The 1st battalion which went to France in 1914 consisted overwhelmingly
of 'Old Sweats' - recalled reservists and long serving career soldiers like Pte Henry Briggs (left) who had soldiered in Africa
and India in pre-war days. They possessed a wealth of experience, and were almost to a man first class shots - rapid and accurate
fire with the .303 SMLE rifle was at the core of pre-war training.
Left: Medals awarded to Henry Briggs for service in the Boer
War and in 1914
Holding a railway embankment at Armentieres between 23 and 26 October the 1st battalion
faced many times its own strength, as the Germans tried to break through with sheer weight of numbers. Their soldiers
advanced in dense masses, singing patriotic songs like 'Die Wacht Am Rhein' and 'Deutschland Uber Alles'.
They made easy targets for experienced marksmen, and they were shot down in
heaps. Nevertheless, the pressure began to tell and in the early hours of 25 October, 'D' Company of the Leicesters was
overrun. Those men not killed in the hand to hand fighting which followed were marched away as prisoners of war.
Left: George Dodge of Leicester was one of those taken
prisoner on 25 October. He was held at first in Lille jail but was later taken to Gottingen POW camp in Germany