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Photo of Tibshelf Colliery St John Ambulance men, Derbyshire 11 months 3 weeks ago #68220

  • BereniceUK
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I came across this photo online, and assume that there's no copyright.



It's said to be Tibshelf Colliery St John Ambulance men on their way to South Africa, but as all but one are wearing a medal I would guess that the photo was taken after Saturday 1st March 1902. Twenty-one men from both the Tibshelf Corps and the Birchwood Corps received their war medals on the evening of that day, and a twenty-second man, of the Tibshelf Corps, was to receive his medal from the King at a later date. I don't know how many were from just the Tibshelf Corps; perhaps it was fifteen and the man on the left was Private Arthur England, of Newton, a village near Tibshelf, but a member of the Tibshelf Corps.

Was there a regulation regarding the positioning of medals? Those in the front rank are all over. That makes me think the photo might have been taken within a day or two of the medals being given out.
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Photo of Tibshelf Colliery St John Ambulance men, Derbyshire 1 month 2 weeks ago #74392

  • Ivan Brentnall
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Out Local History Society currently have a Heritage Lottery Fund programme working on this and we would accord with your comments as correct to the best of our knowledge too. 15 Ambulance Corps members went to South Africa on a six month contract. There were 22 in total but the other Corps members were Reservist soldiers called back into action (One losing his life) The photograph we believe was taken by J.Timmons - a local photographer. One of those photographed. Thomas HOE died of TB within 12 months of his return home (contracted during service).
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Photo of Tibshelf Colliery St John Ambulance men, Derbyshire 1 month 2 weeks ago #74394

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It should be noted, as Ivan will already know, that Tibshelf was the first place in the world to have a St John Ambulance Brigade unit. (I do hope I'm correct in saying that)

www.facebook.com/museumoftheorderofstjoh...232162597098/?type=3

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Photo of Tibshelf Colliery St John Ambulance men, Derbyshire 1 month 2 weeks ago #74400

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My sister's first job was in Tibshelf. I remember visiting her there and that Tibshelf was not the largest of villages. An unusual place to be the cradle of such an important organisation.
Dr David Biggins

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Photo of Tibshelf Colliery St John Ambulance men, Derbyshire 1 month 2 weeks ago #74401

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You're right. Those medals are all over the place. Perhaps being a non-military they allowed themselves a large degree of freedom?
Dr David Biggins

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Photo of Tibshelf Colliery St John Ambulance men, Derbyshire 1 month 2 weeks ago #74405

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As was reported at the time, the reason that Arthur England, of Newton, didn't receive his medal along with the other 21 returned Tibshelf and district ambulancemen was that he was one of the 30 St John Ambulance Brigade men who received theirs from the King.
___________



HOME FROM THE WAR.

Presentation of War Medals at Tibshelf.

