First World War: Tenth Battalion, 42nd (East Lancaster) Division, 126th Manchester Regiment

Collection Summary

Title: First World War: Tenth Battalion, 42nd (East Lancaster) Division, 126th Manchester Regiment
Call Number: MS 86-09
Size: 2.0 linear feet
Acquisition: Purchased from Sotheby's, London Branch, 1985
Processed By: AG, 2-1986; JEF, 5-26-1998; MN, 3-11-2010
Note: None
Restrictions: None

Literary Rights

Literary rights were not granted to Wichita State University. When permission is granted to examine the manuscripts, it is not an authorization to publish them. Manuscripts cannot be used for publication without regard for common law literary rights, copyright laws and the laws of libel. It is the responsibility of the researcher and his/her publisher to obtain permission to publish. Scholars and students who eventually plan to have their work published are urged to make inquiry regarding overall restrictions on publication before initial research.

Content Note

The collection consists of a series of nine newspaper clippings in addition to a captain's notebook, three albums and other war memorabilia. The nine clippings trace the movements of the 10th Battalion from induction in England in 1914 through training in Egypt, service on the Gallipoli Peninsula, the Sinai Desert, France and Flanders, to the homecoming in 1918. Also included are Captain J. C. S. Rowbotham's Commission, a photograph of him on his horse, and other souvenirs of his military service. His photograph album contains pictures of members of his family, the soldiers, camps and breastworks, a rider on a camel lying down in the sands of Sinai, and a printed summary of the services rendered by the 10th Battalion. The other albums, those of Ralph Musk Ridley and Harold George Vickerage, embody clippings, proposals for regulation of patrol work, ration books and cards, menus, and many other items, including a typed account of the Ypres operations in 1917.

Detailed Description: Series Listing

Series 1 Box 1-Box 2 John Cheetham Selwyn Rowbotham Materials. Includes commission papers, certificates, newspaper clippings, photographs and scrapbook which document Rowbotham’s service.
Series 2 Box 3 Harold George Vickerage Materials. Scrapbook documenting Vickerage’s service in the Territorial Force. Includes correspondence, maps, clippings and other documents.
Series 3 Box 3 Ralph Musk Ridley Materials. Scrapbook documenting Ridley’s service in the British Land Forces. Includes military papers and summaries of operations.

