Collection Title: Llangollen advertiser, Denbighshire, Merionethshire, and North Wales Journal (1860-1893)
Institution: The National Library of Wales
Rights: The copyright status or ownership of this resource is unknown.
DEMOBILIZED IN NINE DAYS j
DEMOBILIZED IN NINE DAYS! j EXPERIENCES OF AN OSWESTRY JOURNALIST. Many and many a time as I rolled myself lw" my blankets and lay down on the ground to sleep have I remarked to my comrades now lovely it would be when we received our ticket. Never once did I dream that so vast jind complicated and bewildering a machine of release would be put into motion to effect so simple a purpose, but when the New Year dawned I knew that soon I should try my luck in that intricate machine. *v My firm applied for- my release to the Mobilization Department of the War Office, and a few days before Christmas my com- manding officer received from me War Office a pink card, bearing my regimental number, rank und name, my group number, my pro- fessioi). my employers, and denoting that 1 was a pivotal man, urgently required for re- lease at the earliest opportunity. From that time I could not. be transferred to another unit, nor after an allotment had been made for pivotal men could I be kept without writ- ten instructions from general headquarters. The pink card was accompanied by numerous Z forms, which must be filled up in due course. A wire was despatched by the unit to the next higher formation, notifying that t" One other rank, pivotal, was, awaiting an 'allotment to Oswestry Dispersal Station. I On New Year's Day a wire was received from the next higher formation, ordering me to report next morning to the Brigade Officer aI, St. Omer Station. That evening my colonel jealled me to his room, and in a neat little speech, thanked me for my services with the unit for more than three years, wished me a prosperous careter, and heartily shook my hand. I saluted and retired. Next morning I bade farewell to my comrades with whom I had lived and worked since I joined up, and I felt many a spasm and many a tug at my heart as my memory flashed back OIl the times s we had lived through and the dangers we had passed. The last courtesy of my unit was to ¡ place at my disposal a Ford car, to carry me the four miles which intervened between me ¡ and the railway station at St. Omer. In !,11e statioft yard a knot of German prisoners, I watched by an armed guard, were busy clean- I ing up, and I was struck by the great con- trast in their fine condition to that of thou- sands of our comrades who have come back from captivity in Germany mere physical II wrecks. That is the measure of degree 1 e- I tween humanity and inhumanity. 7 « it t Somewhere about sixty of us from our Uivision lined up on the platform, and about thirty of us entered a goods van captured from the enemy, which still bore a large German imperial crown, and had directions printed in the German language. We traveiled in this van from St. Omer to Hazebrouck-a. dozen miles or so—and there we detrained. Passing through the town, where builders J were very busy repairing the damage done by ^nemy shell fire and eradicating the marks of the beast of war, a few mmutes' march brought 180 of us to the Corps Concentratioil Camp, where we split up into parties, and 1 j with thirteen others lined up against a post bearing the happy legend—Oswestry. The j room which was assigned us would accommo- I date sixty men, and here we slept very coldly I an wire beds—in two parts—which made -the j same impression on one's body, so that one « Earnestly longed for the morning light, which II Same very leisurely indeed. In the afternoon, now a battalion strong, we marched to I Hondeghem Staging Camp, two miles away— ) a short cut" was taken across a swampy field in response to the declaration of ine notice board. Like many another Army m- councement, it was only half the truth, f 'r | the cut was deep as well as "short," and 60ldien who have carried their full pack in such conditions will well know what one's j inmost feelings were negotiating that cross- country tramp. On arrival at the Staging Camp, which had hutting accommodation for five thousand men, we were placed in small j Nissen huts. As there was no fire and no ) comforts in the camp, I turned into my blank- j ets at seven o'clock, but