The Wartime Memories Project - The Great War - Day by Day
1st March 1915On this day:
- Mar 1915 18th DLI move to Fencehouses
- 1st March 1915 Hemel Hempstead - War preparations
- Recruitment and Training
Bridging Training near Lurgan, County Armagh.
16th Btn. Royal Irish Rifles - Pioneers
Recruitment figures were not published for March 1915.
Recruitment efforts were mainly concentrated on Brownlow House as a showpiece for many inspections by high ranking officers and politicians – the public also in attendance.
Much more intensive military manoeuvres took place by night and day increasing the demands on all officers and men to harden them for future demands on active service.
During the week ending 20th March the Battalion carried out several very interesting operations including day and night outpost schemes with trench digging and sapping by night. Sapping is cutting out trenches from the front line forward towards the enemy trenches – used for listening posts, mortars, machine guns or jump off points for attacks.
Work continued on projects with local councils alongside council workers in County Armagh and County Down.
A great deal of railway training was undertaken in March.
On the 21st March 3 Officers and 7 NCOs were sent to Crumlin, where a railway bridge was being erected.
Other works were carried out on the rail lines near Antrim, on the Lurgan to Moira railway line and a course was attended at Stewartstown.
While it is not recorded what types of bridging works were done, we can assume they had to construct bridges capable of taking Divisional Horse drawn transport including artillery pieces.
There were various exercises carried out on lakes in local parks and bridge building on the Lagan near Donacloney and Dynes Bridge. Barrel rafts capable of supporting wagons and artillery pieces were constructed.
Training in explosive and demolitions was limited from a practical point of safety and shortage of materials. Demonstration of grenades, land mines and the use of gun cotton on rocks and metal were done with reduced charges leaving the observers to imagine the effects of a full charge.
They were also introduced to jam pot type grenades and the use of warning flares including methods of firing; trip wire, cut wire and pull by defender. Other examples included explosive traps already experienced in early fighting at the Front.
General Field Training.
There is no evidence to suggest that any form of formalised field training was available prior to leaving Lurgan and that progress in this area would be based on ad hoc solutions devised in training exercises or live situations. There is evidence of training courses being held at Reading in Berkshire.
- Changes in personnel The Field Ambulance continues to work the area occupied by the 18th Infantry Brigade as during last month.
Capt. Burgess 2 Canadian Field Ambulance left to rejoin his own unit.
Lt. A P Ford reported his arrival from St Omer for duty.
- 1st Bn Herts in Corps Reserve in Bethune. Battalion in Corps Reserve at School in Bethune.
- Reserve position E Battery 3rd Brigade RHA
With 5th Cavalry Brigade in Reserve
1st to 8th March - in billets at Maisnil
- 3rd Monmouths go into the front line After spending the night at St Jans Capelle on the outskirts of Bailleul, the Welsh troops were taken by a fleet of old London buses to Bailleul, where they joined the 28th Division, commanded by Major General Bulfin and spent the night on the out-skirts the town, St Jans Capelle. On the 1 st March, St David's day, the first men were sent up to the front for instruction with the 1 st Welsh Regiment. In a letter to his parents Private G Norton of A Company wrote:
"The firing line is not as bad as you would think, at least it is not so bad as we expected it to be. The trenches we have been in are dry ones, and the only thing is the cold nights. We were shelled rather heavily last Tuesday; but our guns gave them something after. The men we were in with didn't seem to mind much. They say, “Keep your napper down and you're alright!” " (Dixon, With Rifle and Pick, 1990).
- 1st March 1915 Division relocation
- 1st March 1915 Still fairly quiet at front
- 1st March 1915 Relocation and back into Action
- A Royal Visitor H.R.H. The Prince of Wales walked round the trenches occupied by the 1st Battalion KRRC, with General Horne.
- 1st March 1915 Squadron Formed
- 1st Mar 1915 On the Move
- 1st Mar 1915 Greek Offer
- 1st Mar 1915 Fur Coats Issued
- Brigade at Country House The headquarters of the Warwickshire Brigade was stationed at Felix Hall, Kelvedon, Essex. The 6th Btn Royal Warwicks were also stationed at Kelvedon, with the 5th being at Braintree, the 7th at Witham and the 8th Battalion also at Braintree.
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