Memorial to the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion known as The Manchester Regiment.

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Reference WMO/265885


King's Baptist Church

Alexander Road


DN35 8LG


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Status: On original site
Type: Freestanding
Location: Internal
Setting: Attached to a building/structure
Description: Stained glass window
Lettering: Painted
  • First World War (1914-1918)
About the memorial: There has been a Baptist Chapel in Cleethorpes since 1910 as the above photograph attests to this fact. The above building is sited on Alexander Road, adjacent to Knoll House, the Cleethorpes Council Buildings. Unfortunately, the chapel is currently closed but inside it is a Memorial to the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion known as The Manchester Regiment. The chapel is now called the King’s Baptist Chapel. Information about this new chapel is found online The memorial consists of a stained-glass window and a chapel dedicated to the above regiment and the 32 soldiers from the Ashton-under-Lyne area of Manchester who were killed when a German Zeppelin dropped three bombs on Cleethorpes, one of which landed on the roof of the chapel. The story of the raid has been taken from a website of the Museum of the Manchester Regiment at Ashton-under-Lyne. During the First World War, the 3rd Manchester Regiment was responsible for defending the coast around Cleethorpes, and to the area north and south. The men were billeted in the town and amongst the sand dunes known as the Humberston Fitties. On Saturday March 31st 1916, a train bearing men of this regiment, many of whom had only been in the army a few weeks, drew into Cleethorpes railway Station. They marched along the sea front, and were billeted in houses along the sea front and also in the Baptist Chapel. Local people hurried around with cups of tea, cigarettes and sweets to make the men feel at home. Meanwhile, in Germany, not far from the River Elbe, Commander Martin Dietrich, set off in his Zeppelin L22 towards the Humber, but had engine trouble on the way. It had been his intention to attack London and East Anglia, but due to this trouble decided to attack Grimsby Docks instead. Searchlights from the Taylors Avenue battery locked on to the L22 and the anti-aircraft gun at Waltham Wireless Station opened fire, upon which the Zeppelin commenced to drop bombs in the open country. Having passed over Cleethorpes, it dropped a flare which fell on the river end of the pier and turning back over the Railway Station, dropped three bombs one of which hit the Baptist Chapel, the council office at the corner of Cambridge Street, the third falling in Sea View Street. The first bomb, falling on the slate roof of the Chapel, detonated on impact and took effect immediately. Approximately half the roof was demolished, a large part falling into the building in which the men were standing-to. The upper part of the wall and the copingstone off the North end were thrown on to the corrugated iron roof of the shops in which the men of "A" Company were quartered. As the night was intensely dark and no lights could be shown owing to the fact that the Zeppelin was still dropping bombs in the fields around Humberstone, rescue work was carried out under very trying conditions. The Town Hall and Yarra House were used as dressing stations as the accommodation afforded by the Regimental Medical Inspection Room, was inadequate. Doctors, members of the VAD and Ambulances were on the scene in a very short time and by 4.30am the killed and wounded had been removed. It would be impossible to give too much praise to the members of the VAD. Here were a number of women who had made themselves proficient in first-aid during their spare time, but who probably had never had to bandage a bad case, suddenly called upon to deal with the most horrible wounds imaginable. Yet never for a moment did even the youngest of them falter, but went straight to the case nearest her hand with a coolness and thoroughness that might have been expected of an Army Nurse of many years standing. It was indeed a fine example of pluck and grit that was shown by these women. The total casualties were 31 killed or died of wounds and 51 injured or wounded. The names of the dead are as follows: On Tuesday, 4 April 1916, twenty-four were buried in Cleethorpes Cemetery, five of the deceased were taken to their home towns by their relatives. The Military Funeral was very impressive. The Massed Bands of the 3rd Battalion Manchester Regiment, 4th Battalion Manchester Regiment and the 3rd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment took part. The 24 coffins were carried on eight motor lorries, draped with the Union Jack and covered with wreaths and other floral tributes received from the General Officer Commanding and Staff, Officers and Ladies of The Regiment, the several Sergeants Messes, all Companies of the Battalion, Regiments, Batteries and Schools of Instruction in the Command, Members of St Peter's Church and Baptist Churches, the Hebrew