17-24th August 1915: Wandsworth Battalion Send Off

The Wandsworth Recruitment Committee met on 20th August, to a report from the Mayor that the Battalion would, in all probability, be taken over by the War Office in the next day or two.  The War Office did not provide for the provision of bands for Service Battalions, so the Mayor has purchased the necessary instruments and the musicians in the regiment had undertaken the relevant duties, turning out a very successful band.  At the previous meeting the Mayor had reported on attempts to get the War Office to agree to a modified Cap Badge design, he had now had these authorised and would be able to supply them shortly.

Wandsworth Battalion Cap BadgeThe standard badge of the East Surrey regiment had the coat of arms of Guildford on it, Mayor Dawnay’s proposed version had the Wandsworth coat of arms and the borough motto “We Serve”.

Wandsworth Battalion send offFarewell Route Marches had already taken place, with Putney and District on 18th August, Clapham and Balham on the 19th, Streatham and Tooting on the 20th and Wandsworth still to come on Saturday 21st.  The Wandsworth Route March was to include a Tea and Send-Off before the march, which would go from the Drill Ground, Buckhold Road, past the Town Hall, Wandsworth High Street, Broomhill Road, Merton Road, Penwith Road, Earlsfield Road, Windmill Road, Trinity Road, Huguenot Place, East Hill, High Street and Buckhold Road to the Drill Ground.  The public were invited to the Drill Ground and handbills had been circulated by the boy Scouts along the route.  One of these handbills is in the Battalion correspondence file, asking residents to put up decorations and give the Battalion a resounding send-off.

As the Battalion was recruited and ready to do, this was the final meeting of the Battalion recruiting Committee and there are various summaries and accounts pasted in to the volume.  A list of subscriptions given for the Battalion includes a lists of names and amounts given, with “List 5” stating the total donated by local people as £862 16s 5d.  Amounts range from Sir William Lancaster giving £10 10s (his second donation) to a Mrs Hatfield giving 2s6d.  By List 6 the total was £1224 16s 11d and by List 7 it had reached £1251 9s 3d, including the Mayor having given a second donation of £200 and a third of a further £100.  The summary states that the War Office authorised the Mayor to raise a Battalion 1350 men and 36 officers, all Wandsworth men, in May and recruiting had commenced on 28th June.  10 recruiting offices had opened, with the very first recruit being an employee of the Council.  An additional company had been raised for Depot purposes, bringing the full strength of the Battalion up to 1600 men.  57 of the 230 applications for commission were nominated and 32 approved and gazetted by the War Office.  The correspondence file includes some details of those who applied, although only the first twenty or so rather than the whole 230.  The summary in the minutes finishes by noting that 113 Battalions had been authorised by the War Office to be raised by individuals and organisations, but Wandsworth held the record in completing a Battalion in such a short time.

Battalion Correspondence, ref: MBW/2/31/2

Battalion Minute Book, ref: MBW/2/31/1

A full history of the Wandsworth and Battersea battalions, written by Paul McCue, is available for loan from Wandsworth Libraries.

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One thought on “17-24th August 1915: Wandsworth Battalion Send Off

  1. Pingback: 12-18 October 1915: Battersea Battalion Recruitment | Wandsworth 1914-1918

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