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WW1 War Diaries
IP: 5.81.160.64


Over the last few days I have downloaded some if not all the War Diaries for Lancashire Fusiliers in WW1 They are all to big to go on the Web Site but I have them on File if anyone wants to see them just e mail me or Geoff
I also came across this little gem
Private Swindlehurst served in France with the Lancashire Fusiliers in 1918. He and his friend Gilby volunteered for further service at the end of the war and this account covers his service in India from November 1919 to December 1920 with the 2nd Battalion and then in Dublin from January to March 1921 with the 1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers. Swindlehurst's main interest is not in recording the minutiae of army life but rather in describing the people of India, their customs and the places which he visits. The diary conveys the impression of a young man whose enthusiasm for the East and tolerant approach to cultures different from his own enable him to gain much from an experience which would otherwise have been tedious and monotonous. Although the record of his experiences in Ireland is, by comparison, brief (26pp) it provides a valuable insight into conditions in Dublin during this critical period and is particularly useful for his comments on the Black and Tans.

In an interesting passage written in Brackton Camp, Staffordshire, prior to their embarkation for India Swindlehurst describes a talk on health and sex education given by the Medical Officer. He also records a conversation of war time veterans in which they recall their experiences of Franch brothels (15 October). Following their departure from Liverpool (21 October) Swindlehurst was appointed butcher for the troops. He describes galley arrangements on board T.S.S. City of Poona and during the voyage to India gives general accounts of his work. On their arrival in India on 13 November Swindlehurst's draft went directly to Lahore. His entry for 16 November records his first impressions of barrack life, with particular reference to the servants now at his disposal. Entries for the rest of November and December describe his work as butcher, relationships with native contractors and life in the cantonment (eg 17 November). At an early stage he established close contact with the Indian NCOs serving below him and on 22-24 November he records a lengthy conversation with his Sikh 'Tindal'. This includes an account of Sikh history and culture as well as the 'Tindal's' family history from 1750.

Interspersed throughout the diary are references to the wives fo other rankers who accompanied their husbands to India. On 28 November Swindlehurst describes the married quarters, the furnishing of which was his responsibility. On 2 December he records another conversation, this time with his 'Cotwal', on the subject of Indian languages and religions. Swindlehurst started to learn Hindustani at this time. The signing of the Treaty of Versailles was celebrated in Lahore with displays of horsemanship, 'airoplane stunts' and tent pegging competitions (15-16 December).

On 14 January 1920 Swindlehurst writes:

We are expecting to be called out for strike duty tonight, the railway employees have got the strike fever, so some trouble is expected.

This does not appear to have materialized. However, on 14 February he mentions the popular disaffection, caused by high food prices and low wages, which was causing alarm to the British Authorities. He also alludes to the Hunter Enquiry into "the shootings which have taken place at Amritsar".

Entries for 16-17 March give further details of troubles in Lahore caused by "food and wage reductions". Swindlehurst's 'boss', the NCO in charge of stores, had a drink problem (17 February) and it seems that Swindlehurst shouldered full responsibility for the Company's meat requirements. On 11 February he lectured a group of officers on elements of meat inspection, and on 20 February he was interviewed by the officer in command of the Lahore Brigade, and offered the position of staff sergeant "with great material attractions". Since this would require him to sign on for a further 12 years Swindlehurst ultimately declined the post.

Swindlehurst was a keen photographer, and on 15 February he refers to his supplier of photographic equipment, Gupta Lal, a "high caste Hindu". Through this friendship he gained further insights into Indian life, which he records in detail. The account is illustrated with photographs, but these are generally poor in quality.

He makes several references to brothels and 'loose women' in India. On 12 March he write that some soldiers:

...Visited one of the numerous brothels in the city, refused to pay for what they had received, and got a beating up trying to get away...

He continues that it is:

...sad so many young men go to these


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PUTTING A MESSAGE ON A STRING PLEASE PUT YOUR MESSAGE AT THE END OF THE STRING NOT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STRING IT MAKES THE STRING EASIER TO FOLLOW. FROM NOW ON IF YOU DON'T PUT YOUR MESSAGE AT THE END OF THE STRING IT WILL BE DELETED Dennis Laverick Webmaster Lancashire Fusiliers http://www.lancs-fusiliers.co.uk . Boards2go.com Homepage


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