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Coquet 18-06-2014 04:39 PM

Amble Rifle Club Range
Last Saturday saw the inauguration of the Amble Civilian Rifle Club. It will be remembered that some few months ago a public meeting was held at which it was decided to form a club, and a set of officers and committee were appointed to make the necessary arrangements for its formation. This was done, and among other things, it was also decided to apply for a grant from the Astor Fund, which consisted of a sum of money and rifles to assist the club to commence operations. This was duly promised and accepted, but several months elapsed before the club were able to obtain their rifles from the Government authorities who issued them. However, as soon as they were received, preparations were made to open the club. There was a fair muster of members at the club's range on the Links last Saturday afternoon, and the proceedings were characterised by evident enthusiasm. The person chosen to perform the opening ceremony was Miss Carse, who, promptly at 2 o'clock, fired the first shot, the bullet finding its way to the bull's-eye of the target, 200 yards away. With this, she declared the range duly open amid the plaudits of those present.

Councillor .J. T. Case, in the course of his remarks, said it had given him much pleasure to be present at the opening ceremony of the Amble Civilian Rifle Club, and hoped that there was a good future in store for it, and he was sensible of the honour they had conferred upon his daughter in asking her to perform the opening ceremony.

Referring to the late war in South Africa, he said he did not believe the reports that were circulated at the time about the bad marksmanship of the British soldiers, but he believed that they would hold their own, as they had done in the Peninsular War, Waterloo, and other famous battles, both by land and sea. He was sorry when they heard that the old Volunteer Corps had been disbanded, but was glad that that Civilian Club had sprung up to practically take its place. Mr. Carse, continuing, said that Governments, whether Liberal or Conservative, had never given sufficient encouragement to the Volunteer movement in the country. In his opinion, this was a great mistake, for, he understood that a number of smaller corps had been disbanded owing to lack of funds. In conclusion, Mr. Carse wished the club every success, and hoped that amongst their members there would be Bisley winners in embryo. (Loud applause.)

Al the conclusion of his speech Mr. Carse, who is the patron of the club, together with the Rev. C. E. Baldwin (vice-president), indulged in some shooting at the target, and these gentlemen proved themselves to be no mean shots.

A competition afterwards followed at 200 and 500 yards' range. It may be stated that the range, which is one of the best in the county, once belonged to No. 5 Company of the 2nd Northumberland Percy Artillery Volunteers, and it was through the kindness of Col. Mangin, who was Colonel of the Corps, that the range was handed over to the Amble Civilian Rifle Club. The club, in a very important way, fills the vacant places amongst riflemen made by the disbandoning of this famous corps. It has, so far, been very successful, and will, in all likelihood, become more successful in the future. It is the intention of the club to commence, in the immediate future, a Morris Tube Range in connection with the club, which will do duty for the members in the winter months.
[Morpeth H. 31st Oct 1903]

Coquet 18-06-2014 04:40 PM

Nice to see the Vicar letting loose a few rounds. Vicars. Not what they used to be. :D

Coquet 18-06-2014 04:44 PM

Now I've found a few foil Martini Henry cartridge cases on the links. Always wondered why these were there. Reason is the range belonged to the Artillery Volunteers in the Victorian period.

Coquet 18-06-2014 04:52 PM

Some of the shooters on this Amble range did remarkably well, including one of the Widdringtons, who went on to win one of the top Bisley prizes in the 30s (Although he was also a Cavalry officer at the time).

Now the Club were handing out silver medals, spoons and cups on a regular basis - anyone seen any of this 'prize' material? or has it all been scrapped?

Coquet 18-06-2014 06:22 PM

1906 Season opening:


The members of the Amble Civilian Rifle Club held their opening on Saturday last. There were a good many present. Opening ceremony was performed by Mr W. Sanderson of Eastfield Hall, Warkworth. Mr Sanderson fired the opining shot, and then declared the range open for the season. Mr. A. P. Scott then stepped forward, and proposed their very hearty thanks be given to Mr. Sanderson for his kindness in coming down there to open their range.
They all knew of the very great interest he had always taken in rifle clubs. He asked them to accord him a very hearty vote of thanks.—Mr. Sanderson, in thanking the company for their vote of thanks, said it had given him very great pleasure indeed to be there that day to open the new targets. He congratulated the Amble Civilian Rifle Club in having acquired those splendid new targets. He thought that everyone ought to be interested in the promotion of those clubs, because he believed that they ought to be prepared for emergencies.
He believed that for any young man to learn the use of the rifle was not only advantageous to him from a physical point of view, but also from a point of view of self defence. (Applause)
Several gentlemen present then proceeded to shoot at the new moveable targets, which were pronounced to be a great success. A strong wind was blowing at the time, which made straight shooting somewhat difficult. Nevertheless Mr. Sanderson scored a "magpie".

