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.
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.
[However, not everyone was happy with the results of the various recruiting drives …]
SCENES AROUND THE ARMOURY
Saturday, November 7, 1914:
The Rev. A. C. Sinclair, vicar of St. Stephen’s Audenshaw, in the Parish Magazine makes a strong appeal to the parishioners on behalf of sobriety amongst soldiers. He says: –
I do not write as a fantastical teetotaler. As most of you know, I am not even a pledged abstainer. I write merely from the standpoint of a Christian citizen, deploring the necessity which drives me to speak. There seems to be no possible room to doubt that we are face to face with a great increase of drunkenness, and of the other moral evils which follow in its train. One’s own observation and the testimony of many others who have had opportunities for forming an accurate judgement, combine to assure one of this. Soldiers on their way to join the forces get into the train – sometimes need to be lifted into them – in a state of intoxication, and among many of those who are left behind increased drinking is rife.
As regards other evils, continues the Vicar, I will only invite anyone who wishes to be convinced of the truth of these words to spend a little time outside the Armoury in Old-street, and watch the conduct and listen to the conversation of some of the recruits with the young women who hang around its doors.
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.
One of the Most Famous Regiments in the Army
RECORDS IN RECRUITING
Saturday, January 23, 1915:
The Manchester Regiment is one of the oldest and most famous in the Army. It has a famous fighting history, extending back 230 years. It has fought in almost every part of the globe. Upon its colours are registered battle honours which have been won in Egypt, Egmont-op-Zee, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Peninsula, Alma, Inkerman, Sevastopol, New Zealand, Afghanistan 1879-1880, Egypt 1882, South Africa 1899-1902, and the defence of Ladysmith.
The 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Manchesters are now fighting at the front. Casualties are heavy, and the men look to their native city and county to fill up the gaps which the heavy fighting causes. Any man in the Manchester zone who thinks of serving his King and country should enlist in the Manchester Regiment; he could not be serving under finer tradition, with finer soldiers. He could not be trained under better officers. Everything which can be done to make the raw recruit into an efficient soldier is carefully seen to at the Regiment’s headquarters at Ashton-under-Lyne.
It is of interest to note the following particulars of what such recruit secures on enlistment. There is no delay in providing a full khaki uniform; there is a free issue of underclothing – two suits, three shirts, three pairs of socks, boots, ties, soap, razor, shaving-brush, tooth-brush, hair-brush, and comb, hold-all, muffler, braces, watertight kit-bag, knife, fork, spoon, etc. Three blankets and sheets are issued CLEAN to each recruit. The barracks and huts all have fires, and tents are not being used until the weather becomes favourable. The men at Cleethorpes live in houses. The catering is carefully attended to, good food being provided. Breakfast comprises bread, butter, tea and meat; dinner meat and vegetables, and puddings; tea bread, butter, tea and jam or meat; supper soup, bread and cheese. As much as may be required is provided.
The formation of the Manchester Regiment is of considerable interest at the present, when such strenuous efforts are being made to raise a large number of men that are still required.
The 1st Battalion, now at the front, is commanded by Lieut.-Colonel E. P. Strickland, and was moved from India to France with the Indian contingent. The battalion was the old 63rd Foot, and traces back to 1683. The men comprising the 1st Battalion are made up of serving men doing their 12 years, and Reservists, or ex-soldiers from the 4th Battalion.
The 2nd Battalion is commanded by Lieut.-Colonel H. L. James, and was at the Curragh at the commencement of the war. It was one of the first Battalions to reach France. The 2nd was the old 96th Foot, formed from the Minorca Regiment in 1804, and on July 1st, 1881 it became the 2nd Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. It is made up of serving men doing their 12 years, and Reservists or ex-soldiers from the 3rd Battalion.
The 3rd and 4th Battalions are stationed on the Humber defences at the present time. The 3rd is commanded by Lieut.-Colonel H. K. Oram, and is used as a special reserve for the 2nd Battalion at the front.
The 4th Battalion, commanded by Lieut.-Colonel J. H. M. Jepp, D.S.O., is also on the Humber defences, and is used as a reserve of the 1st Battalion. It is on account of the heavy drafts which have had to be sent from the 3rd and 4th Battalions to the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Manchester Regiment, now at the front, that the special appeal is being made for further men this week.
From the 5th to the 10th Battalions are Territorials; from the 11th to the 14th are special battalions formed for the period of the war. The 16th to the 23rd are the well-known City Battalions, for which recruits are also still wanted. The 24th Battalion is that formed at Oldham.
