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Between These Shores

One Came Back: Archaeology & Poetry of 'Hill 60' at Redmires

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One Came Back: Archaeology & Poetry of Hill 60 at Redmires/ A modern Archaeological Site
WW1 Postcards & Music/Scenes of Old Sheffield
jgoodwin.jpg
John Goodwin 1914

 
 
 
 
Training Area of
The Sheffield City Battalion
of WW1 
 
 
 
Surviving Earthworks
of 'Hill 60',
Redmires, Sheffield
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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WW1 memorial, Laughton-en-le-Morthen, S. Yorkshire (by a. c. geraghty)

Redmires, located to the west of the city of Sheffield in Yorkshire, England, was the training area of The Sheffield City Battalion.  The latter was included as one of several themes of interest presented at South Yorkshire Archaeology Day, organised by South Yorkshire Archaeology Service and The Institute For Lifelong Learning, University of Sheffield.
 
On 16th November 2002, an assessment and delivery was given of the site by project Co-director, Helen Ullathorne.  The poem 'One Came Back', written in Yorkshire dialect by Adele C. Geraghty (See below for both Yorkshire and standard English versions), was delivered as part of this presentation by Dr. Phil Sidebottom and was inspired by his maternal grandfather, WW1 veteran John Goodwin (photo above right) This was later accompanyed by 'Tread Softly, Here Lies My Dream (A Mother's Words)', depicting the sorrow for a son lost in battle.
 
Knowledge of Hill 60 at Redmires is growing and on 4th November 2003, BBC Time Flyers broadcasted their sensitive coverage of this site. Further field survey will continue until the whole site is recorded fully.  A brief description of the archaeological features is here related.
               *****************************************************

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Redmires training area, Hallam Moors, in the mist of morning

     A recent archaeological survey, revealed a complex of previously unrecorded earthworks on the often mist-covered moorlands to the west of the city of Sheffield.  These took the form of ground surface depressions and what appeared to be small enclosures on the south side of two small hills, close to Redmires Reservoirs.  Further survey, over two seasons, together with archival research, was able to identify these as the remains of the WW1 trench-warfare training area of the Sheffield City Battalion of 1914-15.  

     The Battalion was formed in 1914 from local volunteers and was stationed at Redmires Camp, approximately 2 km. to the east: this later served as an Italian POW camp during the Second World War.  As with most battalions of this period, a large amount of training was undertaken in preparation for trench warfare in Europe.  This training is recorded as being ‘on the hills above Redmires Camp’ although, until 1999, its location appears to have been lost from record and memory.  The men knew the training ground as ‘Hill 60’ the name of which, we understand, was also given to a battle entrenchment near Ypres.  Training at Redmires lasted only 8 or 9 months before the Battalion left for overseas service.   Several died in the process of training and approximately two-thirds of the men eventually lost their lives at the battle of the Somme.

     The survey found that a series of upstanding earthworks were accompanied by sinuous depressions running around the top of one of the hills to the south, west and north.  Some small mounds and dugouts were located on the eastern side of the hill and there appeared to be a possible machine-gun emplacement near the summit.  In the adjacent enclosure to the east were more trench depressions and small dugouts with a series of low embankments close to the summit which also contained the former workings of a sandstone quarry.  

     Most trench-warfare training areas have not survived subsequent farming and nearly all have now been lost.  Therefore, the site is considered to be of national importance.  ‘Hill 60’ still survives as a monument to the men of Sheffield who gave their lives, voluntarily, to one of the most horrific wars the world has seen so far.  Time, and the advance of agricultural progress, will, sooner or later, obliterate the site and this physical reminder of a very important period of our history, will be lost unless the site is recognised as the monument of national importance that it deserves to be.

P. C. Sidebottom
November, 2002

   
Below is a sample plan of the earthworks and trench depressions. The trenches at the eastern side of the complex are not shown, although are substantial. It shows the upstanding earthworks close to a quarry, together with associated trenches.  The plans and enhanced aerial photograph serve to demonstrate the complexity and intensive effort invested in this area of training.

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The greatest concentration of trenches appeared on the eastern side, as shown on the enhanced aerial photo below.

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 A Tribute To
The Sheffield City Battalion
of WW1

1915b.jpg
'Towards Victory', WW1 French Postcard

Tread Lightly, Here Lies My Dream
(A Mother's Words)
 
He was just a lad.
He touched spider webs after rain
and cried when his puppy died.
I remember this scene, 
as I part my curtains and watch,
reluctant to gaze upon revelry.
They're all feeling gay today,
those people in the streets.
Of course, they didn't know him.
To them, he was simply
another child.
Unshared responsibility.
Someone else's dream.
 
He played games,
up and down and inside-out
and he learned to go away
and never pouted.
Brave boy, stout,
marching in another's shadow.
Stretching his full height
to fill the void,  pushing pride
to it's limits.
 
