The 8th (Service) Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment was formed at Preston around a cadre of experienced soldiers in September 1914. 

 

The battalion was soon attached to the 25th Division, part of Kitchenerís Third Army, which was forming around Codford, close to Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire.  The men were recruited from all over Lancashire, with small contingents from other parts of the UK.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In November 1914, the 25th Division decamped from Wiltshire for 

placement in billets with the people of Bournemouth.  Here they remained until the beginning of April 1915 when the battalion moved to Windmill Hill, Ludgershall, Wiltshire in preparation for training on Salisbury Plain.

 

At the end of July 1915, the men boarded trains for Folkestone and as midnight sounded in Boulogne the 8th East Lancs disembarked in France with a total strength of approximately 900 soldiers.  They were now part of 112th Brigade, 37th Division, under the command of Major-General Count Gleichen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joining up

 

 

Veteran Private Thomas Heap from Colne remembered joining the battalion later in the war:

 

'I joined up at Fulwood Barracks in the

East Lancashire Regiment and was posted to Plymouth to a training battalion for six months.  We were then moved by train along the coast to Folkestone for embarkation to France.  I was nineteen years old at the time.  

We arrived at Boulogne on 12 February 1917 and were marched to the transit camp on the outskirts of the town.  We were then taken by train to Etaples, one of the base camps for the British Expeditionary Force.  We had to undergo a further three weeks training in trench warfare. 

On completion I was then moved into the front line to join the 8th Battalion at Bethune.'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas Heap pictured at Tyne Cot Memorial during his pilgrimage to Ypres in the early 1980s.

               (with thanks to Joe Heap)

 

 

8th East Lancs

Dedicated to the men of the 8th (Service) Battalion,

East Lancashire Regiment in the Great War.