Page 16 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

Basic HTML Version

until the end of the war and had received the Queen's Medal with six
clasps and the King's Medal with two clasps. Like so many success–
ful leaders of the British Army, Major Griffin was an Irishman.
Possessed of a genial and optimistic temperament, he combined a
thoroughly technical knowledge of his profession with that experience
which can be gained only in war. By his sound judgment and capacity
he was well fitted to be a leader of men in the difficult days which lay
before his battalion. He possessed the qualities of leadership in full
measure. As a battalion commander, and later as a brigade com–
mander, he inspired and retained the affection and confidence of
those under his command. Many wounds and the losing the sight
of one eye did not impair his powers of physical endurance.
Upon mobilization the battalion under Major Griffin's command
was organized in four companies (each commanded by a mounted
officer), a machine-gun section, a transport section and a signalling
section. The four-company system had been introduced into the
Regular Army in October,
and was working well. The troops
were clothed in the regulation khaki service dress uniform, and they
were also issued with full dress of scarlet tunic and blue trousers,
which was withdrawn on mobilization. They were armed with the
Lee-Enfield short magazine rifle, Mark IV, which had been introduced
after the South African War. The battalion was equipped with the
regulation web equipment but, as already mentioned, many of the
reservists had never worn it and on mobilization did not even know
how to put it together. The web equipment included an entrenching
tool, with a detachable head which was carried on the small of the
back below the pack. The shaft of the entrenching tool was attached
to the bayonet scabbard.
The machine-gun section was armed with two Vickers machine–
guns, which were carried in a general service limber wagon similar
in type to the other wagons in the first-line transport. A second
limber wagon was available for the carriage of ammunition. The
machine-gun officer was mounted.
The regimental first-line transport consisted of four general
service limber wagons, which were used for the carriage of ammuni–
tion, entrenching tools and light stores. Two pack animals were
available for each company to carry additional supplies of ammuni–
tion. There were also authorized four travelling kitchens, one
of which was allotted to each company, though these were in fact
not issued till March,
The establishment of horses was
heavy draught,
light draught,
riding and 8 pack animals-a
scale afterwards increased. Two water-carts with filtering apparatus
formed part of the mobilization stores; a maltese cart was provided
for the medical officer's stores and comforts, and a light cart for the
use of the officers' mess.
The band instruments were withdrawn on mobilization and the
members of the band, all of whom had been trained in First Aid
duties, were distributed amongst the companies as stretcher–