The Bn transport and machine gun sections set out for Southampton ready for a Channel crossing to the French port of Le Havre at 5pm on Sunday the 18th, under the command of Capt. Rowland Webster, Lt Henry Bell and Lt Norton Good. Moving these two sections by train and boat would have been quite an undertaking in its own right. The transport section comprised five Small Arms Ammunition (SAA) carts, two water carts, two limbered General Service (GS) wagons carrying tools, one Maltese (Medical) cart, a limbered wagon for the machine guns, pack and spare animals and four travelling kitchens (one for each Coy).
The firepower of all Bn machine gun sections had doubled earlier in the year, so each was now equipped with four Maxim guns. The section was equipped with two SAA carts and two GS wagons to carry the four machine guns, tripods and ammunition. Two heavy draught horses were needed to pull each mobile kitchen and GS wagon, and eight pack cobs to haul the ammunition carts. With three spare draught horses and a cob this gave a total of twenty-six animals. A team of twenty-four men were needed to handle all the vehicles and the spare horses. Four more GS wagons and eight heavy draught horses were needed to haul the Bn HQ baggage, stores and supplies, however this transport was organised and handled by the Army Service Corps (ASC) train.
The rest of the Bn embarked on Tuesday the 20th of April. At 6.30am, with the ‘Bn band playing at its liveliest', the fusiliers of‘A’ and ‘B’ Coy paraded outside their respective billets before rendezvousing on the march to Blyth railway station. Here they boarded a chartered train scheduled to depart at 7.45am on the first leg of the journey to the Kent ferry port of Folkestone. Travelling with the officers of 'A' and 'B' Coy were Brig. Gen. J.F. Riddell , Maj. Moore , Lt Col. A.J. Foster (Bn Commander), Maj. W.E. Stephenson , Capt. B. Cruddas and the unofficial Bn mascot, Sammy the dog. According to Lt Col. Foster, Sammy would have been miserable if left behind. ‘C’ and ‘D’ Coy, under the command of Maj. B.D. Gibson, followed half an hour later on a second chartered train. Despite the early hour quite a crowd gathered to wave them off from the station and the scene was patriotically described in the next edition of the Hexham Courant newspaper:
'There were stirring scenes in Newcastle and district in the early days of this week. In fact nothing has been seen like this since the beginning of the war. This has been due to the transference of large bodies of troops from the country to other places, though in only too many cases the men themselves did not know their own destination. The enthusiasm has been extraordinary, yet in many cases wives and mothers, sisters and sweethearts, could be seen who were deeply affected by the parting. The present transference of troops has had no parallel in living memory. Where volunteers were numbered by the hundreds in the time of the South African war, they are counted in their thousands now, and their comings and goings are taken as a matter of course. Khaki has lost its novelty; every other man one meets in the streets is dressed in it.
Among the departing troops were the First line of the 4th Northumberland Fusiliers, the service Bn which has its headquarters at Hexham and in which the people in this south west corner of Northumberland take such an immense pride.Other Northumberland regiments have departed southwards this week, all of them having an enthusiastic send off, but none of them more so than the 4th. The regiment was paraded on Monday and inspected, and on Tuesday morning they left Blyth, where they have been so long quartered, for Newcastle, on route to the south. Blyth turned out en masse to give them a fitting “God speed,” for the Bn has been highly popular there. The early morning departure had no effect on the attendance, and the scene when the regimental band played a number of suitable airs at the station was a memorable one. When the troop trains moved off the assemblage broke into loud cheers, which were warmly responded to by the men.
Many were the handshakes these gallant fellows received, and the clinging women, even amid their tears, could not but smile their satisfaction over the lionising to which the men of their hearts were being subjected. The sight of them, however, and the children which some carried in their arms, was a pathetic reminder to onlookers of the grim tragedy of this war, “for men must work and women must weep”. Truly the men went to their work, dangerous as it is, with fine courage. The women, too, bore themselves bravely, and, after all, perhaps theirs is the hardest task – watching and waiting. A strong reminder of duty were these happenings to the men who still remain outside the services'