The Original Battalion
On April 10th 1915 the 25th Battalion Royal Fusiliers embarked at Devonport aboard the Hired Troopship “Neuralia”, a 9,082 ton ship built in 1912 for the British India Steam Navigation Company and previously used on the London to Calcutta route.
The embarkation return for the 25th Battalion Royal Fusiliers shows that they proceeded overseas the following day, April 11th, with an establishment 120 men in excess of the recognised 1021 as laid out in Field Regulations. These same Regulations allowed for a first reinforcement of 1 Officer, 3 Sergeants and 93 rank & file to be left at the base so this presumably indicates that this first reinforcement, albeit larger than regulations allowed for, proceeded overseas at the same time.
The H. T. Neuralia sailed from Devonport and proceeded via Gibraltar (14th April), Malta (18th), Port Said (22nd), Port Suez (23rd) and Aden (27th) before finally arriving at Kilindini Harbour (Mombasa), British East Africa on the 4th May.
The embarkation return(1) shows the breakdown of personnel who proceeded overseas as:
Field Officers 4*, Captains 7*, Subalterns 19, Medical Officer 1, Warrant Officer 1, N.C.O.s (class 16) 6, N.C.O.s (classes 17, 18 & 19) 44, Trumpeters/Drummers 16, Corporals 40 and Privates 1003 giving a total embarked of 1141.
* The embarkation return shows two different sets of figures for Field Officers and Captains as either 4 & 7 or 3 & 8 respectively. This is because J. S. Leitch held the substantive rank of Major (a Field Officer) but, as the 25th was already at full establishment for Field Officers, he was considered to be a Captain for the purposes of establishment.
(1) National Archives Reference WO 25/3535
Embarkation Returns, At Home for Abroad - Jan. to Jun. 1915.
H. T. “Neuralia”
Image Source Unknown
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