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Mark Hone

4/5th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers

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The North West film archive includes a short film of the training of the 4/5th Battalion LF from Bury 'near Southport' in 1915. This can be viewed online at http://www.movinghistory.ac.uk/archives/nw/films/nw1lancs.html. I am assuming that this is at or near the Altcar Training area but I'd like to be able to ID the exact location if possible for photo comparison purposes. For that purpose I'm particularly interested in the mock attack scene at the end of the clip with the metal bridge in the background. Can anyone identify the exact spot?

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Mark,

I clicked on the link you provided but the link failed error 404, can you re-apply the link

Cheers

Graham (I used to live in the area so may be able to help)

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Mark,

The link does not seem to be opening from the GWF although it did open up from the e-mail notification that I got for your post. That took me to a clip called 4/5th Lancashire Fusiliers on the March. I didn't see a reference to .near Southport. I am afraid that I didn't recogise anything. There were several camps near Altcar (Sniggery Camp and Crosby Camp) and I would have guessed more up the coast (I have seen reference to an officer cadet training school at Formby early in the war).

Ian

PS The trench works look far too solid for Altcar Camp itself which is almost pure sand, certainly on the seaward side of the Alt!

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Odd that, as I simply copied and pasted it from my browser when I accessed the film. Here is a link to the page for the North West Film Archive page on the 'Moving Histories' site. There is a hyperlink to the film itself about half-way down, under 'War-Time':

http://www.movinghistory.ac.uk/archives/nw/collection.html

This is the caption that goes with the film:

'This film was made during the First World War, and shows soldiers of the 4th and 5th Battalions of the Lancashire Fusiliers in training near Southport. The soldiers are seen being drilled and practising with rifles and bayonets. In the final sequence, the soldiers train for trench warfare in mock communication trenches, and many of the men smile at the camera as they file past and demonstrate 'going over the top'.'. The North West film archive are not the first to be bamboozled by the arcana of British army nomenclature-the unit involved is actually 4/5th LF (4th line territorials from the 5th battalion).

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ID: 5   Posted (edited)

Mark,

I am not sure what I am doing wrongly here. Following your instructions, I get to a page headed

The 4/5th Battalions Lancs. Fusiliers on the March

but with a link only to a clip called 'In the Communication Trenches'. This shows neither 'drilling or practising with rifles and bayonets' nor 'going over the top'. What I do get is a line of cheery Tommies making their way through the supposed communication trenches but which look like very narrow fire trenches without the fire step, finally aiming their rifles over the 'parapet'.

When I look at James, 'Southport' does seem to be a popular billet for the Lancashire Fusiliers. Perhaps the files of the Southport Visiter might yield some clues.

I am quite keen to see this as I have been going to Altcar Camp now for over half a century.

Ian

Edited by Ian Riley

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Take three (to coin a phrase):

Go to this address http://www.media.mmu.ac.uk/nwfa25/

and click on the photo of soldiers on parade. It should play the clip, although I can't maximize the image to full screen. Towards the end we get the mock attack near the bridge.

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Mark,

Thanks for this patient talk down onto the link. I have now seen it albeit in postage stamp size (as you say, it was not possible to enlarge). I don't reconise the bridge as anything to do with Altcar Camp but will see if I can persuade anyone up there to look at the image. The Holloway Bridge (Bailey?) that crosses the Alt near to its mouth is I think immediate post-WW2 and I don't know much about the backfground of the Northern Bridge. However, this one looks to be carrying a railway on an embankment. I am not sure that the Liverpool Southport line is embanked anywhere in the Altcar area. The people whose memory goes back to pre-WW2 are now nearly 100; it might be possible to get a rather distinguidhed pre-war near centenarian to have a look! Otherwise, it's time to get out the OS map

I know that it says 'Southport' and that is where the battalion was raised but the practice trenches in South Blackpool were pretty close to the long curve of the railway in open ground (then) as it came into Blackpool.

Ian

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Mark,

I notice that the clip is from the Manchester Metropolitan University collection. The university is located on Oxford Street manchester, it is quite possible that the History dep't at the university will be able to answer your query, they are normally very helpful to genuine enquiries.

I hope this helps, you can find a contact name in the History dep't website on the university website. mmu.ac.uk

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