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The Great War News from Lancaster in 1914

5th December 1914

War Items

Recruits at the Barracks

No bantam Battalion has yet been suggested in connection with the King’s Own. Recruiting is going steadily forward. On Saturday night 47 men left Bowerham Barracks to join the 9th Battalion at Seaforth. On Tuesday 15 recruits left; also 14 men who were returning to the colours after furlough. On Wednesday night 45 men left for the 9th Battalion at Eastbourne, and 30 men departed on Thursday for the same place. There have been about 150 recruits this week. The Tramways Committee of the Lancaster Corporation could help the comfort of the men going on their long railway journey if they provide a car to take them to the Station on wet nights.

Hero’s Death

The death from wounds in one of the base hospitals, on November 5th, is reported of Sergeant E Howard, of the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, a native of Charlesworth, Derby, and whose home was in Taylor Street, Hurst, Manchester. According to a Depot Order, in recognition of his bravery, was awarded by the King the medal for distinguished conduct in the field. The circumstances were that a Meterin on October 13th, when within 200 yards of the enemy in the open, noticing that the twelve men on the left of his platoon were not firing, though he shouted to them to carry on, he crawled along the line at very great risk to make them do so, but found that the twelve were dead.

Sir N W Helme MP and Soldiers Dependants

At a meeting of the Trades Council, on Thursday night, a letter was read from Sir N W Helme MP, in answer to the resolution urging a minimum grant of £1 per week to soldiers dependants, and a weekly wage of £1 to soldiers and sailors, as follows:-

Dear Sir,
I thought it better to delay acknowledging your letter until I had attended the meeting of Parliament. You would see from the report that a general desire exists to arrange for a more generous provision for widows and dependants, but that a competition of proposals should be avoided in the public interest. It is so easy to develop this. A Committee representing all parties will sift the matter, and, it is hoped, bring in a proposal which will meet with general acceptance. I think the last sentence of your letter is out of harmony with the splendid efforts being made by members of the Labour party, and which Mr Henderson, in his excellent speech today, expressed his intention to continue to secure recruits. The loyal response has not been based on any mercenary bargain, but we must do our best for those left behind.
Yours truly,
Norman W Helme.

Comforts for Soldiers in our Midst

Several people in the town have been thinking for some weeks now about the soldiers stationed at the camp for German prisoners on Caton Road, and wondering if anything could be done to supply them with a few comforts at Christmas time. Their offer of gifts suggest the scheme of providing every soldier in the camp with some gift, which we in conjunction with our contemporary the Observer ask the aid of our readers to carry successfully through. Before taking any steps the offer of gifts was laid before the commandant by one of the honorary chaplains, and he received the following reply:-

Place of Internment for Prisoners of War,
Lancaster, December 2nd, 1914
Dear Mr. - - The kind offer of comforts for the soldiers of the guard here from people in the town is highly appreciated, and I wish to thank you on behalf of the men for the kind thought of the donors. Yours sincerely
J H Ansley, Commandant.

The men belong to the National Reserve, and are almost all too old for the Front. They are performing a great national service under anything but comfortable circumstances. Their duties are exacting and trying, and they are in need of woollen gloves and sleeping helmets almost as badly as the men in France. The weather has been very trying to many of them whilst on night duty, and a pair of gloves to cover their hands when carrying the rifle would be a great boon. The sleeping camp is exceedingly draughty, owing to immense size, large doors, etc. A sleeping helmet would protect the head and aver much discomfort and colds.

We therefore earnestly appeal to our readers to help in securing these needed comforts for each soldier. The men at the Front deserve everything we can send them, but we should not neglect those at home who are performing trying and dangerous service. We would like to be able to give every soldier at the Wagon Works a Christmas pudding. Then it would be nice to present them with a piano to relieve the monotony of the camp. The prisoners have pianos, provided them by their German relatives and friends; surely our own men should be supplied with an instrument to enable them to while away the house when they are not on duty – hours that are often dull and tedious.

