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1915 PAGE 9



Headlines of the Ashton Reporter 31st July 1915.


Published in the Reporter 31st July 1915.

The first Ashton Territorial to arrive home from the Dardanelles is Company Quartermaster-Sergeant WILLIAMSON, who arrived at his home, 74, Union Street, Ashton on Wednesday afternoon. He was given a right hearty welcome by the neighbours and friends. Flags decorated the houses. Soon the news of his arrival spread like wildfire, and wives, sweethearts and mothers came from various parts to see if he could tell them the latest about their loved ones. Company Quartermaster-Sergeant WILLIAMSON was wounded in the shoulder on July 5th, and landed in England on Saturday. When seen by a Reporter representative shortly after his arrival, he was surrounded by his wife and children, who could not tear themselves away from 'Daddy'. His face was quite bronzed, and despite his wound, he looked remarkably well. "I am only sorry I have only seven days leave," he said. "The boys of the 1/9th have done splendidly. Even now, though they are tired, they are game, and their spirit good. From Egypt we went to Kantara into the trenches there, and some of the boys saw a little fighting. However, after many rumours as to our destination, we landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula about May 8th. As our ship neared the Peninsula a heavy bombardment was in progress, and evidently a big battle was taking place, and as we neared, we watched with keen interest from the ship. We landed about 5 o'clock on the Monday, and had not been ashore half an hour when we received our baptism of fire. A huge 'Jack Johnson' shell, fired by the Turks from the Asiatic side, dropped about 500 yards away. About four more came shrieking overhead during the day. The following morning we went to relieve the Naval Brigade, and to give them rest. We received our first taste of rifle fire. We relieved them for one day, and on coming back we were shelled with shrapnel, but fortunately there were no casualties in the 9th. We came back and dug ourselves in for safety. Here we suffered our first loss, ANDREW GEE, being killed by a sniper. We kept going alternately from the dug-outs to the trenches, and at one period we were in the trenches for 19 days at a stretch. I was with A Company, and although we supported the charge on June 7th, in which Captain HAMER and Lieut. STRINGER fell; we did not take part in the affair. At that time we were all together, but the whole line did not go forward, but those on our left, next to us. We poured lead into the Turks during the charge, in which our boys never faltered. They captured the trenches, but owing to an enfilading fire, they had to retire. We went back to the dug-outs for a rest, but parties went out helping in the work of sapping. A number of casualties occurred. It was seldom the sapping parties returned without one or more having been hit, and even when 'resting' we were always under shrapnel fire. About the week before I was wounded, on July 5th, I believe it was on a Monday, but we lost count of dates - there was a very heavy bombardment on the enemy trenches by the British and Allied forces, and again we advanced on the left. The advance was remarkably well done, and three lines of trenches were taken. A and B Company were with the Inniskillings, and C and D Companies were with the Borders and Royal Scots. We left the Inniskillings and went into the trenches again. The Ashton lads soon got used to the warfare; in fact, the Inniskillings gave us a good name and were surprised to see how well we behaved under fire. Poor Lieutenant JONES never felt his wound. He was dead before he fell to the ground. All the officers have behaved gallantly, and we much missed those who fell. I think there is a possibility that Lieutenant WADE is alright, we did not hear of all the casualties. Of course, when a man falls wounded in a charge he makes his way as best he can to the nearest dressing station. An Ashton Territorial might find his way to the lines of the 6th Manchesters, or the East Lancashires, and he is sent from there to hospital, and the news would then filter through slowly to us. The warfare out there is developing into bomb warfare, although, thank Heavens the Turks have not yet started to use gas. At first we used to advance to within 50 yards of the enemy's trenches and dig ourselves in for fear of mines, but now we chance the mines and raid the trenches. Lieutenant FORSHAW, who was with A Company, left us, and Lieutenant A.W.CONNERY who took his place as second quartermaster at the stores, was hit in the mouth with a piece of shrapnel. It was hard work, and we suffered from want of sleep. At night every second man was on sentry, and every man stood to arms at dawn and dusk. We tried to sleep during the day in the trenches, but the heat and the flies - which bred fast from the decomposing bodies of the Turks, were too much. The flies were awful. The first lot of Turks we saw were fine, big fellows, but towards the latter end, the physique of those we saw was much inferior. One day, when some of the other battalions charged, the Turks left their trenches and came in a sideways direction towards us. Sergeant SPURRETT and one of our machine gun gunners named SHUTTLEWORTH, did good work and accounted for a lot of Turks. There has never been anything to equal the accomplishment of the 29th Division and the Australians. They landed under terrific fire, and although they were mown down and had to cope with barbed-wire entanglements, they won through, and they deserve every word of praise they have received. How was I wounded? On July 5th, we were in the 6th line of trenches behind the firing line. Evidently the Turks were celebrating one of their religious festivals, for during the night they gave us a heavy bombardment, My Company, who had been on fatigue, came in about 2 or 3 am, and I was just taking their numbers prior to issuing the rations, when the Turks commenced to advance on our right, and a bullet went through my left shoulder, right through my back, and went into my right shoulder. One of the men in our front trench dressed it with his field bandage, and another man assisted me to the field dressing station, and finally I was taken on to the hospital ship which lay off the shore for about five days until she filled up, and then we sailed to Lemnos, where we disembarked a number of wounded Sikhs and Gurkhas. We went to Malta, and from there to Gibraltar, and finally arrived at Portsmouth early on Saturday morning, after disembarking at Southampton; the hospital train took us to London, and then we were taken in taxis to the 3rd London General Hospital." "Were there any more Territorials with you?" "I believe Corporal TOWNSEND and Private HAUGHTON came on board at Lemnos." C.Q.M.S. WILLIAMSON was employed prior to the war at Messrs. Williamson's Printers, Ashton, and had been in the Volunteers and Territorials for about 15 years. 

