Inspired by interviews and notes by a member of the 2nd City Battalion of the Manchester Regiment, this site portrays the particular group of volunteer soldiers, from enlistment to their service in the Battle of the Somme. In memory of the contributor of the journal, Private Allan Arthur Bell 8055 and the Pals that served with him. Copyright Bell Family. All rights reserved. Please see acknowledgments and feel free to comment in the Guest Book or individual Posts.
Private James Appleyard. Courtesy Tony Bowden, Manchesters Forum
Today is the anniversary of the death of Private James Appleyard.
James had joined Manchester Police in June 1904 and worked in the Didsbury Division. His Police Number was D218.* In common with many Manchester Policemen, James had enlisted in the Pals Battalions in late (25th) January 1915.
The Roll of Honour shows James had been promoted to Corporal by March 1915. He is included in the photograph of B Company’s V Platoon.
Records show James had been wounded in the assault at Montauban on 1st July 1916, at the beginning of the Battle of the Somme. His burial at home suggests James had been evacuated from France and died from his wounds in a British Hospital.
An 18 pounder gun, its crew stripped to the waist in the sunshine, putting over curtain fire from the Carnoy Valley near Montauban 30 July 1916 IWM Q4066
I found this photo on the IWM Site. 18 Pound Artillery had an effective range of three miles and a well trained crew could fire thirty rounds per minute. Guns at Carnoy Valley were within range of Guillemont and no other assaults were taking place in the area on 30th July. Therefore, it is likely these men were assisting 90th Brigade in their attack on Guillemont.
The photograph shows men in the heat of the day and it is assumed this would have been around midday, or later. As such, the support to the infantry had to be necessarily limited to the Western side of Guillemont village. The 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers had advanced to the centre of Guillemont, alongside the 18th Manchesters. Communication with Brigade HQ in Trones Wood and 16th / 17th Manchesters to the east of the village had been broken by the German bombardment and machine guns – limiting the prospects of British bombardment without hitting their own troops. For more details see Guillemont | 17th Manchester Regiment on the Somme
19 Year old Private Frederick Whatmough died on this day 100 years ago. Records show his grave in Chippily Communal Cemetery Extension in a plot adjoining Private J Redfern of the 16th Battalion, who died on 20th June 1916.
Frederick’s Medal Index Card identifies he died, rather than being killed in action. John Hartley’s painstaking research Stockports Soldier Frederick WHATMOUGH finds Frederick drowned while swimming at Chippily. This is south east of Albert, and west of Vaux, down the river Somme. The Battalion had withdrawn from Vaux trenches the day before to a camp at Bois Celestine. Frederick was in VI Paltoon of B Company. John Hartley (see 17th Manchesters by John Hartley) recounts a letter from his OC, Captain Norman Vaudrey (see 1st July 1916 Anniversary – Officers)
“I very much regret to have to break the news to you of the death of your son, Signaller Whatmough, who was drowned whilst bathing here – a few miles behind the firing line – yesterday afternoon, June 2nd. Though a strong swimmer he must, we think, have been seized with cramp and despite efforts made by his comrades, particularly a man named Hassall, he sank and was drowned. We worked hard to recover him, but it was too late when we did. He will be buried with military honours tomorrow. Since being out here he has always been good at his work and anxious to do his duty; and a favourite amongst his comrades. As you know, he joined right at the beginning of the War, and has been with us all the time, and although his death did not actually occur in the face of the enemy, he died for his country which he served so well. We fully realise how much you will feel this blow and I hope you will accept the sympathy of the officers and men of his company.”
The Regimental Number of 8959 indicates Private Whatmough was one on the original 2nd City Pals to enlist in September 1914. He must have been 17 years old at that time. Casualties of the MANCHESTER REGIMENT 04/08/1914 to 31/12/1916 tells us Frederick was the Son of Frederick W. and Ellen Whatmough, of 9, St. Paul’s St., Stockport. Prior to hostilites, Fred had been employed by Peel Watson & Co of 6 Parker Street, Manchester. 7 men enlisted from the firm, as shown on the Roll of Honour. This includes Harry Hudson, who been at Manchester Warehouseman and Clerks Orphans’ School with Arthur Bell’s brother Douglas.
