Chapter 5d – Arras trenches

Historical Context The Arras offensive, which is now officially referred to as the Battle of Arras, ended on the 24th of May. Although more limited actions did continue in the area right through…

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Chapter 5b – 2nd Battle of the Scarpe

Preparations were originally focused on launching another offensive on the 21st of April on a front stretching nine miles from Croisilles to Gavrelle, but high winds and poor visibility prevented the artillery and…

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Chapter 5c – 3rd Battle of the Scarpe

The next day the three Infantry Bdes were on the move towards the front line again; this time the billeting area was centred on villages south of Arras. The 149th Bde relocated to…

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Chapter 3b – Back in the Salient

Hill 60 Advanced parties set off for the rest billets, to the rear of the Hill 60 lines, in the new area on Wednesday the 15th of December. Over the following two days the 5th…

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Chapter 1b – Territorials

1908-1914 - Life of a TF Battalion Accounts of notable events in the battalion calendar were published monthly in the St George’s Gazette (SGG), the Regimental Magazine of the Northumberland Fusiliers and in…

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The 4th Bn settled into the typical routine of life on the Western Front. Taking its turn with the other Bns of the 50th Division in the trenches to the east of Armentieres.

1st August 1915

The author has coloured this map for clarity

Trenches - black, roads and tracks - red. Watercourses - blue

Trenches east of Armentieres
Trenches east of Armentieres

Armentieres Casualties

For information on 4th Bn burial and memorial sites for casualties sustained in this sector, select the link.

If would like to read the full story of the 4th NF in World War 1, then please select here

Chapter 1a – Origins

The Tynedale district today ( Introduction On the 20th of April 1915, eleven hundred men from the Tynedale district of Northumberland, embarked for the continent with the local volunteer battalion of the Northumberland…

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Chapter 5a – 1st Battle of the Scarpe

Historical Context The allied plan to launch an offensive on two fronts in the spring of 1917 had started to take shape the year before, but it was put in jeopardy by the…

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Northumberland Bde Organisation

By November 1914 the Bns had been divided to form 'Service' and 'Reserve' battalions. The main function of the 'Reserve' battalion was to train new recruits for the 'Service' battalion (for when it was finally deployed overseas) and to continue with home defence. Both battalions were billeted in Blyth, Northumberland, however, staff of the reserve battalion based at the Hexham depot continued to recruit and train new personnel. Early in 1915, after an Army reorganisation, the Service battalion became known as the 1/4th (1st line battalion) and the Reserve battalion as the 2/4th (2nd line battalion). For a few months the 2/4th battalion continued to recruit and train men for the 1/4th, but after a further reorganisation it became part of the 188th Bde, 63rd (Home Service) Division. During Nov 1916, the 2/4th was transferred to the 72nd Division, but continued with home defence duties.

The 3/4th battalion was formed at Hexham during Jan 1915 to continue with the recruiting and training role, however, after another reorganisation in April 1916 the 3/4th became the 4th (Reserve) Battalion and in September 1916 the 5th, 6th and 7th (Reserve) Bns were absorbed by the 4th Reserve Battalion.

An infantry Bn in 1914 was usually comprised of a HQ and eight companies (coys). A full strength coy was as follows:

1 x Captain (Capt)

2 x Lieutenant (Lt) or 2nd Lt

1 x Colour Sergeant (Col Sgt)

2 x Sergeant (Sgt)

2 x Drummer/Bugler

5 x Corporal (Cpl)

100 x Private (Pte)

2 x Driver (Pte)

3 x Batman

Northumberland Infantry Brigade

(Numbered 149th Inf Bde on 12 May 1915)

HQ - Newcastle-on-Tyne

OC - Brigadier General James Foster Riddell

was comprised of the:

4th Battalion - Northumberland Fusiliers

5th Battalion - Northumberland Fusiliers

6th Battalion - Northumberland Fusiliers

7th Battalion - Northumberland Fusiliers

Select links to learn more about these Battalions

Return to Divisional organisation


4th Battalion - Northumberland Fusiliers

HQ - Hexham

CO - Lt Col A.J. Foster

November 1914

The Companies (Coys) of the 4th Bn were:

'A' Coy - Hexham

'B' Coy - Bellingham

'C' Coy - Haydon Bridge

'D' Coy - Prudhoe

'E' Coy - Corbridge

'F' Coy - Haltwhistle

'G' Coy - Newburn

'H' Coy - Prudhoe

Note: During Jan 1915, the battalion was reorganised to form four companies. 'E' Company amalgamated with 'A', 'G' with 'B', 'F' with 'C' and 'H' with 'D'.

Select links to learn more about these Companies

5th Bn - Northumberland Fusiliers

HQ - Newcastle-on-Tyne

CO - Lt Col A.H. Coles

November 1914

'A' Company (Coy) - Walker

'B' Coy - Walker

'C' Coy - Walker

'D' Coy - Wallsend

'E' Coy - Wallsend

'F' Coy - Wallsend

'G' Coy - Gosforth

'H' Coy - Gosforth

6th Bn - Northumberland Fusiliers

HQ - Newcastle-on-Tyne

CO - Lt Col G.R.B Spain

November 1914

'A' Company (Coy) - St Georges Drill Hall, Northumberland Road, Newcastle?

'B' Coy -

'C' Coy -

'D' Coy -

'E' Coy -

'F' Coy -

'G' Coy -

'H' Coy -

7th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers

HQ - Alnwick

CO - Lt Col R Scott

November 1914

'A' Company (Coy) - Morpeth

'B' Coy - Ashington

'C' Coy - Belford

'D' Coy - Alnwick

'E' Coy - Amble

'F' Coy - Alnwick

'G' Coy - Berwick on Tweed

'H' Coy - Berwick on Tweed

63rd (2nd Northumbrian) Division comprised the 188th, 189th and 190th Bdes.

The 188th (2nd Northumberland) Brigade - Comprised of the 2/4th, 2/5th, 2/6th and 2/7th Bn - Northumberland Fusiliers.

The 189th (2nd York and Durham) Brigade - Comprised of the 2/4th Bn - East Yorkshire Regt, 2/4th and 2/5th Bn - Yorkshire Regt. 2/5th Bn - Durham Light Infantry.

The 190th (2nd Durham Light Infantry) Brigade - Comprised of the 2/6th, 2/7th, 2/8th and 2/9th Bn - Durham Light Infantry.

72nd Division comprised the 215th, 216th and 217th Bdes.

The 215th Brigade - Comprised of the 28th, 70th and 81st Provisional Bn.

The 216th Brigade - Comprised of the 83rd Provisional Bn, 14th Bn - King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and 10th Bn - Somerset Light Infantry.

The 217th Brigade - Comprised of the 2/4th, 2/5th and 2/6th Bn - Northumberland Fusiliers.

The 2/4th NF in Ipswich on St George's Day - 23rd April 1917 (McCaffrey)
Postcard 5 – ‘C’ Company, 2/4th NF (Courtesy: Dr D. McCaffrey)
‘C’ Company, 2/4th NF (Courtesy: Dr D. McCaffrey)

Chapter 2a – St Julien

Lt Col Alfred James Foster Context Within six weeks of the British mobilisation, the German Army had fought their way to within thirty miles of Paris before being checked at the Battle of…

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