Published in the Reporter July 31st 1915.


Turks Knocked Over As Quickly As They Come Up.

In a letter to his mother, Mrs. Slater, late of the Ashton Steam Laundry, Katherine Street, Ashton, but now of 12, Clifton Street, Private J. SLATER, of the Ashton Territorials, writing home from St. Andrews Hospital, Malta, says that he was shot in the leg on July 5th, and that a friend, CHARLIE KENNA was wounded three weeks previously, being hit in the shoulder. "When I was shot on July 5th. I was just having a nice wash", he writes, "the first for five days. I suppose the Turks thought I had no right to have a wash. I can't grumble as I have shot a few of them, so I am quite content. When I was shot the bullet stopped in my leg and I had to have it cut out. When we landed at Malta, ladies gave us cigarettes, biscuits, sweets, etc. CHARLIE KENNA was wounded about three weeks before me. I don't know where he has gone to. They send us up and down anywhere. I don't think the war can last long with the Turks. They are losing some men, I can tell you. They come up in thousands, and we knock them over as quickly as they come. We were in a Turkish trench we had taken. It was full of dead Turks just covered with dirt. I slept on them for a week, and they did not half stink. We have lost a lot of men. I think I have done my bit for my King and country".

Published in the Reporter 31st July 1915.


Private WILLIAM HENRY HALL, of 48, Hill Street, Ashton, has been wounded in a peculiar manner while fighting with the Ashton Territorials in the Dardanelles. Writing from the hospital at Alexandria to his father, who is employed at the New Moss Colliery, he states that he was wounded by a “pick”. He does not explain how the affair happened. But his injuries are not regarded as serious. He joined the Ashton Territorials during the recruiting boom at the beginning of last year, and at the time was employed as a piecer at Park Road Mill.

Published in the Reporter 31st July 1915.


Lieut. E.L. SELLARS.

Lieut. E.L. SELLARS, of Audenshaw, has this week returned to his home from the Dardanelles, where he has been amongst some severe fighting. He has come through unscathed, but has strained himself and received an internal injury. The doctor ordered his removal to the hospital, but Lieut. SELLARS appealed to the doctor to patch him up so that he might go on fighting. On further examination it was found that an operation was neccessary, and when it was hinted that he might be sent to Rome to a new hospital fitted up by a rich countess, Lieut. SELLARS remarked, "I prefer Hooley Hill to travelling to Italy." As a result of his request he was brought on to England, and arrived at his home, Centenary Terrace, Hooley Hill, on Wednesday night. On Thursday afternoon he went to Manchester to make arrangements for being operated upon. Interviewed on Thursday evening, Lieut. SELLARS said : "Except for my internal injury I am feeling all right, especially seeing as I have faced such heavy fighting in the Dardanelles. I was out there just over two months, and from the first day to the last we were at it all the time. You never have any rest, and the sound of shot and shell still rings in my ears. The Turks, after saying their prayers at night, used to go for us with rifle and shell fire. One night we heard the Turks chanting their prayers, and no sooner had the music ceased than the air was sent by rifle fire. The enemy crept up on their knees, we waited their arrival, and then followed a bayonet charge in which we cleared all the lot off. I was stood looking towards the retiring Turks when I saw a dark figure in the gathering gloom approaching towards me. It proved to be a Turkish sniper, but I brought him over before he had time to get clear of the brushwood. On my journey home I came across one of our officers who had shot a sniper, who afterwards proved to be a Turkish woman dressed up in uniform. The enemy are very big on sniping, and we had to be smart in clearing these snipers off. Before I left we were only a few yards from the enemy, a distance of 20 yards separating our trenches, but neither of us could move in the day time; all the work had to be done at night. Our trenches were shelled by their artillery, and then the Turks rushed forward to attack, but the brave British Tommies stood firm, and beat them off. We followed them with the bayonet right up to the wire fencing, and by some means or other I got clean through, but all the Turks had either been killed or fled. I always carry my camera with me, and it occured to me to take a snapshot of the vacated trenches, which I did. I brought the plate home, and hope to develop it later. Had there been more men to follow up the success we should have gained at least 1000 yards, for as far as I could see with the field glasses there were no Turks or trenches. We had a fright one night, but my men kept their heads in a most wonderful manner. The Turks crept up, stabbed the guards and outposts, and worked round the back of us, and opened fire. I ordered a bombarding party to be formed, and by means of bombs and grenades we cleared the Turks out. My men fought bravely, and fully maintained the chief characteristic of a British soldier - bulldog tenacity. They never give up, and when they appeared to be pushed back they held on in spite of losses. I lost a faithful servant who has been with me since I started. He said he would never leave me, he would follow me anywhere, and when he was killed just behind me I was very much distressed. Here is a piece of Turkish shell I have brought from the battlefield. When this and other burst against us ten men were buried, but it was a real miracle that more of us were not hurt. I was hurled into the air, and yet only received a few bruises on the legs. In the cavity made by the shells, 20 men could easily sit down. We called the Turks' big gun "Gallipolian Bill." and one of the guns across the straits "Annie from Asia," which usually sent her shell from a gunboat." 

 Describing the geography of the Peninsula, Lieut. SELLARS, by means of maps, showed where they had been fighting near Achi Baba, about six miles from the most southern point near Cape Helles. The beach smooth, but the ground suddenly rises up and offers splendid defensive positions for the enemy. Most of these have been carried at the point of the bayonet, and the British and French forces are now well established in the centre of the Dardanelles. "The Turks are led, as a rule, by German officers, who are most cruel to the men. They drive them forward at all cost. I saw a sample of German brutality. The German officer was belabouring a Turkish soldier most unmercifully. Had I been near him he would have tasted cold steel or something else, but I was out of range of rifle fire. The Germans are a mean lot. We took a German officer prisoner, and he demanded that he should ride down to the ship. Tommy said to him, "You have got to walk, like us," whereupon the German spat in his face. I was glad our soldier kept his temper in face of such a cowardly action. The Turks are a fine sample of a soldier. They are not ignorant, but well educated. Some of them can speak good English, while in build and physique they are a splendid set of men. One day the Turks dressed some of our wounded men and then sent them back to us to take charge of. They display splendid qualities of fighting, but, like the Germans, they will not face the bayonet. I have the greatest confidence in our men and in our general to carry successfully through the Dardanelles campaign. I am certain we shall accomplish our purpose. Our men are in grand trim, and they never give up. My only regret is that my injuries prevent me from helping them for some time to come."