later in the evening j I suffered the discomfort of being called uut ) of bed to draw rations for our party. I I had to wade through a sea of mud, and twice I nearly lost my insecurely fastened boots. Next day Oswestry party-now 57 strong-left Ihe Staging Camp with a battalion of men lor other dispersal stations, and, headed by a band of drums and bugles, we marched to Hazebrouck railway station, passing on our left, near the old site of a casualty clearing station, a little burial ground, whose white crosses spoke more eloquently than words of the sacrifice made by gallant men to defend and protect their beloved native land. The drummers ceased their beating, the buglers called no more, and we joined the train which brought comrades from the Armies of Occupa- tion in Germany, and from far distant places in France and Belgium. How we longed for the railway service at home, for our journey from Hazebrouck to Dunkerque occupied 41 hours, travelling all the time. Down we dropped on a siding, in the darkness of the -u-igilt, and while the rain pelted on us we were -twist-ed and turned about till our guide thought he held us in the hollow of his hand. I 'And what, a hollow I shall never forget that tramp so long as I live. Balancing precarious- ly on the edge of large bomb craters, negotiat- ing numerous obstructions—natural and tui- iatural-a.voiding such pitfalls as dykes and deep mud holes, we passed on to our destin- ￼ M'ion, marching for a solid ninety minutes I Lhrough depths of slimy mud—slipping, slithering, floundering beneath heavy pack-, find accoutrements—some sitting in the mud,, some sprawling in iG, and the remainder of the column doing all sorts of fancy gyrations with unconctrted movement. Thus we ari- ^uished in pain, misery and uncertainty, while the air was rent with violent imprecations against our guide, and the unofficial Army language flowed out. in great volumes, rising higher and yet higher, till it assumed a vast babel of tongues, which beggared all descrip- lliot. We slept the night in a huge hangar-. alrsave one, and he an airman. He got stuck in the mud, and was unable to dig himself out in time to catch up the column, so not knowing where we had gone or whether we ,"overe lost, he turned into a barn fbr the night, and came on to us; next morning. Finally we inarched away to th-a skirl of the bagpipes, aDd the day was fast closing in as we passed I I through the maze of dockland to the boat. There always has seemed to me a strange sense of mystery marching in the darkness: we have marched silently in the dark as we approached enemy positions, but this time there is no need for the silence, and all the boys are happy, for just, across the water ties the dear homeland. We show our Z 10 and walk along the gangway, leaving France perhaps for ever! not without a pang, though, for there are some tender memories which will linger with us for ever. Next morning the boat sails with the early tide it takes 19 hours to cross from Dunkerque to Southampton! On landing we enjoyed a good mug of tea with a nice bun and a bar of chocolate, served out to us on Southampton sidings by charming English ladies, uniformed in Cambridge blue, looking very chic and handsome. Here 've lined up on our various centres, though I could scarcely feel other than sorry that our old town was spelt in large letters without the R—"Oswesty!" I noticed, also, that the Embarkation Officer was calling, Prees Heath Press Heath. Of course it is not everyone whQ is acquainted with the two important centres of demobilization in our own county— but the Embarkation Officer well, enough said Each man was the recipient of a parcel of food from the .Navy and Army Canteen Board, and after the roll call—several -imes renewed before our demobilization was com- pleted—we boarded the ttain, and seven 1 -urs later ran into the siding at Prees Heath Camp —a' halt having been made at Birmingham for a cup of coffee. A party of men destined for Oswestry Dispersal Station had been sent to Prees Heath for demobilization, and I was included, a change which was made at South- ampton. I suppose the alteration of the venue was made to distribute the parties as evenly ■ as possibly between the two dispersal stations. Our train carried 670 men, and we were speedily dealt- with