Page 132 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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THE EXPANSION OF THE ARMY
IOS
THE DEPOT
In peace-time the Depot enlisted, clothed, trained and posted
recruits for the Regular battalions of the Regiment. As we have
seen, the functions of training and posting reinforcements were
transferred after the outbreak of war to the various reserve battalions.
But although in the rush of enthusiasm in I9I4 many recruits had to
be sent on to the reserve battalions in plain clothes, the Depot still
retained the important functions of enlisting and clothing recruits
and posting them to reserve battalions, until November, I9I7, when
it lost its recruiting duties to the Ministry of National Service.
Command of the Depot was assumed on 8th August, I914, by
Colonel
R.
W. Deane. He was succeeded in December, I9I6, by
Lieutenant-Colonel A.
J.
Mitchell, who continued his good work with
great success. The post was no sinecure. The Depot remained a
vital centre of regimental life and activity, particularly in con–
nection with the feeding and clothing of
all
members of the Regiment
who had the misfortune to be prisoners overseas, as is described in
Chapter VI of Volume Il.
I ts population consisted of its own staff; the overflow from
Command Depots; the Recruiting Staff; men sent for "hardening"
after discharge from hospital; ex-prisoners of war; and recruits,
of whom sometimes as many as 300 would arrive in a day. Its
strength varied from 200 to 900, including in the later stages some
40 highly efficient and valued members of Queen Mary's Auxiliary
Army Corps, commonly referred to as "W.A.A.Cs." The Recruiting
Staff covered Bury, Salford, Rochdale and Radcliffe and was under
the control of that indefatigable pillar of the Regiment. Major B.
Smyth, M.V.O., who was created an Officer of the Order of the
British Empire for his valuable services. To his eloquence and
unrivalled presentation of the inspiring history of the Regiment the
latter owed many a recruit who later helped to add to that history.
The success achieved by him and his staff is attested by the figures:
between 4th August, I914, and Ist March, I916, IO,6I5 voluntary
recruits enlisted
in
the Regiment; and under the "Derby" (or
Group) System, another 25.0I4 enrolled themselves; giving a grand
total of 35,629 recruits before compulsory military service was
enforced.
The Depot was the proud repository of many things of high
regimental value, including the Colours of the 1st and 2nd Battalions.