2/4th Battalion - Diary 1915

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January
January 5th A draft of 30 men arrived from the Depot at Kendal.
January 12th The Battalion, together with the remainder of the Brigade, was inspected by Lieut. -General Sir R. Pole-Carew, K.C.B., Inspector-General of the Territorial Force, and on the 15th a special Brigade Order was published congratulating all units of the Brigade on their satisfactory appearance at the inspection.
January 22nd A draft of 17 men arrived from the Depot at Kendal.
January 29th A draft of 53 men arrived from the Depot at Kendal, completing the strength of the Battalion. In January the Battalion was asked to supply a draft to the 5th Battalion The Border Regiment proceeding to France, but the request was finally cancelled.
February
February 16th Captain V. S. Jones, 4 officers, and 167 other ranks proceeded to Fleetwood to provide the guards on the Arsenal and the Harbour.
February 22nd The Battalion was asked to volunteer for service in Burma. Practically every man volunteered, but owing to a considerable number being too young for Foreign Service, only 767 N.C.O.'s and men were available. Japanese rifles had been received with which to arm the Battalion. These were, however, never issued, and Lee Enfield Mark 1* rifles were substituted. Owing to the previous shortage of rifles, and the necessity of using a certain number for guard duties, very few men had fired on an open range, except some of those transferred from Sittingbourne, and a small number who were exercised at Fleetwood.
February 28th Captain F. W. Halton, T.D., promoted Major and appointed Second in Command. Lieut. H. Thomson appointed Adjutant.
March
March 2nd Two officers and 329 other ranks were transferred to the Depot. In order to partially equip the men proceeding to Burmah it was necessary to take practically every serviceable article of clothing from the men transferred to Kendal.
March 3rd The Battalion, consisting of 28 officers and 767 other ranks, left Blackpool in two parties for Avonmouth. The final destination of the Battalion was changed from Burmah to Poona, Bombay Presidency, India. The Battalion had no mess property, but money grants were received in lieu.
March 4th The Battalion arrived at Avonmouth at noon, and immediately embarked on H.M.T. Dongola, together with a draft of East Lancashire R.E.'s and other drafts proceeding overseas to various places in the East, and Naval ratings proceeding to Aden and Bombay. The transport, escorted by two torpedo boats, sailed at night, but collided shortly after midnight with a steamer in the Bristol Channel off Barry, which necessitated the landing of the troops and women and children in tugs and the ship's boats at Barry, and the dry docking of H.M.T. Dongola. The Battalion was thanked for its conduct by the Army Council. (Copy of the Army Council's letter is appended.)
March 5th “C” and “D” Companies were landed at Barry and quartered at the docks; “A” and “B” Companies were taken to Cardiff, quartered at the docks, and most hospitably treated by the National Reserve Detachment of the Manchester Regiment.
March 6th “A” and ” B” Companies returned to Barry, the stores were transferred from H.M.T. Dongola to H.M.T. Tunisian, the Battalion embarking on H.M.T. Tunisian the same night, with Captain John Hall as captain of the transport.
March 7th H.M.T. Tunisian left Barry Docks at 10.00 hours, anchored outside owing to the presence of a German submarine in the Bristol Channel, and sailed at 23.00 hours, with all lights out, escorted by two torpedo boat destroyers. Owing to the fusing of an electric wire a fire broke out at the moment of sailing, but was extinguished by the ship's crew.
March 8th 2/Lieut. G. H. Mc.Vittie (Penrith) died from meningitis and was buried at sea. Owing to the danger of submarines, a course was steered well to the West of the usual steamer route, and land was not sighted until Gibraltar, which was reached on the morning of the 12th.
March 12th After six hours the transport proceeded to Port Said, passing the Island of Pantalaria on the morning of the 15th.
March 19th Port Said was reached early on the 19th. Officers and senior N.C.O.'s were allowed two hours ashore, and after coaling, the transport passed through the lines of the British and French warships (assembled for the attack on the Dardanelles) and into the Suez Canal.
March 24th Suez was reached the next day, and Aden on the night of the 24th. The majority of the Naval ratings transferred at Aden to the Empress of Japan, which was being employed in maintaining the blockade of the German East African ports. Aden was left on the afternoon of the 25th, and on the morning of the 31st Bombay was reached.
March 31st The Battalion disembarked in the evening, and left by train at night for Poona.
April
April 1st Arrived at Poona. Met at Ghorpuri Siding by Brigadier-General H. T. Brooking, C.B., and the officers of the 2/4th Wiltshire Regiment, who kindly sent their band to play the Battalion into the station. Stationed in Ghorpuri Barracks. Lieut. P. L. Corban-Lucas and 40 other ranks of the 1st Battalion The Royal Sussex Regiment were attached to the Battalion as an instructional party. The month of April was spent in company training and preliminary musketry, officers and N.C.O.'s being sent to Schools of Instruction at Quetta, Pachmari, and Satara.
