THE ASHTON TERRITORIALS, 9th BATTALION of the MANCHESTER REGIMENT.
Published in the Reporter 29th January 1916.
CONGRATULATED AND PROMOTED FOR BRAVERY.
"I have been recommended to the General, but can't say what it is yet," wrote an Ashton Territorial named Lance-Corporal 1659 WOODRUFF, to his parents at 1. Tames Street, Denton. He is attached to the 1/9th Ashton Territorials. Since two letters arrived a postcard came from the Dardanelles on which was the following :- "I hereby congratulate 1659 Private WOODRUFF, of the East Lancashire Division at Gallipoli, on his work in the field on December 13th, Douglas, commanding officer." Along with other Ashton men Lance-Corporal WOODRUFF is now at Mudros. On December 15th Lance-Corporal WOODRUFF wrote to his parents describing the deed which brought commendation, and will probably result in a more tangible reward :- "You will see I have been promoted to lance-corporal. I had just been on the Peninsula 15 days when I got my stripe. We went into the trenches on December 11th, and on the 13th I got promotion for good work in the firing line. It came about as follows :- They wanted a volunteer to go out in front of our firing line to the Turkish firing line to see what they were doing. So our Captain asked me if I would do it, and I said 'Yes.' So about two o'clock on December 13th, I went out, and was out about an hour when I was hit in the foot. It took the heel of my boot off, and just scraped the bottom of my foot. It was not hurt very much, in fact, I was able to carry on with my work just the same. So when I got in again the C.O. of our battalion promoted me, and recommended me to the General. I have not heard of it since, but I may have the luck to hear more soon."
Published in the Reporter 12th February 1916.
BROTHERS HIT BY ONE SHELL.
Two brothers, Private RALPH PLATT, 39, Botany Lane, Ashton, and Private TOM PLATT, Swarfe Street, Ashton, of the 1/9th Manchester Regiment, were both injured by one bomb while fighting in the Dardanelles on December 18th. They were in the trenches and a Turkish bomb was flung over. A piece of shrapnel struck RALPH in the thigh, while the concussion made TOM deaf. The latter had to go in hospital for treatment, and is now at Malta. RALPH, however, has written to say that his injury is not serious, and that he is back with the battalion.
Published in the Reporter 12th February 1916.
"SLANDERS ON HOSPITALS."
Private LEONARD PENNINGTON, an Ashton Territorial, whose home is near Messrs. Gartside's Ltd., of Stockport Road, Ashton, has arrived at the Clyne House Military Hospital, Stretford, Manchester, from the Dardanelles, suffering from wounds. He writes :- "My wife brought me the Reporter, and when I read the unfounded reports about the Lake Hospital it filled me with indignation. I have been in four hospitals myself since I was wounded. As for food, it is of the very best, and plenty of it. Such is my experience of hospitals, and I am sure that every wounded soldier will endorse my statement. What do outsiders know about it? It is a slander on the British Red Cross Society. I hope all such silly rumours will be fully investigated before they are made public. I am sure nothing is more disheartening to a hospital staff than to be slandered like that, when all the time they are doing their best."
Published in the Ashton Herald 26th February 1916.
ASHTON RECRUIT'S DEATH - In the Army Only Three Weeks.
The death under sad circumstances occurred on Saturday (19th February) at Codford, of Private 4411 LABAN CRANE, 3/9th Manchester Regiment, of 10, Delamere Street, Ashton. The deceased had only been in the army three weeks. He did not attest under the Derby scheme, but enlisted direct into the 3/9th on February 2nd. and went to Codford the following day. He was then apparently in his usual health, and it came as a great blow to his relatives when his critical condition was made known to them. He was formerly an employee at Messrs. Koch's Mill, Tame Valley, Dukinfield. He was 22 years of age and followed the employment of a piecer, and was a respected scholar at the U.M. School, Dukinfield. The funeral took place on Thursday afternoon at Dukinfield Cemetery, the remains having been conveyed from Codford at the expense of the authorities. The coffin was covered with a Union Jack, and a firing party attended in charge of Sergeant-Major FOWLER. The Rev. F.H. Oliver was the officiating minister. The mourners included Mrs Crane, Mrs Walter Crane, Mrs Whitehead, Mr & Mrs H. Crane, Mr & Mrs Leech, Mr & Mrs F.Leech, Jess Leech, Mr & Mrs Turner, Mrs Armitage, Miss Alice Turner, Miss Hobson, Mr & Mrs Wane, Mr & Mrs Blake, Mrs Joyce, and Miss Mary Henehan. Floral Tributes were sent by mother and sister, Walter & Emily, uncle and aunt, uncle, aunt and cousins, Mrs. Joyce, Aggie and Mary. Workpeople at the mill, Mr & Mrs Blake, Mr. Clinch and sister, Miss Hobson, Mrs Miller, Mr & Mrs Graham, Miss Alice Turner, Mr & Mrs Livesey, Mr & Mrs Armitage. Bugler BERRY sounded the Last Post at the graveside. Mr. H. Crane conducted the funeral arrangements.
