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trench notes


of f to war

A pipe band and a brass band preceded us ...

Dense, appreciative, slightly demonstrative crowds ...

Sweethearts galore broke the ranks and their own hearts.

Flinty hearted sergeants however heaved them back to the

crowd again like so many inanimate sandbags.

group i ngs

Each Platoon was commanded by a junior officer and subdivided

into four sections of 12 men under an NCO.

This equates to 2

rows of seats in one of the main blocks of the stands.

A Company, commanded by a Major, comprised four platoons and had

a total strength of 227. A Battalion, commanded by a Lieutenant

Colonel, comprised four Companies with a total strength of 1007

(including 30 officers).

This equates to nearly two whole blocks

of the seating in the stands.

Battalions of the Scots Guards and the other Highland Regiments

were also allowed a Sergeant-Piper and five Pipers. Neither the

Scottish Lowland nor Irish Regiments were allowed this extra

strength, although they did have Pipers from within the basic

headcount shown above.

Once they had been overseas for a while it was rare indeed for

a battalion to be at full establishment. It was not unknown at

times for battalions with a nominal strength of over a 1000 men

to go into fighting with perhaps only 200.

In 1914, a Brigade consisted of four Battalions.

A Division, comprised three Brigades and totalled some 18,000

soldiers –

more than twice the size of the capacity of the

Esplanade stands.