In 1914, two regular infantry regiments were based in Surrey, the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment with its depot at Stoughton Barracks, Guildford, and the East Surrey Regiment with its depot in Kingston. Each regiment comprised two battalions of full-time professional soldiers, supported by additional battalions of reservists and territorials troops.
The Surrey regiments were part of what was by contemporary standards a small army of 247,432 regular troops organised in four Guards and 68 line infantry regiments, 31 cavalry regiments, artillery and other support arms. This regular army was supported by the part time soldiers of the reserve. In August 1914, there were three forms of reserves: the Army Reserve of retired soldiers (145,350 men) who attended 12 training days per year; the Special Reserve (64,000) who had undergone an initial six months full-time training and three or four weeks training per year thereafter; and the National Reserve (215,000 men) who had military experience, but no other reserve obligation. Supplementing these troops was the newly created Territorial Force of part-time soldiers. Their role was essentially home defence, when other troops had been sent overseas, but they could volunteer to serve abroad when the need arose. All these troops together comprised a mobilised force of almost 700,000 men, although only 150,000 men were immediately available to be formed into the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) of six infantry divisions and one cavalry division that was sent to the continent.Read More