A record of the Sportsman's Battalions during the First World War, including a database of soldiers who enlisted in - or served with - the 23rd, 24th and 30th Royal Fusiliers, originally raised by Mrs. Emma Cunliffe-Owen in September 1914. If you have any questions or comments, please send to fmsketches@macbrem.com, thanks!

April 30, 1915

Chelmsford Chronicle


Frank Heath, whose address is the 2nd Sportsman’s Battalion Royal Fusiliers, Romford, may therefore be counted as an Essex man for the present. He has an oil painting, “Amateur Gardeners,” on the line – a pair of charming little girls watering a wealth of flowers. The whole is broad and direct in treatment, and entirely successful.

April 29, 1915

Western Times

2nd Sportsman’s Battalion at Football

The first Rugby football match for the Championship of the 2nd Sportsman’s Battalion was played at the Camp, Romford, on Tuesday evening, between “A” and “B” Companies, the latter winning by 8 points to nil. Company Sergeant-Major Finch acted as referee. The game caused intense enthusiasm, the whole of the officer of the Regiment being present, and over 700 rank and file. The next round is between “C” Company (the West Country Company) and “D” Company, the winners of each round to play for the final. Great credit is due to “B” Company players for the excellent play they showed, considering they left camp at 7 a.m. in the morning for trenching work and returned at 5:45 p.m. kicking off a quarter-of-an-hour later.

April 28, 1915

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette

The writer of an article in one of the monthly magazines remarks, in the course of some references to the Sportsman’s Battalions, that “A sergeant in the 2st Sportsman’s Battalion, at Romford, was heard correcting a private for his method of swabbing a floor. “Let him alone,” said someone standing by, “he’s only a K.C.; he doesn’t know any better.” As a matter of fact, a member of this corps, who has since been given a commission, served in the ranks for three months as an ordinary soldier, formerly sat in the House of Commons and been Mayor of Norwich. It has occurred to me that the writer may have had in his mind Capt. A. E.Dunn, who entered the corps as a private, and has since been given a commission and promoted. He sat in the House of Commons for the Camborne Division of Cornwall, and was Mayor of Exeter – not Norwich – in 1901 and 1902.

The Gazette

A London solicitor who had joined the First Sportsman’s battalion, Royal Fusiliers, had received the following congratulatory telegram from an old client: “Accept my congratulations on your gallantry in joining the Sportsman’s battalion. Anyway, you know how to charge.”

April 27, 1915

Birmingham Gazette




By Our Boxing Expert.

At the National Sporting Club, last night, Private Jerry Delaney, of the Sportsman’s Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers, beat Willie Farrell, of Southwark, on points in a 20-rounds contest.

There was a lot of interest in the match, which was a return contest, by the way. The two men had met in Birmingham last year, when Farrell lost in the second round, the match being stopped by the referee to save him unnecessary punishment.

AT 9ST. 11LB.

On that occasion Farrell was suffering from a sprained ankle, but last night he took the ring splendidly fit, as was his rival. The articles stipulated a weight of 9st. 11lb., which is a couple of pounds over the championship limit. At the weighing-in at 2 o’clock the Bradford man went 9st. 9lb., and Farrell a pound heavier.

The former had trained at Brighton, while his rival did his preparation at Wembly.

Before the big contest of the evening Sans Keller, the Aldgate fly-weight, had met and beaten George Matthews, of Hanley, in a 15-rounds match for £100. Matthews Nearly dropped his man with a terrific right in the third round, but did not follow up his advantage, and a rather open defence cost him the match on points, but it was a spirited affair, and both men were heartily cheered at the close.


It was just after ten o’clock when Farrell and Delaney took the ring before a packed house and it may be mentioned that the opinion of the experts as to the chances was reflected in odds of 3 to 1 on the soldier. Farrell certainly looked the heavier man, at the start there was more feeling for distance than anything else, although both men got in a quick stabbing left while Delaney was responsible for a wild miss with the right.

