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The Great War News from Lancaster in 1914

22nd August 1914

War News

Amateur Sentry

At the Judges’ Lodgings on Wednesday James William Thompson was charged with being drunk the previous day in Chipping Road, Ellel. PC Barrett said he was drunk and calling on people to halt, while he told cyclists to put their lights out. – A fine of 10 s. or 14 days was imposed by Mr Garnett.

Lancaster a Prison Centre

The Lancaster Wagon Works have been prepared this week by a Nottingham Contractor for the reception of German prisoners – those who have been detained by the authorities and not allowed to return to Germany. A company of the 3rd Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers (Special Reserves) arrived on Thursday to take charge of the prisoners. Barbed wire has been freely used around the walls of the building, and the railway enables trains to go straight to the works.

Recruiting Brisk

The announcement that General Sir Archibald Hunter KCB, Lancaster’s honorary freeman, will command the division of “Kitchener’s Army” at Salisbury Plain will be gratifying to recruits. Up to Thursday about 550 had enrolled in the new battalion of the King’s Own at Lancaster. The old Town Hall is utilised as a recruiting station and presents a busy appearance. A motor-car is used for country recruiting. Squads of the new recruits daily receive instructions from NCOs in the barrack fields. On Wednesday night a batch of 170 men left for Salisbury Plain, singing on their way to the Castle Station. They will receive six months training.

Territorials for Active Service

Lord R Cavendish’s Message to Lancaster

Amid the sweltering heat of the mid-day sun, there were stirring scenes in Lancaster on Friday, when the 5th King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment were under orders to leave for the South of England. They had unanimously decided to volunteer for active service while mobilised for home defence, and were brought home for medical examination on Wednesday, proceeding to the old Wagon Works to “await orders”. They had not long to wait, as telegraphic orders were received during Thursday night for the men to proceed to the South for a convenient centre for further instructions. Leaving the Wagon Works shortly after noon on Friday, they marched through the town to the Castle Station. A tremendous crowd awaited them on Green Ayre and in Parliament Street, and the streets were lined right up to the station gates. The men were in most cheerful spirits, and repeatedly burst into song. One or two were overcome by the heat, but their “comrades in arms” helped them forward.

As the men descended the south side staircase on to the platform they were greeted by the Mayor and Mayoress of Lancaster (Councillor and Mrs Briggs) Mr Noel Briggs, Sir N W Helme MP, Mr and Mrs R N Helme, Mrs Croft Helme, Miss Smith, Alderman R Preston, Mr Lloyd Evans, Mrs Bruce, Councillor C F Seward, Mr E Sharpe (Halton Hall), Mrs G W Sharpe, Mr and Mrs T Cann Hughes, Rev W George (Kendal), Mr A W Hunt, Alderman G Jackson, Major F B Bell, Mr S Wright (Morecambe), Mrs Bingham, Miss Atkinson, Mrs J Atkinson, Miss D Seward, Miss Stanton, Chief Constable Harriss, and Inspector Roocroft. Captain Seward is under orders to remain in charge of the Headquarters while the battalion is on service.

Colonel Hibbert and Major J H Bates supervised the entraining of the men, which was carried out by Mr H M Stones (superintendent), Mr J H Thurstan (engineer) and Mr J Brooks, (stationmaster). Two trains were required to convey the men and equipment to their destination, eight men taking a carriage. Some of them carried mascots – one have a teddy Russian bear (perhaps made in Germany) with the tricolour of France wrapped round in, as well as a Union Jack. The men were desperately thirsty. Friends on the platform filled their water bottles, while a good trade was done in aerated waters, toffee and chocolate. The officers of the battalion are: Colonel Lord Richard Cavendish, Major J H Bates, Major E C Cadman, Captain and Adjutant Young, Captains Keen, Sharpe, Wright, Atkinson, Eaves, Seward, Fawcett, Bingham, Lieutenants Carter, Parsons, Milnes, Simpson, Deed, Preston, Mather, Lloyd Evans, Second Lieutenants Seward and Coupland, Lieutenant and Quartermaster Hodkinson and Sergeant Major Snelson.
The first train left the station amid much cheering at 1.5 pm and the second at 1.35 pm detonators being again placed on the line in front of the officers carriage. The men responded heartily to the cheers. Lord Richard Cavendish gave our representative a farewell message to the Lancaster people “As I have just told Sir Norval Helme, Lancaster has done quite splendidly. We are now over strength as a Battalion, 900 men having volunteered for active service. Many more wishing to join, but we have no room for them at present. The response to the nation’s appeal has been quite satisfactory. As far as we are able, without betraying any secrets, we shall let you know how the Battalion gets alone.”
There were many pathetic farewells between officers and men and their families on the platform, and the men appreciated the promise of the Mayor that their families or dependents would be provided for.

German Sailors become Prisoners of War

At Lancaster Castle on Saturday, Wilhelm Mattensen, and Hermin Schletur, two well built German sailors of the SS Chloris (Glasgow) which put into Glasson on the 7th August were charged with failing to register under the Aliens Act. They said they did not know a state of war existed. Superintendent Scott said the man had no vouchers and had no residence in England. He asked that they be handed over to the police escort to be sent to a Military prison. The Chairman (Mr Garnett) said they would be discharged and the police would be asked to take them to a military prison as soon as possible. They were removed to Queensferry later in the day.

Royal Lancaster Infirmary’s Offer to the Government.

A special meeting of the General Committee of the Royal Lancaster Infirmary was held on Saturday to consider what number of beds could be placed at the disposal of the Government. After much considerations of the problem, it was decided to offer 30 beds to the Government. This was possible by turning the day rooms into hospital wards, and temporarily utilising other rooms. An offer by the Friends’ Hall Committee, to allow the Friends’ Hall on Fenton Street to be fitted up as a hospital was gratefully accepted. By transferring inmates of the women’s ward from the Infirmary to the Friend’s Hall, it will be possible to make a complete hospital there, for there are rooms which can be utilised for nurses, and there are facilities for cooking, etc. The Committee at once, after accepting the offer of the Friends’ Hall, decided to intimate to the Government that the offer of 30 beds might by increased if necessary by 12 or 16 more.

Scholars to Help with Harvest

Mr W Garnett, (chairman of the South Lonsdale Education Committee), announced at Lancaster Castle on Saturday, that during the crisis like the present when the harvest was ready to be cut and gathered as quickly as possible, it was absolutely necessary to free as much labour as possible in the district, in which the committee administered the elementary schools. No. 2 area of the County, comprising 37 schools, The Committee therefore wished it to be known that all the farmers who have harvesting to do could employ children on their farms, and parents would not be prosecuted for absence from school during such items as the children were bona fide employed in harvesting. He hoped that the fine weather would continue and that farmers would take advantage of it to the full extent. A farmer could he was reminded by Mr Smith, also employ children of neighbours.

Ten special constables employed by the Manchester Corporation to watch their pipe line from Thirlmere were sworn in at the Judges Lodgings before Messrs J W Pickard and R Smith on Monday.


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