Newspaper report from May, 1915
COUNTY PALATINE BRIGADES
ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY.
EARLY DEPARTURE OF TROOPS TO
INSPECTION BY SIR W. H.
T he 171st Brigade the latest brigade to be billeted in St.
Annes will be removed to Blackpool next week. This means removal of 1,000 men. Lieut.-Cot.
Gregory is in command of the 171st Brigade, and Lieut. Gray has been transferred from the 149th
to the 171st as adjutant. Adjutant Lieut. Casbolt, is now adjutant to the 149th.
The Manchester and Blackburn
Brigades have entered upon their last three weeks. They are being drafted to Grantham,
Lincolnshire for a brief period, and then to Aldershot. Grantham is on the main line of the
Great Northern Railway, and about 24 miles south of Lincoln. It is a municipal borough with over
20,000 inhabitants, and engineering and agriculture are its chief industries. The people of St.
Annes will he sorry to lose such well-behaved troops, but the best of friends must part. No
effort will be relaxed to entertain our soldier friends right up to the
Soldiers of the Royal Field Artillery in fields off
Headroomgate Road, 1915 (Houses in the background are on Highbury Road). The Army had riding
The British soldier stands
higher in the estimation of the people of St. Annes since they have had the honour of taking
some practical interest in their training and welfare. Many residents have revised their
opinions of their khaki defenders since they have rubbed shoulders with them.
The 150th Brigade snorts were
an unqualified success from several Points of view—perfect weather, big attendance and excellent
sport. The intention of the promoters was not to "make money," but to provide a good day's
sport; hence some 6,000 free tickets were issued. Generous townspeople at Blackburn and St.
Annes came forward and contributed a considerable sum towards the prize money. The full amount
has not yet been raised, and it only needs this hint, we feel sure, for the few remaining pounds
to be forthcoming. The secretaries (Mr. H. J. Carmont and Mr. J. Bowman), or the treasurer (Mr.
Ernest Hamer, J.P.), will be glad to hear from ladies or gentlemen who have not had the
opportunity of subscribing to the prize fund.
Everybody will sympathise with
Lieutenant-Colonel Dixon in the serious accident that befel his beautiful charger "Stella,"
immediately after the sports. She was being ridden by Lieut.-Adjutant Gray along North Drive,
and became unmanageable. Lieut. Gray succeeded in dismounting, unhurt, but the mare attempted to
leap a few spiked railings at the corner of Mr. Boddington's garden, and became impaled. Three
spikes entered the breast of the horse, tearing the flesh deeply. Assistance came from Wynslade,
and the animal received veterinary attention as soon as possible. There are hopes of the mare's
Three capital lectures have
been arranged for the troops by Mr. J. Gregory secretary of the Parish Rooms. To-night 'Mr. J.
R. Gibbs will show, by lantern views, some of the latest war pictures, and will give a chat on
them to the Manchester Brigade. The same lecture will be repeated to-morrow (Saturday evening),
for the benefit of the Blackburn Brigade. On Sunday Coun. R. Leigh will speak on "What Italy
wants from Austria" and his lecture will be illustrated by lantern views. Each lecture will
commence at 8.0 p.m., in the Parish Rooms.
The 149th and 150th Brigades
were inspected on Wednesday morning by General Sir William Henry MacKinnon, K.C.B., K.C.V.O.,
commander-in-chief of the Western Division. General MacKinnon was accompanied by his
aide-de-camp and Brigadier- General Abdy, and Brigade-Major Webb.
The inspection was very brief,
and as the public were unaware of the General's visit there were very few spectators. The troops
were inspected as they went through their usual daily drill, and General MacKinnon expressed the
opinion that they were a splendid stamp of men. He was greatly interested in the ingenious
wooden model guns with mechanical contrivances, invented by Lieut. Col. Dixon.
An interesting billiard match,
between teams representing the R.F.A. and St. Annes Liberal Club, was played on Tuesday evening,
on the Liberal Club tables. Results:. -
|100 N. A.
