Author Topic: Belton Park Grantham ww1  (Read 1055 times)

Offline Timberman

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Belton Park Grantham ww1
« on: September 29, 2019, 09:34:52 AM »
This topic is to share information and pictures of Belton Park
training camp where the Pals Battalions of the Manchester Regiment
went after their training at  Heaton Park

On 4 August 1914 Britain declared war on Germany. Throughout
what became known as the First World War (1914 to 1918)
 Heaton Park played a significant role. It became the training
camp for the Manchester Regiments 'Pals' Battalions. These
battalions comprised recruits who enlisted with friends, neighbours
and work colleagues. The response was overwhelming. Many of these
were local men from the boroughs surrounding the park.

By early 1914 these volunteers became part of the 16th, 17th,
18th and 19th “City” Battalions. Originally Heaton Park was a
tented camp (later replaced by hutments). Each battalion occupied
their own section of the park. As training intensified in the vast open
spaces, the men were dressed in blue uniforms due to the absence
of Khaki Service Dress. This unusual attire earned them the nickname
of 'tram guards'.

On 21 April 1915 a crowd of 20,000 attended a full sports day featuring
boxing matches. Though not normally allowed at these events, many
families of the serving men were present.

On 24 April 1915 the last 'City' Battalion (19th) left Heaton Park,
marched to Manchester and entrained at London Road Station, Piccadilly.
Following further training at Belton Park, Lincolnshire and later at Salisbury
Plain, they crossed the Channel enroute for the Western Front.

(On You Tube there is a Video on the pals Trianing at Heaton park)

The following is from the National trust web site.

Adelbert, 3rd Earl Brownlow, had considerable political experience of war, not least as Under-Secretary of State for War (1889-1892). He had seen the need for a strong army and good training through Britain's involvement in the Boxer Rebellion and Second Boer War. It therefore came as no surprise that he offered the use of his estates at Belton and Ashridge to the War Office soon after war was declared in 1914.
Belton Park and the First World War
Walking across the park at Belton you'll discover a place away from the bustle of town life, where you can watch the fallow deer grazing peacefully. As you enjoy the tranquillity of this scene you may occasionally come across an old pipe, some concrete or a hollow in the ground that doesn’t quite seem natural. These are the clues of a different scene 100 years ago, of Belton Park Camp when 20,000 men at a time were training before heading off to the Front Lines.
A Kitchener Camp is built
Despite the popular belief that the war would be over by Christmas, Field Marshal Kitchener, Britain’s new Secretary of State for War, predicted long, drawn out hostilities, and that the British Army would need more men. On 21 August 1914, under Army Order No.324 the formation of the first six new divisions in Kitchener’s New Army was authorised. One of these was the 11th (Northern) Division.
Almost 2.5 million men volunteered to join the New Army, and it wasn’t long before the government realised that they didn’t have the infrastructure to house and train them all. Schools and warehouses were requisitioned and locations for new, temporary training camps were sought.
 
It came as no surprise when Adelbert, 3rd Earl Brownlow, donated the use of his estates at both Belton and Ashridge to the War Office soon after war was declared. He was a prominent gentleman in the local community, had served as Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire and Mayor of Grantham, and was involved in politics throughout his long tenure as Earl Brownlow. As a Privy Counsellor (from 1887), Under-Secretary of State for War (1889-1892) and Volunteer Aide-de-Camp (from 1897) to three monarchs, Adelbert had seen the need for a strong army and good training through British involvement in the Boxer Rebellion and the Second Boer War.
From September 1914, bell tents were erected within Belton Park for the temporary accommodation of thousands of soldiers. By April 1915 however, a small town had been built for around 20,000 men of Kitchener’s Army, a military base hospital, churches, YMCA huts, a cinema and its own railway line. New electricity, water and sewerage services were provided and, in a change from the traditional design, each regimental line had separate barracks, latrines, wash houses and mess huts.


The photo's are plans of the original site at Belton and the areas where the pals Bn were billeted.
I've had to resize them to get them on our site.

Neil

To be continued.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2019, 09:37:20 AM by Timberman »

Offline mack

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Re: Belton Park Grantham ww1
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2019, 11:08:01 AM »
that's a very very good piece of research mate,what a great find.

I remember watching time team when they dug this place up,and tony robinson describing it as the training camp for the MGC,they obviously hadn't done their homework

mack ;D

Offline Pete Th

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Re: Belton Park Grantham ww1
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2019, 11:23:42 AM »
Neil, great post.

Adding to Mack's post, the 11th Division was formed at Belton Park in August 1914.
Remembering

Pte Sidney Lee (36719), 2nd Battalion, Worcestershire Regt - dow 18.02.17
Sgt Charles Roberts (13668), 11th Bn, Manchester Regiment - kia 18.05.18
Bombardier John Hesford (70065), 147th Heavy Battery, RGA dow - 04.09.18
Pte Sidney Lee (4131324), 8th Bn, Cheshire Regiment -  kia 12.03.41

Offline Timberman

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Re: Belton Park Grantham ww1
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2019, 12:16:20 PM »
Thanks Mack I saw the same program there are a few bits left from ww1.

Pete
In the house is a Silver figure given to the Brownlow family by the MGC
with the 11th Battalion Manchester Regiment as one of the Battalions
that presented it to Lady Brownlow.
I was not allowed to take a photo of it.

The photo below is the plan of the site after it was extended for the MGC.

Click on the picture to make it bigger.

Neil

To follow photos of the camp itself

Offline Timberman

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Re: Belton Park Grantham ww1
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2019, 12:30:23 PM »
 The following pictures are of the camp under construction.

