DESCRIPTION: Told through the experiences of two men from very different backgrounds who volunteered for a new Pals battalion. This is a poignant and moving story of life in The Trenches during the Great War. – Highly Recommended.
NAME: The First And The Last Of The Sheffield City Battalion FILE: R3099 AUTHOR: John Cornwell PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword BINDING: hard back PRICE: £25.00 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: World War I, World War 1, WWI, World War One, The Great War, Pals Battalions, Western Front, trench warfare, The Trenches, The Somme, 1914-1918, 1916
PAGES: 209 IMAGE: B3099.jpg BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/uc3fkuw DESCRIPTION: Told through the experiences of two men from very different backgrounds who volunteered for a new Pals battalion. This is a poignant and moving story of life in The Trenches during the Great War. – Highly Recommended. As the survivors of WWII are rapidly reducing in numbers and all of those who fought in WWI are now gone, it can be difficult for later generations to understand what happened in human terms. The two World Wars were also very different. In WWI, the military was undertaking the first industrial total war and there were so many new things to master. In WWII, it was a matter of refining the tactics and strategies in what was a war largely of movement and the coming of age of aircraft, with great fleets of Allied bombers returning, with a vengeance, the destruction the Germans had merrily inflicted on their neighbours. The British Army has always been a collection of semi-autonomous regiments and corps that have largely recruited from local populations. As the requirements of the Second World War and then the Cold War developed, these units have seen amalgamation and change but the basis structure continues. In 1914 the British Army was fiercely local and one expression of this were the Pals Battalions where young men, and the not so young, flocked to the colours almost by the street, to serve with the same people they had lived and worked with in peace. In a society that maintained strict class divisions, the Pals recruited without class. Those from the Middle and Upper Classes may have been more likely to become officers, but their was still a common purpose and interest that made the Pals close communities. There was also the scope for rapid promotion from Private to NCO, to Commissioned Officer In this story of two men from 1914, a powerful insight into the mentality and conditions of the time is provided in an involving tale. One of the men was a solicitor and footballer of 31 years of age who was commissioned in 1915. After initial frontline service, he was made a training officer and escaped the massive casualties suffered by his battalion on the Somme in 1916, to return to the Trenches in 1917, being awarded the Military Cross, only to be killed on the Lys in April 1918. His comrade was a clerk in the Education Offices who served in the battalion until 1917. He returned to the Trenches in 1918 and was seriously wounded in his first action as an officer, becoming a training officer as his wounds prevented further frontline service in the Trenches. He survived the war and lived to 101, becoming the last survivor of the 12th Battalion. A very moving story.