[From IoM and the Great War, 1922]




In 1914, with the exception of the Isle of Man Volunteers and the Officers Training Corps at King William’s College, there was no military unit belonging to the Isle of Man. The Isle of Man Volunteers 1 consisted of one company, under the command of Major T . Mackenzie2 (afterwards Lieutenant-Colonel Mackenzie, R.A.M.C.) . When, on the 5th August, 1914, the Territorial Force was mobilised, telegraphic instructions as under were received from the Home Office to mobilize the Volunteers

" Government Secretary, Isle of Man.

" Direction has now been given by His Majesty for calling up the Isle of Man Volunteer Corps. Please proceed at once. The Order delegates to the Lieutenant-Governor all powers with regard to calling out Volunteers exercisable by His Majesty, and orders Lieutenant-Governor to call out Volunteer Corps forthwith for actual military service.

Under Secretary, Home Office."

The Order referred to in the above telegram was communicated from the Home Office on the 6th August, 1914:— " Whereas by the 17th section of the Volunteer Act, 1863, as amended by section 1 of the Volunteer Act, 1900, it is enacted that it shall be. lawful for Us, in the case of imminent national danger or great emergency (the occasion being first communicated to both Houses of Parliament if Parliament is sitting, or declared in Council and notified by Proclamation if Parliament is not sitting), to direct the Lieutenants of Counties throughout Great Britain, or such of them as We may judge necessary, to call out the Volunteer Corps of their respective Counties, or any of them, for actual military service.

And whereas a state of war now exists between this country and Germany, We do hereby, by and with the advice of Our Principal Secretary of State for the Home Department delegate to Our Lieutenant-Governor of the Isle of Man all such jurisdictions powers, and duties with regard to calling out the Volunteers as may be vested in and exercisable by Us, and do hereby order Our said Lieutenant-Governor to call out the Volunteer Corps of the Isle of Man forthwith for actual military service."

On receipt of directions to mobilize the Corps under his command, Major Mackenzie carried out the details contained in his mobilization instructions. The company was quartered at the Drill Hall, Douglas, a guard being furnished for the protection of the sub-marine telegraph cable at its point of landing in the Island at Port Cornah, and later, under instructions from Government Office, at the request of the Naval Authorities, guards were furnished by the Corps for the protection of the war signal stations at Spanish Head and Port Cranstal.

With the establishment of the Prisoner of War Camp at Douglas the Isle of Man Volunteers were employed in guarding the prisoners of war and in escorting between the Harbour and the Camp parties of prisoners arriving in the Island. In consequence of an application having been received for a second company of the Isle of Man Volunteers to be formed in the South of the Island, and in view of the arduous duties falling on No. 1 Company, the Lieutenant-Governor applied, on the 15th August, 1914, for authority to raise a second company. The War Office thanked His Excellency for this patriotic offer, but intimated that all the energies of the country should, for the time being, be directed to the raising of the new army of 100,000 men, and they regretted that, until that had been accomplished, they were unable to avail themselves of the offer. Later, a letter was received from the War Office (dated 29th August, 1914) stating that, in consequence of the efforts which were being made in the Island to obtain recruits for the regular army, the raising of an additional company of the Isle of Man Volunteers was sanctioned, and the establishment of the second company was fixed at three officers, one medical officer and 121 other ranks, which was that of No. 1 Company. The announcement of the intention to raise this second company was published in Government Circular No. 87, and within a very short time the company was recruited.

On the 17th September, 1914, it was represented to the War Office that, with the filling-up of the prisoner of war camp at Douglas, it was necessary to increase the guard at that camp, and that with only two companies of Volunteers in the Island, this would become very difficult, especially bearing in mind that many men serving in those two companies were desirous of enlisting in the New Army as soon as they could be spared. Application was, therefore, made for a third company of the Isle of Man Volunteers to be raised. Major Mackenzie, in suggesting that application be made for this third company, pointed out that most of the officers and men for it were available. He intimated that the existing companies were insufficient to find a guard for the prisoner of war camp, with its constantly increasing number of prisoners, as well as for the other stations which the Volunteers were required to guard. He reiterated that about half the present personnel of the two companies had been promised the opportunity for foreign service as soon as they could be released, and, without a third company being raised, the fuffilment of this promise would be impossible.

