Saturday July 3, 1915:
The Ashton Territorials, who are now being trained at the Armoury are to be billeted at Southport. Major Garside, his staff, and the men will leave Ashton for Southport on Wednesday. The total number is about 650, but 820 men are required before the 3/9th is up to the strength at present required, so that another 170 men have yet to be recruited. Captain R. Lees, with two N.C.O.s and six men, will remain behind temporarily at the Armoury to enlist and equip recruits, who will then be sent to Southport in drafts. The whole of the men who are now at the Armoury have been fully equipped, and their training is well advanced. They look quite as capable as the men who went away with the first and second battalions, and are quite eager at the chance of a change of training quarters. The ozone of Southport will give their faces the requisite tanning, and the pure air bring them to that pitch of physical health which the Army demands, and which has surprised our adversaries as well as our Allies. On Monday, Acting-Adjutant Birchenall leaves for Southport with six N.C.O.s to get the Billets ready for the Territorials.
3rd Ashton Territorial Battalion goes to Southport
TERRITORIALS AT SOUTHPORT
The Departure from Ashton
Saturday, July 10, 1915:
There were scenes of great enthusiasm in Ashton on Wednesday morning when the 3/9th Manchester Regiment Territorials left the town for Southport. Despite the rain, large crowds of people had assembled in the vicinity of the Armoury, in Old Street, to get a glimpse and a last word of good-bye to the men. It was a very cheerful crowd, which talked and joked and laughed, and consisted for a great part of mothers, wives and sweethearts, who plainly showed they were proud of their sons, or husbands, or “boys”, who were willingly doing their “bit” for the country. As the men swung out of the Armoury into the street they were heartily greeted, and hands and handkerchiefs were waved, the men returning the greetings and good-byes with cheerful words and smiles.
There were in all 666 men on parade. Every man was fully equipped to the last detail. The battalion are not quite up to full strength, and another couple of hundred men are required. The requisite number it is anticipated will be soon forthcoming. As the recruits come in they will be sent on to Southport immediately to join the battalion and undergo their training by the sea-side.
The battalion presented a smart, well set-up, soldierly appearance, and looked absolutely fit. They have had a very smart training during the few weeks the battalion has been in course of formation, and were in the pink”. The average height of the battalion is 5ft 3in, and the men average 33 1/2in. round the chest. They have gone to an ideal spot to continue their training, and, while not far from home, will be by the seaside, in one of the loveliest towns of the country, in the height of the summer season. What more do they desire. It should add a great stimulus to recruiting for this favourite battalion. Letters already received speak of the delight with which the men have got to their new quarters.
The prospect of the change afforded great pleasure and satisfaction to the men. They were early astir on Wednesday, putting the finishing touches to their accoutrements, and came to the Armoury spick and span. They were drawn up in open order, inspection made by the officers of each man, and when all were ready Major Garside, the officer commanding the battalion, addressed a few words to the men.
Major Garside said that probably when they got to Southport they would be subject to some amount of criticism, but they should bear themselves like soldiers. He asked them to be careful about the manner in which they gave the salute. The salute was not given to the man, but was a recognition of the commission of the officer. The salute should be done in a smart, soldierly manner, and it would then do credit to those who had been trying to teach them to do the right thing. The men would be billeted close to the station, and each man would have a bed to himself, and not be overcrowded, as on former occasions. Lights would be at 10 o’ clock and every man would be expected in his billet at 9:45pm. If any man did not observe this rule he would be dealt with. If the men conducted themselves as they ought to do as soldiers, and as he believed they would, they would be a credit to themselves, to their officers, and to the town from which they came.
The word was then given, “slope arms”, “forward march”, and the men swung out of the Armoury, led by major Garside, and proceeded along Old Street and Warrington Street to Charlestown Station, between lines of cheering spectators, and departed by special train at 10-15. At the station there was an enormous crowd of people to give them a hearty send-off.
At the Armoury there were present Mr. Garside, Miss Garside, Master Roy Garside, Mrs. Scholes, Mrs. Robinson, Miss Robinson and Dr. Corns.
NAMES OF THE OFFICERS
ENTHUSIASTIC SEND-OFF FROM ASHTON
The officers are as follows: –
Major EDWARD GARSIDE (Commanding Officer)
Captains A. G. BIRCHENALL, G. MAKIN and THORNE
Lieutenants J. P. GROVES, N. WILKINSON, and R. H. JACKSON. Second-Lieutenants AINSWORTH and HAYWARD.
Captain R. LEES is the officer commanding the Administrative Centre (Ashton Armoury).
Popularity of the Ashton Battalions
There are still at least 200 recruits wanted for the 3/9th Battalion Ashton Territorials to complete the establishment. Recruits have been coming in at a steady pace up to this week, and it should not be long before the battalion is at full strength. Recruits who now join will be sent on immediately to Southport to undergo their training with the battalion. The Armoury in Old Street, Ashton, is an administrative centre, with Captain Ralph Lees in charge, and it will act as a sort of feeder for the battalion. Recruits could not join in more favourable circumstances than at present. The battalion is billeted at the seaside, on the Lancashire coast, in the best part of the summer season. The conditions are in fact ideal. The men will undergo their training amid the most lovely and healthful surroundings.
Ashton has done wonderfully well in supplying men for the forces at this time of national crisis, and it is a tribute to the great popularity of the Territorials that no less than three battalions are now in being, that is to say, nearly 3,000 men. Even more men have offered themselves than these figures indicate, as there has been a large percentage of rejections. The men of Ashton and district are eager to serve their country in helping to defeat the country’s enemies and crush the unspeakable Huns.
