The King’s Men, The Sandringham Company & Norfolk Regiment Territorial Battalions, 1914-1918

The Sandringham Company was the only Company in the British Army to be raised entirely from a Royal Estate . This is an absorbing account Norfolk Territorials who fought at Gallipoli and created a legend . – Very Highly Recommended.

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NAME:   The King's Men, The Sandringham Company & Norfolk Regiment 
Territorial Battalions, 1914-1918
FILE: R3188
AUTHOR: Neil R Storey
PUBLISHER: Pen and Sword 
BINDING: hard back
PRICE: £25.00                                                               
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT:   Territorial Army, County Regiments, Royal Estate, Sandringham, 
King's Men, infantry, WWI, World War I, World War 1, World War One, First World 
War, The Great War, Gallipoli, war of attrition, trench warfare, Middle East, Turks, 
Ottoman Empire, Egypt, craftsmen, farm workers, gamekeepers, Royal servants

ISBN: 1-52676-511-X

PAGES: 257
IMAGE: B3188.jpg
BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/y7cfyxk9
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: The Sandringham Company was the only Company in the British 
Army to be raised entirely from a Royal Estate . This is an absorbing account 
Norfolk Territorials who fought at Gallipoli and created a legend . – Very Highly 
Recommended.


The Territorial Army was established in 1908 to provide a rapid reserve that was linked to the established county regiments. It is easy to think of the British Army as a single homogenized service when if fact it is a collection of organizations that enjoy some autonomy and celebrate battle honours going back hundreds of years. Before Cardwells Army Reforms in the late Victorian era, officers purchased their commissions and advancement a system that look quaint today but worked surprisingly well. When a regiment was raised it was often a unit raised by a self-appointed colonel. It was little different from the earlier trained gangs that made up most armies, but it followed on from the feudal units that were raised as a duty of a local knight or earl as part of the payment to the King for the lands they held.

At the turn of the 20th Century, a much more professional organization was becoming established. Counties raised regiments from local men. This meant that friends and neighbours served alongside each other, the ultimate being the Pals Battalions of WWI that often featured entire street of volunteers who had known each other all their lives. This produced a strong bond of comradeship and shared heritage and comradeship. The Norfolk Regiment was one such unit. At any time, there might be soldiers in the regiment who were from outside the county, but the main body were all from Norfolk and frequently soldiers were grouped together on the basis of where in the county they lived.

The Territorial Army was formed to ensure that there was always trained body of men who had strong links with the county and its regular regiment. It formed in time to produce a body of trained soldiers ready to fight the Great War. The equipment of regiments was beginning to standardize although the dress uniforms continued to show much independence. In themselves the county regiments were line regiments that could not form a complete army, requiring cavalry, logistics, engineers and specialists. The British Army catered for that by forming regiments and corps to provide units that were trained in very specific operations and were frequently formed around a new weapon or novel set of tactics. The Household Cavalry was primarily tasked with providing the sovereign’s escort but in time of war were mobilized to fight alongside other cavalry regiments. The Royal Army Medical Corps was formed in time for WWI to provide a professional and dedicated unit to provide medical support from the front line back to large hospitals well to the rear or home in Britain. The Machine Gun Corps was formed specifically to operate the new machine guns that made the trenches a special hell. The Royal Tank Corps did the same for the armoured vehicles being introduced to break the trenches.

Within the Norfolk Regiment Territorial Battalions was the Sandringham Company raised entirely from the Royal estate at Sandringham. The King’s Estate Agent served as a Captain in the Company, as did gamekeepers, craftsmen, farm workers and Royal servants. When sent to Gallipoli, the Company was almost wiped out and had to be reformed to fight on and then with distinction in Palestine as part of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force.

The author has brought together the stories and reminiscences of the survivors to add depth to the well-researched text and the many invaluable and rare images used lavishly through the book. He also debunks some of the myth and legend. In particular some very creative stories have circulated about the destruction of the Company at Gallipoli. The popular story was that the men marched off to fight the Turk sand disappeared into a bank of dust or fog. The has been quoted from time to time to support the supernatural and the sci-fi story tellers. The author provides a credible, factual account of this event were the men were led into battle by Captain Frank Beck who had been the King’s Agent administering the Royal Estate at Sandringham.

This nicely captures the society and views of the soldiers who went from civilian life to war from 1914.