GM 1914

The First World War in Greater Manchester


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War Time Friends: Zeppelins over Wigan

hp

Black and white photograph of Harper Street, Wigan where Mr and Mrs Tomlinson were killed during zeppelin raid.

Recently my mother, born 1921 in Wigan, met a friend with whom she worked at the ROF Chorley (Euxton) during the Second World War. She had not seen her friend Megan, now aged 91, for around 50 years but they had corresponded by letter and had spoken on the telephone. They had both worked in the wages department at Euxton calculating pay by hand, making up wage packets in cash and distributing them to workers on the ammunition sections.

The reunion brought back memories of a letter sent to mother by Megan, from one of her friends with the name of Carson who had lived in Wigan. Megan originated from Walton-le-Dale and the letter recounted a visit to Friedrichshafen by the Carson’s whilst on a holiday in 1976.

The letter from Mrs Carson relates to an air raid on Wigan by a Zeppelin in 1918. It reads:

‘At about this time our interests had turned to family history research. My husband had been born in Wigan, on 11 April 1918 prior to a Zeppelin raid on the town during the night of 12/13 April when a bomb had fallen on land adjacent to his uncle’s farmhouse… thankfully there were no serious injuries to any members of the family, but others less fortunate, in Wigan were killed.’

The visit to Friedrichshafen by the Carson’s included the Zeppelin Museum where they discovered the following about the raid: ‘Five Zeppelins based at Wittmundhaven were ordered to attack England on 4 April but bad weather forced this raid to be cancelled; then on the night of 12 April with more favourable conditions forecast the raid was given the “go ahead”.

Our particular interest centered on the airship that arrived over Wigan. This we discovered from museum records was the German Airship Number L61 which had been built at Friedrichshafen in Factory Shed 2. In length it measured 644ft 8ins; its diameter was 78ft 5ins, whilst its height was recorded as 91ft 1in. It had been powered by five Maybach engines. On the occasion of this raid it had been under the command of veteran flyer Herbert Ehrlich; it had carried a bomb load of 6,600 pounds, including four bombs of 660 pounds each, over their intended target Sheffield.

Once over the English coast the weather took hold, squally rain, low cloud and later when flying at 20,000ft an east-north-east wind was encountered making it impossible to hold the correct course, and Sheffield, completely blacked out, was missed.

Eventually a well-lit area came into their sights and was assumed to be the correct target, but in fact was Wigan. The town had received no air raid warning and the blast furnaces from the Wigan Coal and Iron Company were throwing up a glow into the night sky. Fifteen bombs were released on the town killing seven people injuring a further twelve and causing damage estimated at over £11,600. The last bomb dropped, the four 660 pounders fell in open fields, damaging cottages and causing further injuries.

zep

Black and white photograph of Cecil Street after zeppelin raid at 11pm.

Airship L61 made it back to Wittmundhaven and to shed ‘Willie’ in spite of engine trouble and an encounter with Flying Boat Number N4283 crewed by Captains G. E. Livecock and ‘Bob’ Leckie. During hostilities it had been engaged in ‘scouting’. It was finally decommissioned in August 1920. Commander Herbert Ehrlich died in December 1921 without knowing he had missed the most prized target in middle England.’

This Zeppelin raid and others over Lancashire are detailed by Peter J. C. Smith in his book Zeppelins over Lancashire published in 1991. The book confirms the raid and illustrates the route of the raid over Wigan. Smith writes: ‘Continuing northwards, Ehrlich soon spotted a glare from the six blast furnaces of the Wigan Coal and Iron Company (known locally as ‘Top Place’) at Kirkless on the eastern out-skirts of Wigan, where no warning of an impending air raid was given. Ehrlich could perhaps be forgiven for mistakenly entering in his log that he had bombed Sheffield rather than Wigan.’

Smith gives the tally of five dead and nine injured from local information. Was the discrepancy from the German accounts influenced by war time propaganda I wonder?

The reunion of two war-time friends after 50 years has certainly brought to light the bombing of Wigan and other recollections that I did not know about and made me conscious of the changing face of Wigan, of air power and of communications. It makes me realise how important our local industrial heritage and history is and that we should not forget it.

This blog post was written by Dennis Holland, and was originally published in Past Forward – Wigan’s local history magazine.

References:

  • Peter J. C. Smith, Zeppelins over Lancashire, 1991
  • http://www.wigan.gov.uk/archives
  • PC2013.84 – Black and white photograph of Cecil Street after zeppelin raid at 11pm. Wigan Archives & Local Studies.
  • PC2013.86 – Black and white photograph of Harper Street, Wigan where Mr and Mrs Tomlinson were killed during zeppelin raid. Wigan Archives & Local Studies.