Published in the Reporter 18th March 1916.
DIED AT ALEXANDRIA.
The death has occurred in a military hospital in Alexandria of Private 1744 ANTHONY SHERIDAN, 1/9th Manchester Regiment, of 74, Old Street, Ashton. The official news came through on Tuesday. His father, Mr. John Sheridan, received a cablegram stating that his son was in hospital dangerously ill. From a short letter which a comrade, Private E. KERSHAW, has written home, it appears that on February 11th Private SHERIDAN fell off a horse and seriously injured his spine. He was taken to a hospital at Suez, and subsequently removed to Alexandria. Here, however, his condition did not improve, and he died on February 25th from cerebro spinal meningitis. Private SHERIDAN was one of a party of four chums, all members of the Ashton Territorials. The others are : Private. E. KERSHAW, of Wellington Street, Private E. HENNESSEY, also of Wellington Street, and Private J. TINDALL, of Wood Street. The latter was wounded in the neck, and after coming home on furlough recovered, and has since joined the 3/9th Manchester Regiment at Codford. The other two are still in Egypt. They all went through the terrible campaign at the Dardanelles, and Private SHERIDAN, who was connected with the transport section, came through without receiving a scratch or suffering illness. He was formerly a piecer employed at an Oldham Mill. He only reached 18 years of age a short time ago, and when he left England on active service he was several months over 16 years. (Anthony Sheridan is buried in the Suez War Memorial Cemetery).
Published in the Reporter 18th March 1916.
The deathless story of the fight in the Vineyard trench, when a section of the Ashton Territorials saved the position for the British forces on August 7th and 8th 1915, is again brought to notice by the publication this week in the London Gazette of details of the deeds for which the Distinguished Conduct Medal was conferred upon Lance-Corporal STANLEY PEARSON (son of the late Col. Pearson) and Corporal TOM PICKFORD, of the Ashton Territorials. The official account of the awarding of the D.C.M. says :- Lance Corporal S. PEARSON, 1/9th Manchester Regiment. T.F. For gallantry on August 7th and 8th 1915, at Gallipoli, when acting as a look-out man and sniper. He displayed great bravery and skill, and although enfiladed from both flanks he remained at his post, and by his example gave great encouragement to all with him.
