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 23, 1915

Western Daily Press

CLIFTON FOOT HARRIERS – Owing to the death of Captain Bruce Melville Wills, Wessex R. E (killed in action), and of Mr. Hamlyn H Perham, Sportsmen’s Battalion, Royal Fusiliers these hounds will not meet to-morrow (Wednesday).

The funeral of Mr Hamlyn H. Perham, late of the Sportsman’s Battalion Royal Fusiliers, will take place too-day, at Flax Bourton Parish Church, at 3.45 p.m. The rector (the Rev. F. Tracey) made a feeling tribute, in his sermon on Sunday, to the deceased’s loyalty and devotion to duty.

The Times



The chief event at the National Sporting Club last night was a 200-round contest between the light-weights, Private J. Delaney (23rd Royal Fusiliers, Sportsman’s Battalion) and J. Denny (New Orleans) for £330. Delaney won in the 14th round.

After a quiet start Delaney forced the pace finely in the second round. He again took the honours in the third round, and Denny had to act chiefly on the defensive. In the fifth round Delaney kept his opponent away and scored fast, owing to his superior pace and ring tactics. The American was quite out classed, but was game until the end. At the close of the 14th round Denny’s seconds gave in for him.

It was Denny’s first appearance in this country. His record in America is an excellent one, and before the fight he and Kid Lewis were regarded as the most formidable opponents for Fred Welsh.

The Courier



With a card of a most attractive character arranged it was not surprising to fid a big attendance at the N.S.C. last night.

Jack Denny, the newly-arrived light-weight, was down to meet Jerry Delaney (who is now a private in the Sportsmen’s Battalion) over 20 rounds for £100 a-side and the Club purse. The articles stipulated that the men should weight 9 st. 9 lbs. Delaney was 2 lbs. inside, but the American went a quarter of a pound over, and it was only after severe skipping bouts that he passed the scale at the third time of asking.

The event of the evening, however, was a 20-rounds bout in the eliminating contest for the bantam-weight championship between Young Fox, of Leeds, and Alex. Lafferty, who claims to be the best lad of his weight in Scotland. Looking fit, the Scot pulled down the beam at 8 st. 5 ¾ lbs., Fox being ¾ lb. lighter.

Before the proceedings opened there was a little speculation over both matches, Fox at 6 to 4 on, and Delaney 5 to 2 on being respectively favourites.


Of the two chief events, the bantam-weight contest came first. It went the full twenty rounds, but to a great extent was disappointing, as the Scot failed to justify the high opinion formed of him, and Fox won well on points. The Leeds man had a good pull in the matter of reach, and took full advantage of it, getting over or breaking through Lafferty’s guard time after time. Lafferty tried in-fighting both in season and out, but wasted a lot of well-intentioned right-handers. All the same, the Scott had the better of the opening rounds, and in the third Fox was down. Indeed, the latter looked like a loser for five rounds, but in the sixth he suddenly found his form. He then began to avoid the Scotsman’s left leads, and after doing a lot of good work toppled Lafferty over in the seventh round with a clip on the chin. From this point all the cleverness and generalship were on the side of Fox. Lafferty was always game, and right up to the sixteenth round exhibited pace, but he became very ragged towards the close, and, as already said, Fox won with a bit in hand.


The Delaney v. Denny bout was a warm one. Delaney forced the work to commence with, and, hitting with plenty of force whilst paying particular attention to the fence, he outfought the American generally. By the end of the fifth round, Delaney had established a good lead. Denny adopted covering up tactics, but without being able to keep Delaney’s left out of his face. The Yorkshireman’s judgment was first-class, and he inflicted such severe punishment that at the end of the 14th round Denny was hopelessly beaten. The New Orleans man showed nothing like championship form at any part of the contest.




Mrs. E. Cunliffe-Owcn, the chief recruiting officer of the Sportsman’s Battalions, who recently wrote to the “Daily- Express” stating that “men joining this battalion in future will be expected to pay a minimum of three guineas and be of the upper and middle classes,” has resumed her letter-writing activities and appeals for money.

A “Daily Express” correspondent writes that, although he, “like many others, had sent a subscription (£5) to the Sportsman’s Battalions,” he has now received another appeal in the form of the following letter:—

     Dear Sir,—The War Office have now called for an extra 500 men for the 1st Sportsman’s Battalion, which is in camp at Hornchurch, Essex, and have also authorised the immediate raising of a 2nd Sportsman’s Battalion of 1,600 men, making a total in all of 1,900 men still to be found.
     The camp and men at Hornchurch are considered to be second to none in the New Army, and the 2nd Battalion will be quite as good.
     The raising of these battalions places a severe strain upon our financial resources, and funds are urgently needed, as only a portion of the expense incurred in raising and equipping these battalions is recoverable from the War Office. May I ask you to kindly send a donation?
     Cheques should be made payable to me at above address, and crossed 2nd Sportsman’s Battalion Royal Fusiliers.
     If you could induce any of your friends to assist financially I should be most grateful. —Yours faithfully,
          E. CUNLIFFE-OWEN.
     Hotel Cecil, Strand, Feb. 19, 1915.

What has Colonel Viscount Maitland to say to this now appeal on behalf of his battalion?


The three questions asked in the “Daily Express” on February 5, however, still await answers.

The questions are :—

    1. How much money has been received ?
    2. How has the money been spent ?
    3. What is the present balance or deficit?

A new element of mystery is introduced, by a sentence in the following remarkable advertisement which has appeared daily in the “Times” for several weeks:—

1st and 2nd SPORTSMEN'S BATTALIONS, ROYAL FUSILIERS. Colonel-in-Chief, the King. C.O. 1st Battalion. Colonel Viscount Maitland. C.O. 2nd Battalion, Col. A. de B. V. Paget (His Majesty’s Bodyguard). Sportsmen, age 19 to 45, upper and middle classes only, Wanted at Once. There are still vacancies. Entrance is 3 guineas, or kit. No other financial obligations. Head Recruiting office, Hotel Cecil, London, Hours, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

What is the precise meaning of the phrase:—“ Entrance fee 3 guineas or kit”? The “Daily Express” understands that the Army authorities make an allowance of about £7 or £8 for the kit.

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