Billy Scarrow was 18 years of age in 1917, and in this year, enlisted with the the 1st Battalion of the East Yorkshire Regiment (Private no.57304). The 1st Battalion was fighting in France at this time.
At some point later* he joined the 13th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry (Private no. 92465) where he probably served in Italy.
Billy entertained the soldiers during the periods of inactivity. He was not one of the famous Splinters, but he knew them well. He left France in 1919, many months after the war ended.
*Due to the loss of records, we are unsure when exactly Billy changed regiments.
1st East Yorkshire Regiment
The East Yorkshire Regiment was formed on the 22 June 1685 and took part in the battles of Blenheim, Ramillies, Malpaquet, and Oudenarde before fighting in the American War of Independence from 1776 to 1778.
At the outbreak of the First World War, the 1st Battalion went to France, followed by the 2nd in 1915. The Regiment grew rapidly to 21 battalions and won four VC's among a large number of decorations. It remained on the Western Front for the duration of the war.
13th Durham Light Infantry
During the First World War the Durham Light Infantry raised 43 battalions with 22 seeing active service overseas - on the Western Front, in Italy, Egypt, Salonika and India.
The 13th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry was formed at Newcastle in September 1914 joined the 68th Brigade in 23rd Division, alongside the 12th Battalion. They moved to Franceon the 26th of August 1915 landing at Boulogne and concentrating near Tilques. On the 5th of September 23rd Division became attached to III Corps, moving to the Merris-Vieux Berquin area, for trench familiarisation under the guidance of the 20th (Light) and 27th Divisions. They took over front line sector between Ferme Grande Flamengrie to the Armentieres-Wez Macquart road in their own right on the 14th. During the Battle of Loos CIII and CV Brigades RFA were in action attached to 8th Division. With 23rd Division holding the front at Bois Grenier, they were relieved from that sector at the end of January 1916 and Divisional HQ was established at Blaringhem with the units concentrated around Bruay for a period of rest.
On the 3rd of March they returned to the front line, taking over a sector between the Boyau de l'Ersatz and the Souchez River from the French 17th Division, with the Artillery taking over an exposed position between Carency and Bois de Bouvigny where it was subjected to heavy shelling. In early March a Tunnelling Company was established and men with a background in mining were transferred from the ranks to the Royal Engineers.
In Mid April they returned to Bruay area for rest until mid May when they again took over the Souchez-Angres front, just before the German Attack on Vimy Ridge on the 21st. The brunt of the attack fell on 47th (London) Division, to the right of 23rd Division and the 23rd Divisional Artillery went into action in support of the 47th. On the 1st of June the Artillery supported 2nd Division as they undertook operations to recover lost ground.
On the 11th of June the 23rd Division Infantry moved to Bomy and the artillery to Chamblain Chatelain and Therouanne to begin intensive training for the Battles of the Somme. They were in action in The Battle of Albert including the capture of Contalmaison, The Battles of Bazentin Ridge, Pozieres, Flers-Courcelette, Morval and The Battle of Le Transloy including the capture of Le Sars.
In 1917 they fought in The Battle of Messines, The Battles of the Menin Road, Polygon Wood and the The First and Second Battles of Passchendaele.
In November 1917 the Division moved to Italy concentrating between Mantua and Marcaria before taking over the front line at the Montello on the 4th of December.
In 1918 they were in action during the fighting on the Asiago Plateau. On the 14th of September 1918 the 13th DLI left 23rd Division and returned to France, joining 74th Brigade, 25th Division at St Riquier on 19 September 1918 and were in action in the Final Advance in Picardy.