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1916 PAGE 4


1916 - EGYPT.

Published in the Reporter 1st April 1916.


On Tuesday evening, Mr. and Mrs. Woodruff, of 1, Tame Street, Ashton Road, Denton, received a letter from the War Office stating that their son, PERCY was dangerously ill, and was confined to the 17th Station Hospital at Port Teeopik, Egypt. Any further details would be sent on at once. The letter, as could only be expected, considerably upset the parents, as in his last letter home, dated 18th of February, he was very cheerful and in the best of health. Mrs. Woodruff has learned from other sources that her son is suffering from a severe attack of fever, contracted on the day he gained another stripe. He was a lance corporal in the 1/9th Ashton Territorials, and was promoted to corporal for bravery. Corporal 1659 WOODRUFF was 19 years of age on the 2nd of March. He had been through the Dardanelles campaign without receiving a scar. He was looking forward to coming home. During the fighting at Gallipoli, Corporal WOODRUFF performed gallant deeds, and was complimented by the general. He had his boot heel shot off, and had a narrow escape of being killed in carrying out the instructions of his superior officer. He was expecting to receive honours as he had been informed the matter had been referred to the authorities. Much sympathy has been shown to the Woodruff family, who are well known and highly respected in Ashton Road district.

Published in the Reporter 8th April 1916.


Two former members of the St. Mary's Church Lad's Brigade, who joined the Ashton Territorials, have returned to Ashton this week after being invalided from the Dardanelles. They are Corporal 1133 ALBERT MULLENS, of 68, Queen Street, Hurst, formerly an overlooker at Hurst Mills, and Private 2048 WILLIAM DONNELLY, of 45, Wellington Street, Ashton, formerly a piecer at a Hollinwood Mill. Corporal MULLENS was a colour-sergeant in the boys' brigade, and DONNELLY was the sergeant-drummer. Corporal MULLENS was injured in the right knee on August 7th, just after he had entered the Vineyard trench, where the Ashton Territorials covered themselves and Ashton with glory. He had rather a curious experience one day. He had a safety razor in his valise, and whilst going down from the trenches to the beach he suddenly felt a sharp smack on his back. A bullet had smashed the razor, and gone half-way through a table knife and stopped there. He witnessed Lieut. R.G. WOOD'S gallant dash out under heavy fire to rescue a wounded man belonging to the 10th Manchesters. "It was a fine, plucky bit of work," he said. Private DONNELLY was stricken with enteric fever last October, and has since been in hospital at Blackley and Rochdale. He had several narrow escapes whilst at the Dardanelles, and speaks in high praise of the way the officers of the Territorials acted and took their gruelling along with the boys. He is full of praise of Major CONNERY'S fatherly solicitude for the men. He retains a vivid impression of one incident. They had just left the trench. A sergeant was standing on the parapet, when suddenly a shell struck him full in the face. 

Published in the Reporter 8th April 1916.


Last week we published in the Reporter the photograph of a young lady which had been found in the trenches during the fighting in Gallipoli, and sent to us by Private J. BENYON, of the Ashton Territorials. The photo, has since been identified as that of Miss FLORENCE E. HALL, a nursing sister at the Lake Hospital, Mellor Road, Ashton. Miss Hall came to the Reporter Officer on Monday, and the photograph was handed over to her. Her home is at Broad Oak Road, Hurst, and she is a well known and popular young lady. This photograph will naturally be greatly treasured for its remarkable and romantic asociation. It was given to a cousin of Miss Hall, Private J. GEE, of 223, Curzon Road, Hurst, who is in the Ashton Territorials. He was with the battalion in Gallipoli, and while in the trenches was taken ill and lost his kit bag. He was invalided, but later returned, and his kit bag was restored, but the photograph was one of the articles missing. Its recovery in the circumstances must be accounted as truly extraordinary. Miss Hall was delighted to get it back again, and her delight has been shared by many friends. Miss Hall lost a brother in the war at the end of 1914. 

Published in the Reporter 8th April 1916.


