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Salute once more these men of yore,
Who were to conscience true.
And gave their blood for the common good,
On fields of Peterloo

On Sunday 15 August 2010 at 1.00pm, I met up with a large group of people at the G Mex plaza to take part in a rally to bring to the front the suffering of the men, women and children, who took part in a peaceful march from that spot, nearly 200 years ago on the 16 August 1819. Each year it will be held there until 2019, to bring awareness to the people of Greater Manchester.

I was transported back in time to that fatal day, when people had walked from Tameside, many in their best clothes, daring to take time off work to go, talking and laughing as they went along. When they arrived, they could feel the tension mounting, as they saw large groups of soldiers and cannons in different areas. There were an estimated 80,000 people assembled. About 400 constables formed two continuous lines between the hustings. At 1.30pm the Manchester and Salford Yeomanry went in to arrest the people on the hustings and the people linked arms to stop them. Someone shouted that the soldiers were being attacked. Soldiers on horse back charged in: many were drunk and their horses were afraid. They just ran amok and about eighteen people were killed and roughly 500, including 100 women, were wounded.

These are the men and women from the Tameside Area who were injured:

Joseph Brierley, Charlestown, Ashtond John Stafford, Taunton, Ashton
John Britland, Boston, Ashton James Street, Littlemoss
Joseph Buckley, Dukinfield Hall, Dukinfield Ann Taylor, Littlemoss
John Clayton, Charlestown Daniel Taylor, Haughton
Joseph Collins, Dukinfield William Thornley, Droylsden
Ellen Garside, Charlestown John Travis, Taunton
Edward Garside, Charlestown John Walker, Charlestown
Martha Garside, Charlestown Samuel Walker, Hurst, Ashton
Thomas Gobert, Charlestown Henry Whitehead Hurst Ashton
William Goddard, Hurst Ashton Martha Whitehead Charlestown
Thomas Knott, Charlestown James Whitworth Ashton
Betty Ogden, Smallshaw Green John Wild Charlestown
John Seal, Hurst Brook Ashton Mary Wild Charlestown
Robert Seal, Hurst Ashton Joshua Whitworth Hyde Killed shot
Samuel Stafford, Charlestown in the head age nineteen
William Stafford, Charlestown

Most of the injuries were caused through being cut with sabres or being trampled on by horses or by the crowd. The day ended with a massacre at what should have been a peaceful demonstration.

Let us all remember this fateful day and not let it be swept under the carpet. Remember the fields of Peterloo.

Pat Greenwood © 2011

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