The raising of this third company was authorized, and intimation of the fact was announced in Government Circular No. 107. A Home Office letter, dated the 22nd December, 1914, stated that the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty’s Treasury had sanctioned the repayment from the revenues of the Isle of Man to Army Funds of an initial expenditure not exceeding £1,500, and a recurring expenditure estimated at £160 per week, in respect of a third company of the Isle of Man Volunteers, which was to be raised for the period of the war.

Up to this time, the Volunteers had been quartered at the Drill Hall, Douglas, from which station they furnished guards for the prisoner of war camp at Douglas, the two war signal stations, and the telegraph cable landing station. The third company was stationed partly at Belmont, a large unoccupied house off Peel Road, Douglas, and partly at houses in Belmont Terrace, in the vicinity.

On the 6th March, 1915, those members of the Volunteers who were desirous of enlisting for foreign service were posted to the 16th (King’s) Liverpool Regiment at Hoylake, and were, in October, 1915, transferred to the 3rd Cheshire Regiment . The Manx Volunteers were kept in one company, known as the 1st Manx Service Company. A second Manx Service Company was later formed, and proceeded to Bidston Camp, near Birkenhead, on 27th November, 1915 ; it was officered by second lieutenants, H. C. Kerruish and W. E. Shimmin. This Company was about. 100 strong, and was ultimately broken up and drafted to other units, mainly in France.

The men who remained in the Island of No. 1 and No. 2 Companies of the Isle of Man Volunteers were, with the 3rd Company, formed into a new company, which was quartered at the prisoner of war camp at Douglas until December, 1916, when it was demobilized. After the passage of the Military Service Acts, the men of this company who were of military age were taken for the army, some N .C .O . ‘s and men who were over military age were employed at the prisoner of war camps in various capacities. On demobilization, members of this company who were passed medically fit for home service were given the option of transfer to the Royal Defence Corps. After December, 1916, the camp guard at Douglas Camp consisted of companies of the Royal Defence Corps, with the Loyal Manx Volunteer Corps finding an auxiliary guard by night.

In the early months of the war, many men expressed a wish to form a National Reserve for service in the Island, this reserve to be composed of men who, for one reason or another, were unable to join the active forces of the Crown. The idea was that the men who joined should drill at convenient hours and learn to shoot on miniature ranges. It was thought that the formation of such a Corps would not only set free younger men for more active duties, but it would itself be in a position to render valuable service in the Island in case of need.

On the 12th August, 1914, a notice appeared in Government Circular No. 81 to the effect that His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor had authorized the formation of a National Reserve, to be termed " The Loyal Manx Association," for the enrolment of able-bodied men who, for various reasons, were unable to join the active forces of the Crown, and who desired to learn to drill and shoot in their spare time. Men who desired to join the Association were requested to communicate with Mr. R. G. Shannon, of 1, Athol Street, Douglas, this gentleman having offered to assist by collecting names for the proposed Corps. In a circular dated 21st August, 1914, the regulations for the Loyal Manx Association were specified , and provided that :—

1 . The Commandant should be appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor, and should comply with all such directions as the Lieutenant-Governor should from time to time issue.

2. The Commandant to be in sole disciplinary control of the Association, and all members to submit to his orders.

3. The company and section commanders of each company to be elected by members of the company, with the approval of the commandant.

4. The Association, with the approval of the commandant, to make rules for its conduct; all men joining the Association to agree in writing to abide by such rules and by the Government Regulations.

Mr. John Roddam Drinkwater, the Crown Receiver, was appointed Commandant of the Loyal Manx Association on the 26th August, 1914.

With numerous alien enemies coming to the Island, to the prisoner of war camps, it was found necessary to post guards nightly over the Government Offices where was the wireless station, and over the General Post Office at Douglas. The Loyal Manx Association was asked to undertake these duties, together with that of escorting prisoners of war between the harbour and the prisoner of war camp at Douglas. Those men who volunteered for these duties were sworn in as special constables and were supplied with arms. A guard room was provided in the vicinity of Government Office, and the sentries over the Post Office and Government Office were found from this guard. In January, 1915, the strength of the Loyal Manx Association was as under


District commander .

Membership .

No. of members who had joined H.M. Forces.


