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Arthur John BerryFrancis Rawdon HastingsFred TaylorEnsign Heneage TwysdenNeil DraperSubedar-Major Sher Bahadur Khan

Regimental Life of the Month

Since 1756 hundreds of thousands of men, women and children have had life changing experiences with the Manchester Regiment or its forebears. Each month this on-line feature will tell the story of a person’s experiences with the Manchester Regiment.

We hope that anyone undertaking their own research will consider writing a small piece for this on-line feature. If you are interested in submitting a brief biography of a man, woman or child for the ‘Regimental Life of the Month’ feature please contact the Museum’s Curator.

See previous regimental 'Life of the Month' stories.

Pte Reginald Cartmell
 

Reginald Cartmell was born on 28 January 1910 in Lytham, Lancashire.1 On 31 July 1930 at the depot of the Loyal Regiment, Preston he enlisted as a private in The Manchester Regiment. At the time he was aged 18, 5’3” tall and gave his trade as ‘Motor Driver’. Initially being posted to the regiment’s depot at Ashton-Under-Lyne he moved to the 1st Battalion at Shorncliffe Camp on 24 January 1931 before being posted to the 2nd Battalion and sent to Burma.

The 2nd Battalion had already proceeded to Burma as ‘the inhabitants of a large part of the Irrawaddy valley were in open rebellion’ and had travelled by train for four days to Calcutta from where it embarked on a sea journey to Rangoon from where the various companies were dispersed to Mandalay, Meiktila, Shwebo and Toungoo. Exactly where Pte Cartmell was posted is not known but he served throughout the campaign and, following its successful conclusion, he returned to India with the battalion in February 1932 and from there on to Khartoum in October. On 13 December 1933 the battalion sailed for the UK arriving in Southampton on 27 December after almost 13 years of foreign service. However, Pte Cartmell must have enjoyed his time overseas because less than a month later he, along with a number of officers and men, were transferred to the 1st Battalion and on 23 January 1934 he and his new battalion embarked for the West Indies on the HM Troopship Dorsetshire bound for The West Indies.

On arrival in Bermuda on 3 February A & C Companies and the band disembarked while the remainder of the battalion sailed on to Kingston, Jamaica which was reached on 8 February. Garrison life in the West Indies was pleasant and carefree but could not last for ever and in the autumn of 1935 the battalion returned on HM Troopship Dorsetshire which dropped anchor in Southampton Water on 13 October. However, the political situation in the Middle East had deteriorated to such a degree that family reunions were held the next morning in two customs sheds on the dock side for families and friends who had arrived in Southampton from Manchester on specially chartered trains. All troops were back on board the Dorsetshire by 4pm when the battalion sailed for Egypt.

Alexandria was reached on 23 October where a small advance party disembarked while the rest of the battalion sailed to Port Said from where it entrained for Moascar and moved into Haigh Camp. On the first day the brigade commander addressed the whole battalion on the political situation in the area. Shortly before Christmas the battalion moved to Mersa Matruh in the Western Desert, where a British force was assembled to oppose any attempt by the Italian Army to cross into Egypt from Abyssinia. On arrival the battalion joined the Armoured Brigade in the role of lorried infantry, their vehicles being provided and driven by the RASC.

In March, 1936, the battalion returned to Moascar and resumed its role of normal infantry. In October the battalion was placed on 12 hours' notice to fly to Baghdad for internal security duties, but fortunately the trouble subsided and the battalion stood down. In April, 1937, the battalion supplied company detachments for Cyprus and Port Said. In 1936 The Manchester Regiment was selected for conversion to a fully mechanised machine gun regiment but in May 1937 orders were received for the battalion to be reorganised as a medium machine gun battalion. Earlier in the year the battalion had received orders to move to Malta, but this was cancelled in November 1937, when orders were received to move to Palestine to assist in putting down the Arab rebellion. In the meantime, Pte Cartmell had volunteered to extend his service with the Colours to 12 years.

