9th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment
(Ashton Territorials or Ashton Pals)
Men from Denton who served with the 9th Battalion
Roll published on the 15 August 1914
When the Great War broke out Britain only had a small professional army but soon afterwards it became apparent that this was insufficient. Consequently, thousands of men volunteered for service in Lord Kitchener's New Armies. As part of this, it was realised that local ties could be harnessed and many more men would enlist if they could serve alongside their relatives, workmates and friends. The battalions they served with became known as Pals Battalions.
Although Pals Battalions were raised all over Britain most of them were raised in northern Britain. Men from towns and cities such as Accrington, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle enlisted in their thousands during 1914 and 1915.
Many of the Pals Battalions sustained heavy casualties and this had a severe impact on their communities. When conscription was introduced in January 1916 the Pals Battalion model was not repeated because of the devastating effect it was having on local communities.
On the 10 August 1914 Lord Kitchener announced that territorial forces could volunteer to serve overseas but the Ashton Territorial Force was below its permitted establishment, having only 24 officers and 888 men. This prompted a recruiting campaign and men from Ashton and the surrounding townships queued in Ashton to enlist.
At the outbreak of war most Territorial Force Battalions used the old eight Company system (lettered “A” to “H”) but this was changed to four (lettered “A” to “D”) shortly afterwards. In the four-Company system there were about 228 officers and men in a Company. Each Company was comprised of 16 Platoons with Platoons 1 to 4 in “A” Company and so on.
The headquarters of the 9th Battalion was at The Armoury on Old Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, while the headquarters and depot of the Manchester Regiment was at Ladysmith Barracks on Mossley Road, Ashton-under-Lyne. Only the gateway and flanking wall of the former barracks survive and these were listed Grade II on the 2 December 1986, List Entry No. 1309509.