Letters from James Murtagh, item 5

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Men who attested under the Derby Scheme were sent back to their homes and jobs until they were called up. They wore a grey or khaki armband with a red crown as a sign that they had so volunteered.


215,000 men enlisted while the scheme was on and another 2,185,000 attested for later enlistment - but 38% of single men and 54% of married men who were not in "starred" jobs had still avoided this form of recruitment. Their reticence did much to hasten a move to full conscription. Voluntary attestation reopened on 10 January 1916, while the government considered the position and call up under the Derby Scheme began: Groups 2 to 5 were called up in the last two weeks of January 1916, and groups 6 to 13 in February. The last single groups other than the 18 year-olds were called up in March. This last batch was called up in parallel to the first men to be summoned under conscription under the Military Service Act.


In late spring of 1916, James finally received his call up and was sent to the 5th (Reserve) Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers for his basic training. After being kitted out and having received rudimentary training at the 5th battalion depot at Hounslow, he was sent to Annandale, Scotland to continue the training as part of the 6th Company of this battalion.


Much development work had been done on the training syllabus in the period since the Boer War. The principles and details of training were laid down in the Field Service Regulations and in army publications such as "Infantry Training 1914." Training for ordinary soldiers began with basic training for physical fitness, drill, march discipline, essential field craft, and so on. Later, as the soldier specialised (in the infantry, for example, as a rifleman, machine gunner, rifle grenadier, signaler or bomber) he would receive courses of instruction relevant to his role. Especially as he was approaching being warned for the active fronts, he would receive basic training in first aid, gas defence, wiring and other aspects. This training continued when he was on active service.


Basic training taught a man individual and unit discipline, how to follow commands, how to march, some basic field skills and how to safely handle his weapons. Many men, especially the volunteers, believed there was too much "Bull," designed to suppress the individual spirit, ingenuity and initiative out of a man. Unfortunately, many newly trained soldiers arrived at the fighting fronts utterly unprepared for the experience.


As for the facilities for training, those of the regular army, usually at and around already established barracks, were soon overwhelmed by the numbers of men being recruited in 1914 and again when conscription was introduced in 1916. It became very clear that additional training places and accommodation for the men would be required. At first, large public buildings such as church and local halls, schools and warehouses were taken over - in many cases offered up by the local authority, church wardens etc - for both purposes. Thousands of men were also billeted in private homes. Gradually, new camps were constructed. Some of them were vast affairs, with their own canteens, hospitals, post offices, clubs and so on. Many such camps were developed, with principal concentrations at Salisbury Plain, Cannock Chase in Staffordshire, Clipstone in Nottinghamshire, East Anglia and the North Wales coast along with smaller, but by no means insignificant, establishments elsewhere (such as Annandale).


 Photo showing encampment. 

 Caption: 

Typical Army encampment/hutments circa 1916


Annandale was where he was to spend the summer of 1916 until being sent on active duty. After a short (probably 10 day) home leave, active duty began for James in, perhaps, a more unexpected location - Dover in Kent. Arriving in Dover in (approx.) September 1916, James' battalion was stationed at Northfall Meadow near Dover castle. Here, they were employed on the Dover defences manning anti-aircraft batteries, guarding shore installations, keeping look-out for enemy vessels at sea and the like. Though still in the UK, this posting still held its hazards as Dover regularly came under shell-fire from the sea and was the target of many bombing raids form the air (in fact, the 5/Royal Fusiliers had suffered 11 casualties in Northfall Meadow camp itself back in January 1916 when it was his [sic] by shells from a German warship).


 Aerial color photograph 

 Caption: 

Northfall Meadow today (Dover Castle in the bottom left)


 Aerial black and white photograph 

 Caption: 

Northfall Meadow camp


By late September, James was put on stand-by for service overseas and, after a short period of (probably local) "embarkation" leave was allocated to the 10th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers (111th Brigade, 37th Division) and sent to join them in France where they were about to become engaged in the latter stages of the Battle of the Somme (after having spent a time away from the battle).

Transcription saved

Men who attested under the Derby Scheme were sent back to their homes and jobs until they were called up. They wore a grey or khaki armband with a red crown as a sign that they had so volunteered.


