History Of The 41/47 RTRA Oldham Branch

1809. Records show that a volunteer militia was in existence with its headquarters in Oldham.
1859. The first company of the 31st Lancashire Volunteers was formed, consisting of 100 men; the entrance fee for all ranks was three guineas, with an annual subscription of one guinea. The first enrolments were recorded on the 5th December 1859. The Uniform was grey with a semi-shako as head-dress.
1860. Formation of the 2nd and 3rd companies, and the Fife and drum band is formed.
1861. The first regimental colours are produced by the ladies of Oldham and presented at Chadderton Park.
1862. The 4th company is formed, (The Irish Company).
1863. Amalgamation with the 23rd Lancashire Volunteers (Ashton) and designated the 7th Administration Battalion The Lancashire Volunteers.
1868. The 5th (Royton) and 6th (Oldham) Companies are formed, the battalion is equipped with Enfield muzzle-loading rifles.
1871. The battalion is re-equipped with dark green uniform with red facings, and semi-shako with a black and red bob.
1877. The uniform facings changed to light green and a busby replaces the shako.
1880. The title of the combined Oldham and Ashton battalions was changed to the 23rd Lancashire Rifle Volunteers, and the head-dress changed to a helmet.
1881. In this year the title of the combined Oldham and Ashton battalions was changed yet again to the 7th Battalion The Lancashire Volunteers. The uniform was changed to red with green facings.
1882. Two new companies formed, and on the 29th July the Oldham and Ashton battalions parted company and the Oldham battalion became the 22nd Lancashire Rifle Volunteers.
1883. The title changed to the 6th Volunteer Battalion The Manchester Regiment. The battalion received its first government grant of 35 Shillings per man per annum, (£1.75p in today’s currency). The men were first issued with haversacks, water bottles and mess tins. Some soldiers had specialist training as machine gunners, signaller’s, pioneers and cooks. The first promotion examinations were introduced for officers, and the battalion was first recognised as an effective home defence unit.
1907. The name of the regiment changed to the 10th Battalion The Manchester Regiment and became part of the new Territorial Army. The ladies of Oldham presented new colours.
1914/18. The regiment distinguished itself in many campaigns during the First World War, in Egypt, Gallipoli and France. The 10th lost 52 Officers and 586 other ranks nearly all local men, including Second Lieutenant James Kirk VC, killed at Ors, France and Private Walter Mills VC, (Citations follow) a machine gunner who died of gas poisoning at Givenchy, France. Private Mills is an ancestor of Mr Walter Mills (Ex 41st & 40/41st RTR) and the current Treasurer of the RTR Association.
MILLS, Walter.
Private, 1/10th Bn The Manchester Reg’t.
British Army.
World War 1.
. 23.
Deed. On 10/11 December 1917 at Givenchy, France, after an intense gas attack a strong enemy patrol tried to rush our posts, the garrisons of which had to be overcome. Private Mills although badly gassed himself, met the attack single handed and continued to throw bombs until the arrival of reinforcements and remained at his post, until the enemy had been finally driven off. While being carried away he died of gas poisoning but it was entirely due to him that the enemy was defeated and the line remained intact.
KIRK, James.
Second Lieutenant.
10th Bn The Manchester Regiment.
British Army.
World War 1.
Deed. On 4 November 1918 north of Ors, France the battalion was attempting to bridge the Oise Canal. In order to cover this difficult operation Second Lieutenant Kirk took a Lewis Gun and under intense machine-gun fire paddled across the canal and opened fire. Further ammunition was paddled across to him and he continued to provide cover for the bridging party until he was killed. His courage and self-sacrifice enabled two platoons to cross the bridge and prevented many casualties.
1938. As part of the mechanisation of the army, and in preparation for the coming war, six infantry battalions of the Territorial Army were selected to convert into Tank Battalions of the Royal Tank Corps (RTC). So distinguished had the 10th become that they were selected and became the 41st Battalion Royal Tank Corps. At the same time the 7th Battalion The Kings Regiment (Liverpool) became the 40th RTC.
1939. On the 4th April 1939 further reorganisation of the army saw the combining of the newly mechanised cavalry with the battalions of the Royal Tank Corps, to form a single Corps to be known as the Royal Armoured Corps (RAC). All units of the Royal Tank Corps became known as battalions of the Royal Tank Regiment. (RTR). At the same time the establishment of the TA was doubled and six more Regiments (RTR) were formed including the 47th (Oldham) Bn Royal Tank Regiment, (TA) based with the 41st RTR at Rifle Street Oldham.