The home of the 11th (Service) Battalion Border Regiment in the First World War
Honi Soit Qui Mal y Pense — Evil be to Him who Evil Thinks
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The 11th (Service) Battalion Border Regiment, also known as the Lonsdale Battalion was a 'Pals' battalion formed of three detachments at Carlisle, Kendal and Workington by the Earl of Lonsdale and an Executive Committee. The Battalion became a well-trained, disciplined unit of volunteers that answered Field Marshal Earl Kitchener's call to arms - to fight for King and Country. Men that had grown up together enlisted together and “during these formative days of the Battalion’s earliest history it became clear to everyone in the Border Counties that this really was a Battalion of 'Pals,' of comrades, and of Border men.” - The Lonsdale Battalion Border Regiment, September 1914 to June 1915
The Lonsdale Battalion was formed by Hugh Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale, and an Executive Committee with the approval of the War Office on 17 September, 1914. The Executive Committee raised four companies, all financed by the Earl of Lonsdale himself from his personal funds. Discover almost four years of the Battalion's history through formation, training and front line action.
On this day is a listing of historical daily events associated with the movements actions of the Lonsdale Battalion between 1914–1918. An event is a term used to describe a particular action or set of actions such as: a reference to bayonet training, digging entrenchments, receiving orders, front line fighting and a variety of simple reports including casualty figures, among many others. → Please note this information refreshes every day.
“By the courtesy of the Cummersdale Miniature Rifle Club, the Battalion under my command has already been able to obtain a good grounding in elementary musketry on the Miniature ranges situated within twenty minutes’ march of our Camp, with the result that the Musketry Staff Officer of the Western Command, after his recent inspection of the Lonsdales, reported that he was well satisfied with the progress we had made. Having passed through the ‘grouping’ practice stage, we now feel the urgent need of field glasses for the use of our Non-commissioned officers; if good results are to be obtained, it is necessary for these NCO’s to be able to observe the effect of each shot fired in the ‘Application’ and ‘Disappearing Target’ practices. Further, as we now proceed with training in Outpost work, and other Minor Tactical Exercises, we feel more keenly than ever the necessity of providing our Section Commanders with reliable field glasses, in the efficient use of which they need careful practice before going to the front.
There are many keenly patriotic people in these counties who, while not able to enter upon active service themselves, are anxious to help on the training of the New Army in every way they can. They have done much for us already, and it has been suggested that, in this matter of providing field glasses for our non Commissioned Officers, they will be generous enough to give us further assistance, by lending or giving a sufficient number of glasses, either for the period of our training or (and this would be far better for the Battalion, of course) for the duration of the War.
The Lonsdale Battalion is now over 1300 strong. We are all Westmorland and Cumberland men, bent upon doing credit to the Border Counties, if we can, during the present national crisis. It is this that emboldens us to ask the patriotic men and women of these counties to give us their generous assistance in a matter of great practical importance. Every one of our non Commissioned Officers needs a pair of Field Glasses, in order that he may be placed on even terms with the enemy he will presently have to face. I venture to think the people of Westmorland and Cumberland will help us to supply this need. As is generally known, there are 16 section commanders in each Company besides other NCO’s, and four PlatoonSergeants. There are, of course, four Companies in every Service battalion. Officers provide their own glasses, but we should be very grateful for one hundred pairs, or even fifty pairs for our NCO’s. Glasses are urgently required now, and later they will be indispensable. Glasses may be sent to this Camp....Each pair received will be properly listed, with the name and address of the sender, and every effort will be made to return them in due course, where that is desired.”
Battalion Orders: “The Brigadier-General promised to make an urgent representation on the subject of the necessity for the immediate issue of service rifles and ammunition. The Officer Commanding observed that all ranks did their best throughout, and takes this opportunity of expressing his satisfaction with the progress the Battalion has made.”
Situated in hut billets in Hénencourt Wood, involved in fatigue duties.
Battalion parades in full marching order, leaving Acheux at 8.30am. Arrives Mirvaux 1pm.
Battalion situated in the field. Nothing done during the day except specialist training. At night a raiding party of 2 officers (2nd Lieuts. Macrae and McDonald) along with 60 other ranks of C Company carry out a raid on enemy posts.
Zero hour 11pm. Heavy artillerybarrage for eight minutes preparatory to advance. Right & left parties reach their objective and penetrate 150 yards behind the enemy's front system. The center party is unfortunately struck by machine gun fire, which was unscathed by the barrage, and results in two casualties: 2nd Lieut. Macrae (killed) and 1 Sgt. (wounded). Result: 12 of the enemy dead, one machine gun bombed and destroyed and one wounded prisoner brought in.
