Any idea that the East Lancashire men had that they were in for a restful time when out of the Trenches was soon dispelled.  A rigorous programme of work and training was to be carried out. In addition to digging defensive positions around the villages and in the Corps Line, other tasks included musketry training; route marches and rigorous physical exercises. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

             Brewery in Foncquevillers, used by 8th Battalion as a canteen.

             A member of the battalion looks on.

                                                    

Drill in rifle and grenade use was also stressed and there were to be lectures and discussions on 37th Division trench orders; scouting and sniping techniques; the repair and draining of trenches and the importance of sanitation.  Personal hygiene orders were also very precise:  each battalion was to have the ‘baths’ at a local town made available to it for one day.

 

The army liked to keep its men fully occupied, allotting them a daily schedule during their time out of the line – believing that the devil really did make work for idle hands.  In spite of this, soldiers found ways of recuperating and taking their minds off the war. 

 

In place of the village ‘pub’ was the estaminet* which served watered down beer and wine and egg and pommes frites to the Tommies.  Sometimes a willing pianist would play the hits of the age late into the evening (last orders were usually at 8.30pm!)

 

When any opportunity presented itself soccer was played.  No British battalion travelled without footballs and the 8th Battalion were no different. Within half an hour of the completion of a long route march a football would be produced and kicked about in a desultory fashion.  Football allowed an escape from the strain for trench warfare and allowed them to undertake an activity that was an important part of their life at home.  

 

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                   Souvenir of 37th Division Concert Party - The Barn Owls.

 

 

William Young VC

 

William Young was the sole recipient of the Victoria Cross while serving with the 8th East Lancs. His citation reads:

 

On 22nd December 1915, East of Fonquevillers, France, Private Young saw from his trench that one of his company's NCOs was lying wounded in front of the wire. Acting without orders and heedless of his exposure to enemy fire, he climbed over the parapet and went to the rescue of his sergeant. He was hit by two bullets, one shattered his jaw and the other entered his chest. Undeterred, he went on and, with another soldier who came to assist, brought the wounded sergeant back to safety. Later Private Young walked back to the village dressing station to have his injuries attended to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8th East Lancs

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

East Lancashire Regiment in the Great War.