A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 79

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SERVICE BATTALIONS


and Sir H. Smith-Dorrien, and the whole commanded by Sir J. French, took its place at the front in Belgium on August 22; 1914. With the expeditionary force went the aerial arm, consisting in the first instance of approximately 100 aeroplanes, which were promptly supplemented by 36 more. The most experienced pilots went out under the command of Brigadier General Sir David Henderson, Chief of the Royal Flying Corps. The pilots and trained observers were drawn from the various naval and military aviation centres in the country, with the result that, proportionately to the numbers engaged, Great Britain had a finer flying personnel than that possessed by any other nation.

The Territorial Force had been called to arms at the beginning of the war, and though the men had been enlisted for home service only they volunteered, almost to a man, for service overseas. Before the end of 1914 several units were already abroad, having been sent to stations in India and elsewhere in order to release battalions of regulars for active service. A few units, notably the London Scottish, were at the front before the end of the year. It was quickly evident, however, that more than an expeditionary force of the highest quality and willing and alert battalions of territorials were necessary if Germany was to be beaten.

On becoming secretary for war a few days after its outbreak, Earl Kitchener called for 100,000 men, and then for more. These he organized in service battalions, which were attached to the various units and numbered after the territorial battalions, thus: 8th (Service) battalion, East Surrey Regiment. Known as the New Army, the men were organized in brigades and divisions, corresponding in strength and constitution to those of the regulars and territorials. Their divisions were numbered from 9 to 26. Others raised later were numbered from 30 onwards until at 42 the territorial divisions began. The 14 of these carried the numbering to 56, after which came divisions raised for the duration of the war only. On September 15, 1914, the army strength was as follows:

Regulars 314,000
Army Reserve 80,000
New Army 500,000
Territorial Force 313,000
1,207,000
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