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.
Didsbury Manchester Pals | GM 1914. is a local site helping the Didsbury library build a presentation for the anniversary. Here’s some photos to help remember 8369 Edward Rose Ashworthof IX Platoon, C Company. He was part of the advance Group of the Battalion that traveled from Southampton to Le Havre with the Transport Section on 7th November 1915. He had a minor wound in a bombardment on 11/1/1916 (See above), where he was treated in the Field.
Edward received a Gun Shot Wound to the right buttock on 17/6/1916. He was admitted to Hospital in Abeville and evacuated Home for recovery. He was later Commissioned in the Machine Gun Corps and killed in Action on 28/3/1918.
Courtesy Book of Honour
8369 Edward Ashworth Courtesy Brian Donat and Keith Johnson
John Morrissey died on 2nd November 1916 as a Prisoner of War in Germany. He is buried in NIEDERZWEHREN CEMETERY which includes many men who have been re interred from other previous PoW cemeteries.
Pt. Morrissey was 21 years old when he died having been born on 15/7/1895. The Service Number indicates he had enlisted in early September 1914 and records confirm he had served with B Company, having trained – alongside Arthur Bell’s brother in law, Herbert Vernon – with VIII Platoon. The Medal Index Card confirms he entered France with the rest of the 2nd Manchester Pals on 8th November 1915; not quite a year before he died of wounds.
Documents released by ICRC in 2014 now provide further details of wounds and Prisoner of War status. These specify John was captured at Trones Wood on 8th [9th] July. He had grenade wounds to both legs and right fore arm. John was transferred through a series of German Camps returning to Ohrdruf on 21/10/1916. It. Is likely that this last transfer was to seek health care for problems with John’s wounds and an indication of his place of death.
John was the son of John and Ada Morrissey, of 3, Bank Place, Salford. John Snr was himself serving in No 336 Prisoner of War Camp, Pembury, as Pte 21153 with the Royal Defence Corps, when he received funds from his son’s estate. The family had earlier lived at 15 North George. The 1911 census records that he had worked as an office boy, aged 15/16. He is recorded on Salford’s St Philip with St Stephen – War Memorial– The Parish where he was born. He also has a commemoration in Weaste Cemetery, Salford
In loving memory of our Dear son John Morrissey 2nd Man Pals Died of wounds received In France Nov. 2nd 1916
Far from his home neath foreign
skies in a soldier’s grave
our dear son lies
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
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.
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)
Our World War first programme of the series surpassed expectations. Featuring the defence and retreat from Mons, the personal stories of the Royal Fusiliers provides a clear interpretation of events on the ground, with helpful graphics to reflect the strategic perspective. Let’s hope the vivid and accurate portrayal continues next week with the 18th Manchesters.
On a recent visit to East Yorkshire we took the opportunity to climb the tower of St Helen’s Church in Welton, E. Yorks. It was not possible to leave without noting the War Memorials for the Crimean War, WW1 & WW2. Colin is the researcher for the Parish and is making good progress, particularly with 5 brothers from one family – 3 of whom lost their life in hostilities.