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!

October 31, 2014

Glasgow Daily Record and Mail


Commanding Officer –

Only Very Few Vacancies Left.




To-Day (Saturday), Oct. 31.

Chief Recruiting Officer –

October 30, 1914

Essex County Chronicle


By invitation of Mr. and Mrs. Cunliffe Owen a large party of guests visited Grey Towers, Hornchurch, on Friday to inspect the barracks of the Sportsmen’s Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers constructed in Grey Towers Park, placed at the disposal of the Battalion by the family of the late Colonel Holmes.

The buildings are of timber framing covered with galvanised iron, and internally with matchboarding. The roofs are painted brick red, and the walls are either dark green or dark brown. The huts have boarded floors, and are lighted by electricity. Warmth and ventilation have both been adequately provided, and it is clear that the Battalion will have excellent quarters while training for the front.

The visitors on Friday were greatly interested. They were received at Grey Towers by Mr. and Mrs. Cunliff Owen, and were shown round the camp in parties. Grey Towers has been nicely fitted up for the officers, and the camp is in the park at the front. There are nearly fifty separate buildings, laid out in “streets,” which it is intended to name. The larger number of buildings are barrack huts, containing 30 beds each. There are also a hospital and a dispensary, a sergeants’ mess, guard room, regimental institute, canteen, store, cookhouse, drying room, ablution sheds, power station, coal shed, and latrines. The ovens in the cookhouse have each a capacity sufficient for 550 dinners to be baked at one time.

After a tour of the camp the visitors were entertained to tea.

Chelmsford Chronicle


WOUNDED BELGIANS ENTERTAINED. – At the camp of the Sportsmen’s Battalion, Grey Towers, on Monday, the advance party entertained twelve wounded Belgian soldiers who are being cared for at Ford Lodge, South Hornchurch. Dinner was served in Hut No. 4, the home of the advance party. Mrs. Cunliffe-Owen sent fruit and other dainties, Private Backhouse provided some items of the menu, and the remainder of the meal was contributed jointly by the “boys” of the hut.

Surrey Mirror


His beautiful place at Almers, Chertsey, has been offered to this battalion by Mr. Frank Gordon Geiger, of 6, Southwick Street, Hyde Park, London, W., as a base hospital, and his patriotic offer has been accepted with grateful thanks by the officer in command, Viscount Maitland. The grounds are exceptionally beautiful, and it is an ideal spot for invalids. Mr. Geiger and his friends will provide the equipment. The Grey Towers, Hornchurch, near Romford, Essex, the property of the family of the late Colonel Holmes, is the new headquarters of the corps. There are still a few vacancies for the right kind of men. The Sportsman’s Battalion, Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) is a corps for the gentleman sportsman up to forty-five years of age, and on those thoroughly sound and fit have been accepted. It is the only corps in England for which the age limit has been extended to forty-five. The Chief Recruiting Officer has been Mr. E. Cunliffe-Owen, C.M.G., and much of the organising work during the raising of the corps has been in the hands of Mrs. Cunliffe-Owen. The head recruiting office has been the Indian Room at the Hotel Cecil, and other offices have been open at various provincial centres.

The corps is an infantry one, with pay at Army rates. The conditions of service are for the period of the war, unless the war lasts longer than three years, in which case the corps will serve until the war is over. If over before three years, a discharge will be given with all convenient speed.

The O.C. is Viscount Maitland, the eldest son of the Earl of Lauderdale, Lord Maitland has served in the Royal Scots Fusiliers, in the 2nd Dragoons, and in the South African War was mentioned in despatches. He was appointed to the Hon. Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms in 1903, was assistant director Auxiliary Forces 1904-8, and is Hon. Colonel of the City of London Yeomanry (Rough Riders).

Related article in getSurrey: The country homes that became WW1 hospitals.

