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© Images are copyright, Trustees of the King's Own Royal Regiment Museum.
 You must seek permission prior to publication of any of our images.

The Great War Centenary 1917 - Exhibition

Boomtown - From Front Line to White Lund

The Quartermaster and Supplies

The success of the King’s Own infantry soldier in battle relied on a whole cast of supporting players.

Keeping the front line soldiers fed and watered and supplied with equipment and ammunition started with his own Company Quartermaster Sergeant who would obtain all his necessities from battalion level with the Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant and the Quartermaster managing everything at battalion headquarters.

The Quartermaster, a commissioned officer, would manage everything which the battalion required and would work with the supplies sections at both brigade and division in order to ensure everything that was required was obtained.

All of this required much paperwork and all things issued and received would be accounted for – so there was a strict record of all that went to the soldiers. Each day the Quartermaster would have to submit a record of the number of soldiers which he fed – and this daily ration roll was one of the key things to ensure that the accounts balanced.

The supply chain well above the battalion level left the theatre of operation, whether that be the Western Front, Salonika, Mesopotamia or elsewhere, and got back to Britain and often much further a field.

Without the preservation of food in tins, and the ability to transport vast quantities of tinned beef from South America, there would have been little chance of feeding the armies in the field, and the war would have been over within a few months. It was not just the men who needed feeding, the army relied upon tens of thousands of horses for transport, and each needed feeding.

Local traders in Lancaster and Morecambe, also assisted the Regiment, we know from the record books of the Quartermaster of the 1st/5th Battalion, Captain Albert Hodgkinson, that he used many local traders for a range of supplies from tinned foods and cigarettes to cloth patches for uniform badges.

The supply system was supported by an efficient postal service and “Military Forwarding Office” who would ensure parcels and packages of all descriptions made it safely to their destinations.

Any losses in supplies was a serious matter. If ten tins of corned beef were damaged in a consignment of 144, the Quartermaster did not have sufficient food for all of his men. If a supply dump caught fire through carelessness or even enemy action, tons of valuable supplies could be lost.

2nd Lieutenant Arthur Carter was awarded the Military Cross for his part in extinguishing a fire at an ammunition dump in November 1917.
Accession Number: KO2520/16 and KO2520/19

The Quartermaster, Captain Albert Hodgkinson, and his staff of the 1st/5th Battalion, King’s Own.
Accession Number: KO2106/30

The Quartermaster and his staff of the 2nd/5th Battalion, King’s Own.
Accession Number: KO3045/01

Cooking was an important job of the Quartermaster’s staff.
Accession Number: KO0784/077 and KO0784/079



© Images are copyright, Trustees of the King's Own Royal Regiment Museum.
 You must seek permission prior to publication of any of our images.

Only a proportion of our collections are on display at anyone time.  Certain items are on loan for display in other institutions.  An appointment is required to consult any of our collections which are held in store.

© 2017 Trustees of the King's Own Royal Regiment Museum