Special efforts are being made to ensure the largest number of men possible during the next few days, and it is hoped that the Manchester Regiment will secure the first place in the choice of all recruits who are enlisting at the present time.
The Lord Mayor of Manchester has kindly given his consent to the men of the Manchester Town Hall for additional recruiting. This, in conjunction with the fact that it is for the famous Manchesters that the call is being made, should bring a large number of recruits to the regiment during the next few days.
Recruiting is now in progress and will continue until Monday, 1st February. The City Battalions are being simultaneously recruited at the Town Hall and recruits may join any of these battalions should they prefer to do so.
TERMS OF ENLISTMENT IN TERRITORIALS
New Army Order Regulations
Saturday, May 15, 1915:
An Army Order provides that during the remaining period of the present war, the age for enlistment or re-enlistment in the Territorial Force will be from 19 to 38 instead of from 17 to 33 years as hitherto except in cases of Inns of Court Officers’ Training Corps and the Artists’ Rifles. Ex-non-commissioned officers, Regulars and Territorials, not below the rank of sergeant, may be re-enlisted up to the age of 50, other ex-non-commissioned officers of the Territorial Force up to 45. Enlistments for general hospitals will be restricted to men between 17 and 19 and over 38; shoeing smiths, saddlers and telegraphists may be enlisted up to the age of 50.
National Reservists who are required for the special purpose of guarding railways and other vulnerable points will be enlisted into the Territorial Forces in companies supernumary to existing battalions in that force. As far as possible, the selected battalions will be those raised in the district in which these ex-Nationalist Reservists are to be employed. The companies will number 120 all ranks, and will be organised in groups, each group being under the command of an officer termed the Supervising Officer, or Area Commandant or Section Commandant Lines of Communication. Each company will have three officers not above the rank of major appointed to the Territorial Force Reserve. No ex-Officer under the age of 40 will be accepted unless medically unfit for more active duties, and in no case will officers over the age of sixty be taken for this service.
National Reservists, except men employed on Government work, will be enlisted for one year or for the duration of the war in the rank of private, promotions being made after final approval to the extent authorised. Enlistment will be for service in any place in the United Kingdom. No man under the age of 38 medically fit to perform the ordinary duties of a soldier will be enlisted in these companies, and no man over 50 will be accepted. A new service of Territorial Force numbers commencing at 20,001 will be authorized for National Reserve numbers.
TO THE SINGLE MEN
An Ashton Territorial’s Appeal
Saturday, June 19, 1915:
TO THE EDITOR OF THE “REPORTER”
Sir – I have seen some of the letters to the shirkers of Ashton, and I quite agree with them. I expect if someone was to ask some of the single young men the reason why they did not join they would have the cheek to say, “My mother won’t let me.” But his mother won’t stop him from doing the “week-end toff” on Stamford Street, will she? Poor boy! Why can’t his mammie give him a tittty bottle or buy him a dummy tit, and put a card on his back with the words, “Mama’s darling!”
There are plenty of us here at Haywards Heath bursting to go to the front, and we can’t get there yet. We have left good homes, good work, and left the ones we love most dearly – our wives and children and mothers, and yet, those who are walking the streets creep out of the house like a mouse out of its hole to go and meet his best girl. If the girl had any respect for herself, she would take him to the nearest recruiting office and put him in and stay there while he passed the doctor.
I think if the married men had been the same as some of the single ones the war would have been over by now, and they would have found it out to their cost. Men – if you call yourself men – put some pluck into yourself and go and do your duty; don’t have insults pushed down your necks; don’t be forced to go – come of your own free will. Ashton will be the same when you come back. Go and join, and let your mothers and sweethearts see that you have got some pluck left in you yet. Don’t let it be said when the war is over, if you should meet one of your pals, “Did you stay at home?” What can you say? Think of it. Come now, and be able to hold your head up.
2/9 Manchester Regiment
TO THE EDITOR OF THE “REPORTER”
Saturday, June 19, 1915:
Sir – In last Saturday’s “Reporter” I read of young men not enlisting. I myself, a private in the 2/9 Manchesters, stationed at Haywards Heath, think that the young ladies of Ashton ought to have more sense than to speak to men who are able to join. I myself joined last November. I was at Southport till May. In my opinion the biggest part of the single men would rather talk round a taproom fire with the pint-pot in their hand than join the Army. I think myself every able young man ought to join in a time like this. When you read about your own pal being killed, I think it time someone also tried to get their own back.
