Finsbury Rifles, Away from the Western Front: 22nd January to 27th January 1916

In this passage we can see the impact of weather conditions on the routine of the Regiment, with a violent hurricane blowing down numerous tents in the middle of the night.

We are also introduced to the 3/11 London Regiment (Finsbury Rifles), which was formed after the outbreak of war. Its purpose was to supply trained soldiers to the first line Battalion and second line Battalions  to replace losses, either through death, injury or illness. After the 1/11 Battalion’s horrendous experiences at Gallipoli, two separate drafts of men joined them in Egypt to help bring the Battalion up to its full strength of 1007 men.

WW1 Finsbury Rifles NCOs (1915)
© Darren O’Brien.The 3/11th London Regiment (Finsbury Rifles)


Date: 22/1/16

Normal camp routines.

Date: 23/1/16

Church parade under Brigade arrangements.

Date: 24/1/16

Normal routine. Violent hurricane and many tents blown down during night.

Date: 25/1/16

Brigade Route march. Battalion on duty. Weather still very bad. 6 Officers and 151 other ranks reported from England from 3/11 Battalion. 

Date: 26 to 27/1/16

Normal routine.

Explore our Glossary for an explanation of any unknown terms.

Finsbury Rifles, Away from the Western Front: 19th December to 31st December 1915

Having arrived in Egypt, from the Gallipoli campaign, the Rifles pitched camp in Sidi Bishr, a large camp near to Alexandria.

While the Diary does not log a delousing and cleaning session on arrival in Egypt, Joe Guthrie, Machine Gun Sargent for the Finsbury Rifles, recalls his experiences on arrival in his Oral History recording at the Imperial War Museum:

‘Yes went to the Suez. We gave up Gallipoli and the boat landed at Alexandria where we went into Egypt. We was deloused and we needed it! Very funny, the chap when we got to Alexandria…the RMC Corporal, he was like ‘Come on boys come and have a nice hot bath!’ and we had to take all our clothes off, chuck ‘em down, get rid of them, and then with no clothes on at all then we went up to this bloke and he’d shove a bucket cold carbolic over us and into the next tent you’d put clean clothes on new clothes on that’s the way they did it. Cor blimey it was yes…And that was when we started our Egyptian career. Mena camp, that’s where we went from there.’ 


Location: SIDI BISHR

Date: 19/12/15

Day spent in re-pitching camp.

Date: 20/12/15

From the 20th of this date Battalion on duty responsible for Brigade fatigues and policing of camp. Parade during morning. Commanding Officer inspection of tents.

Date: 21/12/15 to 27/12/15

From week 20th to this date Battalion engaged on routine parades, fatigues etc. Lt. H. G. Sandercock to hospital with jaundice. 23.12.15 two officers and 79 other ranks rejoined unit from 54th Division Base Details Camp.

Date: 28/12/15

Received detailed orders from BHQ for moving to HOSH ISA on 30th. Camp routine parade as usual.

Date: 29/12/15

Battalion baggage. 17 Bell Tents and one EP Tent dispatched to HOSH ISA with exception of Officers’ valises. 1 N.C.O. (Sergeant) and 12 men rejoined Battalion from 54th Division Base Detail Camp. Routine as before.

Date: 30/12/15

Battalion entrained at SIDI GABER station from HOSA ISA. A, B and C Corps* entrained at 0920 and arrived HOSA ISA at midday. D Corp entrained at 12-20 and arrived at HOSA ISA at 1700. Battalion on duty responsible for protection of Camp during night. Numerous guard piquets provided.

Location: HOSH ISA

Date: 31/12/15

Day spent in re-pitching camp. Day and night uneventful. News received that 5 officers from 3/11th Battalion stationed at Ismalia would join Battalion at once.


* for a comprehensive description of Battalions and Companies, please explore excellent resource The Long Long Trail, and remember you  can use our glossary to demystify any new terms!

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