The second round saw the same eager feinting, with nothing much doing, and it was evident that the two men had much respect for each other. Delaney managed to jar his opponent with a pretty upper cut in holds, but it was not until midway through the third round that a real exchange of punches was noted, both being impelled to this action by the receipt of an irritating left in the face.

Delaney was, if anything, the quicker man, especially with regard to the left, but Farrell was very agile and his footwork notably good.

The actor had rarely got a chance to mix things, for Delaney had a habit of suddenly sending up a swift right upper-cut by the way of relying on his excellent left.


The third and fourth rounds saw Delaney lead on points, and yet he seemed to disguise this superiority somehow. In the fifth round a hard rally at close quarters saw Farrell do the postman’s knock with both hands to the body, but Delaney wound up with a nasty right just over the ear that sent the Southwardk lad staggering. Farrell was inclined to force matters now, but he usually got the worst of the in-fighting, and his face began to get rather flushed in the sixth round, the result of the attentions he had receive.

Farrell was making a brave show, but one could not resist the impression that he was being outclassed by a man who cunningly refused to display his skill to the fullest advantage.

Delaney’s defence was perfect, and in his ducking and retreating there was the economy of effort that marks the class boxer. Farrell gave no outward sign of recognizing his own subordination. He kept trying with splendid spirit to penetrate a faultless defence and at the same time to cope with an attack which was dazzlingly versatile.


When Farrell, taking advantage of a bad miss with the right, landed a pretty left on Delaney’s nose, the crowd cheered him in sympathy, but the Bradford man soon evened up matters before the bell with a few lefts. The ninth round produced some spirited boxing by both, each landing in turn, but when the half distance had been reached Delaney was comfortably ahead on points.

In the twelfth round Delaney’s nose was bleeding and Farrell’s left eye showed signs of trouble, but it was a great round for fierce work, in which Delaney had just a shade the better.

The 13th went to Farrell, who landed several lefts, and was hereabouts boxing with splendid judgment and precision and making excellent use of the ring. After this, however, Farrell fell off a bit, and seemed slower, so that Delaney scored frequently with the left, and at close quarters always held the master hand.

The last half-dozen rounds were comfortably held by Delaney, whose continual left against a very tired opponent kept forcing him further ahead. In the 19th round Delaney sent in a smashing left that would have put most men out, but Farrell survived this and two others of the same kidney.

Altogether Jerry won his fight quite handsomely without ever suggesting that the odds laid on him at the start were quite justified, Farrell’s share in the proceedings did him great personal credit.

April 24, 1915

Evening Despatch



Mr. D. M. Gant’s Lawn Dance, by Common – Zarabanda, has foaled a colt by Lomoud.

Hitch, the Surrey fast bowler, who joined the Sportsmen’s Battalion, has been invalided out of the army.

April 20, 1915

Berwickshire News and General Advertiser

Lady Maitland’s Silver Wedding.

WE give a photo of Viscountess Maitland at Thirlestane Castle, who has just celebrated her silver wedding.

Viscount Maitland is the eldest son of the Earl and Countess of Lauderdale who how resides in the South of England. He and Lady Maitland, (who is a daughter of the late Judge Vaughan Williamson) have been living at Thirlestane Castle for the past 3 years and are very popular in the district, both having taken a preeminent part in good work in Lauderdale. Since the outbreak of War, Lord Maitland has been with Military Services as Colonel of the Sportsman’s Battalion

Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser



Baron Herbert de Reuter, managing director of Reuter’s Telegraph Company, has been found lying dead at his residence near Reigate. A revolver which had been discharged was found, and there appears to be little reason to doubt that the baron fell by his own hand.

The deceased was greatly overwrought by the sudden death of his wife, to whom he was warmly attached, on Thursday last, and whose funeral had been fixed for yesterday. The baron’s body was found in a summer-house in the grounds. On a table there were two letters. One was addressed to Mr. Flint, the gardener, who found the deceased and the other “To the spirit of my dear wife Edith.”

