The Bantams, Sidney Allinson

The Bantams, Sidney Allinson

This interesting book looks at the Bantam units raised in Britain and the Empire during the First World War and filled with men under the 5'3" height requirement then in place for the British Army.

We start in August 1914, when amongst the crowds of enthusiastic volunteers were a number of shorter men who were summarily turned away from the Recruiting Offices. As the war dragged on into the winter and it became clear that a bigger army than ever raised in Britain would be needed the idea of the Bantam battalions was born. Eventually more than twenty British and two Canadian Bantam battalions would be formed.

This book was originally written in the late 1970s, so Allinson was able to get in touch with a large number of surviving Bantams, and includes some well chosen accounts in their own words. As is so often the case their reminiscences remind us just how different people's attitudes were before the Great War and how terrible life was in the trenches.

Allinson was inspired to write this book by a prevailing belief that the Bantams had been a failure from those who had heard of them and a general lack of knowledge of their existence. His work successfully disproves any idea of failure, and deserves to succeed in making the Bantams better known.

1 – Blood of the Breed
2 – 'B.B.B.' Battalions
3 – Hard Up For Troops
4 – The Devil Dwarfs
5 – Extracts From An Officer's Diary
6 – Into The Line
7 – The Gamecocks
8 – One Green Howard's War
9 – The Canadians
10 – Along Death Way
11 – The Bells Of Hell
12 – Butchery At Bourlon

Author: Sidney Allinson
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 312
Publisher: Pen & Sword
Year: 1981 and 2009

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