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A SLEEPY BURGLAR.

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THE MONTGOMERYSHIRE MILITIA.

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THE MONTGOMERYSHIRE MILITIA. In writing a short compendium of the records of this grand old regiment-now doomed to ex- tinction—at the outset it will be convenient to state a few particulars anent the regimental headquarters. Welshpool is a borough town situate in the Welsh county of Montgomery. It received its first charter from the Welsh Princes of Powvs, 13th century, together with the burgess lands still possessed by the town. The borough of Welshpool as now defined dates L-ack to the year 1406, that is to say, 150 years before the county of Montgomery was created. The borough bounds have not been altered during the past 500 years. It was owing to the town of Pool being a gar- rison town in 1406 which brought about the ex- tension of the borough to its present great area, 20,426 acres. The ancient royal borough of Montgomery was made the shire town when the county was formed in 1535, but within a few years of that date the whole of the civil and military business of the new shire had gravitated to Welshpool. Following upon the abolition of the old Welsh judicature, some 70 years ago, Newtown began regularly sharing with Welshpool the civil busi- ness of the county, but the military headquar- ters have ever remained in our town. The first muster (so far as records show) of the county Militia occurred in 1574 (15th, Elizabeth). Throughout the Commonwealth period the military government of Montgomeryshire was conducted from the town and castle of Pool. In the official account of the "progress" of the Lord President of Wales and the Marches, in 1684, interesting details are given of the Militia of the county, then under training in Welshpool. The first mention of the Militia in the Record Office documents is dated 25th March, 1763, when S. Hadley. gent., is commissioned" Adjutant to the Militia for the county of Montgomery." The 18th century Pool Middle rate books have frequent entries of the King's stores (Militia armoury), and the names of commissioned a.nd warrant officers then resident in the town. The returns of 1763 show a force of 240 men, not including officers and N.C.().'». In 1764, Edward, Viscount Hereford, succeed- ed Sir John Powell Pryce, Bart., as C.O., with the rank of Lieut-Colonel. Lord Hereford was succeeded by George, Earl of Powis, in 1778. In 1778 a fifth company was added to the regi- ment, and regimental colours were presented. The same year the regiment was marched from Welshpool to Worcester, thence to Cock's Heath in hent, thence to ..ie South Coast, and did not return to headquarters until two years later. In 1782-3 our Militia was away on garrison duty in the south of England, returning to Pool in February, 1783, when it was disembodied. In 1792 came the order for the constant resi- dence of one-third of the N.C.O.'s at headquar- ters. It was at this time that the houses now known as Sergeants' row were erected. In 1793 the Militia was ordered out to Birm- ingham to suppress civil commotions. Thence the regiment was marched to Taunton. Somer- set. In 1794 it was quartered at Mainstone. In 1795 a new company left Pool and joined the main body at Mainstone. In April. 1796, a party of the Montgomery- shire Militia left Ashford barracks for Welsh- pool in order to train the supplementary Militia then being raised in the county. In 1797 a mounted company was formed. In 1798 the Militia returned to Pool, and were disembodied. Records of its service during the Irish rebellion of 1798 are wanting. ° In 1799-1800 the regiment was garrisoning Liverpool. Its strength at that time was eight companies. In 1801-2 the" Montgomerys" were at Ips- wich and other East Anglian centres. On April 12th, 1802, they were disembedied at Welshpool. T- 10/10 iu- — ,i J 1 in fOllr companies (279 privates), but further increased to 418 privates before the end of that year On April 23, 1804, our Militia. became a 1\ú-, ".1 regiment, and that year it was sent to Plymouth cl u on garrison duty. The regiment remained in the south (at several stations) until 1811—seven long anxious years—actively engaged in watch- ing for Napoleon's long-expected onslaught. During the years 1811-1813 the Militia was stationed in Ireland. In 1813-1814 it did garri- son dutv at several places in England. On June 10th, 1814, it arrived at Welshpool, and was dis. embodied on June 24th. The House of Lords passed two resolutions of thanks to the Militia, July 5th, 1814. December 26th, 1814, an order that the sur- geon and paymaster must invariably reside in the town of Pool. Every year following the Peace of 1815 the regiment did its 28 days' training in Welshpool. In 1803 the Montgomeryshire Yeomanry Cav- alry was formed, with headquarters in Welsh- pool. The headquarters have remained in our town since that date—now 105 years. The first commanding officer of the Yeomanry was Col C. W. Williams-Wynn, M.P. (1803-1844). Col Wynn was at one time Minister of War—there- fore Mr Haldane's remote predecessor. In February, 1804, the regular Militia was 475 strong, the local Militia. 350, the Volunteers (cavalry and foot) 1,867. Adding the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th classes of "effectives" (reserves). the total military strength of Montgomeryshire at that date was 11,066 men In 1822 the present depot below Bron y Buck- ley Wood was erected on a 99 years' lease. R.O., Welshpool. October 27th. 1852. The Commanding Officer has the satisfaction to announce to the regiment that they were the first raised in the Principality and the second in England.