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Friday, 16 August 2019

Peterloo part 6

In 1819 less than 2% of the population had the vote and there had been some agitation by the Radical Reform movement for democratic change. Magistrates feared civil disturbances and were reliant on the volunteer cavalry- the Yeomanry, to help keep the peace.On the 16th August 1819, 60,000 people gathered at St Peter’s field, Manchester to listen to radical orator Henry Hunt speak on electoral reform. At half past one, the Yeomanry were sent in to charge and disperse the crowds. An estimated 18 people were killed and over 700 injured. The massacre became known as Peterloo.

The Cheshire Yeomanry were in attendance at Manchester. Sir John Fleming Leicester was the first commander of the Cheshire Yeomanry and in our collection of the papers of the Leicester Warren family of Tabley there are many first-hand accounts of events of the day and in the build-up and aftermath. To mark the 200th anniversary of Peterloo we will be sharing transcripts of these letters on our blog.


This final letter is from John Hollins to Sir J F Leicester Bart, Colonel of the Cheshire Regiment of Yeomanry Cavalry. It refers to Henry Hunt (the key speaker on the day of the Peterloo Massacre,) Sir John Byng (the General Officer Commanding the Northern District of the British Army), Lieutenant-Colonel Townsend of the Cheshire Yeomanry, and home secretary Lord Viscount Sidmouth. 







                                                                                       Knutsfd  Thursday Even.
19th August 
Dr Sir John, 
          You wd  receive by the Post of last night my Letter incloseing a State of Facts relative to the Affair at Manchester after Hunt ascended the Hustings – but time wd not admit of its being written in the way I had wished – this morning the Gentleman I was obliged to for it himself made out the account correctly and also such particulars as appeared material prior to Hunts appearing – both particulars I therefore send you in a Parcel addressed to you at the Post Office wh I therefore trust you will receive herewith – if that shod  not be the case the Parcel will be found at the Mail Coach office & contains also Mr Moneypenny’s Plans…

(a long paragraph on proposed alterations to Tabley follows, which I omit)

          In regard to the Manchester Expedition it is right you shoud  know the men have conducted themselves in general in a very praiseworthy manner – indeed I have not heard of a single instance in which there has been a Man in Liquor or guilty of any irregularity – From the accounts you have recd  & the particulars you now receive you will no doubt be satisfied that our presence at Manchester tended very greatly to prevent the Commencement of a Rebellion – It is also pretty clear that in Consequence of Sir John Byng’s absence frm  Manchester (hole in page) on Monday if any difficulty had occcured Every Thing wd have been in confusion as one proof of wch  the officer commanding wish’d to have sent one of our Troops to Bury instead of a Troop of Regulars - & the word hereof he found himself obliged to apologise to Lt Col Townshend – alledging it arose from the Hurry of the moment – and proofes that this officer ordered all the Infantry away from Macclesfield on Monday Eveng – altho Sir JB had assured you that Town shd  be effectively guarded, during the absence of the Yeomanry & as soon as they were gone then mischief began which you are acquainted with.

If you should conclude on sending Ld Sydmouth a copy of the particulars (wch you probably may as it is more particular than any thing likely to appear in print or may have come to his Knowledge you may assure him it is what may be depended on & wd if necessary be proved on oath by the Gentleman by whose assistance it was made out – There is an idea of indicting Hunt for Murder in which Case the condn of the Gentleman might be material – or indeed in any prosecution against Hunt.    I hope to hear in your next a better account of yr Health   Yr obdd

                                                                           John Hollins

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Peterloo part 5

In 1819 less than 2% of the population had the vote and there had been some agitation by the Radical Reform movement for democratic change. Magistrates feared civil disturbances and were reliant on the volunteer cavalry- the Yeomanry, to help keep the peace.On the 16th August 1819, 60,000 people gathered at St Peter’s field, Manchester to listen to radical orator Henry Hunt speak on electoral reform. At half past one, the Yeomanry were sent in to charge and disperse the crowds. An estimated 18 people were killed and over 700 injured. The massacre became known as Peterloo.

