Christmas 1914

The following was published in the Saturday January 9, 1915 edition of the Ashton Reporter:


Christmas Dinner 1914 Kasr-el-Nil Barracks

Above is a snapshot of the Ashton Territorials at their Christmas dinner in the Barracks, Abbassia, Cairo. The dinner took place in the Barracks Square. The photograph was taken by Lieutenant Forshaw, who kindly sends it to us to be published in the “Reporter”, with the permission of Lieut.-Colonel D. H. Wade, the commanding officer. Lieut. Forshaw assures us that the men of the Ashton Battalion in Cairo are quite contented and says he believes the Battalion “is the best fed and most healthy battalion in Egypt.”


The Mayoress of Ashton, Mrs. C. R. Wainwright, has received a letter from Lieut.-Colonel D. H. Wade, commanding officer of the 9th (Ashton) Battalion Manchester Regiment Territorials in Cairo, in acknowledgement of her kindness in instituting a fund for the provision of a Christmas treat for the Territorials. The letter is as follows: –

9th Batt. Manchester Regt.
Kasr-el-Nil Barracks, Cairo
27th December, 1914

To the Mayoress of Ashton-under-Lyne

Dear madam, – I am requested by the N.C.O.s and men of the 9th Battalion the Manchester Regiment to ask you to accept their most hearty thanks for your very great kindness in collecting and sending the Christmas fund, which enabled me to give the N.C.O.s and men a first rate Christmas dinner of beef, turkey, plum pudding, fruit, etc. on Christmas Day. The tables were laid in the Barracks Square, and I hope to send you by this mail or the next a photograph of the men taken when the dinner was almost finished, and another when they were giving three rousing cheers for the Colonel and the kind people of Ashton who contributed to the fund, and to whom all are extremely grateful.

It would have done you good to hear the men’s expressions of gratitude on every hand, and the resounding cheers which they gave for you and His Worship the Mayor at the close of their much enjoyed feast.

Please accept yourself, and convey to the donors, the sincere thanks of myself and the officers for the generous gift to the battalion I have the honour to command.

Yours Sincerely
D. H. Wade, Lieut.-Col.
Commanding 9th Batt. Manchester Regt.


A brief account of the doings of the Territorials during the Christmas festivities is contained in a letter received by Mr. William Adams, builder and property repairer, Smallshaw, from his son Bandsman William Adams, who is stationed with the battalion. He writes: –

“Many thanks for the Christmas presents. I am pleased to say we have had a pretty good Christmas taking it all through. On the Wednesday before Christmas we went on parade at one o’clock in the afternoon, and marched about 10 miles, followed by tea on the desert, after which we got down for the night. It gets very cold here at night. We have had several night marches until about midnight. Christmas Eve was like an ordinary night, but on Christmas morning about 6am our band formed no the Barrack Square, and played the Christmas Hymn, which was appreciated by all the men. We had dinner altogether on the Barracks Square, and a fine time it was, as we had turkey, roast beef, potatoes, sausages, Christmas puddings, fruit and minerals. So you see we had a fine spread after all. Our photographs were taken as we sat at the tables. The band played whilst the men were having their dinner. On Boxing Day sports were held for the troops in Cairo, so I played with the band there all day. Last Sunday I went into a large Mohammedan mosque, and it was fine. Whilst out on one of the night parades we saw a star which looked almost like an electric light. It was described as the “Star of Bethlehem”. It was the sight of a lifetime. We have seen many fine sights including the Pyramids and Sphinx and many of the great buildings and curiosities.”


Private William Collier of Wimpole Street, Ashton, who is one of the 9th Manchesters writes from Cairo: –

“We had a fine Christmas here. The dinner was grand. I am having the time of my life. There are some sports here today (Boxing Day) and “Ti” Cropper has entered for the 100 yards race. “Ti” Cropper is a corporal now. Talk about the army being “rotten”, I am not sorry that I joined the Territorials. We have been having a hard time with the training, but we finish with it next week and then it will be O.K.”