October 29, 1914

Birmingham Daily Post

All being well the Sportsman’s Battalion, attached to the Royal Fusiliers leave London on Tuesday next. Many well-known men in sporting circles have joined, notable figures being Sir William Cooke (owner of Hornet’s Beauty), Ernie Hayes, W. Hitch, A. Sandham, J. Hendren, Frank Smith (cricketers), Dave Fenton (walker), W. Albany, J. Wingate (scullers), Clarence Little and J. Barr (Canadian baseball players), and R. B. Day (the famous half-miler).

October 28, 1914

The Glasgow Herald


Satisfactory progress is being made with the recruiting of a Scottish contingent for the Sportsman’s Battalion (Royal Fusiliers), which has drawn to its ranks in England many men of splendid physique. At the offices in the Central Station Hotel, Glasgow, where recruits are being enrolled this week by Captain Westhead, over 40 men have joined since Monday morning. The battalion is appealing specially to men of good education who also possess uncommonly fine physique. The standard of height must be nearly as possible 5ft. 9in. There are in the the Army many excellent corps composed of men but for the most part fall short of that height, but as the Sportsman’s Battalion has almost reached its establishment on the 5ft. 9in. basis it would not be fair to those who have joined to complete it by lowering the standard. Moreover, it is evident that the remainder will be obtained without resorting to any modification. The intention at present is to recruit beyond the establishment numbers. Early application by those eligible is therefore advisable. Captain Westhead, who is to spend next week on a similar recruiting mission in Edinburgh, hopes to raise a Scottish company. An excellent beginning has been made.

Edinburgh Evening News


Lord Maitland makes the following final appeal: Recruiting in Scotland for this corps will be extended a little longer. Captain Westhead will be in attendance to enrol recruits at the following places: Glasgow–Central Hotel, every day this week, Edinburgh–Royal Hotel, November 2 to November 7, inclusive. As after this recruiting in Scotland will end definitely, this is the last possible chance for sportsmen there to join this corps, which includes some of the greatest cricketers and big game hunters, men well known in the rowing and racing worlds, while the social standing of many of the recruits is of the best. The quarters are in beautiful country at Hornchurch, Essex, and are unusually complete in every detail. Lord Maitland is in command. It is the only corps for which the age limit was specially extended by the War Office to forty-five, and thus it affords their only opportunity to sportsmen in Scotland who are debarred by the age limit from joining other corps, as recruiting in that country comes to a definite end on the above dates. This battalion interferes in no way with recruiting for other branches of the service. Country applicants already enrolled can be medically examined and attested by the military recruiting officer in their district. Those who have not received forms for presentation should write immediately for them, to the Officer Commanding, Sportsmen’s Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, Hotel Cecil, Strand, London.

October 26, 1914

Glasgow Daily Record



The improvement of the recruiting figures in Glasgow is being maintained, and the modification of the standard now announced by the authorities will no doubt result in a still further boom.

To-day and to-morrow Captain Westhead, recruiting officer for Scotland of the Sportsmen’s Battalion of the City of London Royal Fusiliers, will be in attendance at the Central Station Hotel, Glasgow, to enrol recruits for this unit.

The Sportsmen’s Battalion will appeal to a special class, and its functions during the war will be of a nature which, while enhancing its efficiency, will be most congenial to the class from which its recruits have been drawn,

This is the only unit for which Lord Kitchener has authorized an extension of the age limit, and men will be accepted up to 45 years of age. Members of the legal and clerical professions are specially invited to join, but the appeal is made to me of all classes.

The height standard for the unit is 5ft. 6in., and the chest measurement standard is 35½ in. Over £10,000 has been raised for the equipment of this battalion, which is under the command of a distinguished Scotsman in Colonel Viscount Maitland.

Attestations – October 19 to October 25, 1914

The following First Sportsman’s recruits are recorded as attesting at an officially recognized location (military barracks or recruiting office) during the week starting Monday, October 19th.

October 23, 1914

Aberdeen Daily Journal


[…] Among those who enlisted were two local men for the Sportsmen’s Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers. This reduction of the height standard should have a beneficial effect on the recruiting generally, and this is to be seen in the numbers which are likely to come forward. Wednesday’s “roll of honour” was as follows: –

[…] Robert A. Gibb – Aberdeen (Sportsman Battalion).

