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THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS, 1914-1918
51st Division. The 2nd/5th accordingly left Southport for Bedford
on 17th April, 1915, and became in effect a first-line unit, its draft–
finding and second-line role being taken over by the 3rd/Sth Battalion.
It
crossed to France on 3rd May, 1915, and continued in existence
till 1919.
3RD/STH BATTALION
When the battalion which eventually became known as the
2nd/sth moved from Bury to Mossborough, it left behind it some
details which at first merged with the Sth Battalion Depot at the
Drill Hall at Bury under Major P. G. Gow. A battalion organization
came into being by the middle of October, 1914, with detachments
at Radcliffe and Heywood. The men were billeted in Bury, Radcliffe
and Heywood. Training was carried on over open country near these
towns . Early in November a number of its N.C.Os. and men with
previous experience were selected by Lieutenant-Colonel J. Hall,
V.D. , commanding the Sth (Home Service) Battalion, to join the
latter unit at Southport.
Early in January, 1915, when the 5th (Home Service) Battalion
was acquiring a more active role and was about to be renamed
2nd/5th, Major G. A. Kay relinquished the appointment of second–
in-command to that unit and took command of the troops at Bury.
It
may be said that the 3rd/Sth Battalion dates its existence
properly from this period.
It
continued its training in the Bury
district, though not up to strength, its role being that of reserve to
the 2nd/5th Battalion. In April it was visited by Colonel A. A.
Garstin, commander of the 2nd/1st Lancashire Fusiliers Brigade,
who evidently came to see
if
it was fit to replace the 2nd/5th in his
Brigade. He was satisfied.
The 2nd/5th left Southport for Bedford on 17th April, 1915, and
several drafts were sent from the 3rd/Sth in the last few weeks to
bring it up to strength for going overseas and to replace the few men
who were unfit or unwilling to go abroad.
After the 2nd/5th Battalion had left the 2nd/1st Lancashire
Fusiliers Brigade, later renamed the 197th Brigade, the 3rd/Sth
took its place.
It
was at Crowborough for a while, but moved to
Tunbridge Wells for the winter of 19I5-16. At about this time
Major-General C. ]. Blornfield, C.B., D.S.O., Colonel of the Regiment,
assumed command of the 2nd/1st East Lancashire Division (later
the 66th Division).
In March, 1916, the division moved to Colchester, where the
ba ttalion remained until it left for France on 28th February, 1917.
Just before going abroad the division was inspected by His Majesty
King George V.
It
should be placed on record that the 3rd/Sth, after its inclusion
in
the 66th Division, was officially regarded as a second-line unit.
The battalion was disbanded on 13th February, 1918, on the
reduction gf the establishment of infantry brigades from four
battalions to three.