Here it is, Don...
Posted by BJC on August 11, 2019, 10:29 pm, in reply to "Re: answer"
Memories and Remembrance |
Posted by Don Scott
on 10/11/2011, 12:49 pm
I have recently taken the bull by the horns and started clearing up the hordes of junk that I have gathered over many years. Among a whole forest of various papers, I came across some regimental journals for which I used to write historical articles. When you’re throwing stuff out, you never fail to waste time by rereading the stuff that you’re sorting. Here’s an article that comes close to ‘home’ only in the dying moments but which I’m sure will touch some of you as we once more approach this time of remembrance.
‘Dear old Blobs! – we miss you sadly and we shan’t ever be quite the same without you. It was you who laboured so long and so splendidly to give the regiment a monthly magazine and ‘tis hard to find anyone who will take up the work which you toiled at and which only the greatest war in history could force you to put aside. No one can ever know the difficulties and self-sacrifices you often had to get the ‘Tiger & Rose’ out at the scheduled time, and we have cause to regret the poor support we often gave you when you wanted regimental news. You may be glad reveille has sounded, but don’t forget us, for there are some here who are still listening to the Last Post and don’t appreciate its echo’
The man to whom this 1919 obituary refers was Lt. Col. Earnest Chamier Broughton, late Officer Commanding the 3rd Battalion, The York & Lancaster Regiment. The term of endearment, however, was doubtless a reference to the inky world of his previous responsibilities as Editor of the ‘Tiger & Rose’ (Regt. Journal) a post he held from its first issue in June, 1887, to shortly before his death on the 17th of December, 1914. There are photographs of him in the museum archive and a beautifully designed little silver sugar basin inscribed – ‘To the Officers 3rd Bn. The York & Lancaster Regt. From Lt. Colonel E.C. Broughton,1912’. This item was returned from Strensall recently after many years on loan. The whereabouts of his medals are unknown but include the Egypt Medal (1884) with clasp El-Teb/Tamaai, the Khedive Star, Queen’s South Africa Medal with three clasps and the 1911 Coronation Medal.
Born in London on the 3rd June, 1858, he received his commission (6th Regt.) in November, 1876, serving with the 65th Regt. from 23rd of January, 1878 with over 30 years’ service at home and abroad. His record of service gives a wealth of detail about the man and his achievements although space does not allow them all to be shown here. Having passed from the Royal Military College in 1876 he went on to acquire distinguished qualifications in Military Law and was a specialist in signalling for which he received an instructor’s certificate in 1888. He was married in this same year to Jane Henriette Keane at St. Peters, Brighton, after which they travelled via Paris to enjoy their honeymoon in the South of France. They then went on to spend a happy life together, much of it at their family home called ‘The Cedars’ in Castle Donington. Very worthy of mention was a publication written by him, entitled ‘Memoirs of the 65th Regiment, 1756-1913’ which is an excellent early history of a Regiment that had become the 1st Battalion, the York & Lancaster Regt. as a result of the Cardwell Reforms of 1881.
His overseas service included periods in Mauritius, two tours in the East Indies, two in South Africa and one in Sudan. This officer took part in both actions which involved the 1st Bn. in the early stages of what was to become known as the Sudan Campaign. When trouble flared at the hands of the so-called Mad Mahdi, the old 65th were passing through the Red Sea with families aboard H.M.S. Serapis on their way home from a long overseas tour of the East Indies and Aden. They were literally flagged down at sea by another ship and ordered to land at Trinkitat where the men became involved in the battles of ‘El Teb’ and ‘Tamaai’ the latter of which being one of two occasions in the whole campaign when the ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy’ as Kipling termed them, broke into the British square. This event was later recorded on canvas and the original oil painting (copy above) now hangs in the National Army Museum, Chelsea (1997). Of interest in the picture is an officer in the foreground, left of center, with revolver in the left hand and sword in the right whose identity has often been popularly ascribed to the late Field Marshal, Viscount Plumer who was at that time Captain & Adjutant of the Battalion. It could perhaps have been better ascribed to one of the Company Commanders, Broughton for instance, who was more likely to have been in the thick of it and in close contact with his men. There has never been any positive identification made and this alternative suggestion is made purely to spice the story that follows!
In 1990, the Regimental Museum was offered for sale, a .455 calibre, 1873 pattern, Tranter revolver which had been carried in the Sudan Campaign. The weapon currently belongs to a Mr. R. King who lives in British Columbia, Canada, and its purchase is now being negotiated by the museum. The sale includes its leather holster and ammunition pouch, a pair of York & Lancaster officers gilt collar dogs and an original Death Certificate of the officer who had owned the revolver. It appears that this officer had died in rather tragic circumstances and of accidental injuries sustained on the quayside at Newcastle upon Tyne in December, 1914. Details of the accident were related to the current owner of the Tranter by the previous owner (believed to have been a grandson of the deceased officer) who said that his grandfather had been involved, at the time of his death, with infantry training in the North of England.
The 3rd (Training) Battalion, The York & Lancaster Regiment were based at Hylton Barracks for the duration of the Great War and at that time was in the business of training and supply of troops for the front. Shipping facilities available at Newcastle upon Tyne were ideal for such large troop movements and quayside scenes can easily be visualised of the milling throng of soldiers, wives and sweethearts, baggage, equipment, tears and farewells. On one such occasion the senior officer present, a fifty-six-year-old Lt. Colonel, overseeing the embarkation, was seated on his horse when it shied, slipped and fell, crushing its rider. With serious internal injuries, the officer was taken to Armstrong College Hospital in the city but died on the 17th of December, with his wife Jane at his bedside. The very first editor of ‘Tiger & Rose’, who had become better known to his close friends as ‘dear old Blobs’ had passed away. His obituary lay unpublished for five years until the regimental journal was reintroduced after the war.
That is the very short story of a gentleman who figured at the beginning and now somewhere near the end of a long running regimental journal called ‘Tiger & Rose’ but I can hardly finish this article without relating one of those rare moments of coincidence that seem beyond the bounds of possibility and which concerns the ‘Battle of Tamaai’ painting.
Many years ago, I was involved with dismantling of the Regimental Collection at Endcliffe Hall, Sheffield, for transfer to Rotherham. One particular day was taken up with removal of a group of pictures from a wall including a framed copy of the ‘Battle of Tamaai’ painting. As I was about to take it down, I read the label which included the date of the battle (13th March, 1884). Something dawned in my mind that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end and I had to step down from the ladder for a few moments. The simple but seemingly impossible coincidence had occurred. The date that I climbed that step ladder was the 13th March, 1984, exactly one hundred years to the day of that very battle. Coincidences do not come any more disturbingly than that.
Back to the present, I have often wondered what became of Hylton Barracks and hope that some of the 'Board' readers might shed some light on it. Those of you who ever wondered why their grandfathers served with the York & Lancaster Regiment in WW1 will now be aware of at least one possible reason. In the York & Lancaster Regt. 'Soldiers Died' series of WW1 records there will be found a few names of men from the Durham area and there will have been many survivors who failed to find a place in recorded history. They do, of course, continue to live in the hearts and minds of their loved ones and will all be collectively remembered this coming Sunday, including Earnest Chamier Broughton, a curious but equally sad casualty of the Great War.