James Walker – Aberdeen (Sportsman Battalion).

October 22, 1914

The Huntington Herald

A sportsman’s battalion of 1,300 members is a unique English organisation to be made up exclusively of men of gentle birth between forty and forty-five, and to include fox hunters, grouse shooters, golfers and cricket players.

The Times


To-morrow afternoon an AT Home will be given by Mr. and Mrs. Cunliffe-Owen at the new quarters of the Sportsman’s Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, at the Grey Towers, Hornchurch, Essex.

Mr. Frank Gordon Geiger, of Southwick-street, Hyde Park, who has joined the battalion, has lent Almers, Chertsey, as a base hospital for the corps. Mr. Geiger and his friends will provide the equipment.



The anniversary of Trafalgar was celebrated in London yesterday. […] The lately enrolled Sportsman’s Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers evoked great enthusiasm by singing “Rule, Brittania” as they marched past the Column.

The Sportsman’s Battalion on Trafalgar Day.

Aberdeen Daily Journal

Call to Sportsmen.

Captain Westhead, of the Sportsman’s Battalion of the City of London Royal Fusiliers, was in attendance at the Palace Hotel, Aberdeen, yesterday for the purpose of enlisting recruits for the regiment. He appeals to all classes of sportsmen and men of good education, as the unit will be asked to carry out special functions. Ghillies are specially invited to join the battalion. There was a gratifying response yesterday, and recruits of excellent physique were obtained. Captain Westhead will be in attendance at the Palace Hotel again today.

October 21, 1914

The Dundee Courier


At Hornchurch, in Essex, the new quarters for the Sportsman’s Battalion Royal Fusiliers, which is recruiting in Scotland, will, it is hoped, prove among the finest in the country, and very complete in detail. Each of the huts holds 30 men. There are a guardroom, store, cookhouse, drying-rooms, canteen, ablution sheds, hospital with 12 beds, and, last but not least, the regimental institute for the recreation of the soldiers, which is nowadays carefully looked after. The camp will be lit by electricity generated on the site by a dynamo.

Within a fortnight of the time when the first operations were begun the whole was complete. Mr Michael J. Weekes, M.Inst.C.E., engineer of the corps, together with Mrs Cunliffe Owen (who was the organiser during the formation of the battalion), has designed and patented a new and simple form of bedstead, which forms a bed at night and comfortable seat during the daytime.

Mrs Cunliffe Owen is, as far as is known, the only lady who has ever raised a military corps and her husband, the chief recruiting officer, is the son of the late Col. Cunliffe Owen, R.E., V.C., who went through the Crimean war. Mr Cunliffe Owen, C.M.G., is a barrister-at-law, and secretary to the Metropolitan Electric Lighting Company.

There has been some doubt as to the status of such battalions as the Sportsman’s Battalion Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment). A War Office order states that, “with reference to the new local battalions which communities and individuals have been authorised to raise, it would appear that, from communications which have been received by the War Office, some doubt exists as to the status of these units and the relationship between them and the Infantry Record Offices. It is, therefore, notified for the information of all concerned that these battalions are part of the regular army, and consequently are affiliated to the Regular Record Offices of the regiments to which they belong.”


ROYAL FUSILIERS (City of London Regiment).

Officer Commanding – Col. VISCOUNT MAITLAND

Age up to 45.

To enable Scotsmen who are who are thoroughly fit (height preferred – 5’ 9” to 5’ 11”) to join the above Battalion, the following arrangements have been made for special recruiting in Scotland. Recruiting Offices will be opened from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., as under:–

Wed and Thursday, Oct. 21st and 22nd, ABERDEEN – Palace Railway Station Hotel.
Friday and Saturday Oct. 23rd and 24th, EDINBURGH – Royal Hotel.
Monday and Tues., Oct. 26th and 27th, GLASGOW – Central Station Hotel.