The Cheshire Yeomanry were in attendance at Manchester. Sir John Fleming Leicester was the first commander of the Cheshire Yeomanry and in our collection of the papers of the Leicester Warren family of Tabley there are many first-hand accounts of events of the day and in the build-up and aftermath. To mark the 200th anniversary of Peterloo we will be sharing transcripts of these letters on our blog.


This letter is from Lieutenant-Colonel E.V. Townsend to Colonel Sir J F Leicester Bart of the Cheshire Regiment of Yeomanry Cavalry. It also refers to Lieutenant-Colonel George L'Estrange, who was the military commander in Manchester in 1819.


DLT/D463/6/90 (i)

DLT/D463/6/90 (ii-iii)

DLT/D463/6/90 (iv)

Captn  Barra would have waited upon you, but he is gone to Macclesfield.

                                                                   Wincham ½ past 3 o clock

                                                                             August 18th 1819

Dear Sir John

          You will be happy to see by the date of my letter, that we are returned from Manchester; towards evening yesterday the most alarming reports were given upon oath, that Manchester was to be attacked & that large bodies of Pikemen were   assembling near Middleton, Oldham & -------- I placed a Squadron in some stables near St Peters church and at nine in  the Town getting very riotous &, disturbed, the whole regiment was turned out, & kept under arms ‘till near one; when everything was quiet the 6 Troops went to quarters – just as I had dismissed the men an express from Macclesfield arrived, saying the Town was in an uproar & requesting troops: Col L’Estrange permitted me to dispatch the Macclesfield Squadron who will if they have an opportunity soon settle matters – I can not sufficiently express my satisfaction at the soldierlike conduct & willing exertion of every individual from the Major downwards of the whole regiment  - the Magistrates will not I am positive send for us without the extremest necessity, when I am  sure all will turn out with the greatest alacrity all the regulars agree, that we are fit for any service, but most truly do I hope those services may not be required – Heat, anxiety and being perpetually on horseback has tired me so much that I can not write more than that I remain

                                                          Most truly yours

                                                                   E V Townshend


I do firmly believe the Regiment would delight in a fight tomorrow, the weather was very hot, therefore as we were continually under arms, it was better to be any where than in a stable or ale house particularly as we had no fast work.

(In different script) The Magistrates of the two Counties of Cheshire & Lancashire request Lt. Col. Townshend will accept for himself, his Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and Privates their best thanks for the energy, tempered by humanity, which was displayed in their conduct yesterday, a conduct peculiarly characteristic of the British Soldier.  New Bailey Court House August 17th 1819.


Monday, 12 August 2019

Peterloo part 4

In 1819 less than 2% of the population had the vote and there had been some agitation by the Radical Reform movement for democratic change. Magistrates feared civil disturbances and were reliant on the volunteer cavalry- the Yeomanry, to help keep the peace.On the 16th August 1819, 60,000 people gathered at St Peter’s field, Manchester to listen to radical orator Henry Hunt speak on electoral reform. At half past one, the Yeomanry were sent in to charge and disperse the crowds. An estimated 18 people were killed and over 700 injured. The massacre became known as Peterloo.

The Cheshire Yeomanry were in attendance at Manchester. Sir John Fleming Leicester was the first commander of the Cheshire Yeomanry and in our collection of the papers of the Leicester Warren family of Tabley there are many first-hand accounts of events of the day and in the build-up and aftermath. To mark the 200th anniversary of Peterloo we will be sharing transcripts of these letters on our blog.


This letter is from Captain James Newton of the Stockport Troop to Sir J F Leicester Bart, Colonel of the Cheshire Regiment of Yeomanry Cavalry. 

Reference DLT/D463/86 (i)

Reference DLT/D463/86 (ii)



                                                                                   
Star Inn, Manchester, 2 o Clock PM
17th Augt 1819


Sir,

I have this moment had the honour to receive your very handsome letter and will on our next Parade communicate the contents to the members of the Troop. I beg leave to inform you that the Wm Birch who signed the request is the same person who was shot, he has been lately removed from his Fathers House where he was conveyed after being shot to his own and will I (am) happy to say recover soon, the ball is not extracted and unfortunately the Surgeon cannot find out where it is deposited.