I wonder if someone might have said,
"Lad, you're a man now."
and rattled off a list of tattered cliches.
I wonder if someone might have said,
"This is how it's done.",
then showed him the way and issued his gun.
I wonder if that someone has a son.
Surely someone must have known,
as I do now, as certainly as
I still feel the pain of labour,
that he was faceless in the crowds;
slipping through rows of  booted babies.
All blood being red, after all,
who would recall? 
 
No smiling moon, sifting dreamdust
on sleeping cherub cheeks,
only another martyr
for the children's crusade.
Like home, when the lights went out
in a storm, he died in the dark.
 
I hear beyond the curtain,
voices like a stream,
the women on our street saying,
"He was such a lad!
Talking of  pranks and silly annoyances,
hadn't they already decided
he'd never amount to much anyway?
Someone else's problem.
Someone else's dream.

They've packed him away
with their linen and doilies,
swallowed him in mincing bites
along with their social teas
and apricot brandy,
buried him in their rubbish bins
with yesterdays newspapers
and hung flags in their windows,
only God knows why,
and I watch him evaporate
like steam on a window glass,
while all his little dolls weep
for my lost dream.

One Came Back
The Sheffield City Battalion WW1
(Yorkshire Dialect Version)
 
Aye! Once t' word wen' out it wur n' long;
England declared war upon t' Hun.
Nair a month 'ad passed before wi knew it,
T' Berlin~via Corn Exchange', wuz sung.
 
T' War Office called fur a Battalion,
England needed us, wuz all wi 'eard.
Fight, wi would, till t' battle's won,
'n fur England's glory wi volunteered.
 
Linin' up t' broadcloth 'n t' wovens,
a' t' Corn Exchange wi pledged us lives;
five 'undred from Sheffield in just 'ours,
packed us things n' lef' t' kids 'n wives.
 
Wur Sund'y mornin', a rate good day,
'n t' missis wuz standin' by t' stove;
dint say much as Ar put down us duffel,
give 'er an 'ug n' showed 'er shi wur luved.
 
A great mam shi wur, 'n blessed,
t' put up wi' t' likes o' me;
a thousand 'n more just like 'er,
smilin' fur their men the' knew might dee.
 
Wi left Redmires in t' early mornin',
n' it rained an 'ard rain, cold 'n bleak.
No posh parade t' mark us goin',
jus' a fas' look back at 'ome between t' sleet.
 
Sum wur sure we'd arl be 'ome nex' Chris'mas,
while others furr'ed brows in discontent;
But arl but none knew sum o' us wud dee there,
left under t' sod wur wi'd bin sent.
 
Ar nivver tho't A'd ivver tred on French sod,
but orders wur that wi wud tek Serre.
T' trenches wur a rubble from t' Hun shot
and Ar dont pretend Ar nivver felt 'n fear.
 
The' marched us forth a' mornin', all in good time,
wi rolled on lark waves before a beach;
fast 's one took foothold on t' front line,
t' fire spread a blanket in t' breach.
 
Ar dunno wha' 'appened a' t' wire,
but no way through lef' most o' rus t' bleed,
marched us straight t' 'ell in only minutes,
downed 'alf o' rus before wi did t' deed.
 
T' German's  picked us uniforms lark feathers,
their bullets robbed t' fledgelin's o' their flight.
Lark a cat 'ho won't give up t' plaything,
Hun shot t' dead, lark targets, just fur spite.
 
 
Wi left us brothers 'ung like rags, in tatters,
fell into a trench t' moan n' bleed,
slep' lark whelps w' legs n' arms a tangled;
them that wur still livin' giv us 'eat.
 
Sum 'ad t' shock, n' nivver knew no choices,
but wi drew comfort through t' blood n' stench;
'eathered moors n' sweet-skinned women's voices;
Aye! Wi wove dreams o' Sheffield in that trench!
 
Wi went back t' wives n' Sund'y dinner,
met agin at T' Olde Queen's 'Ead, an age;
more quiet than Ar knew a crowd could mutter,
drank us best n' swall'ed down t' rage.
 
Ar set about us funkshun, as if A'd nivver left,
t'  baker, tinker, cutler arl did as rate.
Nowt lef' t' dee fur, just an 'onest day o' work,
a tad o' soup, spuds n' sum meat.
 
Life goes on, n' so it must be tekken;
Gentry forgot t' fodder ge'en t' French;
but Ar came 'ome n' dun't furget thur story,
n' there i'nt nah glory in a trench.
 
Ar dun't say much, unless I's asked, but call a spade a spade,
if aske t' speak us mind, t' truth be much!
A'd say t' only wasted wur t' Sheffield souls wi laid;
Aye! There nivver wur nah glory in a trench!
 
 
By Adele C. Geraghty
Autumn 2002
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
To hear 'One Came Back' read aloud, see Yorkshire Dialect
 
 
 
 

Further WW1 & Sheffield Battalion Links:

For further information on the research into'Hill 60',
contact Dr. Phil Sidebottom:
 

WW1 Postcards & Music/Scenes of Old Sheffield

For Andrew C. Jackson's comprehensive historical study
and archival material see The Sheffield City Battalion

Coverage of Hill 60 at Redmires

Music: Trumpet Sounds Last Call For The Missing.

