Page 14 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

Basic HTML Version

officers who saw them at the barracks all recorded the fine appearance
which they presented on parade. Only 14 were discharged as unfit
en mobilization .
The arrangements at Wellington Barracks reflected the highest
credit upon Major Thome and upon Captain W. Bowes, the Depot
quartermaster, with whom rested responsibility for the clothing and
equipment of this large body of reservists and their maintenance
before despatch to their unit. Both these officers had accompanied
the 3rd Battalion on its annual training, from which they did not
return to Bury until 27th July. The N.C.Os. who had been specially
trained in mobilization duties had accompanied them, and only the
mobilization storeman remained at the barracks. Complete sets of
clothing and "necessaries" and two pairs of boots per man, one of
whichwas withdrawn on the first day of mobilization,were maintained
at the Depot; and opportunity had been taken when the men
presented themselves for their annual course of musketry to check
their measurements in order to ensure that the stocks held would
correspond as nearly as possible to their requirements on mobiliza–
tion. The work of checking their measurements had been entrusted
to the inspecting camp adjutants, and it is to be feared that the
importance of obtaining accurate measurements had not always
been fully realized by these young officers. In many cases the
records were found to be unreliable and, particularly in the case of
boots, it was found that the stocks held according to these measure–
ments were sometimes of smaller sizes than those shown on the
soldier's measurement records on his transfer to the reserve. Although
full sets of clothing were held, the stores of arms and equipment
were not complete, part of the stocks required being kept at the
Ordnance Depot at Burscough. Only 1,500 rifles and bayonets and
1,000 sets of web equipment were kept at Bury, and on receipt of
mobilization orders Captain Bowes's first act was to telegraph to
Burscough for the balance of the necessary arms and equipment:
252 rifles and bayonets and 752 sets of equipment were thus not
available for issue before the second day of mobilization (6th August),
on which day they reached Bury from the Ordnance Depot. The
delay in issuing the equipment caused some little inconvenience,
which was aggravated by the fact that it arrived in separate parts,
which had to be assembled by the drummers of the 3rd and 4th
Battalions, with the assistance of some of the Depot officers. More–
over, most of the reservists, particularly those of Class D, had never
seen this pattern of equipment, and some instruction in assembling
and fitting was therefore necessary before the men could be dis–
patched to their units.
Upon mobilization, supplies at the Depot ceased to be drawn
from the Army Service Corps, and the messing arrangements at the
barracks were accordingly carried out by civilian contractors.
These arrangements worked well. Three substantial meals a day