C. Fox




The Rev. E. H Stenning




A. Birch




F. J. Caparn




A. L. Glover




L. D. Brownfield




J. M. Cruickshank



Michael and Ballaugh in process of formation.




From now onwards the Loyal Manx Association found a guard nightly for the prisoner of war camp at Douglas, which guard was auxiliary to the camp guard. For a time, too, when enemy submarine activity in the Irish Sea first appeared, the Association found small guards for certain of the harbours of the Island; these harbour guards were afterwards withdrawn.

The loyalty and devotion to duty displayed by the members of the Loyal Manx Association were wonderful. From all parts of the Island, week after week, these volunteers, many of them quite old men, came to Douglas Camp to take their turn at guard duty. No matter the state of the night or the time of the year, they came and performed their task with marked precision. They received no pay, and, after a cold night guarding prisoners of war, would pursue their daily occupations. The Association comprised all classes of the public; there were included in it lawyers, farmers, managers, clerks, artisans, and representatives of various other callings, all working shoulder to shoulder for their country. It was a monotonous duty loyally and unselfishly performed.

In May, 1915, the Loyal Manx Association, which had made themselves proficient in shooting and at drill, were formed into the Loyal Manx Volunteer Corps, and affiliated to the Central Association of Volunteer Training Corps. The rules of the 21st August, 1914, for the conduct of the Loyal Manx Association continued to operate for the Loyal Manx Volunteer Corps so long as those rules did not conflict with the guard regulations for the Volunteer Training Corps . In consideration of the Corps undertaking to continue to perform guard duty at Douglas prisoner of war camp, 300 of its members were clothed in the recognised uniform for Volunteer Corps at the Government expense. The uniform was the property of the Government, and members of the corps to whom it was issued were required to give an undertaking that they would continue during the period of the war to perform guard duties over prisoners of war (unless relieved from their obligation by the Commandant) and such other duties as might be required of them, provided such duties did not interfere with their means of livelihood.

Members of the Loyal Manx Volunteer Corps were permitted to wear their Corps uniform in their daily occupations, so that they could the more easily turn out for their guard duty at night at the Camp . A Government ration allowance of 1s. nightly per man on duty at the camp was sanctioned, and the travelling expenses of men proceeding to and from the camp on duty were paid for by the Government.

Government Circular No. 150, dated the19th June, 1915, announced that Mr. Charles Fox had been appointed Commandant of the Loyal Manx Volunteer Corps, in succession to Mr. John Roddam Drinkwater, who had resigned in order to join the Royal Field Artillery, in which regiment he ultimately saw much active service and became a Major. The following letter was addressed to Mr. Drinkwater on the occasion of his resignation from the position of Commandant of the Corps:—

Government Office, Isle of Man,

16th June, 1915.

Sir,—I am directed by His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 15th instant, and, while he regrets the Loyal Manx Volunteer Corps will be deprived of its Commandant, he admires and appreciates the motives which have prompted you in seeking a commission in the Army. His Excellency desires me to convey to you his best thanks for the energy and trouble you have displayed in the interests of the Loyal Manx Volunteer Corps. He considers that the high state of efficiency which the Corps has attained is very largely due to your personal efforts, and the fact that so many of its members have joined His Majesty’s Forces is also an indication of the competent manner in which you have commanded the Corps.

I am, Sir,

Your obedient servant,


J. R. Drinkwater, Esq.

On the 14th April, 1917, sanction was given by the War Office to the Loyal Manx Volunteer Corps being merged in the Isle of Man Volunteers, and known as No. 2 Company,* with an establishment of five officers and 250 other ranks, which establishment was also sanctioned for No. 1 Company. The merging of the Loyal Manx Volunteer Corps in the Isle of Man Volunteers as No. 2 Company was conditional on no capitation grant being payable from the revenue in respect of that company. No. 2 Company continued to serve until the signing of the Armistice, when it was disbanded.

Major Mackenzie, who was in command of the Volunteers on the outbreak of war, transferred to the Royal Army Medical Corps, in which he served as Lieutenant-Colonel, and was stationed at Malta. The command of the Corps on his departure devolved on Major J. H. Cowle,1 Captain J. S. Mylchreest 2 being second in command, and Captain C. Fox 3 being in command of No. 2 Company.