by the kindly officials at Prees Heath. The party I was in was de- mobilized by 11-30 that same night. The officer who was responsible for us from the time we left our unit in France, handed in hia papers, the roll was called, and every man answered his name. There were no absentees on this journey We were next. made up into parties of 30, marched into a hut where there was a table for each man, and here we sorted out our kits, separating Government property from our private belongings. Everything was cheeked our own possessions were placed in a sandbag and the Government property was deposited in the next hut we passed into. On again into another hut, and still another-- signing Z form after Z form, ever clinging tightly to my sandbag which contains the few precious possessions of my personal ldt which has accompanied me on the battlefields of Egypt, France and Belgium. At last I hand in a most crerished possession, A.B. 64-my pay book—which contains a most interesting history of my movements, tells when I was vaccinated, records how many times I have been inoculated—eight or nine; but never again! I go to the cashier, who hands me a couple of chocolate coloured Treasury notes to tide me over a few days. Then I am told to wait in another hut till the party again numbers 30, and meanwhile two army chap- lains inquire my religion-for the final Army census, I suppose. Thirty men have now gathered, andjg.most obliging orderly takes us to the cookhcnise, where we hand in a tin check and receive a basin of tea, a piece of bread, and a plate of stew-very nice, too. The sergeant-major watches me like a rat watches a mouse, and explains to me-for I was a long time finding that square of tin with a slit in it—that there are a lot of rogues in the Army." I think "scroungers" would have been a better word to use. I know what scrounging means: I have had occasion to know, and I have not yet come across a British Tommy who not only understands the mean- ing of the word but has himself enjoyed that excellent pastime. Later we receive four blankets and are allotted a space in a but, where for each man there is waiting a palliasse I of straw on three planks—quite a luxurious I bed for me, and reminds me of barrack life when I was first introduced to it three and a ¡ half years ago. Those were the good old days I In my hut are the Glory of England boys who ¡ have fought in the battle of Egypt, in Gallip- i oli, in the Salonica expedition, on the Italian j front, and in France and Belgium—heroes all. To-morrow, they will be free and happy men! w • At six o'clock we rise to wash and shave. There 'is breakfast somewhere in the C..mp at seven o'clock, but I am bent on listening for 0 to be called out-"All stations for 0, which includes Oswestry as well a$Oldham. After exercising a little patience, I am reward- ed by the gift of a packet containing papers I which will protect me till my final,discharge a month hence. I board the train waiting in the siding to take hundreds of happy men to Whitchurch, to be distributed north and south to their homes. A raw Lancashire lad shouts with great glee, "I have been-round the world for my ticket, and here it is—been at Preeg Heath all the time." Yes, and I have been nine days getting my demobilization papers! Now, I am free: the perils and dangers and terrors of war are behind me. Yet rejoicing in my freedom, I would not for- get-I never can forget-that numbers of ny comrades, stricken in battle, will never return. They lie buried in foreign lands. They have made the supreme sacrifice. Mid shot and shell they fought like the heroes they were they never faltered the way was rough and hard, but they never hesitated to do their duty. One must pray that the Great Lord of the Universe, the Eternal Father, will comfort their loved ones, shelter and succour them, 1 and heal their broken hearts. ANDREW Sceiven. I
Quitting JVypcrintmenls. THE NORTH STfRO?": M J KK HOUNDS I will meet Jail. 22—Preston Gubbalds. Jan. 2!-Wolverley Bridge. Meet at lfe o'clock. Sla W. W. WYNN'S HOUNDS I will m,16t Saturday, Jan. 25-Petton (instead of Bettiafleld), Monday, an. 27-Gredington. Friday, Jan. 31—11a 1 pas. Meet at 11 o'clock. v, UNITED PACK. I will meet j Wednesday, Jan. 23—Cann Smithy, Saturday, Jan. 25—Marse Brook. Meet at 11 c'otoet. f .»