I don't think the last picture is of Belton but does show the
huts.

Click on pictures to make them bigger.

Neil
« Last Edit: September 29, 2019, 02:22:06 PM by Timberman »

Offline Timberman

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Re: Belton Park Grantham ww1
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2019, 12:34:22 PM »
A picture of the bell tents that the Battalions were in
until the huts were built.

The second one is of a post card of the camp.
The third photo is not of the Manchester's but
give an idea of the bell tent at the camp.

Click on the pictures to make them bigger.

Neil
« Last Edit: September 29, 2019, 01:03:24 PM by Timberman »

Offline Timberman

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Re: Belton Park Grantham ww1
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2019, 12:58:07 PM »
 
Belton Camp became  a small town in its own right.

Railway running through Belton Camp

Also the railway Station that was at Belton.

Click on the pictures to make it bigger.

Neil

More to follow.

Offline Pete Th

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Re: Belton Park Grantham ww1
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2019, 01:16:24 PM »
Superb, thanks Neil. I've been meaning to visit Belton for some time now.

Cheers
Pete
Remembering

Pte Sidney Lee (36719), 2nd Battalion, Worcestershire Regt - dow 18.02.17
Sgt Charles Roberts (13668), 11th Bn, Manchester Regiment - kia 18.05.18
Bombardier John Hesford (70065), 147th Heavy Battery, RGA dow - 04.09.18
Pte Sidney Lee (4131324), 8th Bn, Cheshire Regiment -  kia 12.03.41

Offline mack

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Re: Belton Park Grantham ww1
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2019, 01:19:53 PM »
hey neil
I wonder how many tons of copper bullets there are still under the old machine gun target mounds,robinson and his crew were pickin em up by the handful

mack
« Last Edit: September 29, 2019, 01:27:10 PM by mack »

Offline Timberman

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Re: Belton Park Grantham ww1
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2019, 02:08:03 PM »
Mack

At the time a couple of years ago I did not know that
the days activity we had at Belton Wood was the
1,600 yard machine gun danger zone. The area
covered is where the Golf course and Belton Wood is
today.

Pete
It's well worth a visit, gives you an idea of the vastness
of the park.

Neil

Offline Timberman

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Re: Belton Park Grantham ww1
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2019, 02:19:06 PM »
Recruits head off to war.

By late spring 1915, the recruits of the 11th (Northern) Division were
 judged ready and during June and July the division left Grantham and
set sail for Gallipoli.

Belton Park Camp then became the base depot and headquarters of the
war raised Machine Gun Corps from October 1915, closing in 1922.

The 11th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment was part of the
11th (Northern) Division.

This picture shows the 11th (Northern) Division leaving Grantham
after their training.

Click on the picture to make it bigger.

Neil

More to follow.


« Last Edit: September 29, 2019, 02:20:57 PM by Timberman »

Offline Timberman

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Re: Belton Park Grantham ww1
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2019, 02:28:07 PM »
Belton Park Military Hospital

Belton’s military hospital was run by the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC)
and purpose built within the parkland. Similar in size and structure to hospitals
close to the Western Front, it was built to care for men returning from active
service. This hospital was the penultimate stop on a soldier’s journey home
after being wounded on the front lines. However, given the size of the Belton
Park Camp, the hospital was also kept busy with the medical needs of soldiers
n training.
The RAMC doctors, supported by nurses and volunteers, were seeing patients
at the very beginning of 1915. With several wards, operating rooms, an X-ray
room and dispensary, this modern hospital could hold 670 patients at a time.

Click on the picture to make it bigger.

Neil

Offline Timberman

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Re: Belton Park Grantham ww1
« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2019, 02:36:10 PM »
The YMCA
The YMCA was a constant feature of the recreational side of army life during the First World War, providing a home away from home for the soldiers. There were two such huts at Belton Park, run by volunteers that included Adelaide, Countess Brownlow. With weekly sing-a-longs, comic sketches, variety acts, competitions and games there was always something to keep the soldier entertained.
Refreshments were available with hot tea and coffee and dolly cakes (thought to be smaller versions of cakes). They provided notepaper and envelopes to encourage letters home and as many as 1500 letters were posted from Belton Park each day. At the end of every day, the hut would be full of soldiers at Family Prayers that included a hymn, a brief bible reading and a prayer.
Throughout Belton Park and Harrowby Camps you would have heard a variety of accents and seen a number of different uniforms. Each Commonwealth army had its own Machine Gun unit that was similar to and worked closely with the British MGC. From accounts in Grantham Journal, personal papers and local Commonwealth War Graves, it’s known that Australian, New Zealander and Canadian soldiers, and nurses, were stationed at Belton Park Camp, with many also being patients within the military hospital.

Click on the pictures to make them bigger.

Neil

Offline Timberman

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Re: Belton Park Grantham ww1
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2019, 02:46:24 PM »
Behind the plan of the camp in post one.

Click on the map to make it bigger.

Break down of the huts where the Manchester Battalions were billeted.
 
A is 16th BN
B is 17th Bn
C is 18th Bn
D is 19th Bn

F is 24th Bn
G is 22nd Bn
H is 21st Bn
I is 20th Bn

Neil

More to come :)
 

Offline Tim Bell

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Re: Belton Park Grantham ww1
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2019, 05:07:42 PM »
Great work Neil,
We stayed at Belton Park with a mate who worked at De Vere, about 20 years ago. We played golf (terribly) and I never realised I that I was walking through 17th Bttn camp when we walked through the car park to the clubhouse.  I'll have to go back and have a look.

Thanks
Tim
Following one Platoon and everything around them....
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