Issued on: Return
Date of presentation: 08/08/1901
Number issued: 1
Gold watch & albert, gold medal, and illuminated address, to:
HONOURS TO A LOCAL YEOMAN.
Interesting Presentation at High Rigg.
On Tuesday evening a large and interesting social gathering assembled at High Rigg, near Hutton End, for the specific purpose of giving a home welcome and doing honour to Trooper W. HOLLIDAY, in celebration of his safe return from South Africa. About 150 guests assembled, and were most hospitably entertained by Mrs Whitelock and her brother. The Committee who had the arrangements in hand were Mr William Bell (chairman), Rev. J.A. Scott, Mr Fraser, Mr James Winder, Mr T.P. Bell, and Mr W. Bond (secretary), whilst Sir Henry Vane took a lively interest in promoting the affair. Amongst the company were Mr and Mrs Holliday, Whitrigg; Mr and Mrs Bond, New Rent; Mr and Mrs John Sewell and Mr Routledge, Newton; Mr J. Hewetson, Scales Hall; Mr John Falder, Netherscales; Mr and Miss Westgarth, Morton; Mr Gregory, Hutton-in-the-Forest, &c.
The formal presentation took place about nine o’clock, and the proceedings were initiated by a speech by Mr William Bell, who said the gathering was unique, and would become almost historic in the district. Never before had local yeomen been called out to fight a foreign foe, and they had proved themselves not only auxiliary but equal to the regular army. The collection of the funds for the presentation had been a real pleasure, and he was glad to see so large a company to do honour to their gallant friend. He called upon Mr Edward Bond to make the presentation. (Loud cheers).
Mr Bond them formally made the presentation, and in doing so said, Ladies and gentlemen, the duty which has been placed in my hands tonight is one which I can assure you I am proud to perform; and I am also proud to see so many friends gathered together on this interesting occasion to do honour to William HOLLIDAY on his return from South Africa. I don’t intend to go into any details concerning what the Imperial Yeomanry have done at the front. The accounts in the newspapers have told you all the chief incidents, and we also know the high opinions which have been expressed by those in authority with regard to their bravery, and the valuable services which they rendered to the British Empire. But there are one or two things which, on an occasion of this kind, I think it would be well to bring under your notice, because we are apt sometimes to forget the services which these gallant men have rendered now when the excitement has somewhat abated. We all remember those dark days in December 1899, when news was flashed across to this country of reverse after reverse to the British arms. First there came the reverse of Stormberg, the day after Maggersfontein, and a few days after we had the news of that fearful disaster at Colenso, where we lost so heavily in killed and wounded. The feeling in the country at that time was one of intense excitement. People stood aghast at the bare possibility that the flag of old England, which “for a thousand years, had braved the battle and the breeze”, should by any chance have t6o be lowered at the hands of the Boers. It was at that crisis in the history of the war when the order came forth from the War Office, calling out the reservists, and inviting England’s citizen soldiers to volunteer for active service; and I want you to remember this particularly, now when we are wishing to do honour to our returned yeoman, how nobly that call was responded to. Men came forward, leaving their occupations and the comforts of home to go forth into a belligerent country, there to face the dangers and privations of an arduous campaign on behalf of the stability of the Empire and the happiness and security of our homes. They were present now to recognise the services of William HOLLIDAY, than whom there was no braver or better soldier. It was a privilege thus to show their appreciation of the gallant services he had rendered to his country. Mr Bond then formally handed to Mr HOLLIDAY a beautifully engrossed and framed address, together with a valuable gold watch, albert chain, and medal. He also read the inscription of the address, which was headed with an excellent photo of Mr HOLLIDAY, in yeoman’s uniform, as follows: “Pro Patria. Presented to Trooper William HOLLIDAY, High Rigg, of the 24th Company Westmorland and Cumberland Imperial Yeomanry, by his many friends and neighbours of Hutton-in-the-Forest and district, on his return from South Africa, in recognition of his voluntary services in defence of the Empire”.
The speech was frequently cheered, and at its conclusion, three hearty rounds, with musical honours, made the welkin ring.
Mr Westgarth also spoke a few appropriate congratulatory words, after which
Mr HOLLIDAY modestly and briefly expressed his thanks, and said the gifts, whenever he looked upon them, would forcibly remind him of his old friends at Hutton. (Cheers).