King's Own Royal Regiment Museum

Lancaster

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Regimental History - 20th Century

First World War 1914-1918

At the outbreak of the war in August 1914 the King's Own was made up of two Regular and two Territorial Battalions as well as a Special Reserve Battalion.  By the end of the war it had expanded to 17 battalions, ten of which had seen active service.  During the war over 44,000 men served with the Regiment, of whom nearly 7,000 died.  Many more were injured and some died of their wounds after the war.

The 1st Battalion was mobilised on 4th August 1914 in Dover, where it was stationed.  On the 23rd August the Battalion arrived in France on board the SS Saturnia and spent the rest of war on the Western Front.  The 2nd Battalion was in India when war broke out.  It was recalled to England and from January to November 1915 served on the Western Front.  It was then moved to Salonika in Greece.

More on Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Dykes, Commanding 1st Battalion, August 1914.

Both the 4th Battalion and 5th Battalion were mobilised in August and a large proportion of the officers and men volunteered for overseas service.  They were used on home defence before leaving for the Western Front - the 5th Battalion in February 1915 and the 4th Battalion in May 1915.  It was not until 1916 that the 55th (West Lancashire) Division was re-formed in France and these two battalions once again served side by side.

1st/5th Battalion and the Didcot Connection - North Berkshire Herald Sunday 22nd May, 1915 - Didcot Man Writes Home From Front.

The Territorials were able to raise second and third line battalions in 1914 and 1915.  On doing so the two original battalions were re-designated the 1/4th and 1/5th Battalions (TF - Territorial Force).  Not all of the new second and third line units went overseas.  Only the 2nd/5th Battalion - as part of the 170th Brigade of the 57th Division (TF) - went to the Western Front, on 5th February 1917.

The 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion was mobilised in August 1914.  During the war it processed thousands of trained men for Regular and Service Battalions overseas, including men returning from convalescence.  The 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th Battalions were raised from volunteers in 1914.  These Battalions served on the Western Front, Eastern Europe and Iraq.  The 11th Battalion was the last to be raised in June 1915.  This was a 'Bantam Battalion' so-called because it accepted men below the official height requirement.  It took many miners from the central Lancashire coal field.  They served in France and Flanders from June 1916 to 1918.

The First World War Battalion War Diaries of the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment are now available from the museum on CD-Rom.  Find out more about the War Diaries.

First World War History by Battalion:
bullet1st Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment
bullet2nd Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment
bullet3rd Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment
bullet1st/4th Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment
bullet3rd/4th Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment
bullet1st/5th Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment
bullet2nd/5th Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment
bullet3rd/5th Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment
bullet6th Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment
bullet7th Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment
bullet8th Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment
bullet9th Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment
bullet10th Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment
bullet11th Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment
bullet12th (Service) Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment
bullet12th (Territorial Force) Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment
bullet1st and 2nd Volunteer Battalions, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment (Volunteer Training Corps)
bulletVictoria Cross holders in the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment

Useful Military Definitions and Abbreviations from 1918

Seven First World War Trench Maps are available as reproductions from the museum shop.  They include two covering the Macedonia front.

More information on the Regiment's activities in the First World War can be found on the 'Remember' website.

Find out more:
bulletFirst World War Medals
bulletWhat does 1st/4th, 1st/5th or 2nd/5th mean?
bulletLieutenant Thornycroft and the War in East Africa, 1914.
bullet1st/5th Battalion and the Didcot Connection - North Berkshire Herald Sunday 22nd May, 1915 - Didcot Man Writes Home From Front
bulletKing's Own soldiers who were 'Shot at Dawn' as deserters in the First World War
bulletBlack Mourning Buttons
bulletRelaxation in dental requirements for recruits, February 1915
bulletComparison of King's Own and Royal Flying Corps Uniform, First World War
bulletPicture of Regimental Badge sold by the Boys National School, Lancaster to raise funds for soldiers.
bulletComforts Funds and Appeals
bulletPrisoner of War Care Committee
bullet1914 Prisoners of War - Princess Mary Gift Tin Roll
bulletRenumbering of Territorial Force Battalions
bullet1919 Peace Celebrations, Lancaster
bullet55th West Lancashire Division 1916-1919
bullet55th West Lancashire Division Graves Registration Fund (1918-1919)
bulletThe 1st/5th Battalion (Territorial Force) of the King's Own produced a Souvenir Card at the end of the war.
bulletWar Memorial Village, Westfield, Lancaster
bulletUnveiling of the Borough of Morecambe War Memorial.
bullet 1924 film of Carnforth War Memorial.
bullet Storey Brothers of Lancaster Roll of Honour
bullet Rolls of Honour
bulletOrder of Service and Roll of Names for Lancaster War Memorial, December 1924

 

2014 Trustees of the King's Own Royal Regiment Museum