Page 18 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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MOBILIZATIO
T
AND EMBODIMENT
7
2nd Battalion at the date of joining the British Expeditionary Force
was 29 officers and 1,043 other ranks. Of the officers, four subalterns
were attached from the 3rd Battalion, and 661 of the strength of
other ranks were reservists.
THE TERRITORIAL BATTALIONS
Whilst the Regular troops were gathering their reservists and
taking their allotted place in the line of battle, scenes of no less
enthusiasm and devotion were witnessed at the headquarters of the
Territorial Force units of the Regiment. Mobilization orders were
received at about 6 p.m. on 4th August. Telegrams were at once
sent to the officers and notices posted to the men to report early on
the following morning. Crowds gathered outside the drill halls and
the men were received with enthusiasm as they came in to report.
The Territorial Force, on mobilization in 1914, presented certain
grave shortcomings both in its constitution and in its equipment and
organization. In the first place, there was no obligation to undertake
service overseas. The conception of the duties of the Force which
this limitation in their obligation implied was a legacy of the old
Volunteer days. The Volunteer Corps had originally been formed
as irregular riflemen, to supplement Regular troops in the duty of
home defence. The idea that this was their primary function, and
that it could adequately be discharged within the British Isles, had
persisted throughout the Volunteer period, and even the reorganiza–
tion of 1908 had failed to eradicate it. (Indeed, up to August, 1914,
the role allotted to the East Lancashire Division on embodiment
was that of coast defence and internal security in Ireland; and,
under the mobilization scheme then in force, billeting parties were
actually sent to Limerick as soon as the telegram ordering embodi–
ment was received.) The limitations which this conception of its
functions placed upon the usefulness of the Territorial Force at
once became apparent on mobilization. A call arose for volunteers
for foreign service, and in the battalions of the Lancashire Fusiliers
it was answered with overwhelming enthusiasm and almost with
unanimity. Commanding Officers called their men together and
their invitation to volunteer for foreign service received a response
which, if not unexpected, was in its magnitude an impressive omen
of the spirit and devotion of which their battalions were later to give
such abundant proofs. An officer who was present in the large chapel
of the Central Hall, Salford, when Lieutenant-Colonel Fallows
addressed the 8th Battalion has left a description of the scene:
"Before the Colonel had well explained what was in the wind, there
was a great roar of approval from the men, as practically the whole
Battalion rose to signify its assent to the proposal."
On nth August the War Office called for reports of the number of
Territorial units, from brigades down to companies, who would
volunteer for foreign service, and also the number of officers, non–
commissioned officers and men who would volunteer for active
service with other Territorial units . This method of obtaining