215,000 men enlisted while the scheme was on and another 2,185,000 attested for later enlistment - but 38% of single men and 54% of married men who were not in "starred" jobs had still avoided this form of recruitment. Their reticence did much to hasten a move to full conscription. Voluntary attestation reopened on 10 January 1916, while the government considered the position and call up under the Derby Scheme began: Groups 2 to 5 were called up in the last two weeks of January 1916, and groups 6 to 13 in February. The last single groups other than the 18 year-olds were called up in March. This last batch was called up in parallel to the first men to be summoned under conscription under the Military Service Act.


In late spring of 1916, James finally received his call up and was sent to the 5th (Reserve) Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers for his basic training. After being kitted out and having received rudimentary training at the 5th battalion depot at Hounslow, he was sent to Annandale, Scotland to continue the training as part of the 6th Company of this battalion.


Much development work had been done on the training syllabus in the period since the Boer War. The principles and details of training were laid down in the Field Service Regulations and in army publications such as "Infantry Training 1914." Training for ordinary soldiers began with basic training for physical fitness, drill, march discipline, essential field craft, and so on. Later, as the soldier specialised (in the infantry, for example, as a rifleman, machine gunner, rifle grenadier, signaler or bomber) he would receive courses of instruction relevant to his role. Especially as he was approaching being warned for the active fronts, he would receive basic training in first aid, gas defence, wiring and other aspects. This training continued when he was on active service.


Basic training taught a man individual and unit discipline, how to follow commands, how to march, some basic field skills and how to safely handle his weapons. Many men, especially the volunteers, believed there was too much "Bull," designed to suppress the individual spirit, ingenuity and initiative out of a man. Unfortunately, many newly trained soldiers arrived at the fighting fronts utterly unprepared for the experience.


As for the facilities for training, those of the regular army, usually at and around already established barracks, were soon overwhelmed by the numbers of men being recruited in 1914 and again when conscription was introduced in 1916. It became very clear that additional training places and accommodation for the men would be required. At first, large public buildings such as church and local halls, schools and warehouses were taken over - in many cases offered up by the local authority, church wardens etc - for both purposes. Thousands of men were also billeted in private homes. Gradually, new camps were constructed. Some of them were vast affairs, with their own canteens, hospitals, post offices, clubs and so on. Many such camps were developed, with principal concentrations at Salisbury Plain, Cannock Chase in Staffordshire, Clipstone in Nottinghamshire, East Anglia and the North Wales coast along with smaller, but by no means insignificant, establishments elsewhere (such as Annandale).


 Photo showing encampment. 

 Caption: 

Typical Army encampment/hutments circa 1916


Annandale was where he was to spend the summer of 1916 until being sent on active duty. After a short (probably 10 day) home leave, active duty began for James in, perhaps, a more unexpected location - Dover in Kent. Arriving in Dover in (approx.) September 1916, James' battalion was stationed at Northfall Meadow near Dover castle. Here, they were employed on the Dover defences manning anti-aircraft batteries, guarding shore installations, keeping look-out for enemy vessels at sea and the like. Though still in the UK, this posting still held its hazards as Dover regularly came under shell-fire from the sea and was the target of many bombing raids form the air (in fact, the 5/Royal Fusiliers had suffered 11 casualties in Northfall Meadow camp itself back in January 1916 when it was his [sic] by shells from a German warship).


 Aerial color photograph 

 Caption: 

Northfall Meadow today (Dover Castle in the bottom left)


 Aerial black and white photograph 

 Caption: 

Northfall Meadow camp


By late September, James was put on stand-by for service overseas and, after a short period of (probably local) "embarkation" leave was allocated to the 10th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers (111th Brigade, 37th Division) and sent to join them in France where they were about to become engaged in the latter stages of the Battle of the Somme (after having spent a time away from the battle).


Transcription history
  • October 31, 2017 18:29:21 Thomas A. Lingner

    Men who attested under the Derby Scheme were sent back to their homes and jobs until they were called up. They wore a grey or khaki armband with a red crown as a sign that they had so volunteered.


    215,000 men enlisted while the scheme was on and another 2,185,000 attested for later enlistment - but 38% of single men and 54% of married men who were not in "starred" jobs had still avoided this form of recruitment. Their reticence did much to hasten a move to full conscription. Voluntary attestation reopened on 10 January 1916, while the government considered the position and call up under the Derby Scheme began: Groups 2 to 5 were called up in the last two weeks of January 1916, and groups 6 to 13 in February. The last single groups other than the 18 year-olds were called up in March. This last batch was called up in parallel to the first men to be summoned under conscription under the Military Service Act.


