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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

1st Northumberland Fusiliers - 1914 Change in Company Letters


tullybrone

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Hi,

Just been looking at 1st NF movements in Ray Westlakes 1914 book "British Battalions in France & Belgium".

Companies are named A to D till October 1914 and then change to W to Z.

Hope it's not a silly question but does anybody know why?

Steve Y

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Hi Steve,

Apparently the change was a little earlier than you quote and actually took place on the 4th September, 1914. To quote from "The Fifth in the Great War" page 29, f.n. :-

"Confusion having occured in verbal orders between 'B' and 'D' Companies, companies of the 1/Fifth were this day re-named 'W', 'X', 'Y' and 'Z'."

This occured near Villemareuil, at a place called Le Moulin farm.

Hope this helps.

Robert

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Robert,

Thanks for the reply.

I note all other NF Battalions remained named A to D.

Steve Y

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Robert,

Thanks for the reply.

I note all other NF Battalions remained named A to D.

Steve Y

Obviously an internal problem within the 1st Bn--it certainly seems most unusual. I wonder if there are other instances of this happening?

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Which invites the question as to when the phonetic alphabet was introduced, 1904 I thought, perhaps Geordies couldn't cope with Beer and Don.

Phonetics seem to have been studied since 500 BC according to Wikepedia, but as to when the phonetic alphabet as we know it was introduced, I cannot say. It must have been introduced into the military as well as the police and other emergency services at some stage, but I suspect that this was post WW1 and possibly nearer WW2.

There appear to have been several books published on the subject circa 1899 to 1914, but as to whether it had been adopted by anyone at that stage would be intersting to know. I am sure that someone out there will have the answer.

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