MHO Home   Forum Home   Help   Register   Login
 
 
Welcome to MilitaryHistoryOnline.com.
You are not signed in.
The current time is: 10/19/2017 8:53:18 AM
 (1914-1918) WWI Battles    
AuthorMessage
anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 5950
http:// 82.44.47.99
The Pals Battalions on the Western Front
Posted on: 5/27/2017 1:45:29 PM
The call to arms was augmented by the decision to form the units that became known as Pals Battalions. General Henry Rawlinson initially suggested that men would be more willing to join up if they could serve with people they already knew.

Lord Derby was the first to test the idea when he announced in late August that he would try to raise a battalion in Liverpool, comprised solely of local men. Within days, Liverpool had enlisted enough men to form four battalions.

Image of recruits marching to Waterloo Station Recruits marching to Waterloo Station headed by a band from Dr Barnardo's Home © Liverpool's success prompted other towns and cities to follow suit.

This was the great secret behind the Pals: civic pride and community spirit prompted cities to compete with each other and attract the greatest possible number of new recruits.

[Read More]

How did these Battalions fare-I suspect the some fared quite badly-as in John Harris's novel of 1960-"Covenant with Death"

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3305

Re: The Pals Battalions on the Western Front
Posted on: 5/28/2017 7:55:04 AM
 The answer is in the article to which you linked. At the Somme,


Quote:
The Pals Battalions survived the Somme in name only. Some, like the Sheffield Pals, were disbanded altogether before the war ended. Others saw their defining characteristics inevitably diluted by the influx of men to replace those who had died. Although by early 1916 around two million men had enlisted voluntarily, enthusiasm diminished as casualties increased, and conscription was introduced in March. . . . With communities decimated and families mourning losses, often of more than one member, the experiment was not repeated.

In 1939 the outbreak of World War Two saw the immediate introduction of conscription, with no need and no attempt to replicate the local character of the Pals Battalions that joined together, served together and died together. As one Pal put it, 'Two years in the making. Ten minutes in the destroying. That was our history.'


Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 5950
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: The Pals Battalions on the Western Front
Posted on: 5/28/2017 7:57:00 AM
Accrington Pals ans Sheffield City Btn at Serre on 1st July 1916


Quote:
On the left of the Pals, some of the 12th York & Lancasters (Sheffield City Btn) also fought their way through. All was in vain. Behind, the third and fourth waves suffered dreadful losses before even reaching No Man's Land. The leading companies of the 13th York & Lancasters were cut down in turn.

Some of the Pals - their officers killed or wounded - pressed on towards Serre, never to be seen again. The remaining survivors in the German front line - bereft of reinforcements - were forced to withdraw. By 8am, the battle for Serre was effectively over.

"The History of the East Lancashire Regiment in the Great War" records that out of some 720 Accrington Pals who took part in the attack, 584 were killed, wounded or missing.
Accrington Pals blog

The Sheffield City Btn suffered commensurate losses (See "Covenant with Death" by Harris)

NB. Th concept was thus discredited as Bill has intimated in his post- for which many thanks

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5297

Re: The Pals Battalions on the Western Front
Posted on: 5/29/2017 8:31:22 AM
Canada eventually raised 260 numbered battalions during the war. That didn't include units like forestry battalions, labour battalions etc.

When war was declared the order went out to the 265 militia commanders across the country to begin recruiting regiments.

These regiments which eventually became numbered battalions still retained the regional name for the regiment. (e.g. Victoria Rifles,). A numbered battalion and a local regiment were not the same thing.

The Canadian government and the CEF realized that once the war ended and the CEF disbanded that there would be no continuation of war history and that it would be impossible to transfer battle honours to numbered battalions. And so the original regiments organized by local militia were permitted association with the numbered battalion.

A commission decided how to do it and so the Battle Honours of 13 battalion for example were associated with the Black Watch Regiment.

The CEF was a different structure than the militia and the successes of the CEF battalions have been recorded in the histories of the various regiments across the country.

The geographic nature of the country was such that many of these battalions attracted all local men of course initially. They all knew each other.