* This order to be read to the men in billets." Under the new Militia Act, 1852. November 10th, 1852.-The regiment was en. tertained to a sumptuous dinner by the town of Welshpool. During the Crimean war the regiment was permanently embodied. Disembodied June 19th 1856. In 1853 a change was made from Light In- fantry to Rifles." In 1852 the Militia ceased to be a conscript force. In August, 1856, a special detachment of the regiment was assembled when General Sir Percy Herbert (the Quartermaster General) returned home from the Crimea. In 1860 two Volunteer Rifle Companies were formed in Pool—disbanded in 1877. Welshpool now supports one company of Volunteers. In 1861 the regiment became the Montgom- ery and Merioneth Militia," with headquarters at Welshpool. Eventually Merioneth became merged with Carnarvon. August, 1868.—Another's hero's home-coming, this time to Trelydan in this borough. It was Lord Napier of Magdala, who had jusfc arrived from the Abyssinian campaign. A detachment of the Militia received him at Pool station. 1871—Snider (breech-loading) rifles served out to the Militia. The Golfa raDge opened. May 7th, 1872. The old colours of the regi- ment were deposited, with all ceremony and re- spect, in St Mary's Church, Walshpool. 1874.-This year the Montgomeryshire Militia was detached from the 23rd (Welsh Fusiliers) district, and affiliated with the Shropshire (43rd and 53rd) regiments. 1877.—The establishment wae raised to six companies—680 of all ranks. When the Militia. Reservists Act came into operation one-fifth of the regiment became re- servists. Mr D. P. Owen, our present senior magistrate, swore in the first batch, 150 men, in one day. April 28th, 187B.-The Militia reservists left Welshpool for Jersey, returning on July 29th. July let, 1881.—Oat of deferenea to Welsh amourr propre our Militia ceased to he affiliated to an Bagliah c«amaa4, and they keo*aa« the 4th Battalion of the South Wales Borderers. At the same time they ceased to be Rifles, and be- came Light Infantry. Scarlet took the place of the old Rifle green. In 1882 the Martini-Henry rifle was served out to the BQejh oJ May Day, 1883.-The new colours of the Bat- talion were presented by the Lord Lieutenant (the late Earl of Powis), and consecrated. The ceremony took place on Maes Gwastad parade ground. About this time the Golfa range was closed, and a new one opened at Sylfacn. ( In 1886 the Militia began its first regimental camp in Powis Castle Park. These camps con- tinued year by year in the park for 14 years. The last Welshpool camp was in 1899. Then came the South African war, and shoe 1900 the Bat- talion has trained away from headquarters. In 1896 Sylfaen range was closed, and the Militia had to go to Brecon for its class firing. The same year Welshpool Town Council took up the matter of a local rifle range, but every effort in this direction on the part of the town during the past dozen yearfl lias proved futile. Protracted negotiations between the Corpora- tion and War Office (extending over a number of years) have, in the end, all come to naught. Hundreds of pounds have been spent by the- Town Council in surveying and planning differ- ent sites for a rifle range to mtet War (fffice re- quirements. On June 26th. 1896, the Militia formed a guard of honour to his present Majesty (then Prince of Wales) at WTelslipooI station, upon the occasion of the Royal visit to Powvsland and Aberystwyth. June 9th, 1899.-The battalion paraded on Maes Gwastad, and there and then volunteered for foreign service whenever the occasion should arise. This magnificent offer was rejected by i the War Office only some three months before < war broke out in South Africa. The battalion was permanently embodied at Aldershot during the South African war. The Montgomeryshire Yeomanry sent four companies out to the front during the course of the war. The Militia reservists also went out; likewise a section of the Montgomeryshire Vol- unteers. September 6th, 1902.-Lorrl Kitchener dis- tributed war medals in Powis Ca-stle park to the men from South Africa. J Incidentally we may mention that among the I present burgesses of Welshpool are two former Militia Adjutants, to wit, Lieut-Colonel W J Twyferd (Mayor, 1897-8), and Captain G G. Ottley. So long as the Montgomeryshire Militia did its battalion training at Welshpool it kept, up its strength to the full complement. Tt. was oiuv during the past seven or eight years that the strength has gone down. r) By destroying the famous old "Royal Mont- gomerys and other threatened Wolsh units, the fond hope of Wales- to possess a division of her own will be dashed to the ground. By abolishing the Militia depot at Welshpool the whole of Mid-Wales—from the waters of the Dee to the waters of the Wye-somo 2.000 square miles of territory, will be without a sincdo In- fantry depot. 0 The little town of Welshpool is very proud o^%J its military traditions. So strong is the militar^ sentiment of the town that there is scarcelv aii able bodied man among its natives who has not served in one or other arms of the service. A thousand pities it would be to rob a very noble and extensive country-side of its ancient and far-famed military virtues. We have, in effect been advised by an unsympathetic War Office to divest ourselves of these particular virtues. But we cannot, and must not, do this; and we now approach the Minister of War with the view of Ins kind sympathy and encouragement and help.. W elshpool. R.O. January 18th. 1908. Note —In collecting the-e materials together the writer is greatly indebted to the late Colonel R. J. Harrison's industrious researches among the Militia records, 1763-188^ published in Vol XVII. of the Montgomeryshire Collections.

MILITARY INFORMATION.

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