St Phils Camera Club meet 1-3pm every Wednesday at St Philips Church and decided to participate in the commemoration of the Battle of the Somme by creating an exhibition of photographs.
The images are inspired by those from Salford who died on the 1st July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, and link the lives of those who took part with present day people and places to make a connection between events that took place and life in Salford today.
Centenary of the Battle of the Somme
Mark Kennedy was 34 years old and had four children. He was killed on 1st July. He lived in Bevill Street which is no longer there but Bevill Square was built on the site after the war. Michael is the landlord of Mulvaneys which replaced the Bird in the Hand which was a pub on the other side of Bury Street from Bevill Street.
Edgar Hampson was a Lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers. At the age of 20 he led his men into battle and died on the first day of the battle of the the Somme. He’s commemorated at The Ascension Church where he was a Sunday School teacher. Kayleigh Rose visited his plaque. Kayleigh Rose is 21 years old and helps in the Sunday School at St Philip’s Church, Chapel Street.
Herbert Stevens aged 26, lived with his parents at 33 Dorothy Street, Lower Broughton. He attended St Clement’s Day School, then worked at the Carey Street Depot of the Corporation Cleansing Department. In June 1916 he wrote to his sister – we will do our best – I am confident. In July 1916 his CSM wrote to his sister saying “I did not see Private Herbert [Stevens] hit as there was such a number being hit every minute…But I would advise you not to build up any hopes. Where Dorothy Street once stood is now Hope Florist
This is Stowell Spire which was part of Stowell Memorial Church, which was located at the junction of Trafford Rd and Eccles New Rd.
Private Peter Morrell Fensome aged 19, had been a member of the Boy Scouts connected with Stowell Memorial Church. He lived at 2 Barker St, Cross Lane. Peter received a gunshot wound in the leg in June 1916, and his friend Sgt Bill Dutton thought that he would miss the assault planned for the 1st July. However, as the Battalion was forming up on 30th June ” I saw Peter coming along and we put our arms around each other. I said “What made you come back Peter? He said they were clearing the hospitals for the coming battle, and if you weren’t too badly wounded, well you volunteered to come back. He said he wanted to go over the top with his company.”
Jette Schaack currently attends St Philip’s Church and Sacred Trinity. Jette is also part of the St Philip’s Camera Club. Jette is German and is sometimes puzzled by the way in which we remember the two world Wars. She’s found it interesting to learn the history of the Salford Pals and the Battle of the Somme. The numbers of casualties in the battle were huge with 95,675 British and Commonwealth Soldiers killed or missing. This is a devastating number but the number of German soldiers killed or missing was much higher and is estimated at 164,055.
A German officer wrote,
“Somme. The whole history of the world cannot contain a more ghastly word.”
— Friedrich Steinbrecher
The Fusilier Museum in Bury
We visited the Fusilier museum in Bury, where Colonel Mike Glover told us some of the background to the Battle of the Somme. One piece of information that the group found quite shocking is that bodies are still sometimes dug up on the site of the battlefield. Normal life goes on but whenever anyone digs in that area there is the risk of a grizzly discovery. We were told that when a body is uncovered there is a funeral service. Sometimes there is something with the body to identify who it is but often there isn’t.
The Fusilier museum is well worth a visit.
Adelphi Lads Club
Adelphi Lads Club was formed in 1888. Sadly they are no longer going but St Philip’s Church is looking after their War Memorial. At the outbreak of the First World War the club was thriving with Rugby, Cricket and Football teams, a gym, snooker room and lots of activity. During the war 1080 members joined the armed forces and 207 of them didn’t return.
Many of those killed in the Battle of the Somme were never found and most of the bodies that were recovered are buried in France but people still wanted to commemorate their lost loved ones nearer to home. Weaste cemetery has various memorials to those who died in the Battle of the Somme including this one to Thomas Harold Smith who was aged 28. He was born in Lower Broughton and lived with his parents at 26 Zebra St, Ordsall. He was a clerk at Isaac Bury’s Adelphi Dye works. He is also commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing.