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1916 PAGE 2



Published in the Reporter 29th January 1916.


Mrs. John Green, 46, Hamilton Street, Ryecroft, Ashton, Mr. Green, who is the caretaker of the Ryecroft Independent Chapel, received an official notice from the War Office on Friday. The circumstances in which Private 2446 GREEN met his death are described in the following letters received from two of his comrades :- Dated 20/12/1915, "Dear Mr. Green, I can't put into words how much I am sorry and regret to send you a sad and painful letter, but I think it is my duty, and the only thing I can do for my lost, sleeping comrade, and that is your beloved son ALEC, on December 19th. There were about 40 of us ordered to attack and to take a crater which a mine was to blow up. But to our surprise when we got to the Turk's trench there was no crater. When we got into the open the Turks gave us hell with their shells and rifle fire. Then at last the order came along the line to retire. When the order came ALEC got killed along with several others, and it was only with luck that any of us got back safe. It was the artillery and navy that saved us. Your son ALEC went ever to the attack like a hero, and died a hero. I think I can't say any more of your son, only that he was a good pal, and he often spoke of you at home. Yours truly, Private W. THORPE, 1/9th Manchester Regiment. Sadly missed by all his pals."

Lance-Corporal W. SMITH, of A Company 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment, who was in charge of the team of bomb throwers, has also sent the following appreciation of his dead comrade:- "Dear Mr. and Mrs. Green, I cannot put it into words how very sorry we all are at losing one of our pals, your son ALEC, and as I am the lance-corporal of the team I think it is my duty to let you know this very sad news of your son's death. It happened on December 19th. The general order was that a mine was going to be blown up, and we had to advance and occupy the crater of the mine. Well, the mine went up, and over we all went, and when we got to the crater there was no hole to get into, so we all lay in the open, and the order came to retire to our own trench. The Turks shells were playing hell all the time. I was one of the last to come back, for it was my duty as corporal to see as many of my men back as possible before I came back myself. I thought they had all got back, so we called the roll, and your son was reported dead. He died a hero, and feared nothing. All our hearts go out to you in your great sorrow." Private GREEN, who enlisted in the 2/9th Manchester Regiment early in October 1914, and went out with the second contingent of the 2/9th Battalion in August last, was a first class bomber, having gained his certificate. On the day he was killed he wrote a cheerful letter to his parents, saying they were going into the trenches, and expected to be relieved on Christmas Eve. He also wrote the same day to his uncle, Mr. James Cocks, Fitzroy Street, Ryecroft, sympathising with him on the death of his wife, adding "We never know how soon we may be called on." Private GREEN, who was a member of the Ryecroft Sunday School and P.S.A., was 26 years old. (Alexander Green is recorded on the Helles Memorial to the missing).

Published in the Reporter 29th January 1916.


A good example of the soldier in cheeriness and humour is Private 1677 RUPERT RYLANCE, whose parents live at 8. Peel Street, Droylsden. Belonging to the 1/9th Ashton Territorials, whose ranks he joined prior to the outbreak of war, though the lad is only now in his 19th year, he was called up for active service at the start of the conflict. He went through the Dardanelles fighting, and was wounded about the 20th of December in Gallipoli. He was disabled by a shot in the head. The letter written to his parents will illustrate the imperturbable good humour and wit of the youthful patriot. In the communication he is describing how he came by his wounds. "You will be surprised when you know that Jimmy Turk has given me a Christmas box. He has parted my hair on the right side of my head with a bullet. But it is not serious, and nothing for you to worry yourself about. There was no time lost in attending to my wound. I was on a hospital ship next morning." In the letter received by his parents this week he states that he is at a detail camp at Mustapha, Alexandria. In civilian days he was an employee at Messrs. W. M. Christy's Mill, Droylsden, and he is on St. Ann's (Fairfield) Roll of Honour. He and his family are well known in Ashton and Droylsden.

Published in the Reporter 29th January 1916.