The Officers Training Corps of King William’s College was formed with an establishment of two platoons in May, 1911, the first parade of the contingent taking place in September of that year, the officers being Lieutenants K. A. R. Sugden, E. H. Stenning, and L. T. Walkins. There were 98 cadets on the strength of the Corps at that time, the Sergeant-Major being the Honourable N. F. Somerset.

On the 27th July, 1914, the Corps went into camp at Aldershot, and the cadets had the opportunity of seeing much of the mobilization and departure of the first of the troops for active service in France. The two officers, Captain Sugden and Lieutenant Stenning, and all the cadets of 17 years and over, offered themselves for active service. Captain Sugden, who was leaving the unit and joining the staff of Rossall School, arranged to join the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, and Lieutenant Stenning, who had been attached to the 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards, had arranged to follow that regiment out to France, but both these officers were stopped from proceeding on active service by the War Office, on the grounds that Officers Training Corps contingents had to be kept up to strength as regards officers, as on them would fall the task of re-officering the army. Two cadets were accepted as recruits in Liverpool, A. M. Margerison, of Crogga; and A. K. McFarlane, of Castletown, probably the first Manx army recruits of the war.

The strength of the contingent in August, 1914, was 2 officers, 1 sergeant-instructor, and 104 cadets. In 1920 it had increased to 5 officers, 1 sergeant- instructor and 191 cadets.

Amongst the many honours and distinctions won by former cadets during the war were 7 D . S . O . , 2 D . S.C., 25 M.C., 2 Croix de Guerre, 3 M.M., and 3 D.C.M. Up to the time of the passage of the Military Service Act, 122 cadets had received commissions in the Services; in the Army, 115; Royal Flying Corps, 4; and Navy, 3; and 18 had joined the ranks. No less than 41 former members of the Corps met their deaths on active service, and 45 were wounded.

The contingent was, on one occasion, employed during the war guarding prisoners of war at Douglas. This is believed to have been the only occasion when any contingent of the Officers Training Corps (Junior Division) was used as an armed party for actual military duty. The Corps further provided parties to assist in the landing of Royal Navy airships, and in 1918 it served as a Labour Camp in Cheshire for assisting farmers with the harvest.

Captain Sugden was employed as an Instructor to officers of the New Army during 1915 and 1910. Captain Stenning served in a similar capacity at Barnes in 1915, when he was appointed Instructor in Map Reading to Territorial officers; later, he was Instructor to men of the Royal Navy Division at Blandford, then Company Commander and Lecturer to men of B Category, New Army, and, finally, Demobilising Officer at Chelsea. Sergeant-Major Instructor R. J. Ryan obtained a commission in the Isle of Man Volunteers, and, as a Major, proceeded to America as an Instructor to the American Army.

The sergeants of the contingent, at Easter 1915, were employed by the War Office as instructor sergeants to the New Army at Windsor, Brockton, and Kimmel Park. So successful were they that the sergeants and corporals were invited to go again to Kimmel Park for the Summer and Christmas vacations, to relieve the burden of the very much under-staffed Sergeant-Instructors there.

In 1915 Captain Stenning undertook to raise and drill a contingent of the Loyal Manx Volunteers in the Castletown District. These volunteers drilled at the College three nights each week, under the officers and non-commissioned officers of the contingent.

On the 1st March, 1916, official notice was given that the Military Service (Isle of Man) Act would come into operation on the 3rd March, 1916. The Act rendered all male subjects in the Isle of Man, with certain exceptions, between the ages of 18 and 41, liable to military service. It contemplated that a man or his employer should have the opportunity of applying to a Local Tribunal for exemption from military service on certain grounds . It further contemplated that an Appeal Tribunal should be established. On the 11th March, 1916, the House of Keys, in accordance with the terms of the Act, appointed a Local Tribunal,1 and, on the 4th March, 1916, the Tynwald Court set up an Appeal Tribunal.’

With the increasing demand for men for the army, the work of the Tribunals grew in proportion . Men who were called up for military service by the Recruiting Office, and who claimed exemption from service on the grounds permitted by the Act, had to lodge their claims with the Secretary of the Local Tribunal within a given period. Similarly, employers of labour in certain essential industries could lodge claims on behalf of their employees . The Recruiting Authorities were represented at the hearing of the case before the Local or Appeal Tribunals, and their representative would press for men being sent to the army where their employment was not in a trade of national importance. The Recruiting Officers for the Isle of Man were : first, Colonel D. Thompson (under the voluntary enlistment system) , then Major Douglas Hamilton, Lieutenant Lloyd Jones, and Lieutenant G. Bentham. The last-named held the appointment during the period when recruiting became most difficult, in consequence of the necessity for maintaining essential industries and, at the same time, procuring an adequate flow of recruits for the army.