Published in the Reporter 31st July 1915.



Sergeant GEORGE TURNER, C Company, 9th Battalion Manchester Regiment, whose wife and family reside at 19, Shaw Street, Dukinfield, has been wounded in the fighting on the Gallipoli Peninsula. Writing from the Government School Hospital, Port Said, Egypt, June 25th he says - "We have been very busy lately. I expect you know the battalion is fighting the Turks at the Dardanelles, and it is not half a war. I don't know how soon it will be over, but we have lost half the battalion already, and we have only been there (illegible) weeks, so you can tell what it is like. We had a big dust-up on the 18th June. We did a bayonet charge, and took one of the Turks trenches, but they soon got us out again. We had a terrible time of it. They started throwing bombs, and one piece of shrapnel caught me in the back. The fumes were terrible. They got me down, as I am now in hospital, far away from the fighting line. We are being treated like lords. We have the best of everything. I put my trust in God, and I think He was at my side when I was wounded. Don't be downhearted; I am not, and let us hope and trust the war will soon be over. Tell the boys at the pit (New Moss) that I am doing well, and hope to be with them again some day". Sergeant TURNER is an old Volunteer and Territorial, having been with the battalion over 18 years, and was with the regiment throughout the Boer War. 

Published in the Reporter 31st July 1915.


The difficult nature of task before the Allied troops is outlined in a letter received by Mr. John Broadbent, 143, Cotton Street, Ashton, from his nephew, Corporal HARRY TRUNKFIELD, 1/9th Battalion, Manchester Regiment, Territorials, who has been wounded at the Dardanelles. He writes from the Convalescent Camp, Alexandria, Egypt, as follows : - " We have a very hard task to face on the Peninsula, much greater than the people of England realise, in the taking of Achi Baba. Achi Baba is a hill not much unlike Hartshead Pike, but much higher, and each side is in touch with the sea, and it has about seven miles of rugged country in front of it, which gives the Turks a commanding position. When it is light they can see the smallest body of troops moving almost anywhere. Behind the hill is a line of forts which pour shells on us all the day. Machine guns are used by the score, I am sure they have one for every six men. Never mind what they have, we mean to drive them out, and when we get to Achi Baba peak we shall be landed, and then the rest will be easy. When this future success is accomplished every soldier on the Peninsula, or who has been there, will go mad with joy; but let me say we shall have paid very heavily for it. You will probably know about me having been shot by the beastly Turks, but I am glad to say I am getting quite fit again. It has done me a world of good to get a change of clothing, and a good and well earned rest away from the awful stench of the dead in and about the trenches. Many a score have not been buried, just because the Turks won't let us. It surprises me that no disease had broken out. When I left the general health of the troops was very good. We have all been inocculated, and that makes a very great difference compared with past wars. Of course, you know we enjoy ourselves very much in the trenches. We get used to the life, just like everything else, except getting shot. We make almost as much noise as we like in the daytime. but in the night, not an unnecessary word must be spoken. Like everywhere else we have to meet the Germans, and I am sure the Turks wouldn't do half the sneaky tricks that thay do, if it wasn't for the Germans. We just want to get hold of them, and the rest may be left to the imagination." 

Published in the Reporter 31st July 1915.


