[From 1911 MacDonnell Inquiry]



To LORD MACDONNELL and the Commissioners of the
Secretary of State for the Home Department.


During the course of the proceedings of the
recent Reform Inquiry in the Isle of Man, you
expressed a wish to embrace every phase of the ques
tion tending to the welfare of the people. Several
prominent citizens conceived the idea of bringing
before the Commissioners a matter of paramount
importance to the material prosperity of the commun-
ity, viz., the encampment and training of Territorial
Brigades, in the Island, which have from time to time
proved beneficial. The evidence, however, had not
been prepared in time to lay before the Commissioners
before the Inquiry was closed, hence, with the acquies-
cence and consent of several influential gentlemen, I
am authorised to lay before the Commissioners the
following facts and information in the hope that they
may receive due consideration in the proper quarter.

The idea has for some time been prevalent that
the Isle of Man, by its general suitability and accessi-
bility, would be a convenient centre for the establish-
ment of a permanent camp for the summer training of

From time to time there have been encampments
of large bodies of Territorials in the Island, but notably
at Ramsey, the Northern Manx watering place. At
Ramsey and Peel, for instance, a whole Division of
three Brigades, or from 12,000 to 14,000 officers and
men, last summer underwent their annual training
successfully. But taking Ramsey as an example,
being the place which has had the largest number of
camps in the island, here it is thought are all the
facilities for military training, which, following our
representations, might be sufficient to warrant the
authorities in establishing a permanent centre for
Territorial training.

In the past there have been many important camps
at Milntown, situate about one mile from Ramsey.
These included many Brigades under the old Volunteer
system, and, since their conversion into new Territorial
rëgime, several important Brigades have had their
annual training at Ramsey, and, in addition, there
have been under canvas regiments of the line here.

Amongst the many military encampments here may
be enumerated several Yorkshire Brigades from the
East and West Ridings, Lancashire Brigades from the
East and North, also the Manchester Brigade several
times, the Liverpool Battalions, Welsh, Cheshire, and
Hereford Regiments, Northumberland Fusiliers, and
Durham Light Infantry, etc. Amongst the regulars
which have been under canvas at Ramsey are the
Royal Welsh Fusiliers, Staffordshire Regiment, etc.

On all of these occasions both officers and men
generally have expressed themselves pleased with the
camps, the arrangements, suitability for embarkation
and disembarkation, and the general surroundings,
whilst under training.

In addition to the land training it has always been
felt that the means for sea transport of large bodies of
troops and camp equipment afforded an interesting
and important object lesson assimilating to actual
conditions of warfare which are not obtainable in camps
pitched inland.

There are in the neighbourhood of Ramsey ample
facilities for manoeuvring around rugged mountain
slopes, often likened by Territorials to" Spion Kop."
The manoeuvring area extends in various directions
through delightful scenery, even to the summit of
Snaefell, the highest Manx mountain.

As to the roads, of which your Honourable Com-
missioners have had ocular demonstration during your
recent visit, they are eminently suitable for long route
marches. The surrounding country affords exceptional
facilities for military training in varied phases, and
the proof of this is contained in the valuable testimony
of officers and men, many of whom have served in
foreign parts, and who have been under canvas here
time after time.

All the encampments at Ramsey in their concrete
character, have hitherto passed off without a hitch,
have been highly successful, and given the utmost
satisfaction to all concerned. In saying this, however,
it may be observed that there have perhaps been one
or two minor exceptions which could easily be over-
come by the favourable countenance of the War Office

The transport arrangements and facilities generally
are complete, and all the provisioning of the commis-
sariat is done locally in the most approved manner,
altogether above reproach and complaint.

Formerly, batteries of artillery made Ramsey their
rendezvous for annual training, and found excellent
facilities for gun practice.

The beneficial advantage of these periodical encampments,
though intermittent, has been generally recog-
nised, and it is needless to say that their radiating
influence has extended throughout the Island. It is
therefore felt, and this opinion is very widely enter-
tained in influential quarters and amongst leading
citizens who have the material welfare of the com-
munity at heart, that if your Honourable Commissioners
could in some way embrace this phase of the development
question within the scope of your recommendations,
it would in no small degree conduce to the
welfare and prosperity of the Island, and might prove
of no inconsiderable advantage to the service. In
conclusion it may be remarked that his Excellency
Lord Raglan, Lieutenant-Governor, who is a military
authority, closely identified with service matters, has
expressed the opinion, since the conclusion of the
Inquiry, it was an oversight to be regretted that the
desirability of the War Office authorities making the
Island a permanent centre for Territorial training
was not brought forward at an earlier stage of your

(Signed) J. ROBINSON, Editor,

A. H. TEARE, Proprietor,
Ramsey Courier,


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