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!

September 12, 1914

London Evening News


 Retired Major Enlists as a Private.

In the Indian Room at the Hotel Cecil a dozen men at a dozen tables are kept busy registering the names and addresses of hardy, bronzed youngsters or from forty to forty-five, who were eager to join the new sportsmen’s battalion.

Lord Kitchener has sanctioned the raising of the battalion for active service, and has expressed his sincere thanks for the offer of its services.

For this middle-aged unit is calculated to be one of the most active and useful little fighting forces which have been produced during the war.

Only those who are used to outdoor sport, who can shoot, ride, and tramp seven or eight hours a day are accepted.

And there strikes the eye of each candidate as he enters the recruiting room the notice, printed in big type, that he must be “exceptionally fit” if he wishes to stand a chance of enrollment.

More than 250 names had been given in before the office had been open a few hours, and telegrams have arrived from all over the Kingdom requesting places in the ranks.


One of the first of the recruits to arrive at the Indian Room was a well-known M.F.H. He was followed by a retired major. They have been accepted, and will be two of the privates of the battalion.

Several hardy sportsmen from the Argentine have also registered, and crack shots from the Midlands and the North have telegraphed their desire to serve. It is, in fact, expected that many more than the 1,300 men required for the battalion will come forward.

Some of the men have not only offered themselves for the ranks, but have also placed their motor-cars at the disposal of the force.

Tact is needed in enrolling the sporting recruits, for questions about their fitness are liable to produce challenges to box, shoot, ride, or march the questioners for any wager they like to name.

It has been promised that the battalion shall see active service at the earliest possible moment, and it will be attached to a line regiment.

There are so many fine riders already enrolled that it may be possible to form a cavalry regiment from the recruits, as well as the infantry battalion.

The Indian Room, Hotel Cecil, London.

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