The death occurred on Friday, at Heaton Park, Manchester, of Private 3260 JAMES WILLIAM MANSFIELD, of the 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment, and of 78, Park Street, Ashton. He originally joined the 2/9th Battalion, and was drafted out to the first battalion at the Dardanelles in September last. He was nine weeks on the Gallipoli Peninsula, and took his share in the keen fighting against the Turks. He then became ill, suffering from an internal complaint caused by the sand getting on his stomach, and he was invalided home, arriving in England about ten weeks ago. He was in hospital for a time, and was subsequently sent to Heaton Park. Private MANSFIELD, who was 42 years of age, leaves a widow and three children. The funeral, which was of a semi-military character, took place on Wednesday afternoon at the Dukinfield cemetery. A detachment of the Ashton Territorials (over 100 of them from Heaton Park) walked in front, and six comrades, who formed a bearing party, were on either side of the hearse. Captain RALPH LEES was in command of the Territorials. Large crowds of interested spectators gathered along the route, and the obsequies at the graveside were witnessed by several hundred persons. The Rev. Father Shean, of St. Ann?s Catholic Church, Ashton, officiated, and at the close a bugler sounded The Last Post.  

Published in the Ashton Herald 18th April 1916.




In the House of Commons Mr. Anderson, M.P. asked Mr. Tennant whether his attention had been called to the case of the late Private 4411 LABAN CRANE, of the Ashton Territorials, who was sent to Codford on February 3rd in indifferent health and was reported sick six days later; that he was placed on sick parade at 7am on the following morning, the doctor ordering pills and duty; that on the evening of the same day he was again reported sick and was again on sick parade next morning, being given more pills and being innoculated at 11 in the morning, and that later in the day, though scarcely able to walk, he was obliged to remove from one hut to another and to carry his kit; that on the following day, being Saturday, March 12th, he had again attended sick parade at 7am, though practically on the point of collapsing, the doctor ordering more pills; that during the weekend he was dependent on food and attention upon the kindness of a few of his comrades, apart from the visit of a Royal Army Medical Corps sergeant on Monday afternoon, who gave him two more pills, that though he was again reported sick on the Monday there was no visit by the doctor; that he was allowed to remain in this condition until Wednesday, when he was asked to walk to hospital though by this time he could not stand; that within an hour of his being taken to hospital by ambulance, oxygen was administered and despite all possible skill and attention, the man died three days later; and whether thorough investigation will be made and, if necessary, suitable action taken in respect of the doctor in question. Mr. Tennant replied that enquiries would be necessary before an answer could be given, and such enquiries were being made.

Published in the Reporter 29th April, 1916.



To the Editor of the Reporter.

"Sir, a few months ago you very kindly published an account in the Reporter of my brother, Private 1428 STANLEY H. STEPHENS, of the 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment, Ashton Territorials, who was drafted from Egypt to Gallipoli, and subsequently reported missing after a bayonet charge on June 18th, 1915. As a result of the circumstances being published in your valuable paper I have received a letter from Private JOHN EASTWOOD, also of the 1/9th Batt., which I enclose for publication, as we have had our letters of thanks to Private EASTWOOD returned through the War Office, and have no other means of expressing our gratitide for his information other than through the Press. I also wish to tender you personally the sincere appreciation of the whole family, including myself, for permitting the case of Private STEPHENS a space in the Reporter. If I may further trespass on your generosity in this matter, I should be deeply grateful if you will publish the above, also copy of a letter from King Alfonso to Private C.W. STEPHENS, Snr., in response to enquiries made to his Spanish Majesty. Again thanking you, believe me, yours faithfully, J.C. Stephens, 254, Higher King Street, Dukinfield."

The letter from Private EASTWOOD is as follows : "Dear Sir, I am writing you a few lines concerning your brother, 1428 Private STANLEY STEPHENS. He was a pal of mine. I met him in Ashton Empire when we were mobilised 14 months ago. He was in the same platoon as me in Egypt, and well liked by his mates. On June 18th our company were ordered to take a Turkish trench. Private STEPHENS, Private MARLAND, Private 1119 BORSEY, and I were in the same traverse. STANLEY was ill at the time, and the last words we heard him say were: "I shall not be able to run I feel too bad, but I'm not going to shirk it, I can walk there." At 7.30 we charged, Private STEPHENS with us, but we were forced to retire with heavy losses. Private BORSEY and I landed back, BORSEY being wounded. As for MARLAND (drummer) and STEPHENS we never saw them again. MARLAND, who lives in Littlemoss, is supposed to be a prisoner in Constantinople. I saw your letter in the Reporter, so I thought it my duty to write. Yours truly, Private JOHN EASTWOOD." The following letter was also received by Mr. Stephens.