BORDER MILITARY HONOURS I
BORDER MILITARY HONOURS, I MILITARY CROSS. Major Hugh P. Morgan, of the Royal Field Artillery. Major Morgan, who is the son of Mr. and Mrs. G. H. Morgan, of Kings-, land, Shrewsbury, was captain in the Shrop- shire Artillery; he was promoted major -and posted to a battery in the Regular Army. Capt. Cecil William May hew, 1/lst Den. bighshire Yeo., attd. 24th Batt. R. W. Fus., I T.F. He led his company forward in an at- tack with conspicuous gallantry and. skill, rallyinj a wavering platoon whose commaiider, had become a casualty and capturing a machine-gun post. His example of courage and dash had a most inspiriting effect on his me-a. j Captain J. E. Young, R.A.V.C., tie for. nier.lv well-known veterinary surgeon of, Station-road, Whitchurch. Capt. Young has) served for upwards of four years as V.O. to the 34th Army Brigade of R.F.A. The 34th Army Brigade has fought continuously on the western front during the whole period, ft Capt. Young's service, including many of the fiercest engagements, the retreat last spring, when he was wounded, and the great final advance. Capt. Young holds the Mons rib- bon, the red and blue service stripes, and is j now with the Brigade as part of the Army of Occupation of the Rhine Provinces, near Cologne. I DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL. I I Sergt. Victor Ferguson, for gallant conduct during a big attack last October. He is a nephew of Mrs. Pugh, 88, Sinithfield-road, Wrexham, and joined the "Pals" Battalion at its formation. Corpl. J. O. Hughes, R.F.A., for gallantry on the field on October 21st, 1918. He is now working at Gresford Colliery, having been de- mobilised for mining work. Corpl. J. O. Hughes lives at Pandy Cottage, Rhosrobin, and joined up on October 13th, 1915. He worked at Gresford Colliery prior to his en- listment. ,j, I MERITORIOUS SERVICE MEDAL. I I D/29000 Far.S.Sergt. C. McIver, 3rd Dra.- goons, Oswestry. f112852.i9 Far.S.Ser-t. T. Kerr, Oxford Y eo., Whitchurch. 696277 Sergt. A. E. V. Berkeley, 57th D.A.C. (Wr. Lanes.), Wrexham. WR/255098 Sergt. C. T. Pugh, 119th Rail- way Company, R.E., Shrewsbury. 355009 Q.M.Sergt. H. Jones, 25th Batt., R.W. Fus. (T.F.), Newtown. 345010 Sergt. J. Brookfield, 24th Batt., R.W.F. (T.F.), Wrexham. 200434 Sergt. E. Davies, 4th Batt., R.W.F. (T.F.), Gresford. 200423 Sergt. J. H. Randles, 4th Batt. R.W.F. (T.F.), Wrexham. 13064 Corpl. A. Hotchkiss, 6th Batt. Shrop- shire L. I., Ludlow. 3C803C. Q.M. Sergt. J. E. Massey, 25th Bn., M.G.C., Wrexham. ) f
Military Appointments, I Qrrnr. and Major Acton Richard Woodland, I Shropshire L.I., is seconded for service with the R.A.F., Dec. 25, 1918; ? j Capt. (acting Major) J. C. Flowden, M.C., j is-gazetted acting .lieut.-colonel while oom-I manding a battalion, Sept. 26, 1918. j Temp. Major A. S. Browne is gazetted to be seconded in command of the 2nd Batt. Shropshire L.I., Volunteer Force, Nov. 14. I Bt. Lt.-Colonel W. A. Payn, Shropshire L.I., is placedlba the half-pay list on account of ill-health contracted on active service, Jam. i 16. Lieut. T. Kenneth Griffiths, R.E., youngest j son of the late Mr. W. Griffiths and, Mrs. Griffiths, Tanybryn, Whittington, has been' promoted captain. I Captain Arthur Madoc Jon'es, R.A.M.C., ) eldest son of Dr. and Mrs. Richd. Jones, Isallt, Blaenau Festiniog, has been promoted major. He has been serving n Salonika for the last eighteen months. Commander John E. Edwards, R.D., R.N.R., is promoted to be captain R.N.R. Captain Edwards' obtained his commission as sub-lieutenant on August 12th, 1896, was pro- moted to lieut, September 11th, 1903, then to commande.r March 8th, 1912, and to the rank of captain December 31st, 1918. He received the R.A.R. Officers' Declaration on March 12, 1901, was mentioned in despatches May 31, 1916, for his services whilst in command of H.M.'s Special Service Vessel Bacchus in Suvla Bay, Dardanelles, and received & special letter of appreciation from the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty for his ser- vices of ten years in comand of Royal Fleet Auxiliaries. He has been on active service all through the war, and possesses the 1915 medal for service at Gallipoli. Captain Edwards is the eldest son of Mr. Evan Edwards, 3, Maesgwyn-road, Wrexham, and is now First Principal Assistant to the Admiralty Port Officer at Scapa, Flow, the largest naval base in the world.
