Grandad's War
At 4.00 a.m. on the morning of 14th August 1914 the Battalion, led by a band, marched out of their barracks in Derry and boarded two trains at Great Northen Street Station. The first train left at 5.10 a.m. and the second about half an hour later.

They arrived in Belfast about 10.00 a.m. and marched to the docks and around 3.30 p.m. were ordered to board the troopship S.S. Massilia.
Cheshire Regiment cap badge
S. S. Massilia
The S.S. Massilia - built by D. W. Henderson, Partick, 1902 for Anchor Line (Bombay Run). Scrapped 1930

Source: National Maritime Museum - P.14910 & P.14911

This was a pleasant surprise to the Battalion - being a different ship to the one originally intended. The Massilia was an Anchor Line and had been prepared and provisioned for a voyage to India.

One Officer is reported to have said: "We fed like fighting cocks, and the regiment who were to have gone aboard this ship had to fend for themselves."

("The First Battalion at Mons" - Frank Simpson)

Copyright: G E Conway, 2009
S S Massilia