The recruitment parade in Spalding 100 years ago wasn’t a total success, according to reports from the time.
A reporter wrote that the 250 officers and men of the 2nd and 3rd/4th Lincolnshire Regiment (TF) paid a “long-to-be-remembered” visit to Spalding, and “besieged the crowds assembled for market and the May Hiring Fair in a strenuous manner to obtain recruits”.
The report continued: “There was not the hearty response expected, and up to Tuesday evening, only 30 had answered the call as a result of the recruiting bands in our midst throughout the week.”
The parade consisted of those training at Luton and Lincoln, and as the 2nd/4th had been accepted as an active service section, and would proceed to the front, probably in two months’ time, the unit had been made up to full service strength by a batch of the 3rd/4th from Lincoln.
That meant that regiment was “considerably depleted” and so the special recruitment effort was aimed at filling up the ranks of the 3rd/4th Lincolnshires, and some 550 men were required.
There were lots of local men in the parade, including A H Clark (Moulton Eaugate), C L Harvey (Spalding)W E Porter (Deeping St Nicholas), and the parade was accompanied by the band of the 4th Lincolnshires.
The soldiers marched along Pinchbeck Road, the first section in full parade order, with fixed bayonets, which... “were to warn men of the seriousness of the business these men were engaged in , and the urgency of the call to arms which these gallant boys were making”.
They paraded through New Road, Hall Place, Market Place, Bridge Street, down the Crescent, and dismissed in the Sheep Market.
Crowds gathered to watch, but there was no cheering, standing instead in respectful silence and homage.