The 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine was a nationalist uprising by Palestinian Arabs against British colonial and Jewish immigration. The revolt consisted of two distinct phases. The first phase was focused mainly on strikes and other forms of political protest but, by October 1936, this phase had been defeated by the British civil administration using a combination of political concessions, international diplomacy and the threat of martial law. The second phase, which began late in 1937, was a violent and peasant-led resistance movement that increasingly targeted British forces. During this phase, the rebellion was suppressed by the British Army and the Palestine Police Force.

In January 1938 the 1st Battalion moved to Palestine arriving in Haifa on 15 January. The battalion remained in Palestine until September when it moved to Singapore but Pte Cartmell was posted back to the 2nd Battalion and embarked for the UK on 25 January 1938, thereby only just qualifying for his General Service Medal 1918-62 with clasp; ‘PALESTINE’. The 2nd Battalion moved to Aldershot in March.

With the storm clouds of war gathering over Europe in 1939 on 31 August, following the invasion of Poland, the Government announced that there was to be a complete mobilisation and on 2 September and war was declared that same day, although for several months, there being very little actual action, this period is known as the “Phoney War”.

On 20 September Pte Cartmell and the battalion left Aldershot and travelled to Southampton by train where they embarked on the SS Biarritz arriving in Cherbourg on the following day. Here Pte Cartmell and the battalion remained until 4 October when it moved to an area just south west of the village of Orchies on the France/Belgium border. The area was flat and featureless with a high-water table so there was little the troops could do to prepare defences except for the building of pill-boxes by specialist troops. Everything was so quiet that Pte Cartmell returned to the UK on 24 January for ten days’ leave.

In the early hours of 10 May the Germans took the Allies completely by surprise and invade Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg and so at 7pm Pte Cartmell and the 2nd Battalion advanced into Belgium at the little hamlet of Point Caillou and, over the next 36 hours, advance to the River Dyle on a line between Wavre and Louvain. The whole forward movement of the BEF was completed by 15 May, on which day the battalion came under fire from the German guns. However, it soon became apparent that, with the Germans pushing forward to the North and making rapid progress through the Ardennes to the South, everything was not going to plan and an orderly withdrawal was ordered and over the next few days the battalion withdrew via the Foret de Soignes, south of Brussels, Zarlardinge to the line of the Schelde and from here the retreat continued, mostly at night, to Hertain, just south of Tournai (19 May).

The Germans attacked the whole front on 21 May and with Calais surrounded and Boulogne captured on 24 May it was now really a rush to the sea and to hope that the Navy would come to the rescue. The battalion reached Saint Venant on the night of the 25th and moved back, through Bergues, to Dunkirk with most of the remnants of the battalion arriving on the beaches between 29 and 31 May. However, Pte Cartmell failed to make it back to the beaches and he was taken prisoner of war by the Germans. Initially, prior to 16 June, he was posted as “Missing” but he was then noted as being a prisoner of war on 8 July 1940.   
What happened to Pte Carmell immediately after his capture is not known but in due course he was transported to Stalag XX-A which was located in Thorn/Toruń, Poland. It was not a single camp and contained as many as 20,000 men at its peak. The main camp was located in a complex of fifteen forts that surrounded the whole of the city. The forts had been built at the end of 19th Century to defend the western border of Kingdom of Prussia. In September 1939 some of the forts were used as PoW camps for Polish prisoners but in June 1940 additional forts were added to the camp to accommodate British soldiers. The first to arrive were 403 men from the Allied campaign in Norway but later about 4,500 arrived from Dunkirk and subsequently from the British 51st (Highland) Infantry Division captured at Saint-Valery-en-Caux. In 1941 and 1942 Soviet prisoners arrived. Although the camp was liberated on 1 February 1945 by the Soviet Army many of the PoWs had already been marched out of the camp towards the West.