Coquet 18-06-2014 06:26 PM

Movable targets. Interesting.

Sanderson was to lose two sons in the Great War. (They are commemorated on the Warkworth War Memorial)

Alan J. 18-06-2014 07:31 PM

Ridley English, who had a small farm in the dip of the Broomhill road below where the Cliff House farm stood, was a marksman at Bisley every year for many years. His farm was demolished when the opencast came along.
I was a member of the Amble British Legion Rifle Club which used the range at the drill hall in Scot street. The club folded in the late 1960's, Bob Lisle, who incidently lived in the house on Church street recently mentioned as Krause House, was the secretary of the club and had been associated with shooting for many years, he was probably one of the originals from the Links range days.

janwhin 20-06-2014 09:55 AM

Now that's triggered a memory. There used to be a silver cup in my grandparents' home, a Bisley award to one of my uncles. It would have been from the 1930s.

Coquet 27-06-2014 09:44 AM


I was a member of the Amble British Legion Rifle Club which used the range at the drill hall in Scot street. The club folded in the late 1960's, Bob Lisle, who incidently lived in the house on Church street recently mentioned as Krause House, was the secretary of the club and had been associated with shooting for many years, he was probably one of the originals from the Links range days.

There are regular mentions of two Lyalls (brothers?) in the reports of the doings of the club. One which is an R. Lyall. They had a Lyall cup as well:

Amble Rifle Club
Mr. T. L. McAndrews presided over the annual meeting and presentation of prizes in connection with the Amble Rifle Club, which took place in the Masonic Hall, Amble. The secretary Mr. W. M. Davison, submitted a satisfactory report.
Congratulations were extended to Councillor A. E. Green on winning the Volunteer Force Challenge Cup at Bisley, while Lieut. Widdrington, son of Brig-General Widdrington, their patron, won the coveted Stock Exchange trophy, also the Wimbledon Cup.
Flying Officer J. Sample and T.R.T. Carr-Ellison were members of the team which gained the inter squadron trophy at Bisley last year.
The following were the winners of the club challenge cups —
Widdrington Cup, A. E. Green;
Lyall Cup, W. M. Davison;
Hepple Cup, A. E. Green:
Thompson Cup and Club Championship: 1, Dr. L. V. McNabb; 2 W. M. Davison: 3. A. E. Green.
Donegal Badge —Flying Officer J. Sample, Loughirst.
Officials, elected were: president, Brigadier-General B. F. Widdrington: secretary, W. M. Davidson; treasurer, R. Lyall.
[Morpeth H. 12 Feb 1937]

Coquet 27-06-2014 09:49 AM

There's a report in the papers regarding the club at the start of the Great War, with some of the members in the army at this time. The digital version is poor quality and difficult to read, but I'll have a go tonight at a transcription.

I assume these guys would be destined to be snipers?

Coquet 27-06-2014 09:51 AM

The club was finished before WW2, There is a report on its closure as well.

Coquet 27-06-2014 10:09 AM

Back to the Artillery Volunteers; they also used a range at Warkworth, firing across the track down to the beach. This appears on the 1896 map but not the 1922.

Coquet 27-06-2014 10:17 AM

I've discovered another range on the maps at Chibburn, firing near Dunbar Burn. Again it's on the 1896 map and gone by the 1922:

Coquet 27-06-2014 10:43 AM

These four round ended bullets for the 303 Lee-Enfield Rifle are from Amble Beach. Centre is a pointed end 303 bullet in its cartridge case, for comparison. [All fired or inert]

Now the pointed bullet was introduced in 1911*; this fixed some of the ballistic instability of the round end bullet that had given the shooter and rifle a bad name. After this it was onwards and upwards for the Lee-Enfields.

*Many other countries had adopted a pointed bullet earlier, so we were behind the curve on this one)

Coquet 27-06-2014 10:44 AM

I thought our metal detectorists might have bags of Snider/Martini-Henry bullets to show us?? (or some other Percy Volunteer Artillery Carbine ammo?)

