Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

17 erthygl ar y dudalen hon



HOME AGAIN! WELCOME TO VOLUNTEERS. PRESENTATION OF WAR MEDALS. ENTERTAINED BY THE MAYOR. The Seoond Special Service Company of Cheshire Volunteers arrived in Chester from South Africa on Tuesday evening, and once again there was witnessed in the city one of those hearty demonstrations of patriotism wnicn tne -departure or arrival of Cheshire's active service men has never failed to evoke. The order for the formation of this Second Special Service Company evoked great joy among Cheshire Volunteers some 16 months ago, and the response was of a most enthusiastic character. The only difficulty experienced was in selecting the men out cf the large number who volunteered their ser- vices. The training of the company, it will be remembered, took place in Chester, and they Tvere billeted, by kind permission of the directors of the Chester Racecourse Company, in the general stands at the Roodee. When we bade them "adieu" we felt sure that they would do their duty and maintain the good traditions of the ,munty regiment. This they have done, and they h&ve now returned deserving of our gratitude for their noble sacrifice and splendid service in the cause of their King and country. Notwithstanding the uncertainty as to the actual time of arrival, people began to congregate in the principal streets soon after five o'clock. Relatives and friends journeyed from far and near to the city, anxious to be among the first to welcome home those in whom they were par- ticularly interested and of whom they were naturally proud. A detachment of the 2nd (Earl of Chester's) Volunteer Battalion Cheshire Regi- ment, and the band of the same battalion, also the 22nd Regimental Depot Band, passed down the street towards the station just before six o'clock, and then the crowds began to increase rapidly. The detachment (under Lieutenant Churton) and the two bands were drawn up in the Mold siding at the station. Among others who were present on the platform were Colonel Ommanney (commanding the 22nd Regimental District), Colonel T. J. Smith, commanding the 2nd (Earl of Chester's) Volunteer Battalion Cheshire Regiment, etc. About 6.25 p.m. the Great Western special train conveying the heroes steamed into the siding, and there was lusty cheering both in and out of the train. A few minutes for detraining and hand-shaking, and then the Special Service Company were lined up. They numbered 82 and two officers, and there was not a man among them who did not kok the picture of health. They had made the journey by sea in the s.s. Canada, one of the best troopships, and had travelled via Madeira and Queenstown. Three beats on. a drum and a crash of brass were the signal to the vast crowd without that the march to the Town Hall was about to commence. Headed by their officers- Captain Abercrombie and Lieutenant Frost- and preceded by two bands, the "khaki boys" emerged from the station by the gates nearest the Post Office, the detachment of red-coated Volunteers, including a strong muster of non- commissioned officers, bringing up the rear of the procession. A scene of great enthusiasm and excitement was witnessed. Overjoyed relatives and friends might have been seen struggling to grasp the hand of their hero or hailing him from among the crowd which surged on either side of the procession. One woman held her baby up, and next minute she was proudly tramping along between two of the lads in khaki. The bands played alternately, and the cheer of welcome was heard again and again as the bronzed soldiers marched gaily along the crowded streets to the Town Hall. Their progress would have been much slower had it not been for the energies of the police, who kindly but firmly kept the crowd from breaking in upon the line of march. A rousing cheer told those who had fallen to the rear that the gallant fellows with their escort had come within the view of those who had patiently awaited their arrival in the Town Hall Square. The officers and men of the company were received by the Mayor (Mr. James G. Frost), who was accompanied by Col. Ommanney, Major Oxley, D.A.A.G., the Sheriff of Chester (Mr. R. Cecil Davies), Alderman J. J. Cunnah, Mr. Wm. Ferguson, Mr. Meadows Frost, Mr. C. P. Douglas, Dr. Harrison, the Rev. F. Edwards (Mayor's chaplain), Mr. J. H. Dickson (Deputy Town Clerk), Mr. L. Booth, etc. As the com- pany filed into the Town Hall the band played "God Save the King." The police arrangements along the route of maroh were under the personal supervision of the Chief Constable. Having refreshed themselves with a wash, the company formed up in the corridor, and here Major-General Hallam Parr (newly-appointed to the command of the North-Western District in succession to Major-General Swaine, C.B.) dis- tributed South African war medals, first to the officers and then to the men. General Hallam Parr welcomed them back, and said he had noticed the hard work they had done, and although they might not have been so lucky as regarded exciting work as other corps, yet there was fine testimony to the soldier-like qualities and discipline in the hard work they had done in the field. He was glad the medals had just arrived in time. The company were afterwards entertained at dinner in the Council Chamber by the Mayor. His worship presided, and was supported by Major-General Hallam Parr, Colonel Ommanney, Hon. Colonel H. T. Brown, Colonel T. J. Smith, Major Lamb (Flintshire Engineers), Captain Bower, Lieut. Waylin, D.S.O., A.D.C., the Sheriff of Chester, Alderman Thomas Smith, Mr. Meadows Frost (Birkenhead), Mr. J. M. Frost, Mr. T. Gibbons Frost, Mr. J. F. Lowe, the Rev. F. Edwards, Mr. C. Cooper, Dr. Harrison, Dr. Archer, Mr. J. H. Dickson (Deputy Town Clerk), Mr. 1. Matthews Jones (City Surveyor), Mr. W. Peers (Clerk of Committees), the Chief Constable (Mr. J. H. Laybourne), etc. The loyal toasts were submitted from the chair end enthusiastically received. Alderman Thomas Smith proposed H.M. Imperial Forces." In paying a tribute to the Navy and Army, Mr. Smith remarked that grand ap our Army of English, Welsh, Scotch and Irish were, we were heartily glad that we had our Colonial fellow-soldiers, who had worked with us loyally for our King and country. (Cheers.) LACK OF TRAINING GROUNDS. Major-General Hallam Parr, in responding, said he was much obliged to Alderman Smith for the kind way in which he had proposed the health of the Imperial Forces. He was sorry there was no officer of the Royal Navy to return thanks. As regarded the Army, the event of that day-the home-ooming of the Volunteer Com- pany of the county regiment, had doubtless caused the toast to be drunk with additional enthusiasm. The Boer War had made a great many changes; but there was one which would have a lasting effect, and that was the position of the Volunteers. The Volunteers' joining the territorial regiment on active service was the logical outcome of the territorial system, and it was watched by all with the greatest interest. We knew the Volunteers would do well, but we did not know how well they were going to do. They had done splendidly. (Applause.) He had spoken to the staff officers and the regimental officers, and it nad been a pleasure to him to hear how they had spoken of their Volunteer companies. At that moment the horrid feeling seized him that he was going to interfere with the Mayor's speech; but he hoped they would allow him to go on ir. fringing on that speech. The Volunteer com- panies had done exceedingly well, and he hoped that what the nation would try to remember was that they would do their duty by the Volunteers as the Volunteers had done their duty by them, and give them the opportunity of getting trained. (Hear, hear.) Not only did their comrades go out trained in the barrack square, but a great many Volunteers went out the same way, and that ought to cease. In the district to which he had just come there was not a single training giound from Carlisle to Hereford, and we had to send our troops to the overcrowded and over- taxed training grounds of the south. He hoped all present who had any influence would think ot the Army in the North-Western District and try to put in a word for proper training grounds being obtained for them. (Applause.) He then thanKed them for the way they had received the toast of the Imperial Forces. The Mayor submitted the toast of The Volunteer Service Company, Cheshire Regi- ment." In his own name, and in the name of the citizens of Chester, he offered them a hearty welcome on their safe return from South Africa. We were, he said, proud of them, and we had tried to follow their wanderings on the veldt. We had been much interested in the manoeuvres in which they had taken part and helped General Kitchener in one of his latest drives. (Hear, hear.) We had read with sorrow of the hardships some of them had endured while five tcontbs trekking with Colonel Hiekie. It dis- tressed us much when we learned that many times they had felt the pangs of hunger, being on barely half rations, and it was worse still for I u. to think that they were often short of water. The characteristics of the British soldier were bravery and humanity. Happily, we all knew that the vile slanders which we read in the Con- tinental Press were not true, and the atrocities which were put down to Tommy Atkins were foreign to his nature. (Applause.) He congratu- lated the Service Company on the small per- centage they bad left behind and deeply re- gretted that several of their brave comrades were never to return again. He hoped that those who had returned, when they went to their respective homes, would find their situations open to them. (Hear,' hear and applause.) The toast was received with musical honours. Captain Abercrombie expressed thanks on behalf of the company. It was, he said, rather more than fifteen months since they were being wished "good luok." They would be glad to know that th«iy had had good luck. (Hear, hear.) He himself had had good luck in having under him a company which had given him practically no trouble. (Applause.) The men had done everything that had been asked of them. Of course one could not expect the men to go out to South Africa and know their job at once; but they had tumbled to their work smartly. Col. Graham, who, unfortunately, w8 not able to see them off, had written a letter which shewed him that there was not the slightest doubt he sincerely meant what he said. Colonel Graham had said he never spared the company and had treated them just like one company of the battalion, and they had never disappointed him. (Applause.) They had also had good luck in the matter of their transport. On both the outward and home- coming journey they had quite one of the best boats. Coming back the weather was not very genial. With regard to the work they had to do in South Africa, they had had a very fair share of luck there. He did not mean to say they had not done hard work-they had not been playing marbles-but the work had been of a pleasant variety. Briefly; they went out there and got a very nice station near Potchefstroom, where they were six weeks getting acclimatised. It was very nice not to go