It was, of course, impossible to estimate exactly the number of men who joined His Majesty's services from the Isle of Man throughout the entire period of the war, as, in the days of voluntary enlistment, men would proceed to centres on the mainland to join the colours, and, naturally, no records were preserved in the Island of such enlistments. Enlistments through the local recruiting office were, of course, recorded and known, and, when compulsory service became law, most detailed particulars were preserved. It was estimated that 8,000 men joined the Navy, Army, and Air Force from the Isle of Man during the war, and about half that number joined during the days of voluntary enlistment. The population of the Isle of Man was 50,000, and this included an abnormal number of aged persons and young children when compared with populations of other countries, as it had been custom-ary for many years past for large numbers of young men to leave the Island annually for the Colonies, there being limited occupation locally for young men. In these circumstances, the percentage of available men for military service was lower in the Isle of Man than in the United Kingdom, but, nevertheless, the Island sent one-sixth of her population to the fighting forces, a higher proportion than that for the United King-dom. Considering how little associated the Island has been with the British Army, the response of Manxmen to the Empire's call for men, when recruiting was by voluntary enlistment, was wonderful. Except for an occasional brigade or regimental camp of Territorials during a week or two in summer, the Island had scarcely seen a squad of the British Army since the withdrawal in 1896 of the small garrison at Castle-town, consisting of half a company.

The same military ardour existed at the time of the Napoleonic Wars, when Manxmen came forward in large numbers and joined newly-raised local corps. Previous to that time, very little military activity had prevailed in the Island, as the Militia had ceased to be active since 1765, when the Act of Revestment restored the sovereignty of Man to the King of England, it having been granted to Sir John Stanley by Henry IV.

Fortescue, in his " History of the British Army," says that the first Regiment of Manx Fencibles was the earliest of the Fencible Regiments, raised in 1793.* It was raised and commanded by John, fourth Duke of Atholl, whose brother, Lord Henry Murray, raised and commanded a second regiment, which saw service in Ireland in 1795. Both the regiments continued until 1802. In 1804 the Imperial Authorities authorized the raising of additional companies of Fencibles on condition that they agreed to serve in Great Britain or Ireland if required. Ten companies existed in 1809, which were not disbanded until 1811.

Other local corps in being at that time were " The Manx Gentlemen and Yeomanry," which served be-tween 1799 and 1802, "The Manx Yeomanry Cavalry," raised in 1796 and disbanded in 1825, and various infantry Volunteer corps, which were disbanded in 1816.

Some mention must be made of the War Services of the Isle of Man Medical Society. In 1914, the Society comprised 27 doctors. Of these, 12 were employed at the Prisoner of War Camps in the Island, Doctor R. Marshall (later Captain R.A.M.C.) at Douglas Camp, and Doctors Fergusson, H. E. Kitchen, J. E. Godson, H. C. Sugden, C. D. Roe, H. Gell, G. Kelman, H. H. S. Templeton, R. R. Stitt, R. M. Freer, and J. E. Syme, at Knockaloe Camp. Doctors Godson and Sugden died whilst in the service of the Government. Doctor Fergusson later became a Captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps and was employed at Blackpool. Doctor Kitchen, after serving for nearly three years at Knockaloe, proceeded to Egypt as a Captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps, and was in charge of the venereal department of the 50th Indian General Hospital at Suez. Doctor Gell was the first medical officer employed at Knockaloe, but left before the break-up of the camp for private practice in England. Doctor Stitt was in medical charge of the troops at Knockaloe in the earlier days of the Camp; later he became ship's medical officer on the Carrisbrooke Castle, hospital ship, dying shortly afterwards.