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Elizabeth Ann Anderson – a Suffragette at War

This blog post was researched and written by Lois Dean, a volunteer at Bolton Museum and Archive.

A photograph album in Bolton Archives records the First World One activities of the local branch of the Women’s Relief Corps, which was set up in September 1915 by school teacher and Suffragette, Elizabeth Ann Anderson.

Suffrage Badge belonging to Elizabeth Ann Anderson

This badge belonged to Elizabeth Ann Anderson.

Elizabeth was born in Darcy Lever, Bolton on 18th November 1890, the youngest child of George and Caroline Anderson.  Before moving to Bolton, her parents had been schoolmaster and mistress of a small school in Davenham, Cheshire, so it was hardly surprising that Elizabeth decided to teach also.

The 1911 census finds her as a trainee teacher at Whitelands Training College for Teachers in Chelsea. The principal, Clara Luard, had probably attended Croydon High School for Girls where the headmistress Dorinda Neligan was very active in the early Suffragist movement.

Dorinda must have influenced Clara’s thinking and she in turn probably influenced Elizabeth Anderson, who returned home to teach physically handicapped children in Manchester and became a Suffragette, selling the newspaper ‘Votes for Women’ in Bolton town centre.

The First World War gave women the chance to prove their worth and Elizabeth, already a member of the Manchester Women’s Relief Corps, was invited by the Mayor of Bolton to form the town’s own branch.

In an article in the Bolton Journal in 1973, Elizabeth recalled how 200 women joined almost immediately, giving up evenings and weekends to train in drill, morse code, bugling, drumming, first aid and home nursing at Clarence Street Council School.

Elizabeth got the chance to put her own first aid skills into action in September 1916 when Bolton was bombed in a Zeppelin air raid. She leapt out of bed and ran down the lane to the Fire Station where the WRC kept a first aid kit, catching the last fire engine as it left.

Nose cone of Zeppelin bomb dropped on Bolton

Nose cone of a bomb that was dropped on Bolton in an air raid on 26th September 1916.

She recalled, “I remember seeing men in nightshirts shinning up lamp posts to put out the gas lights which were still burning and when we reached Kirk Street, where the Zeppelin had dropped bombs, there was a huge mound of rubble from which firemen were rescuing bodies.”

Elizabeth could not see any of her fellow Corps members, but she was shown into an empty cottage and a child was brought in with her eyes, nose and mouth filled with plaster.

“To my horror, I found there was no water, the mains had been cut off because of flooding, so I grabbed a teapot and used the drop of tea inside. I then charged round all the cottages, collecting the tea from the pots on the hobs.”

She was relieved from her duties at 6am by a female doctor and by 8am was on the train to Manchester to begin her day’s teaching. She later discovered that her fellow WRC members had been forming a cordon to keep people away from Kirk Street and then spent the day helping the injured.

After the war, Elizabeth turned her full attention to her teaching, opening a number of schools for handicapped children over the next 40 years. She never married, but travelled widely in the UK and Europe.  She died in 1983 in Bolton, at the age of 92.

Photographs from Elizabeth Anderson’s WWI album can be seen in the ‘Bolton Remembers the First World War’ section of Bolton Library and Museum Services website.

References:

Photograph album – www.boltonmuseums.org.uk/archives/first-world-war-centenary/firat-world-war-collections/elizabeth-andersons-photograph-album/

Interview with Bolton Journal, August 1973 – newspaper cuttings (ref. B8 p202), held at Bolton History Centre

www.ancestry.co.uk – various family records relating to the Anderson family.

Clara Georgina Luard – ‘Daughters of the Anglican Clergy’ by Midori Yamaguchi (https://books.google.co.uk/books?isbn=1137315741)

Dorinda Neligan in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online – http://odnb2.pubfactory.com/view/article/52262/52262?docPos=22


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Women’s Peace Letter

This blog was written by Dr Alison Ronan of MMU about an exciting project that will be taking place in the near future researching the Women’s Peace Crusades.

