Category Archives: Family

Pte 19742 Samuel Mort Wynne. Pre-War 5th Bttn Manchester Regiment and Grenadier Guard during hostilities. Great Great Uncle.

Born in Leigh, Lancs in 1888, Sam had continued the family trade as a painter, apprenticed to his uncle, or brother, Robert Wynne of Monton. Sam specified his home address as 46 Perrin Lane, Monton Green with his elder brother Robert. His Attestation form shows he had previously served in the 5th (Territorial) Bttn Manchester Regiment. This previous military background may have assisted his acceptance in the prestigious Grenadier Guards when he enlisted at Eccles on 6/10/1915. He was also taller than the average recruit at 5’10”.

Sam Attested in the 4th Bttn and then served with 3rd & 1st Bttns until he was posted to 5th Reserve Bttn on 14/6/1918.  Sam trained at Marlow in Bucks or Caterham, Surrey until 21/3/1915 when he was transferred to 3rd Btn. He embarked at Southampton when the 3rd Bttn left for France on 26/7/1915, arriving at Le Havre on the next morning.
Sam received a gunshot wound to the left arm and shoulder on 14/9/1916. The War Diary records just on Other Rank wounding on this date, as the Battalion formed up at the assembly point near Ginchy for a major assault towards Flers-Courcelette. The attack took place the next day with many losses including the former Prime Minister’s son, Lt Raymond Asquith. This attack is also notable as the first day that tanks were used in battle, unsuccessfully in this instance.
Sam was admitted to 14 Regtl Aid Post on 15/9/1916 and 11 General Hospital Rouen for treatment. He then returned Home on Hospital Ship Lanfrac on 19/9/1916, when he was admitted to 1st Southern General Hospital, Stourbridge for 19 days and later transferred to Blackpool where he stayed from 7/10/1916 to 20/1/1917. Sam was in London on 30/1/1917 when he was crimed for absence without leave for 8 hours and falsifying his leave pass. He was Comfined to Barracks for 8 days an forfeited a day’s pay.
Following recovery Sam returned to France on 24/10/1917 where he was posted to 1st Bttn. Sam attended the 3rd Army Mine School on 11/2/1918, rejoining 1st Bttn 2 weeks later. He was wounded for a second time with a gun shot wound to the scalp on 29/7/1918, possibly at Bailleuval. Sam was treated in 43 Casualty Clearing Station and 3 Field Ambulance before staying in 13 General Hospital in Boulogne from 2/8/1918. He then returned to Blighty for a final time on 13/8/1918, where he was treated in Aberdeen Hospital for 48 days.
Sam was discharged fit and transferred to Reserve on 7/2/1919, with possible additional Service until 31/3/1920. He had held the rank of Private throughout his Service.
Samuel Mort Wynne was my maternal Granny’s uncle – as youngest brother to Frank William Wynne. There’s a very sad story for this branch of the family, so it’s good to recount one of Granny’s father’s family in a positive light.

Cheadle Hulme School – Heritage Day 2014

WACOS Crest IIIt was a privilege to visit Cheadle Hulme School in early September, as guests at their Heritage Day.   The experience was shared with my  father, who is the son of a former Foundationer of the School when it was known as the Manchester Warehouseman and Clerks’ Orphan Schools.  Allan Arthur Bell attended the school in the first decade of the 1900s alongside his sister Dorothy and brother Douglas.  My cousin joined us a second grandson of Arthur Bell.

The pupils, staff, friends and wider community produced an excellent and well balanced commemoration of the history of their school, especially during the period of World War One.  The day started with a production introducing some characters of the school during the war period.  This included the portrayal of a number of girls and boys familiar to my research and definitely associates of my grandad, great uncle and aunt.  A long term research question was also answered when the production introduced the Ashworth sisters and their brother.  My father confirmed the ongoing friendship with Mr Ashworth as he and Arthur Bell’s other children had always purchased sports equipment at Ashworth’s sports outfitters of Stockport when they were children.  Arthur Bell was employed as a clerk in a sport outfitters in 1911 and it’s quite possible the young men worked together.

We were subsequently taken on a tour of the grounds and buildings.  Highlights were the dormitory where Grandad will have slept as a boy and the indoor pool where he learned to swim.  This led to his life saving award from the Humane Society of the Hundred of Salford, but also a possible explanation for subsequent generations passion for aquatic sport (missing my dad!).

