Spalding Territorials do their bit in 1st World War

News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian,, @LincsFreePress on Twitter
News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian,, @LincsFreePress on Twitter
Have your say

News had arrived from men in the Spalding Territorials experiencing their ‘baptism of fire’ in trenches at the front.

It was reported: “To the Spalding Company of Territorials fell the honour of being the first company of the 4th Lincs to enter the trenches.”

Fortunately, they had “stood the test extremely well” and all returned unscathed to their billets.

Later, however, some had come down with German measles.

After experiencing 24 hours in the trenches, Major Barrell, the “popular second in command of the 4th Lincs”, wrote that they had been just 250 yards from the German line.

One of the Spalding Territorials, Pte Van Elk, wrote of his own experiences.

He said: “Leaving our base, we had a march of about four miles through a wood to get to the trenches. On arriving at the end of this wood, we had to march along a road for about 500 yards under German fire, but not one of us was hit. We then got into the fire trench.

“To our great amazement, the German trenches were only 50 yards away from us in places. We had only been in about an hour when the German bullets began to fall over our heads. We were quite safe though, in the trench.”

Pte Van Elk said they had used a periscope to observe “quite plainly” what the Germans were doing. At daybreak, they had breakfasted on biscuits and bully beef.

The spirit of the Territorials was praised in a separate article calling for more men for the 4th and 5th Battalions.

The piece said: “In the present campaign, the County Regiment has won for itself honours equal, if not superior, to those gained by any other regiment of the line, and the Territorials have gone forth ready and anxious to take their part alongside the professional soldier.”