congregation of Grimsby and Sisters of Brighowgate Hospital and numerous friends in Cleethorpes, Grimsby and vicinity. There were present about 70 mourners of the deceased, followed by the whole of the 3rd Battalion Manchester Regiment and detachments of the 4th Battalion Manchester Regiment, the 3rd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment, Royal Navy, VAD, the General Officer Commanding and Staff, the Cleethorpes District Council, Cleethorpes tradesmen and friends. The 24 coffins were laid in two long graves, adjoining each other in Cleethorpes Cemetery, one for the Church of England and the other for the Roman Catholic deceased. No 2425 Pte W Bodsworth, who died from injuries on 4 April 1916, was interred two days later in the same grave with full Military Honours and his funeral was also largely attended. No 34625 Pte J Corfield died on 6 April 1916, his body being removed to his hometown by relatives. On the 9th March 1918, a massive white stone memorial cross was unveiled in Cleethorpes Cemetery by Brigadier General CB Westmacott, ADC, Commanding No 2 Section Humber Garrison, in memory of the NCOs and men who were killed in the air raid. On arrival at the Cemetery, the Battalion was formed up in two sides of a square, the Guard of Honour in front of the Memorial. Brigadier General Westmacott then made an address, stating the event, which the Memorial had been raised to commemorate, announcing the sources from which the necessary monies had been collected and thanking the persons who had helped in many ways. George Moody Esq, JP Chairman of the Cleethorpes Council replied. The Memorial was then unveiled, the Buglers sounding the Last Post. A large number of relatives and friends were present. In addition to the Memorial in Cleethorpes Cemetery, a Commemorative Brass Tablet was unveiled on 13th October 1918, in St Michael's Parish Church, Ashton-under-Lyne, by Lieut Colonel H Kendall Oram. This ceremony, attended by a number of Officers, including Lieut Colonel HL James CB, Commanding Depot and Lieut Colonel CM Thorneycroft DSO Commanding 3rd Battalion, The Manchester Regiment, Warrant Officers, NCOs and men of the Manchester Regiment, relatives and friends of the deceased and sympathisers, was of a very impressive nature. In a brief and moving speech Lieut. Colonel H Kendall Oram recounted the story of the raid. He also stated that the money for the Memorial had been subscribed by Officers, Warrant Officer, NCOs and Men of the 3rd and 4th Battalions of the Manchester Regiment. By local Football matches, concerts etc and by generous help from the inhabitants of Cleethorpes. Special thanks were due to Mr Moody and the Cleethorpes Council for their assistance, the Grimsby Town Football Committee for the loan of their ground and to Mr Brockway for the use of the Empire Theatre, also to Mrs Ellis and the VAD Nurses of the St Aidans Hospital, not only for their quick and indispensable help on the night of the raid, but for their untiring work on behalf of the soldiers stationed in this district. The battalion remained in the Humber Garrison until the end of the war providing reinforcements for all active battalions of the Regiment and defending the Lincolnshire coast. In March 1919 it moved to Blackdown, near Aldershot. The residue of the battalion was absorbed on 9 July 1919 into the Home Service Detail of the 1st Battalion. On 10 July the headquarters of the 3rd Battalion moved to the Depot at Ashton under Lyne where the battalion was officially disembodied. The Stained-glass window was placed in the wall of the chapel dedicated to the memory of the men who lost their lives in the this air raid. On Sunday 1 April 2001 a Chapel in the Cleethorpes Baptist Church was dedicated as the Manchester Chapel in memory of the 32 soldiers killed when the building was bombed 85 years earlier. Members of the Manchester and Ashton-under-Lyne branches of the Regimental Association attended and the Rev David Wiseman, Rector of Ashton-under-Lyne took part in the service. Captain Robert Bonner, Regimental Councillor, thanked the Cleethorpes community for their remembrance and cut the ribbon at the entrance to the Chapel.
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Inscription: To the Glory of God and in the lasting memory of the men of the Manchester Regiment who lost their lives in this building on the 1st April 1916.

• 33055 LCpl J Swift • 32323 LCpl C Heynes • 30358 Pte W Ball • 34637 Pte A Beaumont • 32338 Pte Beardsley • 8779 Pte S Bell • 2425 Pte W Bodsworth • 30117 Pte T Brierley • 34521 Pte WH Brown • 34619 Pte E Budding • 32194 Pte F Chandler • 32997 Pte J Chandler • 34618 Pte J Clowes • 34633 Pte H Cuthbert • 30241 Pte F Dimelow • 34625 Pte J Corfield • 30401 Pte T Diveney • 32215 Pte AE Downes • 34620 Pte R Fox • 32034 Pte W Francis • 32263 Pte T Hannan • 33107 Pte P Harrison • 30126 Pte W Hetherington • 32278 Pte T Pierce • 27724 Pte J Radford • 27902 Pte N Ramsden • 30179 Pte J Russell • 32275 Pte T Tomkinson • 27951 Pte J Wheeler • 34639 Pte W Wild • 27537 Pte A Wood

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