Many thanks to Manchester City Council Libraries Department for the use of some of their images from the Archives & Local History Section. http://www.images.manchester.gov.uk/
This photo was taken on the day all eight City Battalions paraded in front of Lord Kitchener; a short time before the 1st City Brigade transferred to Belton Park. Many other troops from the City took part in the parade and the large sign in the background shows the continuing recruitment drive, in this instance for tradesman and artisans. “The general said he would soon knock the Manchester out of us, no doubt succeeded in a way…”
These three images show the 1st City Brigade – 16th-19th Battalions at their initial base posting at Heaton Park in north Manchester. The tents in the first image were subsequently replaced by timber huts. “One of the first things I remember was a very rough and ready arrangement [toilets] in the open on bench-like structures at Heaton Park, with no cover. When we transferred to other quarters in the Park things improved.”
The second image shows a parade of the Pals in March 1915; around the period the Platoon photos were taken for the Book of Honour. It’s quite possible this was a similar time to the Manchester Regiment Film “When marching, through the streets or otherwise, we often burst into song, good for our spirits as well as those in the populace.”
The public nature of the public park training ground can be seen from the large number of onlookers in this photograph of the Battalions on manoeuvres.
Clearly a little more personal; this image shows Arthur Bell’s place of work before he enlisted. “…a pal from my office and myself, went down to the Ardwick Town Hall on the 1st of September 1914″
The commemoration of the centenary of World War One is potentially contentious for some people. The BBC is planning some interesting programms and there are proposals for secondary school children to be funded for a trip to the western front. Other commentators will cover wider centenary ideas and this site will stay on topic with the history of one group of men. In this context, some individual and platoon photos have been gleaned from some helpful Sources. Until now I had missed images of large groups of the Manchester Pals; or particular events and places.
One of my principal ideas for the Centenary is the funding for digitisation of WW1 records and free access to the public. Manchester Council, IWM and AWM help people with an interest see wonderful images assisting us to remember and commemorate the men that served. How about the War Diaries and medal sheets from the National Archives?