8th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment - 1914

At the out break of the Great War in 1914, the 8th Battalion (Territorial) of the Regiment were at their annual summer camp at Minehead. They returned to Worcester by train the day after war was declared with Germany. They then spent the next four days busy with preparations. The 8th Battalion entrained on 8th August 1914 for their War Stations.

The existing arrangements for the defence of the country included the concentration of the greater part of the Territorial forces in the Eastern Counties to guard against invasion from over the North Sea; and the 8th Battalion Worcestershire, then commanded by Lieut.-Colonel Walter King Peake, moved eastwards by stages to join the army which was gathering in Suffolk and Essex to defend the heart of England.

Major R. H. H. Creak was Second-in-Command and Captain (afterwards Lieut.-Colonel) P. R. Whalley the Adjutant. The Battalion Quartermaster Officer was Major D. Sallis. The Serjeant-Major was A. Salter.

On the 11th August 1914 whilst the Battalion was still at Swindon, the Territorial soldiers were invited to volunteer for service overseas and nearly all of the men of the Battalion gladly accepted. The spirit of patriotism was running very high; and the Battalion were soon filled to overflowing with eager recruits.On August 31st it was announced that those who could not at once accept the obligation for service overseas were to be withdrawn from the Territorial units to form "Second Line" Territorial formations intended for Home Defence (The formation of the "Second Line" battalion was authorized on 31st August 1914). The "Second Line" personnel of the Worcestershire battalion was organized at Worcester into a new unit, the 2/8th Worcestershire, which was commanded by Colonel M. Dixon V.D.; and there followed an active campaign to recruit the new unit up to the strength of full battalion.

The original 8th Battalion now became known as the 1/8th Battalion.

The Battalion moved first to Swindon and thence eastwards by way of Stony Stratford had two days there and two at Brentford, then followed a long march which took the Battalion to the Danbury district of Essex. Here they were billeted in barns, and training proceeded apace. The Battalion remained there until the 19th September 1914.

On the 19th September 1914, the 1/8th Battalion moved to the town of Maldon, where we were billeted with the 7th Battalion Worcesters (until they went overseas).

The Battalion remained in Essex throughout the winter months of 1914, quartered in good billets at Maldon. During that period the Territorial Battalions were reorganised, adopting the four company organisation of the Regular Army instead of the old organisation in eight small companies which the Territorial battalions had hitherto retained.

Lieut.-Col. W. K. Peake

So the old companies were reorganised as follows;

Evesham Company and Pershore Company were amalgamated into the new 'A' Company.

Upton Company and Malvern Company were amalgamated into the new 'B' Company.

Bromsgrove Company and King's Norton Company were amalgamated into the new 'C' Company.

Droitwich Company and Redditch Company were amalgamated into the new 'D' Company.

Then they were inspected first by General Sir Ian Hamilton, then commanding the Home Defence Army, and later by His Majesty the King.