Page 117 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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had to land at Little Wigborough, about ten miles from Colchester.
Its commander set it on fire and marched at the head of its crew
towards Colchester. At the village post office he asked the post–
mistress to telephone to the nearest garrison that he wished to
surrender and that he would be grateful for protection against the
civil population. (The casualties in London had been heavy.) A
special constable arrived on the scene by accident and the Germans
surrendered to him. Meanwhile an entire brigade had been sent off
from Colchester to fling a wide cordon round the area, and everybody
who could get away and find some means of conveyance had rushed
to the neighbourhood. The crew were, however, bundled into
lorries and dumped in the Colchester Detention Barracks before
anybody was much the wiser. Early in the afternoon the disconsolate,
lonely and doubtless somnolent orderly officer of the 2nd/6th was
sitting in the officers' mess when the waiter showed in a staff officer
from divisional headquarters and an officer in naval uniform. This
turned out to be Lieutenant Ernst Shirlitz, of the Imperial German
Navy, the second-in-command of L-33 and formerly Chief Navigating
Officer of the Zeppelin Fleet. He was handed over for safe custody,
to be treated like a British officer in close arrest. A quarter was got
ready for him and not only were three stout bolts put on the door
but six sentries, each with fifty rounds of live ammunition, were
stationed round the quarter! The battalion was glad when he was
removed elsewhere.
26th February, 19I7, the battalion went overseas.
It was amalgamated on 20th February, I918, with the 1st/6th
Battalion when the establishment of infantry brigades was reduced
from four battalions to three owing to the acute shortage of man
power. The new battalion was called "6th Battalion The Lancashire
Fusiliers," and was further amalgamated with the I2th Battalion
on 12th August, retaining its title for the reason that a Territorial
Force battalion existing before the war could not be disbanded.
As in the case of the 5th and 6th Battalions, the nucleus of the
7th (Reserve) Battalion was details left behind at the Drill Hall,
Cross Lane, Salford, in August, 1914. It was soon increased by open
recruiting, it being noteworthy that a large number of Salford
Corporation employees, tramway drivers and guards and the like,
joined very early. Recruiting was carried out in Salford, Pendleton
and the surrounding districts. Somewhat later a large draft joined
from Bury and Radcliffe ; while at a later stage drafts came from
Cheshire and Wales.
The first Commanding Officer was Lieutenant-Colonel A.
Bailey. The moves and functions of the battalion were the same as
those of the 2nd/6th Battalion. At Colchester it occupied Hyderabad
Barracks, where it had the task of holding the commander of the
Zeppelin L-33 already mentioned and of supplying the guard over
its remains.