Bygone news: 16 Mar 1917 – The Macclesfield Times


Roll of Honour; Local Men at the Front; Local News




Mr William H Scragg, 56 St George’s Street, Macclesfield, has received official intimation of the death in action of his only son, Sergt Arthur Scragg, who was killed on February 17th. Thirty-one years of age, the deceased was educated at the Centenary day school under Mr John Earles and attended the Brunswick Sunday School. He was employed as a weaver at the Lower Heyes mill and joined the Cheshire Regt about ten years ago. Sergt Scragg was with the 2nd Batt in India when war broke out and landed in England at Christmas, 1914. After a short period at Hursley park camp, Winchester, during which the Sergeant was home on four days’ leave, he was drafted out to France on January 16th, 1915. In the succeeding month he was seriously wounded, being shot through the neck, while in the trenches at Ypres, by a German sniper. Sergt Scragg spent some time in the Red Cross hospital at Netley, where he made a wonderful recovery, and in April was transferred to the Highfield Hall Convalescent Home at Southampton. He was discharged on May 10th 1915, and after seven days’ leave at Macclesfield joined the 3rd Batt of his regiment at Bidston Camp, Birkenhead. Here he was stationed till the end of April, 1916, when he again went out to France and was attached to one of the Cheshire Battalions as acting sergeant. Deceased was on the Somme front, and in September was granted ten days’ leave of absence from the trenches for good service, this being the last time he was at home.



Information has been received of the death in action of Private Samuel Stonehewer, of the Gordon Highlanders, son of Mr and Mrs Stonehewer, 22 Newton St, Gorton, Manchester, and grandson of Mr Samuel Stonehewer, formerly hall-keeper at the Macclesfield Town Hall. A native of the borough, the deceased soldier was only 20 years of age. His father was for many years connected with Lord Street Sunday School. Private Stonehewer was educated at the Manchester Grammar School, and prior to enlistment, shortly after the outbreak of war, was employed in a Manchester insurance office. He was a member of the Gorton Swimming Club…

News has been received of the death in action on March 1st of Private James W Kellett, Canadian Infantry, eldest grandson of the late Mr James N Shaw, who formerly carried on business at the Albion Mill, London Rd, and nephew of Mr Thomas Kellett, a former master at the Macclesfield Modern School. Private Kellett was a native of Macclesfield and 33 years of age. He emigrated to Canada fifteen years ago, and was married shortly before going on active service. Private Kellett, after training in Devonshire, went out to France in November. He was slightly wounded at Christmas, but after undergoing treatment in hospital at Rouen returned to the firing line.




Mr Thomas Philips, of Ryle Street, Macclesfield, formerly of Park Lane, has six sons and the whole of them are now in the Army. In order of age, their names are: Fred, who came over to England from Canada, and is now in this country with the mechanical transport; James, who also enlisted in Canada and is now in this country with the Canadian Engineers, but expects to cross to France at any time; Ernest, with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers on home service; Arthur, who has been at the front for some time with the Cheshire Regiment; Joseph, who is in training with the Welsh Regiment; and Frank, who is not yet 19 but is training with the Royal Engineers. The two eldest sons, who patriotically responded to the call whilst in Canada, are old boys of the Townley Street Higher Grade School. It is many years since Townley Street closed its doors, but former scholars have every reason to feel proud of what its “old boys” have done in the present war…



A Macclesfield soldier, Private C Hobson, whose home is at 22 Prestbury Road, writes from “somewhere in France” giving an interesting account of a Christmas dinner and concert with his unit (the 69th Field Ambulance) behind the line… A substantial dinner was provided, consisting of roast pork, onions, apple sauce, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, Christmas pudding and rum sauce, jellies, fruit, beer, etc, after which there was a distribution of cigars and cigarettes… Sergt Robertson was the musical director for the concert… an attractive item was a burlesque on “Hamlet”, in which Private Howes distinguished himself. He was also exceptionally good at Othello in “The Fallen Star”. Privates Weston, Stevens and Howes were responsible for another entertaining number descriptive of a night in Egypt. Staff Sergt McQuinn was the organiser, and the members of the unit thoroughly enjoyed the proceedings.



