In January we moved to Pommereuil, a clean little village, where Mayor and people did their utmost to make us comfortable. Here, under the new scheme, demobilisation became more rapid, and the older soldiers were sent home in consideration of their service. We also learnt for the first time that the Battalion was to be reduced to a Cadre, and all short service or retainable soldiers would be sent to the 11th Battalion on the Rhine. Before this last move could take place, we moved again—to Solesmes, where we stayed for a fortnight and then moved to St. Hilaire. A new feature was now introduced in the “amusements” department, which was much appreciated by all of us. Once or twice a week we were given one or two motor lorries to take parties to Douai, Valenciennes or the recent battlefields. We had many pleasant trips, and saw several towns in France which we should never otherwise have seen.
At St. Hilaire the C.O. left us to rejoin the Connaught Rangers, and we were reduced to a Cadre, consisting of five officers, forty-six men and the Colours. A large draft of 200 all ranks, with Lieuts. Steel, Ashdowne, Todd, Dunlop, Argyle and other officers who volunteered for further service, went to the 11th Battalion, and the rest were demobilised. The Cadre was chosen so as to include as far as possible W.O.’s, N.C.O.’s, and men of long and distinguished service, who would form a suitable guard for the Colours; at the same time we tried to have representatives of each of the larger towns in Leicestershire, and in this we were successful.
In April we moved to Inchy Beaumont, where we stayed until the Cadre finally went home in June. Wagons and all transport were sent to Caudry, and we settled down to a wearisome existence, having too little to do. Cricket succeeded football, and we beat the 4th Battalion at both, and had several other victories. Finally, on the 28th of June, leaving Capt. Nicholson, 2nd Lieut. Griffiths, R.Q.M.S. Gorse and 11 others with the stores, the remnant of the Battalion sailed for England, landed at Dover, and reached Leicester the same night. The next day the Mayor (Ald. Coltman) and people of Loughborough turned out to give us welcome, and our long months of waiting in France were soon forgotten in the fervour and enthusiasm of the greeting we received, as we marched through the old town and placed our Colours in the Hall. Six weeks later the baggage guard returned, and the Battalion was finally disembodied.
Officers who sailed to
France with the regiment, February,
Lieut. Colonel C.H. Jones.
Major R.E. Martin.
Captain and Adjutant W.T. Bromfield.
“A” Company. “C” Company.