April 29th The Battalion was inspected by Major-General C. G. Donald, Inspector of the Territorial Force in India.
April 30th The Battalion took part in the Brigade parade for the presentation of medals by Brigadier-General H. T. Brooking, C.B., to the 102nd K.E.O. Grenadiers, lately returned from Muscat.
May
May 1st “A” and “C” Companies, under the command of Captain J. E. C. Graham, proceeded to Kirkee as the Detachment for providing the British guards at the Arsenal and Ammunition Factory, in relief of the 2/4th Wiltshire Regiment. Musketry was commenced by “B” and “D” Companies on the Wanowrie range. Owing to the very large number of recruits in the Battalion, the majority of the men had to fire both Table A and Table B, which necessitated firing on the range until the end of May, 1916.
June
June 1st The Battalion tactical schemes (an attack on the ridge and 2nd beyond the Bund Bridge, and the defence of Holkar Bridge) were carried out under the supervision of Brigadier-General H. T. Brooking, C.B.
June 19th One officer and 24 other ranks proceeded from Kirkee to Bombay, escorting explosives for Mesopotamia and East Africa.
June 22nd Captain M. G. Fisher, 1 officer, and 50 other ranks, left Poona to escort 1,200 Turkish prisoners of war from Mesopotamia by sea from Bombay to Rangoon, proceeding to the Prisoners of War Camp at Thyetmyo. After the completion of this duty the escort preceded to Singapore, brought the Indian mutineers from Singapore to Calcutta, and thence to Madras, returning by rail to Poona on the 24th July.
July
July 5th Inspection of the Battalion by Brigadier-General Cowper, G.O.C. Poona Divisional Area.
July 15th Lieut. E. P. Hardy and the Machine Gun Section proceeded to Satara.
July 16th One officer and 26 other ranks proceeded from Kirkee to Bombay as escort to ammunition train.
July 19th One officer and 26 other ranks proceeded from Kirkee to Bombay as escort to ammunition train.
July 31st “A” and “C” Companies, under the command of Captain J. E. C. Graham, returned to Headquarters. The Detachment suffered very severely from malaria fever whilst stationed at Kirkee.
August
August 4th Intercession Service at St. Mary's Church, Poona.
August 13th Two N.C.O.'s and 13 privates left Poona as a draft to the 1st Battalion The Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry on service with Expeditionary Force “D”. This small draft was part of General Townshend's force which advanced on Baghdad, took part in the Battle of Ctesiphon, the subsequent retreat, and finally was besieged in Kut.
October
October 28th Arroyo dos Molinos Day commemorated and regimental sports held.
November
November 12th “B” and “D” Companies, under the command of Major G. H. Heelis, who was posted to this Battalion from the 1/4th The Border Regiment, proceeded to Kirkee as the British Infantry Detachment, in relief of the 2/4th Wiltshire Regiment.
November 29th Headquarters and “A” and “C” Companies left Poona for Kamptee, Central Provinces.
November 30th “B” and “D” Companies, under the command of Major G. H. Heelis, left Kirkee for Allahabad.
December
December 1st Headquarters and “A” and “C” Companies arrived at Kamptee and relieved the 1/ 5th Buffs proceeding to Mesopotamia, 2 officers and 92 other ranks forming the Infantry Detachment at Fort Sitabuldi, Nagpur.
December 2nd “B” and “D” Companies, under Major G. H. Heelis, arrived Allahabad and relieved the 1/5th Hampshire Regiment, 2 officers and 104 other ranks forming the Infantry Detachment at Fort Allahabad. At Poona, in spite of a number of men unavailable for parade owing to guard duties, very substantial progress had been made in the training of the Battalion. Officers and N.C.O.'s had attended schools of instruction. Platoon, company, and battalion drill had been well learned. Preliminary musketry had been finished. Table A had been fired, and a considerable part of the Battalion had completed Table B. Scouts and signallers were trained. Simple company schemes had been carried out, and the Battalion had learned how to look after itself in India.
December 14th Lieut. E. C. Kinghorn proceeded to Mesopotamia and was attached to 1st Oxford and Biicks Light Infantry.
December 22nd Inspection of half Battalion by Brigadier-General C. G. Prendergast, C.B., G.O.C. Jubbulpore Infantry Brigade.
December 25th Major F. W. Halton, T.D., appointed D.A.Q.M.G. 6th (Poona) Divisional Area.