On 5 May 1945 Pte Cartmell was noted as being in Allied hands and he was returned to the UK the following day, no doubt going on leave almost immediately. Cartmell remained in the Regulars until 19 February 1946 when he was discharged to the Army Reserve from which he was discharged finally on 11 February 1954. He died at home on 29 March 1983 in Bolton.
 
Note:
1 Date of birth given as 28 August 1911 on all Army documents but given as 28 January 1910 on his death certificate.


 

 

The 96th in 1832

 
   Early in September 1834 there was an outbreak of cholera in Halifax and the regiment moved temporarily to camp at Windmill Hill. While stationed in Nova Scotia Sgt Mingies appears to have married a Scots girl called Jane, as their first daughter was born in 1835.

   In the summer of 1835 the relieving regiment arrived in Halifax and the 96th sailed for home. Sgt Mingies sailed in the first of two divisions under Major Cumberland in the Prince Regent, which left Halifax on 6 August and reached Gosport three weeks later. In October 1835, having had his pay increased again, to 1/11d a day, Sgt Mingies and the 96th marched to Gravesend and embarked for Leith, Scotland. Having reached this port on 24 October, he was posted to quarters at Greenlaw until 1 November. In December, Sgt Mingies proceeded on ‘recruiting service’ to Kilmarnock, where he remained until 18 January 1836 when he re-joined his regiment in Glasgow. In July, Sgt Mingies was sent on a month’s detachment to Leadhills. He and the regiment embarked for Ireland in October, disembarking in Belfast before marching to Enniskillen which was reached on 21 October 1836.
 

 

The Recruiting Party

(Edward Villiers 1798-1859. Bristol Museum and Art Gallery)
 
   On 17 November 1836 Sgt Mingies was granted eight weeks furlough, his first in 13 years of Army service. He returned to Enniskillen on 11 January 1837 and was posted to Cavan for three months. On 1 April 1837 he was promoted to colour sergeant and his pay was increased to 2/5d a day. Col Sgt Mingies’s second daughter was born in Ireland around 1838.

   In July 1838 the 96th marched to Dublin where it remained for seven months before embarking for Liverpool in January 1839. Col Sgt Mingies’s company was one of three posted to Haydock Lodge where they remained until September, while the headquarters were stationed at Bolton-Le-Moors. At this time the 96th was ordered to hold itself in readiness to embark in detachments for New South Wales, supplying convict guards on the different vessels employed for this duty. The first detachment sailed on 4 July 1839 but after brief spells in Liverpool and Manchester, Col Sgt Mingies was posted to the regimental depot at Chatham. The regimental headquarters, which went to Chatham at the same time, moved to New South Wales in September 1841.

   After short spells at Sheerness (1841), Canterbury (1843) and Sheerness again (1846), along with 19 days’ furlough at Glasgow in July 1844, Col Sgt Mingies continued to serve at the depot in Chatham but now he was on the adjutant’s roll. On 1 July 1849 the spelling of his name as ‘Menzies’ was first recorded. He was commissioned ensign in the 96th, without purchase, in April 1849 (London Gazette 27 April 1849) and in February 1853 he was given a staff appointment as quartermaster of the 1st Depot (Provincial) Battalion Chatham (LG 25 February 1853). Thereafter, he acted as the ‘Commanding Officer’ of the depot.   

   Ensign James Menzies remained at the depot in Chatham for almost 12 years during which time his pay increased to 10/- a day and he was entitled to a quartermaster’s servant. Here his two sons and four more daughters were born. He ‘retired’ and went on half pay, with the honorary rank of captain, in February 1865 (LG 7 February 1865) at the age of 64. At this point James Menzies ‘disappears’ from the muster rolls but a year later a ‘Quartermaster James Menzies was granted the honorary rank of captain’ in the Royal North Down Militia (LG 11 January 1876). The Belfast News-Letter of 22 February 1865 notes: ‘Captain James Menzies, late of the 1st depot Battalion, Chatham, has been appointed Quartermaster of the Royal North Down Rifle Regiment of Militia from the 7th February, 1865’. Captain Menzies held this post for almost 12 years, finally retiring in January 1876. Retirement brought to an end an Army career spanning over 52 years during which Honorary Captain Menzies had never seen any war service and probably had never even fired a shot in anger. His only military medal was his Army Long Service and Good Conduct Medal named: JAMES MINGIES COLOR SERGT 96 REG. 1ST JUNE 1848.