Born on Christmas Day, Private 1767 WILLIAM ROBERTSON, of the 1/9th Ashton Territorials, celebrated his 17th birthday in 1914 in Egypt, and his 18th birthday in the hospital at Alexandria. He is the eldest son of seven children (six boys and a girl). His father, Private WILLIAM ROBERTSON, is also in the Army, having joined the Pioneer's Battalion in April 1915, being formerly employed as a miner at Bradford Colliery, Manchester. Private WILLIAM ROBERTSON, Junr., who has been in many engagements in the Dardanelles, has had two attacks of dysentery, which put him out of action, and sent him to the hospital. As soon as he was able he was back in the trenches, taking his stand side by side with the other Ashton lads. Writing on December 27th from the Red Cross Hospital, Alexandria, to his mother in Mount Pleasant Street, Hooley Hill, he says : - " By now you will have heard of my mishap in the trenches. It was like this. We were having a rough time, and a bomb burst in front of me, and I stopped a piece of it just over my left eye. I was taken to hospital at Alexandria, where I am at the present time. I was carried out of the trenches. I left everything, and never remember anything until I got to the doctors." Another letter was received last weekend, dated January 10th, in which he wrote :- "I am improving nicely, and am now convalescent. I am in Lady Douglas's home, where I came after my previous attack of dysentery. About a fortnight ago we evacuated Gallipoli. The Staffordshires made an attack on the Turks, and I am trying to find out if my uncle was there at the time."   

Published in the Reporter 29th January 1916.


Writing home with the object of his widowed mother receiving the letter at Christmas time, Private 3218 EDGAR NEWTON, of the Ashton Territorials, said : "I shall not be at home for this Christmas Day. I hope you have a good time, and I expect to be with you long before next Christmas." Unfortunately on the 21st December a bullet from a Turkish rifle ended Private NEWTON'S career. Private NEWTON lived at 9. Spring Terrace, off Lumb Lane, Audenshaw, and when he enlisted on the 4th January, 1915, he was only 17 years of age. The main support of the home, he formerly worked with Messrs. Amos Davies, Audenshaw, and Messrs. Whittle Bros., Clayton. Though so young and much depending on his wages, yet, Private NEWTON felt it his duty to 'Fall in,' and follow in the footsteps of so many of his mother's relatives who are now serving. Mrs. Newton is associated with a family who have shown a fine spirit of patriotism, she having five brothers out of six serving. Her brother, Sergeant ROBERT HALL, had been in India eight years, and has now been invalided home. Gunner CHARLES HALL, another brother, is in France and carried the wounded major of the Company, amid shot and shell, to the nearest station. No doubt he would have been recommended for honours had the major lived. Driver HORACE HALL, has been fifteen years in the R.F.A., while Private CYRIL HALL, went out to France with the London Clerks' Battalion. He was buried by a bursting shell, and in now at Harrogate recovering from the effects, while Mr. DONALD HALL, of Edward Street, Audenshaw, has attested and expects being called up in the near future. It is estimated that on Mrs. Newton's father's and mother's side there are close upon thirty in the forces. Private NEWTON is the first soldier relative to go under. (Edgar Newton is buried in Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery).

Published in the Reporter 29th January 1916.


