Lytham St.Annes Coat of Arms
Lytham St.Annes, Lancashire, England


Boer War Soldiers, Lytham 1901

Newspaper article from 1901 relating to Lytham soldiers returning from South Africa.








After sixteen months' absence from home the Lytham Active Service Volunteers returned to their homes on Monday night from South Africa, and the townspeople rose to the occasion right nobly. The "Avondale Castle," by which they travelled, reached Southampton early on Sunday morning, and, in company with other parts of the regiment, the men came up to Preston on Sunday afternoon. Four young men from Lytham went to meet them, and the pleasure was mutual.

A procession was formed to the Preston Barracks and the reception of the men was exceedingly enthusiastic, the streets being lined for two miles. Details of various kinds had to be gone through on Monday, and at length the Lytham men entered upon the last stage of their long homeward journey by the 6-13 p.m. train, arriving at Lytham at 6-33. The news meanwhile had been circulated throughout the town during the weekend, and on Monday morning the town quickly assumed a festive character. Printed greetings, of a hearty nature were issued from the "Times" Office and they certainly added to the effectiveness of the welcome.

 “Welcome home to our Lytham Lads" was shown by the "Times'! Office ; J. Fell, Church-road ; Sefton's, Church- road ; Hall and Bowling, Clifton-street ; W. Turner, tailor, Clifton-street ; T. H. Wood, Clifton-street Donald Topping, Station-road ; A. Salkeld, Clifton-street " " Miss Moore, County' and Commercial Hotel ; H. Rymer, Clifton-street.'; " Well done our boys " by J. Pendlebury, Clifton., street ; H. Mogridge, Clifton-street. "Welcome home to- our Lytham lads" and "We are proud of you " was exhibited at Pearson’s, confectioners, Clifton square ; and the Railway Hotel, Station-road. The last-named motto was shown at the Misses Swann's, Clifton-street. The Talbot Hotel displayed "Your jolly good health boys" and “We are proud of you," whilst Mr. Currin's motto was "Bravo, Volunteers! Welcome home again."

A liberal and artistic display of bunting was also shown, Clifton-street being festooned with bannerettes. The prettiest display, however, was; made in Station Road by Mr. A. E. Wilson, whose son was one of the returning volunteers. Flag staffs had been erected in the small plantation adjoining the railway bridge, and from these were suspended several streamers, a “Welcome " banner being the centrepiece. The display was greatly admired. Small flags had been placed on the facade of the old station, and even from the top of the town's gasometer two little flags fluttered in the breeze. The hotels, the Institute, and the Pier Co. also flew their standards, as did many of the tradesmen. A very pretty effect was that secured by Mrs. Downs in Market Square, green leaves being tastefully utilized. But the, honours of the day in this matter went to the station staff.

All through the present campaign they have taken a loyal part in celebrating various events, but they eclipsed themselves on Monday. Mr. Draper had sent a couple of flags to Preston for the decoration of the engine which brought the men to Lytham, and as the train steamed into Lytham station the noise of the fog signals was even greater than when the men had their send-off. The railway platform and entrance had also been liberally festooned, banners and bannerettes having been kindly lent by Mr. Bannister, of St. Anne's, and Mr. Harrison, of the Lytham Pier.

It must have thrilled the hearts of the heroes to Bee such a tribute from the station staff, and they deserve credit for their labours. Councillor E. B. Lightwood and other members of the Council Lad assembled on the platform, and as the men stepped out to the strains of "Home sweet home," from the Volunteer Band, they were welcomed home by Mr. Lightwood. Arrangements to photograph the group had been made at the top end of the platform, but the exuberance parents and friends made it a difficult task. Sergeant Wilcock and his augmented staff, Lieut. Dandy, and Sergt.-Inst. Howard lent their assistance however, and at length Mr Hedges got the group into shape, as many of the parents as possible being included. With their instantaneous photographic apparatus, Hedges & Sons took a series of shots and some splendid photographs were secured. These are now being sold by this enterprising firm at a reasonable cost, and with the companion picture taken at the men’s departure to South Africa, form a pretty memento which everybody should secure.

At Lytham Station

Immediately this work was finished the men were hailed into procession, with the police force, the Volunteer Band coming next playing "Soldiers of the Queen'," "When Johnny comes marching home again," &c. The heroes followed the band on foot. Then came the Volunteer Company, with Lieut. Dandy in command, the lifeboatmen under Coxswain Clarkson, representative townsmen, including Revs. Canon Hawkins, B. G. Clauss, and T. H. Wright, Councillor Lightwood, Mr. Myers (clerk Couns. Ainscough, Holden, Webb, Stother, Slater, and Mogridge, Mr. R. Ashworth, Mr. G. Holding, postmaster, Price (surveyor), Mr. Evan Holding (collector), Mr. Topping (nuisance inspector), Mr. W. A. White, Mr. W. Henderson (treasurer), Mr. R. P. Pearson, Mr. R. Crozier, and others; the relatives of the soldiers bringing up the rear in a waggonette.