Coquet 27-06-2014 11:04 AM


Originally Posted by janwhin (Post 4294)
Now that's triggered a memory. There used to be a silver cup in my grandparents' home, a Bisley award to one of my uncles. It would have been from the 1930s.

Has the award not made it into the papers Janwhin?

Coquet 27-06-2014 03:41 PM

Found these two oldies on Amble beach. No idea what they are. Can't find identical ones online. Possibly Martini Henry???

Coquet 27-06-2014 06:18 PM

Morpeth H. 25th June 1915


The annual meeting of the Amble Civilian Rifle Club was held in the C.E. School, Amble on Friday night. Mr. J. Winter presided.

The chairman said it gave him pleasure to preside over their meeting once more. Little did they think at their last meeting that before the next meeting England would be in one of the greatest crises the world had ever seen. How often at the annual meetings had the subject of training young men in the art of rifle shooting, and among those who had spoken was Mr. W.J. Sanderson, of Eastfield, who had made earnest and eloquent appeals to the young men of Amble to join the Rifle Club and make themselves expert shots, for, said he, if ever an invasion of England should be attempted by any foreign power, then they would be in a position to defend their country.
The chairman went on to say that he was afraid that that appeal had fallen on deaf ears, for the rifle club did not increase its membership in the way it should have done. But this much could be said, that the members who numbered twenty had been ............ to the club and had at ......... ....... ..... year in year out........... ....... ........ ....... ....... .......... ... whole of the county of Northumberland. They had won the Astor Cup four or five times........ ... .... ... team to Bisley ....... ...... .......... ....... ......... and one of their members, Mr. Green, was one of the best shots in the county.
The secretary, Corpl. F.M. Young, then gave his annual report. He said the club started the season in March 1914, and still maintained their high standard of shooting. They .... ... the Astor Cup...... ........ ....... between the Amble Club and the City of Newcastle National Reserve..... .... ......... .......... .......... ........ .......... ........... ......... The secretary went on to say that if ...... ...... their members ..... ...... Bisley and shot in the various competitions ..... .......especially Mr. A.E. Green .....won....... in the Newspaper Shoots. .... ......All ..... Aggregate and .... .... .... .... Reporting back to the club ..... ........ ...... ..... to the war and .... .... ...... ............ ........ .... in procuring ammunition they had to close the season earlier than usual.

Many Members of their club were away on active service or on home defence and probably they had found their knowledge of rifle shooting very useful and beneficial to them.
He then read the names of those who had joined His Majesty's forces: G.W. Beattie, R.A.M.C.; Frank Balambra, 7th N.F.; Mrs. Cresswell, Hospital in France; J.B. Cresswell, Royal Navy; J. Carse 5th N.F.; O. Earnshaw, North. Hussars; J. Greenwell, musketry instructor; R.D. McInnes, 18th N.F.; R.R.S. Martin, R.A.M.C.; J. Robertson, 7th N.F.; Wm. Ramsay, 19th N.F.; C. Turner, 7th N.F.; H.Taylor, 7th N.F.; E.Taylor 7th N.F.; F.M. Young (hon. sec.), 5th N.F.
Mr. A.E. Green then submitted the financial statement which showed a balance in hand of 6 1s 6d. This was considered satisfactory and was adopted. Mr. Green moved that the present officers and committee stand as they were and that permission be granted to the secretary and treasurer to continue the business of the club, apart from the shooting, and gather in the annual subscriptions and make the necessary payments that might be incurred. Mr. J.H. Lyall seconded, and it was agreed to.
The following were the winners of the monthly shoots held in 1914 and were each presented with a silver spoon. The chairman made the presentations as follows:- A.E. Green, A Barnes, T. Barnes, F.M. Young, J. Wilson and E. Coulson, sen.
Mr. R. Lyall was awarded the Donegal Badge.

Coquet 27-06-2014 06:59 PM

F.M. Young = Francis Matthew Young = Painter and Decorator = Rifle Brigade during WW1?
One of yours Hollydog? was he a sniper in the war? Or is this someone else?

[off topic but I have a list of the snipers in the 18th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, drawn up by their sniper sergeant - I keep it under lock and key :) ]

hollydog 27-06-2014 08:18 PM

Thanks Coquet, that is my great grandfather. He was an NF Reserve and went with the Rifle Brigade because of his shooting to Egypt later in the war. My father says there are spoons and medals knocking about but they may take a bit of finding, leave it with me!

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