1916 Military Presentation at Auchentibber

The Hamilton Advertiser reported when wounded WW1 soldiers were brought to Auchentibber and entertained, with local business owners presenting them with gifts and honours for their bravery. The report on Saturday 2nd September 1916 told:

“The military age portion of the village Auchentibber have done nobly in this war, as witness the Roll of Honour which has been placed in a most prominent position in the beautiful grounds of the Quoiting Club, situated in the heart of the place. The women folks, too have done their bit not less nobly by working hard night after night to provide comforts for the lads who have gone forth to serve their country in the highest calling one might well be asked to perform; and it was only what was expected to find the villagers anxious to show some gratitude to several of those soldiers who had been maimed in the fight by providing an afternoon’s entertainment within the precincts of their well-known glorified paradise during the period of their convalescence.

This came off on Wednesday afternoon when a large party of wounded soldiers were motored from Hillpark Hospital, Bothwell. led by two nurses, to the Auchentibber Quoiting Green, there to be the guests of the upland village. The arrangements for the reception of the soldiers were complete in every way. On arrival they were entertained a fine concert by Tom Colley, comedian, who is appearing at Blantyre Picture House this week, and Miss Lizzie and Master James Qibeon, two juveniles who were successful in recent competitions at the Picture House. Mr Gideon Duncan ably played the accompaniments. The arrangements for this part the proceedings were the hands of Mr James Marchant, the Picture House manager, and he has every credit by the taste he displayed in his selection of entertainers. A feature of the afternoon’s enjoyment was the presence of the Regimental Band and Pipers from Hamilton Barracks, under the leadership of Mr Louis Seymour, and needless to say, their musical selections provided an entertainment which was heartily appreciated not only by the wounded Tommies, but the large audience with which they were surrounded.

About five o’clock an al fresco tea was served on the quoting green and here again the ladies of the place showed their interest by acting as table attendants, and with assistants galore there was “no waiting.” The inner man having been satisfied, an abundant supply of cigarettes was served out, while at intervals thereafter the ladies went round and distributed sweets, fruit, etc. which were acceptably received the guests.

1916 JB Struthers pins the DCM on Arthur McAnulty at Auchentibber

1916 JB Struthers pins the DCM on Arthur McAnulty at Auchentibber

One of the most interesting parts of the day’s proceedings was the presentation of the Distinguished Conduct Medal to Corporal M’Anulty, Udston, of the Gordon Highlanders, which took place In the presence of the whole company. Corporal M’Anulty had the medal pinned to his tunic last week by Viscount French, but it was thought, to give the local touch to the high honour. No better opportunity could had that of Wednesday, to give the villagers a public opportunity of welcoming their own distinguished soldier, and right heartily joined in the ceremony. It fell to Mr James. B. H. Struthers the Auchentibber Inn landlord, to perform this pleasing duty, and addressing Corpl. M’Anulty, he said the villagers were proud of the high honour bestowed upon him the King. “It was men like Corpl. M’Anulty”. said Mr Struthers “and those who were their guests that day, who were allowing them to enjoy sunny skies and peaceful homes, and they felt they could not do too much for the heroes who were fighting for them. Corpl. M’Anulty made a modest acknowledgment. The proceedings terminated about seven o’clock, all having spent a most delightful afternoon amidst delightful environment. The Auchentibber folks are to be heartily congratulated on their laudable efforts that day—efforts which were spontaneous they were appreciative. Nevertheless one almost concluded that while the voice of Jacob was there so also was the hand of Esan—the ‘hand” was that of Mr J. B. H. Struthers. organiser-in-chief, that genial and largehearted soul who has done much to brighten the lives of the people of that secluded but pretty little upland hamlet.”

Pictured is JB Struthers presenting the meal to Corporal McAnulty at the Auchentibber WW1 “Troops Entertainment” day.

Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said:

Margaret Nimmo Lehmann Interesting – I can imagine my Grandparents possibly being there that day.
Jane Johnstone My grannie met my grandpa when the troops were treated to tea on their return from the War in the Masonic Lodge!
Ann Higgins Crossar Here is how Cpl Arthur McAnulty got his DCM:
West Lothian Courier – 6/8/1915 – Page 2:
Piper J McNulty, who resides in East Main Street, Armadale, has had a long career as a soldier. In 1891 he joined the 71st Regiment. After three years service he rejoined in the Royal Garrison Artillery. When he came off in 1908 he rejoined as a member of the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders Special Reserves. When war was declared he was called up and with the second battalion A and S Highlanders went to France. He took his shares in the struggles and triumphs of the early days. In February he was knocked out through a shell bursting in on the trench he was lying. He sustained severe wounds to his hands and back and is still an invalid.
His cousin, Pte Arthur McNulty 2nd Gordon Highlanders who resided prior to the war at Udston Rows (not Adston Rows as reported in this article) Hamilton, was promoted on the field to the rank of Corporal and awarded the D.C.M. for conspicuous bravery. Corporal McNulty is 21 years of age.

His act of meritorious service was performed between the evening of the 17th of June and the morning of the 18th. Two Companies of the Gallant Gordons – B and D – were ordered to capture a ditch which the Germans held in strong force. The kilted lads crept up stealthily to within 20 yards of the coveted position when their presence was detected by the enemy.

Instantly by means of flare-lights, the Germans signalled to their artillery and soon the Gordons were exposed to a withering fire. The position becoming untenable B Company got the order to retire, but a similar message to D Company miscarried.
Amid shot and shell, the men of D Company “tough Britons all” to use the words of Corporal McNulty, pressed forward, and cutting through barbed wire entanglements and other defensive works actually took the ditch.
For a length of time that seemed interminable the Germans continued to snipe and bomb the position they had vacated, but 74 of the Gordons – all that was left of D Company – held grimly on. The officer in command dreading annihilation or capture unless reinforcements came speedily to hand, ordered McNulty to return to headquarters with an urgent message.

It was a hazardous journey but Private McNulty undertook it without deigning to count the cost. He got safely to headquarters and delivered his message. Dreading the awful plight of his comrades, he asked permission to return, but he was told it was much too risky and that he had better rest meanwhile.
Not to be denied, McNulty called to his aid a comrade and both, after strenuous labour, dug a communication trench by which they were able to reach the men of D company and advise them that the order to retire had been given and sanctioned.
Of the original 76, however, only 26 succeeded in getting clear of the oncoming Germans who were quite 500 strong. Unquestionably, it was the Udston lads bravery and devotion to duty that secured the escape of the remnant of D Company.
Soon after the incident above narrated, McNulty was informed that his gallantry would not go unrecognised, and now official intimation had reached him that he is to be decorated with the D.C.M. besides being promoted Corporal.

Notes from WW1 War Diaries for 2nd Battalion Gordon Highlanders
Between the evening of 17th and 18th June 1915 – the Bttn appears to have been heavily engaged losing 5 Officers and 150 men in casualties.

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