There are 150 of our lot going to Sandwick for a little more shooting, and then they will be off to the Dardanelles. We ourselves are going through hard work at the present, but I myself would rather be at the front than here. In this war we need men, and without them it is impossible to win. I hope that single men of Ashton will come forward.
RECRUITING OFFICER CHARGED
Alleged Embezzlement at Ashton
Saturday, July 3, 1915:
At the Ashton Borough Police Court on Monday, William Redfern, who was formerly a recruiting officer at the Old Boar’s Head Inn, St Michael’s Square, Ashton, was brought up on remand, charged with embezzlement.
Mr. H. Hyde (Deputy Town Clerk), who appeared to prosecute, applied for a remand. He said that although the charge was for embezzling a sum of 2s 9d, the investigations had disclosed amounts considerably larger than that. The investigations were therefore rather involved.
The magistrates remanded the accused for a week.
RECRUITING OFFICER SENTENCED
A Charge of Larceny at Ashton
Betrayed Public Trust
Saturday, July 17, 1915:
At the Ashton borough Police Court on Monday William Redfern, formerly recruiting officer in the district, was charged with the larceny of £25 17s 6d, £3 5s, £2 11s and 2s 9d, the monies of the King.
Mr. H. Hyde (Deputy Town Clerk), who appeared to prosecute, said the defendant was appointed recruiting officer at Ashton on August 13th, at an inclusive salary of £150 per annum. He had the entire control of the recruiting office at the Old Boar’s Head Inn, St. Michael’s Square, and he was responsible for the engagement and discharge of the clerical staff, and for the monies received and disbursed. Payments made by him were to be recorded in the usual Army cash book. Having kept a rough cash book the defendant came to the conclusion some time at the commencement of the year that it was in such a condition as to be apparently unfit for production to a superior officer for inspection. He had a fair copy of it made, and that copy had been taken possession of. It contained the various payments upon which these charges were based.
Owing to certain irregularities he was suspended on June 2nd. The first charge, which appeared to be the most serious, concerned the insertion in the cash book of the name of a fictitious person, described as P.P.R. – a paid pensioner recruiter. At the outset, a pensioner, Colour-Sergeant Harman, was engaged as paid pensioner recruiter at a weekly wage of 17s 6d. In November last he was recalled to the colours, and there became a vacancy in the office. A clerk in the office, named Thompson, continued as a specially paid recruiter. After a few days he was taken ill, and died. From that time onward apparently weekly payments of 17s 6d had been entered in respect of a P.P.R., but there had been no such person in existence, and nobody had received the money.
When the recruiting office was established at the Old Boar’s Head Inn the defendant requested Mr. J. Walsh of the George and Dragon Hotel, to supply the necessary furniture. Mr. Walsh thought the furniture was being impressed, and that the defendant had a right to commandeer it, and that no charge should be made. Just before Christmas the defendant told Mr. Walsh he thought he had a right to payment. An account for £3 6s was made and receipted by Mr. Walsh, but no payment was made, the explanation given by the defendant being that receipts had to be sent to the army authorities before the money could be obtained. The item was entered in the defendant’s cash book as having been paid. In March, April and May weekly payments of 5s to a cook or assistant cook were entered in the cash book. The investigations showed that there was no such person in existence. Two receipts, each for £1, were signed by a Mrs. E. White, purporting to be payments made to her for cleaning or cooking. The person named had never been in the employment of the recruiting officer, and she had never received the amounts stated. An account for £3 2s 9d was received by the defendant from the Northern Hardware Company for goods supplied. Discount 2s 9d was allowed to the defendant, who entered the full amount in the cash book as having been paid.
In conclusion, Mr. Hyde said: “It will be an evil day for all of us if people who are placed in positions of trust like this betray that trust. The seriousness of this offence lies not so much in the amount misappropriated, but in the betrayal of the trust placed in him at a time of national emergency when we are compelled to trust those people who are placed in such positions.”
Frank Wilson Tetlow, retired hotel manager, 203 Park Road, Oldham, deposed to being engaged by the defendant in August last to act as clerk at the recruiting office. He bore out Mr. Hyde’s statement in regard to the death of recruiting officer Thompson, and said that no other specially paid recruiting officer had since been engaged.
The Defendant: Do you remember being appointed specially paid recruiter?
Defendant: You were appointed by Major Digby!
Witness: I never was.
Defendant: I distinctly say you were appointed. I gave you £2 each week, and you gave me 2s change. It was agreed to between you and I, all through the piece!
