Page 128 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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expect to be called upon for any further fighting. Its establishment
of officers was never raised in proportion to its new status, so that
it was denied its due share of promotion. In spite of its initial
handicaps, it soon developed a wonderful
esprit de corps;
and after
its weakest members had been weeded out it became a unit fit
enough to be inspected by Field-Marshals the Duke of Connaught
and Sir Douglas Haig on 2nd July and to be classed as a fighting
unit. The word "(Garrison)" was therefore dropped from its title;
and it took an active part in the closing events of the campaign in
France and Flanders, being finally disbanded in April , 1919.
As recorded earlier in this chapter, the 2nd/7th Battalion was
reduced to cadre on 25th April, 1918, and returned to England on
3rd July, to be changed into the 24th Battalion. Practically nothing
is known of the latter. But Mr. A. S. White, the War Office
Librarian, personally carried out some research which showed that
the 24th Battalion was a draft-finding unit, that it was stationed at
Cromer in September, 1918, that it was even then being allowed to
rnn down, and that it was finally disbanded about the end of that
The Reser've Battalions and the Depot
The national unpreparedness for war in 1914 was reflected in the
sketchiness of the arrangements made for replacing casualties which
occurred in units overseas; and it was not until well on into the war
that a firm system was evolved. Later the uneven incidence of loss
between units in the field made it impossible to link a draft-finding
unit in the United Kingdom with any particular battalion overseas,
or indeed to ensure that parties sent out by it went to a battalion of its
own regiment. In spite of the discouragement which resulted from
the knowledge that they were training reinforcements for an
unknown and possibly "alien" destination, the reserve units of the
Regiment, of whom a brief account follows , maintained throughout
the war a very high standard of output.
As has been mentioned in Chapter I, this unit belonged to the
Special Reserve and was intended to furnish drafts to the Regular
battalions. Mobilized with the latter on 4th August, 1914, it received
800 reservists surplus to the needs of the 2nd Battalion and, with its
strength thus brought up to a total of about 1,200 all ranks, moved
on 8th August, 1914, from Bury to Hull. After several moves in that
district it settled down in November, 1916, at Thirtle Bridge, near
Withernsea, on the south-east coast of Yorkshire, where it stayed
till the end of the war, carrying out coast defence duties as well as
finding drafts. Between the beginning of February, 1915, and the
middle of May, 1917, the destinations of its drafts were as follows :-