Palacio Read de Madrid. Sir, I am ordered by his Majesty the King, my august sovereign, to answer your letter petitioning H.M. to cause inquiries to be made in Berlin with regard to Mr. STANLEY H. STEPHENS (your son). Although his Majesty's Embassy in Berlin is charged only with the interests of France and Russia, H.M. being desrious nevertheless of demonstrating his interest in British subjects, has graciously acceded to your request, and has commanded the Spanish Ambassador in Berlin to communicate with Great Britain's representative there, the United States Ambassador, in order that in conjunction with the latter the necessary investigations may be made. His Majesty earnestly hopes that these inquiries may be the means of procuring satisfactory information for you. The same information is required from the Spanish Minister in Constantinople."

Published in the Reporter 13th May 1916.



On Tuesday morning Mr. and Mrs. Heginbottom, of 50, Seymour Street, Denton, received a telegram from the depot at Preston that their son, Pte 3483 JOHN HEGINBOTTOM, aged 22 years, had been accidentally killed in Egypt on April 27th. No further particulars are forthcoming as to how he met his death. Private JOHN HEGINBOTTOM, who belonged to the Ashton Territorials, was well known in Denton and Hooley Hill. He was employed as a shunter on the Great Central Railway at Guidebridge Station. He was a scholar at the United Methodist School, Manchester Road, Denton, and was the only son of his parents. Private GEORGE SHARPLES, of the same battalion, a Hooley Hill youth, whose home is off Stamford Road, and the deceased were companions together. Only so late as Friday, Mr. Higginbottom received a very cheerful letter from his son, stating how glad he was that his companion and himself were again together. The deceased joined the Army in April 1915.

John Heginbottom is buried in the Ismailia Memorial Cemetery, Egypt.

Published in the Reporter 20th May 1916.



A sad fate has overtaken a party of Ashton Territorials who are in Egypt in the neighbourhood of the Suez. While they were practising bomb throwing one of the bombs, which had a defect, suddenly exploded, killing two men and wounding nine others, two seriously. The two killed were Private 3244 E. CHADDERTON and Private 2327 THOMAS SMITH, of Waterloo.

Private CHADDERTON resided at 9, James Street, Audenshaw, and was 25 years of age. He joined the Territorials in January last year. He had been employed at the Gorton Tank, where his father, Mr. John Cadderton, has been employed for the past 37 years. The following letter has been received by Mr. Cadderton :- 9th Manchester Regt. 42nd Division, Egyptian Expeditionary Force. 26th April, 1916. "Dear Mrs. Chadderton, You will no doubt have heard from the War Office of the death of your son Private CHADDERTON, of this regiment. I need hardly tell you that your son is greatly mourned by all the officers and men of this regiment. After all the splendid work he had done, good character, and fine soldier he was, it was sad to think that he should by accident meet so sudden a death this morning. He went out early this morning with a party under Lieut. BAIRD and myself, for the purpose of practising throwing bombs. One of his friends had a bomb which happened to have a defect, and without warning this bomb exploded with terrific force. A portion of the bomb struck your son, wounding him in the heart, and he dropped down dead. Private SMITH, who held the bomb, died shortly afterwards, and nine others were wounded, two of them seriously. Your son will be buried along with his comrade, Private SMITH, with full military honours in the Suez Cemetery. Your son's death is a great loss to the regiment, and the officers and men of my platoon send you most heartfelt sympathy in your sad bereavement. I am, yours sincerely, M. JOHNSTON DUNLOP, 2nd Lieut. D Company, No.16 Platoon.


Mrs. Smith, of 24, Ney Street, Waterloo, has received news of her son's death. Private THOMAS SMITH, of the Ashton Territorials, which occured in the accident above referred to. Second-Lieut. FRED BAIRD, writing from Suez, says :- "I was present when it happened. A class including your son, was learning bombing, when an accident occurred, and one of the bombs went off quite near a lot of us. Several men were hit - your son in the neck. He was the first I ran to when I found myself uninjured. I don't think he suffered any pain as he passed away almost at once. He was buried the following morning with full military honours, the whole of his company going with him to his last resting place.

It may be comfort to you to know that he was very popular amongst his mates, and always did his duty well - in fact, he was one of my favourite men in the platoon. We all mourn the loss of a big hearted lad, and send you our sincere sympathy." Private SMITH was 19 years of age. He was an apprentice moulder at Messr. Urmson's Works in Wellington Road, when he joined the 2/9th Batt. Manchester Regiment in October 1914. He was drafted out to the Dardanelles in July, 1915, but escaped scatheless from the perils of the Gallipoli Peninsula. He used to attend the United Methodist School, Waterloo, and was a lad of cheery, good-natured temperament. 