Open Christmas letter from the Suffragettes of Manchester

In the first winter of the First World War – in 1914 – a number of women from North West England signed the Open Letter to the Women of Austria and Germany in a gesture of sisterhood and solidarity. The letter was instigated by Emily Hobhouse, a Quaker activist who had highlighted the plight of Boers in the South African concentration camps during the Boer War, and she used her contacts across the suffrage, pacifist and socialist networks to get support for the letter. The letter appeared in the radical press in early January 1915. Over 100 women signed it and most of them went on to become involved in the British Committee of the Women’s International Congress, the organising committee for The Hague Conference in April 1915.

I could identify some of the women who signed the letter as they were to emerge in Manchester as the core of opposition to the war. They were discovered through the minutes and papers from the local branches of anti-war organisations. Amongst them were the uncompromising independent councillor Margaret Ashton, whose anti-war stance was to have personal and professional repercussions for her during the war; the passionate Scottish socialist Annot Robinson; and the young socialist and anti-conscription activist Lilla Brockway. There were the Knutsford suffrage women like Julie Tomlinson and Minnie Hoffman, and local suffrage activists like Dorothy Smith (nee Darlington) who had been the energetic organiser of the Manchester and Salford Suffrage Society, alongside another signatory Margaret Hills (nee Robertson).

One of the Manchester signatories was a woman called Marguerite AC Douglas. I had not heard of her before. I couldn’t find any reference to her in the suffrage papers nor in the 1911 census for Lancashire. Was she a suffragist? Or was she involved in the trade union or other campaigns supported by Ashton? Was she evading the 1911 census? There is no mention of her in the wonderful book about some of the women who signed the letter, Doers of the Word by Sybil Oldfield, which is an inspirational and humbling publication. However there is nothing left about how the letter was signed or passed on so I imagined women would talk to like-minded women and encourage women in their local networks to sign it. It all seems to have been done in haste.

I could find nothing about the elusive Marguerite Douglas and put her to the back of my mind.
But then, just when I was thinking about something else completely …

In July 2015 the local archivist and I were discussing a small exhibition we are planning about Margaret Ashton and her role in the city council. The exhibition spans her election as the first Manchester woman councillor in 1908 until she was edged out because of her anti-war views, by the end of the war. One of the committees of which Ashton was a member was the Midwives Supervising Committee, a subcommittee of the Health and Sanitation Committee. (Ashton was instrumental in setting up a dedicated hospital for babies, with Manchester’s first woman doctor, Dr Catherine Chisholm in 1914.) The archivist had unearthed the original minute books for the Committee and there in the minutes for 1915 was a Dr Marguerite Douglas!

AliRonanBlogphoto-3

Margaret Hills (standing) , Margaret Ashton (left) and Helena Swanwick (right) at a suffrage debate before the First World War

What serendipity! Marguerite Douglas had moved to Manchester from Norwich, where I found her in the census working in a Norwich city centre infirmary in 1911. She had come over from the Cape Colonies where she was born in 1881. And in 1915 she was working as a medical officer for the Public Health Office in Manchester alongside the city’s health campaigner and champion Dr Niven.

I still need to do more research about her – did she know of Emily Hobhouse’s campaign from her days in South Africa? Why did she move to England? When did she come to Manchester?

For July 1915 it is minuted that she intends to marry. Did she? And to whom?

All this has made me think of the complex network of women activated by the Open letter in 1914 and how these women brought different campaigns and knowledge into the wider arena of opposition to the war.

Does anyone know any more about Marguerite Douglas? Please get in touch!

Dr Ali Ronan can be reached on alironan61@gmail.com


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Gunner Vivian Coryton

This blog was researched by Julie Lee, Volunteer at Trafford Local Studies.

Gunner Vivian Coryton

 

It is stated that 40,000 signatures have been affixed in Manchester to the petition to the Home Secretary against the sentence upon Gunner Coryton..”

This tiny paragraph certainly caught my eye in the 25th April 1919 edition of the Altrincham, Bowdon and Hale Guardian. What could this WW1 soldier have done to provoke such a response from the post-war Mancunian public?

—————————-

Vivian Coryton was born on 2nd May 1881 in Lancashire. He was the son of a banker, a very respectable profession, and the 1891 census shows that the family  had a cook and a housemaid.

However, it seems Coryton was something of a spirited man, as in 1905, aged 23, he was fined a total of £11, 1s. for “furiously driving a motor bicycle he might have been going at forty miles an hour”(1) In November 1907 he married Mary Annetta Webster, and the 1911 census shows Vivian and Mary living on Cross Street, Ashton-on-Mersey, both working as tobacconists.

Census

The 1911 Census showing Coryton & his wife

Then in 1914, the First World War broke out, and Coryton enlisted in 1916, aged 35. He was a Gunner in the Royal Garrison Artillery.