Lance Corporal T. PICKFORD, 1/9th Manchester Regiment. T.F. For conspicuous gallantry on August 8th 1915, at Gallipoli, when he rallied his party, which had been driven back by bombs in the barricade of the Vineyard, and by his bravery and example was largely instrumental in saving a precarious position. Corporal PICKFORD gave the Reporter respresentative, who saw him at home, 130, Wellington Street, Ashton, this week (prior to his departing for Tilbury, having not yet recovered from the injuries to his leg), a thrilling account of the gallant work of the little band of Ashton Territorial heroes on August 7th and 8th. "We captured the trench after the Turks had been bombed out, and for 26 hours we held it, and were continuously engaged in repulsing fierce attacks. It was a difficult position to hold, because three Turkish saps converged into it. As senior N.C.O. in the trench I told STANLEY PEARSON and four of the boys to hold one of the saps, and to keep up a continuous fire, and so keep the Turks back at that point. We had to watch the two other saps. The Turks came right at us. It was a scrap! Bombs were bursting all around us. Some of the boys in their excitement caught the Turkish bombs before they exploded, and hurled them back again. They did not always manage to catch them in time, and three of them had their hands blown off. What made the position worse was that as soon as we had entered the trench a bomb laid out six of us. I was one of them. I bandaged up my leg, and bandaged up the others, and sent them back to hospital. I carried on, that is why I was recommended for the D.C.M. Lieutenant FORSHAW did not know that I had not gone to hospital. He was amazed when he came near. 'Why, I thought you had gone to hospital' he said. 'No sir,' I answered, 'we were short of men.' Anyway, I was telling you about the fight. The Turks were at us all the time. PEARSON did splendidly, and kept his men there. He fought cooly, and kept picking off the Turks. He was a smart and good lad. We hadn't much time to waste, I can tell you, for the Turks were determined to get the trench back. Lieutenant FORSHAW was in command of the whole of the firing line in the trench, which was in a very dangerous part of the Vineyard. We had to hold the place at all costs. There were 300 men on our right, and had we lost the position the Turks could have taken them prisoners. By holding on we saved a very good position. We refused to be driven out. At one moment the Turks drove us out of one traverse, but we barricaded it up with sand-bags, and they never budged us any further, for we stuck it until we were relieved. Lieutentant FORSHAW, I gave you my word on it, did very well. His example repeatedly put new courage into us. It was the first time he had been in such close fighting. He threw the bombs as well as us. At one time he came to me and said, 'How are you getting on Corporal? Do you think you can manage?' I said 'I think so,' he replied, 'You are a plucky corporal, you are doing well.' He well earned his V.C., and I was proud of the chance later to tell the general (or give evidence, as they call it) about him, which led to his recommendation for the V.C. One thing he did was very fine. Just after we had got the parapet up three Turks got over, and made a rush for SAM BAYLEY, but Lieut. FORSHAW coolly shot all three with his revolver. " Corporal PICKFORD cherishes a strong admiration for Lieut. JACK WADE, who was one of the gamest officers in the battalion. He remembered Lieut. WADE, when wounded in the arm with a bayonet, rushing back to have it bound up, and tearing off back again to fight. Corporal PICKFORD, who used to work as a carter for Mr. Braithwaite, coal merchant, was formerly a member of the old Volunteers. He joined the Ashton Territorials in September 1914.
Published in the Reporter 18th March 1916.
DUKINFIELD MAN REPORTED KILLED.
ASHTON TERRITORIAL WHO FOUGHT IN GALLIPOLI.
Private 2009 FRANK MYCOCK, of C Company, 1/9th Manchesters, Ashton Territorials, son of Mr. an Samuel James Mycock, of 7, Clarendon Street, Dukinfield, who joined the battalion on the 4th of August, 1914, was reported missing during the fighting on the Gallipoli Peninsula last summer, is now reported by the war authorities to have been killed, the assumed date of death being June 7th, 1915. Private MYCOCK was in his 21st year, and was a fitter by trade in the employ of Roberts Bros., engineers, Dukinfield. He attended Victoria Road Congregational Sunday School, and tomorrow (Sunday) week there will be a memorial service conducted by the Rev. J. Hosking. (Frank Mycock is recorded on the Helles Memorial to the missing).
Published in the Reporter 25th March 1916.
NEWS OF THE NINTH.
Mrs. Dibdale, 3, Old Cross Street, Ashton, has received a letter from her son, Private W. DIBDALE, of the 1/9th Manchester Regiment, who, writing on March 1st, says :- "When we left Mudros after leaving the Peninsula we went straight to a place called Mena, about nine miles from Cairo. As we were not allowed to visit the town we did not get a chance to see the sights, only the Pyramids and the Sphinx. About seven days later we left for a place called Tel-el-Kebir on the desert. We were there for about three days, and then we left for Soallafa, on the banks of the Suez Canal. After being there about ten days we left for a place called Kabareet, higher up the Suez, and we are there yet. We are guarding the canal. We can see nothing around but sand and water, so you will see that we have no chance of having our photos taken just yet, but as soon as we get to a town I will have one taken. We are having summer weather now but it goes very cold at night."
Published in the Reporter 1st April 1916.
