Saturday, 29 September 2007

Abergavenny and Crickhowell 1913.

Figure 1. Pay Parade at Abergavenny. John Baber is the officer seated to the left at the table. The other officer is Lieutenant Glasier.

In the summer of 1913 the Queen's Westminster Rifles went to South Wales for its summer camp.

Figure 2. The Orderly Sergeants. Sergeant Saville, & Sergeant Major Kelly.

Figure 3. B Company at Abergavenny. The officer's are Tyrwhitt,
Cohen, Cox, Whitmore, J.A. Green.

Figure 4. Tent Inspection

By this time John Baber had joined the unit. In the following photos it is possible to see that the regiment is still training for a Boer War type of campaign, and how the regiment was very much a "family", and one which provided for many of the men, the only chance of an annual holiday.

Figure 5. The men, sadly no names.

The troops were main recruited in the Kensington and Westminster area. John's parents lived in Phillimore Gardens.

As he had in 1912, John Baber kept his map from the exercise. It shows that they camped in a field to the north of Abergavenny between the Pant-y-gelli and Llantilio-pertholey lanes.

Figure 6. Route of march. (Please click on image for larger version.)

From Abergavenny they "trekked" to Crickhowell.

Figure 7. Camp at Crichhowell.

From John's map it appears that the photo may have been taken at Glan - Usk Park. From there they marched up into the Black Mountains to Tal-y-Maes.

Figure 8. Camp at Tal-y-maes.

Evening at Tal-y-maes, with the canteen being provided by Spiers & Ponds Stores of Queen Victoria Street in Westminster. The regiment seems to have provided it's own logistics. Warmly wrapped up the band appears to be about to give a concert.

Figure 9. The officers mess at Tal-y-maes.

Pridmore, Tyrwitt Inery(?)
J A Green, Townsend-Green, Lambert, Shoolbred, Henriques, Corbet, Glasier, Townsend - Green, Challis, 
Baber, Whitmore.
Most of these officers would serve throughout the Great War.

Figure 10. John's map marked to show the route of the march.

Major Henriques would later write in the regimental history "The First Battalion Queen's Westminster Rifles, 1914-1918."

"Two notable camps... The second was that held at Abergavenny in 1913, when the Grey Brigade marched to Tal-y-maes, a deserted spot in the Welsh mountains, where it bivouaked for several nights and carried out strenuous training in attack, defence and outposts. The approaches to the camping ground were so steep that, with the exception of some of the Battalion's wagons, none of the transport could get up, and all baggage and supplies had to be man-handled for a considerable distance across the rough ground. Many were reminded of this experience when they were called on in France for the first time to provide carrying parties for the front line.[1]

Figure 11. The men washing in a stream on camp.

Figure 12. The Camp Abergavenny.

[1] Henriques "The First Battalion Queen's Westminster Rifles, 1914-1918." Page 2 & 3.

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