More egalitarian than the British system, the officers and NCO's were also local boys who may have lived on the next farm or worked in the same plant.

But there was no formal order to create something like a Pals battalion. It just happened because of the militia system which was often directed by regional needs.

So losses could be particularly high for one battalion or another raised within a county.


The truth is that once raised, all the men were sent to Valcartier, Québec where the CEF was forming.

Minister of Defence, Sam Hughes was winging it and so not all regiments stayed together. He broke some up and reorganized them.

Hundreds of men didn't bother to enlist in their home regiment. They just hopped a train and came to Valcartier.

Once there some of the battalions were assigned to brigades if the battalion was up to strength. Other battalions were broken up or amalgamated much to the chagrin of the men who had volunteered.

The Canadian 1st div was all but wiped out at 2nd Ypres and battalions had to be rebuilt with reinforcements gathering in England.

The spectre of whole battalions destroyed continued especially in the battles of 1916.

New battalions were completing training in England and then sent across to reinforce as needed.


So some units were recruited in Canada and stayed together and made it to the front together. But as the war progressed, the majority of new enlistments wound up in the reserve unit system in England, ready to be sent where needed.

Cheers,

George

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 5950
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: The Pals Battalions on the Western Front
Posted on: 5/29/2017 9:05:51 AM
Thank you George-I had not realised just how close was your recruitment methods that you too were building something similar to the British Pals Btns- of which there were 142 raised in UK for front lone duty and 63 reserve Btns- mostly from cities and large towns from Glasgow and Edinburgh in the North to London and Bristol in the South.

I likened them to the Newfoundlanders-who were all but destroyed at Beaumont Hamel.I personally thought there was a flaw in the concept; because nearly all of them got a bloody introduction on 1stJuly 1916; and came out of battle virtually torn apart-it was as if they by very nature of their of their volunteering together -they cared too much for each other-I know that sounds callous- but for me- I believed that.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5297

Re: The Pals Battalions on the Western Front
Posted on: 5/29/2017 10:19:15 AM
The Newfoundland situation was similar to the Pals situation but different too.

The Newfoundland Regiment represented a whole Dominion and many of the men came from far flung outports. Those fishing outports would have lost a generation of young men.

But the largest city of St. John's also felt the impact as so many enlisted from there.

It was also permitted for brothers to join the same regiment of the CEF and of course we have a number of examples of whole families wiped out.

During the second world war, brothers could sponsor a brother into his regiment so that they could fight together, a policy that I found odd.

I know that my Dad had asked his brother George to sponsor him to join the 48th Highlanders while in Italy. My Dad had signed the appropriate transfer request but George was killed and my Dad arrived the next day, just to visit. He was not quite the same afterwards.

Other fellows in the 48th told my Dad to cancel his request for transfer because, "all of the "39er's were being killed" and they said that reinforcement was a big problem. So Dad stayed put in his RCASC position with Lord Strathcona's Horse.

I often wonder how many other brothers were united this way and wound up killed together. I am aware of a few who enlisted together and were killed.

Cheers,

George

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 5950
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: The Pals Battalions on the Western Front
Posted on: 5/29/2017 10:31:54 AM

Quote:
328 sets of brothers. They are all tragic stories, but perhaps none more so than where the brothers were not in the same unit or even in the same area when they lost their lives.
The Long Long Trail

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5297

Re: The Pals Battalions on the Western Front
Posted on: 5/29/2017 7:19:14 PM

Quote:

Quote:
328 sets of brothers. They are all tragic stories, but perhaps none more so than where the brothers were not in the same unit or even in the same area when they lost their lives.
The Long Long Trail

Regards

Jim
--anemone


Jim, does that include brothers from the Dominions.

George

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 5950
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: The Pals Battalions on the Western Front
Posted on: 5/30/2017 6:59:34 AM
Yes George-the list does include Dominion troops.The full list is in the link

[Read More]

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2475

Re: The Pals Battalions on the Western Front
Posted on: 5/30/2017 10:39:21 AM
Ties of locality, kinship, trade, or whatever, provide a reassuring backdrop : small wonder that men going to war sought comfort in these associations.

