Harry Rutherford's
Festival of Britain Mural

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Hyde In War Time (1914-16) Pages 1 and 2

Hyde in War-time
Book 1
Published by Herald Press
Hamnett Street, Hyde, Cheshire

The Opening of Hostilities

After the assassination of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his Consort, at Sarajevo, on June 29th 1914, the current of events moved with alarming rapidity, and, though Sir Edward Grey laboured incessantly for peace, "The Day” had arrived. The German war party was in the ascendant; they were demonstrating before Potsdam, and, the Kiel Canal had recently been completed. For 40 years herculean preparations had been in progress; enormous accumulations of ammunition and heavy artillery had been stored; the German navy had become one of the most powerful of any of the Continental powers, and the peace strength of the Conscription army had been increased. Three short but successful wars namely those of 1864 against Denmark, 1866 against Austria, and 1870 against France, had inflated German pride. The professors had taught the rising generation that war was a glorious thing; that Germany ought to be the Dominant World Power; that Britain was decadent, - "dry rot" had set in; and the links in her far-flung Empire were at the breaking point, - the Colonies were ripe for revolt. Her hour of destiny had struck. It was now too late for the Kaiser to stem the war party ; the populace hungered for blood; their shouts arose from below the Palace windows, the world Armageddon was in sight. In Russia a great revolution was evolving : businesses were closing down; workmen were combining and threatening the Government, who were mobilising the Cossacks to protect St. Petersburg; but with the appearance of those ominous clouds in the West the revolution ceased and Tsardom became united. In Great Britain bitterness and strife, and covert civil war in Ireland, were threatening to split tip the nation into factions ; but the greater menace on the Continent combined all parties, and a united front was presented to the world. Here the last step was reached, Austria appeared disposed to come to terms, but the German hosts were already being marshalled, and the impetus of militarism had aroused the German masses to fever heat, there was no turning back. On July 28th, 1914, Austria & Hungary declared war on Serbia; four days later, on August 1st, Germany declared war on Russia; and on August 3rd on France, and an ultimatum was sent to Belgium. The "Scrap of Paper"… the solemn guarantee of Germany, was torn to shreds, and the Germans invaded the little monarchy. This immediately brought Britain into the conflict. The British Cabinet dispatched an ultimatum to Germany to the effect that if Belgian territory were not respected, we could not stand idly by. That ultimatum expired at midnight on August 4th and as the hour approached, the British Cabinet Ministers were anxiously gathered at Downing Street, awaiting a message of peace from Berlin. In tense silence they watched the hands of the clock approach the fateful limit, but soon the chimes of midnight rang out from Big Ben…… it was war !

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.


Tom said...

I've scanned all the book and will show it on here if others would be interested.
I recognise most of the surnames mentioned in this book. It shows many of our forefathers setting off to war, it tell their story's, some end it death some glory. It cover a time in Hydes History which I knew so little about until being handed this fine book by my friend Jack Cheetham, a true Hydonian and a gentleman in every sense of the word.

Hydonian said...

Brilliant reading, Tom. Really brings home what was going on in Hyde when war was declared and what followed. Looking forward to the next episode :)

Sue.All my Ancestry is in Newton, Godley and Hyde said...

My Great Uncle Sam Fogg was a prisoner of war and returned to Hyde a war hero. I know there is a book somewhere that documents this. I would be interested to know if he is mentioned in your book. I have found his war records on ancestry but I have no other information . Thanks for a great site, keep up the good work

Tom said...

Sue thanks for commenting...and for asking as well. It gives us great pleasure to be able to tell you he is mentioned in this book.
Your Great Uncle Pte. Sam Fogg of Ashton Road, Newton is mentioned, it is only a sentance or two... but we are pleased to tell you there is also a picture of him... We can email you a scan copy of what there is.. as it's on page 136 it will be a while until we get round to posting about him and the 27 others that were taken prisone at that time. Send an email to hydonian@gmail.com and we will get it sent off in the morning.
We were hoping this book would come in handy for someones ancestry