The Crowd were yesterday dispersed in a very effectual manner, and everything remained quiet until 5 o Clock this morning, when the Guard were called into the Quarters, the Mob taking advantage of this, pulled down a house in Oldham Street, many I am told are shot by the 88th Regt who were called out upon the alarm being given. Your Regiment paraded this Morning for the purpose of marching to our Homes, when an Orderly arrived from Col L’Estrange to march two Squadrons towards Hollin Wood and Oldham – an express having arrived that they were assembling in large numbers, we lost no time in marching and unfortunately found the report false. In my humble opinion the row is not quite over; it is determined by the Magistrates that two Squadrons remain on duty the other to march Home; at present it is not known which, but shall be informed this afternoon upon Parade at ½ after three o Clock. I apologise for troubling you with this information as the report from the Regiment will be more full and more satisfactory and beg leave by expressing my sincere regret for your present severe indisposition which I truly hope will be of short duration.

P. S. I send you a Manchester Paper
with the news up to 1 o Clock this day
                                                                                     I have the Honor
                                                                                            Sir John
                                                                   your most obt & faithful Servt
                                                                   Jas Newton jnr
                                                                    Capt S.Troop
To Col. Sir J.F Leicester


Thursday, 8 August 2019

Peterloo part 3



In 1819 less than 2% of the population had the vote and there had been some agitation by the Radical Reform movement for democratic change. Magistrates feared civil disturbances and were reliant on the volunteer cavalry- the Yeomanry, to help keep the peace.On the 16th August 1819, 60,000 people gathered at St Peter’s field, Manchester to listen to radical orator Henry Hunt speak on electoral reform. At half past one, the Yeomanry were sent in to charge and disperse the crowds. An estimated 18 people were killed and over 700 injured. The massacre became known as Peterloo.

The Cheshire Yeomanry were in attendance at Manchester. Sir John Fleming Leicester was the first commander of the Cheshire Yeomanry and in our collection of the papers of the Leicester Warren family of Tabley there are many first-hand accounts of events of the day and in the build-up and aftermath. To mark the 200th anniversary of Peterloo we will be sharing transcripts of these letters on our blog.

This letter was sent on behalf of Lieutenant-Colonel Townsend of the Prince Regent's Cheshire Yeomanry to Sir J F Leicester Bart, Colonel of the Cheshire Regiment of Yeomanry Cavalry. 

Reference DLT/D463/6/85 (i)
Reference DLT/D463/6/85 (ii)




                                                                             
Manchester

                                                                             12 o clock A.M.

                                                                             Tuesday

Dear Sir John,

                   I am quite convinced that our services were necessary & have been of service (deleted) use. The Town was very riotous at dusk last night, our regiment there patrolled the streets ‘till 11 o clock, two of the Stockport were hurt, but the rest all well, we paraded at nine o clock this morning & were marching off when we were recalled, what for I cannot discover, but all the troops are under arms, then Captn  Hollins & Newton’s Squadrons are gone somewhere  - time will show where, the men are very steady and have mustered capitally. I do hope we shall get off this evening but doubt it – 26 are in the infirmary, I can not make out how many are killed, we have orders to fire when attacked.

                                      For E V Townshend

                                                P.L.Brooke

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Peterloo part 2

In 1819 less than 2% of the population had the vote and there had been some agitation by the Radical Reform movement for democratic change. Magistrates feared civil disturbances and were reliant on the volunteer cavalry- the Yeomanry, to help keep the peace.On the 16th August 1819, 60,000 people gathered at St Peter’s field, Manchester to listen to radical orator Henry Hunt speak on electoral reform. At half past one, the Yeomanry were sent in to charge and disperse the crowds. An estimated 18 people were killed and over 700 injured. The massacre became known as Peterloo.

The Cheshire Yeomanry were in attendance at Manchester. Sir John Fleming Leicester was the first commander of the Cheshire Yeomanry and in our collection of the papers of the Leicester Warren family of Tabley there are many first-hand accounts of events of the day and in the build-up and aftermath. To mark the 200th anniversary of Peterloo we will be sharing transcripts of these letters on our blog.