Witness: No. My wages were 23s per week, and afterwards they were increased to £2 5s per week.
Defendant: You know perfectly well that we agreed to divide. You received 10s every week and I received 7s 6d! – I have no knowledge of it whatever.
If the cash book could be found it would show his signature for the money as a specially paid recruiter. We divided it. It is right dead against me that that the cash book cannot be found.
The Magistrate’s Clerk (Mr. C. H. Booth): It was your book and you kept it.
Joseph Walsh, manager of the George and Dragon Hotel, Ashton, bore out the solicitor’s statement in regard to the receipt for £3 6s given by him in respect of the furniture.
The Defendant: It is very un-businesslike to give a receipt without obtaining the money. Do you generally do that sort of thing and receive no money?
Mr. Walsh: No, you said I should receive payment when the receipt had been sent to the military authorities.
Defendant: I say distinctly I paid you the money!
Mr. Walsh: No such thing.
Elizabeth Eleanor White, of Hurst, denied having received the amounts stated, and said she had never been engaged at the recruiting offices. She said the defendant had told her that she might be surprised to know that her name appeared on documents which would have to go to the War Office for cleaning and cooking.
The Defendant: She is not the Mrs. White referred to, it was only a joke.
Mrs. White asked why the defendant did not produce the other Mrs. White.
The Defendant: It was only a huge joke.
Mrs. White: I thought it was a huge joke until I was called here. It does not look as if it is a joke.
Defendant: To bring you in is absolutely ridiculous, because you are not the one referred to. It was only a bit of fun.
Mrs. White: I think it is a very serious position to put me in.
The Magistrate’s Clerk: It is very remarkable that you should have told this woman that her signature was on documents at the War Office.
Defendant: It is remarkable because I know the name is there.
Mr. Hyde: She has been subjected to an abominable persecution by the prisoner.
Defendant: I shan’t have that, now come!
Mrs. White: I shall speak the truth.
W. Thornley, partner in the Northern Hardware Company, Ashton, deposed to receiving payment of an account for £5 2s 9d from the defendant. The defendant said, “I suppose £5 will settle the account” and witness replied, “Oh, yes”. The defendant paid £5.
The Defendant: You generally put it down as discount?
The defendant pleaded not guilty. He repeated his previous statement that the witness Tetlow was appointed special recruiter, and that the money was divided. He paid £3 6s to Mr. Walsh for the furniture. And Mr. Walsh gave him 26s.
The Clerk pointed out that it was strange that the defendant should send to the barracks a receipt for money which he had not received, and in respect of which he had sent a requisition.
The defendant said there was no Mrs. White at all except on the first day when he appointed an old lady of that name, but she made a whole hash of the business by placing curry in the coffee pot instead of coffee and nearly poisoning one of the recruits. Although he offered 10s a week he could not get anyone to cook and he did the work himself. Having been a caterer he made the soup, coffee, and biscuits. He received the 5s weekly because he thought he was entitled to it, seeing that he did the work. He signed the name of White because it was the first name that came into his head.
The Clerk: Although there was no Mrs. White you forged her name!
The Defendant: No, I didn’t. I continued the payment in the old woman’s name. With regard to the 2s 9d not accounted for, it was a clerical error.
Mr. Hyde pointed out that the accounts were certified by the defendant as being correct.
Sarah Ann Walsh, wife of the licensee of the George and Dragon Hotel, was called, and spoke to receiving 15s from the defendant , who told her it was on account of the furniture. He told her to give the money to her husband, and said he would let him have the remainder later.
The magistrates sent the accused to prison for six months with hard labour in the first case, and three months in the other cases, two to run concurrently, or 12 months altogether.
The Prisoner: I thought you could not give me more than six months, otherwise I should have gone to the sessions.
The Mayor (Colonel C. R. Wainwright, T.D., D. L.): You would probably have got more at the sessions.
Popularity of the Ashton Battalions
Saturday, July 10, 1915:
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.
BIG RECRUITING RALLY
Ineligible Men and Women Asked to Help
Saturday, August 28, 1915:
On Saturday next it is intended to hold a big recruiting rally in Ashton. A special effort will be made to secure recruits for all branches of the services.
The arrangements are not yet quite complete but Lieut. H. C. H. Scott at the Ashton Barracks is preparing a commemorative programme, details of which will appear in the next issue of the “Reporter”.
Lieut. Scott particularly desires that all ineligible men and women should form themselves into recruiters, and give all the help they can next Saturday. The loan of cars would be appreciated, and any suggestions would be welcomed by Lieut. Scott.
