There were many Cheltenham boys in the Territorial Force’s 5th Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment. In fact, their commanding officer was Frederick Tarrant, Bursar at Cheltenham Ladies College and among their officers was Cyril Winterbotham, brother of Councillor Percy Winterbotham, who himself later became an officer in the same battalion. Their sister Clara was Cheltenham’s first woman councillor and became the first female Mayor in 1921.
The Battalion was posted to Chelmsford for training during Christmas 1914 and few of the houses in which the boys were billeted had baths. The appeal went out from the YMCA to householders to please let the soldiers have a bath now and then. A system whereby bath tickets were issued allowed the troops to keep clean.