"My brother was only 19 years of age last November, and none of us has seen him since he left for the East," remarked Mrs. Williamson, of 26, Mount Pleasant Street, Hooley Hill, sister of Private 3241 ALFRED METCALF, who was killed in the Dardanelles on December 19th. The first intimation of his death was received by Mrs. COOKE, of West Street, Hooley Hill, who had a letter from her son HAROLD, in which he stated that Private METCALF had been killed by a bullet wound in the mouth, and he had helped to lay his friend and comrade to rest. The official news came from the War Office on Friday morning. Private METCALF was the third son of Mr. Fred Metcalf, a bricksetter, who has lived in the village for 25 years. The deceased was associated with the Hooley Hill Independent School, and belonged to the football team, having played for the Reporter Challenge Cup. He had been employed at Mr. Adam Ashworth's hat manufactory, but prior to answering the call of his country he was working for the Packing Company on Audenshaw Road. On Saturday morning Mrs. Williamson received the following letter from the clergyman who conducted the funeral service of Private METCALF. 42nd Division, M.E.F., 21/12/15. "May I express the deep sympathy of the Brigade and of myself with you in the loss of your brave brother, Private A. METCALF. As the Church of England chaplain who laid him to rest, I sought his nearest to write to them information which they would wish to know, and I procured your name. Private METCALF was killed whilst faithfully discharging his duty in an attack carried out on December 19th. Death, it may be comforting to learn, was certainly without pain, for it was instantaneous. Yesterday, the 20th, I buried him at the foot of a height that slopes upwards from the sea, and is known as Fusilier Bluff. There his grave lies among other comrades of the 9th Manchesters. All his effects have been carefully gathered, and will be sent home. A cross shall mark his resting place. I would like to suggest that there is abundant cause for pride and for trust in the manner of Private METCALF'S passing. God will take care of him for you all. May the consolation of Christ be with all those that he leaves behind. Yours, most faithfully, E. RAYMOND. C.E." (Alfred Metcalf is recorded on the Helles Memorial to the missing).  

Published in the Reporter 29th January 1916.




News has been received by Mr. and Mrs. Harrison, 16, Princess Street, Hurst, that their son, Private 2310 HESSY HARRISON, of the 1/9th Manchester Regiment, was killed in action in the Gallipoli Peninsula on December 27th last. The sad news was conveyed in the following letter from Second Lieutenant PERCY AINSWORTH to Private HARRISON'S parents. Dated December 27th 1915. "Dear Mr. and Mrs. Harrison, It is with the greatest regret and sorrow I have to tell you that your son, HESSY, has been killed today in the trenches by a piece of shrapnel. He died almost immediately, without pain. He was my orderly for the last three months, and I was very fond of him, and so were all the boys. All join me in expressing deepest sympathy in your sad bereavement. Yours sincerely, PERCY AINSWORTH, Second Lieutenant." The appended is a copy of a letter found on Private HARRISON after his death. It was written by him in the trenches the day before he was killed, and he intended to post it when he got out of the trenches.

Dated 25th December 1915. " Dear Mother, Father and Sisters, Just a few lines to let you know I am all right and well. As you will see by my letter, I have returned to the firing line. I must tell you we arrived back in the trenches at two o'clock on Christmas Eve; so you can see we had Christmas Day in the trenches. I thought of home as I was coming back to the Peninsula. We were on the water at six o'clock, and it was going dark, and I stood looking over the side of the boat across the water, and it came into my mind about home and the good old Christmas Eves I used to have. I said to my mate, "Just think of it, 3000 miles away from home on a Christmas Eve, when everybody should be happy, and here we are flinging great lumps of stell and lead at one another, instead of the good old saying Goodwill to Men, Peace on Earth!" It is more like hell on earth. But never mind, it will be over some day, and then we shall make up for it. Wishing you all a Happy New Year, from, HESSY." Private HARRISON, who was 27 years of age, joined the Ashton Territorials in August, 1914, and after receiving his training at Southport was sent out with his battalion to the Dardanelles in June 1915. He had been in some of the hardest fighting for nearly seven months, and his undaunting courage, cheerfulness, and coolness in the midst of the greatest danger and difficulty had won for him the admiration and goodwill of his officers and comrades, and he was held in the highest esteem by all who knew him. He was formerly employed as a spinner at Whittaker's new mill, Hurst, and at one time attended the Albion Sunday School. (Hessy Harrison is buried in Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery).

Published in the Reporter 29th January 1916.


A large number of promotions and decorations for distinguished service in the field are announced in a special supplement of the London Gazette. The Ashton Territorials again figure prominently in the list, a number of officers and men having been singled out for distinction. The following is a list of the local names:-


Second Lieutenant CHARLES EARSHAM COOKE, 9th Battalion Manchester Regiment.