Chief Recruiting Officer and Attendant – Captain C. G. Westhead.

Now is YOUR chance to join a company of Brother Sportsmen!

Aberdeen Journal

Sportsman’s Battalion.

In our columns to-day there appears an advertisement inviting recruits for the Sportsman’s Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers, now going into camp in Essex. It should appeal to many very specially in the North of Scotland. Surely no such regimental roll-call ever figured in the archives at Whitehall! There are now enrolled two sons of peers, three baronets, a K.C.M.G., and a peer’s brother. On the other hand, there is a hotel cook who can speak several languages, and who will make an excellent interpreter at the front. A famous boxer, many cricketers and footballers, both amateur and professional, and a number of rowing men are about to devote their energies to mastering military evolutions. One notable recruit has been making a living for years as a music-hall “Apollo”.

A London Appeal

It is seldom that those resident in Scotland are invited to join one or other of the London regiments, but that opportunity has been given on behalf of the Sportsman’s Battalion of the City of London Royal Fusiliers. Captain Westhead, one of the officers of the battalion, is now.  on a recruiting tour in Scotland, and today and tomorrow he will be in attendance at the Palace Hotel, Aberdeen, for the purpose of enrolling men. £10,000 has been raised for the fitting-out of the battalion, and when the necessary numbers have been secured they will take the field as one of the best equipped units in Lord Kitchener’s Army.

Liverpool Echo



John Brown and James Brown let us call them. Those are not their real names, but they will serve as convenient labels for two well-known Liverpool brother who a few years ago were prominent in every kind of field sport. They are strong, hardy men (says the “Day to Day” column of the “Daily Post”), and when they heard that, a Sportsman’s Battalion was being raised for military service they determined to enlist. The maximum age for volunteers was forty-five, and they both happened to be over fifty.

Still, that was not a serious obstacle. Everybody can tell a little fib some time or other, if he screws himself up to it. John was the first to seek out a recruiting sergeant. When the question of age was mentioned, he explained that he was just turned forty-four – forty-four and three months to be precise. And so he was passed.

James, unaware that John had preceded him, turned up at the recruiting office a little later the same day. “Your age?” asked the officer. “Forty-four and six months,” said James firmly, and without even the even the faintest blush. “By the way,” pursued the officer, glancing through some forms on his desk, “are you related to John Brown?” “Brother,” said James, proudly. “H’m,” was the official comment. “Well, you’re two very excellent men, and, having regard to your ages, you must have had, if I may say so, a very remarkable mother.” And then James was passed, too.

October 20, 1914

Derby Daily Telegraph

London, Tuesday Morning.

The Sportsmen’s Battalion.

I hear that companies of the Sportsmen’s Battalion are training assiduously at Hornchurch. One of my friends tells me of a march of sixteen miles yesterday besides other exercises. That is not bad for a beginning. […]

Aberdeen Journal





To enable Scotsmen who are who are thoroughly fit (height preferred, 5 ft. 9 ins to 5 ft. 11 ins.) to join the above Battalion, the following arrangements have been made for Special Recruiting in Scotland. Recruiting Offices will be opened from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., as under:–

Tuesday  Oct.20 – INVERNESS, Highland Rly. Stn. Hotel.
Wednesday and Thursday  Oct. 21 & 22 – ABERDEEN, Palace Rly. Station Hotel.
Friday and Saturday  Oct. 23 & 24 – EDINBURGH, Royal Hotel.
Monday and Tuesday  Oct. 26 & 27 – GLASGOW, Central Station Hotel.

Chief Recruiting Officer and Attendant – Capt. C. G. Westhead.

Now is your chance to join a Company of Brother Sportsmen.

October 19, 1914

Daily Record & Mail


Beginning from to-day, recruiting will be carried on in Scotland for this corps. Captain C. G. Westhead will attend at the following stations to enrol recruits:-

Inverness - Station Hotel, Monday and Tuesday (October 19th and 20th).