Private GEORGE ASHTON, of the Ashton Territorials, has written home to 101, Moss Street, Ashton, from St. Georges Hospital, Malta, stating that he was wounded on June 24th at the Dardanelles. He was shot through the arm. He was employed at Mr. R.Noblett's leather works, Audenshaw. He wrote - "I dare say you will have seen in the papers what good work the battalion has done. I can assure you the Ashton lads have done well. The people of Ashton cannot help but be proud of them".

 Published in the Reporter 31st July 1915.


Hit With a Bullet Near the Left Eye.

Mr. and Mrs. Tom Roebuck, of 71, Peel Street, Ashton, have received the following letters from their son, Private WALTER ROEBUCK, of the 1/9th Battalion, Manchester Regiment: - “Victoria College Hospital, Alexandria, July 3rd, 1915 – I am in hospital wounded. I was sat down at the bottom of the trench when I was hit with a bullet just under the right ear, and the bullet came out in the corner of my left eye, causing me to lose a large quantity of blood. My chum called out for stretcher-bearers, and I was removed to the nearest dressing station, which happened to be our own. ERNEST was there as usual with pencil and paper, booking the cases down as they were brought in, and he seemed rather surprised to see me being carried in. I was roughly dressed and then I was carried to the field hospital, where I lay for the night. The following morning I was taken over to the hospital boat, and sailed to Lemnos, where we picked some more wounded up, and then went on to Alexandria, landing on the 24th of June. I was hit on the 5th. By the time we got to Alexandria I was able to walk, and I was beginning to feel myself improving. We got off the boat and into motor cars, and we were taken to the Victoria College Hospital, where I am at present, having fine treatment and plenty of good meals. I went under an operation on the 26th, and had two or three stitches put into the corner of my eye, and now I am getting on splendid. My bed chum on the right happened to be JACK CONNOLLY, of Crescent Road. He had been hit in the side, and he told me Sergeant TURNER (19, Shaw Street) had been wounded in one of the charges. Excuse the writing as I have only one eye to be going on with”. In a subsequent letter he wrote: “ No doubt you would be surprised when you got my last letter stating that I was wounded, and you will perhaps be more surprised to hear that I am coming home. They have done all they can for me, and the sister says she does not think I shall be able to see with it. I shall be well on my way home now. It might be eight or nine weeks before I get home because I shall have to go into hospital. I will let you know as soon as I land”. Private ROEBUCK is in his 19th year, and in civil life was a piecer at the mill of the Park Road Spinning Co. He is on the roll of honour of the Old Chapel Sunday School, and was a bugler in the Boys Brigade.

Published in the Reporter 31st July 1915.


Lance Corporal Armitage Shot Through the Wrist.

Writing on July 16th from St. George's Hospital, Malta, Lance Corporal FRED ARMITAGE, the well known footballer, says - " Just a few lines to say I have been wounded. Don't worry over me, as I am being well looked after at St. George's Hospital, Malta. I got hit just above the wrist with a bullet. It passed straight through my arm. When the wound is dressed every morning it causes intense pain. I don't half go through it. I was hit on the 9th of July. We are receiving every attention at Malta".

In last week's issue of the Reporter there appeared an interesting letter from Lance Corporal ARMITAGE, in which he described his experiences with the 9th Battalion Manchester Regiment (Ashton Territorials). He had then been in the firing line for three weeks, and had not had his clothes off for two months. Lance Corporal ARMITAGE was a great favourite with the Mossley crowds. His clever work on the football field as a halfback player was noticed by other clubs. He turned out with Hurst and Hooley Hill teams, while he learned much of his cleverness when a member of the Dukinfield St. Mark's eleven. His parents, who reside at 188, Guide Lane, Hooley Hill, have during the week answered many enquiries respecting their son's wounds; also they have received many expressions of sympathy and goodwill.

Published in the Reporter 31st July 1915.


Ashton Youth Struck By Bullet in the Ankle.