on trek at once. Afterwards for five months they treked and treked and treked. It was all hard work, and that, unfortunately, was what the infantry had to do nowadays. Their experience of fighting going on was very often. They generally heard guns going off, but the eiemy never got through the mounted troops, and so the Volunteers did not get very much fighting. That was what the infantry had to put up with nowadays. Hard fighting went on, and they did not get a chance to shoot until the thing was practically over; in fact, the Infantry did not fire unless they fired the last cartridge. Certainly the Service Company of Volunteers bad a peaceful trek, but they had to do a lot of unpleasant work, including farm burning, which for the most part was not very pleasant. The Mayor had alluded to atrocities attributed to the British Army in South Africa. He (the speaker) would like to say that when they were collecting families, bustling poor old ladies out of farm dwellings and putting furniture on wagons, he never saw a man of the company treat any Boer, either man, woman or child, with anything but the utmost friendliness. (Cheers.) As for the members of the company, they had ccme back 82 and two. officers; they went out 113, so that they had left about 30 in South Africa. Unfortunately, they had left seven men behind dead, and he hoped the relatives would find some comfort in the knowledge that they had DIED FOR THEIR COUNTRY. One man had got a good job on the Dock Board in Capetown, and he hoped he would do well. Three mea, although he had never noticed their Scottish accent—(laughter)—had joined the Capetown Highlanders. The kilt, or something like that, must have attracted them. (Laughter.) Captain Abercrombie spoke of the advantages to be derived from settling in South Africa, and expressed the hope that some who had returned to England would afterwards go out again. They had left a few sick behind, and some had been invalided home. Most of them had had a taste of sickness, but they were nearly all much better for their little trip to South Africa. (Applause.) Lieutenant Frost also responded. He ex- piessed the hearty thanks of the company to the Mayor for the splendid reception. Personally he felt somewhat in a dream and feared he should wake up and find himself in a blockhouse. (Laughter.) As the captain had said, a good deal of hard work bad been done, but he did not think they were very much the worse for it. (Hear, hear.) They had served alongside the Regulars, and he thought it would be a very good thing if Volunteers who had real active service with the Regulars endeavoured to impart the valuable knowledge they had gained to the other. Volunteers. (Hear, hear.) He hoped all who had returned would go to camp next year. Captain Abercrombie proposed the health of the Mayor in felicitous terms. They were, he said, very much indebted to him for the kind and liberal way in which he had received the poor wanderers that night. (Applause.) He appealed to the men not to resign, but to discharge one more duty which remained, that of imparting as much as they had learned to others. The Mayor, in responding, said he considered it a privilege to be in a position to have the honour of entertaining the defenders of our country. (Hear, hear.) The Volunteers through- out the war, which we all hoped was now at an end—(hear, hear)—had shewn that they were a valuable adjunct to the Army, and were fit to take the field and fight shoulder to shoulder with their comrades in arms, the Regulars. He hoped the Volunteer force would go on in- creasing. With that and the aid we got from our Colonials the flag of our country would never cease to wave. (Loud applause.) The men were billeted for the night in the Drill Hall, and left on Wednesday for their respective towns, where a. further welcome awaited them. HEARTY RECEPTION AT HAWARDEN. The second contingent of Volunteers of the Hawarden (B) Company, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, returned home on Saturday afternoon, and were accorded a fitting welcome by the inhabitants of Hawarden. Privates Pownall, Fenwick, (Davies, Molyneux and Jones left for the front in February, 1901, and have therefore had about fifteen months' service at the seat of war. They look extremely well after their arduous campaign. The village presented a gay and festive appearance, most of the residents displaying flags. The weather was not altogether propitious, but brightened up some- what just before the men arrived. The members of the Volunteer Company assembled at the Armoury shortly after three, and headed by the band, marched to the railway station, Captain Swetenham being in command. The new Maxim gun, which has recently been sent down by the military authorities for the use of the company, was carried in the procession. During the interval which elapsed before the arrival of the Service Company from Wrexham, the band played a selec- tion of appropriate music. On the arrival of the train at the platform, an enthusiastic welcome was given the men by the assembled company, and after a short interval Mr. T. Wright, who was sup- ported by the members of the Welcome-Home Committee, addressed the men as follows: — "Brother Volunteers and men of the Service Com- pany of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, as represent- ing the Welcome-Home Committee and the parishioners of Hawarden, I have great pleasure in giving you, on their behalf, a very hearty wel- come home. It is now about fifteen months since you so bravely volunteered to go out and relieve le your comrades who were at the