Quotes by P. G. W. Diggle
The following quotes are by (former Adjutant-Captain) Major P. G. W. Diggle, 2nd in Command of the Lonsdales.
Lt-Col. Machell's Commitment to the Lonsdales
“Every detail had to be taught by him, for the officers, with very few exceptions, knew no more than the men, and had to taught themselves before they could teach. The simplest orderly-room work, such as making out 'crimes', 'guard reports' and 'detail', were done by him until the adjutant was appointed, and he always checked each of the returns personally. All attestations were made out, and recruits persoanlly approved by him, while the separation allowance claimed his particular attention. He organised the feeding of men (the messing gained the name of being the best in the Command); he arranged for the hutting, the clothing, the water supply, the lighting and conservancy of the Camp, and he it was who averted a strike that threatened over the wages question among the men engaged to build the huts. These things alone would have occupied the activities of six ordinary men, but in addition to all this the C.O. was constantly on parade, training and smartening up both officers and men, drawing up the programmes of work and seeing that they were carried out.”
Recruiting of Border Men
“During all this time men kept coming in. At first recruiters went out, the principal speakers being Captain R. Smith and Pte. Bell. Parties also went to the hiring fairs, but the best recruiters were the men themselves, who went home and said they were 'well done'. We had in fact the pick of Cumberland and Westmorland men to choose from, although, in spite of explicit War Office instructions, the regular recruiting agencies with but few exceptions, did their best to divert men from the 'Lonsdales'. But our own men being such good recruiters, we have failed.”
The Best Infantry Battalion in France
“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. I took the other part of the night. But he was a man of 53, and then he did not sleep in the day. Breakfast was always at 8 a.m. We had the name of being the best Infantry Battalion in France, among any of those who had to do with us. One man told me here in England, only the other day, what a reputation we had...The C.O. put system and organization into everything he came in contact with. We organized a drainage party, whose job it was to keep the communication trenches drained and in repair, under the supervision of the R.E. The garrison was responsible for the front line only. The C.O. put protection first, then rest, and then work.”