Many of the brave boys who were Territorials when war was undreamed of willingly offered themselves for war service when hostilities broke out, and have nobly sacrificed their lives on behalf of the loved ones at home. Their places need filling, the gaps in the ranks require to be closed. There are not wanting those who are ready to take their places. Some of the 2/9th Battalion, which was formed as soon as the first battalion had left for Egypt, and have been in training in Southport, and more recently in Sussex, have left this country for the front, fully trained, and anxious to strike a blow for the dear old country. Now the third battalion will soon be completed, and in the course of time will themselves be ready.
There is yet time to join this gallant body of citizen soldiers, the brave Territorials who have received such high praise from General Sir Ian Hamilton, the commander-in-chief of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, for their gallant conduct. Those who are desirous of “doing their bit” should apply at the Armoury, Old Street, at once.
3/9th Territorial Battalion Filling Up
Saturday, July 24, 1915:
Recruiting for the 3/9th Battalion, Manchester Regiment, Ashton Territorials, has been fairly good during the week. The men are no longer kept waiting for clothing and equipment, but are fully clothed and equipped immediately on joining. They are then sent off to Southport, where the 3/9th are in training under ideal conditions. More recruits are still wanted. Men are accepted who are between 19 and 40 years of age, and 5ft 2in. and upwards. There are now less than 200 required to complete the battalion. Recruits should apply at once to the Armoury, Old Street. Captain Ralph Lees is the officer in command of the administrative centre, and the office is open all day and at night, and on Sundays.
3/9 Ashton Battalion
Saturday, July 31, 1915:
Another batch of recruits for the 3/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment, Ashton Territorials, is to be sent to Southport to-day (Saturday) to join the battalion for training. Recruiting still keeps fairly steady, but there are still more men wanted to complete the battalion. Recruits may join at the Armoury at any time.
TERRITORIALS AT SOUTHPORT
Rapidly Becoming Fit
More Recruits Wanted
“When the war is nearly over,
When the war is nearly over,
When the war is nearly over,
We’ll be there!”
Saturday, August 28, 1915:
So sang a number of Territorials as they marched in the sunshine along the spacious promenade at Southport. Every man looked fit and healthy, and as they tramped along the hearts of the beholders were stirred with pride. The song, which was sung to the tune of “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder”, showed the eagerness of the men. “By gum but Southport’s a rare place” said a Territorial to a “Reporter” representative who met him in Lord Street, Southport. “It will take a lot to get me back to the spinning room again when the war’s over. The open-air life and training is doing me a world of good.”
“We have got a champion billet”, he continued; “Our landlady, or ‘Ma’ as we call her, feeds us like fighting cocks. Of course, all the chaps are not so well looked after as we are, but on the whole there is not much complaint.”
It is delightful to watch the thousands of Territorials stationed in Southport training on the spacious sands. Here and there can be seen groups of them, with their tanned throats bare, clad but in shirt, trousers and boots, going through Swedish drills like packs of schoolboys. Others are busy “flag-wagging”, or learning the intricacies of the Morse code. Others are having patiently explained to them the mysteries of a rifle, and being taught how to take aim correctly.
It is remarkable how soon a pale-faced youth from the town, who has just managed to pass the required standard, soon develops under the careful training at Southport into a ruddy well-set-up soldier. He walks with his head erect, and feels the exhilaration which accompanies perfect health.
Many a young man who has joined the Territorials will be thankful in after years for the training and physical development he received just at the right time in his youth.
There are still about a hundred more recruits wanted for the 3/9th Battalion. All men who enlist at the Armoury, Old Street, are immediately equipped and drafted off to join their comrades at Southport.
Saturday, September 25, 1915:
Lieutenant Arthur Connery, who has come home wounded from the Dardanelles, has rejoined the 3/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment at Southport.
Saturday, October 16, 1915:
Major E. Garside, officer commanding the 3/9th Battalion, Manchester Regiment, now at Southport, was in Ashton last week on leave.
3/9th Ashton Battalion
A DETATCHMENT RETURNS HOME ON SHORT LEAVE
Saturday, September 11, 1915:
A detachment of about 150 N.C.O.s and men of the 3/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment, Ashton Territorials, returned on Wednesday from Southport, where they have been in training, to Ashton on a short leave. The detachment was in command of Captain Thorne. The men had a hearty reception, and thoroughly enjoyed their stay.
They returned to Southport on Thursday night, departing from Charlestown station by the 7-9pm train. They marched from the Armoury to the station between lines of hundreds of spectators, and had an enthusiastic send-off from an enormous crowd which had gathered at the station.
It was stated that the detachment is shortly to leave Southport for foreign service.
Saturday, November 20, 1915:
It is pleasing also to record a distinct improvement in the recruiting of men for the famous 9th Manchester Regiment, the Ashton Territorials, whose men have gained military glory in Gallipoli. The number of men enrolled during the past week has been larger than for several weeks past, and the men are of a good and military? Type. Intending recruits should note that after the men are attested they are clothed and equipped within a few minutes.
The men are being drilled at the Armoury by Quartermaster Sergeant Burgess and are making good progress. Today, Saturday, a draft of about 70 men, consisting of recruits and Territorials who have returned from overseas, are being sent on to Southport to join the 3/9th Manchester Regiment.
On Monday, a number of men from the Manchester Regiment came over from Southport to Ashton on a short furlough prior to being sent abroad.
Saturday, November 27, 1915:
Lieutenant Colonel D. H. Wade, is at present at Southport on light duty attached to the 3/9th Manchester Regiment.
Saturday, December 11, 1915:
Captain G. H. Okell is now at Southport with the 3/9th Manchester Regiment, who are on the point of removing to huts at Codford, Salisbury Plain.
Lieutenant A. Connery, of the 3/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment, visited Ashton on Wednesday, prior to proceeding from Southport to Aldershot with the Battalion.