Harry Rutherford's
Festival of Britain Mural

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Hyde In Wartime (1914-16) Pages3-4

Patriots to Arms


Immediately after the War started. Mr. J. Leadbitter Knott. the prospective Unionist candidate for the Hyde Division, made a public appeal for a complete cessation of all political dispute and criticism, The patriotism of this message was intensified by the fact that a Liberal Government was in power at the time " Our country” said Mr. Knott in his letter to the people of the Hyde Parliamentary Division, “is engaged today in a veritable struggle for the future existence of the whole British Empire. It is, therefore, the solemn and serious duty of every British man and woman to do all in their power to strengthen the position of the present Cabinet. Any criticism of their diplomacy, any open expression of dissatisfaction, must, in a larger or lesser degree, weaken that strength which is so essential at the present time. At the moment the sole coarse open to people of patriotic instinct is that they make what sacrifice they can on behalf of our King, our country and our flag." These words coming from a loyal and true Britisher, were re-echoed throughout the Hyde Division. Shortly afterwards Mr. Knott announced that he had joined the colours. He now holds the rank of Major in His, Majesty's Army, and for many months has been at the front in France. He was still there at the and of 1915. He had two brothers, and both of these have given their lives in the war, one in France, at the Dardanelle’s. His brother in France was killed by a German shell that exploded, whilst Captain Knott was in the immediate vicinity.


On the outbreak of war, there was considerable stir in the borough of Hyde, especially among local Reservists and Territorials. Reservists in different regiments were called up immediately, Among these were two members of the Hyde Borough Police Force… Constable Henry Howland of the 2nd Batt, Grenadier Guards, who joined the Hyde Force in April, 1913; and Constable Thomas Wilkinson a bombardier in the 6th Battery, Royal Field Artillery. Both rejoined their regiments on August 5th 1914. A number of local members of the Cheshire Yeomanry also left the same day to rejoin their units at Chester. On August 8th a batch of members of the St. John Ambulance Brigade, under Superintendent C. W. Tapson, proceeded to Aldershot for work with the Army Medical Corps, and during the week the local reservists joined their regiments. Representatives of the military authorities were also busily engaged in commandeering horses. On the evening of August 12th the National Reservists in Hyde, numbering about 190 marched down Mottram Road, through Clarendon Place, and assembled in front of the Town Hall. Here they were welcomed by the then Mayor and Mayoress, Alderman and Mrs. Hinchcliffe Brooke, and were addressed by the Mayoress, after which they travelled in special tram-cars to Stalybridge for medical examination.


On the morning of Wednesday, August 5th. 1914. animated scenes were witnessed in the vicinity of the Armoury, Mottram Road, Hyde, the headquarters of the Hyde Territorial Force.. "Terriers" were proceeding to the Armoury by eight a.m. and several thousand people lined the road. As each man arrived, he was relieved of his bayonet. During the morning. the bayonets were taken to a local work, and sharpened. The full strength C (Hyde) Company of the 6th Battalion Cheshire Regiment of Territorials was 145; and the officers in charge were Captain Dodge, Lieut. Hoyle, Lieut. Cook. and Lieut.-Surgeon Morris. On August 8th thousands of town folk gathered on Mottram Road to watch the Hyde Territorials leave for Stockport preparatory to training for the front. In the presence of a dense crowd, and amid scenes which will remain in all who witnessed them, the men were addressed by the Mayor (Alderman Brooke), and a prayer was read by the Rev H, H. Pitts. M.A., Vicar of St. Thomas's, who also spoke to the crowd. Among the assembly were two ex-Captains of the 6th Cheshire’s, Mr. R. P. Stagg and Mr. E. E. Dowson. Cheers were given for the King, for the officers and men of the detachment, and for the Mayor and his daughter; while a private in the ranks called for a cheer for ex-Captain Stagg, (who for many years had done excellent work for the local Volunteer movement preceding the Territorials, and subsequently was associated with the National Reservist). The men marched to Godley Station and the Glossop detachment also went to Stockport. The great bulk of the Hyde Territorials subsequently volunteered for active service in the war.


Front Row (Seated): E. Ogden (Platoon Commander), J.W. Sutcliff (Platoon Commander), D. Pennington (Sub-Commander, Secretary, and Treasurer), H.L. Plant (Commander), W.A. Aspland (Platoon Commander), F. Shenton (Platoon Commander)
Back Row: A. Winterbotham (Transport Secretary), A. Bateman (Armoury Sergeant), F. Cheetham (Corporal), C. E. Moores (Platoon Sergeant), A. Slater (Quartermaster Sergeant), A. Harrop (Platoon Sergeant), W. Johnson (Ambulance Sergeant), C. H. Brogden (Committee man), A. Hall (Orderly-Sergeant)

Stirring scenes were again witnessed on September 14th when about 200 men who had joined the colours marched from the Armoury to Hyde Station, en route for Chester. By September 19th 700 men had enlisted at Hyde


Tom said...

Again the surmanes jump out at me ... I notice there's a 'Morris' in the above post.... could that be a relative Nancy? I can imagine the pride that must have been felt in Hydes very own 'Terriers'.... two more pages tomorrow.

Hydonian said...

Two members of my family (2 great uncles) were killed in the first world war and one WAS a Morris but not the one mentioned above.

*Corporal William Morris MM age 27 (died 4/1/18)
*Private Harry Mullins age 18 (died 13/11/16)

Tom said...

There's a chance Private Harry Mullins is mentioned in the book Nancy.... Corporal William Morris MM should be in Book 2... which I hope someone as a copy of that we could scan.

Hydonian said...

That would be lovely to see their names in print. Let's keep out fingers crossed for the 2nd book becoming available.

Tom said...

I recieved a message on facebook today from Nick Hopkinson, one time Hyde lad now living in Florida. I asked if it was OK for me to put his here in the comments and I'm thankful he said yes.
What Nick said was as follows...... "The blog post regarding WWI brought memories of my mums dad. I have his pocket diary that he carried with him from 1917-18 when he was in the second battle of the Somme. He joined the Manchester Regiment (in Ashton) with three of his brothers, another joined the Field Ambulance Corp. One brother didn't make it back. He was at Gallapoli first, his diary doesnt cover that part of his service, he came back from there and was then sent out to the trenches. His diary has a number of pages of names and addresses of other soldiers, then a big x through them, obviously as they were killed. He ended up getting the Military Medal. During the fighting at the second Somme battle he lost half his thigh, but he still managed to pull back two other wounded soldiers from the battlefield. Sorry I am waffling cause it has nothing to do with the Hyde area/soldiers! I do remember him telling me how they all joined up together and marched from Ashton market upto the Ladysmith Barracks on Mossley Road. All that is left of the barracks is the orignal gateway and stonewall with the Ladysmith Barracks carved into the stone."
Well I'm sure I speak for all when I say it dose not matter if it was in Ashton or Hyde... story's like these should be told and put down in writing... this IS what one generation went through for the goodness of the next and so on... Cheers for this Nick.

Hydonian said...

Great information ,Nick - thanks very much for sharing it with us :)