Patriotic Offer by Major Seely, M.P.
....Saturday was a memorable day in the annals of the Tibshelf St. John Ambulance Brigade, the date being fixed for the annual dinner, at which the twenty-two members of the Tibshelf and Birchwood Corps, who went to the seat of war to tend to the sick and suffering, were welcomed home and honoured for their patriotic services. These annual gatherings are always of the most enjoyable character, but Saturday's function was by far the most important held in recent years, inasmuch as the members of the Corps were presented with the medals for service granted by the War Office. Major Seely, M.P. for the Isle of Wight, a Volunteer, who has been to the front and had the distinction of being elected to Parliament during his absence from the country, was present, and he distributed the medals, and made a rousing speech upon one or two lessons which should be learnt from the present war.
....Deputy-Commissioner S. C. Wardell, who received this designation for the valuable service he has rendered in promoting ambulance work, presided, and amongst those present were Major Seely. M.P., Mr and Mrs Frank Seely, Major and Mrs Leach, the Rev. F. W. Christian, Dr and Mrs Corkery, Mr J. T. Todd, Mr R. A. Christian, Mr H. B. Checkland, the Rev. and Mrs Atkins, the Rev. A. Cotton, Dr Stamford, Dr Marriott, Dr Robson, Supt. Bonser, First-Officer W. Maurice, Supt. Powiss, Sergt.-Major Lee, First-Officer Davies, Bandmaster Coupe, and others. Unfortunately, owing to a regrettable indisposition, Mrs S. C. Wardell was unable to be present. On the east wall of the room there was the motto, "Welcome home to Major Seely and the Tibshelf and Birchwood Ambulance men from the war."
....The company having partaken of an excellent repast, which was provided by the steward and stewardess of the Tibshelf Club, Mr and Mrs Smith. Deputy-Commissioner Wardell opened the speech-making by submitting the loyal toasts, which were musically honoured, Miss Hayes giving the first two verses of the National Anthem, the company joining with the third verse. He said the particular object for which they gathered together that night was to give a hearty welcome home to those members of the Tibshelf and Birchwood Corps, who had been at the front -(cheers)- and to congratulate them most heartily upon their safe return. When the war first broke out and Volunteers were called for, 2000 members of the Ambulance Brigade volunteered to go out and tend to the suffering and the sick and wounded in the war. (Hear, hear.) Of those 2000 Volunteers 500 came from his district, and of the latter number 22 responded from the Tibshelf and Birchwood Corps. (Cheers.) Of the 2000 men who went out 60 never returned, and died in their country's services. There has been some delay in the presentation of the medals, but that was not the fault of the Tibshelf officials, but on the part of the War Office in not sending them down earlier. When the medals came a request accompanied them that they should be distributed in as public and formal a manner as possible, and he thought they could not get a more fitting person to distribute them than Major Seely, M.P. (Loud applause.) Major Seely was well fitted for that ceremony for more reasons than one. As a son of Sir Chas. Seely, who had so nobly supported ambulance work in Tibshelf and Birchwood, he was closely associated with the two places. (Her, hear.) And lastly but not the least reason, Major Seely was a Volunteer himself, and he had been through the thick of the fighting. (Loud applause). They all thanked him for so nobly responding to the call to perform the duty for them. (Hear, hear.) Major Seely, unfortunately for them, was not a member of the Tibshelf or the Birchwood Corps, but he felt sure he was only voicing the sentiments of all present when he extended to him as hearty a welcome as they gave to their own comrades that night. (Cheers.) He could assure Major Seeley that when the members of the Corps from time to time eagerly looked through the list of casualties to see if any names, near and dear to them should appear, his name was not forgotten. (Cheers.) He could also assure him that when they saw his name mentioned for distinguished service, it was only read with greater eagerness, and by none was it more highly appreciated than by his many friends in Tibshelf and Birchwood. (Applause.) They all of them congratulated him most sincerely upon the honours which had been conferred upon him for distinguished services. There was some explanation due about the presentation that night. Although there were 22 medals to be given away to the Tibshelf and Birchwood men they had only received 21, Private England being the one who would not receive his medal at the hands of Major Seely. The explanation as this. Out of the 2000 Ambulance Volunteers at the front 30 of them were specially mentioned for distinguished service in the hospitals. Out of the 30 men five were mentioned from the speaker's district, and of the latter number Private England, of the Tibshelf Corps, received that honour. (Cheers.) The King, who is the head of their order, has expressed a wish to present the medals to the ambulance men who were specially mentioned, and therefore Private England, instead of receiving his medal from Major Seely, would have the more distinguished honour - if he might be allowed to use the phrase - of receiving it from the King himself. (Loud cheers.)
....He would not detain them any longer, but to deliver a message from Mrs Wardell, who, he was sorry to say, was prevented by illness from being present. She desired to be remembered to them, and to convey her great regret in not being able be present.
....The Chairman then asked Major Seely to distribute the medals. The gallant officer, mounting the platform, said he was authorised by his Majesty the King, and the military authorities to present the medals to those members of the Tibshelf and Birchwood Corps, who deserved well for their services from their King and Country. (Hear, hear) The following members were then presented to Major Seely, who shook hands with the men and presented the medals, with the exception of Private England, who was the first to receive the Major's congratulations: - Privates Scott, Hoe, Hollins, Geo. Foster, Jno. Foster, Milns, Pemberton, Platts, Greenwood, Harding, Phillipson, Todd, Ward, Ellis, Inskip, Boultbee, Varley, Smith, Richmond, Taylor, and Tarlton.