We ask for an immediate response to our appeal. The smallest subscriptions will be welcomed, and will be acknowledged through out columns.

Those who can knit helmets and gloves and prepare puddings should start without delay. The gloves only require the thumb finger, and the helmets only need to cover the head. We appeal to all to help in this most deserving scheme.

The Boy Scouts and the King’s Own.

To The Editor of the Lancaster Guardian.

Dear Sir, The proceeds from the sale of the old newspapers this week will be devoted to providing “Christmas Cheer” for the soldiers of the King’s Own at the front.
We are anxious to collect a large quantity for this worthy object, and shall do our best to cover the whole town, but if some houses are missed we should like anyone who has not been called on up to 5 pm, to kindly send their parcels to our collecting centre, the Old Town Hall.
Any kind of old papers, periodicals, or magazines, clean or dirty are acceptable.
Yours truly.
The Boy Scouts
Lancaster, 2nd December 1914.

The Value of Miniature Rifle Shooting

To The Editor of the Lancaster Guardian

Sir, In the course of a letter recently received from one of the Lancaster “Pals” Battalion, now undergoing musketry training, the writer says:-
“The shooting all round was quite good. The instructors and sergeants say they have never seen recruit shooting like it, and most of us are equal to, if not better than the majority of the trained men of the battalion. We naturally feel very proud about it.”

A large number of the “Pals” were members of the Lancaster Rifle Club, and the shooting above referred to is an excellent tribute to the value of the practice they obtained in the use of the miniature rifle. If those who are unable, owing to business or other reasons, to take any active part in the defence of the country, would only take the opportunity that is affordable in Lancaster, and make themselves proficient in the handling of the miniature rifle, success with the service weapon, when occasion demanded, would speedily follow.
Yours truly,

New King’s Own Commander

Lieutenant Colonel Joseph I Bonomi, has been gazetted commander of the 10th Battalion, King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, under date 13 Nov 1914. He has been on the retired list for sometime, but is well known at the Depot.

A Reservist’s Keenness.

Private H Chappell, of the King’s Own Royal Regiment, reported killed, was a reservist in Canada when the war broke out and came home. He arrived in Lancaster at 10 am and was off to join his regiment at 3 pm the same day. Chappell won the challenge shield as long distance runner when serving in the regiment.

“Non-Coms” Recommended

There is a move to give commissions to non-commissioned officers. Amongst those recommended at Bowerham Depot are: Sergeant Major Macer, Royal Marines Artillery (with 22 years service); Company sergeant Major Booth, Company sergeant Major Smith, and Company Quartermaster Sergeant Barron.

Ex-Grammar Schoolmaster a Prisoner

An intimation has been received at the Lancaster Grammar School, that Second Lieutenant W Balshaw, of the Manchester Regiment, has been taken prisoner at the front. He was the “Schoolhouse” Master prior to the outbreak of the war.

Soldier Family – One Missing

Mr and Mrs Butterworth, of Green Street, Bulk, have five soldier sons, and have received an intimation that one of them, William Butterworth, of the York and Lancaster Regiment, is reported missing. The other four are: George in the Scots Guards; James in the 5th King’s Own; Christopher, in the 3rd King’s Own; and Hugh, in the 5th King’s Own. They are old “Nashy” Boys. William Butterworth is a reservist, and his wife resides in Albion Street, Bulk.

Morecambe Reservist Killed

8478 Private G Austin of the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, reported killed, was a reservist, and resided at 53 Edward Street, Morecambe, with his wife. A baby was born when the war broke out. He returned form India two years ago after completing his ten with the Colours, and had still three years to serve on the reserve. Latterly he had been employed on the dredger at Heysham Harbour. Austin was only married 14 months ago. His wife has been notified that he has been killed in action at the front.

In the London Gazette of Monday:

To the 8th Battalion, King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, the following appointments are gazetted: To be temporary Lieutenant:- E L Barnes, E W S Bardsley (son of the Vicar of Lancaster), L F Colebrook, C A Robinson.


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