Entrenching Battalions before 1918

Please beware that this page is a work in progress. The information contained is accurate but incomplete. I shall add other battalions and details as I discover snippets of information.

General

On 9 August 1915 the war diary of the Adjutant of First Army includes this note: “Notification received from [Adjutant-General] of the formation of what are called ‘Entrenching Battalions’, for work on rear defence works. They consist of reinforcements normally kept at the Base, who are formed into battalions and utilised for work at the front. They continue to be a pool to be drawn upon for reinforcements to units at the front, and replenished from the Base.”

The war diary of the headquarters General Staff of 24th Division notes in April 1916 that “the Entrenching Battalions are not mobile units and have no First Line transport with the exception of two water carts and two cookers per battalion.” They were not available for offensive operations but could be used for local counter-attacks.

1st Entrenching Battalion

Battalion is mentioned in 24th Division war diary of April 1916 in connection with defensive arrangements for GHQ Second Line in the area of Wulverghem.

2nd Entrenching Battalion

Orders were received on 15 July 1915 to form this unit at the Rouen base. It was handed over to its appointed commanding officer eight days later. The original contingent was made up of 402 men from 27th Division (1st Royal Scots and 1st Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders), 579 from the 46th (North Midland) Division (Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, North and South Staffordshire Regiments and Sherwood Foresters) and 29 assorted others. The battalion left Rouen on 23 July 1915 and moved by train to Poperinghe, where it came under command of Second Army and was allotted to I Corps for attachment to 49th (West Riding) Division. It then commenced work. Sadly its war diary only covers up to the end of the month.

3rd Entrenching Battalion

Third Army HQ reported the arrival of this unit on 8 August 1915. It was allotted to X Corps.

4th Entrenching Battalion

Third Army HQ reported the arrival of this unit on 6 August 1915. It was allotted to VII Corps and attached to 4th Division.

5th Entrenching Battalion

Third Army HQ reported the arrival of this unit on 6 August 1915. It was allotted to VII Corps and attached to 4th Division.

6th Entrenching Battalion

Third Army HQ reported the arrival of this unit on 8 August 1915. It was allotted to X Corps.

7th Entrenching Battalion

Third Army HQ reported the arrival of this unit on 8 August 1915. It was allotted to X Corps. I have seen it referred to as the 7th (Guards) Entrenching Battalion and assume the two to be the same.

8th Entrenching Battalion

Second Army HQ reported the arrival of this unit on 7 August 1915. It was allotted to II Corps and attached to 50th (Northumbrian) Division.

Battalion is mentioned in 24th Division war diary of April 1916 in connection with defensive arrangements for GHQ Second Line in the area of Wulverghem.

10th Entrenching Battalion
Little known as yet but I have found a large draft going to 6th King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry on 6 September 1916 and one from 6th Highland Light Infantry joining this unit in June 1917.

 

Links

Entrenching battalions of 1918

The infantry regiments

Other aspects of the Order of Battle