Aberdeen - Palace Railway Hotel, Wednesday and Thursday (October 21st and 22nd).

Edinburgh - Royal Hotel, Friday and Saturday (October 23rd and 24th).

Glasgow - Central Hotel, Monday and Tuesday (October 26th and 27th).

There are still a few vacancies for the gentleman-sportsman; and the right kind of man, of fine physique, thoroughly sound and fit, up to forty-five, height preferred 5ft, 11in, and upwards. This is the only corps for which the age-limit has been specially extended to forty-five; it need not therefore interfere in any way with recruiting for other corps. This considerable margin in the age limit enables many sportsmen to join who cannot get into other corps. The officer commanding is Viscount Maitland. The corps is an infantry corps, with pay at army rates.

Patent for Improvements in the Construction of Huts

Patent application # 21,074 was filed on October 16, 1914 by Arthur Edwards on behalf of Emily Pauline Cunliffe Owen. The provisional specification reads:

I, Emma Pauline Cunliffe Owen, of 26, Leicester Road, Loughborough, Leciestershire, Married Woman, do hereby declare the nature of this invention to be as follows:

This invention relates to huts designed as sleeping quarters and also for messing and other purposes, and the invention has for its object to enable beds to be placed in position when required for sleeping purposes and to be conveniently stowed away and made useful when the hut is required for messing or other purposes.

The application then goes on to explain the invention and its potential benefits. A complete specification was later filed on 15th April, 1915, and the application was accepted by the UK Patent Office on 29th July, 1915.

A summary of the patent can be see in the Espacenet patent search database, and the complete filing, together with detailed pictures, is accessible via the IPEXL database.

21,074. Owen, E. P. C. Oct. 16. Bedsteads.-A but for use as sleeping and messing quarters is provided along two adjacent sides with rails 2,10 at different heights so that the bed frames may be stowed away, as shown in Fig. 4, with the longer sides parallel to the bar 2 and the first bed resting with its head-rail 3 on the bar 10, each succeeding bed being pushed over the one beneath until the stops 8 abut on the legs 6. When required for use, the beds are lifted and turned so that the head-rails 3 engage pairs of projections 5 on the lower rail 2.

As can be seen clearly in the following photograph of the interior of a hut at the Hornchurch Camp, the invention was indeed utilized by the Sportsman’s Battalions. The beds are stacked neatly against the side of the hut in such a way that tables and benches can be placed in the center of the hut for the purposes of meals.

Interior of Hut   The Camp Hornchurch

October 16, 1914

Essex County Chronicle

Viscount Maitland has been appointed Commanding Officer of the Sportsmen’s Battalion, Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment), which will shortly proceed to its quarters at Hornchurch. Lord Maitland is the eldest son of the Earl of Laverdale. He entered the Militia, the 4th Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers, in 1883, served as Lieutenant in the 2nd Dragoons in 1887, in the Scots Guards in 1894, and in the South African War in 1900-1, in which he was mentioned in dispatches. Lord Maitland was appointed to the Hon. Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms in 1903: was Assistant-Director Auxiliary Forces, 1904-8, and is Hon. Colonel of the City of London Yeomans (Rough Riders).

October 15, 1914

London Standard


Colonel Kitchener, who has been raising a corps himself, has passed on any recruits eligible for the Sportsman’s Battalion (Royal Fusiliers, City of London Regiment) to the latter corps, and has written to congratulate it upon its success. The battalion will parade in Hyde Park on Saturday at eleven o’clock, whence it will march to Fenchurch-street Station, to entrain for its quarters at Hornchurch, near Romford, in Essex. Every detail there has been looked into beforehand, and, although the quarters have been put up at probably lightning speed, they will be as complete in every particular as if they had been there for years. They are 14 miles from London, and stand in 85 acres of beautiful park in undulating country. The quarters have been offered to the battalion by the family of the late Colonel Holmes.

