1914 PAGE 4



Published in the Reporter 2nd January 1915.

Private THOMAS PICKFORD, of the Ashton Territorials, now in Egypt, writes to the editor of the Reporter - "Dear Editor, It gives me great pleasure to let you know how we, the 9th Battalion Manchester Regiment, are faring in Egypt. We get copies of the Reporter sent to us from our homes in and around dear old Ashton, and they are very welcome, as we can see what is going on in the old town, and see the letters you publish from our dear friends and brothers at the front. I am only sorry we are not in the firing line, as I can assure you the 9th would give a good account of themselves. Every man here is well disciplined and trained "up to the fanlight." All praise must be given to Colonel WADE and staff for getting the men in such physical condition. It has been an arduous task, and he deserves all praise, and we are a credit to Ashton. We are quite the idols of Egypt for cleanliness and discipline. We had a lot of slur from other regiments, but we are getting over the top of them for smartness. There were over 30.000 Australian troops landed here this week, and they are a smart lot of fellows. There are several old Ashtonians amongst them. They praised us the other day as we came marching into barracks after a hard morning field operations, and the manner in which we marched, headed by our splendid band, which was playing as well as any band in Egypt.  All the boys in our mess wish you Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year".



Published in the Reporter 2nd January 1915.


Private 2067 JOSEPH C. SWINDELLS, who was employed at the Reporter Office, and is a member of the Ashton Territorials left with the battalion for Egypt, writing from Cairo on December 19th to the proprietors of the Reporter, says: - "I have had plenty of pickets and guards to do, and correspondence galore to answer. For the last five weeks I have been in the hospital with scarlet fever. I expect being out before Christmas. I have not done any firing yet, but nearly all the other chaps have. They went to Abbassia ranges, about four miles out of Cairo, camping out on the desert. A Company was the first Company to go, and then B Company did no guards, as they were doing musketry, leaving C and D Companies to do all the guards, some of the chaps doing them every other night, but as soon as one Company came back they had to do their share. The whole battalion are stationed at Abbassia Barracks, doing brigade training. They went on the 13th December, and are due back at Kasr-el-Nil on the 31st, when they have done brigade training. I think the 9th Battalion will be ready to have a go with the Germans or the Turks. Taking the life on the whole, I think it is a fine thing. I know I am enjoying myself. Please remember me to the men and boys, not forgetting the girls, hoping you are in the best of health, and wishing you and all the staff a happy and prosperous New year."  



Published in the Reporter 2nd January 1915.


Sergeant G. MELLOR, of 248, Church Street, Ashton, writes to his mother and sister: - "Just a line to let you know I am going on all right. We leave here tomorrow, December 16th, for 14 days, so that we shall spend Christmas away from what is now our home. The weather has gone a bit cool here, but is not as cold as it is in England. We are now wearing our English serge. They keep having rumours out about us coming home to be equipped and go to the front, but I shall believe it when I see it in orders. Everything is quiet here; in fact, if it was not for the newspapers we should forget there was a war on. But they keep us in hard training, and if we are not fit to fight when the time comes it will not be for want of drumming sound."



Published in the Reporter 16th January 1915.


A brief account of the doings of the Territorials during the Christmas festivities is contained in a letter received by Mr. William Adams, builder and property repairer, Smallshaw, from his son, Bandsman Pte. 1316 WILLIAM ADAMS, who is stationed with the battalion.  He writes: - "Many thanks for the Christmas presents. I am pleased to say we have had a pretty good Christmas, taking it all through. On the Wednesday before Christmas we went on parade at one o'clock in the afternoon, and marched about 10 miles, followed by tea on the desert, after which we got down for the night. It is very cold here at night. We have had several night marches until about midnight. Christmas Eve was like an ordinary night, but on Christmas morning about 6am, our band formed on the Barrack Square, and played the Christmas Hymn, which was appreciated by all the men. We had dinner altogether on the Barracks Square, and a fine time it was, as we had turkey, roast beef, potatoes, sausages, Christmas puddings, fruit, and minerals. So you see we had a fine spread after all. Our photograph was taken as we sat at the tables. The band played whilst the men were having dinner. On Boxing Day sports were held for the troops in Cairo, so I played with the band there all day. Last Sunday I went in a large Mohammedan mosque, and it was fine.  Whilst out on one of the night parades we saw a star which looked almost like an electric light. It was described as the 'Star of Bethlehem.' It was the sight of a lifetime. We have seen many fine sights, including the Pyramids and Sphinx, and many of the great buildings and curiosities."

The 9th Battalion Drum & Bugle Band. Drummer HARRY WOLSTENHOLME holding cymbals. Front row, first left, Drummer ROBERT LANDERS.



Private 2188 WILLIAM G. COLLIER, of Wimpole Street, Ashton, who is one of the 9th Manchesters, writes from Cairo: - "We had a fine Christmas here. The dinner was grand. I am having the time of my life. There are some sports here today (Boxing Day), and "Ti" CROPPER has entered for the 100 yards race. "Ti" CROPPER is a corporal now. Talk about the army being 'rotten,' I am not sorry that I joined the Territorials. We have been having a hard time with the training, but we finish with it next week, and then it will be O.K."