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Officer's Field Kit - Lt Col J G Fairlie, 6th LNL


AlanCurragh
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I've recently acquired a rather splendid field kit, with several of the items engraved with the name of initials of Capt (later Lt Col) James Gordon Fairlie of the 6th Battalion, Loyal North Lancs Regiment. He served in Gallipoli as a captain, later being promoted to Lt Col of the regiment, and was killed in action in Mesoptamia on 22nd April 1916

I'll post some photos of the contents later on, but in the meantime, there are four sheets of paper enclosed. One is a page of military field regulations, another appears to be arithmetic involving sums of money, but I'm uncertain about the other two. I'm going to post images of them, in the hope pals may have thoughts on what they are.

Here is the first, a table, has the numbers 1a, 1b, 2a, 3b...up to 10a, 10b, 10c, 11 and 12 along the top, and down the side, the numbers 25, 26...up to 39, 41 and 44a. Some cells in the table have numbers, from 1 to 8, and there is a grand total on the right. My guess would be some sort of casualty table, but the numbering of each axis doesn't make much sense (to me at least)

Any thoughts as to what this is?

Many thanks

Alan

post-2705-1234379084.jpg

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Here is the second sheet, this one (as far as I can see), has the following -

12140 Box

1210 loose

540 box

134 loose

505 charges

565 A 661 AX

20 ????? 42 ?????

5000 SAA

36 Stokes

Each set of "?????" is the same word, but I can't quite make it out.

It would appear to be a list of ammunition, but, again, I'd be curious for any more thoughts pals may have. This one is a bit fainter, so the photo is a little hard to read.

Thanks

Alan

post-2705-1234379565.jpg

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(Stating the obvious) - the last line will be Stokes Mortars.

SAA - small arms ammunition - or is that a more modern term?

Brian

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It looks like 20 60pdr 42 60pdr which I should imagine 20 & 42 rounds of 60 pounder ammunition also stokes mortar rounds

John

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Thanks Brian and John - that certainly looks right. Still puzzled about the table though.

Alan

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Hello Alan

The term SAA was certainly in use in the Great War, and it looks as if the second list is a "stock-take" of ammunition, although why an infantry bn might need 60-pdr ammo is a bit of a mystery. The two sets of box/loose could refer to rifle and pistol ammo.

The first list looks as if it might be a musketry report of some kind, reporting the efficiency/skill of men of the battalion or company. The column headings would denote the skill level and the numbered rows could represent the men's ages (44a being 44+). Perhaps they just missed 40 out!

Only guesswork, but this explanation ties the first list to the second in that they both relate to musketry.

Ron

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The first list looks as if it might be a musketry report of some kind, reporting the efficiency/skill of men of the battalion or company. The column headings would denote the skill level and the numbered rows could represent the men's ages (44a being 44+). Perhaps they just missed 40 out!

Ron

Ron

Interesting thought. Age looks to be a good candidate for the vertical axis but no-one under 25?

Brian

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QUOTE:but no-one under 25?

There could have been an earlier page for the youngsters.

The horizontal roman numbering sequence reminds me of one of those IQ tests or similar - it is not regularly stepped. Any genii around to work that out?

D

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On the outbreak of war, the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion of LNL proceeded to Felixstowe. Capt. J. G. Fairlie was one of the officers serving. By the time the Army List was published in October, he was listed as serving with the 6th Bn.

He sailed for Gallipoli on the “Braemar Castle” on 17th June 1915, landing at Cape Helles on 6th July.

On 28th August, the battalion was formed into a composite battalion with the 6th South Lancs, and placed under the command of (now Major) J. G. Fairlie.

After the withdrawal from Gallipoli, the battalion were based awhile in Egypt then on 13th February left Port Said bound for Mesopotamia, ultimately arriving at Basra on 5th March then proceeding upriver to Sheik Saad, which they reached on 11th.

Fairlie was killed in the subsequent fighting in April.

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Stephen - thanks very much for the information - I knew a little about his service but that fills in a lot of gaps. Can I ask the source of the info please?

Regarding the table, it certainly is possible that those are ages down the left - from a statistical point of view though, there are an awful lot of 37 year olds!

Alan

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Alan

I just happened to have a copy of the Regimental History next to me when I read your post, so thought I'd see what it had to say about him :D

No ideas with regard to the table, but I can't help feeling that probable key lies in the list across the top. Some numbers have "a" and "b", other don't. Ten (X) has "a", "b" AND "c".