The following letter is from the Earl of Stamford and Warrington, George Harry Grey to Sir J F Leicester Bart, Colonel of the Cheshire Regiment of Yeomanry Cavalry. The note at the bottom of the page is from Major Trafford, commander of the Manchester and Salford Yeomanry.








Dunham Massey 
Thursday 5 o’clock P.M.
12th August 1819

Sir,

I have just received a Requisition from the Chairman of the Select Committee of the Magistrates of the two counties of Cheshire & Lancaster assembled this day at the New Bailey Court House to request I would order The Prince Regent’s Regiment of Cheshire Yeomanry Cavalry to march to Manchester early on Monday morning the 16th of August. I therefore desire you will immediately take the neacessary measures for that purpose

Signed
Stamford & Warrington
Lieut



Coll Sir J F Leicester Bart.
(Different hand)


Dear Sir John,

I have given orders for the Troops to March and assemble on Monday Morning 16th Instt at ½ past 9 o’clock at Sale Moor –

Yours Most Faithfully
Major Trafford                                                                               
(commander Man&Salford)

Tabley ½ past 8 o clock

PM 12th Augt 1819

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Peterloo

In 1819 less than 2% of the population had the vote and there had been some agitation by the Radical Reform movement for democratic change. Magistrates feared civil disturbances and were reliant on the volunteer cavalry- the Yeomanry, to help keep the peace.On the 16th August 1819, 60,000 people gathered at St Peter’s field, Manchester to listen to radical orator Henry Hunt speak on electoral reform. At half past one, the Yeomanry were sent in to charge and disperse the crowds. An estimated 18 people were killed and over 700 injured. The massacre became known as Peterloo.

The Cheshire Yeomanry were in attendance at Manchester.  Sir John Fleming Leicester was the first commander of the Cheshire Yeomanry and in our collection of the papers of the Leicester Warren family of Tabley there are many first-hand accounts of events of the day and in the build-up and aftermath. To mark the 200th anniversary of Peterloo we will be sharing transcripts of these letters on our blog.


The first letter is from Lord Viscount Sidmouth, the home secretary, to the Earl of Stamford and Warrington George Harry Grey. 

Reference DLT/D463/6 (49)

Reference DLT/D463/6 (49)


                                                                                                       
                                                                                         Whitehall 7th July 1819


My Lord,


The numerous Public Meetings which have lately taken place at Stockport & the adjacent Parts of Lancashire, their manifest purpose & the Language which has been held at them have engaged the serious attention of His Majesty’s Government. – Your Lordship’s presence under these circumstances in the County of which your Lordship has the Charge, cannot but be highly desirable and important, in order that, under your Lordship’s Authority, the most prompt and efficient means may be adopted for the preservation of the Tranquillity of the County of Chester.
The utmost Vigilance, and activity on the part of the Magistrates in those Districts to which I have referred is indispensably & urgently necessary to maintain, an enforce if requisite, Obedience to the Laws and to bring to Justice those offenders by whom they may be violated. – For those Purposes, it is earnestly hoped that the Power of the Civil Authorities will be fully sufficient: but as a Measure of Prevention Your Lordship is desired to give immediate Directions to the several Corps of Yeomanry Cavalry in the County of Chester to hold themselves in readiness to attend to any Call for support and assistance, which, in case of necessity, they may receive from the Magistrates and the utmost confidence is justly placed in the Zeal, and Promptitude with which, under such circumstances the Call will be Obeyed.

 I have the honour to be
    My Lord
     Your Lordship’s
      Most Obedient
       humble servant
        Sidmouth


The Earl of Stamford & Warrington

Friday, 26 July 2019

June 1919 at the Sailors and Soldiers Rest


This blog post was written by our volunteer Susan Chambers. 




The visitors' book from the Sailors and Soldiers Rest at Crewe Station (D 4998) records over 1600 troops passing through in June 1919, many of them jotting down various comments alongside their names and service details. Some were travelling to and from various Army bases from all over Britain, (eg Sniggery, Lark Hill, Aisne Barracks) and many were returning from Europe and further afield: Dublin, Cologne, Mons, Constantinople, France, India, Mesopotamia, Salonica, Palestine, Eastern Turkey, Alexandria, North Russia to name a random few.