100 J. Sagar
93 J. R. Forster
75 R. P. Smith
18 H. Morris
57 W. Lord
100 S. Blackburn
J Sykes 67
N. Jolly 100
W. H. Haworth 100
R. Clarke 100
T. R. Hoey 100
J. Tapley 87
Field sports for the 150th
(Blackburn) Brigade of the County Palatine Royal Field Artillery were held on the Clifton Park
Racecourse on Monday. The event was favoured with brilliant sunshine, and the large attendance
had nearly four hours of most enjoyable sports. Most of the events had a humorous side, and
whilst the flat racing was proceeding humorous "turns" were fought out. As a result the sports
were more interesting and entertaining than is usual with field sports. Pillow-fighting, with
the combatants mounted on a large horizontal pole, was the greatest fun, and this kept the crowd
amused for an hour. Then there was mop-fighting with the combatants mounted pick-a-back, and
mops dipped in flour. Musical chairs for mounted officers was a great success, some of the
horses showing a great dislike to being pulled in the rush showing chairs. The boot race and the
sack race were also enjoyable novelties, and in the sack race the competitors had the sacks tied
round their necks, and they were required to jump over a pole eighteen inches high. The
competition for the best gun detachment introduced a serious note, and the smart way in which
the gun crews went through their work at the command of Lieut. Emberson was loudly applauded.
Lord Derby and General Abdy watched the gun drill, Lord Derby being received with hearty cheers.
The judging of the gun drill was done by General Abdy, who also judged the officers' musical
chairs. General Abdy said the work was so good that he could not make any distinction between
them, and therefore the prizes must he divided. The most keenly-contested events were the tugs
of war, of which there were three—one for the 149th, one for the 150th, and an inter-brigade
tug-of war. The conditions were a straight pull and no digging in. The inter-battery tug for the
150th was splendidly contested, and amongst the troops there was great excitement. The
inter-brigade tug of war was a fairly easy win for D Battery of the 150th, who were thus the
champions of the day.
All the events for the 150th were inter-battery, an excellent arrangement, each man
competing not merely for his own honour, but for that of his battery. As a result there was an
additional keenness, each battery wishing to carry off the championship. During the afternoon the
band of the 150th played selections of music.
At the close the prizes were
distributed by Mrs. Abdy, who had at appreciative word for most of the
After the prize-distribution
Mr. Lawrence Cotton, J.P. of Blackburn, in proposing a vote of thanks to Mrs. Abdy, said they
had had a pleasant afternoon and excellent sports. His duty was to propose .a vote of thanks to
Mrs. Abdy, the wife of their popular general for her kindness in distributing the prizes.
(Applause.) In any undertaking of such magnitude as they had entered it was always a great
benefit to have those in authority taking an interest in what was going on. It was exceedingly
thoughtful of General Abdy to come amongst them, and more so from the fact that he brought his
good lady. (Applause.)
Hearty cheers were given for
Mrs. Abdy, Mr. Cotton, Col. Dixon, and General Abdy.
General Abdy thanked them for
the way they had received Mrs. Abdy and himself. A great deal was due in fact, everything except
the organisation to the towns of Blackburn and St. Annes, for so handsomely providing the
prizes, and on behalf of the R.F.A. he tendered his most grateful thanks to them.
Most of the success of the
afternoon was due to the great interest displayed by Col. Dixon, the President, Mr. Ernest Hamer
J.P., the hon. treasurer, and Messrs. Jas. Bowman and H. J. Carmont, the hon. secretaries, and
the officers of the Brigade who worked hard both in deciding heats and on the day. The judges
were Ald. S. Crossley, J.P., Mr. Lawrence Cotton, J.P., Cone. C. F. Critchley, C.C., Coun.
Hammond, Major H. N. Dixon, Mr. J. W. Carter, Mr. John Eddleston, Mr. W. P. Kay, and Mr. R.
Birtwistle, with Mr. F. Middleton as judge's steward. Capt. W. A. Smith was the starter, and the
officers of the brigade were the stewards.
100 yards-1, W. H. Cook,
A. Battery; 2, H. Place, B Battery; 3 M. Edmondson, Ammunition Column.
Blind driving—T. Hayes
and J. Pitfield, D ; A. Smith and EL Cooper, A C; 3, H. Oldham and W. Jackson, C..