    In late spring of 1916, James finally received his call up and was sent to the 5th (Reserve) Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers for his basic training. After being kitted out and having received rudimentary training at the 5th battalion depot at Hounslow, he was sent to Annandale, Scotland to continue the training as part of the 6th Company of this battalion.


    Much development work had been done on the training syllabus in the period since the Boer War. The principles and details of training were laid down in the Field Service Regulations and in army publications such as "Infantry Training 1914." Training for ordinary soldiers began with basic training for physical fitness, drill, march discipline, essential field craft, and so on. Later, as the soldier specialised (in the infantry, for example, as a rifleman, machine gunner, rifle grenadier, signaler or bomber) he would receive courses of instruction relevant to his role. Especially as he was approaching being warned for the active fronts, he would receive basic training in first aid, gas defence, wiring and other aspects. This training continued when he was on active service.


    Basic training taught a man individual and unit discipline, how to follow commands, how to march, some basic field skills and how to safely handle his weapons. Many men, especially the volunteers, believed there was too much "Bull," designed to suppress the individual spirit, ingenuity and initiative out of a man. Unfortunately, many newly trained soldiers arrived at the fighting fronts utterly unprepared for the experience.


    As for the facilities for training, those of the regular army, usually at and around already established barracks, were soon overwhelmed by the numbers of men being recruited in 1914 and again when conscription was introduced in 1916. It became very clear that additional training places and accommodation for the men would be required. At first, large public buildings such as church and local halls, schools and warehouses were taken over - in many cases offered up by the local authority, church wardens etc - for both purposes. Thousands of men were also billeted in private homes. Gradually, new camps were constructed. Some of them were vast affairs, with their own canteens, hospitals, post offices, clubs and so on. Many such camps were developed, with principal concentrations at Salisbury Plain, Cannock Chase in Staffordshire, Clipstone in Nottinghamshire, East Anglia and the North Wales coast along with smaller, but by no means insignificant, establishments elsewhere (such as Annandale).


     Photo showing encampment. 

     Caption: 

    Typical Army encampment/hutments circa 1916


    Annandale was where he was to spend the summer of 1916 until being sent on active duty. After a short (probably 10 day) home leave, active duty began for James in, perhaps, a more unexpected location - Dover in Kent. Arriving in Dover in (approx.) September 1916, James' battalion was stationed at Northfall Meadow near Dover castle. Here, they were employed on the Dover defences manning anti-aircraft batteries, guarding shore installations, keeping look-out for enemy vessels at sea and the like. Though still in the UK, this posting still held its hazards as Dover regularly came under shell-fire from the sea and was the target of many bombing raids form the air (in fact, the 5/Royal Fusiliers had suffered 11 casualties in Northfall Meadow camp itself back in January 1916 when it was his [sic] by shells from a German warship).


     Aerial color photograph 

     Caption: 

    Northfall Meadow today (Dover Castle in the bottom left)


     Aerial black and white photograph 

     Caption: 

    Northfall Meadow camp


    By late September, James was put on stand-by for service overseas and, after a short period of (probably local) "embarkation" leave was allocated to the 10th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers (111th Brigade, 37th Division) and sent to join them in France where they were about to become engaged in the latter stages of the Battle of the Somme (after having spent a time away from the battle).

  • October 31, 2017 14:31:30 Thomas A. Lingner

    Men who attested under the Derby Scheme were sent back to their homes and jobs until they were called up. They wore a grey or khaki armband with a red crown as a sign that they had so volunteered.


    215,000 men enlisted while the scheme was on and another 2,185,000 attested for later enlistment - but 38% of single men and 54% of married men who were not in "starred" jobs had still avoided this form of recruitment. Their reticence did much to hasten a move to full conscription. Voluntary attestation reopened on 10 January 1916, while the government considered the position and call up under the Derby Scheme began: Groups 2 to 5 were called up in the last two weeks of January 1916, and groups 6 to 13 in February. The last single groups other than the 18 year-olds were called up in March. This last batch was called up in parallel to the first men to be summoned under conscription under the Military Service Act.


    In late spring of 1916, James finally received his call up and was sent to the 5th (Reserve) Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers for his basic training. After being kitted out and having received rudimentary training at the 5th battalion depot at Hounslow, he was sent to Annandale, Scotland to continue the training as part of the 6th Company of this battalion.


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    ID
    3798 / 46801
    Source
    http://europeana1914-1918.eu/...
    Contributor
    Maine Delaney
    License
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/


    • English

    • Western Front




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