CQMS Wm. Speed, of the Cheshire Regt, who lives with his mother and sister at 21 Garden St, Macclesfield, has been recommended for a commission and is awaiting orders to join an officers cadet battalion. CQMS Speed recently returned home from France, where he gained the Military Medal for distinguished conduct on Oct 9th, 1916. He was formerly employed by Mr A E Green, draper, Market Place, and joined up shortly after the outbreak of war. He is 23 years of age and was at one time connected with the local Boy Scouts and attended Christ Church.



Corporal James Bailey and Private T Bailey, who are with the Macclesfield Territorials in Egypt, have sent us what they term a few “rhymes” on their life in the desert:

For breakfast in a morning, it’s like old Mother Hubbard;
You double round the dug-out three times, and jump up at the cupboard;
Sometimes we have boiled bacon, and when we get our cheese,
It forms platoons upon our plate, orders Arms! and stands at ease!

Week in, week out, from morn till night, with full pack and a rifle,
Like Jack and Jill we climb the hill, of course that’s juts a trifle;
These marches we have do us good and make our bones so tender,
You can coil yourself up like a snake and crawl beneath the fender.

Our contributors also enclose a parody to the tune of “There’s a long, long trail” which runs as follows:

There are weary hours of cleaning
Before we go on parade,
For our brasses must be polished,
For that is the order laid;
And our rifles must be spotless,
And we never say a word,
When we soldier with the Cheshires
In the shiny Fifty-Third.




The annual meeting of the Governors of the Macclesfield General Infirmary was held on Monday… Alderman Isherwood referred to the case of a Bollington soldier named Frank Howe, now in a London Hospital, on whose behalf application had been made for his admission to the Macclesfield Infirmary, so that his relatives could visit him. Several communications had been addressed to the House Committee… he was sorry not to see anything on that Committee’s minutes about the matter… such patients were frequently admitted to similar institutions. They ought to do their best for a man who had been a soldier and done his duty… Sir Edward Cotton-Jodrell was anxious that the patient should if possible come to the Macclesfield Infirmary, and £2 2s per week would be paid in respect of him. He had been told that the patient would give some trouble, and if that were mentioned probably the grant would be increased… Mr Bates said he was present… when the question was discussed… it was not a suitable case for the Infirmary. Mr Leah… said it was necessary that the case should be explained so that the people of Bollington would realise the circumstances…



A public meeting, organised by the united religious bodies in the borough in support of the National Appeal for Temperance in war-time, was held on Monday at the Macclesfield Town Hall. Mr J O Nicholson, J.P., presided, supported by the Ven Archdeacon Howson, of Warrington; Mrs F Hughes and Miss Barclay (president and Hon Secretary respectively of the Women’s Temperance Union); Mrs W R Brown, Mr T C Horsfall, M.A., Revs H E Stevens, J F C James, T J Nash, E A Hobby, P A Evans, G B Robson, Henry Fytche, and B J Ratcliffe, Messrs G Sheldon, G H Fletcher, R Brown, etc. Apologies for absence were received from Col W B Brocklehurst, M.P. – who had been invited to take the chair – and the Revs C Vere Barley and J C Cohen. Colonel Brocklehurst, regretting his inability to preside, wrote: This is surely a time when temperance ought to be practised by all patriotic people, and the cutting down by the Government of two-thirds of the pre-war supply and the drastic regulation of spirits must have a salutary effect. The Chairman explained that the meeting was under the auspices of many of the most influential local men… It was not simply a temperance meeting… an important subject was the food of the people… Some people forgot that this country had passed through some of the rigours of famine. They had a potato famine in 1847… there was not a potato to be had. They had recourse to all sorts of beans, etc, which they had never seen before… Mr Nicholson spoke of the example set by France, Italy and Russia… it was a question of bread versus beer. When men at the front were making the supreme sacrifice, was it much to ask of themselves that they should do that which to very few would be a real sacrifice, to give up the taking of intoxicating liquors for the time of the war and as long afterwards as possible? Stern necessity dictated this course, and they believed, in advocating it, they would be the soldiers’ friend. Much had been heard of the rum ration at the front, and soldiers to whom he had spoken had condemned the practice. Practically, they said, it was forced upon them, and they said they had no wish for it…


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