The Lancashire Hussars at Rhyl.

This intriguing photograph is from 1908.  Details of the visit of the Lancashire Hussars to Rhyl have been found in the Rhyl Record and Advertiser over a seven week period from May to July 1908.  This from May 30th:

Today, Friday, the Duke of Lancaster’s own Imperial Yeomanry who will muster about 400 will arrive at the Foryd for their annual training.The site is the same as that occupied by the Church Boys Brigade last August. There are bell tents for the troopers and large marquees for mess purposes, whilst huts have been erected for the officers’ mess. Postal facilities are also provided on the ground, being in charge of Mr John of the Rhyl Post Office.

The bulk of the regiment came in by train today (Friday) but the Liverpool contingent are marching by road, having left Liverpool on Thursday. They make one stopping place en route.

The newspaper of June 6th describes the arrival:

The camping of the men and horses were carried out without a hitch, save that a charger broke away, and racing down to Abergele, was, with difficulty recaptured. Both officers and men have freely fraternised with the Denbigh and Flint Yeomanry at Bodrhyddan and the latter have during the week been shewing them round, as it were. 

Drills, shooting and field exercises have been daily carried out and the men are having anything but an easy time, for the officers are doing their utmost to improve their soldier like qualities. The physique of many of the men is excellent, and it is surprising that large industrial centres can turn out such good types of manhood. On Sunday morning an open air service was conducted in the camp by the Hon. Chaplain Rev. F. Powell, which was well attended and impressive. The camp is rigidly kept closed to all except those who have business there and there is none of the freedom as enjoyed at the Bodrhyddan camp. 

Owing to some disagreement two licensed houses have been put “out of bounds” which means that the troops must not visit them. The inspection and sports take place next week.

On the same page was a report of the ball:

The grand ball which had been so carefully and assiduously arranged by the Advertising Association with a view to making the stay of the Lancashire Yeomanry a pleasant a one as possible was held on Tuesday, but despite the admirable arrangements and careful preparation the attendance was rather disappointing. This may have been due to the troops having had a hard day’s work and not feeling inclined for pleasure, but the result is somewhat disheartening for the promoters. 

The article goes on to list important guests, the patrons etc. Liquid refreshments were supplied by Mr Fred Wallis of the Wynnstay Hotel and dancing was kept up ’til two o’clock. Further newspaper reports over the coming week reveal that the regiment brought its own band. C Squadron, as shown in the photo, is “only 70 strong and coming from Newton le Willows.”

Another article states:

The regiment has daily indulged in useful drill and exercise and on Monday in the broiling sun spent the morning on the sands on the Denbighshire side of the Foryd. The horses were occasionally taken into the water. On Thursday accompanied by the band, the regiment marched to the sands east of the Rhyl pier, much to the delight of the numerous visitors and indulged in various evolutions in a smart and soldier like manner. The men are great favourites in Rhyl owing to their smart appearance and good behaviour. The regimental sports take place on Saturday at 3 o’clock at the camp.

Next week’s paper described the sports which took place in beautiful weather on Saturday afternoon.  Events included: 100 yards race, sword v. sword, bare back wrestling, ¼ mile race, tent pegging, lemon cutting, jumping competition for the officers’ horses, Victoria Cross race and tug o’ war.  In the description of the inspection the paper says:

The men were subjected to a trying time owing to the great heat, and were permitted to dismount and seek shade in the sandhills on every possible occasion. On Thursday operations in the hills were undertaken around Rhyl, concluding with a night attack. 

The last reference is in the paper of July 11th:  The regiment left Foryd Camp on Saturday morning about 5 o’clock, after a training which must rank as the most enjoyable and instructive in the memory of the oldest member.

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