The Opening of Hostilities
On the evening of Tuesday, August 18th, 1914, a meeting of members of the Hyde branch of the junior Unionist Association was held, "to consider the starting of a junior section of a civilian army, to assist the authorities in any crisis which is likely to arise." Several speeches were delivered in support of the movement, one of the speakers being Councillor T Middleton, who said that if the scheme of a civilian army were taken up it would do away with the need for conscription. It was decided to form a company, and to immediately begin training, a small committee being appointed to arrange details. At a further meeting, two days later, under the chairmanship of Councillor Middleton, the following resolution was unanimously carried. - "That in consequence of the grave national emergency which has arisen, this meeting of Hyde Junior Unionists, and each individual member, offer their services unconditionally, as far as time and circumstances permit, to assist the military and civil authorities in every possible way within the Borough of Hyde, for the maintenance of peace and the protection of life and property, and in doing so place themselves in the hands of the Chief Constable". About 45 members, of ages ranging from 17 to 25 were at once enrolled, and started drilling under the command of Sergeant John Travis, Lodge Lane, Newton, late of Manchester Volunteer Regiment. And Mr. E. Shaw, of the St. George's Boys' Brigade. Several weeks after the formation of the Corps, Sergeant Travis volunteered for active service The Junior Unionists also had route marches, often accompanied by Mr. J. Wilding, Conservative and Unionist Agent for the Hyde Division, who months later appointed recruiting agent at Hyde. Shortly after the formation of the Corps members began to enlist in Kitcheners Army, and by 1916 practically all were serving with the colours.