Second Lieutenant (temporary Captain) OLIVER JEPSON SUTTON, 9th Battalion Manchester Regiment.

Captain OLIVER JEPSON SUTTON is an old Volunteer and Territorial. He received his commission some twelve months ago, and proceeded with his regiment to Egypt. Letters have been received stating that at the Dardanelles, on his own initiative, he conceived the idea of making a reconnaissance, and voluntarily undertook to carry out a highly dangerous duty which was successful. He is the son of the chief librarian of Manchester, and formerly acted as assistant librarian at the Rylands Library, Deansgate. He is 32 years of age, and was educated at the Hulme Grammar School.


Lance-Corporal S. PEARSON, 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment, and of Stanley Street, Newton Heath.

Lance-Corporal T. PICKFORD, 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment, and of Wellington Street, Ashton.

Corporal PICKFORD, D.C.M., on Thursday paid a visit to Trafalgar School, at which he was once a pupil, and he met with a good reception from the scholars. While at school Corporal PICKFORD was under Captain RALPH LEES, headmaster of Trafalgar School, and when in the Ashton Territorials he was in the B Company, of which his old schoolmaster was Captain.


In the Gazette issued last Friday, the following local men were mentioned in dispatches from the Dardanelles.

Second Lieutenant O.J. SUTTON. (Temporary Captain).

Lieutenant W.T. FORSHAW, V.C.

Second Lieutenant C.E. COOKE.

Sergeant 180 S. BAYLEY, D.C.M. of Lowes Buildings, Booth Street, Stalybridge.

Corporal 2103 T. PICKFORD, Wellington Street, Ashton.

Lance-Corporal 2148 PEARSON, Stanley Street, Newton Heath.

Private 1294 F. CHEVALIER.

Drummer 1160 H. Broadhurst, Ellison Street, Ashton.

Published in the Reporter 29th January 1916.


The casualty lists published on Thursday include the following men of the Ashton Territorials.


1946 M. BIRCHENOUGH, Victoria Street, Ryecroft.

3031 S. GARSIDE, Langham Street, Waterloo.

3399 F. HAMER, Gorton Street, Waterloo.

2293 W. HARDY.

1439 T. HILL, Gas Street, Ashton.

1358 Sergt. G. SILVESTER, Higher King Street, Hurst.

1331 W.H. WOOD, Hillgate, Stalybridge.

3341 E. BEECH.

2339 H. DAWSON.

1580 N. HARGREAVES, Birch Lane, Dukinfield.

2810 Sergt. T. STEVENSON, Ashton.   

Published in the Reporter 29th January 1916.


Shelpley Road U.M. Schools and Church has sustained another loss, by the death of Private 3418 RALPH SCHOFIELD, of the Ashton Territorials, who was killed in the Dardanelles on December 27th, 1915. Private R. SCHOFIELD, who was 28 years of age, was a married man, his wife being the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Cooke, of William Street, Ryecroft, Ashton. Private and Mrs. SCHOFIELD had two children, the youngest child being born on the 8th of October, 1915, the day the father set sail for the East. Full details are not yet to hand as to how Private SCHOFIELD met his death, but it is believed, from information received in letters sent by other soldiers, that Private SCHOFIELD was with a party of four, all of them being killed outright with shrapnel from a bomb. Much sympathy has been shown to Mrs. Scohfield in her great loss. Her husband was of a quiet character, a good worker, loved and respected in the district. It was in January, 1915, while Private SCHOFIELD was working at a Bradford (Manchester) firm that he decided to join the Flying Corps. Being unsuccessful in getting in, he went to the Armoury and joined the Ashton Territorials. A former member of the Shepley Road U.M. Choir and connected with the Sunday School, a memorial service is being held on Sunday afternoon. (Ralph Schofield is buried in Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery).

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