When on leave in April 1917, Coryton returned home in the early hours of Sunday 22nd April. There he found another man, Walter Davies, in bed with his wife.  An argument followed, and Mrs. Coryton restrained her husband while Davies fled. After 24 hours’ deliberation (2), Coryton turned up at Davies’ house and started firing at him with a revolver as he fled.  Davies escaped unharmed and Coryton was arrested. Coryton showed no remorse: After describing the incident he concluded “It was deplorably bad markmenship’” (3) However, he was acquitted and returned to the Front until the end of the war.

Clearly unhappy about his wife’s actions, Coryton’s Army Pension records show that he applied for the stoppage of separation allowance in May 1917.

Pension Record

Coryton’s British Army Pension Records, 1914-1920

In January 1919, yet to be discharged from the army following the end of the war, Coryton was again on leave. Once again he sought out Walter Davies. Davies was still involved with Coryton’s wife; now living with her and taking her money. Enraged, Coryton pursued Davies once more and after firing several shots, he wounded Davies in the side before he was arrested.

The charge was now attempted murder. At Coryton’s trial, the judge asked him about the incidents in 1917:

“‘Do you suggest that in April 1917, you fired at Davies?’

[Coryton]: There is no suggestion about it. It is a well-known fact. Unfortunately I missed him.” (4)

Coryton, who was undefended, continued to protest:

“‘I have done nothing I am ashamed of.. The law provides no real punishment for scoundrels like this. If one values the honour of one’s home one has to take the law into one’s own hands and put up with the consequences.’” (5)

This time, Coryton was found guilty and the Judge was keen to “fight the notion of the unwritten law” (6): that is that a soldier is entitled to take the law into his own hands. “’.. I treat you as rather a poor, misguided fool, with a villainous temper. Still, as a warning to you… and as a warning also to other people the punishment must be a substantial – even a severe – one. You will go to penal servitude for seven years.’” (7)

Gunner Coryton launched an appeal to the sentence, and garnered a huge amount of support from sympathisers in Manchester who had provided him with money for legal assistance this time. But the appeal was rejected:

“..Mr. Justice Bray said the verdict arrived at was the only one under the circumstances. This was not an unimportant case, because there had been several instances of this kind of case. It was necessary for the Court to lay down that under no circumstances was a soldier.. to take the law into his own hands..” (8)

Nat Fed

Member’s certificate for The National Federation of Discharged Sailors and Soldiers (http://www.legion-memorabilia.org.uk/badges/founder.htm)

A few days later, it was estimated that between 1,200 and 1,500 men (the majority of whom were soldiers) assembled in Manchester to discuss how to secure the release of Coryton. There was even talk of petitioning for a change in the law to punish men who broke up homes. (9)The National Federation of Discharged Sailors and Soldiers (later to become part of the Royal British Legion), prepared a petition to be presented to the Home Secretary. Three weeks later, it was this petition that reportedly contained some 40,000 signatures.

In July 1919 the case was put before the Home Secretary. He was asked “whether he is aware of a strong feeling among discharged soldiers that this man’s crime was due solely to an erroneous belief in the existence of what is called the unwritten law..” (10) The Home Secretary declined to intervene, and Coryton remained in prison.

Medal Roll

WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920. Note in the “Remarks” column, the medal “forfeits”

 

Coryton’s campaign medal was subsequently forfeited and I have not yet been able to trace any records relating to him after 1919, until his death in 1943 in Manchester aged 61.

The case drew international press interest from as far afield as Singapore and New Zealand (11).  The huge amount of support both from hundreds of ex-soldiers and the 40,000 signatories is a powerful reflection of the strength of feeling and support for a soldier who left his home and family, and gallantly went off to fight for his country.

 

Sources used

1http://search.proquest.com/hnpguardianobserver/docview/474470389/91DBF74B77FD4F6BPQ/9?accountid=17169

2 Altrincham, Bowdon and Hale Guardian, May 4, 1917, Pg. 6

3 ditto.

4 The Manchester Guardian (1901-1959); Feb 20, 1919; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Guardian and the Observer Pg. 9

5 ditto

6 The Manchester Guardian (1901-1959); Feb 20, 1919; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Guardian and the Observer Pg. 9

7 Altrincham, Bowdon and Hale Guardian, 21st Feb., 1919 Pg. 4

8 Altrincham, Bowdon and Hale Guardian, 1st April, 1919, Pg. 4

9 The Manchester Guardian (1901-1959); Apr 7, 1919; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Guardian and the Observer Pg.9

10 http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/written_answers/1919/jul/14/manchester-assizes-sentence

11 reported on in the Auckland Star, Jun 30, 1917, and The Singapore Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), May 22 1919, Page 10


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Women’s Peace Crusades 1916-18

This blog was written by Dr Alison Ronan of MMU about an exciting project that will be taking place in the near future researching the Women’s Peace Crusades.