Recruiting for Territorials
Saturday, September 4, 1915:
During the week recruiting at the Armoury has been pretty brisk, but still more recruits are required.
There could not be a better appeal to those who are eligible to join the Territorials than the records of glorious deeds in this issue of the “Reporter”. They should fill them with the sense of pride, and they should regard it as a proud privilege to be able to say “I am one of the Ashton Territorials”.
All recruits are equipped immediately on enlistment, and drafted to Southport, where the 3rd Reserve Battalion are undergoing training under ideal circumstances.
APPEAL FROM TRENCHES
Ashton Territorial’s Letter to Young Men
Saturday, September 25, 1915:
A stirring letter to the young men of Ashton has been sent in a letter from the front in Gallipoli by Private Jesse Burke of the 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment, Ashton Territorials, who resided at Watts Place, Dukinfield. Private Burke has been in the Territorials about four years and volunteered for active service at the outbreak of the war. In civil life he was a piecer at Newton Moor Cotton Spinning Mill. He writes: –
“I hear there are hundreds of eligible young men in Ashton who do not consider it their duty to fight for their King and country. Of course, we can’t all fight. Some must stay at home as munition workers, but I believe there are hundreds in Ashton who are doing neither. If we had those men out here it would make it much better for us, and perhaps bring the war to a close a little sooner.
Four months of hard fighting in a place where men are being shot while asleep in their dug-outs; never away from the scene of the fighting! Just think what it means, and see if it is right. There are men out here who have wives and children at home dependent upon them. They did not hesitate when their country called them.
I am sure we should get a lot more lads from Ashton and Dukinfield if we could only make them understand what we are going through. It is said that a Britisher’s best time is when he is in a dust-up. I would like to see the lads of Ashton who are not already in the ranks or munition workers rally round the old flag.
Their comrades have played a gallant part in Gallipoli in the past. With their help we could do more in the future, and bring home honour to the town of Ashton.”
SINGLE MEN AND RECRUITING
An Official Message to Ashton
POSITION OF THE MARRIED
Local Committee’s Inquiry
“GOVERNMENT PLEDGE WILL BE CARRIED OUT”
Saturday, November 20, 1915:
To the Editor of the “Reporter”
Sir – We enclose you a copy of letter with cutting from a circular recently issued sent by the honorary secretary of the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee, 12 Downing Street, London, on Wednesday last in reference to a statement made by the Prime Minister as to the position of the married man. – Yours Faithfully.
J. C. BUCKLEY
Parliamentary Recruiting Committee
Lord Derby’s Canvassing Campaign
Free Library, Old Street, Ashton
Dear Sirs – We shall be obliged if you will let us know at once the position of married men who have enlisted under the “group” scheme.
Our reason for asking this is that acting on the Prime Minister’s speech of November 2nd, followed by Lord Derby’s statement of November 11th, and the information contained in your leaflet 58 – that married men would not be called on until the single men had been summoned to the colours, many of our canvassers feel they cannot reconcile these statements with those made in Parliament last night, and are annoyed that after they have given an assurance to the married men that the single men would be called up first, and by that means got a large number to enlist in their groups, to find now that they were not justified in making use of these statements.
We feel sure you will appreciate the awkwardness of our position in having to meet our canvassers under these circumstances – Yours Truly
J. C. BUCKLEY
The extract from the leaflet 38 is as follows: –
The Prime Minister on that occasion pledged not only himself, but his Government, when he stated that if young men did not, under the stress of national duty, come forward voluntarily, other and compulsory means would be taken before the married men were called upon to fulfil their engagement to serve.
Lord Derby is further authorized to state definitely that if young men medically fit and not indispensable to any business of national importance, or to any business conducted for the general good of the community, do not come forward voluntarily before November 30, the Government will after that date take the necessary steps to redeem the pledge made on November 2.
Copy telegram received 18th November, 1915 –
To the Hon. Secretaries Parliamentary Recruiting Committee, Free Library, Ashton-under-Lyne
YOU CAN ASSURE YOUR CANVASSERS AND ALL OTHERS THAT THE GOVERNMENT PLEDGE INLEAFLET 58 WILL BE CARRIED OUT. CONTINUE TO CIRCULATE THAT LEAFLET AS THE DEFINITE DECLARATION OF THE GOVERNMENT.
Hon. Secretary P.R.C.