Published in the Reporter 20th May 1916.


The story of how Private JOHN HIGGINBOTTOM, of 50, Symour Street, Denton, who was attached to the Ashton Territorials met with his death in Egypt, has now come to hand. Mr. and Mrs. Higginbottom received the following letter from Lieut. W.F. SIDEBOTTOM :- "I am grieved to have to write and inform you that your son was accidentally killed. It was a pure accident, and came about in this manner. A revolver, which happened to be loaded, was being cleaned by an officer's servant belonging to another battery, and this man accidentally discharged the weapon. The bullet in its flight penetrated the tent in which your son was sitting, and struck him in the head. Everything possible was done, but the lad was beyond all human aid, and passed painlessly away in two or three minutes time without recovering consciousness. Your boy was a really good soldier, and a genral favourite, and I had in fact, singled him out for an early promotion. My brother officers and myself send our sympathy in your great trouble. I hope it will be some consolation for you to remember that your boy gave his life for his country every bit as much as though he had been killed in action. He shall be buried with full military honours." Private GEORGE SHARPLES, of Hooley Hill, his mate, wrote, "I was sat next to him in the tent when it occurred. We got help straight away, but it was hopeless. I was one of the bearers, and helped to lower him to his last resting place. He was brought on a gun carriage and buried with military honours." Sergeant E. GREEN wrote, "All our officers are grieved at his loss, for they were looking forward to his early promotion, in fact, the orders were being given the same night as the accident. All the officers and men of the battery were present at the funeral." Sergeant JAMES LEE, of 24, Grosvenor Street, Denton, in course of one letter, stated, "You can take it from me the man who was cleaning the revovler did not know it was loaded. It was a pure accident."  

Published in the Reporter 3rd June 1916.


Mrs. Jane Hanson, of 5, Market Avenue, Dukinfield, would be glad to hear from anyone any news of her son, Private 1466 FRED HANSON, of the 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment (Ashton Territorials), who has been missing since June of last year, when the Territorials were in the Dardanelles.

(Fred Hanson was never found. His date of death is recorded as 19th June 1915. He was 23 years of age. He is recorded on the Helles Memorial to the missing).

Published in the Reporter 3rd June 1916.


Official news has just been received from the Records Office at Preston that Private 1215 JOSEPH WILDE, of the Ashton Territorials, who resided at 68, Oldham Road, Waterloo, was killed in action about the 7th of June last year in the Dardanelles. Private WILDE had previously been reported missing. In his last letter to his parents (Mr Joseph & Mrs Mary Jane Wilde)he said they were having it hot, and he expected that they would see it all in the Reporter. He had got on well up to then, and hoped to get through all right.

(Joseph Wilde was never found. He was 22 years of age. He is recorded on the Helles Memorial to the missing).

Published in the Reporter 3rd June 1916.


Ashton Territorial Honoured.

Quite an interesting ceremony took place at Whittaker's Mill, Hurst, on Saturday noon, when the overlookers and weavers made a presentation to Sergt. GEORGE SILVESTER, D.C.M., of the Ashton Territorials, of a gold bracelet watch. SILVESTER worked at Whittaker's Mill before going out to Egypt with the Territorials, and his fellow workers are highly delighted at the honour he had gained. The presentation was made by Mr. John Clegg, who said they all knew of the gallant deeds which he had done, and in our opinion he should have had the V.C., but they were all proud of him winning the D.C.M. The watch was inscribed "Presented to Sergt. G. SILVESTER, D.C.M., by the weavers and overlookers at Whittaker's Mill, in commemoration of his gallantry." Sergt. SILVESTER suitably responded.

Published in the Reporter 3rd June 1916.


Missing Since Last June and Now Reported Dead.

Mr. and Mrs. Robinson, of 75, Hill Street, Ashton, have received official notice from the War Office of the death of their son, Private 1382 ERNEST ROBINSON, who was killed in action in on the 7th June, 1915, and reported at the time as missing. He was a member of the 9th Manchester Regiment, Ashton Territorials, and has served with them through the war up to that date. There is another son of Mr. John and Mrs. Sarah Robinson with the 9th Battalion, and two son-in-laws now serving in other branches. ( Ernest Robinson is recorded on the Helles Memorial to the missing).

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