6th Battalion the Manchester Regiment in the Great War, John Hartley

6th Battalion the Manchester Regiment in the Great War, John Hartley

Not a rotter in the lot

This First World War battalion history is a little different to most, in that it covers a pre-war territorial battalion rather than part of Kitchener's 'New Army'. The battalion thus already existed at the outbreak of the Great War, although the army didn't entirely trust the territorials, and didn't use them in France early in the war. Instead the battalion moved overseas in September 1914, and remained abroad until 1917.

The battalion had a rather more varied war than many. As the regular army moved to France, the territorials were used to replace Imperial garrisons, and the 6th Manchesters moved to Egypt. They took part in the Gallipoli campaign and the defence of Egypt against a Turkish invasion, before finally moving to the Western Front in 1917. The battalion took part in the fighting at Ypres in 1917, was on the Somme front when the Germans launched their great offensive in the spring of 1918, and took part in the '100 days' - the series of battles that ended the war.

This is an excellent example of a battalion history. The text is supported by a large number of photographs, some wartime and some modern, with a good selection of pictures of the various battlefields. Hartley has done a good job of linking incidents, so a nameless soldier mentioned in an extract from a letter or memoir is often identified. There is a good mix of the day-to-day details of life in the army and the wider incidents of the war. Least anyone forget the true cost of the fighting, the book finishes with a twenty-four page long roll of honour, recording the names, date of death and burial place of soldiers killed while serving with the battalion.

1 - Mobilisation
2 - Egypt
3 - Gallipoli - into action
4 - Gallipoli - the final months
5 - Egypt again
6 - France and Belgium
7 - The 2/6th Battalion
8 - 1918 - attacks
9 - Returning Home
Roll of Honour

Author: John Hartley
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 288
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2010

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