1st Essex Garrison Battalion Brief History

This Battalion was formed at Denham on 21 July 1915 as a Provisional battalion from drafts of  officers and men unfit for active service on account of age, infirmity or wounds received in action.

The personnel were drawn from the below regiments.

3rd Essex , 3rd Bedford, 4th Bedford, 3rd Norfolk, 3rd Suffolk, 3rd Royal West Surrey, 5th Middlesex, 6th Middlesex, 3rd Royal West Kent, 3rd Northants, 3rd East Surrey, 5th Royal Fusiliers, 6th Royal Fusiliers, 3rd Buffs and 3rd Sussex.

As a result, although it served in war zones, the Battalion was not used for front line duties, mainly being used for policing and guard duties which then released active Battalions for direct combat duties.

The Battalion embarked on the Empress of Britain at Devonport on 24 August 1915 with a strength of 27 officers and 984 other ranks. It arrived at Mudros in Turkey on 3 September 1915 where it saw varied service including Anzac and Cape Helles.

In November 1915 the Battalion provided the honour guard for a visit by Lord Kitchener to Lemnos.

The Battalion played an important part in the evacuation of Gallipoli by loading and unloading ammunition and performing Police and Guard duty at Anzac, Tenedos and Lemnos.

During service at Anzac there were 15 casualties including two fatalities.

In February 1916 the Battalion was transferred to Mex Camp, Egypt and thence to Ishmalia where part of the Battalion was sent to Ballah and Shallufa for patrol and guard work.

In April 1916 the Battalion was sent to Zagazig and then in January 1917 to Khartoum.

In January 1918 the Battalion moved to Tewfik and then quickly on to Jerusalem via Kantara, Ludd and Lydd where their duty included the protection of Jerusalem railway station and line.

In August 1918 they moved on to Port Said where they stayed until October 1918 and embarkation for Salonika to form part of the allied garrison at Scutari in Albania from January 1919 where it was to remain until demobilisation later that year.