Finsbury Rifles

Away from the Western Front: 15th – 31st January 1917.

Preparing to Move

The Military Service Act of 1916 stated that men graded A1 were able to march, see to shoot, hear well and stand active service conditions. In addition, they were fit to serve overseas in terms of their physical & mental health and training.  ‘B’ class men could stand service in garrisons in the tropics and were free from serious organic disease such as tuberculosis. However, it was accepted that they were only fit enough to complete a short 5-mile route march.

The debilitating conditions at the Suez Canal defences had taken their toll on the Finsbury Rifles. Septic sores and sand-fly fever as well as frequent attacks of diarrhoea accounted for many who appeared on sick parade. With the Sinai Desert to be crossed and the prospect of action ahead, this was a good time to take on replacements.

Making sure that all kit was in order was also an important task for the battalions about to depart. Replacing missing or broken items would be a far harder task away from the supply bases of Egypt.

Q67047 Grendier Guards with kit laid out for inspection 5th battalion at Wellington Barracks
5th Battalion of the Grenadier Guards with kit laid out for inspection at Wellington Barracks. Q67047 © IWM


Date: 15/1/17

Battn Training and usual Camp Routine.

Date: 16/1/17

Battn Training and usual Camp Routine.

Date: 17/1/17

Brigade Route March. Battn finding Brigade Duties.

Date: 18/1/17

Battn Training and usual Camp Routine.

Date: 19/1/17

Brigade Training and usual Camp Routine.

Location SUEZ CAMP Date: 20/1/17

Company Training. Kit Inspections.

Date: 21/1/17

Brigade Church Parade. Battl on duty. Routine as usual.

Date: 22/1/17

Battn Training and Usual Camp Routine.

Date: 23/1/17

Brigade Training and Usual Camp Routine.

Date: 24/1/17

Brigade Route March. And Usual Camp routine.

Date: 25/1/17

Battn. Training. Routine as usual. 60 0R joined from Base Depot.

Date: 26/1/17

Battn Training.  Routine as usual. Lt Col S.C. BYRNE Cmndr Brigade in absence of [Brigade Commander]. 60 OR joined from Base Depot.

Date: 27/1/17

Company Training. Usual Interior Economy.

Date: 28/1/17

Brigade Church Parade. Orders received re move to Kantara.

Date: 29/1/17

Battn on Duty. Camp Fatigues etc.

Date: 30/1/17

Striking Camp and General Fatigue. 40 OR proceeded Base Dept. Permanent B class

Date: 31/1/17

Battn employed Loading and Entraining for Kantara and Roman


Q57740 open rail trucks halted on journey from Suez to Kantara Jan 17
The Advance across the Desert: Open rail trucks full of soldiers of the 1/11th County of London Battalion London Regiment, 162nd Infantry Brigade, 54th East Anglian Division, halted during the journey from Suez to Kantara. January 1917.
Q57740 @ IWM. Byrne, Stanley Cesnola (Colonel) collection
























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