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  • 2 weeks later...

I thought that pals might like to see a few more pictures of the field kit - this is it with James Fairlie's embossed initials

Alan

post-2705-1235234476.jpg

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And a couple of close-ups. These items are engraved with Lt Col Fairlie's name or initials.

post-2705-1235234932.jpg

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Does anyone know if this is a standard piece of kit for an officer? Or simply something Lt Col Fairlie would have purchased and had engraved himself? I can't see a maker's mark anywhere.

Thanks

Alan

post-2705-1235235069.jpg

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Hello Alan

Officers had to buy their own uniforms and kit, but this was normally done through regimental tailors and stores like Harrods, so you tend to see broadly similar items. These look quite impressive: can you see any hallmarks?

Ron

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Ron - yes, there are hallmarks, on each of the items in the picture in post 15. I can't quite make out the maker's hallmark, the rest are the lion (for Victoria), an anchor (for Birmingham) and the letter "i" (for 1908).

So I presume the kit was bought in a regimental tailors in Birmingham in 1908.

Alan

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Alan

Have you seen the 2 Medal Index cards for Fairlie on Ancestry? In both cases, he is shown as Lt.Col (temp) and appears to have been mentioned in despatches twice in 1916. The dates are 13 July 1916 (London Gazette p.6949) & 19 October 1916 (London Gazette p.10051)

Brian

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A quick trawl through the Gazette has revealed the following entries for James Fairlie :

22 Oct 1914 - promotion to temporary Major (Gazette 4 Dec 1914, p.10415)

10 Apr 1916 - mentioned in despatches, Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (Gazette 11 Jul 1916, p.6949)

24 Aug 1916 - mentioned in despatches, Indian Expeditionary Force " D," Basrah (Gazette 17 Oct 1916, p.10051)

The interesting item is the date of the first reported MID which is 12 days before he is killed in action (Soldiers Died) - with the second MID being reported 4 months later - I am not entirely sure of how these report dates relate back to the dates of the incidents that earn him the mentions.

Can anyone else shed light on this?

Brian

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Could the table be related to shooting on the ranges and subsequent scores? I am thinking maybe the various practices being listed along the horizontal axis with the lane/butt number being listed on the vertical axis. The notations on the back could relate to the quantity of ammunition required for this.

Kind regards

Woolly

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Brian - thanks for checking those references for me. I really need to get to Kew to have a look at the war diary for their time in Mesopotamia

Woolly - that's an interesting thought. If correct, the chap in lane 37 is clearly the best in the battalion by some margin!

Alan

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A few more snippets about the 6th Loyal North Lancashires - taken from Carver's book "The National Army Museum Book of the Turkish Front 1914-18)

Page 73 - 9 August 1915, Gallipoli

"Further south another attack was launched on Chunuk Bair, where the New Zealanders had been replaced by the 6th Loyal North Lancashires, who were in the process of being reinforced by the 5th Wiltshires. They and the New Zealanders with them were driven back to Rhododendron Spur."

Page 179 - 10/16 April 1917, Istabulat, Mesopotamia

"Having thus removed the threat to his flank, Marshall faced the Adhaim again, on the far side of which some 2,000 Turks held prepared defences. In a skillfully executed night attack the Lancastrians* of O'Dowd's 38th Brigade crossed the wide but shallow Adhaim and drove the Turks away with little difficulty, capturing 1,200 of them at a cost of only 73 casualties."

* - 6th East Lancs, 6th Loyal North Lancs & 6th Prince of Wales's Volunteers (South Lancs)

The other interesting thing about the date that Fairlie died (22 April 1916) was that there were 2 officers killed that day - but no ORs. Fairlie is described in Soldiers Died as being "killed in action"...? Might be an explanation in the War Diaries possibly?

Brian

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Thanks again Brian - 2 officer deaths and no ORs on 22nd April would suggest it more likely the men died of wounds, I would have thought

Alan

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Dear bpc59,

In reference to your Istabulat, Mesopotamia citation, The 38th Brigade would normally also contain the 6th King's Own (Lancaster). Were they left out at this time?

You have chosen episodes that probably describe the low and close to the high points of 6 Bn LNL performance. I wish there was a good volume that developed the story of this service battalion. I don't suppose you know of any sources (books, articles or otherwise) that aren't enormously expensive antique shop specimens?

Thanks everyone for this thread - I'm enjoying it very much.

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