The Women’s Peace Crusade 1916-1918 spread like wildfire across the country

So why haven’t we heard of this series of spontaneous demonstrations? Thousands of women went on to the streets to protest about the war and the need for a peace to be negotiated. They carried banners, wore armbands and sung! The Crusades were co-ordinated by women from the Independent Labour Party and the Women’s International League across the country after the Somme and the first Russian revolution. There were over a hundred crusades across Britain and there was a dedicated column in the Labour Leader after May 1917 which was edited by socialist Ethel Snowden and gave news of the Crusade to its readers.

We want to look at local Crusades in the North West in more depth – Manchester, Oldham, Bolton, Burnley, Accrington, Nelson and Blackburn.

Were they reported in local papers?

Are there any surviving images?

Or more handbills – like this one found in the John Rylands Library?

peacecrusades

Do you have any information about the crusades or would you like to be involved as a volunteer in this exciting project? Contact Dr Alison Ronan via e-mail at: alironan61@gmail.com


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Christmas Greetings from Oldham Prisoners in Germany

At Christmas 1914 the Mayor of Oldham, Councillor William Lees, received a postcard from Germany. On the front were the words: ‘Kriegs-Gefanjenen Sendung’ and the address ‘The Mayor of Oldham, Clarksfield House, Lancashire, England’, while on the reverse side were the words: ‘Englander lager, Ruhleben – Spandau, Germany’. The card was a Christmas message from Fred Watson a civilian prisoner of war, barrack 10, Ruhleben camp near Berlin:

Wishing you a Happy Christmas and a Brighter New Year from Fred Watson, Fred Holland, Herbert E Travers, Ernest Woodcock, Harry Holland, Richard Williamson, Frank Eckersley, Fred Sterndale, William Low, Edwin Wallwork, British civil prisoners of war.

 Ruhleben was a German interment camp established in September 1914 on a former harness-racing track at Spandau near Berlin. It was used to house non-German civilian internees who had been working, on holiday or resident in Germany at the outbreak of the war. At its largest in February 1915, there were 4,273 internees living at Ruhleben and about 2,000 men spent all four years of the war there.

Many of the Oldham men had been employed by Messrs Platt Brothers as fitters. One of them was working in Leipzig at the beginning of the war:

When war broke out, instead of receiving twenty-four hours’ notice to leave the country he was arrested on leaving the mill and marched to the police station. After a time he was liberated, and along with his wife and daughter attempted to cross the frontier, travelling by way of Hanover. Posing as Dutch people they reached the frontier where, unfortunately, German officers discovered their nationality. After this he underwent three weeks’ solitary confinement at Hanover before going to Ruhleben.

At Ruhleben the prisoners were accommodated in the stables and hay lofts. Each stall was ten-feet square and slept six men with 200 men in each hay loft. There were no blankets or bedding and no change of clothing. Rations were poor and some prisoners grew food with seeds obtained from Kew gardens.

On arrival at Ruhleben things were in an awful state. The ground was under water and everyone had to plod through it to get to the kitchens to get food. A typical day’s menus was – Breakfast: coffee and a piece of black bread; mid-day: turnips cut up into cubes and made into soup; evening: coffee and a piece of black bread. Without parcels sent to the men many would have died. At first they were put into the stables with no heating apparatus. Each stable was formerly hole for 27 horses and became home for 250 men… All the men were made to stand in the open three or four times a day and in all kinds of weather whilst they were counted. Things did improve when the civilians were able to take matters in hand, but all the improvements were made by them not by the Germans. When outside of the huts there was only the railing round the camp to gaze upon, and several of the men suffered from nervous trouble.