A general display was provided showing the full heritage of the school.  This includes the first ‘whole school’ photo in 1906/07 – including grandad and his brother or sister.  The gems then kept being presented commemorating the pupils and staff during the war.  The impact on the community and use of the school as a Hospital was also provided.  Ultimately I had to accept my cousin and father were less enthusiastic to read every ounce of detail – more interested in eating sponge cake in the dining hall! This did provide the chance to pick up a copy of Melanie Richardson’s excellent book ‘Heads and Tales’, which provides further gems on the 150 year school history.

I hope Charlotte Dover and other members of the school community record all of Charlotte’s hard work.  She has done a wonderful job and it was delightful to see that I had been able assist with one or two bits and bobs.

Congratulations to Cheadle Hulme School for their successful Heritage Day.  (no marking of my spelling or grammar thanks)

For a start a gallery of some photographs are below for identified connections of the school with the Manchester Regiment, please see Manchester Warehouseman and Clerks Orphans’ School – Manchester Regiment




War Diaries at the National Archive

As time goes by the Anniversary project for digitising all unit War Diaries is coming to a head.

I have now discovered the newly digitised version of the War Diary for my Grandad’s Battalion – the 2nd Manchester Pals.  The 17th Battalion, Manchester Regiment for 1915-18 is @ 540 pages long and cost me £3.10 to download.

I have some happy hours ahead digesting the original notes concerning the men and events covered in this site and written by some of the Officers who now seem remarkably familiar.

The photo for this post concerns the disastrous withdrawal from Trones Wood This page of the Diary doesn’t mention the losses on on 9th July, nor the failed communication resulting in most of A Company being left behind and captured / killed.  Lots more reading is required.

Until corrected (?) I believe I can post these Crown Copyright images, because this site is non-profit. If the images later disappear we will know why!


Cyril Grindley Donnison – 69th Training Reserve & 9th Essex

Cyril was the son of Arthur Bell’s auntie Gertrude (nee Grindley) and uncle Charles – a Professor of Music.  Arthur’s Army Small Book registers his address with Cyril and his family at 6 Warrener Street, Sale.

Cyril was a former Clerk who enlisted as 26296 in the 69th Training Reserve Battalion on 1st May 1917 – a month before his 18th Birthday.  This was the successor unit to the 25th Battalion, Manchester Regiment and had the original objective of training men for the City Pals in the 16th, 17th and 18th Battalions.  At this stage in hostilities troops had little influence over their posting Cyril found himself in the 1/8th (Cyclist) and 9th Battalion Essex Regiment, to whom is Victory and British War Medals are credited with number 45682 The Medal roll indicates he also served in the 2nd Essex.  Cyril served in France and returned to England in February 1919 when he was granted 28 days furlough at home with his parents.

I have vague recollections of an ‘Uncle Cyril’ and his brother Charlie at family parties.  Watch this space for records of the Essex Regiment.

Ernest Ridge 17417 20th Battalion Manchester Regiment – Another Cousin

Ernest was Arthur Bell’s cousin as the son of aunt Isabella – who was one of his mother’s younger sisters.  Ernest was shown as living with Shop keeper, Isabella and Arthur’s sister Dorothy in Hall Street, Greeheys in 1911.  At this time his elder brother Alfred was serving in India with the 1st Battalion Manchester Regiment.  His Records show the brothers had spent a period of 1902 in Chorlton Union Workhouse when their father had died.  In common with his brother and a large number of his cousins, Ernest enlisted in the Manchester Regiment, posted to B Company of the 5th City ; 20th Battalion.

Ernest had just 54 days service as shown in his Pension Records.  He enlisted in Manchester on 17th November `1914, aged 22 years and 5 months. He was discharged as ‘unlikely to be come and efficient soldier (recruit within three months of enlistment, considered unfit for service…) on 9th January 1915 in Morecambe.  The limited medical papers indicate chronic diarrhoea and pains. Ernest had confirmed Good military character.  He had been employed as a waiter in the Reform Club and previously served in the 1st Cadet Battalion of the Regiment.

Later records courtesy The Manchester & Salford Family History Forum show Ernest went on to serve in the Royal Navy 113363 including HMS Caledonia and later Merchant Navy from 20/9/1918 as an Assistant Steward.  He died at sea, aged 42, on 19/10/1935 with the apparent loss of SS Vardulia from Glasgow.  His address was noted as 78 Bickley Street, Moss Side.

