15th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment

The 15th Battalion was formed in December 1916 under the command of Captain (temp. Lieut.-Colonel) P. A. Hopkins of the 13th London, with Captain (temp. Major) G. H. Leigh, also of the London Territorials, as 2nd-in-command and Captain W. V. Sherwell of the 3rd Devons as Adjutant. The latter appointment was taken over in November 1917 by Captain L. C. Holloway, and in July 1918 by Captain W. A. Phillips.

The Battalion together with the 16th Battalion was employed on transport duties in the south of England, their headquarters being at Swindon for many months, afterwards shifting to the other traffic centres.

In the later period of World War 1, as the organization of the country for war became more complete, and as the munition organisation became more visibly the heart of the national effort, formed bodies of men were needed to ensure the adequate transport and supply of those munitions to the troops overseas. Those new units were formed from skilled personnel unfit for field service, were organized as military bodies, and received official designation in the usual manner; and thus there appeared in the Army List the 15th (Transport Workers) Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment. Although it never fought in the field, the unit played its part in securing the success of the national effort in the war.

Those "Transport Workers" battalions were not the only units to be formed from personnel unfit for the field. During 1915 the despatch of the trained troops overseas threatened to leave the homeland without adequate defence; and many patriotic gentlemen unfit for active service raised an unofficial force of Volunteers to provide against that danger. The idea was taken up with enthusiasm, and small bodies of Volunteers were formed all over the country. At first their efforts were not encouraged, either by the War Office or by public esteem; but their enthusiasm and determination triumphed over age and infirmity, and gradually they won recognition, until in 1916 it was decided to place that new Volunteer force on an official footing. The Volunteer Act of 1860 was revived, the Volunteers of each county were formally enrolled under the orders of the Lord Lieutenant, and Worcestershire was able to boast a force of three complete battalions available in case of need:

1st Battalion (Kidderminster) under Major R. Boucher.
2nd Battalion (Worcester) under Colonel A. Webb.
3rd Battalion (Redditch) under Lt.-Colonel W. W. Wiggins.
R.A.S.C. Detachment (Worcester) under Major E. Knight and Alderman A. Carlton.

The whole commanded by Lt.-Colonel A. Hudson with Major J. Baldwin as Staff Officer.

By May 1916 the whole force mustered 79 officers and 2,420 other ranks, and were administered by the T.A. Association in the same way as the T.A. units were administered in peace time.

The need came in 1918, when the critical fighting in France demanded all available reinforcements, and the country was swept bare of fit fighting men. Then the Army Council appealed to the Volunteers for aid in guarding the East Coast. That appeal was answered with enthusiasm; and the Volunteers of Worcestershire furnished a contingent of nearly 170 (14 officers and about 150 other ranks under Captain R. E. Worter) who took up duty in the East Coast defences until the conclusion of hostilities.