Thomas Henry Marsh Suzanne Communal Cemetery Extension Private 8744, who died on 03 May 1916 Age 25. Husband of Agnes Bolderstone of 47A, New Lane, Patricroft, Manchester. He was second XII Pln casualty in the Somme defences and worked in CWS Boot Dept. His cousin was XII Platoon’s Private 8626 Willian Leslie Hadcock, who was also a CWS employee. Contemporary information from Pte Hadcock, known as Leslie; is provided by his grandson, courtesy of The Manchester Regiment Forum. This indicates Thomas was killed by friendly fire on a night patrol into no mans land. C Coy were posted in the Vaux area and it is likely the incident took place in the Somme marshes or Trafford Park. Thomas was 25 years old and his body was recovered to be buried near his CWS colleague, John Sumner (above) in Suzanne Communal Cemetery Extension. His cousin, Leslie, will have been present for his funeral service, representing the family. Thomas had written home five days before his death, describing his perilous scouting expeditions “I will not say it is not a bad game, a bit risky patrolling, and it’s a long two hours’ walk from one end to the other, having a word with each post, which consists of a few men, who have not the slightest bit of cover. The only trouble is shrapnel and getting collared…” Referring to the open meander of Trafford Park, Thomas had further described the open nature of the southern Somme defences “…There is a nice great flat field, a champion place-the same place a crowd of about 150 came across and were sent back again (well some of them) by fourteen on this side, and they chased them back with bayonet. They brought one back as a souvenir….”
Born in Ireland, Kenneth Macardle was working for the Canadian Bank of Commerce in California at the outbreak of the war. He left his post on 18th January 1915 and returned to join the 17th Manchester Regiment. He had been employed by the Bank since February 1911. He was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in 14th Bttn on 6th April 1915 and later took command of a Platoon in B Company. He entered France on 2nd February 1916.
Kenneth was a committed diarist and his well composed notes provide a vivid and expressive view of the events on the opening days of the Battle of the Somme.
Regrettably, Kenneth was left behind in Trones Wood when the Battalion withdrew on 9th July. His body was never found and he remains commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing.
Kenneth’s diary provides a direct source for the events of 1st July and his prose has been a further catalyst for the commitment to record and present events on the Somme. On visiting Thiepval, I have scanned the multitude of names of the lost men to identify the neatly carved name of my favourite diarist. Here’s an extract:-
“We were relieved in a hurricane of shells. We trailed out wearily and crossed the battlefield down trenches choked with the dead of ourselves and our enemies – stiff, yellow and stinking – the agony of a violent death in their twisted fingers and drawn faces. There were arms and things on the parapets and in trees. Shell holes with 3 or 4 in them. The dawn came as we reached again the assembly trenches in Cambridge Copse. From there, we looked back at Montauban, the scene of our triumph, where we, the 17th Battalion, temporary soldiers and temporary officers every one that went in, had added another name to the honours on the colours of an old fighting regiment of the line – not the least of the honours on it.”
“A molten sun slid up over a plum coloured wood, on a mauve hill shading down to grey. In a vivid flaming sky, topaz clouds with golden edges floated, the tips of shell-stricken bare trees stood out over a sea of billowing white mist, the morning light was golden. We trudged wearily up the hill but not unhappy. All this world was ever dead to Vaudrey and Kenworthy, Clesham, Sproat, Ford and the other ranks we did not know how many. Vaudrey used to enjoy early morning parades. Clesham loved to hunt back in Africa when the veldt was shimmering with the birth of a day.”
Kenneth’s father, Sir Thomas Callan Macardle, K.B.E., D.L. was the Irish brewer and proprietor of Macardle-Moore & Company Ltd of Dundalk. Ireland. Macardle was knighted (Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for his contributions to the war effort, particularly in supplying grain and ale to the war effort. Kitchener Letter. See http://soldiersofthequeen.com/blog/category/uncategorized/page/7/
Kenneth’s mother, Minnie Ross Macardle was English. Her father, Lt. Col. James Clarke Ross had served in the Scots Greys. (courtesy Who’s Who)
Part of Minnie and Sir Thomas’ tragic loss is shown as their thoughts will have developed from hope to despair in their correspondence held in the Imperial War Museum – Catalogue P210.
