Mansfield & Dist. Battalion
The 1st Mansfield BB company was enrolled in Mansfield in 6th March 1896 at the Stanhope Street Weslyan Sunday Schools adjacent to Bridge Street Methodist Church. The Chaplain was a Rev J Judge. The Captain was a Wm J F Sills, son of a local stone quarry owner and supported by three Lieutenants, H J Alcock, Alfred A Meggitt and an Eric Bartram Hibbert. All three involved in the Sunday school and Band of Hope and later were well known in the business life of Mansfield.
Excerpts from the local press, the Mansfield and North Notts Advertiser –
- 9th August 1895 – Proposed Boys’ Brigade – a meeting was held in the Girls’ Club on Wednesday evening, Mr J Lawson Presiding, to consider the advisability of forming a Boys’ Brigade for Mansfield, Mr Osborne, of Sheffield, who is connected with one of the companies in that city, described the origin of the movement, and showed the advantages of such an organisation, and the meeting was adjourned for further consideration of the subject.
- 24th January 1896 – Boys’ Brigade – A local branch of this organisation was started in the Weslyan Schools, Bridge Street on Friday evening. Mr W J Alcock is in charge of the movement, and a good start was made, over thirty lads being enrolled.
- 19th November 1897 – Boys’ Brigade – the first annual meeting of the Mansfield Company was held in the Weslyan schools on Friday, when Councillor J E Alcock presided. Captain Sills gave a sketch of the history of the Brigade and stated that the membership was 64. Exercises were gone through, and the Rev J Judge (Chaplain) presented prizes for :- Regular attendance to Sergeants J Walker, W Hardy and LCpl Bottamley; Efficiency and smartness, the silver clasp bar to Cpl A Pegg.
The first company meeting had 55 boys attending and by 1901-02 session had 124 Boys on the roll. Unfortunately no records beyond 1910 but probably closed by 1914.
The next BB company was 1st Mansfield Woodhouse, opened on 10th June 1918 based at St Edmunds CoE Church, Mansfield Woodhouse but became discontinued in Feb 1920.
The next Company to open, 20th October 1921, also known as 1st Mansfield Coy. was supported by the Bolsover Colliery Company who owned several collieries in the area. As part of the social support to their employees and families they formed Boys’ Brigade companies based and run on the ethos of the Boys’ Brigade at each pit and were very successful. Their motto was ‘Staunch and True’ and used the Colliery crown as their badge. Other colliery Brigades were at Langwith and Butterley,
1st Mansfield Coy. was based at Sherwood Colliery Lads Club, Birding Street, Mansfield and enrolled with the BB nationally and had St Edmunds Church Mansfield Woodhouse as their church. Their first Captain, a Mr. David Tait had previously been with the 179th Glasgow Coy. and he remained as Capt. till 1934. Mr Reginald Arthur Wallace took over and was Captain till the Colliery closed the premises for redevelopment in 1964.
In the meantime, several more companies opened in nearby places just over the border into Derbyshire at Alfreton, Warsop, South Normanton, Ollerton, Stanton Hill, Kirkby in Ashfield and Sutton in Ashfield. Tibshelf, Blackwell, Selston, Shirebrook, Retford and Belper.
At its best in the 1980’s around the Centenary the Battalion had 11 companies operating.
The attached spreadsheet shows details of the other BB Companies that have been, and at the present time 2021 there are 6th Mansfield, 2nd Sutton in Ashfield and 1st Warsop still open.
An Officers Council was formed on 29th June 1939 and as a Battalion registered on 10th December 1951 as Mansfield and District Battalion.
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