Life for Spalding Territorials at front

News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian, spaldingtoday.co.uk, @LincsFreePress on Twitter
News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian, spaldingtoday.co.uk, @LincsFreePress on Twitter

This newspaper heard a first-hand account of the “splendid work” of Spalding Territorials 100 years ago.

Capt G H Salaman, a member of the Spalding Territorials Active Service Company, was home on sick leave after suffering concussion and shock, “the result of some uncomfortably close and unwelcome associations” with German shells.

Capt Salaman spoke of the life led by the lads from Spalding who, though enlisting for Territorial service, “at once answered the call to take their stand on the battlefields of Europe”.

Around 115 Spalding boys went to France and were immediately “within sound of the big guns”.

It was cold and so they were given “skin overcoats” before travelling by cattle truck for 21 hours non-stop to their billets.

After a week, they marched 15 miles to a new billet in a cellar close to the firing line.

On March 27 the Spalding Territorials first went into the trenches. They were also the first section of the 4th Lincolns to take part in “this form of modern warfare”.

The enemy’s lines were 250 yards away. The Spalding men had to hold the line and take lessons in “how to conduct trench warfare”.

Capt Salaman said of this method of fighting: “It is very unsatisfactory, and lacks any of the romantic interest usually associated with warfare.

“The men line the earthworks and simply stay there night and day, snatching an hour’s sleep as opportunity presents itself, and always holding themselves ready to man their positions as occasion demands.”

The enemy’s lines were opposite and you fired at anything that showed above the opposing parapet, at the same time repairing and making safe your own trench.