   However, his service to the Crown was not at an end. The Army Lists, under ‘Quarter Masters on Retired Pay’, show that in July 1875 Hon Capt James Menzies was admitted to the Military Knights of Windsor.2 The Belfast News-Letter of 6 September 1875 published a report of a farewell banquet in his honour in the Assembly Rooms in Newtownards, Belfast, prior to his move to live at 9 Military Knights’ Row, Windsor Castle. After 16 years as a Military Knight he died at Windsor on 14 September 1891 aged 91 after 67 years of service to the Crown.
 

 

Military Knights of Windsor 19013

(Windsor: The Most Romantic Castle by Mark Girouard, London 1993)
 
   Short obituaries appeared in numerous newspapers over the next few days and, according to The Pall Mall Gazette of 17 September 1891, his remains were removed from the Castle Yard at Windsor Castle and taken to Bognor where he was interred by the side of his wife. It noted that ‘during the removal of the body from the deceased’s residence to the railway station the bells of the Chapel Royal rang a muffled peal.’ The Morning Post of 25 September 1891 contains the following short piece which summarises Capt Menzies’s service:
 
A vacancy has been created amongst the Military Knights of Windsor by the death of Captain James Menzies, at the age of 91. Captain Menzies was a ‘ranker.’ He had seen no war service, but had served regimentally for a period of 50 years. He was serving for many years in the ranks of the 96th Regiment, and at the age of 49 was promoted to a commission as ensign. Fourteen years afterwards he was appointed quartermaster of the Provisional Depot Battalion at Chatham, and retired on pension in 1853. But his usefulness was not ended, and for another 10 years he held the appointment of Quartermaster of the North Down Militia, and in 1875, at the age of 75, was appointed a Military Knight of Windsor, and has since enjoyed a period of 16 years well-earned rest.
 

 
Late 19th century view of Military Knights’ Row, Windsor Castle
 
Sources:
 
Army Lists various 1850–90
Newspaper articles – various 1875-91
Census 1861, 1881 & 1891

Notes:
1 Mingies sometimes spelled Mingis. For reasons which are unclear, this surname – along with its various spellings – came to be standardised throughout the UK as ‘Menzies’. As originally written, the surname had featured an antiquated form of the letter ‘y’ – the ‘yoch’ (pronounced as in Scots ‘loch’). In the standardised spelling, this letter was replaced by a ‘z’ – despite the fact that this carried a completely different sound from the ‘yoch’. A current example of the resulting mis-match is how the first name of the present-day politician Menzies Campbell is pronounced – as ‘Ming-iss’, or ‘Ming’ for short

2 The original Letters Patent of 1348 establishing the College of St George, Windsor Castle, included provisions for maintaining veteran warriors to ‘serve God continually in prayer’. In 1352 statutes drawn up for the government of the college formalised the establishment of this community of twenty-six bedesmen (pensioners whose duty it was to pray for their benefactor), who were required to be present in St George’s Chapel every day at High Mass, at the Mass of the Virgin, at Vespers and at Compline. These bedesmen, known as the Alms Knights or the Poor Knights, were to pray for the Sovereign and his successors, and for the Knights of the Order of the Garter. In 1833, William IV altered their name to the ‘Military Knights of Windsor’ and as the required level of attendance at daily services was never dutifully maintained, in a warrant issued on 14 December 1870, Queen Victoria granted the Military Knights liberty to attend services as they wished

3 Capt Menzies is probably the Military Knight on the extreme left. The majority of Military Knights are wearing the Jubilee Medal 1887 in silver (which is understandable) in front of their other medals and the man on the extreme left only sports the Jubilee Medal 1887 and one other medal.

