Hundreds of volunteers to take King’s Shilling again
Seven hundred ‘volunteers’ will take the ‘King’s Shilling’ in Chester on Sunday (September 7) in a unique recreation of military history…. and one Cheshire village’s amazing devotion to its country.
Just as they did one hundred years ago the Port Sunlight volunteers – all then employees of Lever Brothers – will travel to Chester to be enlisted into the 13th Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment, on Castle Square.
The 21st Century ‘recruits’ will listen to the same stirring speech delivered on September 7,1914, by General Sir Henry Mackinnon – who had sanctioned the raising of The Pals Battalion – before being handed replica King George V Shillings by First World War recruitment Sergeants.
Payment of a shilling to army recruits on enlistment dates back to the English Civil War but the phrase “taking the King or Queen’s Shilling” has persisted throughout history.
Today’s Port Sunlight volunteers will take part in a Great Send Off parade from Unilever Gates to the local railway station before arriving at Chester station at 11.30am.
After marching to the Cathedral behind the Lyceum Brass Band they will join the parade to commemorate the Battle of Mons in which the 22nd Cheshire Regiment sustained huge losses in the first battle involving the British Expeditionary Force.
Over 1000 people – including ex-servicemen and women and dignitaries from across the Diocese and beyond – will attend a special service to be conducted by the Bishop of Chester.
The service will be followed by a joint parade through the city, led by the band of the Mercian Regiment, moving off from the Cathedral around 12.45 pm and arriving at the Castle Square recruitment ceremony at 1pm.
The salute in Watergate Street will be taken by The Lord Mayor of Chester, Councillor Bob Rudd, the Lord Lieutenant, Mr David Briggs and Brigadier Ian Cave, Cheshire Colonel of the Mercian Regiment and President of the Cheshire Regiment Association.