Lt. Col. Doctor Herbert Wade

Lieutenant-Colonel Doctor Herbert Wade was the commanding officer of the 1/9th Manchesters at the outbreak of the war and landed with them at Gallipoli on May 9, 1915 as their C.O.

Lt. Col. D.H. WADE

Doctor Herbert Wade was born in Oldham on July 2, 1865. He was the only son of Mayall and Martha Wade (née Charnley) and was born 3 years after his older sister Ester Ann Charnley Wade. Mayall Wade was an affluent Chemist & Druggist and young Wade was educated at Oldham High School and later at College in Chester.

On February 14, 1885, when he was 19 years old, he joined the 1st Cheshire & Caernarvonshire Artillery Volunteers as a private and remained with them for two years. He left England to work in Singapore in a junior civil service job and while there picked up colloquial Malay and served as a private in the Singapore Volunteer Artillery (Straits Settlements) from September 1889 to March 1893.

Returning to the UK he married Ada Neal, the daughter of the Ashton-under-Lyne Borough Comptroller, on December 23, 1893 and settled in Ashton. His son, John Mayall Wade, was born there on September 28, 1894 and his daughter, Ida Wade, was born 18 months later on March 5, 1896. Working as a librarian and a teacher, (Director of Technical Instruction), he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant into the 3rd Volunteer Battalion, Manchester Regiment on April 11, 1900.

He rose through the ranks rapidly and just 15 months after being commissioned was promoted to Captain on July 13, 1901. Over the next few years, he passed several Army instructional courses including mounted infantry duties and musketry before being promoted to Major on July 6, 1910, now in the 9th Battalion Manchester Regiment, Territorial Force, after its creation in 1908 through the Haldane Reforms. Outside of the Army his career flourished, becoming the Education Secretary of the Ashton Borough Council and he continued to live in Ashton with his wife, two children and a domestic servant. He was appointed Lieutenant Colonel and Commanding Officer of the 9th Battalion Manchester Regiment in July 1913.

He sailed with the Battalion to Egypt in September 1914 along with his son, twenty-year-old Second Lieutenant John (Jack) Mayall Wade and his wife’s nephew, eighteen-year-old Second Lieutenant Thomas Grimshaw Hyde, both recently commissioned; his son only a week before they sailed. Lt.-Col. Wade commanded the battalion through their intensive field training and their brief role in the defence of the Suez Canal in April 1915.

They landed at Gallipoli under fire on May 9th but just 13 days after landing in Gallipoli, on May 22, 1915, he was shot and wounded in the abdomen and thigh while stepping over some sleeping men in the firing line. The bullet entered the left groin and lodged in the middle of the right thigh near the femur but without breaking any bones. He was treated on the peninsula for two days before being medically evacuated to Alexandria where he was admitted to the 15th General Hospital on May 27th. Over the next few weeks, the wound suppurated and the pus had to be drained through several large incisions. While he was undergoing treatment in Alexandria, he learned that his son, Second Lieutenant John (Jack) Mayall Wade, had been reported missing in action on June 19th while leading his men to attack the Turkish trenches. He was medically assessed on July 9 and was given an estimated six months recovery time and granted leave in the UK to recover. Consequently, on July 17 he embarked on the Hospital Ship Asturias at Alexandria arriving in Southampton 10 days later.

In the UK he initially spent some time in the 2nd Western General Hospital on Whitworth Street in Manchester but moved to outpatient treatment by the end of August. A few weeks later he was sufficiently recovered to command the Ashton Territorials present at the military funeral of Pte. Samuel Armitage in Ashton on October 7, 1915. He was also active in recruiting efforts in Ashton throughout October and November before joining the 3/9th Battalion in Southport, on light duty, on November 19. On December 7, 1915 he was medically assessed at the 2nd Western General Hospital in Manchester and pronounced fit for General Service.

He received orders to rejoin the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force and embarked on the transport ship Llandovery Castle, at Devonport, on January 14, 1916 bound for Egypt. He rejoined the battalion on February 8, 1916 after they had evacuated Gallipoli and were guarding the Suez Canal at Shallufah. He commanded the Battalion throughout their stay in Egypt taking over temporary command of the 126th Brigade for a short period in May. He took a 3-day local leave in late October and then sailed with the battalion to France in March 1917. For distinguished services in Egypt June 1 to September 30, 1916 he was Mentioned in Despatches by General Sir Archibald Murray, K.C.B., Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. But he had spent the Egyptian summer in the northern Sinai as the battalion played its part in the Desert Column pushing the Turkish forces past El Arish and the heat and difficult living conditions were to take a physical toll.

He was by now almost 52 years old and less than two months after arriving in France he was taken ill and on April 27 was admitted to No 8 General Hospital at Rouen, physically breaking down due to his age and the sudden change in climate. After a few days’ rest, he embarked the transport Western Australia on the evening of May 1 arriving at Southampton the following morning. Here he was admitted to Farnborough Hill Hospital in Hampshire, the home of the Empress Eugenie but converted into an Officers’ Convalescent Hospital during the war. Three days later, he was medically assessed at Cambridge Military Hospital, Aldershot, pronounced permanently unfit for General Service and granted 3 weeks leave. Based on this diagnosis the War Office transferred him to the Territorial Reserve on June 6, 1917. He did not return to action.

He returned to his position as Director of Education at Ashton-under-Lyne and by this time was living with his wife and daughter at “Holly Bank”, Birch Polygon, Rusholme in Manchester. It was a difficult time for the family as the Turkish Foreign Office had confirmed at the end of January 1917 that they had no record of Jack Wade being held prisoner. The conclusion was clear and his son’s death was officially confirmed in due course.

On a more positive note, his daughter Ida was married in July 1918 and his grandson Helge John Neal Moe was born a year later in May 1919. That same year, Lt.-Col Wade was awarded the Territorial Decoration on July 15 and in civilian life he became a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Secretaries.

After the war, orders to reform the regiment were received in October 1920 and Lt-Col. D. H. Wade was appointed Commanding Officer on October 29. In 1921 he was appointed as a Justice of the Peace for the Borough of Ashton-under-Lyne but his tenure as Commanding Officer of the 9th Battalion was to be fairly short-lived when he was forced to retire from the Territorial Force on January 27, 1922 having reached the age limit of 57. Subsequent to his retirement, he was granted the rank of Brevet Colonel due to his long and distinguished services.

Lt.-Col. D.H. Wade T.D., J.P., Col. Sir Walter de Frece M.P., Lt.-Col. J. Broadbent T.D., J.P. and Major Ralph Lees T.D.
Sunday November 12, 1922. (Copyright Imperial War Museum)

By 1939 he had retired and he and his wife were temporarily living at Hill Top, Hale, Altrincham with Ada’s recently widowed sister, Margaret Hyde and two domestic servants. Their family home was on Mauldeth Road, Withington and they lived there with a housekeeper. When the housekeeper left in late 1949 Ada Wade became depressed and, despite their daughter temporarily coming home from Norway to help, Ada’s mental health deteriorated and she gassed herself in the oven. The inquest was held in October 1949 and the verdict rendered was suicide while the balance of her mind was disturbed.

Lt. Col. Doctor Herbert Wade died on March 14, 1954 at a private nursing home in Withington, Manchester. He was 89 years old.