WW1 Poetry Links:

WW1 Poet Wilfred Owen: Greater Love

WW1 War Poetry

warpoetry.co.uk

Women's WW1 poetry and verse

***Sonnets Of WW1 Poets

First World War & Poetry Links

Sheffield, Yorkshire & Other UK Links:

I Dig Sheffield Archaeology in The Peak District

South Yorkshire Features: Picture Sheffield

Sheffield Forum

Sheffield Live: Radio

sotimini.gif

Simunye: Intercultural Arts & Enterprise

***Yorkshire Dialect Verse

***Yorkshire Poet David Green

Old Yorkshire Links

Down Your Way Magazine: Yorkshire History

Dalesman, Yorkshire Magazine

YorkshireTour.co.uk

Listings, England: Yorkshire and Others

Whitby Online

Mysterious Britain: Legends, Folklore & Myths

'The Boy With The Leaking Boot': Cleethorpes

Treak Cliff Cavern, Castleton

Visit York

St. Hywyn's Church, Aberdaron, Wales

Regional Arts Directory

United Kingdom Directory

One Came Back
The Sheffield City Battalion WW1
(Standard English Version)
 
Once the word went out it wasn't long;
England declared war upon the Hun.
Near a month had passed before we knew it,
'To Berlin via Corn Exchange' was sung.

The War Office called for a Battalion.
England needed us, was all we heard.
Fight, we would, until the battle's won,
And for England's glory we volunteered.

Lining up the broadcloths and the wovens,
At the Corn Exchange we pledged our lives;
Five hundred from Sheffield in just hours,
Packed our things and left the kids and wives.

T'was Sunday morning, a real fine day,
And the missus was standing at the stove;
Didn't say much as I put down my duffel,
Gave her a hug and showed her she was loved.

A great mum she was, and blessed,
To put up with the likes of me;
A thousand and more just like her,
Smiling for their men they knew may die.

We left Redmires in the early morning,
And it rained a hard rain, cold and bleak.
No posh parade to mark us going,
Just a fast look back at home between the sleet.

Some were sure we'd all be home next Christmas,
While others furrowed brows in discontent;
But all but none knew some of us would die there,
Left beneath the sod where we'd been sent.

I never thought I'd ever tread on French sod,
But orders were that we would take Serre.
The trenches were a rubble from the Hun shot
And I don't pretend I never felt no fear.

They marched us forth at morning all in good time,
We rolled on like waves before a beach;
Fast as one took foothold on the front line,
The fire spread a blanket in the breach.

I don't know what happened at the wire,
But no way through left most of us to bleed,
Marched us straight to hell in only minutes,
Downed half of us before we did the deed.

The German's picked our uniforms like feathers,
Their bullets robbed the fledglings of their flight.
Like a cat who won't give up the plaything,
Hun shot the dead like targets, just for spite.

We left our brothers hung like rags, in tatters,
Fell into a trench to moan and bleed,
Slept like whelps with legs and arms all tangled;
Those that were still living gave us heat.

Some had the shock and never knew no choices,
But we drew comfort through the blood and stench;
Heathered moors and sweet-skinned women's voices;
Aye! We wove dreams of Sheffield in that trench!

We went back to wives and Sunday dinner,
Met again at The Olde Queen's Head, an age;
More quiet than I knew a crowd could mutter,
Drank our best and swallowed down the rage.

I set about my function as if I'd never left,
The baker, tinker, cutler all did as well.
Nothing left to die for, just an honest day of work,
A tad of soup, spuds and some meat.

Life goes on and so it must be taken,
Gentry forgot the fodder given the French,
But I came back and don't forget their story;
And there aint no glory in a trench.

I don't say much, unless I'm asked,
but call a spade a spade,
If asked to speak my mind, the truth is much!
I'd say the only wasted were the Sheffield souls we laid.
Aye! There never was no glory in a trench!
 
 
 
 

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WW1 LINKS:

***Imperial War Museum

The Great War Society

****Women and War: Encyclopaedia of the First World War

The Archaeology of The Western front 1914-1918

Victoria Cross Reference

***The Heritage of The First World War 1914-1918: Multi-lingual Site Includes Vivid Photos & WW1 Music

***Tony Novosel's The Great War Web Site

***Chris Baker's The Long Long Trail: The Story of The British Army of 1914-1918

Chris Baker's The Great War Forum

***Chris Baker's Great War Family Research: Tracing WW1 Soldiers

****Esther MacCallum-Stewart's The First World War and Comedy

Canadian Military Heritage Project: Finding Military Ancestors

54th Bn Canadian Infantry 1915-1919

Old Contemptibles Great War Site

***Trenches On The Web: WW1 Music

War Memorials of Wolverhampton

***Juan Antonio's WW1 Postcards: An extensive collection from Spain, Britain, France, Germany & America

Propaganda Postcards of The Great War

Retro Photo: Vintage postcard sales/Online catalogue

Post Card Information Resources from San Francisco Bay Area Post Card Club at postcard.org

WW1 Photos & Music: Books & Videos