"I call myself lucky that I have escaped with the loss of my left leg only. It might have been a deal worse," said Private PERCY TAYLOR, of the Ashton Territorials, son of Mr. and Mrs. G.H. Taylor, of 15, Spring Grove Terrace, Ashton, who has returned home on a short visit after about six months in hospital, prior to having an artificial limb fitted at the Queen Mary Hospital, Roehampton. Private TAYLOR is wonderfully cheery, and does not regret for one moment the price he has paid for his patriotism. In the Reporter for September 25th 1915, an account was published of Private TAYLOR'S injury. A curiously sad feature is that his brother, Lance Corporal ALBERT TAYLOR, is a prisoner of war in Germany, and that although he has not actually lost his leg, as was first stated, it is paralysed, and may eventually have to come off. Lance Corporal ALBERT TAYLOR was in the 2nd Batt. Manchester Regiment. His home is at 32, William Street, Ryecroft. He was wounded in the leg in the early stages of the war, and was taken prisoner. Private PERCY TAYLOR, who worked at Messrs. Cooper and Son's High Bank Mills, enlisted in the 2/9th Manchesters after the war commenced, and was orderly for Captain Prister and Surgeon-Major WHITEHEAD. Whilst at Peas Pottage he volunteered for foreign service, and on July 3rd left Devonport for the Dardanelles with a draft of 250. He was a member of the United Methodist Church, Stamford Street, and took a great interest in the football club. He was a capable and clever player, and well liked by the team. Private TAYLOR gave an interesting account of the way he met with his injury. He was out on September 2nd with a party of 12 digging a connecting trench up to the Royal Naval Division. They were between the two lines of fire from the Turkish and the British trenches. They were digging in the darkness when suddenly the Turks sent a flare up, and they were revealed. "We took cover as best we could, but as it was very flat there wasn't much of it," said Private TAYLOR. "About five or ten minutes passed and the Turks had opened fire, when a bullet went through my left ankle. Gee! it fairly made me sing out. I kept quiet as best I could, although the pain was intense. When I got another flesh wound in my right thigh. I says, 'PERCY it is time for you to shift.' Leaving my pick and shovel, but taking my rifle, and burdened with my equipment, I started to crawl towards where our parapet was. The bullets were singing around all the time. There was some wire, however, in front of the parapet, and I had to struggle mighty hard to get through it. My equipment kept getting caught in the wire, and whilst I was struggling a bullet struck me near the hip. Finally, I managed to get on top of the parapet, and was pulled down into the trench. It was not our battalion, but someone brought the stretchers and bandaged me up. I was taken down to the Royal Naval Division's medical officer, and I learned there that TOM PORTINGTON had been killed, and several were injured, including the officer in charge. The doctor gave me a dose of morphia, but it had not much effect. Whilst at the base I saw ARTHUR FOX, who came down wounded. He said their trench had just been blown up, and he had some of his ribs crushed. Later they took me up on the boat, the Delta. The doctor tried his best to save my leg on the boat, but was obliged to take some of it off below the knee. Finally, I arrived at Netley. I thought I had finished, but another amputation was neccessary, and this time they took it off above the knee, but they have left a fairly considerable stump. My troubles were not over then, for I started with enteric fever, and at one time it seemed all up, but I got better, being on a milk diet for two months." Whilst convalescent, the stump of Private TAYLOR'S leg became painful, and eventually it was discovered that a loose piece of the bone of the leg was working its way out. Private TAYLOR produced a match-box, and exhibited the fragment, which had evidently broken off whilst the surgeon was sawing through the bone. Although his stay on the Peninsula was comparatively brief, Private TAYLOR had an exciting time. "It was sport being in the first line trenches. You had no fatigue to do, and the shells went over you and dropped in the reserve trenches. It used to be great fun watching the French firing the 'flying pigs' or aerial torpedoes. They used to drop right in the Turkish lines, and then the Turks would scatter. Whilst sniping at them I felt something burn my head, and found that a bullet had gone clean through my cap comforter, but had not grazed my scalp. My first day in the trenches was full of events. We were told we were going in the reserve, but we had just sat down when we were ordered to the first line of the trenches. We had not been in the first line very long when a officer came along and pointing to the Turkish trenches, he said, 'You have got to take that. You will not have much trouble, as there are not many Turks in.' On we went sideways, and we could see the Johnny Turks four or five deep waiting for us, and shouting, 'Come on! Come on!' But we only feinted, because it was not really intended that we were to charge, but only to distract the attention of the Turks from another move somewhere else."
Published in the Reporter 1st April 1916.
PHOTO FOUND IN TRENCH.