front, so that they could return home after the arduous time they had experienced, and also to serve your country. We also thank God that it has pleased Him to bring you home safely to your friends." (Applause.) The company then formed up and marched through the village to the parish church, the men being seated on the gun carriage, which was drawn by their comrades. A short but impressive service took place. Two hymns were sung, "0 God, our help in ages past" and "All people that on earth do dwell," to the accompaniment of the band, and special collects of thanksgiving were said by the Rector, who afterwards addressed a few words to the men as follows:—"It falls to me, in this house of God, to welcome you home to your Father's House. My first words are those of welcome. You have been far away, nobly responding to the call of duty for your country, and have given us an example of courage and dutifulness. God has in His mercy preserved you in life and limb, and it is fitting you should come to His House and say, if only one word of thanksgiving. It is not all that have come back. Some remain who will never see home again on earth. There must be a sacrifice in war, as some must die. You have been through what few of us have been through, the din of warfare and its dread scenes of blood- shed-scenes which bring out all that is best, and also all that is worst, in our human nature. My second word is to exhort you to continued dutiful- ness; you now come back to your ordinary life. Continue in your Volunteer work and be a source of usefulness to your comrades. Be true to your good ideals and in your duty to your God. You are making a fresh start in the peaceful duties of home. If any of you have led sinful lives in the past, now is the time to make a change for the better." At the conclusion of the service, God save the King" was heartily sung by the large congrega- tion, which filled every part of the church. After wards the men marched to the centre of the village, by the "Golden Wedding" fountain, where a tem- porary platform had been erected. Mr. T. Wright presided, and was supported by the members of the Welcome Committee, Messrs. T. B. Barnett, T. H. Gibson, T. H. Haswell, J. H. Adkins and H. Cunningham., Mr. Wright addressed the men as follows: — "The duty I am called upon to perform is a very pleasing one to me, and more so as it is in con- nection with the B Company, the company I have been associated with so many years, and which I feel very proud of; the more so when I look around and see such a body of men who still keep up the record of the old company, and I feel that the people of Hawarden are also proud of them, and especially so when I think of the number from the company who have so bravely volunteered to go to the front when called upon. I have been asked to present to each of our comrades of the Service Company a watch, each with a suitable inscription, which may remind them of the time when they felt it their duty to go out at their country's call, and to keep up the record of the grand old regiment to which they belong." (Ap- plause.)-The formal presentation took place, each of the gallant fellows being greeted enthusiastically as he came forward.—A vote of thanks to Mr. Wright was moved by Mr. T. H. Gibson, seconded by Mr. T. B. Barnett.—Captain Swetenham also responded on behalf of the men in a few brief sentences, and the proceedings terminated with "God save the King." Among the spectators were Mrs. Drew and some juvenile members of the family of the Rev. Stephen Gladstone. Dancing afterwards took place in the Park until dusk. WARM WELCOME AT WREXHAM. On Friday evening the Second Service Com- pany of the 1st Volunteer Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, under Captain Harold Meredith- Jones, arrived in Wrexham from South Africa, end met with a. most cordial reception. All the thoroughfares along the route between the Great Western Railway Station and the regimental depot were gaily and profusely decorated with flags and bunting, and the Mayor (Mr. F. W. Soames), who was acoompanied by the aldermen and councillors of the borough, extended to the returned warriors a hearty welcome. The men, who numbered eighty-two, looked remarkably fit and well, their bronzed faces giving them a. most healthy appearance. Headed by a military band, they marohed through crowded thoroughfares, cheers greeting them on all hands, while the bells of the parish church rang out a merry peal in honour of the occasion. Later in the evening the company were entertained at a publio dinner by the Mayor and Corporation. Although the company sustained no casualties, they had plenty of work to do. After occupying Britstown for some months, they were transferred to a line of blockhouses along Schoonspruit, from Klerksdorp to the Vaal River. They took a promi- nent part in Lord Kitchener's last great drive in that district, and were close to the place where Colonel Anderson met with a reverse on February Nth. For two days afterwards they were carry- ing in dead and woundea. Yeomanry who had been captured came in stark naked, having been stripped by the Boers of every shred of clothing. The occupants of some blockhouses actually saw Boers stripping their prisoners, but refrained from firing because of the risk of hitting the wrong men. Out of the 116 men who went to the war,, five died of disease and twenty-nine were invalided home, four having been accidentally shot. Not a single man was hit by a Boer bullet during the whole time the company were in South Africa.





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