Page 118 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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THE EXPAN
10X
OF THE
AR~[Y
9
1
It went overseas in February, 1917. On 1st July, 1918, after
being reduced to a mere handful by the heavy fighting of the "March
Retreat," and being used as a cadre to train American units, the
battalion was sent home to Aldershot, where on 9th July it ceased to
exist as the 2nd/7th Battalion and became transmogrified into the
24th Battalion.
2ND/8TH BATTALION
The early history of the 2nd/8th Battalion is very similar to that
of the 2nd/6th and 2nd/7th. It was formed at Mossborough on 29th
September, 1914, from details of the 1st/8th, Colonel S. L. Mandle–
berg being appointed to command on that date .
It also marched to Southport on 13th October, 1914.
It
was made
up to strength with untrained recruits straight from civil life, many
of them tramwaymen and dock workers. All of these began their
training in plain clothes, being later in some cases given blue or red
uniforms and slouch hats.
Its moves were the same as those of the other battalions of the
brigade. The home service men left the battalion about July, 1915,
when it definitely became a second-line unit destined for active
service. Even so, it had to send to the 1st/8th Battalion in Gallipoli
a draft of several hundred men, who were replaced in part by men
of an excellent type from Cumberland.
Like the 2nd/7th, it took such hard knocks during the "March
Retreat" that it was reduced to cadre in April, 1918, and after
helping to train American units was disbanded on 31st July, 1918.
9TH (SERVICE) BATTALION
This unit, the first of the "Kitchener" or New .-\.rmy battalions
of the Regiment, was formed at Bury on 31st August , 1914, largely
from workers in cotton mills, coal-mines and large factories in and
round Bury, Bolton and Manchester, but with a few Regular
reservists and many with previous army experience amongst them.
Its first Commanding Officer was Lieutenant-Colonel J. V. F.
Thome, who early took the battalion to a hutted camp at Bolton
Park, Grantham.
Up to November, 1914, men were still dressed in blue uniforms
and had the old long Lee-Enfield rifle, though the new leather
equipment and the short Lee-Enfield rifle were received that month.
In the early summer of 1915 the battalion moved to Witley Camp,
near Godalming in Surrey, and was hurriedly fitted out into khaki
drill and sun helmets before embarking for the Dardanelles on 6th
July, 1915. It did not, however, receive any special training to fit it
for a landing and for fighting on the Gallipoli Peninsula till it reached
Imbros.
It was another victim of the reduction in the size of infantry
brigades and was disbanded on 21st February, 1918.