Detailed Description: Box and Folder Listing

Series 1 ‒ John Cheetham Selwyn Rowbotham Materials

Box 1 FF 1 October 26, 1914 - Commission of John Cheetham Selwyn Rowbotham as Second Lieutenant in the Territorial Force, signed by George R. I., King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas, King Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India, etc. This item is located in the oversized collection.
Box 1 FF 2 June 2, 1916 - Letter from the Captain Commanding the Administrative Center, Depot, 10th Battalion, Manchester Regiment, to Captain J. C. S. Rowbotham, transmitting Rowbotham's Commission. Postmarked, 1916 - Envelope postmarked “Oldham” and addressed to Second Lieutenant J. C. S. Rowbotham, Lyndhurst, Upper Mill near Oldham, in which the Commission evidently was mailed.
Box 1 FF 3 Photograph of Captain Rowbotham in uniform, on a horse, with a building in the background.
Box 1 FF 4 Newspaper series (newspaper not identified), “Story of the Tenth, Territorials 4½ Years of Active Service”: “Before Gallipoli,” dated April 12, 1919. The article relates the beginning of service by the 10th Battalion from its leaving England in August 1914 on a trek which was to include the training in Egypt, service on the Gallipoli Peninsula and the Sinai Desert, duty in France and Flanders, all under command of Col. J. B. Rye. The Tenth Battalion was reported to have been the first Territorial Division to leave England. One thousand seven hundred in total sailed on the R. M. S. Avon, which with the remainder of the convoy was escorted to Gibraltar, a six-day trip, then to Cairo. Here they were to commence “that ‘three months strenuous training’ which they had been told was the object of the journey to Egypt.” The state of political and military affairs in lower Egypt is discussed briefly, as is the Gallipoli campaign.
Box 1 FF 5 Newspaper series (newspaper not identified), “Story of the Tenth, Territorials 4½ Years of Active Service”: “The Gallant Capture of Reincourt.” Of the date “3, 1919" remains. This article related the story of events in June 1915 at Gallipoli. On one occasion the troops were ordered to fire in order to signalize “the approach of General Townshend towards Bagdad.” The result was a tremendous bombardment from the Turkish trenches. On June 6, the Third Battalion of the 307th Regiment (the Americans) packed their bags and began to move, leaving behind “hundreds of pairs of boots, shirts, socks, towels (most of them brand new)” which were quickly confiscated by the Oldham soldiers. The “Yanks” then presented an open-air concert featuring their “Jazz Band” which consisted of a borrowed piano, a corner, a trombone, and two side drums. The British reciprocated (or retaliated) with endless renditions of “Three Blind Mice” and “Who Killed Cock Robin?” Some heaving fighting and an epidemic of influenza are briefly reported.
Box 1 FF 6 Newspaper series (newspaper not identified), “Story of the Tenth, Territorials 4½ Years of Active Service”: “Leaving the Peninsula.” An account of the withdrawal of the British troops from Gallipoli, amid heavy fighting, in February 1916, for the Sinai Desert. They waded through water and mud, under heavy shelling, to the beach. One hundred eighty men climbed into a boat which took them to the Haverford. They then encountered the frightening experience of climbing down an eighty-foot rope ladder to the tender and “leaping from the slippery deck of the tender into that gap in the side of the transport.”
Box 1 FF 7 Newspaper series (newspaper not identified), “Story of the Tenth, Territorials 4½ Years of Active Service”: “Campaigning in the Desert.” Before leaving the Gallipoli Peninsula, the 126th cleared the battlefield of Romani, and were favorably impressed by the Turkish arms, equipment, and kits. The men marched to Negliat, where they established a line of outposts near the railway which the natives were constructing. The articles describes the building of a “wire road” over the desert sands by spreading bushes over the ground and covering the brush with wire netting which they had acquired at different stops in the march. The road was eighty miles long, from Gilban to El Arish. A second line of outposts was established at Mazaar. The article describes a Christmas celebration with parcels sent from home before the Tenth started for France February 5, 1917.
Box 1 FF 8 Newspaper series (newspaper not identified), “Story of the Tenth, Territorials 4½ Years of Active Service”: “From the Desert to France.” This article relates the trip of the 42nd Division after leaving from Maascar, Egypt, on February 24, 1917, for France, where they arrived in March. Here they encountered a different style of fighting from that of the Gallipoli Peninsula or the Sinai Desert. The soldiers marched to Marseilles through Somme to Lempire, encountering heavy fighting ans inclement weather before the middle of May, when they prepared to move farther north into another sector of the line.
Box 1 FF 9 Newspaper series (newspaper not identified), “Story of the Tenth, Territorials 4½ Years of Active Service”: “Fighting Against Heavy Odds.” The article presents an account of the 126th in France from March to May 1917. It relates a casualty to Captain Rowbotham in which he was not killed as erroneously reported, but injured. Apparently antagonisms between American Northerners and Southerners was evident. Near Ervillers the troops witnessed a general exodus of old men, women, and children, war refugees conveying a few possessions in handcarts as they fled from the guns of the enemy.
Box 1 FF 10 Newspaper series (newspaper not identified), “Story of the Tenth, Territorials 4½ Years of Active Service”: “Life in the Line.” The movements of the 10th Battalion at Ypres in Flanders from May to September 1917. The “Tommies” watched a returned refugee dig up a trunk filled with valuables he evidently had buried before his flight. There is a brief description of the heavy shelling at Ypres until September 17, 1917.
Box 1 FF 11 Newspaper series (newspaper not identified), “Story of the Tenth, Territorials 4½ Years of Active Service”: “A Quieter Spell--And After.” The story of a march in September 1917 from Ypres to Nieuport and eventually to Petit Synthe, near Dunkirke, Aire, where the devastation was appalling. The troops settled into camp at a farmhouse near Aire, only to learn that the “Madame” had removed the handle from the water pump. They moved on to the Bethune sector, where there was some concentrated fighting from the trenches throughout the winter until March 1918, when the troops were ordered to move.
Box 1 FF 12 Newspaper series (newspaper not identified), “Story of the Tenth, Territorials 4½ Years of Active Service”: “The Colours Return.” Subtitles: “Enthusiastic Welcome to Oldham Territorials,” “Small Band of Survivors,” “A Battalion which Maintained the Best Traditions of the British Army.” This article presents a brief history of the Tenth's service in Egypt, the Gallipoli Peninsula, and France under Major General Solly-Floyd. The homecoming ceremonies are described.
Box 1 FF 13 Certificate awarding The Military Cross to Captain J. C. S. Rowbotham “for conspicuous bravery and leadership,” signed by A. Solly-Floyd, Major General Commanding 42nd Division.
Box 1 FF 14 Notebook No. 2 of J. C. S. Rowbotham, 10th Manchester Regiment, including copies of “chits” written in Gallipoli, brief hand-written notes of instructions, questions, orders, provisions, lists, rations lists, officers on the Peninsula, an inquiry regarding courts of inquiry, and other similar matters. There are two separate lists of needed stores among the pages. The notebook is covered with heavy paper and well preserved.
Box 2 Photograph album of Captain Rowbotham from his induction into the 42nd Division through his training at Southampton through training in Egypt, service at Gallipoli, the Sinai Peninsula, and France; his being wounded in France in 1918. There are photographs of members of Rowbotham's family, the soldiers, camps and breastworks, a rider on a camel lying down in the sands of Sinai, and many others. Also are included are a summary of the 10th Battalion's service, a few clippings, and two German Iron Cross Certificates. The album is paper bound and in fragile condition; photos are in good condition but the pages of the album are brittle and the spine is very weak.

Series 2 ‒ Harold George Vickerage Materials

Box 3 Scrapbook of Harold George Vickerage, corporal in the Territorial Force. It includes maps of the service areas, documents granting a medical leave of absence, correspondence, numerous clippings, Corporal Vickerage's discharge dated February 23, 1914, a compilation of suggestions regarding patrol work, and a letter evaluating the proposals, a menu for a Christmas dinner in 1918, and numerous other papers. The album is bound in linen and generally in good condition, but the spine is weak.

Series 3 ‒ Ralph Musk Ridley Materials

Box 3 Scrapbook of Ralph Musk Ridley, Quartermaster in the British Land Forces from September 5, 1914 to an unknown date. It contains many military papers, a piece torn from a paper cement bag used by the Germans in the First World War, ration books and cards, a typed account of the battle of Boom Ravine in February 1917, also a typed summary of the Ypres operations, July 3-31, 1917. There is also a Diary of Events, messages, and orders during the Poelcapelle operations, October 1917, and maps of service areas. This large scrapbook is clothbound and in good condition.