LOCAL WEDDINGS t
LOCAL WEDDINGS. t PITTBROWN. I The marriage- took place at All. aims' I Parish Church, Castleford, on Jan. 11, of R.S.M H. L. B. Pitt, R.A.M.C., son of Mr. and Mrs. John Pitt, Wrexham, to Nellie, the I only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. B. Brown, Castleford, Yorkshire. The Rev. W. A. Hewitt, rector, officiated. The bridesmaid was Miss D. Banks, of Barnard Castle, and Pte. J. H. Bonner, R.A.M.'C., of Oxford, was best man. I OLIVER—WILLIAMS. By special license, at the Parisn unureu, Wrexham, on Jan. 4, of Pte. Harry Oliver, son of the late Mr. John Oliver and Mrs. Oliver, King's Mills Road, Wrexham, was married to Mary, second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. Williams, 1, Saxon St., Wrexham. j The bride, who was given away by her-frkther, wore the uniform of the Q.M.A.A.C., and was a.ttended by the sister of the bridegroom. The bridegroom is serving with the Canadian contingent, and has recently returned from France. The best man was Sergt. Beard, R.W.F. Mr. Clarke ooieiated.,
Miss Mary Clifford, who is said td have beenI the first lady guardian, hae died at Bristol, QO.A '1A
I Shrewsbury War Memorial
I Shrewsbury War Memorial. I TOWN'S MEETING APPOINT RE- PRESENTATIVE COMMITTEE. A town's meeting convened by the Mayor (Alderman S. M. Morris) was held at the Guildhall, Shrewsbury, on Thursday after- noon, to consider the. provision of a war memo- rial for the borough and the arrangements for a fitting celebration of peace. His wor- ship was suppor?d by the Mayoress, Mr. G. Butler Lloyc? M.P., the Deputy Mayor (Alder- I man T. P. Deakin), the Ven. Archdeacon I Lambart, the Rev. Dr. Greenwood, etc. I THE MAYOR'S DESIRE. The Mayor said very little could be done m relation to the manner in which they should celebrate the peace they all hoped soon to see until they knew more particularly what was to be dore in the way of public holidays, and so forth. He did hope that in their peace celebrations they would, be careful to avoid anything in the way of undue levity, which would jar the feelings of those who had lost loved ones. As to the form the wa.r memorial should take he would deprecate anything in the nature of a public hall, baths, or things of that description. In that town, at any rate, let them have some worthy and stately memorial which, so far as it was possible ilor hands to fashion it, and minds to read. it, would express all they owed to those who had died that we might live, and which would mark the great things done by the present generation and the nioble ideals for which they fought in the time of our country's peril. (Hear, hear.) Whatever they did let it be of the best. (Applause.) SHREWSBURY'S HIGH STANDARD. Alderman W. Maynard How moved that a suitable memorial to all belonging to the town who had fallen in the war be provided, that arrangements be made for a fitting celebration of peace in the borough, and that the Mayor be requested to open a public subscription list for these purposes. He said- he had the Mayor's permission to say that he would be perfectly willing that subscriptions should be allocated to onle or other of the two objects mentioned in the proposal. The cost of the victory, as the Mayor had said, hgd been so great that he himself was in no mood for much merrymaking; but it was a matter of senti- ment, and if all classes in the borough were willing to subscribe small sums with the idea oi having festivities he would have nothing to say against it. But the question of provid- ing a memorial for those who had given their lives that we might have peace was an en- tdxely different matter. It was in the nature of a sacred obligation. Then it must be re- membered that their standard in Shrewsbury was high, that it enjoyed a singular