The Last Camp

In the late summer of 1914 amongst the gathering war clouds the battalion embarked on 2nd August for its annual camp as normal. The next day the battalion returned to Liverpool to prepare for war.


A recruiting drive to bring the battalion up to its full strength began. New recruits were however still required to pay their joining fee of 10 shillings. After all this was the Liverpool Scottish! An example of the social difference between the Liverpool Scottish and other battalions in Liverpool is shown by the diary of Lionel Ferguson.

[7 August 1914]: I reported … now a full Private in A Company… I was given a rifle, plate, bowl and sheet and told not to lose them. I deposited the lot at the manager's office in the Adelphi Hotel running into …Partridge [a friend] who insisted I should stop and have lunch with him and two other officers of the 5th Liverpool Regiment.

The '5th Liverpool Regiment' was the 5th Battalion another Territorial battalion, but the idea that a private would be invited to have lunch in the officers mess shows the social standing many privates in the Liverpool Scottish enjoined.

Most however had a more 'normal' experience as on 8th August the battalion was mustered in the Liverpool boxing stadium. Condition were spartan to say the least. Lance-Sergeant Marples records.

[9 August 1914]: Sunday, … Slept at Stadium and no blankets. Church Parade at 10:00 am…. Band selections afterwards and a concert in the evening.

There was a possibility that the battalion might be sent to Ireland to replace Regulars but it came to nothing. Except the 10% with an ‘Imperial Service’ obligation the Territorial Force was signed-up for home defence only however whole units, including the Liverpool Scottish, enthusiastically volunteered for overseas service.

Eventually, on 18 August, the Liverpool Scottish entrained for Edinburgh with the rest of South Lancashire Brigade to form part of the Forth Defences. Within ten weeks, they would be on the muddy, wintery Flanders battlefield.

As part of the Centenary Commemorations Major I.L. Riley has written a series of articles recounting the experience of the Territorial Force during the First World War. A more indepth article on the mobilization of the Liverpool scottish and it preperations for war can be found here.