Initially, Adjutant Major C L Macdonald wrote to Sir Thomas with a glimmer of hope and real admiration for Kenneth on 14th July.
“I regret very much too have to inform your son has been missing since the recent fighting in Trones Wood. The wood changed hands…it is possible he was captured…it is impossible to build on this hope. The wood was shelled so heavily…it was almost impossible for anyone to live in it….Whether captured or killed, he will be a very great loss to the regiment. I assure you there is not a braver or more gallant officer living. After the capture of Montauban, when the Battalion went back into action for the second time, your son, in spite of his junior rank, was put in Command of a Company [A Coy], and he handled his Company with great skill and dash…I shall miss him greatly…I had become very much attached to him…Whether alive or killed in action, I shall always be proud to have known him, and I assure you you may be very proud to have so gallant a son.”
Acting 17th Battalion Commanding Officer, Major J J Whitehead’s letter on 17th June gave a strong indication to Kenneth’s parents that he may have been captured by the Germans.
“…I saw him in the wood about 1.30pm and when I gave the order to withdraw…he failed to rejoin – this was about 3 pm. I waited myself with a few men to cover his retirement, up to 5.15 pm, but as the enemy began to counter attack, can only assume that he was taken prisoner. He was a most promising officer…I miss him very much indeed.”
The finality of Kenneth’s demise was concluded from one of Arthur Bell’s comrades in III Platoon, who had been captured with Lieutenant Humphrey. The Red Cross Zurich wrote to Sir Thomas on 6th October with the report. “…Communication from Private Arthur Watts, No 8941, A Comp.. 17th Manchester Reg:-“I saw Lt. Macardle badly wounded in Trones Wood on 9th July 1916, when I saw him I took him to be dead, as he had been lying on the top of the trench for 2 hours without moving but I could not say for certain if he was dead.” Signed Pte Arthur Watts, Prisoner of War at Dulmen.”
The Macardles had four children including Kenneth and a daughter, Dorothy; who became a renowned Irish Republican author. She was imprisoned on more than one occasion but – like her brother – continued to write in adversity. The siblings may not have shared the same ideals if Kenneth had survived to discuss them. John Ross Macardle received an MC for service with the RFA. Donald joined the Army but was invalided.
A free weekend on a well known family history website led to a chance identification of a second family member who lost his life in World War I. The Bell name was very common in Manchester and I had not previously been able to cross reference one of Arthur Bell’s cousins with any particular Herbert Bell. I then recognised this Roll of Honour (RoH) record with the 48 Renshaw Street address – where Arthur Bell’s sister had lived with her Aunt Isabella in 1911. Here’s my attempt to help remember Herbert:- Herbert was born in Manchester on 2nd April 1893 and was christened in Holy Trinity Church, Hulme soon after. His father William had married his mother Mary Jane Henshall in Holy Trinity, on 19/1/1889 as witnessed by his brother Richard; Arthur Bell’s father. William’s father, Andrew is noted to be a Mechanic and he was probably living with Andrew at 48 Phillips Street. Herbert was their second son. Elder brother William Henry had been born in 1891 (went on to be a Lieutenant in RGA). Younger sister, Edith was born in 1903. William is noted as an Assistant teacher in the Baptism record and 1901 and 1911 census when the family lived in 16 Phillips Street and 29 Beresford Street respectively. By 1911, Hebert was an 18 year old Clerk working in a Home Trade Warehouse. Later newspaper reports indicate Herbert had been employed in Granby Shirt Company in Altrincham, prior to enlisting in Salford. As a man with half dozen family members who joined the Manchester Regiment, it is not known why Herbert chose the Lancashire Fusiliers as a Private – 2344 – with whom Herbert arrived with the 1/7th Battalion in the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force in Egypt on 3rd November 1914. Unconfirmed thoughts suggest Herbert may have been a pre-war Territorial soldier. The LF Medal Roll suggest Herbert was renumbered in early 1917 as 280493.
