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1/8th (Ardwick) Battalion, Manchester
The 1/8th (Ardwick) Battalion, Manchester were a Territorial unit, when war broke out in August 1914 they were based in Ardwick as part of the Manchester Brigade, East Lancashire Division. They were mobilized and moved to Rochdale to prepare for service overseas. They proceeded to Egypt arriving at Alexandria on the 25th of Sepetmber to defend the Suez Canal from the Turkishh forces in Palestine. They were in action in the Turkish attack on the Suez Canal on the 3rd of February 1915. In the first week of May the division embraked from Alexandria, landing at Cape Helles, Gallipoli, where they saw action in the attempts to capture the heights of Krihia and the Battle of Krithia Vineyard which was a diversionary attack for the British Landing at Sulva Bay. The much depleted division were evacuated from Gallipoli in the first week of January 1916, returning to Alexandria via Mudros. They returned to duty on the Suez Canal and were in action in the Battle of Romani in August. In early 1917 they were ordered to the Western Front, departing from Alexandria in February. They went into the front line at Ephey, moved to Havrincourt then were withdrawn to Albert for rest and training during July and August. In September they moved north to Flanders and were in action during the Third Battle of Ypres at Iberian, Borry Farm, Beck House Farm and Sans Souci. At the end of the month they moved to the coast at Nieuport until November when they moved to La Bassee Canal at Givenchy. On the 19th of February 1918 they transferred to 126th Brigade still with 42nd Division. In 1918 they saw action during The Battle of Bapaume, The First Battle of Arras, The Battle of the Ancre, The Battle of Albert, The Second Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of the Canal du Nord, The pursuit to the Selle and The Battle of the Selle. At the Armictice the advance units of the division had crossed the River Sambre at Hautmont. They were moved back to the Charleroi area in mid December where they were demobilised.
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Please note we currently have a backlog of submitted material, our volunteers are working through this as quickly as possible and all names, stories and photos will be added to the site.
Those known to have served with 1/8th (Ardwick) Battalion, Manchester Regiment during the Great War 1914-1918.
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- Sjt. John Thomas Barton 1/8th Btn. Read their Story.
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Sjt. John Thomas Barton 1/8th Btn. Manchester Regiment
These are transcripts of three letters written to my grandmother by my grandfather, John Barton while he was serving with 1/8th Manchesters at Cape Helles, Gallipoli. Although undated my research has led me to be fairly certain that the first letter was written soon after the famous "Charge of the Manchesters" at Krithia on 4th June 1915 and explains his rapid promotion to Sgt, "on the field," (the loss of men was enormous). The second letter speaks for itself as he recovered from a shrapnel wound to the knee. The "Big Battle" mentioned in the third letter was the dreadful struggle to capture Krithia Vinyard which began on 7th August 1915.
I bet you will be surprised to hear that I have been made a sergeant on the field. We made a magnificent bayonet charge and came off victorious. We didn't half make the Turks fly. I was sorry to hear of my poor pal Sam Brookshaw's death, it came as a shock to me, but never mind, he died for his country, like a brave soldier, and that is something to remember. Do please remember me to all my pals, only I suppose they have all 'listed. We shall want them all in this great struggle. I am in the best of health but get very weary with no time to stretch my legs having been in the trenches for many weeks now. We have not had a farthing of our pay, but there are no shops so we can't buy anything. I am getting quite used to living like a rabbit; it is a case of burrowing for your life.
I am in hospital. I got a crack on my knee and it has produced cynivitus. It is much better in here than in the trenches and quite a rest after the peninsula; no shrapnel in here. Don't upset yourself, it is nothing very serious and I expect to be back in the trenches soon. It is about time we got a furlough; twelve months have passed since we left dear Old England and it seems like twelve years. Still, we must not grouse. We shall get over it alright.
I went for a swim in the Dardanelles the other day. The Turks threw a few Jack Johnsons at us but they are poor gunners. When they drop a shell on land it makes a tidy dugout where you can take cover quite safely as they never drop two in the same place. It is very nice country around here only we have not had a chance to explore it. We hope to see a little more of it shortly. I am writing this to you in the midst of a big battle, but we are not down hearted yet, not by a long chalk. Love to you and our boy. Tommy.
Tommy left Cape Helles with the rearguard in January 1916, one of the last to leave the Gallipoli peninsula. He survived his later war in France, joined the Coldstream Guards in 1920 as a substantive Sgt and stood, arms reversed, at one corner of the coffin of the Unknown Soldier in Westminster Abbey in 1921.
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