Tug of war, 149th
Brigade—A Battery. Tug of war, 150th Brigade- D. Inter-Brigade Tug of war, 150th
One mile----Marsh, 149th
Brigade; 2, McGowan, 149th Brigade • 3, Smith, D. Officers' race—Lieut. J. N. Cotton, B; 2,
Lieut. Norman; 3, Lieut. Smith, C.
Boot race—Logan, C; 2,
Nightingale, D. 440 yards flat race—Parkinson, A C; 2, Cook, A; 3, Peters,
and Smith, D; 2, Swarkbrick and Eccles, A; Ridge and Pomfretr B.
Norton, D; 2, Sergt.-Major Burns, B; 3, Sergt.-Major Bull, C. -
Barrel race—H. Oldham, C:
2r King, B: 3, Breercliff, C.
Column ; 2, B Battery; 3, A Battery. Ogden, B: 3, Culligan, B.
chairs—Lieut. Smith, B;
2, Lieut. Emberson, C; 3,
Lieut. Almond C. Sack race 73:i D; 2, A. Hollis, D; 3, S. Smith, C.
Hun and ride race ----A
Battery; R, D 3, A C. •
Clowns costume race—W.
Whalley, B; 2, V. Geldard, A C; 3, C. Lund, A.
Lieut. J. Gerald Butterfield,
the officer commanding "B" Battery, 169th Brigade (County Palatine) R.F.A., has issued a
challenge for cross-country running, as follows:—"I should be greatly obliged if you could grant
is a paragraph with regard to several of our men who are very good long distance runners. We
have at present in "B" Battery a, team of twenty who are the champions of the 169th Brigade, and
anxious to add further laurels to those already gained, the "13" Battery ,team wish to meet a
team of twenty from any battery, squadron, or company from any brigade or regiment in or around
Blackpool. This may seem a bold challenge, but as proof of the prowess of "B" Battery's team I
may mention that in an eight miles’ road race run against "A" Battery about ten days ago we
placed 16 of our men in the first twenty home, and also had the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and
8th men home. Trusting that our challenge may be taken up by some regiment at present stationed
in or around Blackpool."
The work at the soldiers'
institute at the Drive Wesleyan School, has been somewhat interfered with during the last
week-end. The military authorities took possession of the school-room for the use of their
headquarters. This of course meant that the soldiers could not utilise the room as they had done
before. The secretary however was able, through the kindness of the Primitive Methodist friends,
to arrange for the use of their schoolroom. The Friday evening concert was accordingly held
there and was attended by a large number of soldiers; several of the usual faces were missed,
probably owing to the fact of the change of room not being sufficiently known. The following
programme was given: Songs, "The Sleeping Camp." Mr. H Warburton; "The merry month of May," Miss
Martin; "All that I ask is love," Gunner Carol; "Nirvana," Mr. A. Beswick; "When the ebb tide
flows," Mr. H. Warburton ; and "Waltz-song" (from Tom Jones), Miss Martin. There was a cornet
solo, by Mr. L. Fielder, "The flight of ages," and a duet, "Watchman, what of the night?" by
Miss Martin and Mr. H. Warburton. Prof. Dacre also gave a conjuring turn. Mr. John Watts
presided and Mr. and Mrs. T. P. Bentley were the host and hostess, who provided the soldiers
with refreshments and cigarettes. A hearty vote of thanks was accorded by the men on the
proposition of Mr. A. E. Rawson, to Mr. Watts, Mr. and Mrs. Bentley, the artistes, and the
ladies who had looked after the refreshments. Next Friday evening's concert will be held in the
Primitive Methodist Schoolroom.
On Sunday evening the social
service was held in the church. Mr. Bentley played several organ solos, and well-known hymns
were very heartily sung, including, "Stand up for Jesus," "Hark, hark my soul," "0, it is hard,"
"Forward be our watchword," "0 Lord of heaven and earth," and "God of our fathers." -Mr. Bentley
also - played "Cavalry March" (Jude), "Songs of melody" and "The war march of the priests." Mrs.
Bentley sang the solo, ''Down in the Valley," the soldiers joining in the chorus, and Mrs.
Herbert Walker, of Ansdell, recited "The false light of Rosilly." The Rev. W. A. L. Taylor, who
presided, gave a short address on "Discouragements." The host and hostess, who provided
refreshments and cigarettes, were Mr. and Mrs. Herbert George.
