Recruitment in the North East part one

When war was declared on 4th August 1914 it was clear tha Britain’s small regular and territorial armies would be no match for the Germans in a long conflict. Lord Kitchener, the newly appointed Secretary of State for War appealed for 100,000 men to enlist into volunteer battalions on 7th August 1914.
In no region in Britain was the response more enthusiastic than the North East, where men were well known for their grit, physical toughness and stoicism, and where there existed a ‘martial tradition’ to join in and fight. In the following months 55 battalions of the Northumberland Fusiliers and 37 battalions of the Durham Light Infantry were raised.
Tyneside Scottish Brigade
20th-23rd Battalions Northumberland Fusiliers
The Tyneside Scottish are unique among all the Kitchiners volunteer battalions because they had first been raised in 1860 when the outbreak of a second Napoleonic war had seemed imminent. In 1914 the appeal for recruits was made directly to Scotsmen living and working in North Tyneside, with posters calling the Scots to arms appearing across the region. The Scotsman of Tyneside were described as harder than hammers and were persuasively called to join a Battalion filled with the toughest and hardest of fighting men. By 25th October with over 1150 men enrolled, the first Tyneside Scottish Battalion was complete, and by late November a brigade of four battalions had been raised. They formed the 20th and 23rd Service Battalions of the Northumberland Fusiliers. Following lengthy training at Alnwick and on Salisbury Plain, the brigade embarked for France in January 1916. The first casualty was first sustained in the 23rd Battalion on 30th January 1916 when Private R Armstrong was shot through the head by a sniper whilst on sentry duty.

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