The Christian Advocate

A Sportsman’s Battalion Is Being Enrolled In England for the war on the Continent, and a thousand men have thus far been recruited. This body is said to be a corps for gentlemen up to forty-five years of age, the word gentleman in England meaning something rather different than its accepted significance in a democratic land like ours. Some distinguished men have joined themselves to this battalion, the training and equipment of which will be precisely that which is required for an ordinary infantry company.

Daily Mirror

The Sports.

It is good news to all of us who know him to learn that Viscount Maitland has been appointed commanding officer of the Sportsman Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers.  The Viscount is just the sort of man to lead the sportsmen.  a young-looking man of forty—six, tall, fair, blue-eyed, rather stout and a typical Scotsman in many ways, the Viscount has every right to be described as a sportsman.

A Miniature.

Viscount Maitland married a beautiful daughter of the late Judge R. Vaughan-Williams, and her Welsh birth is shown by her pretty first name of Gwendoline.  She is not a classical beauty but owns the charm of small, regular features, a cloud of pale gold hair and a graceful figure.  She is a delightful miniature painter, and as a hobby trims hats?

Pot Them.

A fine shot, Viscount Maitland is also one of the best billiard players in the country.  He should thoroughly enjoy potting the Germans.

October 13, 1914

The Times

Final Instructions


Attached to THE ROYAL FUSILIERS (City of London Regiment).

Colonel-in-Chief – THE KING.

Recruits who have already been Sworn In must report themselves for orders and assembly at the Indian Room, Hotel Cecil (Embankment Entrance), as follows:


Any recruit who has not been Sworn In should process to the nearest Military Barracks or Recruiting office, and ask to be medically examined and attested for The Sportsman’s Battalion Royal Fusiliers on A.F.B. 2065, immediately reporting result to C.O., Recruiting Office, Hotel Cecil.

NOTE.- As regards equipment everything is found according to Army regulations. Those desirous of providing their own special comforts are at liberty to do so.

There are still a few vacancies for any able-bodied Sportsman up to 45 years of age, who must be thoroughly fit and sound and used to outdoor sports.

Pay at Army Rates. No financial obligations incurred.

Apply at the Chief Recruiting Office, Indian Room, Hotel Cecil, W.C. Hours 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Attestations – October 6 to October 11, 1914

The following First Sportsman’s recruits are recorded as attesting at an officially recognized location (military barracks or recruiting office) during the week starting Monday, October 5th.

October 11, 1914

Escanaba Morning Press


LONDON, Oct. 10. – Recruiting the famous sportsman’s battalion is proceeding apace, the enrollment to date totaling about one thousand. In many ways it is a unique corps. It is raised and financed by Mrs. Cunliffe Owen and in all probability is the only battalion of any of the great modern armies to be brought into being by a woman.

Besides, it is the only battalion in British forces in which the age limit has been specially extended by the authorities.

The recruiting posters read:

“The Sportsman’s Battalion is a corps for gentlemen up to forty-five years of age.”

Among the distinguished men already enrolled as privates are Sir Norman Pringle,  Sir William Wallace, Sir Robert Newman,  and two sons of peers .

The percentage of rejection among the applicants is a low record for recruiting in the campaign. Up to date it is less than 5 per cent. The training ground will be the Grey Horn church, Rumford.

In the chief recruiting headquarters at the Hotel Cecil, a press agent occupies a prominent corner. Payment by the recruit for his equipment is optional.

The training and equipment are the same as required in an ordinary infantry company.

October 9, 1914

The New York Times


Titled Men in the Unique British Battalion – A Woman Financing It.

Special Cable to THE NEW YORK TIMES

LONDON, Oct. 8. – Recruiting for the famous Sportsman’s Battalion is proceeding apace, the enrollment to date totaling about 1,000.

It is in many ways a unique corps. It is raised and financed by Mrs. Cunliff Owen and is in all probability the only battalion of any of the great modern armies to be brought into being by a woman. It is certainly the only battalion in the British forces in which the age limit has been specially extended by the authorities. The recruiting posters read: “The Sportsman’s Battalion is a corps for gentlemen up to forty-five years of age.” Payment by a recruit for his equipment is optional. The training and equipment are what are required by any ordinary infantry company.

