Centenary of the Somme – Seven Pals from Manchester

The Twelve Days of the Centenary Christmas

On the 1st Day of July – our family returned to Montauban
On the 2nd Battle of Ypres – we searched for a cousin and an uncle
On the 3rd day  we review 3 War Memorials
On the 4th day we  seek four Battalions at Montauban
On the 5th day we have 500 rounds in a minute
On the 6th day we view a six pointed Star

On the 7th day we had seven Pals from Manchester

This number could be extended indefinitely, yet I particular recognise men mentioned in Arthur Bell’s journal and events in WWI:-

Steve Broadmeadow

Manchester Evening News 28 July 1916 S Broadmeadow


Manchester Evening News 02 August 1916 S Broadmeadow


Horrockses Crewsden - Steve Broadmeadow

Lance Corporal Steve Broadmeadow

Thiepval L.Sgt S Broadmeadow

8084 Lance Sergeant Steve Broadmeadow KiA 10/7/16.

Another aspect of our militarisation was shown at Grantham.  Half a dozen lads of our platoon, including myself, walked a distance of three miles one evening to Grantham from Belton Park …We went the round of the pubs, but I had pork pie with lemonade each time, instead of beer.  On the way back to barracks we all managed to tumble into an already half-filled conveyance, somewhat larger than an ordinary car without any roof on.  Now, I was blown up as you can guess, my pals were canned up, but every one of us, except myself, travelled on the mini-bus without paying!  At least that is what they said – one was an N.C.O. (Steve Broadmeadow) See Belton Park & Trones Wood

Allan Thomas Selbourne Holt

2nd Lt Alan T S Holt

Courtesy Book of Honour

ICRC Alan Holt.1

PoW Records

Arthur Bell noted “It had been he (Lt. Holt) who, one night, when, after much marching, I was on sentry duty go – more than half asleep standing up – challenged me and told me the consequences of being asleep on my post.  I learn from the official record that he subsequently gained the M.C. (Military Cross).  Mr Middlebrook’s book shows that he was alive at the time of writing.”
“At a lesson some  time later, conducted by an officer of our own
[Lieutenant Alan Holt], a similar accident occurred with rifle grenades, lives were lost (three I think), and the lieutenant himself was injured in the foot.” See Rifle Grenade Accident + Heninel Trench 23rd April 1917 + Military Cross Awards

Mark Jackson

Sgt. Mark Jackson MEN

Sgt. Mark Jackson MEN 17/7/1916. Courtesy SWARM

“Looking around for Triangle Point.  I was told that Sergt. M.J. (Mark Jackson) had just been sniped – hit in the head, I believe.”

Robert Forbes Mansergh

2nd Lt Robert Mansergh

2nd Lt Robert Mansergh

“If we had any bombing lessons in England, prior to departure to France in November, 1915, I cannot recall them.  In the first lesson in France each man of the platoon – I don’t think we were selected- threw one live bomb.  We threw them from inside a trench (bounded by the traverse).  Over the top to a cleared space.  One of us, on pulling out the pin, let the spring force him to leave go of the bomb, and it dropped in the trench.  “Get round the traverse, quickly” shouted our Platoon Officer, Lieut. M. [Mansergh], at the same time rushing to pick up the bomb and haul it over the parapet.  Five second fuse, but great courage! ” “Perhaps a notch towards an honour later.  In fact, he was awarded the M.C. in September, 1916.” See Military Cross Awards+ Merchiston Castle School

Joseph McMenemy

Steel Helmet The Journal of Private Allan Arthur Bell.  Courtesy Roger Bell

The Steel Helmet – Courtesy Roger Bell

Sgt Joseph McMenemy II & III Pln

Sgt and A/CSM Joseph McMenemy KiA 30/7/16

Thiepval 8730 CSM Joseph McMenmey

“It had a leather frame inside, and was issued to all of us some weeks before the big advance on 1st July, 1916. A few days after the initial advance I took my helmet to the Company QMS for renewal as it had a hole in it made by a bullet, which had caused it to roll up like the petal of a flower.

Sergt. McM (McMenemy) encouraged us on the last lap…; he had been a heroic figure in the advance on the first.  “Only another rush or two” he called as we lay, much cut up, just outside the perimeter at Montauban –practically all our officers picked out by snipers.  So on we went past the white flags, Jerry machine gunners and all.  Of cause, there were many more still, both killed and wounded – Jerry machine guns and snipers doing their damned work…

Anyhow, he gave me a new hat.”
See Over the Top  + Guillemont

Ralph Marillier Miller


Ralph Miller saving CSM Johnson at Trones Wood - Courtesy Bell Family

Rescue of CSM Johnson.

Glenalmond Chronicle, October 1916.R M Miller Obituary  Summary Courtesy Glenalmond College

Ralph Miller Obituary

“The alphabet now brings us to Volunteers.  “Who will volunteer to bring back Sergt. Major “J” (8196 Johnson) – this was Lieut. Jockey M. (Miller) outside Trones Wood one day.  How many hands out of about twenty men?  Not one.  Is there anyone here in my platoon?  One hand – mine.  Right, so we set off along the trenches.  He has the revolver at the ready, and I have the stretcher.  There’s not too much shelling from either side, quite a number of German soldiers offering no resistance –perhaps hoping we would take them back with us.  The Lieutenant must have known where to look, for we got to the Sergt. Major without much trouble.  He was quite unconscious, hit in the face an elsewhere.  Nearby were some South African soldiers and one of them volunteered to help to carry the S.M. back to our lines.  He – the S.M – was a very heavy man.  My puttees provided a means of taking some of the weight from the hands to the shoulders.  We went back over the top via the Briqueterie and the Sunken Road.  The Jerry gunners were dropping two or three a minute at one point there.  My ears rang more than a bit, I’ll say.  By and by we got to a field ambulance, and Lieut. M. (Miller) was congratulated on his good work – the acting Colonel was there, I think.” See Anniversary 29th/30th July 1916 + Anniversary 10th July 1916

“Brave Jockey!  Not many days after that came the report that he had got a gas shell ‘all to himself’ – killed of course.  Would he have been one of Shakespeare’s  ‘Even in the cannon’s mouth men’?”

Ruben Schofield

“Our lot were under canvas, and we were told what heart-breaking roll-calls there had been.  One particular man in our platoon had lost the younger brother whom he had been at great pains to have transferred from another battalion.” See Remembering 9519 Private Ruben Schofield

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