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Territorials

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by Dan Morton, Dec 18, 2015.

  1. Dan Morton A Fixture

    Country:
    United-States
    The Territorial Force (TF) was the volunteer reserve component of the British Army in existence from 1908 until 1920, when, shortly after the end of the First World War, it was reformed and renamed the Territorial Army, which continues to the present day. The initial impetus for the creation of the Territorial Force came from Joseph Lyons, who also co-founded the eponymous chain of cafes known as the Lyons Corner Houses.[1] The government legislation for the creation of the Territorial Force, the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907 (7 Edw.7, c.9), was brought in by the Secretary of State for War at the time, Richard Burdon Haldane, which combined and re-organised the old Volunteer Army with the Yeomanry. The TF was formed on 1 April 1908. As part of the same process, remaining units of militia were renamed Special Reserve.
    The TF was envisaged as a home defence force for service during wartime; units were liable to serve anywhere within the United Kingdom when the force was embodied, but could not be compelled to serve outside the country. However, any member or unit of the force could volunteer to be liable for overseas service - in 1910, when asked to nominate for Imperial Service overseas in the event of mobilisation, less than 10% of the Territorial Force chose to do so. Individual members could also choose to be liable to be called up for service within the United Kingdom even in situations when the force as a whole was not embodied.

    Structure
    Upon formation, the TF contained 14 infantry divisions, and 14 mounted yeomanry brigades. The individual units that made up each division or brigade were administered by County Associations, with the county's lord lieutenant as president. The other members of the association consisted of military members (chosen from the commanding officers of the units), representative members (nominated by the county councils and county boroughs in the lieutenancy county) and co-opted members (often retired military officers). Associations took over any property vested in the volunteers or yeomanry under their administration.
    The basic building block was the yeomanry regiment or infantry battalion; these numbered 55 regiments of yeomanry, and 207 battalions of territorial infantry. In addition, there were 23 volunteer batteries of the Royal Garrison Artillery, 151 of the Royal Field Artillery, and 14 of the Royal Horse Artillery, as well as volunteer engineer, medical and supply companies. Each regiment or battalion had a Regular Army officer attached as full-time adjutant.
    Every Territorial battalion of infantry was attached to a Regular Army regiment; for example, the Royal Scots had two regular battalions, the 1st and 2nd, a reserve battalion, the 3rd, and seven Territorial battalions, numbered the 4th through 10th.

    Lord Kitchener, as Chief of the Imperial General Staff, predicted a long and brutal war. He believed that arrival in Europe of an overwhelming force of new, well-trained and well-led divisions would prove a decisive blow against the Central Powers. Kitchener fought off opposition to his plan, and attempts to weaken or water down its potential, including piece-meal dispersal of the New Army battalions into existing regular or Territorial Force divisions (the view of the Commander-in-Chief of the BEF, Field Marshal French). Kitchener declined to use the existing Territorial Force (which, ironically, had been set up by Lord Haldane and Douglas Haig as part of the Army reforms of the Edwardian period) as the basis for the New Army, as many of its members had volunteered for "Home Service" only, and because he was suspicious of the poor performance of French "territorials" in the war of 1870–1. In the early days of the war, the Territorial Force could not reinforce the regular army, as it lacked modern equipment, particularly artillery. In addition, it took time to form First-Line units composed only of men who had volunteered for "General Service".

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