Private HAROLD TAYLOR, aged 21, of the 1/9th Battalion, Manchester Regiment, of Charles Street, Ashton, has been wounded while in action in the Dardanelles, a bullet having struck him in the ankle, while he has also strained himself. He had been employed at Jones' Sewing Machine Works, Guidebridge. He had been in the Ashton Territorials about four years. He is the son of Mr. Thomas Taylor. Private TAYLOR is now in hospital in Alexandria.

Published in the Reporter 31st July 1915.


Lance Corporal WILLIAM BURKE, aged 21, of 19, Stanley Street, Ashton, was reported in an official letter received on Monday to be 'dangerously ill'. He was in hospital in Alexandria. He had been a carter in the employ of the London and North-Western Railway Company at Oldham Road Station. He had been in the Ashton Territorials for about four years, and his time had expired just on the outbreak of the war. A brother, HARRY BURKE, in the 2/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment, is now in Sussex. His uncle, named HARRY RIDLEY, brother of his mother, is in the Lancashire Fusiliers. He left Ashton for Australia about three years ago, but on the outbreak of war he returned to rejoin his regiment, leaving behind a wife and four children. He has had an exciting time at the front, having been twice gassed, buried twice under the debris caused by exploding shells, and has been wounded in the shoulder. Another relative, TOM RIDLEY, of Welbeck Street, Ashton, is in the Royal Army Medical Corps, and is now in the Dardanelles.

Published in the Reporter 31st July 1915.


Ashton Territorial Who Had Been in Trenches 22 Days.

“He was as good a lad as ever walked” remarked the grandmother of Lance Corporal JOE DUTTON, aged 19, of 48 Hertford Street, Ashton, of the 1/9th Battalion, Manchester Regiment, who has been wounded in the fighting in the Dardanelles. He is the son of Mr. Joseph Dutton, a platelayer on the tramways. In a letter home, written for him from the hospital at Alexandria, he says that he has been shot through the right wrist, but not seriously, and is getting on A1. He said that they were in the trenches for 22 days, and had just come out and gone to take a dip in the sea. He afterwards went to the trenches again, and he got wounded on June 24th. Lance Corporal DUTTON was a piecer at the Guidebridge Spinning Co. Mill, and had been about three years in the Ashton Territorials.

Published in the Reporter 31st July 1915.


Both Belonged to the Ashton Territorials.

Two brothers, Private JOE JACKSON, and Private JOHN JACKSON, of Gartside Street, Ashton, have been wounded in the fighting in the Dardanelles. Both belonged to the Ashton Territorials.

Private JOE JACKSON, writing to his parents on July 1st said - " I got wounded about a week ago. We were being relieved when I got hit. But never mind, better luck next time. Don't let the wound trouble you, for I only got hit in the left arm with shrapnel, not badly, it could have been worse". Private JOHN JACKSON, in a letter written on July 4th says - "I am sorry to let you know that our JOE got wounded, but I heard that it wasn't serious. I daresay he will have written to you by the time you get this letter, as he was hit three days before I got to know. I also got slightly wounded myself about a fortnight ago, and I am down at the base doing a lot of grave digging now. I haven't seen JOE for about three weeks, and I don't expect seeing him again for a bit, as he has left here. I suppose you will be surprised to hear that TOM COOPER and R. JONES have arrived here, and they have been down here about four days, and I have been able to have a word with them. Tell Downhills that GEORGE DOONAN is reported missing. We have been together since we left Ashton, and he told me he knew them, so I thought I would let them know. He was in a bit of a charge, and he hasn't been seen since. I daresay you are getting plenty of news about us in the Reporter".  

Published in the Reporter 31st July 1915.

Ashton Territorials Hard Hit, But “Stuck it Well”.

Private HERBERT WILLIAM LEECH, of 8. Bengal Street Hurst, who is in the 1/9th Manchester Regiment, Ashton Territorials, which he joined when the war started last year, writing to his parents, who live at 28, Delamere Street, North, Ashton, states that he is in good health, and that although the Ashton Territorials have been hard hit, they have stuck it well. He says, - “It is a very hard position to take, but time and patience will bring success. Will you send me the Reporter every week?”

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