Page 3 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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appearance of this History thirty years after the last of the
events described in it calls for some explanation.
Its compilation was decided on soon after Major-General G. H. B.
Freeth, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O. (for whom Major-General G.]. Farmar,
C.B., C.M.G., acted during his absence in India from 1927 to 1931)
became Colonel of the Regiment in 1926. Captain G. C. Hutchinson,
M.C. (later Major G. C. Hutchinson, M.C., T.D., K.C., M.P.) under–
took the task of writing it. In 1931 an appeal was made through the
Press for diaries, letters and other material, which met with a
very satisfactory response. Captain Hutchinson sorted the many
contributions into battalion portfolios, arranged for the copying from
official sources of details of the decorations awarded to all ranks
(including the citations for the senior gallantry awards, a mine of
vital interest for the narrative), planned the lay-out of the two
volumes and wrote Chapter I of Volume
But the heavy demands
made on his time by his work at the Bar and in local government and
by his candidature for Parliament compelled
to relinquish the
task in 1935. The Colonel of the Regiment asked me to take it over;
and, after some hesitation (for I had recently assumed a newly
created staff appointment) but with a deep appreciation of the
honour done to me, I agreed. I must place on record the great debt
of gratitude which I-and the Regiment-owe to Geoffrey Hutchin–
son for his invaluable preparatory work and for his planning, which
I have been able to use almost without modification.
Transfers in 1936 and 1939 to other staff appointments, and the
ever-increasing tempo of military work as hurried preparations were
made to meet the German menace, prevented me from working on
the History or conducting the extensive correspondence needed to
clear up doubts and amplify narratives, except at some week-ends
and during leave. The writing of the first draft of the narrative had
however reached 6th October, 1918, and Chapter I and most of
Chapter IV of Volume
were in galley proof, when the outbreak of
war in 1939 forced me to stop work and store all the material.
by a comparatively narrow margin that Hitler had beaten me in the
race! At the request of the present Colonel of the Regiment, Major–
General G. Surtees, C.B., C.B.E., M.C., I resumed work in the winter
of 1945-6, when I was Deputy Director of the Territorial Army and
Army Cadet Force at the War Office; and again it was only
occasional week-ends and leave that I could devote to the task which
had by now become all the more difficult because some of those to
whom I had wished to refer had died or could not be traced while the
memories of many of the survivors had naturally become dim.