Straight to church was the order, but the crowd was so great that the processionists were often mixed up with the enthusiastic sightseers. Again and again cheers broke out, a regular outburst occurring at the gates of St. Cuthbert's. The service lasted about an hour, and upon the procession being re-formed, the soldiers were provided with a char-a-bane kindly lent by Mr. R. Ashworth, The route taken was by Lowther Terrace on to the front to 'St. Peter's Place, up Ctifton-street to the County aid Commercial Hotel, where the feast generously provided by Councillor E. W. Mellor, J.P., Chairman of the Council was waiting. From first to last the reception was most hearty and one which is calculated to remain in the memory of the cured ones for all time.



At the thanksgiving service in the Parish Church, there was a crowded congregation, and hundreds were unable to get into the edifice. The centre of the church was reserved, the heroes occupying the front seats, with their relatives, the members of the volunteer force, and townsmen who had joined the procession, at the rear. .The seats in the chancel were occupied by the members and officials of the Council, amongst whom sat the Rev. T. H. Wright. The clergy taking part in the service were Revs Canon Hawkins, J. Gilbertson (St. John's), W. R. Gough, R. Halstead (St. John's), and B. G. Clauss. The service opened with the hymn "All people that on earth do dwell," to the "Old Hundred" tune, followed by the lesson read by the Rev. J. Gilbertson, the prayers being said by the Revs. B. G. Clauss and W. R. Gough.

Canon Hawkins gave the address. He said that the occasion reminded him of the words in the scripture which were said by one of the Apostles, "Lord it is good for us to be here," and if he needed any scriptural words he should choose those nine simple words. He fancied every one of them would echo the words of the Apostle. It was good for them to come together in a service like that in which they were then joining, to offer up thanksgiving, and to give the returning men a welcome home. He called first upon those whom it was their delight to honour ; those who were " come back from active service to think that "it was good to be here" to thank God for his mercies. In many services such as that there was a tone of sadness, because there were comrades left behind " in those distant lands. They all


They knew and were sure that it was in the cause of justice ; yet they deplored it, and prayed that it might soon come to an end. They knew what

? in suffering, and pain, and life; many had been left behind on the battlefield and in the hospitals, or died just within sight of their native shores. But they thanked God that day that the eight Lytham men had returned as sound in limb as they were in heart on the day they went out. They thanked God for His many mercies in that church of His hallowed by so many associations, the national consecrated Church of Christ, and no doubt the congregation were thankful to be able to join in the thanksgiving. They felt it a mercy to themselves that those they sent out, with such high hopes, had been led by God's mercy to return safely. The second note in that service was the welcome home. They did indeed feel that that was


in which to wish them God-speed and welcome. They were grateful to the volunteers for their self-sacrifice, and they desired to say so in the house of God. Many envied them the call to go to the service of their God and their country, and to do what they could as citizens and members of an empire, and their thanks were due to the men for the fortitude they had shown. They had read to bear. Referring to the duties they had done the Canon said it was a harder thing to watch than to bear the heat of conflict. Many would have read the poem of Rudyard Kipling, in which after sketching the glory of the South African sunset he described the parting of an armoured train from the sentinels on watch. These men were left, he said, "not combatants, details only, guarding the line," but their service was nevertheless valuable. The Canon announced that a collection would be made for the purpose of giving to the eight men some memento to show that they (the townspeople) were mindful of what they had done for their country and their cause. Addressing the men, the Vicar said they had returned to witness


not only in their homes, but in their country. First and foremost: they went out as "Soldiers of the Queen." and they returned as “Soldiers of the King," whom he knew they would again be willing to serve if called upon. They must remember that though they were dismissed from active service they were still soldiers of the King of Kings. In the war against sin, the world, and the devil there was no discharge. None of them had forgotten the warning of Lord Roberts that they must not be tempters of their brethren when the soldiers returned. Let them be as loyal as Christian soldiers as they had proved themselves abroad.

The service concluded with the singing of the National Anthem, Mr. Broughton, the organ' playing "The war march of the priests" as worshippers left the church.

The offertory amounted to £14.10s.


Councillor Mellor not only invited the soldiers to supper but very considerately allowed them to bring a male relative as well. Unfortunately, Mr Mellor was on the continent, and Mr. Lightwood was his deputy. There were also present Councillors Holden, Cockshutt, Webb, Ainsoough, Mogridge, Rev. Canon Hawkins and Rev. W. Gough, Mr. Price, Mr. George Holding, Evan Holding, Lieut. Dandy, Mr. W. Henderson and others. The Misses Moore had provided a sumptuous supper consisting of soup, beef, jam pudding and pastry, cheese, jellies, &c. ; all kinds of drinks, tobacco, and cigars being also provided.

After the meal was over, the Chairman explained that it was not desirable to keep the men together there for long, as there were other claims on them. (Hear, hear.) He then proposed " The King," in a few words.