In Ruhleben the Lancastrians formed themselves into a ‘Ruhleben Lancastrians Association’ under the chairmanship of Walter Butterworth who was connected with Manchester Art Gallery. In early 1915 he supplied a list of members which included the following local men:

Fred Holland, 17 Plough Street, Oldham

Harry Holland, 17 Plough Street, Oldham

William Lowe, 113 Robinson Street, Chadderton

Fred Sterndale, 49 North Street, Oldham

Fred Watson, 116 Burlington Avenue, Oldham

G. Williams, 14 Minton Street, Oldham

Woodcock, 121 Edward Street, Oldham

Wallwork, 121 Edward Street, Oldham

E Travers, Atherley Grove, New Moston

Many of these men were members of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers (ASE). The Oldham Branch of the ASE was voluntarily levied to provide comforts for members, and in addition to what allowance the employers make the dependants the union also paid a grant. Parcels were sent to the internees and in August 1916 a letter was published in the Oldham Standard addressed to Asa Schofield, secretary of the Oldham district of the ASE, from the Oldham men in Ruhleben:

The members of the Oldham branches of the ASE interned in Ruhleben met this morning and unanimously expressed a desire to thank you for the very kind manner in which you have aided our wives. We are helpless to aid them ourselves, and our anxiety has been relieved by your generosity, which is worthy of our sincerest thanks. Perhaps you are aware that correspondence from this side is limited, so a collective letter will, we hope, answer for us all. We also desire to express our thanks for the parcels which have been sent from headquarters. We are all enjoying fairly good health, but the monotony of enforced idleness get’s on one’s nerves. It may interest you to know that we have a Ruhleben branch of the ASE comprising between 70 and 80 members. They meet every second Thursday, and have well attended meetings. We were photographed a few weeks ago, and the group makes a good picture…Perhaps you will be able to pick a few Oldhamers out…

George Mellor, No 1 branch

Herbert E Travers, No 2 branch

Richard Williams, No 2 branch

Fred Holland, No 2 branch

Harry Holland, No 2 branch

Fred Sterndale, Chadderton branch

Fred M Watson, Hollinwood branch

Ruhleben_0008

A photograph of the Oldham men was posted to the Oldham Standard by Fred Sterndale, appearing in the paper on Saturday 16 September 1916. Left to right – Top row: W. Lowe, J. Gresty, H. E. Travers, R. G. Williams, F. Lowe Middle row: George Mellor, F. Watson, J. Hewitt, F. Sterndale Front Row: F. Holland, W. Hewitt, H. Holland

At Christmas 1916 the Oldham men held a Christmas party:

 We had no turkey or geese to dismember, but we ‘killed’ two tins of rabbit and made rabbit pie. We also had tinned Christmas pudding and tinned fruit. Christmas Day to the men was merry and bright. TO pass three Christmas Days in a concentration camp is a sore trial, but we do our best to cheer one another up, and this little party of ours passed of as pleasantly as if it had been served in the Savoy Hotel. For instance, the cooking by Brother Hall was worthy of the Savoy chef. Fred has altered wonderfully since he used fruit salts to make his pastry rise. And when Brother Williams brought the pie from the cookhouse everyone who saw it envied it and admired it. After the ‘banquet’ your letter was read and discussed, and the toast ‘Best wishes for the ASE’ was proposed and drunk in tea. Other toasts besides the one mentioned were proposed, including that of ‘A merry Xmas to our parents, wives, and children,’ which was proposed by Brother Mellor. It created a sentimental feeling, which was noticeable in the eyes of all. During the evening each in turn gave one or more of his experiences, either at home or abroad.

The men were destined to spend another Christmas in Ruhleben before their eventual release in November 1918.

 

Thanks to Sandra Ratcliffe for writing this great blog post. 

References:

Oldham Standard
Oldham Chronicle


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Bury at War: Christmas 1914

Take a look at this excellent blog post from buryatwar about Christmas in 1914 both at home and at war.

Bury's Great War

With help from our newspaper archive, we discover fascinating insights into how Christmas was celebrated 100 years ago both for the people at home in Bury and for family members who were serving in France.  

British soldiers in the trenches. From the Woodcock Collection/CfCC British soldiers in the trenches. From the Woodcock Collection/CfCC

Christmas Eve in 1914
Stars were burning, burning bright
And all along the Western Front
Guns were lying still and quiet.
Men lay dozing in the trenches,
In the cold and in the dark,
And far away behind the lines
A village dog began to bark.

Mike Harding

By December 1914 both the Allies and their enemies had suffered tremendous casualties. With so many battalions savagely depleted, replacements were desperately needed and in the weeks running up to Christmas the local press advertised the need for more recruits.

Article from The Bury Times October 31st 1914. Click the image to read full size. Article from The Bury Times October 31st 1914.
Click the image to read full size.

Bury Recruitment Poster/Bury Art Museum Bury Recruitment Poster/Bury…

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