THE ASHTON TERRITORIALS, 9th BATTALION of the MANCHESTER REGIMENT.
Published in the Reporter Saturday 12th September 1914.
After a long period of suspense the 9th Battalion Ashton Territorials received instructions that the departure on foreign service had been arranged for Wednesday. The news was received with much delight, because the men, although they had very little to complain of about the camp conditions, having volunteered for foreign service, were anxious to be off. The enthusiasm reached a high pitch when the battalion paraded for the last time at Bury. About six o'clock on Wednesday night (September 9th) the first half of the Ashton Battalion left the camp headed by the band and Lieutenant Colonel D.H. WADE, the commanding officer. They marched briskly through the streets, which were deeply lined with a cheering and high spirited crowd. Cries of "Good Old Ashton!" and "Ashton For Ever!" rang out as the Ashton Territorials reached the train station. They entrained after a short wait, and the long train pulled out of the station about 7.30pm. The second half of the battalion left the camp around 8.15pm, and similar scenes of enthusiasm were witnessed.
NEWS FROM THE REPORTER REPRESENTATIVE
September 10th, 1914.
From "The Aragon" Southampton Dock.
"The railway journey from Bury to Southampton was long, but far from unpleasant, the scenery passed being enjoyable. At 8am the train steamed into Southampton Dock Station. The kits were collected, and carried on board the Aragon, which is an R.M.P.S. boat on Anglo-South American service. The boat is expected to depart at 7 or 8 tonight for Egypt. The men are splendidly provided for; everything is new and spotlessly clean, the N.C.O's being in the 2nd class quarters, and sleep in bunks. Food is excellent. A dinner of roast mutton, roast potatoes, and good stew was served. Tea consisted of bread, butter, cheese and pickles and tea. All contented men in hammocks and allowed to parade the deck. Weather was drizzling this morning, but mild and calm".
A postcard, stamped 12.30pm 11th September 1914, written and sent from Southampton by Pte. 1324 JAMES SHAW MILLAR of the 9th Battalion, to his mother, Mrs. Millar, of 2, Rowley Street, Dukinfield Hall. "Dear Mother, A few lines to let you know we set sail tonight at 12 o'clock, Thursday, on the RMSP Aragon. Your loving son, James". ( Pte. 1324 James S. Millar was killed in action on 8.8.1915 aged 19 years. He is buried in the Redoubt Cemetery, Helles. This postcard is courtesy of Mr.James Shaw Adams - nephew of Pte.James Shaw Millar).
Published in the Reporter 26th September 1914.
LETTER FROM GIBRALTAR.
Mrs. Fogerty, of 72, Penny Meadow, Ashton, has received a letter from her husband, who is with the Ashton Territorials. Private FOGERTY was employed by Messrs. Coop, butchers, Ashton, for 17 years. He only joined the Battalion at the last moment. The letter says: - "I wish to tell you that we have arrived at Gibraltar (17th September). We have about another five days sail to do yet. About the sail, we did not set off from Southampton until about 11 o'clock at night. When we got to the Cornish coast we were met by four battleships, and they stopped us. We were stopped for about eleven hours. During that time more troopships had arrived, and it was a sight to see them escort us all together. When we got out of the Bay of Biscay you never saw such a sight in your life. Biggest part of the troops were lying all over the ship - bad. I thought we should have to bury some of them. I am almost a teetotaller. Beer is bad to get hold of, therefore you never think about it. I have to fall in four times a day - once for physical drill. I am eating like a bullock. The grub on board is very good, and we get plenty. They have made us all pull our boots and stockings off, so we are all walking about like a lot of sailors. They want to 'nocolate' me, but I don't think. They say it is a protection against fever. The weather is getting warmer every day as we get nearer, and the sailors say when we get there it will be a sight never to be forgotten. Tuesday, September 15th, between Lisbon and Gibraltar. Sun powerful, sea like a billiard table. There are XXXX troop ships, all spread about, just like the British fleet. Escorted by four battleships, a sight to be seen. This morning learning all about a rifle, so they intend making me into a soldier. We have about another five days sail from Gibraltar, and then I don't know where they will put us down by train. They are going to give us new suits of clothes, which consist of brown canvas and helmets. I have nothing more to tell you at present, but I will let you know as soon as we arrive at our station".
After 15 days at sea, the Ashton Territorials, 9th Battalion, disembarked at Alexandria on the 25th September. Two days later, on the 27th, the 9th Battalion left Alexandria for Cairo. The 1st half of the Battalion arrived at the Kasr-el-Nil Barracks, Cairo about 4pm, and the 2nd half arrived about midnight.