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!

December 14, 1914

Liverpool Daily Post


There are vacancies in the 2nd Sportsman’s Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers, which is now recruiting at the Hotel Cecil, London, for a second in command and two majors. Retired officers of the Regular Army, including the Indian Army, under fifty-five years of age, or experienced officers serving with other units wishing for a transfer, should apply to the Officer Commanding, Hotel Cecil.

Western Times


To the Editor of the “Western Times.”

Sir, – At several recruiting meetings recently held, speaker after speaker has definitely stated that the age limit for those desiring to serve their country as soldiers of the king is 38. In other words, those over the age of 38 must remain quietly at home, since such are too old to wear his Majesty’s uniform and fight their country’s battles in the field. You will be glad to hear this is not the case.

Lord Kitchener has given special sanction to a Company of the historic Royal Fusiliers to recruit fit men up to 45 years of age. This Company is popularly known as “The Sportsman’s Battalion.” One complete Battalion has already been formed, and is in camp at Hornchurch, in Essex. Another is in course of formation. Those who have already joined the Second Battalion are at present drilling at the Hotel Cecil, the London Headquarters of the Battalion, and will proceed to their new camp after Christmas.

While the Sportsman’s Battalions are well known in the North, the Midlands, and the Home Counties, they are not so well known in the West. To remedy this, and thus bring to the knowledge of the men of Devon, Somerset and Cornwall such a unique opportunity for service, a special recruiting effort is at present being conducted with considerable success. All sportsmen and those interested in sport, and all those who enjoy an outdoor life, are particularly suitable for enrolment. Serving in the ranks at present are authors, actors, artists, architects, clerks, doctors, engineers, farmers, lawyers, merchants, ministers, shop assistants, students, and others. The ages of our recruits range from 19 to 45, and the names of many of England’s best athletes appear on our muster role. A special of the Second Battalion is the number of football players who have enlisted.

An impression seems to have gone abroad that recruits are expected to contribute towards the Battalion funds. This is quite wrong. Our recruits are soldiers of the Regular Army, and as such receive the pay, and their wives and dependants the same separation allowance as other soldiers. A generous kit is also provided unless a recruit specifically desires to provide his own. The uniform is the khaki uniform of the Regular Army, each man being measured and fitted individually.

Men joining locally will have the option of proceeding to London at once or remaining in the West until after Christmas, and those electing to proceed to London can obtain the usual Christmas leave and railway pass.

Any enquiries addressed to me will be promptly answered, and a booklet containing detailed particulars of the Corps., together with application forms, will be forwarded to anyone intimating a desire to receive same.

Yours fathfully,

Western Recruiting and Enquiry Office,
Castle House, Castle-street, Exeter.
14th December, 1914.

Glasgow Daily Record

Captain C. G. Westhead is back again in Glasgow seeking more men for the Sportsman’s Battalion.

Instructions have been received from the War Office that 300 men are to be added to the 1st Battalion, which had been completed some time ago, and that a 2nd Battalion is to be raised.

Only men of the best physique are available, and men up to 45 years are accepted. The minimum eight is 5 feet 6 inches, and the chest measurement 36 inches. The 1st Battalion is commanded by a Scotsman, Lord Maitland, son of the Earl of Lauderdale, and of the men already obtained, about 25 per cent., it is interesting to note, are Scotsmen.

Captain Westhead will be in attendance for a few days from to-day at the Central Station Hotel to interview applicants.

Capt. C. G. Westhead, recruiting officer for Sportsman’s Batt.

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