The social hour at the Parish
Rooms was very well attended on Sunday evening, over 200 soldiers being present. Refreshments
were provided at the interval.
An excellent programme was
arranged which consisted of two monologues by Miss may Baines entitled “Christmas Bells” and
“Laugh and the world laughs with you.”
Songs were sung by the
following: Mr Firth, "For you alone," and "Mother Machree ;" Gunner O’Niel, "Down the vale,'
"The toilers," and "Thief ;" Miss Melbourne of Preston, "England," and "Somewhere voice is
calling ;" and Mr. George Campbell "Rolling down to Rio," and "For till green." Miss Dickenson
and Miss Baines were the accompanists.
The concert at the Parish
Rooms, on Wednesday evening was packed to the doors. The refreshments were generously provided
by Mr. and Mrs. King and Mr. and Mrs Whittle. Songs were sung by Gunner Howarth, Gunner Wills,
Miss May Baines and Mr. Firth; comic songs by Driver Thompson and Gunners Wright and Gildea;
Miss Grundy and Lieut. Craig Cameron gave recitals which were highly appreciated. Then was a
competition with ten entries, and the first prize was won by Gunner Mahone, a contortionist, who
did some very clever items The second prize was divided between Gunners Howarth and O'Niel and
Driver Robinson; and consolation prizes were won by Gunners Wills, Gildea, Allan and
The week-end concerts in St.
George's Hall were again largely attended. On Saturday Mr. and Mrs. T. L. Milne generously
defrayed the cost of refreshments and the Rev. G. Stanley Russell M.A., presided. The artistes
ware Miss Rosie Heyle, Mist Lily Sutcliffe, Mr. Wright and Mr. Albert Heap, Miss Evelyn Cooper
(of Fairhaven), and Miss Dorothy Dean, who gave an excellent sketch, "My
Gunner Malone and two other
soldiers gave turns which were greatly appreciated. The accompanist was Mr. T. A.
On Sunday evening Mr. and Mrs.
T. A. Riley were the host and hostess: and Mr. Riley presided. The artistes were Miss Jessie
Clegg, Miss Gladys Riley, Miss Jessie Lord, Mr. A. Heap, Mr. J. Milne, Gunner Malone, Mr. T. A.
Clarke and Mr. S. H. Clarke. The accompanists were Mr. S. H. Clarke, Mr. S. Clegg and Miss
Riley. A brief address was given by the Rev. G. S. Russell. The host and hostess were heartily
thanked for their hospitality.
ST. GEORGE'S HALL.
There is no sign of falling off
in the popularity of the Y.M.C.A. at St. George's Hall, and the use of the room for reading,
writing and recreation is as great as ever. Since the troops came to St. Annes over 16,000
letters and postcards have been written and posted in the V.M.C.A. rooms at St. George's Hall,
and the Baptist Church lecture hall. The number of pledges taken is 926. With the number of
troops along the coast steadily growing, this work of the Y.M.C.A. is increasing, and there are
institutes at St. Annes, Lytham and Fleetwood. Mr. Lemuel jones, the local secretary, is seeking
to secure premises, for the 169th Brigade at Blackpool, whilst the 165th, at Fleetwood (many of
whom were in St. Annes), have now a cheerful gathering place in London Street, Fleetwood, where
there are social hours on Sundays and "snickers" on Tuesdays. At Weeton, where 8,000 men are
expected to encamp, arrangements have been made for the erection of a hut, which is being
transferred from Morecambe.
Socks and articles of clothing
continue to be received from admirers of the Y.M.C.A. work, and one lady in sending a parcel
writes: "I hear on all sides much praise for he work of the V.M.C.A., and it is independent
testimony from young men who have °Med, of whom we know a good many.'
A very successful social hour
for soldiers was held in the Baptist Lecture Hall, on Sunday evening. The Rev. P. B. Watson
Cowie, M.A. presided, and Mr. Lemuel Jones, secretary for the. Y.M.C.A., gave an interesting
address to the soldiers, on "The proclamation of pardon." Miss Gladys Brearley gave two
recitals, and Miss Clegg sang two solos.