Recruitment and mobilisation

Recruitment and mobilisation

Soldiers marching out of the Tower

Over 1,600 City workers swore an oath of allegiance at the Tower to join the ‘Stockbrokers Battalion’.

2nd Battalion Scots Guards leaving the Tower © Imperial War Museum

The 'Stockbrokers Battalion'

The 'Stockbrokers' Battalion swear their Oath of Allegiance at the Tower, copyright Getty ImagesThe 10th (‘Stockbrokers’) Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) was raised by Major the Hon. R. White at the suggestion of Sir Henry Rawlinson, Director of Recruiting. In a letter dated 12 August 1914, he wrote: 'Many City employees would be willing to enlist if they were assured that they would serve with their friends'.

White collected names and address of those willing to serve. By the end of August 1914, more than 1600 men had been recruited at the Tower, where the Fusiliers were based and have their museum today.

The Battalion was inspected on 29 August by Lord Roberts in Temple Gardens and marched to the Tower of London’s dry moat (known as Tower Ditch), and sworn in by Lord Mayor, Sir W. Vansittart Bowater and proceeded to Colchester for training. 

Swearing the oath of allegiance at the Tower of LondonThroughout their service they called themselves ‘Ditchers’ because they had joined up in Tower ditch.

In July 1915 the Battalion was sent to France. The Battalion suffered 2,647 casualties. By end of the war only 50 of the original 1600 'Ditchers' were on active service.

 

 

Recruits swearing in to join the Royal Fusiliers at the Tower of London © Getty Images

Battalion sworn in at the Tower of London © British Pathe

Military depot

The Tower also acted as a military depot throughout the period of the Great War, storing arms and munitions – and served as a symbolic, ceremonial setting-off point for regiments who had been stationed here.

Find out more about the Tower during the First World War >