Of the doctors who were not employed at the Prisoner of War Camps, Doctor C. S. Pantin served between 1915 and 1917 as a surgical specialist in the Royal Army Medical Corps with the rank of captain. Dr. T. Mackenzie, who was in command of the Isle of Man Volunteers on the outbreak of war, afterwards joined the Royal Army Medical Corps as a Lieutenant-Colonel, and was, first, Embarkation Medical Officer at Malta, and, later, in command of an hospital in that island. Dr. H. Caird, who acted for Dr. Mackenzie during his absence, was appointed acting Surgeon of the Household of the Lieutenant-Governor (which appointment Dr. Mackenzie held) and deputy medical officer for Douglas Prisoner of War Camp. When Dr. Pantin succeeded Dr. Mackenzie as Surgeon of the Household, on the latter leaving the Island, Dr. Caird was given the appointments of Medical Officer of the Prison and of the Douglas Police.

Dr. P. W. Hampton became a Captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps and was surgical specialist of Ripon Military Hospital for two years. Dr. Lionel Woods became a Major in the Royal Army Medical Corps, and was created an Officer of the Order of the British.Empire; he was first, for nearly two years, surgical specialist at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley, and afterwards, for three years, officer in charge of the surgical division 37th General Hospital, Salonica Army. Dr. C. E. Wilmot joined the Royal Army Medical Corps, Dr. Williams became Port Medical Officer at Liverpool, and, later, held an appointment under the Ministry of Pensions, and Dr. N. Walker, who was called up as a Territorial Artillery Officer, later joined the Royal Army Medical Corps, and was in charge of an ambulance train in France, where he was killed when collecting patients.

The doctors who continued in private practice in the Island were Doctors T. A. Woods (who acted as re-cruiting medical officer in the early stages of the war), R. Hamilton, R. Cordiner (House Surgeon at Noble's Hospital), J. M. Barbour, (occasionally employed at Knockaloe Camp), Pick, and J. H. Chambers. With so many medical practitioners in the service of the Government the work which fell on these few doctors who remained in private practice was very heavy, and they had a most arduous time.

There were employed at Knockaloe Camp certain doctors who were brought over from England. Amongst these were Col. W. G. King, C.S.I., Indian Medical Service, who supervised the medical service at the camp, and who was succeeded by Lieut.-Colonel W. R. Clark, Indian Medical Service, who died whilst so employed. Lieut.-Colonel Hammond, Indian Medical Service, Captain Parkes, Royal Army Medical Corps (who died at the camp), Dr. R. T. McGeagh, Dr. J. M. Newton, Dr. C. Fenwick, Dr. J. Carden, and Dr. Hickie, also served at Knockaloe.

Before concluding this chapter, reference must be made to the doings of the 1st Manx Service Company; which was formed on March 6th, 1915. On joining the 16th King's Liverpool Regiment, at Hoylake, on March 9th, it consisted of five officers: Second Lieuts. P. Gell, P. D. Kissack, S. I. Quine,11 A. C. Lace,12 and T. Handley, with 151 other ranks. L. G. Meyer 13 was Company Sergeant-Major from March, 1915, to May, 1918.

The company was placed in charge of a Canadian officer, Captain Harston, and, after a short course of training, was passed as ready for overseas, but, for some reason, was held back, and finally transferred to the 3rd Cheshire Regiment, at Birkenhead, in October, 1915. At that date the company was over 220 strong as a result of further drafts arriving from the Isle of Man, and was under the command of Capt. Gateley, a Birmingham solicitor, Capt. Harston having been sent to the Dardanelles. Prepared for draft within 48 hours, the company was again held back, but finally sailed on the " Olympic " on January 3rd, 1916, and joined the 2nd Cheshire Regiment outside Salonika on January 13th. The actual strength on embarkation was 215, the few men who were held back for medical reasons being eventually sent to other units. On arrival at Salonika the company became A Company of the 2nd Cheshires, the original A Company of the battalion being broken up and divided between B, C, and D Companies.

The 2nd Cheshires being a regular battalion, and having only recently arrived from France, where they had seen some heavy fighting, the Manx company were at first regarded by the battalion somewhat as amateur soldiers. At the time, however, an attack in force on Salonika was expected, and a trench line had to be formed about 10 miles from the town. At this work the Manxmen showed themselves very apt, and soon provided squads of miners for blasting, masons, joiners and other skilled tradesmen for the construction of dugouts and trenches. The Manxmen's work was of such a quality that the company earned a reputation that entitled them to the respect they deserved. In April the Manx Company took part in a reconnaisance in force along the Ceres road. In June they went out again, and, after reaching Likovan, 30 miles from Salonika, started off for the base, but were held up on the way back and returned again to Likovan. At this time the British troops were moving in hostile country, with the Bulgars gathering on their front and the Greeks threatening trouble in rear.