ASHTON TERRITORIAL SENDS IT TO THE REPORTER.
Private J. BENYON, of D Company, 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment, Ashton Territorials, has forwarded to the Editor of the Reporter a small photo of a young lady, which we reproduced, and states that he found it in the trenches during the fighting in Gallipoli. The name "FLORRIE HALL" is written in ink on the back of the photograph. Private BENYON is apparently of the opinion that it is the photograph of a young lady who resides in this district. If so, the owner may have it on applying at the Reporter Office, Ashton.
Published in the Reporter 1st April 1916.
LOST IN THE DESERT.
ASHTON TERRITORIAL'S ADVENTURE.
Mr. A.C. Brocklehurst, the sanitary engineer of the Denton Council, has received a letter during the weekend from his brother-in-law, Private ERNEST HOPTON, of the 1/9th Ashton Territorials, who is in Egypt. Prior to the war Private HOPTON lived in Turner Street, off Ashton Road, and was a conductor on the Oldham, Ashton and Hyde Tramway Co. He is well known in Hyde district, where his wife and children at present reside. A clever penman, he has executed some capital sketches, and was training in the art of drawing cartoons. Describing his experiences, Private HOPTON write :- " The other day we had a terrific sandstorm, the second we have had since I came here, and I don't want any more, as they are horrible. They make seeing absolutely impossible, and your eyes are choked up with sand, which is very painful, and leaves them very sore, and red rimmed. The other day ( Saturday, Mar. 6th) I had an experience that I shall never forget. I was out with a patrol, and myself and another soldier were told to go out and visit an outpost at midnight. We struck out in the direction we thought was right, and after a few miles march we found that we could not find it. We had lost the trail in the darkness. So we made every endeavour to trace it again, but could not do so, and after hours of searching we found that we were doing nothing in the way of getting back, but were simply walking round in circles. We were indeed lost, and were far off the beaten track. I have read many a time when at school of men being lost on the great Sahara Desert, but I never thought I should myself experience the same. I thought of what I had read, and as serious as it really was I could not help smiling as I am always ready for something fresh to put down in my history. So finding that we were lost, and had wandered farther into the heart of the desert, we thought we had better look for footprints, and we found some, and later, to our disgust, we discovered that they were only our own - we had made them when travelling round in the circle. Then we tried the old fashioned dodge of lying on the ground with your ear to the sand, to see if we could locate sounds. No such luck as sounds - all was as still as the grave. So we gave the job up, and decided to stop in the same place, and just walk around to keep off drowsiness. It was a very queer experience, I can tell you, and one never knows who he is going to run into on those jobs; but we were ready for any surprise, and had some beautiful presents ready for any univited guests that only needed a slight tap to discharge them, and 'then the balloon would go up.' We waited till the dawn, so that we could get our bearings from the distant hills, and after a most wearing trounce we struck lucky, and at last landed back at our post, to the surprise of our men, who had given us up. I may also mention that a young man from another regiment was doing the same duty one night, and strayed out into the desert. By a stroke of luck he managed to guide himself by the moon and sun's positions, and at last struck a post after three days wandering. Had he been lost any longer he would have perished. At the time of writing this letter an Egyptian newspaper man is going round selling the 'Egyptian Mail'. They can speak only a little broken English, and the soldiers tell them what to shout. It is a common thing to hear them shouting out, 'Engleeze papiour, velly good vellygince, and sweet,' or else 'Good news, Boar War over;' and also 'Good news; Titanic sunk.' The Egyptian and Arabs try and be very friendly with the English Tommy, and some times call out to him 'Sae'eda,' meaning 'How are you?' 'Good morning,' and 'Ma cigarette baksshech,' which means 'Give me a cigarette for nothing.' Fancy giving one of those sons of darkness a cigarette. You can smell their bodies a mile off. Talk about Moses being in the bull rushes in the Nile. Some of the natives could do with dipping in the Nile, and a small amount of Jey's fluid added as a beautifier. They sit on the ground catching lice by the thousands and do not seem to have any idea of real cleaniness. Of course, I am referring to the barge men, and the men who man the 'dows,' and other kinds of cheap labour, but their teeth are excellent, and shine like pearls. I have also sampled Egyptian bread, but I don't like it at all. It smells fusty, is like the unleavened bread of the Jews, and goes bad after a day's time."