Empire Hotel: Headquarters of the 2/6th Battalion

On the 2nd November 1914 the Headquarters of the 2/6th Battalion were established at the Empire Hotel in Buxton. One hundred and eighty two men were clothed and dispatched from the Depot at Chesterfield on the same day. The remaining men were called up, clothed and dispatched to Buxton in daily drafts. Clothing was provided by the County Territorial Association.empire

The Empire Hotel in Buxton, which was built between 1901-03 by Spiers and Pond after a design by Thomas Garner (photograph by W.A. Hudson of Chapel-en-le-Frith)Untitled2897 BrelsfordThis particular card was sent by 2897 Pte Vernon Brelsford on the 3rd November

Empire HotelImperial Service Agreement signed by Ernest Smith at the Empire Hotel and witnessed by Colonel John Morton


Several NCOs and men from the 1/6th Battalion also reported for duty at that time and on the 10th of November 1 NCO and 119 men departed as the 1st Reinforcement to the 1/6th Battalion at Harpenden.

The exchange of men between the 1st and 2nd line Battalions would continue throughout 1914 and early 1915 until the 1/6th were sent to France. Amongst the first men to arrive from the 1/6th Battalion was Colour Sergeant Instructor Keery who became the Regimental Sergeant Major. He would later be promoted to Quartermaster and Honorary Lieutenant and was mentioned in dispatchers (LG 21.12.17).Keery

William James Keery

By the end of November 1914 the Battalion had enlisted 977 NCOs and men, whilst many of the Officers gazetted to the Battalion had also arrived before the end of the month. The battalion received 200 MLE Rifles and ammunition, which allowed the men to practice some basic musketry.3576 November 1914 Welch

Attestation of 3576 Pte Arthur Millington a 33 year old Clerk from Monyash who enlisted at Buxton on the 18th November 1914


cooks

The cooks of the 6th N and D REG (unknown publisher)

The cooks of the 2/6th Battalion (Notts and Derby Regiment) initially encountered difficulties due to a lack of cooking utensils. However Sgt-Quartermaster Roberts was quickly able to secure the necessary items. Cook-Sergeant Samuel Garside was later to be a member of the Tug of War Team that won a famous ‘victory’ on June 16th during a Divisional Gymkhana held at Luton. Messing for the Battalion took place in the large garage in the grounds of the hotel.


During their time in Buxton the 2/6th Battalion practised route marches and drill. Fairfield Common was put to use as a drill ground, but suffered from being bleak and exposed to the elements. The first inspection of the Battalion occurred on the 30th December and the Duke of Devonshire (Lord Lieutenant of the County and Chairman of the County Territorial Association) watched the 2/6th Battalion march in from training on Fairfield Common.

men moorHPN

Shown in these two pictures are 2332 Pte William Wheeldon, 2279 Pte Ernest Emmerson, 2311 Pte Edward Norton, 2324 Pte Paul Tideswall, 2282 Pte John Fanshaw and 1930 Pte John Wilmot.


“C” Company: Captain Francis Dawbarn Stonesjellicoe platoon

2/Lieutenant Eric Maitland Jellicoe’s Platoon, which was part of “C” Company Commanded by Captain Francis Dawbarn Stones. Eric Jellicoe was posted to the 1/6th Battn and arrived in France on 28th August 1915. He was later killed in action on 1st July 1916 during the attack on the Gommecourt Salient. The dog held by the kneeling soldier may well be ‘Jock’, who was presented to the Battalion in December, taken on strength and given a regimental number.

Stones FD

Francis Stones arrived in France on the 14th June 1917 and served with 2/6th Battn. He was later awarded the Military Cross for gallantry and devotion to duty when in Command of the Battalion after the Battalion Commander had become a casualty. Whilst under attack he organised strong resistance and reinforcements to the front line. He died of wounds on 28th September 1917 aged 39 and is buried in Mendinghem Military Cemetery.


NCOs 2_6

Senior NCOs of the 2/6th Battalion at Buxton (photograph courtesy of Graham Conway)

Many of the retired Sergeant Instructors of the Derbyshire Territorial Force, who had previously served under Colonel Clayton, re-enlisted to help with the training of the new recruits. The re-enlistment of these senior N.C.O’s. helped stimulate recruitment in their respective villages and in many cases they brought men with them.

Although several of the senior N.C.O’s. were over age and medically unfit they performed a very useful task in training the new recruits in musketry, squad drill, physical exercises and route marches.

Some of these N.C.O’s. were transferred to the 3/6th Battalion. Amongst the Sergeants present in the photograph are 306 Pioneer Sergeant John Beard, 1251 Col.-Sergeant John Shepherd, 7413 Frederick Chappell, Sergt.-Cook Garside, 3415 Samuel Henry Lomas and RSM Parker.

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Frederick Chappell who wears the QSA (with 1901 Clasp) and KSA as a result of his Service as a ‘Volunteer’ with 1st Battalion Sherwood Foresters (WO/100/192). Chappell is a bit of a mystery in that he appears on many photographs including one from 1908 showing Sergeants of “A” (Chesterfield) Company. However, by 1911 he no longer appears on photographs suggesting that he had ‘time expired’. His Regimental number (7413) and those of his comrades on the QSA Medal Roll (Hong Kong 1903); Pte. J. Chatterton (7438), Cpl. G. Chester (7446), Bgl. G. Clarke (7587) and Pte. J Clarke (7450) are all consistent with the 2nd Volunteer Battalion, suggesting that he served with the Volunteer Contingent that was Commanded by Godfrey Goodman.


Men of the 2/6th Battalion

Buxton 1914

Two new recruits to the 2/6th Battalion on the steps of the Empire Hotel2:6th Battn Buxton 1914

Men of the 2/6th Battalion at the Empire Hotel in Buxtonchristmas

Christmas 1914 with “A” Company 2/6th Battalion Sherwood Foresters at the Empire Hotel (photograph courtesy of Sara)

6th SignallersSignallers

Signallers of the 2/6th Battalion taken on the steep of the Empire Hotel in Buxton