....Private Lee proposed a vote of thanks to Major Seely for presenting the medals to the ambulance men, who, he said, had been so courageous to leave the comforts of their homes and go out to a foreign land to minister to the men who were sick in that most fearful war. He remembered the time when at a meeting the men were asked, in case of necessity, who would volunteer to go out and minister to those who had gone out to fight the country's battles and for their Queen. They were taken by surprise when the question was put, not expecting that their services would be required, for as far as they could judge the sky was clear, but they were courageous enough to say that they were Englishmen, and they would stand by their guns, take their share, and do their best if called upon. (Cheers.) As old as he was he expressed himself as willing to do his best for his country if there was need. The war was forced upon the country. (Hear, hear.) He was one of those who thought at one time that there ought to be no war, and he hoped that it might be tided over, but when the challenge was thrown down and the Boers invaded our territory, he then with others cried "Hands off." The country could not stand by and raise no arm and they were compelled to resort to arms. (Cheers.)
....They were extremely glad to see Major Seely that night -(applause)- and he willingly endorsed all the sentiments of welcome that had been extended that night to him. He had had the privilege of knowing the Major as a boy, whom he often saw in Brookhill Lane, and that night they welcomed him most heartily in being present to distribute the medals to the men of the Corps. (Cheers.)
....He desired also to include in that motion a tribute to the young men who so courageously left their homes at a time of need. It was an easy thing when everything was going smoothly to make a great show of what one was prepared to do, but a person was put to the test when the climax arose. At these times often there was silence when there should be a hearty response. He was glad to say that their young comrades at Tibshelf and Birchwood responded willingly and heartily. (Hear, hear) To Major Seely and their comrades he offered on behalf of the company a hearty welcome home. (Cheers.) There was one drawback to that night's proceedings, and that was the absence of Mrs Wardell, who, they all exceedingly regretted, was ill. He was sure they all sent her their full sympathies with a hope that she would be soon restored to convalescence. (Cheers.)
....Sergt. Major seconded the proposition. He said he did not possess the knowledge of the family of Sir Chas. Seely as Private Lee did, but he had been in the employment of the firm for many years. Many noble offers had been made during the time of stress, and he was proud of those gallant men who had volunteered for duty. Major Seely was one of the distinguished company who had done gallant and noble work in South Africa, and his movements had been followed with the deepest concern by the members of the two corps, and his many friends in the two places. (Cheers.)
....The proposition was carried with musical honours, and three cheers given for Major and Mrs Seely.
....Major Seely was vociferously applauded upon rising to respond, the ovation lasting a few minutes. He said on behalf of himself and his comrades of the two corps, - he was glad they had included the latter in the motion for they had served in the same army - that he thanked them very sincerely for drinking their good health. He also offered to Private Lee and Sergt. Major, for their remarks, his many thanks, but speaking for the moment about himself it was quite wrong of them to thank him for the service of presenting those medals. (Voices: "No, no.") It was a pleasure for him to come and perform the duty, as indeed it would be for whatever purpose he came to the place near which he was born and lived as a boy, and to which his family was so closely connected by the colliery concern. It was nothing but a pleasure to have the honour of presenting the medals to the men who deserved so well of the country in going out to succour the men who went to South Africa. He congratulated them upon their safe return, and he could assure them as they were all Englishmen, especially were all English, man and woman, in Tibshelf, that they were grateful to them for the sacrificial way they left their homes to carry out an Englishman's first duty, to serve his country when he has the opportunity. (Cheers.)
....In speaking of the fact of leaving their homes for their country's service, he must realise that he had to apologise for the absence of Mrs Seely that night. He could assure them that if it had been possible his wife would have accompanied him to Tibshelf that night. But her father had been taken seriously ill, , though e was thankful to say that for the moment he was out of danger. Had it not been for that she would have been present, and nothing would have given her greater pleasure than to come to Tibshelf, where she had never been, and to make the acquaintance of the people. (Cheers.) She had asked him to give to all of them her very best wishes with the hope that she may meet them at some future time, and to give them her hearty good wishes on their safe return. (Applause.)
....He thought they might congratulate themselves that, when the time and stress of the war came - far exceeding what they were led to believe by their military experts - that in the Ambulance Brigade they found an organisation which enabled them to cope with the necessary sufferings of war in a way which they could not have done otherwise. Some went out to kill and some to cure, and some people thought the latter did their work more effectively than the former. (Laughter.) But the ambulance men could not have gone out to cure if they had had no previous training, and if they had had no organisation and not devoted their time and attention to the work. It was a little thing to ask Mr Wardell to provide a corps for service, but if the corps had not been efficiently organised then it would have been far more difficult. It was not a little task though to respond, and he honoured those of the corps who volunteered.
