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!

November 17, 1914

Daily Mirror


Every Type of Athlete Training in Sportsman’s Battalion.


The Sportsman’s Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers is surely the most cosmopolitan regiment in the British Army. In its composition are many nationalities and all sorts and conditions of men, and all sportsmen.

The active side of sport is represented by expert cricketers, footballers, boxers, golfers, swimmers, tennis and lawn tennis players, and wrestlers, drawn from both the amateur and professional ranks. And, best of all perhaps, sport is represented in its ranks by the country gentleman.

As a camp, Grey Towers, the lovely old park and house at Hornchurch, where the sportsmen are training, is easily the best in England for any single battalion.

I was shown around, first of all, by the busiest man in the regiment, Lieutenant and Quartermaster H. Enderby.


“Grey Towers” is the officers’ quarters, and the men are encamped in huts in the eighty acres of park. These huts are the latest thing in Army constructional work.

They are raised a foot to eighteen inches above the turf, lined with match-boarding, lighted with many windows, warmed by a big stove, and have boarded floors.

The beds are wooden boxes with stout canvas stretched across them, and each man has three blankets. As most of these dwellings are decorated with flowers and flags they present a gay appearance.

There is a big institute and reading room, a supper room, wet and dry canteens, a fully-equipped hospital, a rifle range, forty-eight bathrooms, and also kitchens and wash-houses.

Five meals a day are served, starting with coffee and biscuits at 6:30 a.m., and finishing with soup at 7:30 p.m.

Varied every day, breakfast dishes are porridge, bacon, corned beef, sausages, stewed mutton, chops, tomatoes, kippers, bread and butter, tea and coffee.

Dinner during a week is varied between roast and stewed mutton and beef, beef steak pie, Irish stew, hot pot, curried stew, tomato stew, potatoes, haricot beans, cabbage, suet roll and syrup, currant puddings, dumplings, and sultana pudding.


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