6th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment - 1900 to 1913


On the 2nd August 1897 newly promoted Lieut.-Colonel Edward Hugh Bearcroft was given command of the 4th (Militia) Battalion Worcestershire Regiment. In 1900 the 4th (Militia) Battalion, originally known as the 2nd Battalion of the old Worcestershire Militia until 1881, was renumbered the 6th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment due to the fact that new Regular Battalions were raised for fighting in the Boer War.

Colonel Bearcroft took the 6th Battalion to the Cape Colony, South Africa. The Battalion embarked at Southampton on the troopship 18th December 1901 and disembarked at Cape Town, South Africa on the 18th January 1902 saw active service in the latter stages of the Boer War. The battalion retuned back to England, in September 1902, and the Battalion was disembodied at Worcester.

Lieut.-Col. F. W. D. Lea-Smith

(afterwards Lord Dudley of Halesowen)

In 1905 the 6th Battalion (old Militia), now renamed the "Special Reserve", were playing their part in the organization of the national defences. The Haldane reforms had resulted in the Militia battalions quitting their original role of home defence and becoming reserves to the Regular Army.

The alteration might possibly have proved unwelcome, but the spirit of the officers and N.C.O’s. of the two Worcestershire Militia battalions carried the change through with great success; and nearly all the original staff of the old battalions stayed on to help in building up the new force. Notable good work was done by the Commanding Officer Colonel H. E. E. Everard (took command in August 1905), who crowned his years of work as historian of the Regiment by devoted labour in adapting the old organisation to the new requirements.

In that work the two Commanding Officer was assisted by the able Adjutant Captain D. C. H. Chisholm with the support of a small nucleus of Regular officers and N.C.O’s. who formed the permanent staff of the battalion at the Regimental Depot and were responsible for the training of the "Special Reserve" recruits. It was due to their work that, when the need came, the soldiers of the Special Reserve were fit to fill the depleted ranks of the Regular battalions.

In 1909 the command of the 6th Battalion passed to Lieut.- Colonel Arthur Gordon Steward and in 1911 the command of the 6th Battalion was taken over by Lieut.- Colonel F. D. W. Lea-Smith, afterwards Lord Dudley, and the Adjutancy by Captain A. S. Nesbitt. So matters stood until the spring of 1914, when the Adjutancy of the 6th Battalion was taken over by Captain W. L. Newcombe.