distinc- tion amongst the towns of England with re- gard to the merit of statues, such as that of Clive and Darwin, and the Lord Hill Memo- rial Column, so that they ought to be doubly careful lest they should put up anything that would be below the present standard. He was opposed to collecting money in honour of the dead and then applying it to provide some convenience for the living. (Hear, hear.) Councillor John Froggatt seconded, the motion. Mr. G. Butler Lloyd, M.P., in supporting the motion, said he would like to see some beautiful sta,tue or memorial Which would be worthy of the great sacrifices which had been made. HOW SOLDIERS REGARD MEMORIALS. Archdeacon Lambart said, as a demobilised soldier, he was in a position to say that hav- ing heard, this matter discussed amongst sol- diers, the men themselves would not nave a. word to say in favour of a statue.. They would much rather see a war memorial take the form of something that would be of prac- tical benefit to this and succeeding gener- ations. The Royal Salop Infirmary was, as they were aware, much too small and out of date in many respects, and the question wa* bound to arise as to when that great build- ing, which had, meant so much to the town 'and country districts, could be renovated and made to meet modern scientific demands. If they could get the surrounding districts to join with them there was a great opportunity for rebuilding that institution, and at the same time raising a facade in classical archi- tecture which would immediately commemor- ate the great period through which we had passed, and those who had laid down their lives in the war. (Hear, hear.) The Rev. W. B. MacNab suggested that if possible something should be done for the children of our fallen heroes. REPRESENTATIVE COMMITTEE APPOINTED. On the motion of the Deputy Mayor, it was agreed That a representative general com- mittee be formed for carrying into effect the objects named, with power to appoint sub- committees and such officers as may be re- quired, and to consider and report as to the form the memorial and peace celebrations shall take, and generally to make all necessary arrangements for carrying out the same," ■»
WHITTINGTON. R.A.M.C. SOCIAL.—On Thursday evening:, in the C.A. Recreation Hut, a very enjoyable evening was spent, It was organised by the staff of the R.A.M.C. wt Park Hail, and a. number of villagers were invited. Some capital solos were iaung by Miss Mines, Miss Nora Davies, Sergte, Evans and Has km. Misses Cleugh (viohn) and Beabow, who phayed for dancing, and Se,rgeants Haskin, Rogers and Evana and Pte. Harmer also played, and Miss Benbow gave a recit&tiaa. OBITUARY.—Mrs. Parry, widow of the lata Mr. John Parry, blacksmith, who died at tho residence of her daughter, at Chester, on Janu- ary 14th, aged 78, was buried on Friday, the Rev. J. J. Poynter officiating. The mourners were William. Thomas and Harry Parry (sous), Mrs. Chambers, Mrs. Cawley, Mrs. Bennett, Mrs. Roberts (daughtere), Mr. G. Cawley (son- in-law), Mrs. T. Parry (daughter-in-law), Mns, Oliver (sister-in-law), and several grandchildren. A good number of friends attended, the deeeased being much esteemed. The bearers were Messrs. J. Sanderson, E. A. Jones, W. Jones and Owen. Wreaths were sent from Polly and Kate, Alice and George, Tom and Nellie, Harry, Emily and Grandson, Nellie, Bert and Grand-daughter, Bert, Lizzie and Nellie (grand-children); Oswald, Bessie and Arthur (grand-children), Doris, Nellie, Evan and George (grand-children), Mr and Mrs. Higgins, Chester, Mrs. Isaac Jonee, Mrs. Sea- bury. Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Owen, Mr. T. Ellis and family, Oswestry. Mr. and Mrs. Jackson (Boot Inn), Mrs. Tinsley, Mra, Hunter, and ThembsM Consrresrational Mur-- r' ;.it