The Manx Company found itself, for a time, repairing the Ceres road, fitting it for heavy traffic. At the end of June they moved off with the rest of the brigade (84th Brigade, 28th Division) in a northerly direction, through a wild and hilly country, intersected only by mule tracks. For three weeks the brigade slowly advanced, making roads as they went, finishing up at last at Lozista, looking across a five mile wide plain at a 6,000ft. range of hills, where the Bulgars were in force. Contact was established and battle expected, when malaria hit both armies with great severity. In less than three weeks the 2nd Cheshires were reduced to a total strength of 135, the Manx Company having a parade strength of under 20, only 1 officer, 1 C.S.M., 5 sergeants, and 7 men being available for duty, the remainder being on transport and at head-quarters. The Bulgars were reported suffering from cholera as well, but, fortunately, the British forces were not attacked, probably due to inoculation and sanitary precautions. At the end of July the 2nd Cheshires were sent out of the line for six weeks' rest, moving round Lake Butkova into the Struma Valley, and up into the hills. Only half the rest had been enjoyed when, at the end of August, the Company was moved hurriedly down to the Struma, to meet the Bulgar dash to force the bridges. The attack was beaten off, but, after several weeks of skirmishing, the Company witnessed the three days' battle of Jenekoi, between the Ceres road and Lake Struma, which ended in the defeat of the Bulgars, with 12,000 casualties. After the battle, the Manx Company, along with C company of the 2nd Cheshires, crossed the river and occupied Nevoljen, a village to the left of the Ceres road. This was done without casualty, but the Manx Company secured 15 prisoners and met the fire of the retreating Bulgars. Captain May took over the com-mand of the Manx Company at this time, Captain Gateley and all the Manx officers, except Lieutenant Quine, being down with fever. The Company was now only 35 strong, and although most of the men sent back with fever rejoined later, it was never after a wholly Manx Company, being, at times, half English. It was, however, never known as anything other than the " Manx Company," the N.C.O.'s being nearly all Manxmen throughout the whole period of the campaign. The first casualty in the Company occurred at this time, Private Davis being killed whilst scouting at Prosenik. In October the 2nd Cheshires moved north, to assist in the attack on Barakli Dzuma, and remained in occupation of the village for about three months. Casualties in the Manx Company were still scarce, there having been only one death and three wounded at Barakli Dzuma, all in the first week. Indeed, throughout the whole campaign in Salonika, the Cheshire Regiment escaped very lightly in comparison with the other regiments in the division.

At the beginning of November, the Manx Company was detailed to screen the Suffolks in an attack on an adjoining village (Barakli) by moving out across the Bulgar front before dawn and attacking the north flank of the village, whilst the Suffolks entered from the west. The movement was carried out successfully, and, although the Manx Company had to retire in day-light across a mile of open plain, under heavy artillery fire, no casualties occurred, whilst 15 of the Bulgar losses were ascribed to the Manx Company. The Company remained in this area until January, Christmas being notable for short rations, owing to the roads being water-logged. The spring of 1917 was passed in preparation for an attack on the Rupel Pass, which did not mature, though a good deal of preparatory skirmishing was carried out. The early summer was passed at rest in the hills, and July found the Manx Company again near Lozista, but this time on top of the hills fringing the valley, where the mosquitoes were not so troublesome. In the autumn, the Company moved down to the plain, and, the Bulgars becoming troublesome, a good deal of patrol work ensued, ending in an action at Butkova Dzuma, in which three companies of the 2nd Cheshires penetrated the Bulgar outpost line in the night, two of them moving behind the village and, at dawn, sweeping through it from rear to front, and driving the Bulgars out like sheep. The Manx Company formed a flank on this occasion to keep supports from moving to the aid of the Bulgars and to prevent the escape of those driven from the village. A hot cross-fire was sustained by the company. Captain S. S. John was in charge of the Manx Company at this time and remained with it for the rest of its service in Salonika.