Among the distinguished men already enrolled as privates are Sir Norman Pringle, Bart.; Sir William Wallace; Sir Robert Newman, Bart., and two sons of peers who have not yet passed the military examination.

The percentage of rejection among the applicants is a low record for recruiting in the campaign. Up to date it is less than 5 per cent.

October 7, 1914

Dundee Evening Telegraph

Among 150 recruits of the Sports Battalion who have passed the doctor and who have been sworn in are Ernest Hayes and A. Sandham, the Surrey Cricketers.

October 6, 1914

Liverpool Daily Herald


The official medical examinations of the new Sportsman’s Battalion will take place today for London and on Friday for the country.

It is quite possible that, in view of the great success which has attended the movement, a second battalion may be recruited in the course of the next few weeks.

Among those who have already joined are two baronets.

Yorkshire Evening Post



To cope with the enormous number of number of applications received from the North of England, it has been decided to open a temporary recruiting office in Harrogate every day up to and including Wednesday, October 7.

This Special Battalion for active service, sanctioned by Lord Kitchener, is being recruited from sportsmen up to 45 years of age. There are still a few vacancies for the right men. Now is the opportunity to join a sportsman’s corps.



Recruiting Office:


Hours 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.

October 5, 1914

Devon & Exeter Daily Gazette

The Sportsman’s Battalion,

For Active Service

Enrolment is now proceeding at the HOTEL CECIL, and now is the opportunity for Sportsmen and others to enlist in this exceptionally fine Battalion.

Non financial obligations.

For full particulars apply

S. D. GIRBARD, 121, Sidwell-street, Exeter.

October 3, 1914

Newcastle Daily Journal

Westminster Chambers,
Station Parade, Harrogate.

Sir, – May I venture on your space re the Sportsman Battalion? This is the only battalion sanctioned by the War Office for men between 25 and 45 years of age. The men must be perfectly fit in every way, and will be only taken on for active service at Army rates of pay.

All recruits will have to present themselves in London on October 9th next. Will those wishing to join please call – not write – at above address and sign necessary papers not later than October 7th, as all papers must leave here by that date? This is a splendid opportunity given to our sportsman to show his loyalty at an age that would otherwise debar him.

As the battalion is fast filling up only a quick response will secure a place. Recruiting hours, 11 to 1, and 2.30 to 5p.m.

2nd October, 1914.          FRED KELLEY.

Sheffield Evening Telegraph


Applications to join the Sportsman’s Battalion which is recruiting at the Hotel Cecil, continue to flow in but there still remain a few vacancies.

Among the most recent recruits as privates are a champion sculler of Australia, a well-known M. F. H., and several cricketers of repute.

“Nearly all the men want commissions,” it was stated to-day. “We are rather crushed out with officers. We rather want a few privates. Ex-officer, however, are willing to serve in the ranks.”

October 2, 1914

Birmingham Evening Despatch

Birmingham Daily Post




There was only a small response in Birmingham yesterday to the call for recruits, the total number of men enlisted being 127.

[…] Since September 8 recruiting has been proceeding for the Sportsman’s Active Service Battalion, the members of which are being drawn from the ranks of sportsmen all over the country, such as hunting men, golfers, cricketers, and participants in other outdoor recreations. The unit is intended for active service, and will be fully equipped with transport, ambulance, and field guns. The headquarters are in London, but branch recruiting offices have been opened in Northampton, Nottingham, Bristol, Exeter, and the call will go out to Exeter tomorrow. In Birmingham, at the Stork Hotel yesterday, about thirty recruits presented themselves soon after the office was opened, and during the day about twenty additional members were enrolled. Owing to the satisfactory response the enrolment will be proceeded with again to-day. The battalion is already nearing full strength, the men including many who saw active service both in the commissioned and non-commissioned ranks during the South African war.

