On 7 August 1914 Kitchener made his first appeal for volunteers between the ages of 19 and 30 for ‘General Service’ for a period of 3 years, or until the war was concluded. Later appeals extended the upper age limit, called for married men, and relaxed the minimum height regulation. Nearly 300,000 volunteered in August and about 463,000 in September.
Volunteers were put through a medical, sworn in, given the King’s shilling and sent home to await calling up orders. Then followed training in camp and the issue of uniforms and boots.
In January 1916 the First Military Service Act conscripted all single men and childless widowers aged 18-40
Each Recruit signed an ‘Attestation Paper. This is the one for John William Baines, which he signed on the 31st August 1914. It gives his trade as ‘Dyer’, and birth place of Heath Charnock. He went to France on 25th September 1915, and was killed 89 days later on the 22nd of December.
Chorley Guardian and Leyland Hundred Advertiser 29 August 1914
ADLINGTON FIRM’S OFFER
Many firms have shown their patriotism in a practical manner, and have issued special notices to their male employees requesting the positions, monetary and otherwise, of their dependants, should the “breadwinners” enlist; and another firm to be added to the list is that of Messrs T. Middleton and Co., of Adlington. This company has decided to offer to their employees, between the ages of 19 and 30, who respond at once to Lord Kitchener’s appeal, the same inducements as have been agreed upon by the Manchester Home Trade Association, which are 1st, a minimum of four weeks’ full wages for all from date of leaving; 2nd re-engagement on return guaranteed; 3rd half-pay during absence on duty for married men from date that full pay ceases; 4th special arrangements to be made to single men who have relatives entirely dependent on them; and lastly, after the war, all employees who have enlisted under this appeal to be given three weeks’ holiday, provided two weeks be spent in camp. The terms are most generous and it is to be hoped that those who are physically eligible will avail themselves of the opportunity to show their patriotism and answer the call of duty.
Chorley Guardian and Leyland Hundred Advertiser 5 September 1914
RECRUITING AT CHORLEY
Recruiting at Chorley opened in a brisk manner on Monday morning. Men turned up in large numbers, and they were of fine physique, intelligent and sober. The numbers enlisted each day are: Monday 70; Tuesday 50; Wednesday 50; Thursday 50; Friday 30; a total of 250. The following gentlemen assisted in the recruiting: Sir Henry F, Hibbert MP, Alderman Stone, Mr C.E. Middleton, Mr W. Mayhew and Mr Unsworth. The rapidity with which the business has been expedited is due to the foresight and care of the recruiting officer, Mr W. Beale, ably assisted by Sergt. Jaques of the L.N.L. Regiment. The total number of recruits since the office opened is 480. The rejected amount to about eight per cent. On Monday large crowds gathered in the vicinity of the recruiting station, and a constant stream of men presented themselves for enrolment in the army. A contingent of 30 or 40 men from Heath Charnock and Adlington marched four abreast to the recruiting station, headed by a bugler, and offered themselves as recruits.
Chorley Weekly News 5 September 1914
LOCAL RECRUITING – SPLENDID RESPONSE AT CHORLEY
Large crowds gathered on Monday morning in the vicinity of the recruiting station at Chorley, and a constant stream of men presented themselves for enrolment in the army. A contingent of 30 or 40 men from Heath Charnock and Adlington marched four abreast to the recruiting station, headed by a bugler, and offered themselves as recruits. The day was certainly much the busiest that the staff at the recruiting depot have experienced.
Mr W. Beale, in charge of the army recruiting depot at Chorley, had, with Sergeant Jacques of the North Lancashire Regiment, an exceptionally busy time. Recruiting started briskly at 8.0 a.m., and during the day men arrived from Adlington, Heath Charnock, Wheelton, Standish, Horwich and other townships in the immediate vicinity. Mr C. E. Middleton, J.P., Heath Charnock, was early on the scene and rendered valuable assistance.
The men who turned up were smart and intelligent. Surgeon Captain Rigby passed the recruits after inspection, and there were throughout the day only four men rejected. In all 70 men were attested, and about 5.0 p.m. they were mustered in squads, sworn in by Mr Middleton, and paid. Warrants were issued, and they proceeded by rail to the headquarters at Preston. Previously about 130 men had been recruited at this depot.
On Tuesday there was another rush of recruits and another batch of 50 was attested and despatched to headquarters.