The 1/7th LF were part of the East Lancs Division and entered Gallipoli in 1915. At some stage after 4th July, Herbert was wounded (Wounded list published 7th July). The War Diary for 5th July describes the principal action in the period “The Turks attacked on both flanks, but were driven back with heavy loss. We again relieved the 8th LF in the firing line.” He was evacuated to Egypt and spent time in the Lady Douglas’s Convalescent Home in Alexandria. The extracts of his letter illustrates the good treatment he received and some indication the “Turkish Delight” he had experienced in the Dardanelles. The Manchesters and their Division returned to Europe in August 1915 and it is anticipated Herbert was posted to the Machine Gun Corps after his recovery. He was latterly posted to 155th Company of the Machine Gun Corps and allocated number 59137. The 155th Brigade had arrived in Gallipoli with the 52nd (Lowland) Division in June 1915 and they withdrew to Egypt in January 1916. 155th Brigade include Territorial Battalions of the 1/4 & 1/5th Royal Scots Fusiliers and Kings Own Scottish Borderers. After time spent in Cairo, the Brigade moved to the Gaza Defences of Palestine in 1917. Herbert Bell was killed on 6th June 1917 after the second battle for Gaza. He is buried in Gaza War Cemetery.
Herbert’s Effects were left to mother and father, along with a large share to his fiance Edith Cox. His grieving father arranged the inscription on Herbert’s grave “He nobly fell at duty’s call.He gave his life for one and all” The extensive Obituaries in the Manchester Evening News in 1917 and anniversary 1918 illustrate the loss to family and friends. William and Mary Jane Bell’s testimony to their son is repeated:- Some day we hope to meet him,Some day, we know not when,To clasp hand in the better land,Never to part again. Herbert’s younger sister Edith and brother Will remembered their brother and reference is made to ‘sisters’ little Marie and Alice.*1 Edith wrote on the first anniversary of Herbert’s death:- One long, sad year has passed awaySince our great sorrow fell,Yet in our hearts we mourn the lossOf one we loved so well. Herbert’s Brother Will was serving in France, Commissioned in the Royal Garrison Artillery when he wrote:- He nobly fell at duty’s call.He gave his life for one and all,A loving brother, good and kind,A beautiful memory left behind. Herbert’s ‘broken hearted sweetheart’,
Courtesy Ibrahim Esam Jaradah
Edith Cox remained deeply grieving when she wrote for the anniversary:- I that loves you sadly missed you,As it dawns another year,In my lonely hours of thinkingThoughts of you are ever near. Writing from 48 Renshaw Street*2 Herbert’s aunt’s Mary Ann (Polly) remembered him with her sister Isabella Ridge who was grieving her own son Alfred Ridge (18th Manchesters)The supreme sacrifice – his bright young life. The message also refers to Cousins Edith, Bessie and Frederick Foulkes (21st Manchesters) Aunt Ethel (Unidentified) and Uncle Joe (in France) also paid their respects along “May his reward be as great as his sacrifice” with Aunt Ria and Uncle Will (in Palestine). This was probably William Foulkes.
The development of this website has created some charming moments and Highlights. I remain moved by the help received from a young man in Gaza, who provided the photos of Herbert’s grave. Ibrahim Esam Jaradah works for CWGC in the Gaza strip and kindly took the photos the day after my request on twitter. Ibrahim’s twitter explains his perspective in the continuing pride in his family’s work “It’s an honor to Jaradah family to be in a work team of the #CWGC in Israel and Gaza since the establishment and till now, some of its members earned MBE title.”
This site is not a voice for current world affairs, or my own views on issues in Palestine. However, the news of recent missile strikes close to Herbert’s grave is a firm reminder of the daily tensions faced by Ibrahim and his family 100 years after my distant cousin was fighting there. Ibrahim placed a poppy wreath on Herbert’s grave for us:-
Courtesy Ibrahim Esam Jaradah
NOTES *1 The 1911 census confirmed only three siblings, meaning Alice and Marie must have been spiritual sisters, in laws or nieces. *2 48 Renshaw Street was the Foulkes family home in 1911. Polly and Bella Bell were younger sisters of William Bell. *3 Cousin Ethel and Joe (in France) have not been identified at 48 Renshaw Street. Neither has Aunt Ria and Uncle Will (in Palestine) of 81 Palmerston Street, Moss Side. Probably William Ewart Henshall and Maria Henshall who lived at the address in 1911. Uncle Will was Mary Jane’s brother and Herbert’s aunt.
