war he had been acting inspector of hospitals for East Lancashire. Under his command the strength of the new reserve battalion at Ashton quickly grew to the requisite 1,000 men, his genial personality winning the esteem and respect of all ranks. All classes flocked to the colours in response to his appeal, and the battalion was described as the finest body of men ever recruited in Ashton.
During the time he was at Stretford Road he was highly popular with all ranks and he was recognized as a thoroughly efficient officer.
Though he went on the retired list some time ago, when war broke out he again decided to make sacrifice; and he was gazetted temporary Lieut.-Colonel on September 28, 1914 and given the command of the 2/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment whose headquarters are at Ashton.
Along with Lieutenant-Colonel D. H. Wade, in command of the 1st Battalion in Egypt, and Major F. Garside, in command of the depot at Ashton, Colonel Cunliffe played a commendable part in recruiting of close upon 1,000 “Terriers” from the Ashton district for active services.
Enjoyable camp Life in Sussex
Sylvan Beauties Produce Poets and Musicians
Saturday, July 24, 1915:
Never was a camp more happily situated than the 2/1 East Lancashire Brigade, which includes the 2/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment, Ashton Territorials, and battalions from Oldham, Blackburn and Burnley. It is at Pease Pottage, in the heart of Sussex, far away from a railway station, and no doubt was selected for its seclusion. Tents have been pitched on a large plateau, which is completely surrounded by a forest of trees, principally firs, giving protection to the men against boisterous winds. The encampment for a short distance runs parallel with the main London and Brighton road, and makes quite an arresting study in gaunt preparations for war set in the midst of picturesque and old-world scenes.
The arrival of the Lancashire lads a month ago in the peaceful hamlet caused some uneasiness among the villagers. They were possessed of some extraordinary ideas, but soon realized that there was no occasion to for alarm, and are now doing all they can to make their visitors feel at home.
A representative paid a visit to the encampment, and ascertained from Major C. C. Heywood, of the 9th, and Colonel Patterson, of Oldham, of the 10th, that the health of Canvas City is remarkably good. The sanitary arrangements are of an up-to-date character, and are regarded as a model for other camps. The 9th is principally composed of men from Ashton, Stalybridge, Dukinfield and Droylsden, who in private life are mechanics and textile workers, and the 10th have been recruited from Oldham. Notwithstanding the vicissitudes of the English weather and the open-air life, these Tommies have adapted themselves to their new surroundings in a patriotic manner, and give their officers little trouble.
As a non-commissioned officer put it to our representative, “there is no snobbery in the Pease Pottage Camp. We are all good pals, who share and share alike, and stand or fall together”. Football, with a little cricket as a diversion, sustains its hold, and tops the evening’s bill of entertainment.
The 9th Battalion do not boast of a football team. Sergeant Major Craig claims that the sylvan surroundings and the warble of the nightingale have produced poets and musicians. They are as plentiful as green peas, and the evenings are spent in a way “I never thought it was possible to settle down to”, added the sergeant-major. Company Sergeant-Major Fairbrother and Q.M.S. Travis share the honours at the piano. Sergeant-Major Craig gets a big line on the bill. Sergeant Dickenson, of Dukinfield, is the humorist with his “Tan-tell”, Sergeant Hickenbotham never tires of singing some of Sims Reeve’s songs, and Sergeant Thornley, who is attending a course of machine gun instruction at the present time, has never failed to give them something new when called upon to oblige. The 9th is also famous for its mules, and Sergeant Dean has got them into working order, and they are docility itself. Boxing is not overlooked, and Corporal Reeves and Privates Watson and J. Barton have been nominated to uphold the prestige of the battalion at the next Divisional Boxing Tournament.
Hidden away in the fir trees is the Y.M.C.A. marquee, and here the men of the whole brigade assemble when off duty to be entertained by London artists, who periodically visit the camp.