The North Wales Comrades

In October 1914 it was reported in the press that Rhyl had been elected as the training ground for the “North Wales Comrades Battalion” of Kitchener’s Army.

photo credit: Lynne Maxwell

On October 5th the Liverpool Daily Post reported that “Batches of recruits are arriving in town daily, and they are compactly billeted on the lodging housekeepers of the west end, while they turn out on the promenade for drilling.  Their instructor is Sergeant Major F.C. Ruscoe, an ex-colour-sergeant-instructor of Volunteers and an old Army man, who was the first to be involved in the new Battalion.”

On the 20th the Liverpool Echo said “It is reported in Rhyl that Colonel Dunn is relinquishing the command of the North Wales Comrades Brigade, and will proceed to Aldershot, his place being taken by Colonel Wynne Edwards of Denbigh, who formerly commanded the Denbighshire Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers (Territorials) establishing a record for the number of men attending a Territorial Camp.  Colonel Wynne Edwards has lately been in command of the German prisoners at Queensferry.”

The Liverpool Daily Post on the 26th described how well the training was going, it said that the Comrades Brigade “is putting in plenty of hard work and route marches have been indulged in. Colonel Wynne Edwards is in command, and recruits are steadily coming forward and every effort is being made to bring the brigade up to full strength.”

Here is another powerful, precious and sad old photograph  – it is perhaps as well that none pictured here could have possibly imagined what lay ahead.

Questions: are the “North Wales ‘Pals’ attached to the Royal Welsh Fusiliers” the same as the “North Wales Comrades Battalion”.  Are they separate entities or did just the name change?  And of course, many more questions; this blogger has no expertise as far as military history is concerned so please comment below if you can add to our understanding.

photo credit: Lynne Maxwell

Many thanks to Lynne Maxwell for sharing these photographs with us.  Lynne comments that in the top photograph is her great grandfather Joseph Williams with his son Joseph Wilson Williams.  Also her Taid, John Ellis Williams and uncle David Williams.

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5 Comments

Filed under Military

5 responses to “The North Wales Comrades

  1. Darryl Porrino

    Colonel Wynne Edwards was in command of the 13th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, formed in Rhyl as a “pals” battalion. It is therefore safe to assume that the Pals and Comrades were one and the same. He was in command until the 19th November. At this time the 13th Battalion came under the orders of the 128th Brigade based in Llandudno.
    Colonel Wynne Edwards later took command of the 21st Battalion, a training reserve battalion based at Kinmel Park Camp.

  2. Thanks for the information Darryl.

  3. Darryl Porrino

    Company Sergeant Major Charles Frederick Ruscoe, the instructor named above was the landlord of the North Wales pub on Wellington Road. He was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant in 1916.

  4. Darryl Porrino

    That should be Frederick Charles Ruscoe!

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