 

 

Previous regimental 'Life of the Month' stories

 

Arthur John Berry John Haney William Buckley Thomas Fanahan Finn
Arthur John Berry John Haney William Buckley Thomas Fanahan Finn
William Blades Thomas Hanrahan Rex King-Clark Mike Lally
William Blades Thomas Hanrahan Lieutenant-Colonel Rex King-Clark Mike Lally aged 104
James Leach VC Harry Morgan George William Holmes Michael Neville
James Leach VC Harry Morgan George William Holmes Michael Neville
Richard Thomas Priestley John Henry Loftus Reade Eric Arnold Shacklady Sam Smith
Richard Thomas Priestley John Henry Loftus Reade (1881-1914)    Eric Arnold Shacklady Sam Smith MM
Joseph Edmund Tyson Issy Smith VC Alfred Sutton Owen Taylor
 Joseph Edmund Tyson Issy Smith VC  Alfred Sutton Owen Taylor
Thomas Lavell Tom McAlister Joseph Black Joe Horgan
Thomas Lavell Tom McAlister Joseph Black Joe Horgan
John Douglas Powell Walter Youel William Taylor Ward Frederick Picton
John Douglas Powell Walter Youel William Taylor Ward Frederick Picton
Frederick Arthur Pickles Charles Trueman Margery Burrows William Holt
 Frederick Arthur Pickles Charles Fitzgerald Hamilton Trueman : Photograph of Charles in Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre.  Reference: MR2/20/15 Margery Burrows William Holt 
Percy Courtman Daniel James Willie Baines Charles Squire
Percy Courtman Daniel James Willie Vose Baines Charles Squire
Ernest Storer Col. Sir Douglas Glover  William Thompson Major Edward James Swindell
Ernest Storer Colonel Sir Douglas Glover William Thompson Major Edward James Swindell
Edmund Olive John Goodall George Halliwell Edward Rankine
Edmund Olive John Goodall George Halliwell Edward Rankine 
Harold Dixon Joseph Winterbottom Albert William Andrews  Thomas Storr 
Harold Dixon Joseph Winterbottom Albert Andrews  Thomas Storr 
Alfred Wilkinson VC James William Smith James Henry Chadwick John Henry Heathcote
Alfred Wilkinson VC Photograph of James William Smith James Henry Chadwick John Henry Heathcote
Philip Sidney Marsden Frederick Wellington Lloyd Robert Nuttall Roberts Harry Oldfield
Philip Sidney Marsden Frederick Wellington Lloyd Robert Nuttall Roberts Harry Oldfield
Harry Greenwood Joseph Verity Private Albert Hutchinson Norman Cyril John Harrison
Harry Greenwood Joseph Verity Albert Hutchinson in 1942 Norman Cyril John Harrison
James Herbert Hague William Henry Martin  Frank Oswald Medworth  Lance Sgt. Watson and Pte Glaister
 
James Herbert hague  William Henry Martin  Frank Oswald Medworth Lance Sergeant E.S. Watson and Private M.H. Glaister 
Arnold Davies Thomas Bowling John Winter Alfred Rudolph Craven
Thomas Bowling John Winter Alfred Rudolph Craven
William Francis Geoffrey Bamford Thomas Booth Edward Tierney

William Francis

Geoffrey Bamford Thomas Booth Edward Tierney
George Sutton William Bertram Louis Waterhouse James Curren
George Sutton George Sutton George Sutton George Sutton
Harold Loynds William Gingell James Parker George William Thurstance
George Sutton George Sutton George Sutton George Sutton
James Mingies      
George Sutton