Under Canvas - The V. B. Border Regiment at Blackpool

Under Canvas - The V. B. Border Regiment at Blackpool

Postby kerchi » Mon Jul 23, 2012 1:00 pm


During the present season several volunteer encampments have had their annual week's encampment at Blackpool. The Northern Counties Brigade of Volunteers are the latest to pay a visit to the "Brighton the North," and to Wednesday afternoon the brigade had been favoured with splendid weather. The brigade had been fortunate obtaining Foxs' field, situate the extreme southern end of the town, close to the sand hills and the sea.

The field is several acres in extent and allows the whole brigade being drilled at the same time. Trams stop at the entrance to the field, and the volunteers are consequently within easy reach of the various entertainment resorts in Blackpool while the tram ride along the coast to St. Anne's or Lytham is a very pleasant form of enjoyment when the day drills are over.

The Brigade comprises 2,000 men, 500 belonging to the 2nd V.B. Border Regiment, 800 King's Own Royal Lancaster, 800 to the 1st V.B. Border Regiment, and 500 to the Loyal North Lancashire. Brigadier General Eccles, C.B., is in command of the brigade. But it is to the 2nd V.B. Regiment that we would more particularly refer, including companies from Kendal, Appleby, Kirkby Lonsdale, Grasmere, Ambleside, Windermere, Staveley and Milnthorpe. Lieutenant-Colonel J. W. Westen is in command, Major Banks being second in command. The adjutant-major is Capt, Page-Wood, and the other officers are : the Hon. Majors Nelson, Thompson, and Robinson, Captains Heelis, llingworth, Hibbert and T. A. Argles, Lieutenants A. Pearson, F. Pearson, J. Ellis, Dr. Montmoreney, Wakefield and Shipley. The chaplains are the Revs. T.W. Williams and S. Robertson.

The fatigue party arrived few days before the others, and were under the command of Quarter-master Martindale. They erected 113 tents, two marquees, sergeants' mess, officers' mess, and hospital tent. Instead of dining in their tents, as is usual, the men are accommodated in large marquee. The main body reached Blackpool soon after five o'clock on Saturday evening, and, preceded by the band playing popular airs, they proceeded to their camping ground along Lytham Road. They arrived in camp shortly before six o'clock, and after having tea the men were free for the rest of the night.

There was a special drumhead service at the camp on Sunday. Monday was devoted to battalion drill. The Border Battalions had a full day's work under their respective commanders. The Westmorland Battalion, under Lieutenant-Colonel Weston, paraded 6-45 for ordinary battalion drill, at ten and 11-30 the men were drilled in sections under company commanders. The men were afterwards allowed holiday for the rest of the day.

One the most important days, however, was on Tuesday. Adjutant Major Page-Wood hail the men out at twelve o'clock before the general officer commanding the north-western district, and at three o'clock the gallant "soldiers of the Queen" were under the command of Lieutenant-Col. J. W. Weston. At half-past five o'clock the recruits were medically examined by the senior medical officer, and Lance-Corporal T. Hartley was temporarily appointed Lance-Sergeant. On the same day the 2nd V. B. along with the other battalions turned out a quarter past twelve and formed into column before General Swain, commander of the North Western district, who was accompanied by a German army officer. The men behaved admirably, and the conclusion of the parade they were addressed by the commanding officer, who congratulated them on the way they had acquitted themselves.

In the afternoon before General Swain, a wrestling contest was organised between the 2nd V.B. (Westmorland) and the 1st V.B. (Cumberland). Six men were chosen for each side. There were six heats, and at the close only one Cumberland man remained and he went down in the next round. The five remaining men wrestled for premier honours, and in the end Private Jos. Bigland was first, having thrown Pioneer R. Dickinson, who was second, twice out three times. Private J. Thompson was third. Private Brocklebank fourth, and Private John Bigland fifth. All the winners were 2nd V.B. men.

On Wednesday morning the usual drills were gone through, but immediately after dinner rain commenced to fall in torrents, and then, of course, the volunteer's lot was"not a happy one." The men are in the best health, and but few minor casualties are reported. They are behaving themselves excellently, and little fault can be found with their conduct when out of camp. The usual inspection and sports will probably be held at the end of the week.

Published Saturday 6th August 1898
In memory of John Bardgett (15309 L/Cpl.), 11th Border Regiment who died 1st July 1916.

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The Border Regiment Forum is a small and friendly community for anyone with an interest in the British regiment throughout its long and colourful history. The forum was set up first and foremost to bring together those with an interest and passion in the Regiment; to ask questions, share stories, provide knowledge and post photos relating to the regiment during the various conflicts and peacetimes it bore witness to.

  -  Cumbria's Museum of Military Life
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  -  11th Border Regiment (Lonsdale) War Grave Project