The Rifle Brigade (RB) was one of five regiments having four regular battalions before the war; it also had two special reserve battalions but, in common with the Guards, the Irish Regiments and the KRRC it had no Territorial battalions. By the end of the war the total number of battalions had risen to twenty-eight but this history is concerned only with the twelve battalions that went to war – the 1st to the 4th, 7th to 13th and the 16th. They all fought on the Western Front though one of them, the 4th Battalion, left France for Salonika in November 1915 with 27th Division and remained in that theatre for the rest of the war. Fifty-two battle honours (listed at the end of Vol II) and ten VCs were awarded, eleven thousand five hundred and seventy five all ranks died.
Vol I (Reginald Berkeley) covers the period from the outbreak of war to the end of 1916, Vol II (William W. Seymour) takes the story on to demobilization in 1919. At the end of this volume is a very comprehensive index for both volumes, divided into personalities, battalions and actions. A third volume contains the list of officers and other ranks of the Regiment awarded decorations, or mentioned in despatches, for services during the Great War and includes many citations. This is a very fine history with a text full of detail, descriptions of actions, names of individuals, casualty figures, decorations awarded and plenty of maps to support the narrative. Each chapter covers a specific period and any battalion involved is included in the account, in other words this is not a battalion by battalion record.The list of contents at the beginning of each volume is unusual in the amount of detail contained – not just chapter headings but also a synopsis of the events described in the chapter. For example, chapter IX in Volume II is headed “The German Offensive” and under it are forty four lines of text summarising the contents.
HISTORY OF THE RIFLE BRIGADE IN THE WAR OF 1914-1918
The war record of sixteen battalions of the RB all, of which fought on the Western front with one of them, the 4th, leaving France for Salonika at the end of 1915. Eleven thousand five hundred and seventy five all ranks died, 52 Battle Honours and 10 VCs were awarded.