The men will examined and sworn in at the various stations on October 9, and those who pass will go into camp near London three days later.

October 1, 1914

Birmingham Evening Dispatch



Fine, well-built, athletic young men, who are fond of outdoor pastimes, made their way to the Stork Hotel, Birmingham, to-day, in order to enrol themselves f0r the Sportsman’s Battalion, a recruiting office having been opened at the hotel for to-day only.

This unit will be composed entirely of sportsmen, and will number 1,300 all told. Devotees of all kinds of sport are to be found in the ranks, and the battalion has appealed to sportsmen form all over the United Kingdom.

The special battalion has been sanctioned by Lord Kitchener for active service, and sportsmen of up to 45 years of age are accepted on the usual terms obtaining for Kitchener’s Army, of which the battalion when completed will form a unit.

Among those who have already enrolled their names in the battalion are 350 men who have seen active service. More than the required number have filled in the necessary forms, but many have since enlisted in other regiments to get away more quickly, and a percentage of medical rejects is allowed for.


Within the first hour of the office being opened at the Stork Hotel there were quite twenty applicants anxious to register their names as willing to serve. Golfers, oarsmen, and cricketers attended to learn the conditions and subscribe their name to the roll. The men who presented themselves in Birmingham to-day were of splendid physique, brought about by their love of outdoor games, and the officers in charge of the recruiting were well satisfied by their labours of the morning. Some well-known sportsmen from the city and the neighbouring districts attended during the morning, and it was anticipated that ere the office closes at 8 p.m there will be quite a goodly number of Birmingham names among the sportsman’s battalion.

Applicants are only required to fill up forms giving particulars of themselves at present.

On or before 9 October they will receive a communication from London inviting them to attend at the nearest Army recruiting office for the purpose of undergoing the medical test, and, if passed by the doctors, they will be instructed where to present themselves for training, which is expected to commence in twelve days’ time. A training ground has been secured near London, and when the recruiting is completed it is hoped to have one of the finest battalions in the country.

Up to the present 1,000 men have joined the Sportsman’s Battalion which is being organised at the Hotel Cecil, London.

Nottingham Evening Post



The raising of the standard to 5ft. 6in. and the chest measurement to 36in. coupled with the fact that certain regiments are closed for recruiting, probably accounts for the circumstance than in Nottingham as elsewhere there is a temporary decline in the number offering themselves for military service.

[…] There was a satisfactory response to the appeal to join the Sportsman’s Battalion yesterday, and if the applicants were not very numerous the right type of man put in an a appearance, including many young farmers from the country. An infantry battalion, the unit is intended for active service, and there is no ground for the impression which seems to have been formed in some quarters that those enlisting will be required to incur a lot of expenses or that they need necessarily be men of means.

Western Daily Press


A recruiting officer attended at the Royal Hotel yesterday to receive applications from those desirous of enlisting in the Sportsmen’s Battalion, which has been sanctioned by Lord Kitchener with an age limit up to 45 years. Already over 1,000 names have been sent in from various parts of the country, and these include well-known foxhound men and explorers, as well as prominent representatives of cricket, football, and other branches of sport. Only those used to outdoor sports who are thoroughly sound and fit are asked to apply, and candidates upon registering are provided with the following printed instructions with conditions of service: –

You will receive written notice asking you to attend a given place within certain dates for the purpose of medical examination and attestation by the War Office.

The conditions of service will be for a period of three years, unless war lasts longer than three years, in which case you will be retained until the war is over. If, however, you the war is over in less than three years, you will be discharged with all convenient speed.

The battalion will be housed, fed, clothed, and drilled until fit for active service, at a place to be notified later, when the name of the battalion will also be announced.

Donations towards the cost of raising and equipping the battalion will be gratefully received: but this is not a condition of enlistment. Everything will be found free of charge.

Pay at Army rates.

During the day a number of applicants for enlistment were received at the Royal Hotel.