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!

March 3, 1915

London Evening News


The Temple, its cloisters, and its musty old chambers are reverberating with the beat of the drum, and the peace-loving occupants of the fine old rooms in Kings Bench-walk are shutting their windows and “sporting their oaks” in vain.

The sanctity of the various courts is violated by the sound of marching soldiers, hoarse cries of officers, and – the constant beating of a drum.

For some days the 2nd Sportsman’s Battalion has been in possession of Kings Bench-walk and Crown Office-row, owing to the exceedingly “heavy going” at Hyde Park, which ahs made marching a somewhat difficult task.

Crown Office-row is the spot preferred by the men of the battalion because it is on the level, but King’s Bench-walk is the ground more favoured by the officers, for, although it is on the incline, there is more space for manoeuvring.

The Sportsman’s Battalion is a fine body of men, but since their training-ground has been King’s Bench-walk their footsteps show signs of lagging. The “left, right,” of their officers met with slow response from the feet of the men, and so a drum, whose beat should synchronise with the movement of the feet, has been requisitioned.

“It is not the fault of the men,” said an officer to an Evening News representative, “but merely the rise and fall of the parade ground. Our fellows are jolly good on the level, but rather like the ‘bargain motor’ when we tackle King’s Bench-walk. Go well down hill, but a bit slow in climbing and might be relegated to that class styled ‘also ran.’ And the drum is expected to bring about a uniformity of pace.”

In the meanwhile the occupants of the surrounding chambers are begging hospitality from their legal friends who have rooms in more remote corners of the Temple.

And the thousands of birds that usually crowd the score of trees in King’s Bench-walk have migrated to Pump Court, where the branches of the only two trees are bent with their weight.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle


We strongly deprecate the attempt to introduce snobbery into the New Army by the creation of “class battalions,” and we are by no means surprised that, as in the case of the Sportsman’s Battalions, the attempt has led to criticism and controversy. – London Express

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