Page 113 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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THE way in which the British Army expanded from its peace-time
home strength of six Regular and fourteen Territorial divisions
towards the Nation-in-Arms to which it might be likened at the end
of the war was so haphazard, so "amateurish" and so "typically
English" that it is hardly believable and mostly unknown.
is all
the more right, therefore, that the story of the growth of the
Lancashire Fusiliers from two Regular, two Special Reserve and four
Territorial battalions to a total of thirty battalions, though all were
not in existence at the same time, should be recorded. The para–
graphs which follow deal only with those units of the Regiment
which came into being after the outbreak of the war and cover the
period of their inception and growth; the parts played by most of
them in various theatres of war are to be found in the later chapters
of this volume and details of their movements in Chapter IV of
The nucleus of the battalion was the details of Home Service men
left behind by the 5th Battalion (afterwards called the 1st/5th
Battalion) when the latter sailed for Egypt on 9th September, 1914.
The 2nd/5th may therefore be said to have been formed on that date,
though its first Commanding Officer, Lieutenant-Colonel John
Hall, V.D., who had relinquished command of the 5th Battalion in
1912, was not appointed until 25th September.
Recruiting began at Bury as soon as the battalion had an
independent existence, men enlisting for foreign service, with a view
to being sent out to the 1st/5th in due course, or for home service.
The 2nd/5th was at that time called the "5th (Home Service)
Battalion" and was a reserve, draft-finding unit. Recruits were
drawn almost exclusively from Bury, Heywood and Radcliffe and
from most of the industries and occupations in that area: they
flocked in and the battalion was up to strength and had been
divided into companies and partially provided with N.C.Os. before
it moved into camp at Mossborough, near St. Helens, early in
October, and from there to billets at Southport on 19th October, 1914.
But neither arms nor clothing were available for all for a con–
siderable time, and for some weeks some men wore scarlet. Web
equipment was issued in January, 1915; but it was not until April,
1915, that an official issue of "small kits," shirts, cardigan waist
coats and underclothes was made to replace those of civilian pattern