But what a terrible price was paid when such units were exposed to intense battle !

You would have thought that the experience of the American Civil War might have given pause to those contemplating such formations fifty odd years later.

Exactly fifty three years before Britain's most catastrophic day, the equivalent of a pals battalion went into battle at Gettysburg, on July 1st 1863.

Eight hundred men of the 26th North Carolina Infantry advanced to drive the Yankees away from the woods and ridges north of Gettysburg. By the end of that day, 588 of them had been killed or wounded. Its commanding officer was killed; of the remaining two hundred or so, , most were cut down in the climax of the battle two days later.

On that first day, a company of that regiment started the fight with three sets of twin brothers. By day's end, five of those six brothers were dead.

Look at the array of Australian brothers who were killed at Fromelles on July 19th, 1916.

What happened to Saving Private Ryan ?

Regards, Phil

---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 5950
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: The Pals Battalions on the Western Front
Posted on: 5/30/2017 11:14:06 AM
What happened to Saving Private Ryan ?If this is a "throwaway"-ignore the rest.


Quote:
Opening with the Allied invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944, members of the 2nd Ranger Battalion under Cpt. Miller fight ashore to secure a beachhead.

Amidst the fighting, two brothers are killed in action. Earlier in New Guinea, a third brother is KIA. Their mother, Mrs. Ryan, is to receive all three of the grave telegrams on the same day.

The United States Army Chief of Staff, George C. Marshall, is given an opportunity to alleviate some of her grief when he learns of a fourth brother, Private James Ryan, and decides to send out 8 men (Cpt. Miller and select members from 2nd Rangers) to find him and bring him back home to his mother...
IMDB

NB.my father and his four brothers served during WW2-all returned safely- although one saw the war out in a Stalag.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3305

Re: The Pals Battalions on the Western Front
Posted on: 5/30/2017 11:18:44 AM
 Omaha Beach was also a battle in which this effect was felt.


Quote:
There is perhaps no place more appropriate in which to remember the magnitude of the sacrifice of those who stormed ashore on D-day than Bedford, Va., a town of 6,000 that’s 200 miles southwest of Washington, D.C.

If you’ve heard of Bedford, it’s likely because of the Bedford Boys, 30 National Guard soldiers from Bedford who landed on France’s Normandy beaches on June 6, 1944.

By day’s end, 19 Bedford soldiers were dead. Four more died later in the Normandy campaign.

Proportionately, the town of Bedford, then about 3,200 residents, suffered the nation’s most severe D-day losses.


 Company A, 116th Infantry. Not so much a case of dead brothers, but a heavy hit for a small community.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2475

Re: The Pals Battalions on the Western Front
Posted on: 5/30/2017 12:11:12 PM
About fifteen years ago, a mass grave was discovered near Arras in France, containing the bodies of a number of British soldiers who were killed in April or May 1917.

They appeared to have been buried with their arms linked. There were about twenty of them, I think.

They were identified as men from Grimsby, Lincolnshire .

They came from a battalion, locally raised, and were known as The Grimsby Chums .

That's intrigued me : why " Chums " and not " Pals " ?

I was moved by the story when it broke ; I still am now.

A forensic anthropologist examined the skeletons, and concluded that some of them bore signs of malnutrition in childhood.

Grimsby is a town famous for its fishing industry. Christ, you would have thought that they should have had enough to eat....they appear to have been deprived ; yet they put themselves in harm's way and paid the full price for it.

Regards , Phil

---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3305

Re: The Pals Battalions on the Western Front
Posted on: 5/30/2017 12:20:42 PM
 Warfare produces many events that give one pause. Years ago, I came across the story of José F. Valdez. He was one of three men in the U.S. 3rd Division who won the Medal of Honor in the Colmar Pocket.

 His citation notes he came from the community of Governador, New Mexico. Governador was never large and is today a ghost town. After I looked up the community in which he grew up, I was and remain concerned by the thought that his valorous death in France was a key factor in Governador becoming a ghost town ... as such a small place had but few sons to sacrifice. The cost of war is payed in many ways.