Sailors from HMS Caesar, Dauntless, Valkyrie, Erin, Caledon, Conqueror, Lion, HM Submarine L17, Minesweeper Buckie, were calling at the Rest, no doubt for the endless supply of mugs of tea!

Prices of essential items from the Rest's records. 



The visitors books are a fascinating source of information on the aftermath of the Great War, and the time it took to disperse the troops since the Armistice; and so many of them were off to deal with other problems in the world, such as Ireland, India and Russia.

A number of Canadian troops based at Kinmel Park Dispersal Camp (near Rhyl), were passing though the station after having had a brief  break before sailing home. Several soldiers had died in early March in a riot at Kinmel, prompted by their frustration at the slow progress in repatriating them, which entailed  a complex business of medical testing, clothing and equipment issue, and long administrative form-filling, after which they were sent on leave before returning to Kinmel ready to set off for Canada.  

However on their return to camp they often found that their allocated sailing was cancelled because of strikes or unavailability of a ship (or even preference given to Americans, it was suggested).  The incidents in March had stemmed from their bitter frustration.


Comments from the Canadians included:
                                           
‘another week to stop in British Isles’

‘me for that next boat to Canada’

‘Coming back off last eight days leave with Big head to be Demob.’

‘Big Head before Demob’ (Big Head -?hangover?)

‘Returning to “Gods Country” next sailing’

Some of the Canadians signed themselves as being from the ‘Little Black Devils’ (Royal Winnipeg Rifles).

Several men from the 3rd battalion North Staffs Regiment Band were heading for the Curragh Army Camp, County Kildare to assist with the Irish troubles;  

Gassed at Mons’  

'The above is a photo of an aeroplane out of sight’

‘I wish I was a Corporal’

On June 24th and 25th a total of twelve men of the 2nd Battalion of Seaforth Highlanders signed the book, recording that they had arrived from Fort George in Inverness and were on escort duty for German soldiers being taken from Scapa Flow to an interment camp near Oswestry. There was some confusion amongst the allies as to what would be done with the German fleet, but rather than hand it to the enemy the Germans had ‘scuttled’ their vessels (sunk them) on June 23rd:


‘Escort Duty. Taking Jerry from Scapa Flow to Oswestry, Wales (some job)’



 Many men were from Prees Heath, the huge Army camp near Whitchurch, and one from the Royal Army Pay Corps noted:

'Diddled out of breakfast this morn at Prees Heath Dispersal Station due to usual Army muddling. Very glad I was diddled after enjoying your excellent fare in this establishment’.

From two Royal Enniskillen Fusiliers: Get a new pen’ ; ‘Here Here a New Pen, yes’.  

And later the same day from an Australian: ‘Good…not the pen’ and from a Mons soldier ‘This is a fine place but a D….rotten pen’.

It’s interesting to note how often ‘civility’ is mentioned, as if the troops were not accustomed to it:

'First civility received since 1914’

'Civility, which is a lot’

'Respect & Civility at Crewe YMCA’  


‘It is a great pleasure to be in a civilised country’,  from a Corporal in the Royal Scots just returning from Russia, and from a Sergeant travelling with him ‘No Blockhouse, No Snow, No Bolos’ (a sort of machete much used in WW1)


A few random jottings:

‘Watching others get their ticket (official discharge) is good sport, some may say, but I don’t. You soon get stricken down with the latest disease “Dispersalitis”.

‘Dinkum, everything in tip-top order’ from a member of the Royal Australian Air Force Base in Queensland.

24th Battalion Machine Gun Corps ‘Badly Wants to get Home. London’

‘Good luck to the lady who gave us the dinner, her praises I shall sing for ever & ever’

‘Tired , hungry & broke but received a Hearty Welcome’

‘Demobbed today, plenty happy and glad’

‘Any volunteers for North Russia?’

‘A friend  in need after 36 hours. The Last lap’

‘Tray bonne’ ‘Tray bond’ ‘Dobra’ ‘On his way home Napoo’

‘Happy Though Married’  ‘Happy and not Married’ followed by ‘Lucky boy’

‘Going to see my girl’.