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The Manchester Pals Battalions

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With the start of World War 1 so many men wanted to join the Colours to fight for their Country.

Many of them were friends from similar backgrounds and suburbs of bigger Cities - the Govt.

came-up with the brilliant idea of letting them join together and be posted to the same Regiments.

They became known as the PALS (a British slang word, meaning friends) Battalions.

Friends of mine in Knutsford - just outside of Manchester - sent me this interesting cutting from

their local paper.


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A seemingly brilliant idea for boosting recruitement, but as the article points out, it often caused devastation for whole communities. Pal's battalion insignia is highly collectable and often expensive and as such there are many fakes about.

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There is a series of books on the Pals BN's, I am not sure how many were covered but I have two, for Carmarthen and Swansea pals. Both are very comprehensive with detailed accounts of their formation, the actions they took part in and lists of those who fell. Also full of images of recruting posters and newspaper clippings. Well worth getting if they completed volumes for the areas in which you are interested IMO.

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My great Grandfathers print works at Withygrove Manchester signed up and had heavy casualties if one looks at the Print Works Brass roll of Honour plaque. Serjeant Harold Hetherington Williams, wounded, died at a dressing station that was under such pressure with the mounting casualties that the bodies were discarded. He has no known grave. A typesetter by trade, as was his son (my grandfather) as was I. Remembered on a monument in France to the missing. His wife and baby son were left to make a living with no support, his wife died 10 years later from a broken heart (exhaustion).

The stories of the WW1 battalions are still very personal, 100 years on.

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