In the last days of August 1914 it was decided that as soon as the original, pre-war Territorial battalion had mobilised and moved out to its war station, a duplicate, or second line battalion would be formed. Henceforth the original battalions would have the prefix 1/ in front of their designation, and the second line battalions 2/. Thus the 2/19th Battalion, The London Regiment, was formed in September 1914 and in due course was allocated to 180th Brigade 60th (2/2nd London) Division. The first chapter of the book contains an interesting and amusing account of the problems of trying to create an efficient infantry battalion out of a throng of keen, enthusiastic civilians with no military experience, no uniforms, no equipment and very few officers or NCOs. It wasn’t until June 1916 that the division left for France and the battalion, brought up to strength by a contingent of 250 volunteers from the RAMC who had joined a few weeks earlier, found itself in the line on the slopes of Vimy Ridge, which was then a very nasty place what with tunnelling, mining, countermining and crater fighting; trench mortares and rifle grenades were the weapons in most demand. But after only five months the division was transferred to Salonika where the battalion landed on 1st December. Here, too, the division’s stay was a short one in which the bitter weather was more of a trial than the enemy. The division moved again, in June 1917, to join the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF), at this time hung up in front of Gaza. During the six months in Macedonia the battalion lost only six dead as a result of enemy action but the history records a feeling of profound relief when they left that ‘pestilent theartre of war’ where morale was low. The division’s joining the EEF coincided with Allenby’s arrival as the new GOC in C, and shortly after a new divisional commander, Maj Gen Shea, took over. From now on the battalion was frequently involved in the fighting in Palestine – Third Gaza, Beersheba, Sheria, Jerusalem, Jericho, Tansjordan Raid, to its final action in the attack and crossing of Nahr el Falik on 19th September 1918. All these actions and those in France and Macedonia are described in the narrative. It was in Palestine that the battalion suffered the bulk of its casualties, over 150 of the total dead numbering some 200. Appendices contain the Roll of Honour, by theatres of war, the list of honours and awards and a useful chronology of events from formation of the battalion to disbandment in February 1920.
SECOND NINETEENTH, BEING THE HISTORY OF THE 2/19TH LONDON REGIMENT
Record of the second line 19th Battalion of the London Regiment that served in France, Macedonia and Palestine. Roll of Honour, list of Honours and Awards.