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!

February 20, 1915

Edinburgh Evening News

Among the recruits for the Sportsman’s Battalion are C. P. McGahey, of the Essex XI; McIvor Jackson, the Surrey cricketer; Harry Packer and Lewis H. Lewis, the Welsh footballers; the big game hunters, Reginald Cooper and W Burlton; C. Mitchell, a son of the champion boxer of the eighties; and Ted Heaton, a noted swimmer, who only failed to cross the Channel by a quarter of a mile.

Essex Newsman



(With whom sat Jus. Tabor, Dale Womersley, and Al. L. Woodhouse, Esqrs.)

Charge Against Contractor.

Joseph Bysouth, 43, a contractor, on bail, was indicted for stealing 28 lb. bacon, 6 lb. of meat, and other goods of Colonel Viscount Maitland, at Hornchurch, on Jan. 30. – Mr. E. H. Tindal Atkinson prosecuted; Mr. C. E. Jones defended.

Lieut. and Quar.-Mastr. Robert de Vere Stacpoole, attached to he 1st Sportsman’s Battalion, stationed at Grey Towers, Hornchurch, stated that owing to the shortage of rations which had been noticed orders were given that all persons passing out of the Barracks on a certain day should be stopped. He had control of the contracts for removal of refuse from all parts of the Barracks, with the exception of the canteen. On the afternoon of the day in question he went to the guardroom in consequence of a report, and there saw the goods which were the subject-matter of that indictment. The bread was Army rations bread, and had nothing to do with the canteen at all. Cross-examined, witness said the stores were contracted for at so much per day per man. He could not say whether the bacon and meat were ever issued by the contractors to the regimental storekeeper. The bread was sub-contracted to a local baker. Witness could not say whether or not the baker would make more loaves than were requisitioned; he might do so.

Pt. Chas. F. Branson gave evidence as to stopping prisoner as he was leaving the main gates with a van. He had received orders to stop everyone. -- Cross-examined: He did not know how prisoner got into the Barracks. He did not see him go in.

Sergt. Gill, who examined the content s of prisoner’s van, and took prisoner to the guardroom, stated that he found in sacks the goods mentioned in the charge. Prisoner, asked to account of for the goods, said he got the stuff from the pig swill tubs. The bread was quite new, good bread.

P.s. Crowe stated that when he questioned prisoner at his house prisoner said he had a contract to remove the swill and rubbish from the canteen. He saw the two sacks and removed them as rubbish.

Jas. Dawson, a farmer and contractor, said prisoner gave him a pass into the barracks for the purpose of collecting swill and rubbish. On the Saturday in question he collected the refuse as usual in the morning. His arrangement for collecting the refuse was made with the prisoner; he was to pay prisoner what he thought the refuse was worth.

William John Beck, clerk at the canteen, stated that the canteen yard where the refuse tubs were was locked from Saturday noon until Sunday evening, and he (witness) went to London with the key in his pocket.

Thomas Shaw, manager of the regimental canteen, said refuse from the canteen was put into tubs in the canteen yard. He had never seen refuse put outside the tubs, and did not know that it was done. Prisoner made an arrangement with him whereby a Mr. Dawson removed refuse from the canteen yard on prisoner’s behalf. The refuse from the canteen might contain bread in small portions, but never whole loaves. Only Dawson had the right to remove refuse. – Cross-examined, witness could not say that the bacon and meat had ever been issued to the military authorities. Dawson was instructed only to empty the swill tub.

Prisoner, sworn, stated that as cartage agent for the Midland Railway he had to take goods to the barracks, and was there frequently. He had an arrangement with Mr. Shaw, the manager of the canteen, by which he employed Jas. Dawson to take away from the canteen yard the refuse in the tubs. On the Saturday afternoon in question he (prisoner) took about 7cwt. of butter and margarine to the barracks. He arrived there about 2:30 and delivered the butter to Mr. Beck at the warehouse. Having delivered the butter, he had a look at the tub. He saw two sacks by the tub. In one was a piece of bread. He did not look any further, but put the sacks in his van, and drove out by the main gates. A sergeant stopped him and said, “What have you got – anything good?” He (prisoner) said, “You had better jump up and have a look.” The sergeant did so, and found a loaf of bread. He asked prisoner where he got it from, and he said from the swill tub. After looking again the sergeant said he must go to the guardroom. At the guardroom a further search was made. He told the sergeant that he took the sacks from near the swill tub and believed they were refuse.

Evidence as to prisoner’s good character was called.

The jury found prisoner guilty, but recommended him to mercy on account of his previous good character.

The Chairman, in passing sentence, said the Bench were very sorry to see prisoner in that position. They agreed entirely with the verdict, and at the same time would take into account the recommendation of the jury to mercy. It was a very serious offence, however, and he was afraid was a kind of thing that went on a good deal at these camps, where, it being difficult to keep watch, a good deal of property was removed. Lieut. Stacpoole had said that this had been going on at Hornchurch for some time, but the Bench would not go back, and would deal only with what had happened on this occasion. The sentence would be four month’s hard labour; if it had not been for the commendation of the jury it would have been more.

Nottingham Evening Post



Captain H. H. Enderby, the Adjutant to the Second Sportsman’s Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, has been appointed major. He is well known in Nottinghamshire as a rifle shot, and shot at Bisley for years; he had the distinction of making 25 successive bulls at 500 yards at the Retford Rifle Range, and was one of the first superintendents of the Retford Miniature Rifle Club.

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