In proposing the toast of the evening, "The Active Service Volunteers," Mr. Lightwood said they had already been very enthusiastic in what he might call the ecclesiastical welcome to their returned volunteers, and the welcome that they now offered, that he offered in the name of their host, Mr. Edward Mellor, was the civic welcome. He need scarcely say that the heart of Lytham was moved from one end to the other, from top to bottom. (Hear, hear.) Old and young alike had vied that day in showing their unbounded joy that these men had returned to their homes in health and safety. (Applause.) They were inclined in Lytham partly to take credit for the very delightful appearance which these men presented on their return. They sent them away in very good health. They had long been exposed to the breezes of Lytham, and they sent them away with a good stock of sound health, and he thought the fact that they had not only returned with immunity from shot and shell, but also in such splendid health, was thoroughly owing to the grand climate which they rejoiced in, in their own homes. (Applause.) They had all rejoiced that the soldiers and volunteers of our beloved land had not only acquitted themselves well, but had kept up the reputation of the English name in South Africa. (Hear, hear.) They were glad to think that these men came once more to fill their homes with joy and happiness. (Hear, hear.) He had no doubt that their experience in the foreign land would make them better citizens and members of a great Empire now that they had returned to what he supposed would he civic occupation. In the name r of the town, he bade them a very hearty welcome, and wished them great success in any employment to which they might put their hands. (Applause.) The toast was drunk with musical honours.

Private Barton was called upon to respond, and like many more fighting men declared that he would sooner be working digging trenches, or making barbed wire fences, than making a speech. He thought they would go out again, if they were asked. (Applause.) They had done their duty, every man of them. (Hear, hear.) They had seen a good deal and gone through it, and had roughed it and had got over it, and come back in good health. He thanked the Lytham people for the way they were being treated. It was so good he didn't know what to say.

Private Cartmell said the welcome was good enough to send them off again tomorrow. (Laughter.) They had learnt one or two things- how to cook, and how to cook when they had no stuff to cook, and how to light a fire without wood. That was the best feed they had had since they left. (Laughter and applause.) The Chairman then read a telegram from Mr. Mellor, as follows " — " Please express warm welcome from me to the returned volunteers, and regret at absence.—Mellor, Hamburg." (Loud applause.) Lieut. Dandy in proposing the toast of "The Host," said Barton's remarks did away with the remarks that had been made about the men being badly paid. Canon Hawkins proposed “The Chairman," and the proceedings then closed, the time being about ten o'clock.




At the Baths Assembly Rooms on Wednesday evening, the Lytham men who have returned from South Africa were entertained to tea, along with their friends and the members of the Lytham Volunteer Battalion. An excellent tea was served by Pearson and Sons, which was thoroughly enjoyed.

Lieut. Dandy afterwards addressed the men. He said how pleased they were to welcome home the men who had been to South Africa. (Hear, hear.) They went away safe and sound, and after an absence of sixteen months they had all returned in first-class condition. There was an old saying that the sun never set over the British Empire, and they might add to that that the sun never set over the volunteers. At an early date the men would, no doubt, give them their experiences, which would prove interesting. He was at a function the other evening, when two of the men remarked that what they had done they would be only too glad to do again. Referring to the local Volunteers Lieut. Dandy said the present strength of the company was 104, and for the second time they had won the battalion cup, whilst out of the thirty-six prizes offered by the battalion the Lytham Company won nineteen. That was very good indeed, considering the Lytham Company only numbered 104, out of 1,400 competing. It was a grand testimonial to their instructor. (Hear, hear, and applause.) The company now possessed four cups—two given by Mr. Gardiner, one by Mr. Beesley, one by Mr. Windebank—in addition to a number of medals. In conclusion he might add that that was the last Occasion on which they would have Sergeant Howard with them as their instructor, but they hoped that he would, .along with Mrs. Howard, continue to be present at that function. (Applause.)

Councillor Holden said that what they had been participating in that week might be regarded as forming an important epoch in the annals of Lytham. Some eighteen months ago they were saddened by the earlier results of the campaign. The troops had reverses, which happily were only temporary, but they had involved serious loss of life. After criticizing the remarks which appeared in the foreign press, Councillor Holden said they bore them feeling sure that they had men who were capable of upholding the glorious traditions of the British Army, and were further satisfied that if occasion arose they had the volunteers to call upon. They also felt that the volunteer element would prove an important factor in the campaign. They knew that the occasion did arise, and gallant little Lytham contributed its portion towards the volunteer element. They had men who formed part of the volunteer forces in Lytham who volunteered to go 6,000 miles away from "kith and kin" and to fight the battles of their country. They could all imagine what they must have endured out in South Africa. They were thankful that they had returned sound and well, and he could assure them that the action they had taken in the South African campaign, and the willingness they had manifested in coming forward in defence of their, country, proved that they were loyal and dutiful citizens. (Hear, hear.) Some token or tablet erected in a conspicuous part of the town would not be out of place, so that the action of these men-might be indelibly written on their minds. (Applause.) "

The company then adjourned to the Pier Pavilion, where dancing was indulged in until three o'clock yesterday morning, the Volunteer Band supplying the music.