Frank Dunn 8528

Frank Dunn’s Grandson, visited the GUEST BOOK and introduced me to his Grandad’s record.   This post was originally to help Clive.  Clive then provided some remarkable photos of his Grandad’s postcards.  They are shown here as a gallery and provide some great examples on photos showing the Pals at Heaton Park and during convalescence.  Many are subsequently used in the static content of the main site.  Huge Thanks to Clive.

Frank enlisted on 2/9/14 and trained / served in the same places as featured on this site for Arthur Bell. Frank was posted in XII Platoon of C Company.  Clive indicated that Frank was “was wounded (shrapnel and gas) shortly after and returned home.”   I am aware that the Germans used gas shells on the night of 30th July (Lieutenant Miller was killed by one); and also during the advance on Trones Wood on 9th July.

Frank recovered at home and was discharged with a Silver War Badge on 10/12/18.  The SWB Roll is on line but I can’t publish it due to Copyright.

James Frederick Bell 6957 – 16th Battalion Manchester Regiment

XIII Platoon, 16th Manchesters.  Courtesy

XIII Platoon, 16th Manchesters. Courtesy

James was Arthur Bell’s cousin.  His father, John Andrew Bell was Arthur’s father’s elder brother.  James’ mother, Sarah Ellen had been born in Glasgow.

Manchester Stock Exchange James BellPrior to hostilities, James had been a stock broker’s clerk for Mr A. W. Walton and lived at 39 Mawson Street, Chorlton on Medlock, just south of Manchester city centre.  He had been born in Summer of 1892.

James enlisted on 3rd September 1914 (SWB Roll) and  is recorded in the Book of Honour for the 16th Battalion – the 1st City Battalion – of the Manchester Regiment as XIII Platoon, D Company.  His training was very similar to Arthur’s and he also entered France on 8th November 1915.  As part of 90th Brigade, the 16th Battalion followed similar exploits and actions in the Somme – notably alongside Arthur Bell in Montauban Alley on the 1st-2nd July 1916.  See The Big Push – Montauban

The 16th Battalion generally swapped duties in the Maricourt trenches and billets in Suzanne during the first half of 1916.  Lieutenant Nash commanded XVI Platoon of 16th Battalion.  He kept a detailed diary of events that was edited and published by his son in 1991 as The Diary of an Unprofessional Soldier: T. A. M. Nash .  This is an excellent resource, illustrating the daily routine of trench life.  One section deals with the transit of rations from the cookhouse to the front.  It appears to identify Frederick, who may have transferred to XVI Platoon – still D Company at some stage:-

“We were able to send up hot food…carried up to the trenches in dixies by the platoon ration carriers…whose sole duty was to get hot food up to their mates in the trenches…These ration carriers were the bravest men in the Battalion…consistently shelled but never failed to feed their platoons.  Wallace and Bell carried rations for my platoon.”

James was wounded in the back and legs during the Montauban assault, quite possibly from enfilade fire from the machine gun post at The Warren.  He presumably returned home to hospital.  Records identify the family home as  178 Hyde Road, Ardwick.

At some stage after his recuperation the SWB roll show that James joined the 69th Training Reserve Battalion with a second Regiment Service Number – 25763.  The 69th had originally been denoted as the 25th (Reserve) Battalion.  Formed in September 1915 – as the depot companies of the 16th, 17th & 18th Battalions (90th Brigade) – the 25th was based in Altcar, near Southport, in May 1916.  It was redesignated as the 69th Training Reserve Battalion of 16th Reserve Brigade on 1st September 1916.*

James was discharged unfit for duty, due to his wounds, on 25th April 1917.  The same as his cousin Arthur Bell, James received a Silver War Badge and  the three service medals, Pip, Squeak and Wilfred About – The Steel Helmet.

James also received a Disability Pension for 30% Disability for Wounds to his left Thigh.  He lived at 42 Brunswick Street, Chorlton on Medlock.

James married Maggie McLean at St. Thomas, Ardwick on 26th June 1918 when he was living at 42 Brunswick Street.  Maggie’s father is noted as named James Bell McLean.   They lived at 14 Fairhurst Street.   James’ brother, Leonard Richard, witnessed the vows.

I only just discovered this relative and hope to find out more.  Thanks to Mack of The Manchester Regiment Group Forum for helping with some key information and watch this post, but I’ve made a mental note not to follow this path too far….

XIII Platoon, 16th Manchesters Roll of Honour. Courtesy

XIII Platoon, 16th Manchesters Roll of Honour. Courtesy