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THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS, 1914-1918
10TH (SERVICE) BATTALION
The 10th Battalion was composed of recruits, largely from Bury,
Preston, Wigan and the neighbouring districts, who enlisted
im–
mediately after war broke out, with a stiffening of a few reservists
and a good many ex-soldiers of varied experience. Many were
miners and railwaymen;
all
were of a high physical standard.
Major T. S. H. Wade, a serving Regular officer of the 1st Battalion
with twenty-five years' experience which included the South African
War and a period of attachment to the German forces in South–
West Africa in 1905, happened to be on leave in England in August,
1914, and was selected for the command, which he assumed on 6th
September, 1914. Lieutenant G.
L.
Torrens of the West India
Regiment, was appointed adjutant; he was later to succeed
Lieutenant-Colonel Wade in command on the latter's promotion to
a brigade.
The battalion was billeted in Bury until 6th September, when it
moved to Bovington Camp, near Wool in Dorset, where the first
night was spent on the grass verge of the road, no tents or rations
having arrived. Soon, however, better conditions prevailed; and
the men settled down well, though the Regular conception of
discipline, particularly as regards the time of return to camp at
night, was slow of growth.
On
30th November it moved to billets at
Wimborne near chalk downs and pine woods which furnished an
enjoyable variety of opportunities for training. On 20th April, 1915,
it moved back to Bovington.
It
had by this time become part of the
52nd Infantry Brigade, 17th (Northern) Division.
This was a time of strenuous training, at first with a miscellaneous
collection of old D.P.
(drill
purposes) weapons, for it was not until
December, 1914, that a supply of Lee-Enfield magazine rifles of an
old pattern became available. In March, 1915, a limited issue of
modern service rifles was made, together with the new leather
equipment with which service battalions were provided, in contrast
to the web equipment given to the Territorial battalions. But the
battalion was not complete in either arms or equipment till the eve
of its departure to France.
The period spent in Dorset was one of alarms, of rumours of
German raids or intended raids, of spy stories, of reports of strange
lights and of sudden rousings of emergency companies and patrols
to investigate them.
At the end of May, 1915, the battalion marched by stages to
billet s at Hursley , a few miles south-west of Winchester. Much
time was spent on digging and field exercises, and detachments were
sent in turn by rail to carry out field firing at Fovant on Salisbury
Plain. In July, 1915, the division was put under orders for service
overseas. Large numbers of men had had no leave since joining but
could only
be
given such short leave that,
in
the case of many men of
the battalion, a day was spent in travelling home, a day at home and
a day in coming back.
On 15th July, 1915, the battalion crossed to France by Folkestone