By Dennis French
Research from Craven Herald (local paper) for 1912
Friday July 26
Lancashire Fusiliers and Salford East Lancashire Brigade Royal Field Artillery from Manchester, Blackburn, Burnley, Accrington and Halifax will leave by 9 special trains arriving Skipton between 8.35am and 2.55pm.
The East Lancashire Battalions from Burnley, Accrington, Padiham, Haslingdon, Ramsbottom, Bacup, Blackburn, Clitheroe and Darwen and the Manchester Battallion of Infantry from Oldham and Ashton will de-train at Elslack between 9.30am and 3.20pm and march to camp at East Marton.
The Manchester Regiment units from Manchester, Patricroft, Atherton, Leigh and Wigan, and the Royal Engineers and Field Ambulance from Manchester, Bolton and Burnley will de-train at Gargrave between 9.30am and 6.55pm.
The 4th and 5th battalions of the Border Regiment are to be in the Skipton camp and are expected to arrive soon after noon.
The 4th East Lancashire Brigade and Royal Field Artillery from Maryport, Workington and Whitehaven are attached to the Marton camp and will de-train at Gisburn about 2.20pm
The Devonshire Hotel in Skipton will be Divisional Headquarters.
Lancashire Territorials in Craven.
One killed, several injured.
Special sidings at Gargrave.
Group Commander at Gargrave Colonel N. Lee.
Monday July 29th
Rain fell steadily overnight. 4 battalions at Gargrave engaged in Section, Company and Battalion drill. About noon there was a heavy thunderstorm for half an hour, rain fell in torrents.
The East Lancs (East Marton camp) went in to the Broughton district for training but a storm drove them undercover, Lt Green in command. They engaged in singing popular songs and were in the middle of “Tipperary” when a vivid flash of lightning struck, forty men being thrown in all directions.
Poor Private Hutton, aged 23, was leaning against his rifle when the lightning struck and ran down his rifle bursting the butt. He died instantaneously and about 12 others were injured, three seriously. Men threw away their bayonets and rifles for self preservation. Efforts to revive him failed and he was taken to the mortuary at Skipton. The inquest called it a “Act of god”.
On the Wednesday Private Hutton was taken to Skipton station on a gun carriage. The impressive playing of the Funeral March, the slow and mournful steps of the deceased comrades, the sorrow depicted on the members of the Company struck a chord in the hearts of spectators and there were many a moist eye as the procession wound its way to the station.
On the station the band played “Peace Perfect Peace”. The funeral was on Friday in Darwen.
Owing to the wet weather the horses and men have been accommodated at night in Gargrave in the Councils Schools, Parochial Hall, Victoria Hall and private houses. Also at the Vicarage and Coniston Hall.
Tuesday night the Band of the 7th Battalion played in Coronation Square. The playing of the old airs and descriptive pieces was a fine performance. Chairman of the Parish Council, Mr James Hunt called for three cheers.
Gargrave Camp was visited by general McKinnon and General Park.
Wednesday night more rain.
By Friday the weather was fine. Also on Saturday.
Every day has seen the tramp of troops to the beating of drums, the blare of bugles and the music of Brass Bands. The march past on Monday afternoon in the welcome sunshine was a scene which will long be remembered.
Below is a post card sent home from Gargrave camp, it is headed Mud Village Yorkshire”. It gives a glimpse at the conditions.
On a lighter note the annual regimental dinner depicts several scenes from the training camps. Mostly to do with the weather.