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Manchester Grammar School 7 months 3 weeks ago #67132

  • BereniceUK
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A telegram received from the War Office states that Civil Surgeon J. W. Aldred, of Altrincham, and Manchester, died at Kroonstad on Jauary 1st from enteric fever. Mr. John White Aldred was the son of Mr. Bolt Aldred, formerly of Hawthorne Bank, Altrincham, and now of Kelsall, near Chester.

Manchester Courier, Saturday 12th January 1901



The war memorial erected at the Manchester Grammar School to perpetuate the memory of old Mancunians who died in the South African war, and to commemorate the deeds of some 60 others who served their King and country there, was unveiled yesterday afternoon by two distinguished old Mancunians - Lieutenant-Colonel G. Wright, R.A., D.S.O., and Captain W. H. S. Nickerson, R.A.M.C., V.C. Lieutenant-Colonel Wright has just been appointed to the command of the Royal Artillery at Singapore. Captain Nickerson served in the South African war in 1899-1900, was mentioned in despatches, and promoted captain. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for the following act of courage: - "At Wakkerstroom, on the evening of 20th April, 1900, during the advance of the infantry to support the mounted troops, Lieutenant Nickerson went in the most gallant manner, under a heavy rifle and shell fire, to attend a wounded man, dressed his wounds, and remained with him till he had him conveyed to a place of safety."

The memorial is erected in a space immediately above the gymnasium, and the unveiling ceremony was witnessed by a large gathering of invited guests and past and present school boys. The Dean of Manchester (Dr. Maclure) presided, and was supported, amongst others, by the two officers named, the High Master (Mr. J. L. Paton), Captain F. H. Westmacott, 2nd V.B. Manchester Regiment, and several officers of the Royal Army Medical Corps (Manchester Volunteers), Mr. Henry Lee, and Colonel Pilcher.

The memorial is composed of beaten copper fixed on a framework of fumed oak, and bears the following inscription: -
This tablet was erected in memory of the old boys of the Manchester Grammar School who served in the South African war 1899-1902, of whom these gave their lives: -
John White Aldred,
Reginald Darling Cameron,
Hearne Seymour Greensill,
Herbert Oxley,
Joseph Smedley Pilling.

Mr. J. L. Paton initiated the movement for providing this war memorial, and his praiseworthy efforts have been earnestly seconded by Dr. Maclure. Subscriptions were limited to one shilling, and over £30 was contributed by the old boys.

John White Aldred was a civil surgeon, who took his course at Owens, and went out to the front very soon after qualifying. He was in charge of the hospital at Kroonstadt, and died of enteric fever at the early age of 25. Aldred was a noted tennis player, and had represented his county of Cheshire at hockey. Cameron was in the City Imperial Volunteers, and died on his way home from enteric fever and exposure at the age of 21. Greensill was a son of the Rev. Edward Greensill, of Accrington. He went out to South Africa with the 91st Company Imperial Yeomanry, and was mentioned in despatches for gallantry in rescuing some guns. He was killed in action. Oxley was in the ranks of the 77th Company Imperial Yeomanry. He died of enteric following exhaustion in the last great drive against De Wet on March 3rd, 1902. Pilling, who was a native of Bolton, belonged to the Coldstream Guards, and died of wounds received at Diamond Hill after the capture of Pretoria. Pilling went through the whole campaign.

The Dean of Manchester said the old alumni of the Manchester Grammar School and friends had met together to unveil a tablet erected at the cost of the boys of the school, past and present, to perpetuate the memory of those who had died on active service in South Africa. The war was now over, and he was glad to say that Briton and Boer were being drawn closer together as the months rolled on. He was persuaded that there was not a single Briton in that room who did not wish for that consummation. (Applause.) He lived in fervent hope that the day would come when war would be no more. They must, however, be prepared for eventualities. He hoped some of the boys present would join His Majesty's Forces, and show that they, too, were willing to serve their country in the hour of danger as their brothers had done. (Applause.)

Lieutenant-Colonel Wright said he was pleased, in conjunction with Captain Nickerson, to come to Manchester to unveil the memorial. Old history and traditions, he said, formed very important factors in the building up of esprit de corps, which was of such value and gave such high tone to a school. When a boy saw on such a memorial the names of old scholars who had made their mark in the world, he would feel proud to belong to such a school. Such a record, too, gave them an ideal which they should strive to reach in their struggle in the battle of life. Lieutenant-Colonel Wright spoke of the dark days in South Africa, and the great wave of patriotism which passed over the Volunteers and the country, determining many of them, without hope of reward, to fight side by side with the Regulars against an enemy who was not to be despised. Much could be done by arbitration and diplomacy in the settlement of disputes between nations, but a powerful Navy and an efficient Army were indispensable if we were to keep possession of our mighty empire. He advocated military training in schools, and argued that every boy should be taught how to handle a rifle and how to use it, whilst every able-bodied lad should pass through the ranks of the Volunteers. (Hear, hear.) The Boers, young and old, could ride well and shoot with precision, and we could not do better than follow their example in those respects. The records of the soldiers whose memory they were perpetuating were of a character of which they had reason to be proud. They had performed their duty faithfully and well, and had sacrificed their lives for the honour of their country. (Applause.)

Captain Nickerson spoke of some of the "regrettable incidents" which occurred during the South African campaign, and of the splendid response to the call for Volunteers. The Manchester Grammar School had a splendid record in that respect, for he understood that no less than 63 old boys served in various capacities in the campaign. There were great facilities in Manchester for boys to join the Volunteers, and he hoped they would do so. It was very important that they should be trained to arms, and be able to use a rifle, so that in the case of emergency they could do as Old Mancunians had done before them. Some of them might join the Army, but those who devoted themselves to commercial pursuits should not forget their duty in respect of the defence of our shores. (Applause.)

The memorial was afterwards unveiled, and some buglers of the 2nd V.B. Manchester Regiment sounded "The Last Post."

The High Master proposed a vote of thanks to the Dean of Manchester, Lieutenant-Colonel Wright, and Captain Nickerson for their services. The tablet, he said, would tend to promote manliness and heroism amongst the boys, and would make them proud of the brotherhood to which they belonged. In the same spirit as some of their old boys had died for their country, he hoped they might live for it. (Applause.)

The National Anthem having been sung, the proceedings terminated.

Manchester Courier, Saturday 24th September 1904

Jack Greensill - www.angloboerwar.com/forum/17-memorials-...i-y-k-i-a-20-12-1901

My thanks to Manchester Grammar School's Archives for sending us the photo. This came about because the Imperial War Museum had the memorial recorded as having been destroyed in 1941, during a bombing raid, so I contacted MGS to ask if they had a photo of the lost memorial.

The IWM website has been partly updated since, thanks to MGS Archives sending the photo and correct info, but still has the memorial destroyed at its previous location. www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/55620
The following user(s) said Thank You: djb

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Manchester Grammar School 7 months 3 weeks ago #67142

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Great research to support the memorial, Berenice. Thank you.
Dr David Biggins

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