Page 122 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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THE EXPANSION OF THE ARMY
95
Hazebrouck, and finally in the disaster of the Chemin des Dames, on
the Aisne, whither it had been sent for a rest. As a result it was
shattered beyond
all
hope of rebuilding and was disbanded on 12th
August, 1918, at Rouxmesnil Camp, near Dieppe.
12TH (SERVICE) BATTALION
This unit was formed in the Bury district in August and early
September, 1914, chiefly from coal-miners and cotton operatives.
It
included a few ex-soldiers and former militiamen, but no Regular
reservists. Lieutenant-Colonel E.
J.
P . F. Macartney Filgate, of the
Militia of the Royal Irish Rifles , was appointed to command it, with
Captain
J.
Bowring, an officer with experience of the South African
War, as adjutant. All the other officers had served in the Officers
Training Corps, while the N.C.Os. were drawn from those with
previous service and from likely-looking men in the ranks.
Like so many other battalions, it had no uniforms for many
weeks, and no arms for many months. Its first contact with the
ideas of the war then being waged was the arrival (by mistake, it
proved) in October, 1914, of Second-Lieutenant G. F. Page, aged
twenty and with six weeks' active service in France, who was
posted to it after being wounded with the 2nd Battalion during the
Battle of the Aisne.
The 12th Battalion was then at Seaford, in Sussex, whence it
moved into billets in Eastbourne for the winter, going back into huts
at Seaford in the spring of 1915. By then it had been placed in the
65th Infantry Brigade of the 22nd Division. After a period at
Aldershot, it went to France in September, 1915, taking over a
sector on the River Somme. By then it had shaken down well as a
team and made a good reputation for itself in trench warfare and
particularly mining in the chalk.
In November, 1915, however, it was moved to Salonika, where it
distinguished itself in the Macedonia campaign, as is told in Chapter
XVI.
In July, 1918, it was brought back to France on the reduction
of the establishment of brigades in Macedonia from four battalions to
three.
It
was amalgamated with the 6th Battalion, but had to lose
its identity because that unit was in the Territorial Force at the
outbreak of the war and could not therefore be disbanded.
13TH BATTALIOl
The 13th Battalion was a draft-finding unit, and is dealt with
later in this chapter under the heading "The Reserve Battalions."
14TH BATTALION
Reference to this Battalion is necessarily on the lines of the famous
chapter on "Snakes
in
Iceland" ("There are none"). For no 14th
Battalion was ever raised although several officers were gazetted to
it; and the titles of the remaining new units of the Regiment were
due to a mis-numbering of which no explanation is known.