12 Downing Street, London
Doubtless as a result of the Derby scheme the past week has been most successful in recruiting at the office of the Ashton Town Hall. Figures are not available but the numbers enlisted are extremely satisfactory. The rush began on Monday when more men presented themselves than have done in many a full week previously. The doctors and the staff had an extremely busy time. On Tuesday while the rush had somewhat subsided, there was an excellent return, while Wednesday was another great day. Thursday as usual was a slacker.
A feature of the recruiting has been the large numbers of married men … under the group system, and been placed in the reserves to be called up when required. Single men too have come forward but the majority enrolled for deferred service. More men are required for immediate service.
It should be noted that all the infantry regiments are now open, while the artillery brigades, the R.A.M.C. and the A.S.C. are closed. Men are required for the Royal Navy Reserve.
During the week a large number of railway men, employees of the Great Central Railway Company, have enlisted under the group system and they included married and single men.
Excellent arrangements have been made at the [illegible] rooms at the Town Hall for dealing expeditiously with a large number of recruits. Two doctors are in attendance and the men who present themselves receive every care and courtesy. If they come in under the group system they are released to return to their occupations as soon as possible. Excellent provision has been made for each recruit having a medical examination in private.
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 t 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.
Busy Scenes at Attesting Stations
GREAT RUSH OF MEN
More Recruits Than Could be Dealt With
Saturday, December 11, 1915:
“Better late than never, but better never late”, was a comment uttered at the Ashton Town Hall on Thursday night, as an eyewitness surveyed the thronged rooms and the efforts of recruits under Lord Derby’s scheme.
Although every possible effort was made to secure the services of gentlemen to act as recruiting clerks, and the attention of medical men to inspect the recruits, it was not humanly possible to deal with all those who had presented themselves, and their names alone could be taken.
Under such conditions long delays were, of course, inevitable. Some of the recruiting officers complained that it appeared that they were expected to crowd a year’s work into three days.
A ready answer is to hand for those who grumble at being required to spend several hours in the waiting rooms. The Derby scheme has been in operation for well over a month and those who have held back till the last minute had only themselves to blame if they did not receive immediate attention.
The authorities would like to see among the number a larger proportion of the young and the unmarried. Too many men to whom this description applies remain unregistered. Some of them are accused of saying that they never will register, and that they are quite prepared to take any risk that they may run by holding aloof. They have firmly embedded in their minds the belief that if conscription should come they will suffer no penalty through their refusal to enroll under the voluntary system. It is their duty, if they are physically fit, to hand in their names at once, leaving for subsequent settlement the question whether they are or are not entitled to exemption.
The canvas on the whole has been very well done but it is to be regretted that owing to the reluctance of sufficient canvassers to come forward the Hurst canvas has had largely to be undertaken, particularly in the west ward, by canvassers from Ashton. Even on Monday at least a hundred eligible men had not had a visit paid them by the canvasser, but to their credit a large number decided for themselves without waiting to be talked over upon their course of action.
The armlets have not yet reached Ashton, either at the Town Hall, the Armoury or the Barracks, although on Thursday night one or two young men who had attested in Manchester were proudly displaying the Khaki and red symbol on their right sleeves. One young man we noticed had had his armlet stitched on, so proud was he of the badge of his attestation.
INCIDENTS OF THE RUSH
At the Barracks, so great has been the rush that the drill shed has been converted into a temporary recruiting office.
AT THE ASHTON TOWN HALL
On Thursday at the Town Hall the number of men was so great that it was impossible for the staff to cope with the recruits who came forward. As a result, whole groups of men were not dealt with, and they were invited into the Juvenile Court to give in their names. They are to present themselves for attestation and examination later.
At many public offices, works, mills, etc. in the district men who are within military age have been advised to attest. So during the week men who are employed at public offices have come forward. Arrangements are being made for the Ashton Borough Policemen to be attested and examined at the Police Offices in order to relieve the pressure at the recruiting office at the Town Hall.
Some remarkable scenes have been witnessed at the Armoury. As the enlistment of men for immediate service has fallen off somewhat, Capt. Ralph Lees, Commanding Officer, and Lieut. Hyde offered their assistance at the Town Hall. From Monday, and each evening during the week, the Armoury has been opened for the attestation of men under Lord Derby’s scheme. Crowds of men have been dealt with, and on one or two evenings the pressure of men who came in batches from local works was so great that no fewer than four doctors were kept busily engaged in conducting the examinations. The medical men were Capt. Gordon Whitehead, R.A.M.C. who is attached to the 2/9th Manchester Regt. at Southport, Dr. Corns, Dr. Price and Dr. C. S. Spencer.