Image: Private First Class José F. Valdez


Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5297

Re: The Pals Battalions on the Western Front
Posted on: 5/30/2017 2:12:27 PM
There were attempts to encourage enlistment in Canada by raising a battalion that had regional or ethnic appeal.

Example:

The 197th Battalion was raised in Winnipeg and was called Vikings of Canada.

The 223rd Battalion was also from Winnipeg and was called Scandinavian Canadians.


There were a lot of Icelanders in Gimli, Manitoba and people from Scandinavian countries so we can see the appeal.


The Pals battalion system was observed and considered a good way to recruit.


The 97th Battalion was raised in Toronto and was called the American Legion. I believe that there were several American Legion battalions and of course, it was hoped that Americans would enlist.

Everything was fair game, including hockey players.

Conn Smythe was a hockey player who joined the 40th Battery of Hamilton and it was called the Sportsmen's Battalion.

A lot of top hockey players joined it and were killed overseas.

Conn Smythe became the colonel of the battalion and won the MM for bravery.

He is better known as the founder of the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League.


So when it came to recruitment, it was whatever worked.


George

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2475

Re: The Pals Battalions on the Western Front
Posted on: 5/30/2017 4:04:59 PM
Might it be that the more industrialised and impersonal war becomes, the more soldiers seek the comfort of something like the pals system ?

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 5950
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: The Pals Battalions on the Western Front
Posted on: 5/31/2017 6:29:28 AM
The call to arms was augmented by the decision to form the units that became known as Pals Battalions.

It is said that General Henry Rawlinson initially suggested that men would be more willing to join up if they could serve with people they already knew.

Lord Derby was the first to test the idea when he announced in late August that he would try to raise a battalion in Liverpool, comprised solely of local men.

Within days, Liverpool had enlisted enough men to form four battalions.

Question is- Was this concept a success-particularly in view that conscription followed this mode of voluntary recruitment ?????

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Lightning
Glasgow, UK
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class


Posts: 442

Re: The Pals Battalions on the Western Front
Posted on: 5/31/2017 11:14:39 AM

Quote:
Question is- Was this concept a success-particularly in view that conscription followed this mode of voluntary recruitment ?????--anemone


I think recruitment would have been high in 1914/1915 regardless of whether men were joining "pals" battalions or "normal" battalions. Certainly, some joined certain units because their mates were doing so, but people were joining up anyway and I doubt the outcome would have been any different, unless the Army had chosen to pool all recruits centrally and allocate them randomly (despite local connection) to the regiments needing men the most.

In short, the volunteers of 1914 and 1915 would have likely ended up in local units regardless and the seismic shocks of the Somme that hit almost every hamlet, village, town and city across the country would have occurred anyway.

Cheers,

Colin
---------------
"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5297

Re: The Pals Battalions on the Western Front
Posted on: 5/31/2017 11:42:32 AM
The policy of regional recruitment and playing on the emotions associated with ethnicity probably had something to do with the great numbers of volunteers to the CEF initially.

But most of the recruits in 1914 had British roots. If they were going to sign up, they were signing up anyway.

It wasn't until near the end of the war that the percentage of Canadians outstripped the percentage of British born in the CEF. British born could mean a young man who came over as a baby and was raised in Canada or perhaps a more recent immigrant.

The fact that so many wound up in the regiments and then battalions was partly a function of geography too.

So a militia, and it was the militia that were tasked with raising regiments, would draw men from the surrounding community. That could cover a rather large county with very few people living in it. All the men in the regiment that was produced could be from that county.

In the urban centres, many regiments were raised and perhaps the ethnic appeal of say, a Scottish regiment would swing some weight.

In the end, not all regiments formed battalions at Valcartier. Some weren't full when they got there and were amalgamated. Some were broken up and dispersed.

A battalions like the Simcoe Foresters (157th) was raised in Ontario at the new Camp Borden. By the time that they got to Bramshott Camp in England and all ready to go, they were quickly disbanded and broken up for reinforcements for units already losing men in the field.

I really haven't studied whether the reassignment of men from their "home" regiment was resented by the soldiers.

Cheers,

George





 (1914-1918) WWI Battles    
 Forum Ads from Google