William Henry Bell was Commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Garrison Artillery 17/12/1917 and demobiliesed 25/10/1919, following which he relinquished his Commission on 1/4/1920, retaining the rank of Lieutenant (LG 13/12/1920). William was a Cadet at No 2 RGA Officer Cadet School, Maresfield Park, Sussex from 18/7/1917. He had previously served as a Gunner 292476 with 125th Heavy Battery RGA, which has served in France from April 1916. He enlisted on 29/5/1915. The 125th Heavy Battery was raised with the Manchester Pals as part of 30th Division, although arrival & service in France was separate. They took part in the great bombardment of the German trenches prior to 1st July 1916 and the maintained the advance through hard fought territory including Mametz and Montauban.
The Historical Record for the Battery notes “Our stay in this part of the line [Savy] which lasted until May 31st war remarkable for the number of men sent home to train for Commissions. Gunner Johnson left us for that purpose at Liancourt, B.Q.M.S. Hill and Staff Sergeant Saddler Boone at Vaux and others were Sergeant Wheeler, Bombardier Baker, Gunners Bell and Newman.”
Records show William’s address with his mother at 29 Beresford Street, Moss Side and show his last unit as 260 Siege Battery. He had been a clerk prior to enlisting with W Ramsden, Painter & Decorators of 70 Spear Street. William was educated at Ducie Avenue Higher Grade School, Greenheys.
In late August 1914, members of Manchester Council and a group of business men agreed to form and finance a City Battalion of clerks and warehouseman from the commercial heart of the City. Certain commitments were made by principal employers and the organising committee promised that men who enlisted as a group would serve together. The Manchester City Battalions Book of Honour lists numerous Rolls of men who enlisted and some firms that lost numerous members of staff. One example that catches the eye is that of George Robinson & Co, cotton dealers of Princess Street. Most employers Rolls list names and sometimes Regiment / Battalion. In this instance George Robinson provides portrait photographs. This enables us to put a face to the name of sample group of men from 17th Battalion – some of whom feature elsewhere on the site. Many men from the Company enlisted together and were posted to XVI Platoon of D Company. Six months later, only four employees remained in XVI Platoon, but the association with men posted to other Platoons will have remained. Here are the faces and names for men who enlisted in the 17th Battalion.
Private R L Bryant. Pte 9024 RL Bryant’s military records, except for his SDGW entry, may be found by searching for Reginald Lloyd-Bryant. He won the blindfold boxing at Heaton Park in April 1915, then went overseas with 17 Manchesters as a member of XIII Pl, was transferred to the Labour Corps and then 23 Lancashire Fusiliers, with which unit he was KIA on 27 Sep 18 as an acting CSM. He received the MM as a sergeant with this latter battalion (LG Feb 19).[Thanks for help of Mark] Reginald left a wife and son.
Lance Corporal Charles B Critchlow 8116. Manchester Grammar School Magazine reported he was wounded on July 2nd 1916 with three bullets through the leg and a scratch in the eye. Treated in 96 Field Ambulance and Hospital at Rouen. Home 7/7/1916. Furlough 86 Conyngham Road, Victoria Park in October 1916 after which he was posted to 69th Training Reserve Battalion. Discharged to Commission 25/4/1917. Various disciplinary offenses recorded some witnessed by Joseph McMenemy. Forfeited pay while in hospital while treated for VD. Former clerk at George Robinson & Co who had been born in Old Trafford. Aged 27 when enlisted 2/9/1914 and trained with XVI Pln, D Coy. Promoted Lance Corporal 9/2/1916. Charles was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant to the Manchesters on 25/4/1917 and killed in action on 22nd October 1917, serving with 21st Battalion. On this day the Bttn took part in a major assault on the German positions near the Menin Road southwest of Gheveult. The War Diary provides a vivid description of events in which 7 officers were killed, 1 missing and 5 wounded. Eighteen Officers had taken part in the assault which commenced at 05.40am. This was held up by heavy mud jamming all weapons – “almost before the advance commenced” – enfilade machine gun fire from both flanks and disorganisation as other troops mixed in with the Manchesters. His Commission was published in the London Gazette on 22/5/1917. He has no known resting place and is commemorated at TYNE COT MEMORIAL Son of Lucie Critchlow lived in 167 Barton Road, West Didsbury with daughters Jessie and Helen. Charles was one of 13 children. His father, Bernard had died by 1911 when the family lived at 68 Bishop Street, Moss Side. He had then been marine insurance clerk. Charles’ estate was left to his mother who remained resident at Conyngham Road. Probate suggests Charles had been posted to 17th Bttn.