The funeral of Baroness de Reuter was postponed, and it is understood that she will now be buried in the same grave as her husband. They leave two children. Their son, Hubert, is serving in the Sportsman’s Battalion, and their daughter married, in 1901, Mr. James Douglas, of Tilquhillie, Scotland.

Baron de Reuter was 64 years of age. Until last week he was in constant attendance at the offices of the new agency, of which his father, the late Baron Julius de Reuter, was the founder and with which he had been associated ever since 1875, the year before his marriage.

In his younger days Baron de Reuter contemplated a musical career. After passing from Harrow to Balliel College, Oxford, he declined to remain at the university long enough to take his degree, in spite of the remonstrances of Dr. Joewit (then Master of Balliol), and went to Paris. But after a your or more he returned to London and decided to comply with his father’s wish that he should enter the services of Reuter’s Agency, of which he soon rose to be managing director. Under his guidance its scope grew, until at present there is hardly a part of the civilized world with which the agency is not in communication.

April 16, 1915

The Indianapolis Star

“King Needs You.”

“King and country needs you” was a printed and spoken appeal that took to the front only those Englishmen who would have gone anyway from the first pulsing sense of duty. There were those who need stimulus of another kind for eye and ear, and they were given it in daily increasing doses. A Sportsman’s Battalion poster drew hundreds to the recruiting offices within an hour of its flaring. This did it: A wounded motor cycle messenger in the foreground; back of him the red-lit battle line with shells bursting about an British standard. Underneath the vivid picture was the appeal in order form

“Don’t let them do it all.”

April 10, 1915

The Times

1st and 2nd SPORTSMEN’S BATTALIONS ROYAL FUSILIERS, Colonel-in-Chief, the King. C. O. 1st Battalion, Col. Viscount Maitland. C.O. 2nd Battalion, Col. A. de B. V. Paget (His Majesty’s Bodyguard). Sportsmen, aged 19 to 45 upper and middle class only. Wanted at Once. Only a few vacancies now left. Entrance fee 3 guineas, or kit. No other financial obligations. Head Recruiting Office, E. Cunliffe-Owen, Hotel Cecil, London. Hours 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

April 4, 1915

Sunday Mirror


The Artists won the match against the Sportsman’s Battalion on Richmond Athletic ground yesterday by three goals (one dropped) and two tries to two tries – 20 points to 6. Vaccination and other things prevented the Sportsman’s from mustering its best side; but for all that it was a great game and it was only in the last few minutes, when the Artists put on a couple of goals, that they took a commanding lead.

Quinn dropped a superb goal to begin with, and then followed tries by Padbury and Edlmann – two old Richmond men, who were the Artists’ halves. Tries by Clementson and Curwen for the Sportsman’s left it anybody’s match. But in the last few minutes Fox placed two goals from tries by Quinn and Padbury, for the Artists. The Sportsman’s scrimmage worked very hard, but the side missed the help of its brilliant half backs, Henri and Taylor.

Sunday Mirror

Only 100 Vacancies now left in the



In addition to Special Reserve of 500 for 1st and 2nd Battalions.

Colonel-in-Chief – THE KING.

The only Battalion accepting recruits up to 45 years of age.

Age 19 to 45.

Height 5 ft. 6 in. and upwards. Pay and Separation Allowances at Army Rates.

Apply to the Chief Recruiting Officer E. CUNLIFFE OWEN.


April 3, 1915

Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald




Since the recent disappearance of Mr. Harold Midgley Metcalfe, accountant to the Herne Bay Council, the books have been examined and a warrant has been issued for the missing man’s arrest. Mr. Metcalfe left Herne Bay in September to join the Army. He was enrolled in the Sportsman’s Battalion. His general smartness soon won a corporal’s stripes, but about a month ago he deserted and has not since been seen.

A reward of £20 is offered for particulars of his whereabouts.