Of these men, eight would not return. They were John William Baines, Edward Berry and his cousin Nathan Birchall, Thomas Birchall, James Edwards, Herbert Hitchen, Asa Leadbetter and Francis Smith.
On the same day, friends from Adlington Parish Church and Church Lads’ Brigade, went to enlist at Horwich into the 10th and 12th Battalions of the Lancashire Fusiliers. Among them were John Ellis Harvey, Harold Banks and Robert Robinson who did not return, and fifteen-year-old Ellis Norris, Adlington’s youngest soldier.
Chorley Guardian and Leyland Hundred Advertiser 21 November 1914
CORRESPONDENCE – CHEERFUL SPIRIT OF RECRUITS
To the Editor of the Chorley Guardian
“Sir- The following extract from a letter sent me by Private E. Norris, an Adlington lad who recently joined the 10th Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers, and is now in training at Wool, may be of interest to your readers. “We are not having such grand weather, and we were prevented by the weather from going a twenty-five mile route march; it was very disappointing for us, as we were all looking forward to it, because it was a march for the whole brigade, under the Brigadier-General. We have all been vaccinated, and our arms are very sore at present, but we are all enjoying ourselves first class, and I, personally, think that army life is one of the best lives a man could have – you haven’t everything your own way, and there is a little bit of work about it, but I quite enjoy it.”
If this cheerful spirit is general among the members of our newly-enrolled units, and I quite believe it is, we need have no fear that they will render an excellent account of themselves when the time comes to put them to the proof.
Yours etc. R.A. SWANZY
[Curate of Adlington Parish Church]
44 Church-street, Adlington
November 19th 1914“
There was an occasional sour note
Chorley & District Weekly News 29 August 1914
CORRESPONDENCE – HOW WOMEN CAN HELP RECRUITING
To the Editor of the Weekly News
“Sir: – May I suggest through your columns that a very great work could be done by the ladies of Chorley, who have plenty of spare time, if they would visit some of the poorer districts and impress upon the people and especially the women, the seriousness of the present War and the need for men. These women seem to have nothing better to do than shout ribald jokes and do their best to deter young men from enlisting. Of course it is their ignorance, but if it were pointed out to them that the outrages which are at present being practised upon women and children in Belgium, would take place here in England if the enemy once got a footing, perhaps it would bring them to their senses. This letter is not written on the spur of the moment, but from personal knowledge and experience for some weeks past.
August 26th 1914″
Chorley Guardian and Leyland Hundred Advertiser 12 September 1914
CORRESPONDENCE – CHORLEY RECRUITS AT FULWOOD
To the Editor of the Chorley Guardian
“Sir: – We are eight recruits who have joined Kitchener’s Army in the hope of doing something for our country. We came from Chorley on Thursday night (Sept. 3), quite expecting to rough it, but we got an eye-opener. We entered the barracks about nine o’clock and had to find sleeping accommodation the best way we could. After wandering about for about an hour and a half we managed to find a tent that contained twenty-two other recruits, so we got in with them, being packed like sardines, scores of others having no tent at all. We got up on Friday morning about half-past four, and then went round to see if we could have a wash, but we could find neither towels nor soap. Breakfast was served out about nine o’clock, and we lined up for it in thousands. Each of us got half a loaf with a little fat on the top – by each, I mean those that were lucky enough to get any at all. Dinner was worse than breakfast. It was served out in cups (what cups there are) that had been lying on the ground since breakfast time without ever having been washed at all. Tea was no better, so we have not lined up for any meals since, having got what food we could get from the people who were kind enough to give it us outside. We have slept in a Wesleyan chapel ever since, with a few hundred others. Some have also slept in stables and haylofts. Now this is no encouragement for a young man to join the Army. When we left Chorley it was on the understanding that we were all going to be drafted away together as a “Pals” Battalion. It is nothing of the sort, as some that left Chorley with us have been drafted away already. Now this is a state of affairs that wants looking into badly.
EIGHT OF KITCHENER’S ARMY”
(The foregoing letter has been received from eight Chorley recruits whose names and addresses we have. It is well-known that the rush to join Kitchener’s Army overwhelmed the military organisation for the time being, but better arrangements are now in force, and we do not think that any man need be deterred from enlisting on account of such happenings. If a little patience is exercised the recruits will find that the authorities will fulfil their promises to the utmost. Ed. “C.G.”)