Capt. Ross attempted to search for the body of 2nd Lieut. Macrae.
There were a wide range of documents recorded and compiled between the Lonsdale's formation and eventual disbandment in 1918. The documents offer detailed information on the actions and day-to-day running of the Battalion at a time of war. These include, but are not limited to: orders, reports, notes, instructions, messages, honours, awards and press appreciations.
Some regimental war diaries are sparse in detail, whilst others are descriptive. Today, they are pivotal to learning about the daily lives of the men and the bitter fighting they endured. The Lonsdale's war diary offers a complexity of daily reports on operations, intelligence summaries, casualties, maps and various other appendices covering their time in France and Flanders.
The 11th Battalion Roll of Honour has been transcribed as it was printed in HMSO’s Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-19, Volume 39, The Border Regiment. This is a complete list of men killed whilst serving in the Lonsdale Battalion during the war. Many of the soldiers that served in the Lonsdale Battalion also served in other battalions of the Border Regiment, some even transferring from entirely different regiments, the most common of these being the Herefordshire, Essex and Liverpool Regiments.
“All will be more comfortable when our division takes over. The Commanding Officer's are well enough off always, apparently, having pretty good dug-outs and a chance of drying up, but I feel very bad about the men, and one can’t do enough for them.”
“For the first six months there was never a night that the C.O. did not go round the trenches. Not a casual walk round, but four or fives hours out…We had the name of being the best Infantry Battalion in France, among any of those who had to do with us.”
—Major P. G. W. Diggle, 2nd in Command, Record of the XIth (Service) Battalion (Lonsdale) - In France.
Read a selection of quotes from various source materials. The words offer a glimpse into the lives of the men and the sights they bore witness to first-hand. Quotes from the Battalion War Diary give a unique insight to the mundane duties of trench warfare, the horrors of battle and the praising of fellow brothers in the course of their duties.The Lonsdale quotes
Peruse over a collection of images of the Lonsdales during their initial training period at Blackhall Camp, Carlisle, before being shipped over to France. See the men in their civvies lining up for roll call, engaged in bayonet training and aiming drills, digging entrenchments and physical exercise. Plus, see photos of officers, individuals, groups, obituaries, cap badges and other insignia.
Several Cumberland and Westmorland newspapers reported on the Lonsdales between 1914 – 1918. Reports on the war, notes of the week, the terrible conditions at the front, casualties and obituaries, to name a few provide the reader with a glimpse into a world where hardships were a fact of life, and the horrors of war and losing your friends were a daily routine. Here's one fine example of a chap writing home about his experience of being wounded.
A BIT OF ROTTEN LUCK
Lonsdales Wounded On Way To Trenches
Corporal J. Smith, 11th Borders in a letter to his parents on December 19th, says: -
Just a few lines to let you know that I have been wounded, but I am going on champion.
A piece of shrapnel went clean through my right thigh while I was going into the trenches with my mates. There were two of us knocked out at the same time. We had a bit of rotten luck that day, and the trenches are four feet deep with mud and water. It was very hard for us, seeing we were new to the place. I went through an operation on Wednesday night… They took the tube out of my wound today. I expect I’ll be sent home any time about Christmas… The doctors and nurses are very nice to the wounded. They will do anything to help you… How is everybody at Workington? Give my kind regards to all.
Living day to day surrounded by death and the fear of never seeing loved ones again made the propaganda drive all the more effective as those at home learned about their sons and fathers fighting for the freedoms that many of us today take for granted. The press in recent times, however, enlighten us with stark reminders of bygone times and more often than not, heartwarming tributes of those who served over 100 years ago.Lonsdales in the press
Helping out with our projects
Interested in helping out around here? There is always something to write, discover and learn about the Lonsdale Battalion and the Border Regiment. As you can see from the menu on the left there are several projects that are a work-in-progress. Take a look at the recent changes made to the site to see what has been happening lately.
Our largest on-going project is the Lonsdale Battalion on this day... project. This is a listing of historical events associated with the actions of the Lonsdales, from formation in 1914 through to its disbandment in 1918. Whenever we learn something new and interesting about the Lonsdales we like to include what we can in the interest of free and accessible knowledge. Every project, however, no matter how large or small is just as important as the next, which is why they are of equal value and interest. Currently there are many other site projects either on the go or waiting to be started, and this is where we need your help in making these available for everyone.
If you are interested in helping out you can contact us with any questions you may have about any of the projects. Alternatively, if you have spotted any errors and omissions, would like to create news pages or simply edit some existing ones, you can do so by creating a new account and off you go. We look forward to seeing you around.
This page was last edited on 7 August 2016, at 13:56.
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