....He could not help asking, in speaking to a great gathering like that, whether they were in a sound position with regard to another and even greater matter. It must be apparent to everyone that in the matter of the defence of our own shores against a possible attack we had not got that organisation, and that readiness, which everybody else has across the channel, and which it would be so easy and so cheap to have. (Hear, hear.) They had been organised in the ambulance work, and in the routine of tending the wounded and the sick. They had given time and trouble to the acquirement of proficiency in the knowledge, and although it was at one time extremely unlikely that they would be called upon for foreign service, the time did arrive, and now he suggested humbly to them that the period may come when they would be called upon to defend their shores. When they reflected upon the fact that in a war with the smallest white people in which they had ever engaged they came to the end of the men who could shoot and who could spare the time they were face to face with an important matter. When he told them that there were many men who left our shores who were not conversant with the use of a weapon, he thought it was time that they set their house in order. (Loud applause.) He did not mean to say that England should adopt the German and the French methods of putting men into barracks, which he thought was not an essential part of a man's training, but he did say in the same way as they vaccinated their people against an outbreak of smallpox they should teach them to shoot in the case of possible attacks from their enemies across the water. (Cheers.) The thing was not difficult. It could easily be done. As they said in South Africa, it was no use "growsing" -(laughter)- if they had got a remedy. His first remedy was to teach the people to shoot, and in Tibshelf, if they chose to form a rifle club, he would provide the rifles for them to shoot with. (Loud applause.) He must apologise for preaching a sermon to them on that festive occasion, but he hoped they would bear with him, and take in an appreciative way what he felt must be placed before the people as a result of the war. (Hear, hear.) People who have seats in Parliament - and he was one of them - were frequently told, if they suggested that the people of this country should make ready for possible war, that the nation was not in favour of conscription, and that they would lose their seats. He did not believe one word of it. (Cheers.) If they trusted the people of this country they were quite as patriotic and willing to take up the burden as any other nation and even more so, and face a situation which must present itself sooner or later, and adopt a system to remedy a great evil. (Cheers.) He had been bold perhaps to say so much on this festive occasion. He would detain them only a few moments to thank the company for so heartily drinking their health. Speaking for those returned and himself, they did not deserve their thanks in any special way, because they had returned and some of their comrades had been left. It had done them all a great deal of good, because when they got to a place like South Africa every man found his own level. (Laughter.) They found that it was not a bit of good relying upon their station or wealth when they had an enemy in the field. (Laughter.) It was that which made the spirit and the heart of a man. (Hear, hear.)
....Major Seely wound up his stirring speech, which was followed with intense interest, by the company, by again thanking them for their welcome, which they appreciated most deeply and sincerely. (Cheers.)
....Dr Marriott submitted the toast of "The Visitors."
....Mr Frank Seeley responded, and
....Major Leach, who was heartily received, gave the toast, "Success to the Ambulance Brigade." He felt it an honour to propose the toast, which was associated with the Brigade in which they all knew his Majesty took the very keenest possible interest. That had been shown in a great number of ways, especially as he had commanded that the men of the Brigade who were specially mentioned for service in South Africa should attend and receive their medals from him. (Hear, hear.) The late Queen also took a very keen interest in the movement, and it was a proud experience of the Tibshelf men when they went to Windsor to give an exhibition before her Majesty. (Cheers.) A great deal had been said that night - not a bit too much - about the men who went to South Africa. He would like to say a few words for those who did not go to South Africa. (Hear, hear) No ambulance corps, unfortunately perhaps, could be idle in the neighbourhood of a colliery. Accidents must and always will happen. No human ingenuity up to the present has devised a way to avoid accidents occurring in a colliery. While the men who went to South Africa did real good work, those who stayed at home constantly rendered valuable help in accidents. (Cheers.) Anybody who lived in the neighbourhood of a colliery, must be convinced of the value of an ambulance man in the case of accidents, and it was a pleasure, if there was such a thing about an accident, to see how a member, who had gained proficiency in the art, handled the unfortunate victims of an accident. Accidents often occur at collieries in such a situation where it was difficult to render help to the man who was injured, and it was a perfect wonder - he had seen it several times - how the sufferer was alleviated on these occasions. He asked the company to drink heartily to the success of the toast, and long may the movement flourish at Tibshelf and Birchwood. (Applause.)
....Supt. Bonser responded. He said they had formed a corps at Sutton-in-Ashfield, and they hoped to emulate the excellent standard attained by the well-known Tibshelf corps.
....Mr J. T. Todd gave "The Press." Alluding to the suggestion of Major Seely he regarded it as an excellent one. They had been doing something in that direction at Blackwell, and he could assure them if Tibshelf would form a rifle club they would teach them how to shoot. (Laughter.)
....Mr G. Preston replied.
....The Chairman proposed "The Hon. Surgeons," and Dr Marriott suitably replied.
....Sergt. Major proposed the health of the Chairman in terms which were heartily endorsed by the company, who received it with musical honours and cheers for Mr and Mrs Wardell. The Chairman briefly responded. During the evening songs were rendered by Miss Hayes, Mr T. Parkin, Supt. Powiss, Pte. Fell, Bugler Smith, and Mr Hursthouse. Mr Walter Coupe ably accompanied the songs on the piano. A most enjoyable function, and one which will be long remembered, terminated close upon midnight.

The Derbyshire Times, Saturday 8th March 1902

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