The first reinforcement draft of any significant size to the 25th Battalion Royal Fusiliers in East Africa proceeded overseas on 14th July 1916 but it is known that prior to this date a small draft, numbering 22 men and consisting of a handful of new recruits from the 25th Battalion’s Reserve Company plus men previously invalided back to the UK from the original battalion who, having fully recovered had been back posted to the Reserve Company, was sent to East Africa aboard the “Trafford Hall”.
This small draft had embarked at Devonport aboard the “Trafford Hall”, a 5,321 ton vessel of Ellerman’s Hall Line, on the 25th May 1916 and sailed via the west coast of Africa eventually arriving and disembarking at Kilindini in British East Africa on 3rd July 1916.
The embarkation return (1) for this small draft bound for the 25th Battalion Royal Fusiliers in East Africa shows that they proceeded overseas on 25th May accompanied by Second Lieutenant E. J. Dutch and, in addition to this Royal Fusiliers’ draft aboard the “Trafford Hall”, there was also a sizable draft bound for the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and some smaller details destined for service with a number of different Corps. One half of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment draft was commanded by Captain S. L. McLaglen (15th Bn. Middlesex Regiment) with Lieutenant E. E. Fordham (6th Bn. Rifle Brigade) and Second Lieutenant A. W. Lloyd (14th Bn. Royal Fusiliers) as subordinate officers. All three officers would, within the next couple of months, go on to serve with the 25th Royal Fusiliers in East Africa.
Also noted on the embarkation list for the “Trafford Hall” was another officer, Captain C. E. S. Bull (3rd Dorsetshire Regiment), who, although not initially destined for that unit, would also eventually be attached to the 25th Battalion Royal Fusiliers and, for a short time, command it.
(1) National Archives Reference WO 25/3545
Embarkation Returns, At Home for Abroad - Apr. to Jun. 1916.
s.s. “Trafford Hall”
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