Sunday, 16 July 2017

Mrs Sykes, her son in the 6th Manchester's and the Diggle Hotel ....... part 1 a picture postcard

I am pretty sure that one of these young men staring back at us will be Gordon Radcliffe Sykes, aged 21 of the Diggle Hotel, Diggle.

I just don’t know which one.

But in the fullness of time I might just be able to identify him because I have tracked his parents back to the Diggle Hotel which they were running by the 1880s and in one of those remarkable strokes of luck the present owners have pictures of Mr Sykes on the pub wall.

All of which promises a trip up to Diggle to meet Mr and Mrs Shaw who took the place over in September.*

Already Lynn Shaw has promised to copy some of the photographs and send them down, which will be a start, and will also lead to a whole series of stories about the pub and Mr and Mrs Sykes who were married in 1887.

And that as they say will be the start of a new friendship.

In the meantime I am intrigued by the picture, partly because of the detail and the freshness of the image but also because there is a story here.

When I first saw the card I assumed that here were group of men from the 6th Manchester’s sometime during the Great War but not so for although the inscription on the front carries the title 6th Manchester’s, on the back the location is West South Downs Camp and the postmark on the back dates it to 1910.

And that makes this a photograph of one of the Volunteer Battalions of the Manchester Regiment and suggests they were on a training exercise.

Now I am fully prepared to be corrected on this by someone given that my knowledge of the Manchester’s is still quite limited but if I am right it makes this card quite unique, more so because we can track the Syke’s family and link them to the pub which is still doing the business a century and a bit after James and Lauretta nee Platt were pulling pints in the spring of 1910.

All of which leaves just one last puzzle, because the card was signed S.S.D., and refers to “G having a good time and developing an appatititite.” 

Now I am guessing that G is Gordon who in the spring of 1910 was 21 years old and worked in a machine shop but I have no idea of the identity of S.S.D.

But maybe that trip to the pub will help.

In the meantime I shall have fun reporting back to David Harrop who showed me the card which comes from his extensive collection of memorabilia from the Great War, some of which is on permanent display at the Remembrance Lodge in Southern Cemetery.

Picture: with the 6th Manchester's 1910 at West South Downs Camp, courtesy of David Harrop

*The Diggle Hotel, Station Houses, Diggle, Oldham, Lancashire OL3 5JZ, 01457 872741
Local family takes over historic Saddleworth pub thanks to funding from RBS,  Aimee Howarth, Saddleworth Independent,  HTTP://SADDIND.CO.UK/LOCAL-FAMILY-TAKES-OVER-HISTORIC-SADDLEWORTH-PUB-THANKS-TO-FUNDING-FROM-RBS/

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