The Company left the trenches for Christmas, and had one of the happiest days of its history, a choir of 60 voices rendering all the national songs.

In January, 1918, another attack on Butkova Dzuma was arranged, the Manx Company taking a leading part. In the course of this action, a total distance of over 10 miles was covered, the attackers penetrating the enemy line east of the village, travelling along, and clearing over two miles of the enemy trenches, and emerging again on the west side of the village. A stiff fight took place at a strong point, about 60 dead Bulgars being counted. The Company's casualties were small, being one killed (an English soldier attached to the Company) and about a dozen wounded. The Corps Commander, Major-General Briggs, was so pleased with the two actions that he lectured various units of the corps on the " Cheshires and their model stunts." A number of medals were awarded, but unfortunately none of the Manxmen were selected for honours.

In March a move was made back to the Struma, and on April 15th was fought one of the fiercest actions the Cheshire Regiment took part in. The Manx Company took over the preliminary work, and occupied Kumli, a village well in front of the line. Two other com-panies passed through to other villages still further away, where they encountered the enemy in vastly superior force. After sustaining and repelling fierce bayonet and bomb attacks, both companies retired on Kumli. The casualties were about fifty per cent., but the Manx share was small and confined to those operating with other companies. After three days' heavy shellfire, the 2nd Cheshires were relieved. In the autumn the Manx Company participated in the famous " break through " that broke the German heart and brought about the end of the war. The 2nd Cheshires were engaged near Lake Doiran, co-operating with the Greek Army. After the Armistice the Manx Company was at Gallipoli doing garrison duty, from which place they were gradually demobilized.

Of the members of the Manx Company sent home as a result of fever, many found themselves in France, a number being killed or wounded in the break through at Cambrai by the " malaria divisions," in October, 1918.



1. The Isle of Man Volunteers were the only Volunteer Corps in the British Isles in 1914. When the Territorial Force (which absorbed the former Volunteer Corps) was raised in Great Britain, the operations of the Act establishing it were not extended to the Isle of Man, partly on account of the difficulty of training Manxmen in the summer, owing to local conditions.

2 Major Mackenzie was a local medical practitioner, and held the office of Surgeon to the Household of His Excellency the Lieutentant-Governor.

3 Later, Captain Charles Fox commanded No. 2 Company Isle of Man Volunteers. He was also Transport Officer at Knockaloe Camp.

4 The officers of this Company were Captain C. Fox, Lieutenant W. M. Kerruish, and 2nd Lieutenants H. H. W. Dickson and A. D. Wilson.

5 Major C~wie was Works Officer at the Prisoner of War Camp, Knockaloe.

6 Captain Mylchreest was Officer in charge of Agriculture at the Prisoner of War Camp, Knockaloe.

7 Captain Fox was Transport Officer at the Prisoner of War Camp, Knockaloe.

McFarlane was afterwards killed and Margerison was wounded three times.

8. The Local Tribunal consisted of the Mayor of Douglas and Messrs. Alfred Christian, M.H.K., R. S. Corlett, M.H.K., W. T. Crennell, M.H.K., T. F. Quine, M.H.K., J. W. Walton, M.H.K., James Clinton. R. T. Corlett, C,P., E. Cormode, R. J. Cowin, W. B. Cubbon, F. S. Daigleish, R. D. Gelling, G. Greene, J. Kelly, W. Kermeen, R. B. Quirk, C.P., T. W. Quirk, and T. Taylor, with Mr. W. L. Clague as Secretary.

9. The Appeal Tribunal was composed of the two Deemsters, the High-Bailiff of Castletown and Douglas, Messrs. T. H. Cormode, M.H.K., J. D. Clucas, C.P., H. H. W Dickson, George Drinkwater, C.P., F. M. LaMothe, and Alex. Robertson (Town Clerk of Douglas).
Mr A. H. Tyson was Secretary.

10 All the Fencible regiments raised in 1793 were infantry. In March, 1794, a circular letter was addressed by Pitt to the Lords-Lieutenant of Counties, suggesting the reformation of troops of Fencible cavalry.

11. Afterwards awarded the Military Cross and transferred to the Royal Flying Corps.

12. Later transferred to the Royal Fying Carps.

13 I am indebted to ex-Sergeant-Major Meyer for much of the information respecting the 1st Manx Service Company.


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