Denaby Corps at Blackpool – Interesting Experiences.

June 1908

Mexborough and Swinton Times June 27, 1908

Denaby Corps at Blackpool
Interesting Experiences.

The above, under command of Supt. H.S. Witty and Cdr. W. Simpkins, marched to Swinton on Whit-Sunday morning, where they entrained for Blackpool, joining the Sheffield and Rotherham detachments at the Midland Station. The only stop on the way after leaving Sheffield was at Exchange Station, Manchester, where engines were changed. The weather was delightful, and everybody looked forward to a happy week.

The 150 men, who had been gathered on the way from Nottingham and Sheffield, marched along the new parade to the camp, which was pitched behind Uncle Tom’s Cabin, on the east of the Fleetwood road, by an advance party (nine from the Denaby Corps), under the supervision of the Quarter-Master Sergeant. The first duty on arrival was to parade for tea, then to fill the beds with the straw feathers, and woe betide the man who put in too many feathers—his sleep was disturbed every time he rolled off his bed.

At 5-4.5 a.m. the bugles sounded, and the men yawned, wondering what that “row ” was, but they soon waked to the fact that the working day had begun. A parade, under Sergeant Major Winburn, and then breakfast.

The advent of 50 more men into camp who were not advised, caused great trouble to the Quarter Master Sergeant, who had not provided for these 50. The consequence was some had to go short. This fell to the lot of the “C” Company, who h to take what was left, after the “A” and “B” had had their first pull. (Denaby belonged to the “C” Company.”)

After breakfast casualties went out into the neighbouring fields with tickets on them to say what was the matter. Search parties sought these and, rendering first-aid carried them to the field hospital

After that dinner, when the commissariat was not yet complete, a rush was made into the town after dinner, where those who had failed to find satisfaction for their appetites in the camp, looked in the town for the never failing supply of all classes of food and pleasure, and found it.

The next day was wet  and the camp fires would not burn, the wind and rain being as cold—that the potatoes were underdone. But we got off drill in the morning, only to be miserable in the tent or canteen.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr. S. Wardell, of Doe House, Alfreton, was a constant attender in camp in uniform, though the actual camp Commandant Chief superintendent H.C. Else, of Sheffield. Chief surgeon West times of Bradford, was also in charge of the health Department, while chief superintendent Doctor Eames of Shipley was the acting adjutant.

The remainder of the week was generally cold and wet. Saturday was look forward to as sports day – this because the chief Commission B. Ninnis and arrange to inspect the camp on Friday afternoon, which day is generally devoted to sports. The C.C. commenced his inspection after tea, with the officers. The whole of the men (including those old soldiers who had during the week always contrived to be “on other duty”) ‘were drawn up in line, and received him with the “general salute” on the bugles. The three companies, each 22 file strong, marched past in column and back in quarter column. Then again to the saluting case, where they advanced in review order, and again the bugled. “blasted” the salute, and the men then marching.

The C.C. afterwards, addressed the men, saying how well they had marched and how pleased he was with the appearance, etc , and then he went round the camp to inspect the sanitary conditions. No fault did he find, but he said that the ce.mp was as orderly as if a “regular force occupied it.” The beds straightly dressed and blankets folded, as those of the soldiers in barracks (this form was introduced by the Denabv detachment two years ago when in can, and has a smart appearance).

It was late when tea, was over, and the town again found room for us; the officers were left in to entertain the C.C.

Saturday, after the prizes had all been bought (with money subscribed by the officers) were displayed early in the hospital tent, and only a break in the clouds was required to have a high time.

The ground measured out, and nothing wanted but the sun. He failed to appear, and until 8 p.m, a steady downfall of rain, accompanied by gusts of N.E. wind, chilled to the marrow anyone who came outside the canvas. This last wet day took the whole heart out of the camp, which would otherwise have been healthful and endurable. Fortunately, the sun shone on the Sunday, which enabled the tents to be struck and put away by noon; four men had to be let be to pack them two from Denaby volunteered who returned home on the Sunday.

The band met the company at the old toll bar (where they had been ‘playing for some time to a crowd of pleased listeners). The men’s faces were darkened by the sun and wind, and they looked well. They marched in good style, and were well pleased to return to Old Denaby.

The .men were marched to the headquarters through the crowd, and dismissed hungry and healthy. The corps included two offices, four Sergeant, four corporals, 25 file; total 35