Allied Aviation Of World War I by Hugh Cowin, Hugh W. Cowin

By Hugh Cowin, Hugh W. Cowin

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Men of the Queen’s Regiment whilst in training in 1915. The 7/Buffs, was formed at Canterbury, Kent, in September 1914 and, like the 8th East Surreys, was first sent to Purfleet, then Colchester and then Salisbury Plain. Its parent regiment The Buffs (East Kent Regiment), was originally raised in 1572 by the citizens of London, to aid the Protestant cause in Holland and its members were largely local volunteers from the old City of London Train Bands. Known at first as The Holland Regiment, it was retitled The 3rd Foot in 1665 and had to exchange its buff leather jackets for the scarlet tunics of English Infantry of the Line.

Whilst it is not the purpose of this book to explore this hypothesis – it has been quite adequately deliberated over elsewhere – Montauban will nevertheless destroy a few well held beliefs as well as shattering a few myths. Even the mystique and magic of the date of the opening of the battle is confused in the minds of many. How often do we hear that 1 July was ‘the middle day of the middle year of the war’, for instance? In point of fact, 1916 was a leap year and thus had 366 days, so there was no middle day that year and in true calendar terms, the Great War might have spanned five years, but only lasted for just over four – so there was no middle year of the war either!

Its nicknames were ‘The Two Fours’ and ‘The Little Fighting Fours’ which alluded to the numbering of the 44th Foot and ‘The Pompadours’, which alluded to the fact that they were supposed to have taken their unusual purple full dress uniform facings from the livery of Madame de Pompadour, one of Louis XIV’s mistresses. The 6/Royal Berkshires was raised at Reading, Berkshire, in September 1914 and after training at Colchester, Essex, it too, arrived at Codford St. Mary in May 1915, to prepare for overseas service.

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