Sergeant John Emerson 8542. Trained with XV Pln. D Coy. Transferred Fit to Reserve 13/3/1919.
CSM Percy Howard Jones 8673 B Company’s Company Sergeant Major was killed on 11/10/1916, in the German bombardment on trenches near Flers, the day before the Battalion joined a major assault to the north. Percy was 26 when he died. He is buried in the A.I.F Burial Ground, Flers, half a mile to the east of the Battalion’s trenches. His widow Leah Jones, lived at 3 Jackson St., Cheadle, Percy had been born in Didsbury and was employed by George Robinson & Co prior to hostilities. He had been CQMS when the Battalion arrived in France and Acting WO II when he was killed, previously been VI Pln Sergeant.
Private Annersley / Ellersley Hazley 8186 . Trained with XVI Pln. D Coy. Arrived in France 8/11/1915. Irish father, Annesley and Oldham born mother, Hannah noted as blind in the 1911 Census when Annersley was a clerk in a shipping warehouse. Born 1893 in Manchester the family had lived at 84 Lower Moss Lane. Annesley married Harriet Bent in the 1st quarter 1917.
Private Sidney Labrey 8221. 32 year old Pattern Card maker resident in Longsight when he enlisted 2nd September 1914. Discharged as unlikely to become an efficient soldier 27/1/1915 with valvular disease. 148 Days Service at Home No Medal entitlement. Received Pension from April 1918. Resident 62 Belgrave Road, Oldham. Son of Caroline Hester Labary, 14 Parsonage Lane, Flixton. His brother Ernest Edward Labrey served in 16th Bttn, having previously been in 2nd Volunteer Bttn and 6th Territorials. In 1917 he was attached to RAMC in France. Private 8224 Henshaw Little was not included in the Roll, but his Service Record identifies George Robinson as his previous employment. Henshaw was wounded in Spring 1916 and evacuated Home for hospital treatment on 20th May 1916. He was posted to Reserve in July 1916 and discharged with a Pension on 9th April 1919. Private George Harry Sedgley 8891. Trained with XVI Pln. D Coy. Trained as bomber. Wounded Trones Wood. Cotton cloth clerk living with parents 575 Gorton Road, Reddish (1911). Born 1895. Later served with 2/5th Battalion. Transferred Fit to Reserve24/3/1919. Private Wilfred Lawrence Wray 8354 – Born in York and resident Stretford. Born 1889. Son of William Thomas & Emily Maud Wray of 142, Barton Rd, Stretford, Manchester. Trained with XVI Pln. D Coy. Medal Roll specifies deceased, rather than killed, probably near Trones Wood, 10/7/1916. It is likely he was originally posted as missing. Accountants clerk living with parents (13 children) at 1054 Chester Road, Stretford in 1911. W L Wray also shown on Manchester Corporation, Tramways Dept. Roll. Thiepval Memorial
How lucky am I that Grandad survived his service in WWI? This is a fundamental question that remains in the background as I learn more and report hostilities.
As a sample of Manchester Pals, I’ve used the III Platoon Roll as published in the Book of Honour. We don’t know who’s who on the majority of the Platoon photo. We do have some information on each of the individuals in the list.
Analysis of CWGC & SDGW records shows 19 of the 64 Men in III Platoon Roll died during hostilities. A little under 30% of the sample were killed or died.
In view of my wider knowledge of The Cost the proportion of fatalities was surprisingly low. Further analysis of the Roll shows a group of men that did not leave for France on 8th November 1915, who may be dismissed from a true sample of fifty five men who left England with the Pals. Part of the excluded Group includes NCOs who’d been transferred to other Battalions or Corps and another man arrived in France during 1916. However, the majority of the excluded group were not combatants. These 6 men were either dismissed as unfit or unsuitable for service, or they served as Garrison troops away from Theaters of War.
Following the revised sample, it can be seen that 19 of 55 men died who arrived in France with the Pals. The chance of survival was 65% – a little over 2/3rds survived.
III Platoon, 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment. March 1916, Heaton Park.
It 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)