Lance Corporal J. Hughes

23rd (Sportsman's) Battalion Royal Fusiliers

This week, six year 10 students started work experience at the Fusilier Museum. We spent the week focusing on the Royal Fusiliers in World War I. We used the catalogue to find relevant artefacts and books to collect research for a final project for the website about a Battalion in the Royal Fusiliers, and a personal story about one of the soldiers. My group learnt about the Sportsman’s Battalion and the story of Joseph Hughes. The Battalion fought in France throughout the war and whilst they were there some of them wrote for the Sportsman’s Gazette. This was a weekly journal devoted to Battalion notes and news containing orders, tips, poetry and stories. It provided a platform for discussion of topical and interesting subjects and it also boosted morale for the soldiers. Here is a short excerpt from one of the poems in the gazette about training in their camp in Hornchurch before they got sent to the front:

When open order is the drill,

And mimic foes they’re facing,

They get a taste of warfare’s thrill,

For fierce the fight and great the “kill”,

Good training for the real thing.

We also learnt about Joseph Hughes. He was from Hackney, born in 1894 and joined the Battalion in January 1915. He fought in France until the end of the war and in 1918 he was awarded the Military Medal after good work fighting in Cambrai. After the war he was described as “a thoroughly capable soldier, gallant in action, a good disciplinarian, grasps situations quickly and has an excellent command in men.”

Listen to the full recording here: