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 4, 1915

Daily Express




Mrs. Cunliffe-Owen’s position and doings as “chief recruiting officer” of the Sportsman’s Battalions continue to excite the liveliest interest.

The 1st Battalion, of which Viscount Maitland is colonel, is training at Hornchurch, in Essex, and Mrs. Cunliffe-Owen is now engaged in raising a 2nd Battalion at her recruiting office in the commodious Indian Room at the Hotel Cecil.

It might be supposed that Mrs. Cunliffe-Owen, as “chief recruiting officer,” would have filled up the 1st Battalion to its proper strength before undertaking the raising of a 2nd Battalion, the cost of which is, she says, so heavy that recruits are “expected to pay a minimum of three guineas and to be of the upper and middle classes.”

The 1st Battalion, however, is not yet complete, although Mrs. Cunliffe-Owen states that she has spent £7,000 more than she expects the War Office to refund to her.


This point is made clear in the following letter which the “Daily Express” received yesterday from Colonel Viscount

To the Editor of the “ Daily Express.”
     Sir,—I much regret that a matter of principle should have forced me into public controversy with Mrs. Cunliffe- Owen.
     All who have seen the magnificent battalions she has been instrumental in raising must admit that tin country in general, and the War Office in particular, owe this energetic and capable lady both thanks and gratitude.
     If I may say it, she fails only in one respect—she does not recognise her own limitations.
     Raising a regiment is one thing, training a regiment is another, and this latter is as much beyond the scope of the most capable of women as of any inexperienced civilian.
     Mrs. Cunliffe-Owen has raised this battalion; I, with the assistance of my officers, am training it, and I shall be proud if, in my sphere, I prove to be as successful as she has been in hers.
     Mrs. Cunliffe-Owen asserts that I have no practical concern with recruiting in my battalion.
     Since the middle of November my recruiters have enlisted 255 men without the expenditure of one cent, of public


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