King's Own Royal Regiment Museum


Museum & Collections
Contact Us

17th Century
18th Century
19th Century
20th Century
First World War
Second World War
Actions & Movements
Battle Honours

Further Reading


© Images are copyright, Trustees of the King's Own Royal Regiment Museum.
 You must seek permission prior to publication of any of our images.

The Great War News from Lancaster in 1914

3rd October 1914

War Items

Seven Special Constables were sworn in at the Castle on Saturday.

Colonel A C Bolton has been appointed to command the 7th Battalion of the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment in the Furness district.

Major Thorne, formerly in charge of the Bowerham Barracks, has returned to duty, and along with Major Every Halstead and Major Paton is assisting Colonel Duffin.

On Friday afternoon, the “Soldier’s Wife” Company, who are performing at the Grand Theatre, at the request of Mr Braithwaite (manage) gave a capital entertainment to the recruits at Bowerham Barracks.

Mr Joseph Hartley, BA, gave his lecture “My visit to Paris during the War,” in the St. John’s Schoolroom on Tuesday night, before an appreciative audience. The Rev J L Gamble MA, presided.

Mr J W Aldous’s Choir gave an exceedingly successful concert at Bowerham Barracks on Wednesday night, when a large number of recruits were present. A capital programme, including a section of Dr Walford Davies’ patriotic part song “England” was given a very effective rendering.

Another Royal Lancaster Officer Killed

Among the officers reported killed in East Africa on Monday was Lieutenant (local Captain) E G M Thornycroft, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment. He was gazetted second-lieutenant of the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment on August 16th, 1905, and Lieutenant on November 2nd 1907. He was selected for service in Africa, and became a lieutenant (local captain) of the 4th Battalion (Uganda) King’s African Rifles on December 30th, 1909, and company commander on May 30th May, 1912.

The Home Defence Battalion

Amongst the recruits of the new Home Defence Battalion of the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment is Mr Spencer E. Barrow, architect, honorary treasurer of the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, and a member of the Society of Friends. Major J W Wearing JP and Captain Herbert Satterthwaite have returned to the colours, and are drilling with the Home Defence Battalion, who have had several route marches this week. There are still a number of vacancies which must be filled before the battalion can relieve those going on foreign service.

Forthcoming Patriotic Concert

Mr J P Johnson, of Kendal, the well-known musical entrepreneur, has just received intimation from Madame Clara Butt and Mr Kennerley Rumford that they have decided to give the whole of the nett receipts of their forthcoming concert at Lancaster, to be held in the Ashton Hall on November 25th, to the Queen’s Work for Women Fund, and other War Relief Funds. A generous offer which still be heartily appreciated by the residents in the town and district.

A Revolver Swagger:  Sequel to Sentry’s Challenge

On Monday, at the Borough Police Court, before the Mayor (Councillor W Briggs) W Sharples, E Caldwell, W Hamer, J Moore, and E G Smith, Esqrs, Alfred Wood, draughtsman, 11 Cromwell Road, was summoned for carrying a revolver without a licence on August 8th – Mr Nevillr Holden defended, pleading guilty.

Chief Constable Harriss explained that the delay in issuing the summons was due o the fact that the County Council were the taxation authority responsible for sanctioning prosecution. The facts of the case were out of the ordinary. On the morning of August 12th, Special Constable Robert Threlfall, who had since joined the “Pals” Company of the 5th King’s Own, was on duty at the Vale Bridge, and challenged the defendant, who very foolishly produced a revolver, saying he could do something with it if he had cared. He wished to warn those who thought the duty of the guarding bridges was in the nature of a play, that it was an important public duty imposed on him by the Chief Officer of Police in the district by the War Office. The way the men of Lancaster had rallied to his assistance to help to perform the duty was beyond all praise. It was not a pleasant duty guarding a bridge all night and watching hour after hour. Reports from other parts of the country showed that it had been attended with risk. Probably the defendant did not mean anything, but a man of his years ought to have known better. These special constables were doing their duty absolutely voluntarily, and were thus saving the town’s exchequer a considerable sum. He hoped that as a the result of the case the public would see that the duty of special constables was no light matter. If the defendant had been shot, the guard could not have been blamed.

Private Robert Threlfall, “Pals” Company of the 5th King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment gave evidence in support of the above statement.

Mr Holden for the defence, expressed regret at what had occurred. Defendant had had the revolver eight years, buying it in a job lot. He had been cleaning it, and a friend called. He place the revolver in his hip pocked and forgot about it. Then he went on a cycle ride, and was returning home when they regrettable incident happened. He had already been punished by the consciousness of his folly, and would not be likely to forget it. He apologised to everybody for what he did.

The Mayor said the defendant stood in a very bad light, producing a revolver in the face of a man who, as a special constable, was sworn in to guard the railway. Such conduct could not be allowed, and to mark the enormity of the offence defendant would have to pay a fine of £5 and costs, including the expense of the witness from Didcot. They could compliment the sentry on the way he used his judgement. If the defendant had been on the Great Western Railway he would have been shot dead had he done such a foolish thing. In default he would have to go to the Castle for a month.

Private Robert Threlfall, number 2176, 1st/5th Battalion, King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, killed in action on 27 May 1915.

The Wagon Works Prison

Last weekend a change was made in the personnel of the guard employed to protect alien prisoners at the old Wagon Works. Hitherto the work has been done by a strong detachment of the 3rd Battalion, Welsh Fusiliers (Special Reserve), but a considerable number of the Fusiliers have now been transferred elsewhere, their places taken by a company of the National Reserve from Manchester – a very fine type of old soldiers. A company of the Lancaster National Reserves Battalion is in training for similar service either at the Wagon Works or elsewhere. On Sunday some of the prisoners began squabbling amongst themselves, with the result that four of them were brought before the Commandant, and ordered three days solitary confinement, the police cells at the Town Hall being loaned for the purpose.

The German Prisoners

On Tuesday, about 107 German and Austrian prisoners at the Detention Camp, Caton Road, were transferred to the Isle of Man Camp. They are reported to have been the better class prisoners.

The Rev M Cadlwell (President) and the Rev J Marcus Brown (secretary of the Free Church Ministers Fraternal) visited the Prisoners of War Detention Barracks, Caton Road, on Wednesday forenoon. The Commandant has appointed them Chaplains to the Free Church section, and it will be their duty to conduct a weekly service and render such spiritual help as is desired.

New Royal Lancaster Colonels

Amongst the appointments to command battalion of Earl Kitchener’s New Army, the Gazette includes the name of Lieutenant Colonel Geo W C Knatchbull, late of the Indian Army, to the 6th (Service) Battalion, vice Major H P Creagh-Osborne, who was, up to the outbreak of the war, commander of the Bowerham Depot.
Major Thorne, who was formerly attached to the North Lancashire Infantry Brigade, has been appointed a Colonel of a new King’s Own Battalion.



Only a proportion of our collections are on display at anyone time.  Certain items are on loan for display in other institutions.  An appointment is required to consult any of our collections which are held in store.

© 2014 Trustees of the King's Own Royal Regiment Museum